Windows 8 Product Key, When Resetting, Reinstalling

The installation of the Windows 8 operating system should not pose problems to the majority of users. Installation is pretty straightforward and users do not need to enter a product key during installation. It may however come as a shock to some users that they have to enter the Windows 8 product key when they try to reinstall or reset the operating system.
We have already talked about resetting the operating system. This basically resets the operating system to the state right after installation. All personal files and applications are removed from the computer, and settings are returned to their defaults. The option to reset the PC is available in the Control Panel of the operating system.
Reinstallation on the other hand simply refers to installing the operating system a second time on a computer.
You might be asked to enter the Windows product key in both situations. On a side note: I reinstalled Windows 8 and was not asked to enter a product key.
The problem here is that Microsoft is not supplying the product key with the operating system. You won’t find it in a text document that is part of the installation files nor on the official website.
You find the answer in a forum thread (!) over at the Microsoft Developer Network forum. A user asked the following question on the forum:
I’m reinstalling Windows Developer Preview and need to enter a product key. What key do I use?
A Microsoft employee replied with this answer:
If you need to reinstall Windows Developer Preview or use the Reset functionality, you might be asked to enter this product key:
If you’re running a server version of Windows Developer Preview, you can use this product key:
Note: These product keys are only for use with the Windows Developer Preview version of Windows 8.
There you have it. If you need to reinstall Windows 8, you need to use the product key 6RH4V-HNTWC-JQKG8-RFR3R-36498.
If you need to reinstall the server version of Windows 8, you use the product key 4Y8N3-H7MMW-C76VJ-YD3XV-MBDKV instead.
The keys are only compatible with the developer preview of Windows 8. It is likely that they wont work in the beta or release candidate, and 100% certain that they won’t work in a final version of the operating system.

Increase your Laptop’s Battery Life with Advanced Power Settings

There’s nothing more annoying than digging out your laptop to do some important work, only to find you have 5% battery power left, or worse still the laptop has powered itself down due to no power left at all.
Depending on your laptop’s model you can get anything from 1-hour usage to 12 hours, but there are things you can do to extend this even more by altering the settings on your laptop to make it more efficient.
To get started, find the battery icon on your Windows 7 laptop, it will be on the bottom taskbar near where the time is displayed. Click on this once as you would to check how much battery you have left. You’ll see a link called “more power options”, and you’ll open a control panel screen called power options, where you can change all sorts of settings. You’ll probably have been on this screen before to adjust how long your screen stays on when you leave it alone. This is basic power saving, but in this tutorial we’re going to be looking at more advanced options.
What you need to do is choose one of the existing power plans, and click on the link next to it that says “change plan settings”. This will take you to yet another screen where you can adjust sleep and display settings. Underneath all of this you’ll see another link called “change advance power settings”. Click on this to move onto the next step.
In the advanced power options you’ll find many different settings including video power settings, to hard disk settings, USB power settings, wireless adapter settings etc. You’ll find you can adjust all of these separately whether you’re running on power, or on battery, and this will enable you to fine tune your laptop for the tasks and environment you typically use it for.
To give an example, if you take your laptop to an office each day and plug it into the corporate network with a CAT5 cable, the chances are you don’t use Wi-Fi a great deal. If that’s the case, you can safely turn off power to your built in Wi-Fi adapter. This will save a small amount of power that could make the difference between working for 30 minutes or 35 minutes on the train-ride home.
Of course, we’re only really talking about squeezing the last few drops of power out of your battery with these settings. All the real savings are made by adjusting the basic settings to govern how long the hard-drive and screen stay on when you’re away from the laptop. However there are saving to be made here, especially with the hard disk, screen and Wi-Fi settings. These are typically some of the most power intensive devices in your laptop, so making savings where can here should increase the life of your battery. Once you’ve finished and you’re happy with the changes you’ve made, click okay to save your settings and close the screens. You may find you need to restart your computer before some of your new settings take effect.

PixBuilder Studio, Free Photo Editing Software

All I personally need when it comes to photo editing software is a fast loading program that can resize images, make small adjustments like adding blur effects to sensitive data and save the resulting image in either the jpg or png format. And that’s it. I obviously do not need Photoshop for this, and even Paint.Net may seem like overkill.
PixBuilder Studio which has recently been released in version 2 is a freeware alternative for Windows. The program on first glance seems to offer a similar functionality as Paint.Net.
You can associate image file extensions with the program during installation, which would speed things up if you do a lot of photo editing on your computer.
You find the usual assortment of tools lined up in the main interface of the program. One interesting option is the ability to move the tools panel around. You can for instance place it under the File toolbar instead of the left sidebar. There is unfortunately no option to make it a floating toolbar as Paint.Net does.
Toolbars in image editors seem to use more or less the same standard when it comes to which tools are provided there. Pixbuilder Studio is not different in this regard. You find the most popular tools there. The right side displays all other panels. This includes the zoom panel, an undo panel, custom tools panel to customize the selected tool or a list of channels.
Many options are only available under the main File toolbar at the top of the program window. This includes a huge list of color tools and effects. The program supports all my requirements (including blur) and then a lot more for users who want to dive deeper into image editing.
The program supports only a handful of formats, which can be a issue, especially for photographers who want to edit Raw images. Support are jpeg, gif, png, psd and a handful of lesser used formats.
I suggest you take a look at the developer website which lists the core program features and offers download links. PixBuilder Studio is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system.
The program can be a viable alternative for users who do not want to install Paint.Net because of its dependence on the Microsoft .Net Framework.


How to recover files from computer with crashed operating system

In this guide I explain how to recover files from a laptop (or desktop PC) with crashed, failed, damaged operating system.


1. The guide will work if your operating system damaged but the laptop (or desktop PC) hardware still works fine.
2. The guide might work if the hard drive has some minor damage, like a few bad sectors.


For this recovery I’ll be using a Ubuntu CD (Linux OS). Also, you can create a bootable Ubuntu USB stick and use that instead of the CD. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Linux guru for that. The interface will be very similar to Windows OS.
You’ll need another working computer to download and create a bootable Ubundu CD or USB stick.
1. Download the latest version of Ubuntu OS here. When you click on the download button you’ll start downloading an ISO image.
2. Burn this ISO image on a CD or create a bootable USB stick. It’s explained on the same Ubuntu download page, just scroll a little bit down.
3. Find the target drive where you going to save recovered files. You can use an external USB hard drive or USB memory stick. The target drive can be formatted with any common Windows file system: FAT, FAT32, NTFS.

How to recover files from computer with crashed operating system I

STEP 1. Boot your laptop from the Ubuntu CD or USB stick. Simply insert the CD or USB stick and restart the computer.
If the laptop (of desktop PC) keeps trying to boot from the internal hard drive, you’ll have to enter the BIOS setup menu and change the boot order. Set your CD/DVD drive or USB stick as first device in the boot order. Safe changes and restart the computer.
From my experience, Ubuntu OS works fine with most laptop and desktop PC hardware and you shouldn’t have any problem booting it to the desktop. It may not work if your computer hardware is too new.
STEP 2.The computer will start booting from the CD or USB stick.Now read carefully!After some time a welcome screen will pop up. On this screen you can choose your language and choose between two options: Try Ubuntu andInstall Ubuntu.
Select Try Ubuntu. In this case Linux OS will run directly from the CD or USB stick without changing any files on the hard drive.
Ubuntu OS will continue loading and after a while you’ll boot to the desktop, as it shown on the following picture.
STEP 4.In order to access the internal hard drive, you click on Places in the top toolbar. You should see your internal hard drive in the drop down menu under the Computer.

When you click on the internal hard drive a new window will open up. In this window you’ll see all files located on the hard drive.

Now plug in your target drive: external USB hard drive or USB flash drive.Another window will pop up. In this window you’ll see files located on the external drive. In my case I have no files on the external drive, that’s why the window is empty.You can move windows same way you do it in Windows OS. Arrange both windows as you like.

Finally, drag and drop needed files from the internal hard drive to the external drive.After the transfer is done, you can unplug the external drive and use it on any other computer.


Kernel Outlook PST Viewer, Access Old Outlook Emails

If you are like me, you keep backups or copies of important data that you no longer need on your computer in case you need access it in the future again. This is for instance true for old emails that I archive regularly to make my email program more responsive. I use Mailstore for that, but there are other options.
Some users may migrate to another email program eventually, for instance from Microsoft Outlook to Thunderbird or an online email service like Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. And some might want to migrate that old data to another computer, maybe one that is not running Outlook anymore, or a different version of Outlook.
That’s when things get problematic as it is not possible to just open the old Outlook inbox files on the computer then. For that, you may need to use a version of Microsoft Outlook, or a third party program like Kernel Outlook PST Viewer.
When you start the program for the first time after installation, you are asked to select a PST file from the local computer.
The software populates with all mail folders and emails, with options to read all emails that have been received or send. While it is not possible to reply to those emails directly, all the information stored in them is still available, even without access to Outlook on the system.
Other benefits of using the program include the ability to open PST files created with any existing version of Outlook, to view the contents of password protected Outlook PST files without knowing the password, and working around file corruptions.
The biggest issue that users may have is the lack of exporting tools. It is for instance not possible to extract attachments using the viewer. For that, Mailstore is the better choice as the program can make PST data available as well.
Windows users can download the latest version of Kernel Outlook PST Viewer from the developer website. The program is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. 

DeskDuster, Hide Desktop Icons Automatically

I have about 15 to 20 icons on my desktop. Mostly documents that I need to open on a regular basis. Most of the time though I hide the icons on the desktop as it improves the visual appeal of the desktop. Some users on the other hand may only want to hide their desktop icons when the computer is idle, again for visual appeals.
The free program DeskDuster has been created for them. The program hides all desktop icons automatically when the computer is idle. Idle in this regard means no user input for five minutes.
The icons are displayed automatically again when the mouse or keyboard is used by the user. This essentially ends the idle state.
The idea behind DeskDuster is to hide all icons on the desktop on idle so that the wallpaper of the system is shown in full. It may also be helpful for privacy minded users, even though there are better options than hiding the icons for this.
The software comes with a set of options. It is for instance possible to change the idle time from five minutes to another value between 1 and 20, and to minimize all open desktop windows whenever the computer is idle.
A right-click on the program’s system tray icon opens a context menu with options to hide the icons manually as well, which may be handy if you want to hide everything at once. You need to make sure not to move the mouse or to use the keyboard afterwards as it would reveal the icons again on the desktop.
A more versatile program is the previously reviewed Auto Hide Icons software for Windows which offers more functionality. The program will reveal the desktop icons on mouse click only, and auto hide them once they have been used. Another alternative is Fences which comes with advanced features like automatic grouping of desktop icons, and selective hiding.
DeskDuster is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. It can be downloaded from the developer website.