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Posts Tagged Windows 8

Fixing Windows 8.1 blank start menu

Some older programs not updated to work correctly with Windows 8/8.1 will produce some very undesirable results when uninstalling them, such as clearing out your start and app screens.

Echolink is one program that affects Windows 8 in this way when using its bundled uninstaller. You can read about how to extract the exe to run it as a standalone program in this post.

You can see below a sample of an affected system, and that all the tiles have been removed from the start screen and all apps screen:

EL_UnInst_Start_1EL_UnInst_Start_2

In this situation, the search from the start screen is available, but will not produce any results. The only way to navigate is to right-click on the start button and make selections from that menu, or to use the charms bar.

Various sites offer various fixes for this issue, and I haven’t found one that works without either refreshing the PC or having to use a restore point. If you use a restore point to recover, the program will likely be reinstalled. If you refresh your PC, you will keep your data but you may lose some settings or customizations.

For either of these two methods, follow the link below:

How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC [microsoft.com]

I wish I could find a consistent fix without having to use the above, but they methods do work.

If you have a solution that works, please feel free to share it in the comments below. Thank you!

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Screen flickering and horizontal lines when coming out of standby on Windows 8

I upgraded my Dell Latitude E6510 with an Nvidia NVS 3100M  to Windows 8 a short time ago, and noticed something fairly quickly: Whenever my display came back on after being powered off from power saving mode, or the laptop came out of sleep mode, the screen had a very noticeable flickering and some distinct horizontal lines. The best way to explain it was to say that there was something very wrong with the display refresh rate.

The effect would gradually diminish with time, but wouldn’t completely go away. I updated the graphics drivers from the built-in Windows 8 drivers to the latest ODE graphics driver for Windows 8 64-bit (310.90) — that didn’t fix it. I also noticed that putting the display in 40hz mode and then back in 60hz mode didn’t fix it either. I even would have the problem if I shut down completely and powered the laptop back on a few moments later.

I later found this blog post from someone having the exact same issue. He even indicated that he’s had hardware replaced on his notebook, and that didn’t fix the issue. He did, however, find a fix: Dell’s A08 drivers for the NVS 3100M graphics chipset. He posted links to a Dell search for A08 drivers and two drivers that specifically worked:

nVidia Quadro FX 880M – Win7/Vista 32-bit Graphics Driver

nVidia NVS 3100M – Win7/Vista 64-bit Graphics Driver (this is the one I used)

So I uninstalled my existing Nvidia drivers and installed the 64-bit driver linked to above. You know what? It worked. The flickering went away immediately, and it continues to work correctly resuming from standby.

I also recall speaking to someone who had a similar issue, albeit on Windows 7. I’m guessing it was probably related to the drivers as well.

UPDATE: After doing some more testing, I found this: I took a clean install of Windows 8 where the screen flickering was there, reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 64-bit. After booting into Windows 7, the screen flickering was still there! It would seem that the driver is manipulating the graphics controller to produce this flicker. Installing Dell’s recommended NVS3100M driver for Windows 7 did fix the flickering issue.

Further reading:

Anyone else having the same issue? Have the drivers above worked for you? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below. 

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Performing a clean install from a Windows 8 upgrade media

If you purchased the Windows 8 upgrade from Windows 7, but would rather do a clean install, here’s a method that I’ve found that has been reported to work.

First, obviously, delete all partitions during the Windows install, supplying your key when requested.

After Windows 8 installs, and if Windows won’t activate, do the following:

Run regedit, and set:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE\MediaBootInstall to 0 (zero)

Open an administrator-level command prompt, and run the following:

slmgr /rearm

Then reboot and run activation again.

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Windows 8 error code 0x807800C5 during Windows 7 File Recovery backup

The following error appears if you try to include a system image in your backup using the Windows 7 File Recovery backup tool.

0x807800c5

There was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set.

Details: The mounted backup volume is inaccessible. Please retry the operation.

Error code: 0x807800C5

According to this forum

For Win 8 only: The Win 7 back up program included with win 8 does not support backing up a image file to any kind of NAS device (UNIX, Linux) . Internally the program gives an error that the NAS device has an incompatible sector mapping type. You can backup to a hard drive that is attached to a different windows machine and then back up that file to your NAS. Convoluted, but it works.

So, backing up a system image to a Samba share is out of the question. To work around this, disable the creation of a system image in your backup.

I haven’t tried backing up to an NTFS-formatted iSCSI LUN, which might work. If anyone has tried that, I’d be interested to know the results.

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Error code 0x80070544 when attempting to back up Windows 8 onto NAS over Samba

If you use Windows 7 File Recovery to attempt to backup your system to a NAS device, you may receive the following error:

0x80070544: The specified network location cannot be used.

Verify the path points to a correct network location and that the supplied credentials can be used for write access to the folder.

The validation information class requested was invalid. (0x80070544).

The solution to this is rather simple. You have to prefix your username with the name of the machine where the Samba share is located. So, if you are backing up to diskstationbackups, prefix your username with diskstation.

In my case, my username on that device is mike. So instead of using mike as my username, I had to use diskstation\mike.

It works now. Enough said.

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Does the number of downloads of an app or software reflect on its quality?

We’ve all seen apps which tout their usefulness, relevance, or popularity by their number of downloads, but does it really mean anything?

“Number of downloads” means exactly that — the number of people that have downloaded your app — it doesn’t even attempt to represent the number of people who found it useful or continue to use it. It doesn’t even represent the number or rating of user-submitted reviews.

So why do application developers keep using the number of downloads to infer things about the quality of their product? Here’s a few examples:

Windows 8:

“According to Microsoft, more than 13 million copies of the Windows 8 Developer Preview had been downloaded since its release back in the fall. California-based Net Applications said that — based on the Developer Preview downloads — Windows 8 already accounts for three-hundredths of 1-percent of all PCs accessing the Internet.” — TomsHardware.

Microsoft states that Windows 8 is still considered a pre-beta product, and it’s use is discouraged on production machines.

RoadNinja:

“Since its launch in October, [RoadNinja] has been downloaded 82,987 times for iPhones and iPads.” — NBC33TV.

This article was published one month after RoadNinja’s launch; RoadNinja currently holds a 3/5 star rating in the App Store with only a total of 207 reviews.

I’m not saying these are poor quality apps — what I’m saying is that developers tout too loudly the number of downloads of their app and try to infer that its a good quality app. What the number of downloads means is that it is a popular app; not necessarily a good quality one.

I should add that I personally downloaded the Windows 8 preview to check it out in a virtual machine — something I haven’t even gotten around to doing yet. I also downloaded RoadNinja but found it impractical and uninstalled it shortly after.

Do you have any personal opinion on the quality of apps that market on the number of downloads they have? Do you have anything to share that you think I may not have covered in the article above? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Thank you!

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