Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Replace your motherboard without reinstalling Windows!

After about five motherboard replacements in my lifetime, I feel confident in my method of motherboard replacement without a clean Windows installation. I've switched between Intel and AMD each time.

Specifically: Intel → AMD → Intel → AMD and now INTEL again.

Cross platform motherboard switches are scariest for me, even thought I've done them multiple times. In order to ensure I don't BSOD or lose my boot, I do the following:

  1. Uninstall motherboard specific drivers or utilities from 'Programs and Features.'
  2. Uninstall motherboard specific drivers or utilities using Revo Uninstaller free version.
  3. Uninstall (not disable) motherboard specific drivers from 'Device Manager.' 
    • Like: audio inputs and outputs, network adapters, ports(COM&LPT)
    • universal things such as USB can stay, as well as non-motherboard specific drivers such as your display adapters.
Until you replace your motherboard you will lose all functioning of the uninstalled pieces of hardware (be warned!). As long as you catch everything, you should have no problems switching over to a new motherboard.

A few things that might happen:
  1. Windows might have to complete an Automatic Startup repair. This can take awhile, and (in Window 8's case) you will not see the repairs because the screen will be blank with only a Windows logo on it until it is finished. By the way, this is probably Microsofts stupidest attempt at simplifying the OS. I think we all like simple computing, but not at the cost of not knowing what is going on when it is critical.
  2. If Automatic Startup Repair does not help, insert your pre-made recovery disc (you made one, right?) and try to make repairs from there. It should work.
  3. If not, boot into Safe Mode. Press F8 during boot until a dialogue pops up asking you to choose your Windows boot type. Choose Safe Mode (obviously) and check and see what drivers may be conflicting, need to be deleted, or need to be installed.
  4. If all of this fails, you will have to do a clean install. This is why you should have a current backup handy to restore from later. Better yet, make an EasyTransfer file just before you make the switch to streamline the process of getting things back to normal. A backup insures redundancy, while EasyTransfer will make things simple.
In the end, some say that this is a gamble. I've never suffered major problems, but some computers may be more finicky than others.

Solved: Windows 8 won't boot after changing SATA controller to RAID

I've been spending a lot of time fooling around with RAID configurations lately. I happened across some old computers and decided to beat them up a little. After some testing, I decided to add a RAID1 to my existing setup. I always wanted my personal files and programs (kept separately from my OS) to have some redundancy in case of failure...

So like a first class newb, I booted into my BIOS without thinking and changed the SATA controller from AHCI to RAID. I rebooted and Windows came up with a startup repair dialogue. It couldn't repair, nor could it figure out why. Not only that, but my Windows-8-made recovery disc didn't work. I was facing a full reinstall via DVD when I decided to check the command prompt in the recovery environment.

The log file located at C:\windows\system32\logfiles\srt\SrtTrail.txt yielded no information. It showed all tests were passed, even thought Windows wasn't booting. So I got the idea to fix the MBR. Running bootrec, I chose bootrec /fixboot and then bootrec /fixmbr. That got me up and running again without rolling back or completely reinstalling.

If you aren't yet competent in RAID, heed this warning: Do not run a hardware RAID with an existing installation of Windows. It has been known to be done, but is hazardous. Instead, plan to do it upon clean installation or let Windows handle a RAID via software.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hilarious Microsoft Word Screwup

I was writing an essay the other day and, well, when you write philosophy you tend to make up words that sound real but might not be in a dictionary. For example, just add -ify or -ness or better yet, -edness to words. Like: thing→thingify→thingness. Or: constrict→constrictedness. I can't even do justice to some of the crazier words I've read. Anyways, Microsoft Word has a hard time with this kind of English and I managed to confuse it with my use of the word 'tenderest.' Word didn't like any of its own ideas, apparently.

Monday, February 11, 2013

7 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

Even though the cheap upgrade period for Windows 8 is past, there are still many good reasons to consider Windows 8. Being a Windows 8 user myself, I do not really understand the gripes I have heard from other users. I've heard many, but I just don't see them. I will agree that Modern/Metro UI is different, but using it for awhile has made it second nature to me. Also, Start8 by Stardock Software is worthwhile checking out if you are unsure of Modern UI.

My chief reason for upgrading was a blown Solid State Drive. It was a good excuse, and lets be honest here, that should be reason number one to upgrade.

Note: This list is not a ranking of best to worst reasons.

Centralized and Easy way to Install/Update Programs

Do you use lots of freeware (you should)? Do you have lots of computers? Are you a professional IT worker? If any of them are yes, then you need Ninite. Ninite is an installer that collects your favorite programs that you check off on a large list and every time you use it, it will batch install or update your programs. The website creates a small .exe that you can put on a USB stick which you just run and leave it unattended. Easy!

Go to:

Everytime I refresh my computer or work on a new one, I just run this app and reinstall all of my favorite programs. For IT pros, you can buy a version for network deployment and complete unattended installation.

Take it for a spin, use freeware, this is a miracle program!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Repair → Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Recently I acquired a Microsoft Wireless Arc Touch mouse for free from work. Unfortunately, it was broken and my friend had no idea why. I thought, why not take it home and see if I can get a free $60 mouse out of the deal? 

Well, I searched around online for some time and found out that the secret and nifty power switch in the Arc often broke (you turn on the mouse by bending the body from flat to curved so you can use it, very cool). I guess that design is not yet well thought out, but the mouse is a very cool idea. 

Check out the design and usage here:

Anyways, one guy from this thread said he fixed it by cutting the line to the power switch and tying the wires together. The Arc would be constantly on, but its battery life is beautiful and you can just take out the batteries when not in use!

Note: There is another fix mentioned by Joshua in the comments. It did not work for my mouse, but it worth checking. If you don't know how to take the mouse apart, follow my instructions for that at least. The rubber sheath will be held by 2-4 screws. Find them and pull back the rubber sheath to expose the underside.

He never said what to do exactly, so I made this how to:

Time Required: 10-30 minutes
Tools Required: jeweler screwdriver set, wire strippers, side cutters, needle nose pliers, drill, 1/16" drill bit