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Category Archives: General

Windows Anniversary update broke my network and start menu

The case against Windows Anniversary update goes on (read the comments):

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3104389/microsoft-windows/the-case-against-windows-10-anniversary-update-grows.html

Two days ago, I was forced to receive the Windows Anniversary update like many other people. And like a lot of folks, I really need my computer at the point in time but the screen just asks me to wait as Windows is update… what can we do?

Fast forward, the update completed and machine reboot. Logged in to my machine and 3 major items did not work:

  • Start menu
    • There was no response when clicking on the Windows start button or the search button after the update. In other words, I have no view of my installed applications or access to launch any applications other than those already in the task bar. Of course, I could still run the applications directly via command prompt or the file explorer
  • Network
    • My network stopped working. When I looked into the network adapters, I could see my wireless and LAN adapter. I normally disable the wireless and use the LAN. However, I also had Hyper-V running and the virtualised adapters had disappeared. Those were the ones used for network connectivity.
    • I could not find the adapters in device manager and found that the update had removed Hyper-V without proper uninstallation obviously.
    • By removing Hyper-V, the virtualized adapters where also removed, leaving my physical adapters with no bindings to any protocols or services
    • By rechecking the protocols, e.g. IP4 and network services, network connectiviity came back.
  • Action center
    • When initially troubleshooting the network issue, I tried to turn on my wireless adapter to configure it for my network. Sadly, because the action center will not launch, I could not view the network available to connect my wireless adapter to. Of course, this can be done via command line, but what about the end-users?
    • I also cannot clear the notification icon on the tray as action center will not launch.

After readig a bit about all the problem, I decided to try creating a new profile to see if it will solve at least the start menu and action center issue. However, that did not work.

Luckily, Windows offered back out and recovery option which worked for me. So I managed to recovery my Windows and got back my previous version.

 

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in General, Windows

 

Type cover stopped working in Surface Pro 3

I love my Surface pro 3 and had been using it these past 1 year or so. Recently, for apparently, no reasons my type cover doesn’t work anymore. What I mean is that I was using it just hours before and opened my device and found that the keyboard no longer worked.

Of course, being the troubleshooter that I am, I did the following to determine the problem:

  • Cleaned all the lead contacts of the type cover and the device
  • Rebooted surface like a few times
  • Checked device manager for failed device or try to reinstall it (as found in forums)

Non of these worked for me. So I headed down to the nearest computer shop and asked the kind shop assistant to allow me to test my surface and promised that I will buy a type cover if indeed it was dead. I plugged my type cover to a the display surface pro 3 and it came back to life immediately! Connected my surface pro 3 to the shop’s type cover and nothing happened. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in General

 

Dear Microsoft… The desktop is NOT a giant tablet!

One of the most annoying features of Windows 8 is that it treats everything like a tablet with touch screen. Personally, I feel that Microsoft have got it wrong by not differentiating between tablet and desktop usage. Even with the rumoured update of a start screen (finally) in Windows 8.1, things aren’t going to change too drastically in the MS camp.

Microsoft doesn’t seem to learn from their mistake. Previously when the start screen desktop was predominant from Windows 95 onwards, Microsoft have tried to reuse the same user interface in both tablets (or tableted PCs to be more precise) and mobile phones. Both ended up with failure because the desktop just don’t work well on tablets or phones. The time around, the mistake is to design Windows 8 to be pro mobile phone and tablet and try to fit it to the desktop! Clearly the screen size difference and the user’s profile on phone, tablet and desktop are different. On a desktop where screen size is large, users want to be able to work on various applications with the same screen, be it to copy and paste items, compare content or simply to multi-task between chatting with friends, surfing the net and watching TED and writing a blog. On a smaller sized screen, multi-tasking ala desktop UI does not make sense simply due to the screen size being so small makes overlaying applications ineffective and too small to use. But no, Windows 8 forces you to read emails on a 24″ monitor screen maximized, Skype with friends on a 24″ video screen (all the pimple details!!) or even listen to music on a 24″ screen; this is an ineffective use of such large screens and isn’t it a wonder why people are asking for the start button and default desktop mode?

Furthermore even if you try to use the tile application exlusively, you are redirected back to the desktop mode inadvertantly. For example, if you want to make changes to the network, you need to launch the desktop mode “Network Sharing” application. Or you need desktop mode to make changes to your music or video library.

If I didn’t need some applications only available on Microsoft or just being plain lazy, I would have gone Apple OS for desktop… seriously (still an open option for me). Apple made the right decision to keep the UI different between phone/tablet and desktop. In fact, the Apple OS desktop has not changed too much since inception and each version just makes the desktop run more faster, better and effectively, unlike Windows UI that keeps changing from 95 (and before) to XP to Vista/7 and now 8. Any Windows support person will have a hard time support the various UI flavors with icons buried in different areas in different versions. Even for a Windows server support professional like me, I had a hard time doing simple tasks like looking for print queues or task scheduler, I cannot imagine what the consumers must go through with the ever changing Windows UI.

I suspect with the current strong oppostiion, Microsoft will have to back-paddle and settle for applications working both in desktop (windowed) and tablet/phone application mode.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in General, Windows

 

Why Outlook.com beats GMail.com in some ways

Well, I never even noticed the Outlook.com is in beta preview, but looks like it now coming out of beta preview and massive marketing will go towards promoting this alternative email

http://techland.time.com/2013/02/19/the-great-hotmail-to-outlook-com-transition-begins

Do you have MSN? Hotmail? Don’t fret, this means that you can already logon and use Outlook.com.

A few things makes Outlook.com better than GMail.com.

  1. The interface if so much more cleaner, almost like my outlook email client. GMail interface can be cluttered some of the times
  2. You can create rules to move emails to folders making your inbox cleaner. One of the most frustrating feature of GMail is the stupid tags. All mails are stuck in the inbox unless you specific select and move them to folders. This makes reading emails a pain sometimes on GMail. Outlook.com replicates what you can do in Outlook by actually enable you to create rules to move emails to folders
  3. If you are using Outlook, you can already sync with Outlook.com with the hotmail connector

Why is GMail still good at?

  1. The email client, especially on phones like Android is more mature and has is more intuitive for me. Currently, the outlook cleint on Android look like it belongs to the 50s. Of course its usable, but just not as easy to use as GMail client
  2. If you are already using Android, then chances are all you contacts and calendars are already sync with google contacts and calendars, integration with your phone is easy and seemless. All of my contacts are already on google at the moment.

Anyway, my strategy is to use both. I still use gmail.com as my main email and set it to forward to my new outlook.com. I read my emails on outlook.com because it cleaner and I have a more structure email with folders instead of a flat ugly inbox in gmail.com, but I will use gmail to reply and write email since all my contacts are there. I am sure GMail will update itself in the future to be like Outlook.com if more users are taking up that site, this is good for customer experience at the end of the day.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in General

 

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How safe is Windows 8 picture password?

Windows 8 introduces picture password to unlock your screen. Basically, can choose any picture for your locked screen and your draw symbols like circles and lines across to unlock your device.

I can understand why Microsoft added this feature. In the world of touch screen tablets, its much more easier to draw symbols to unlock your device then to tap onto a cumbersome keyboard or keypad to unlock your device.

One of the problems I can see is that such means of unlocking your device means its too easy for someone to peek over your shoulder when you are unlocking and remember how you did it. This is not a criticism of Windows 8 per se but rather the mechanism of password unlocking. Humans, in general, remember symbols and patterns much more easier than a series of finger taps. This is how we recognize words, even though they are partially missing or understand that a line drawing of a cat is represents a cat.

A good example is the iphone pattern unlocking. I could remember my friend’s unlock pattern with one look, but can never remember which number is pressed if its using a keypad. Of course, this may differ from persons to person. Some people may be good at remember keystrokes, but I can safely say its not the generic population.

Patterns are natural for humans and for me I would avoid picture password all together. Microsoft could do well to warn it users the potential of people remembering their picture password, even from afar, as a caveat.

What I would have prefer for safe touch screen unlocking mechanism is either face or voice PLUS thumb print recognition. 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in General, Windows

 

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Read Thai on WebOS

This is one of the issue that frustrates me with webOS, it doesn’t have Thai fonts installed; you get squares in place of the fonts.

Luckily some nice person on PreCentral found the solution and am reposting it here for easier web search.

http://forums.precentral.net/webos-discussion/189477-modifying-replacing-fonts-3.html#post3094128

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in General

 

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Samsung Galaxy tab could not detect my wifi SSID on my d-link router

Okay, that is not really correct. I recently gotten a Samsung Galaxy tab and the first thing I did was to connect to my home wifi. It connected fine initially. However, over time, I found the tablet could not detect my wifi occassionally whenever I came home. This is despite all my other devices like printer and home desktop connected fine to my wifi and even when I place the tablet right next to the d-link router!

This went on occassionally, but yesterday, it just could not detect my SSID no matter what I did. When I looked into the wifi settings of the tablet, I could see it scanning for networks but just could not find my wifi SSID. I had tried restart and resetting the configuration of my wifi but to no available; my home computer continues to detect and connect to the wifi, but not the tablet.

After reading some stuff online, I decided to turn off auto channel scan feature of my d-link router and manually set the channel number, i.e. to channel 1. Lo and behold, the SSID came up immediately on my tablet! I am not exactly sure what happened, but I can only guess that it goes like this:

  • Everytime I turn on my router, it would select the most suitable channel to use
  • For some reasons, my tablet will not work properly on some channels (for example, I had tried to set it to channel 2 and the connection was unstable)
  • So if the channel chosen by my wifi for that day was one that my tablet didn’t like, then it would not detect my SSID.

Note to self:

Did some tests by setting the router channels to 12 (2.467 Ghz) and 13 (2.472 Ghz) and the tablet could note detect the wifi. So I am correct that when set to auto channel scan in my wifi router, there are some channels which will not work with the Samsung Galaxy tab.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in General