Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Windows 8 Helpful Hints

Windows 8 has been here for over eight months and whether you love it of hate it, if you buy a new computer you are stuck, therefore try to make the best of the situation.

I have received many comments and complaints concerning Windows 8, from people I help with computer problems. Most of these  point out that it is difficult to all of a sudden, navigate from years of XP, Vista and the much loved Windows 7 to an almost unrecognizable and frustrating computing experience.

This is not exactly fair, because Windows 8, (once you get into it), is in my opinion, quite an exciting transition.

Sure enough, Microsoft may have gone a little too far and may have miscalculated how frustrating some of the changes may have been. "Where is the start button ?", "I have quite a problem navigating around this crazy system", "How do I turn off the computer ?" "How do I create a repair disk and a mirror image of my system ?" These are all serious problems for those who all of a sudden get introduced to Windows 8 in their new computer.

 Microsoft has also listened and fortunately has released a much improved Windows 8.1 preview pack, (just a beta format), that anybody can download and play with. The formal release of Windows 8.1 will be officially available later this Fall.

Many  improvements that make using Windows 8 more palatable have been created, including a start button, not quite as useful and adaptable as our old friend we all were used to... But more about Windows 8.1 in a later post, maybe after I come back from Florida where I am going for a few days visiting one of my daughters who lives in the Orlando area.

For now I just want to touch on a very important subject:

"How to create a Repair Disk and a mirror image of your hard drive"

In Windows 8 a repair disk is now called a "Recovery Drive".

A "Recovery Drive" will allow you to boot your system and easily access a number of recovery and troubleshooting tools that you can use to repair your  Windows 8 system in case of need.

Windows 8 allows you to create a Recovery Drive using a USB flash memory stick, (this feature was not available in Windows 7). A Recovery Drive has more capabilities than the "old" Repair Disk, among them being able to backup an OEM recovery partition. However you can also create a Recovery Drive on a DVD-R disk using the old System Repair Disk user interface. (More about this later).

The contents of the Recovery Drive will require about 256MB of space. For that you can use a 1 GB USB flash memory stick. If your hard drive includes the OEM recovery partition and most likely it does, you will need a larger capacity flash memory stick of least a 16GB. (In my case, because I already had installed quite a few applications, I had to use a 32 GB USB flash memory stick.

Before we go into details, check some of the useful Windows 8 short cuts, which I referred to in a post dated 11/24/2012 "Windows 8 Hot Keys"

Here is what you have to do to create a Recovery Drive in a USB flash memory stick:

- Use the Hot Key function [Windows] + W keystroke; this will take you to the  "access the Search Settings page".

-Type "Recovery Drive" in the text box, and click "Create a recovery drive" in the box under SETTINGS.

- If a "User Account Control" box appears, click "yes". This will take you to the first screen in the Recovery Drive wizard dialog box. (If your computer came with an OEM recovery partition, the Copy the recovery partition check box will be enabled). Click "Next".

-Another dialog box opens. It shows the selection of USB drives, (which should include the one you have plugged in. Example: "H:\ (USB Flash Drive)". Click "Next".

-Another dialog box opens showing:

 "Create the Recovery Drive"

"Everything on the drive will be deleted. If you have any personal files on this drive, make sure you have backed up the files."

-Click "Create"

-Windows 8 will format the drive and will start copying files to the drive. A new box will open showing the the process running. If you are creating a basic Recovery Disk, the process will be done in no time flat, however if  a recovery partition is included it will take an hour or two...

-Upon completion of the process, Windows 8  opens to show its contents.

-Close the Recovery Drive wizard by clicking the Finish button, unplug your Flash Drive and keep it safe !!!

Have fun.

George Freire



It seems that a lot of people, (including me), have experienced this problem:

Either by accident or on purpose, you turn your Windows 8 display to "high contrast" mode. You want to go back to normal display mode and follow the instructions in the PC settings for turning the high contrast mode "on/off". You select "off" click "apply" and... nothing happens!

You try it a couple more times, even reboot the computer and again nothing happens, the display is still on high contrast mode...

This happened to me and after pulling my hair several times I finally found a solution to this frustrating situation. Do this and you'll be done with it:

-In windows 8 "start" screen, click the "desk top" rectangular icon. Now you  are in the regular desk top screen that looks just like Windows 7.

-Right click anywhere in the desk top screen; a small dialog box opens.

-Click on the last item of the dialog box: "Personalize".

-The "Personalization" screen opens; on the "Windows Default Themes (3)" section, (bottom left), click the first theme which has a little flower.

That's it ! high contrast mode is turned off and you return your display to normal. Easy isn't it ?

Hope you enjoy this tip.

George Freire

Friday, July 19, 2013

Auslogics Duplicate File Finder Great Utility And It Is Free

Here is a great utility which will allow you to eliminate duplicate files and save lots of space in your hard drives. Frequent use of your computer will inevitably lead to accumulation of duplicate files especially if you do a lot of downloading of music, applications, video and document files from the Internet.

Unnecessary duplicate files may use a considerable amount of hard disk space and also make your computer run slower. "AUSLOGICS DUPLICATE FILE FINDER" is free and will help you find and delete all duplicate files in your computer.

Here is a synopsis of what the provider of this utility has to say about its operation and use:

Sort and organize your media collections
Media files collections, such as music, video, images and photos, often become the primary source of identical files. If you have a music collection of several hundreds or even thousands mp3-files, you may want to sort them by deleting identical tracks.
With Auslogics Duplicate File Finder you can organize your media files and increase free disk space needed to enlarge your collection.

Find duplicate files by content
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder has the MD5 search engine which allows the program to search for duplicate files by content, regardless of other match criteria. It would be helpful, for example, when two identical mp3 tracks or video files have different names.

Readers of my Blog can download this Utility Application by clicking the following link:

Try it and you'll see just like I did after using it for the first time, how useful it can be.

Let me know if you like it, and tell your friends about it.

George Freire

Monday, July 15, 2013


      A good friend just sent me this email. I am posting it so that you readers of this blog may take the appropriate steps to protect your computer:

                            VERY URGENT!!! PLEASE CIRCULATE to your friends, family and contacts. In the coming days, DO NOT open any message with an attachment called: BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE , regardless of who sent it to you. It is a virus that opens an Olympics torch that burns the whole hard disk C of your computer. This virus comes from a known person who you have in your list. Directions: You should send this message to all of your contacts. It is better to receive this e-mail 25 times than to receive the virus and open it. If you receive a message called BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE even if sent by a friend, do not open, and shut down your machine immediately. It is the worst virus announced by CNN. This new virus has been discovered recently it has been classified by Microsoft as the virus most destructive ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee. There is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero
Sector of the hard disk, where vital information function is stored. SP
Verified by

George Freire