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Noteworthy Tips and Tricks

Windows 8 now optimises SSDs automatically

In Windows 7, SSDs got excluded from the built-in defragment tool. SSDs doesn’t need to be defragged, as all data can be reached at the same time. And unnecessary writes can decrease a SSD’s lifespan.

In Windows 8, the defragment tool has been renamed to Optimise Drives and now includes SSDs. As far as I’ve found out, it seems Windows 8 is running TRIM on the whole drive. TRIM is a command that makes the SSD “clean up” its free area, so that the used memory cells marked as free is washed of their data. This ensures that the speed of the writing operations don’t slow down, as the area doesn’t have to be cleaned before data is written to it.

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Recommended Software

Free antivirus AVG and Avast ready for Windows 8

AVG Free was updated for Window 8 already back in September. With the official release and general availability of Windows 8 this week, Avast also updated their free antivirus to support the newest Microsoft operating system. Update: Seems Avast already was ready for Windows 8 when they released version 7 back in February 2012.

avast! 7 is Windows 8 Beta compatible and includes specific features for Windows 8 such as the Early-Load Antimalware Driver (ELAM) against system-level rootkits and bootkits.

Another less known alternative is Panda Cloud Antivirus, which also  supports Windows 8. Version 2.0 was released earlier this year and has done well in tests performed by AV-Comparatives.org. In September 2012 Panda Cloud AV achieved Virus Bulletin VB100 award.

CNET’s Download.com rates AVG as Spectacular, Avast as Outstanding and Panda as Excellent, so you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Windows 8 already includes an anti malware solution called Windows Defender, which is actually just Microsoft Security Essentials re-branded. The Windows Defender name debuted six years ago, then only as an anti spyware product with some additional features.

In previous tests performed by AV-Test.org, Microsoft Security Essentials did poor in the repair test.

Categories
Microsoft Office Services Windows

Microsoft is on a roll!

Microsoft refreshed their logo earlier this year. Probably to reflect the refresh the whole company now seems to undertake.

Categories
Microsoft Tips and Tricks Windows

Windows 8 Reset function in pictures

With Windows 8 you no longer have to boot from your installation media (DVD or USB) to reinstall Windows. (Although you might be prompted to insert it, as I did.)

Click on pictures for larger version.

In Windows 8 you can either Refresh or Reset your PC. You find these options in PC Settings. You reach PC Settings by either swiping in from the right, move your mouse to either corner on the right or by pressing Win + C to open the Charms bar. Then choose Settings (at the bottom), then Change PC Settings (at the bottom) and at last General. Scroll down to reveal the options.

After pressing the Get started button under Remove everything and reinstall Windows you get the screen above.

You’ll be asked to insert your recovery or installation media (I used the DVD) (not shown).

Windows 8 will then start preparing and reboot automatically.

You’ll get to choose between these two options for resetting your PC. (I chose the first option.)

All ready to go!

The process starts and takes only minutes.

After another restart, you set up Windows 8 as doing a clean install. You have to accept the license agreement and choose a color theme (not shown).

You then chose a username and password. If you already have a Microsoft Account (formerly Windows Live ID), you can use this to log on to Windows 8. This is the recommended option, since you’ll get automatic syncing of settings, SkyDrive, apps and so on. Pressing the option at the bottom gets you to the screen below.

On this screen you get the option to make a local account (which I did this time). You then get to watch Microsofts very short introduction to how you use the active corners before the new (Metro) Start screen gets loaded.

Since you literally start over, you have to install all your apps (should be easy if you use a Microsoft Account), programs and updates (via Windows Update). Your settings should be synced if you use a Microsoft Account and if you’ve used SkyDrive to take care of your important files, they’ll be easily available.

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Microsoft Recommended Software Windows

Windows 8 coming October 26 – download now!

Windows 8 is finished and if you have access to MSDN or Technet you can already download it. It has of course already spread to the torrent networks and I have run Windows 8 Pro for a couple of weeks. You’ll need a key to get through setup, but they are easy to find. Or you can skip this step during setup by making your own ei.cfg file. You will of course not be able to activate Windows 8 which you’ll be constantly reminded of (every three hours to be exact). You will loose the ability to personalize Windows 8, but everything is still functional. If you follow the link to buy yourself a product key, you get a message that this is not possible at the moment. Come late October I guess this will be made available.. The question is if it will be the same upgrade price of 40USD that Microsoft announced earlier this year.