With Windows 8, Microsoft made changes to the boot experience. The simple text-based boot loader is now hidden by default and its place, there is a touch friendly graphical user interface with icons and text. Windows 10 has this as well. Although it is functionally richer, the UI is also very cumbersome to navigate and requires many OS components to be loaded before you see the GUI boot menu. In comparison, the classic boot loader in Windows 7 was extremely fast and gave you all the troubleshooting and startup related options on a single screen. For example, if you need to boot into the Safe Mode of Windows, you have to load this graphical boot UI first and then choose Safe mode. Today, we will see how to add the Safe mode option directly to the new boot loader on the screen where you get the OS choices.
Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 come with a very useful utility which allows you to create a recovery USB drive. If something happens to your OS and it does not boot, then you can use that USB drive to try to recover Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, or Windows RT 8.1. This disk will be useful in case you have no other bootable media, e.g. Windows setup disk. Here is how to create it.
If you are testing an evaluation version of Windows 8.1, you might be inconvenienced because Microsoft does not support any way to convert the evaluation edition to the full enterprise edition with a public KMS key like it is possible for Windows Server 2012. You cannot change the edition with DISM commands in Windows 8.1. Even if you download the ISO image of the enterprise edition of Windows 8.1 and try to upgrade the OS, it will not allow you to proceed.
Here is a workaround which lets you upgrade Windows 8.1 Evaluation to the Full version easily.
Modern Windows versions come with an Automatic Maintenance feature. It performs various optimization tasks while you are away from your PC or when your PC is idle or has a low level of activity. These tasks include disk defragmentation, Windows Update cache optimizations, Security Essentials/Defender scans and many such maintenance tasks.
While Automatic Maintenance is useful, some users might prefer doing these optimizations themselves manually. Also some may not want Automatic Maintenance to interrupt their activity. If you think you are better off without this feature, here is how you can disable it.
Windows 10, like all Windows versions since Windows Vista, includes User Account Control or UAC which limits the user's rights even if he is a member of the Administrators group so that malicious apps or malware can't make unauthorized changes to your PC. However, there are a number of older desktop apps which don't work properly in Windows 10 unless they are run as administrator. Some users prefer to disable UAC entirely in Windows 10, but this is a bad idea from a security standpoint. Besides, when you disable UAC, you lose the ability to run Modern apps. The right way is to run certain apps as Administrator as and when it is required. Let me show you all the ways in which you can run desktop apps as administrator.
There is good news for all Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 users. The November 2014 update rollup is out and available for download. This update rollup is a big package and brings some improvements to Windows 8.1 besides resolving a number of issues. It also includes all previously released updates since the last major update in April 2014. Let's see what the change log includes for this update rollup.
With Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced the Games folder which was a special location to manage your installed games. This folder also offers game updates, statistics, rating information, RSS feeds, and more. It acts like a central repository for all recognized games you have on your PC. However, in Windows 8.1, although this folder still works, it is hidden from the end user. In this article, we will see how to bring it back and pin the Games icon to the taskbar or the Start screen.
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 come with a secret hidden folder which contains all installed apps including Modern apps along with classic desktop app shortcuts. It provides a fast way to open Modern apps from the Desktop environment, however, it has no shortcut to launch it, only a special shell command. Let's see how to create a shortcut to that folder to open it directly and pin it to the Start screen or to the taskbar.
Windows 8.1 shows you a list of all user accounts available on your PC on the logon screen. You can click the user avatar, enter the password if it is necessary, and login using the provided credentials. Did you know that it is possible to hide a specific user from this list, so the account becomes hidden. Nobody will be able to see that you have such a user account. This can be done with a simple registry tweak, which I will cover in this article.
The Favorites folder in File Explorer is a very useful way to visit your favorite hard drive locations quickly with one click. It is a folder located at the top of the Navigation Pane of the File Explorer window. The user is able to add folders to Favorites by dragging the select folders to the Favorites icon or clicking the 'Add current location to Favorites' context menu item of the Favorites icon in the Navigation Pane. Here is how you can pin the Favorites folder to the taskbar or the Start screen in Windows 8.1.