Computer Tip: Fast way to do a fresh Windows 8.1 reinstall

Consider the following scenario: You need to re-install Windows 8 on your computer. Then you need to install the required updates to get it to Windows 8.1, and then install the big update released in 2014 and then quite a few months of updates.

Now if you ever upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 it isn’t the easiest upgrade. Quite often the upgrade fails before it even downloads the first MB.

Now if you have ever installed and updated Windows before, you can save probably at least 6 hours of work if you can get ahold of the media that has Windows 8.1 [and even better if it has that big update].

But if you try to use your Windows 8 serial number during the Windows 8.1 installation, the setup will reject it.

To trick Windows into allowing the installation, use the serial number GCRJD-8NW9H-F2CDX-CCM8D-9D6T9 during the installation.

Note: This serial number is a readily available serial number on the Microsoft web site used for Key Management Systems [KMS]. We are just using it temporarily.

After the installation, Windows will reject the KMS serial number above. At that point you can use the serial number from Windows 8.

Who is Putin fooling?

This sound like all the hallmark of a dictator in trouble:

“The situation around our country will change for the better, but not because we will make concessions, bend down, or trifle with someone.”

No it isn’t Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, late Cuban President Fidel Castro or some other crackpot but Russian President Vladimir Poutine [sorry Putin, but I still like when the French Canadian press uses that word].

So let’s see what is happening in Russia. There is a huge drop in the barrel of oil. Oil is one of the biggest exports for Russian. While they do have other exports, like in Alberta, Canada, the drop in the barrel has hurt the economy.

But add to the economic problems is the freeze in assets of the wealthy from western countries because of the invasion [for a lack of better words] of the Ukraine. Also imports into Russia and export from Russia has dropped considerably to the point where Russia needs to sell military equipment to less desirable countries [Syria is rumored to be included] as well as Egypt [there sat on the fence between Russia and the west].

With the economic problems come increasing other issues. For example, while vodka is cheap still compared to the west, some ingredients need to be imported from the west. Because of the increased cost, the less fortunate are resorting to drink moonshine as well as some “drinks” that have known to be quite harmful. Many have died drinking the stuff.

As for Putin, he still has his Dachas. But he puts the blame on the west claiming “attempts at political isolation, economic pressure, large scale information war and instruments of special services” – whatever the last one means.

He also complained about NATO getting closer to Russia, US led missile defense program and the development of long range conventional weapons – as if Russia hasn’t developed any.

Finally, Putin claims that Russia exposed 52 foreign “intelligence” officers and 290 agents of theirs. [It is long known in diplomatic fights that one country throws out spies even though at least some are not. The tit for tat stuff.

Well good luck to him. Wonder what happens when we get close to the next presidential Russian election in 2018.

Computer Tip: How to modify or delete messages within Skype

If you are using the latest version of Skype [must be at least], there is a new feature – actually two – if you didn’t notice.

How many times have you sent something by Skype but regretted you sent it or maybe had typos or something?

With the latest feature[s], you can for the most part end those issues.

Note: This must be done within ONE hour of sending the message. You can’t change or delete the message after an hour has lapsed.

Note: Why you deleted the message, evidence on your side and the recipient’s side will state that the message has been deleted. You can’t remove that.


To edit/modify or delete a message sent [within the hour], scroll back to where you want to do it, highlight the line or message and then right click on the text while still highlighted.

You should see the image like below.


From there you can delete or modify.

If you delete, it will give a confirmation box.

If you want to modify, you will enter in the section/box where you normally type a message and when done, it will update your message.

Note: To see your version, click on the Help menu and then the About box.

Internet Explorer isn’t dead in Windows 10

In a story that came out recently, many media organizations are claiming that Microsoft is killing Internet Explorer. But according to a statement from Microsoft: “We will continue to make Internet Explorer available with Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy browser support.”

This was already mentioned in a blog from the Internet Explorer team back in January 2015 and repeated in March 2015.

Even if the consumer version of Windows 10 does not contain Internet Explorer, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft backtracks after Windows 10 comes out and re-releases Internet Explorer as a separate download if there are enough complaints.

One analyst believes that Internet Explorer 10 will be available on all non-mobile versions of Windows [i.e. desktop and laptop] but will not be the default web browser. In addition, while Internet Explorer uses the Trident rendering engine, Project Spartan [IE’s replacement] will use Trident’s cousin rendering engine named Edge.

Windows 10 won’t be really free for those with pirated copies of older Windows versions

I had reported [like alone others] that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for the first year – even pirated copies. Looks like it isn’t quite true.

As it turns out Windows 10 upgraded from a pirated copy will still make it non-genuine. In a statement clarifying the rule, Microsoft said that: “With Windows 10, although non-genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mislicensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mislicensed after the upgrade.”

This will add to more confusion still. With the last few versions of Windows Microsoft has shown you whether nor not your copy is legally licensed. For example, in Windows 7 you had a black background and some warning messages.

So many who have used illegal copies of Windows never bothered to install any updates fearing that an update could botch up their system [even if the update didn’t advertise it could do so].

With this caveat, will Windows 7/8.1 users even bother upgrading knowing that the upgrade could wipe whatever fix/crack that was used to pirate their copy?

Windows 10 to be free upgrade even for those with pirated copies

This is probably a bit of a shocker.

At the WinHEC conference in Shenzhen, China, yesterday, Executive Vice President Terry Meyerson, who runs the Windows division, made the announcement. Here it is:

Windows 10 will be free of charge for the first year of retail release including those who upgrade from pirated copies.

Of course the announcement was made in China – king of the pirated copies of any software.

Still not explained is whether someone with a pirated copy of Windows 7 Enterprise will be able to install the Windows 10 equivalent or will be downgraded.

Also not explained is what they will do with Windows 7 Ultimate [since there wasn’t one in Windows 8.x].

Here is the deal with upgrading:

Windows 7 with SP1 and Windows 8.1 with the large 2014 update can upgrade from Windows Update [if they wish]. All operating systems [Windows 7 RTM, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 RTM, Windows 8.1 RTM, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.1 with the large 2014 update] can be upgraded by downloading the appropriate ISO.

Obviously Windows Vista and Windows XP upgrades are not supported.

Finally, they are still claiming that Windows 10 will be RTMed by the end of the summer. This leaves just over 6 months to finalize things.

Right to bear arms in Canada not like the US

You know when an election isn’t too far away in Canada when the Prime Minister [Stephen Harper] is already announcing what the opposition would do to something that his Conservatives party followers cherish.

For example, recently while visiting a rural area in western Canada he came out and said that those in rural Canada need firearms to protect themselves – since they are in areas where it may take time for the RCMP [since most rural areas use the RCMP instead of local police] to come to their rescue.

Problem is that, unlike in the United States where an amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, there is no such thing in Canada. In Canada, having a gun is not guaranteed.

The National Firearm Association [NFA] has said that it would push to make sure those in rural areas – and even urban areas – to have a gun to protect them.

The opposition parties will obviously push against any legislation that loosens laws regarding gun access and probably change the legislation once an elected government.

Legal experts have already stated that unless your life is in danger, you could be charged with murder [or similar charges] if you kill an intruder who isn’t armed. The NFA brushed this off as if it will never happen. They claim your house is your castle and you can do whatever you want on it.

The NFA is also pushing amendments to two bills [42 and 51] which would adjust gun legislation and anti-terrorism legislation. The NFA has stated that if changes aren’t made, they will sink the Conservative government so they won’t win the next election. They claim they did it in 1993 after then Prime Minister Kim Campbell came out with legislation they didn’t like.

Going back to the election rhetoric, Harper has already said that by not voting for his party, they would bring back the long gun registry [which was demolished a few years back after costing a reported billion dollars] as well as stiffer gun legislation.

You need to wonder that if Harper is already making these comments, maybe he thinks he may not win the next election. If you are ahead in an election you say what your party will do, if you are behind you say what the opposition will do [that’s bad].

It is not the first time Harper has made end of the world [or Canada] type comments if the opposition is elected. Won’t be the last.


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