Microsoft Windows 8 Released, Have You Tried It?

Much awaited and anticipated version of Microsoft Windows OS i.e., Windows 8 is officially released at New York City and ready for download at Microsoft official website. May be, many of you are already using a Windows 8 Consumer Version but now the time has come to upgrade it by paying just few bucks. Microsoft is offering upgrades for your home PC, notebook or laptop at just $40. You can upgrade to Windows 8 if you are currently running Windows 7, Vista or XP and your machine's hardware configuration matches the Windows 8 system requirements. However, a user having no Windows PC can also try it on or after 26th October either by downloading ISO image from the Microsoft website or buying from a local store.

                            Microsoft Windows 8 Promo

Windows 8 is available in two versions: Windows 8, TER  to be used on PC, notebook or laptop and Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM devices) comes pre-installed with Windows tablet and Windows 8 enabled smart phones. Windows RT has certain limitations as compared to Windows 8 TER version. To be blunt, you can't use Windows RT unless you buy the new tablet enabled with Windows 8 and supported hardware. Microsoft has already launched Surface Tablet starting at $499 and can be pre-ordered from here:

Its free to download and install third party as well as legacy Apps from Windows Apps store. Though, if you are using Windows RT, you won't be allowed to use third party Apps.

Windows 8 offers an easy to install procedure and removes the headache of installing OS as before. Just keep your Windows 8 DVD as well as license key ready and allow the computer to manually reboot and automatically install Window 8 for you. Microsoft has a separate guide to help you in successfully upgrading your PC from Windows 7, Vista or XP to Windows 8.

Easy Upgrade: You can carry all your settings, folders of Windows 7 to Windows 8 except their programs and 'Start' menu/button. But in Windows XP, this feature is restricted to carry only stuff from desired storage location.

What Microsoft has specially focused is to build an exceptionally better and high performance PC. This is true to some extent as because of metro start screen (Replacement of Start menu as looks in old Windows), all Apps are available on home screen, control panel settings in just single click etc. 

Windows 8 Charms Bar
                         Img Credit: Cnet                 

In an above highlighted image, charms bar is located at the right side containing a set of tools to monitor and control various hardware as well as program settings in a single click. Tasks such as, finding and sharing the desired files of your loved ones, installing or un-installing Apps, accessing start screen, accessing internal or external devices can be easily performed by this Charms bar.

I think we can not expect much more from Microsoft Windows 8, it gives you no reason to complain. In dark side, Windows users may feel annoying while using Windows 8 for the first time might as there no replacement to the removed start button. One thing is for sure, Windows 8 has remarkably fast and free from bugs as compared to its predecessor. So, there is pretty enough chances of high success rate of this latest release in OS  market.  Let's wait for the time when we  all will have something better and more improved version of new generation OS.
To explore more features about Windows 8, read a great blog post entitled 'Are You Ready For Windows 8'

Windows God Mode and Similar Hidden Tweaks

If you are using any of the latest versions of Windows such as windows 8, Windows 7 or Vista, you can have access to all the control panel settings in just a single folder, using Windows amazing features called God Mode, first coined by bloggers. Its original name is ‘Master control panel shortcut but users would prefer to call it God Mode as it provides all the basic as well as advanced OS settings without navigating to control panel for each setting individually. It's an invisible developer shortcut and can be created or used from any location you want.
Windows God Mode supports best to Windows 7 & Vista in 32 bit mode but often crashes with same OS of 64 bit. IT administrators and professional users can freely use it to troubleshoot system errors from fixing registries to change hard drive volume settings.

Here's how to create God Mode Folder:
All you have to do is to create a single folder and rename it with certain parameters to use all God Mode features in a single click.
  1. Create a new folder at any desired location.
  2. Directly press F2 to rename that particular folder and enter the text string showed in the below image (Without braces):
  3. Folder icon will be automatically changed to control panel icon. Now explore the folder to find list of tweaks and options to customize your computer. 
Note: You can choose any folder name by replacing the text 'God Mode' with your desired name, dictated in the image above.

Microsoft's professional wouldn't recommend it to use as it may cause serious damages and hardware failure on your computer especially if you use God Mode with incompatible OS.
There are other tweaks (text string) like God Mode which can be used to access more control panel settings. Similar to God Mode, you have to create a new folder and then enter any of the strings provided below (Without braces and names)

Action Center {BB64F8A7-BEE7-4E1A-AB8D-7D8273F7FDB6}
Backup and Restore {B98A2BEA-7D42-4558-8BD1-832F41BAC6FD}
Biometric Devices {0142e4d0-fb7a-11dc-ba4a-000ffe7ab428}
Credential Manager {1206F5F1-0569-412C-8FEC-3204630DFB70}
Default Location {00C6D95F-329C-409a-81D7-C46C66EA7F33}
Devices and Printers {A8A91A66-3A7D-4424-8D24-04E180695C7A}
Display {C555438B-3C23-4769-A71F-B6D3D9B6053A}
HomeGroup {67CA7650-96E6-4FDD-BB43-A8E774F73A57}
Location and Other Sensors {E9950154-C418-419e-A90A-20C5287AE24B}
Notification Area Icons {05d7b0f4-2121-4eff-bf6b-ed3f69b894d9}
Recovery {9FE63AFD-59CF-4419-9775-ABCC3849F861}
RemoteApp and Desktop Connections {241D7C96-F8BF-4F85-B01F-E2B043341A4B}
Speech Recognition {58E3C745-D971-4081-9034-86E34B30836A}
Troubleshooting {C58C4893-3BE0-4B45-ABB5-A63E4B8C8651}

The above strings were revealed by Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's Windows division president after being asked by a Cnet professional

Note: Again, use any string at your own risk because unsupported OS might cause accidental crash.

You can follow Oliver on twitter @powellstellar

How to Repair your Computer from Ukash Virus

Unlike Trojan or adware,Windows Ukash virus may have severe impact over your PC such as complete locking or freezing, system inaccessibility and more. More than millions of PC attacks have been recorded only in US after which user had either lost their valuable data or looted by scammers. Ukash falls under ransom ware category and infected PC with various versions such as 'Metropolitan Police Ukash Virus', 'FBI Money pack Virus' or similar.

Whenever any machine gets attacked by Ukash, user will see nasty warning messages and found their computer completely locked. Warnings messages states that you have violated legal laws or may be the victim of piracy Act or similar and asks to pay hundred or even thousands of dolor’s as a penalty for being involved in any malicious activities or so. Believing it and paying your money yield no results and your computer will remain locked until you find and fix it using a proper solution.

Microsoft Windows Ukash Virus
The virus named Ukash because it uses the private Ukash payment gateway option to pay the mentioned amount in warning messages. You don't worry about it as here are some simple steps to easily identify such attacks and a handy process to manually remove it.

How one can get infected by Ukash Virus
There are various holes and security vulnerabilities that scammers used to seek and attack. Ukash virus can easily infect PC if user surfs malware websites, download, & install hacked applications etc. This virus can trick many people as it’s customized to translate in various other languages and then asks people to pay for the money. It's obvious that user get scared by seeing those horrible error messages with local police department and trademark at top of the warning messages.

You can see example in pictures below taken from ‘METROPOLITAN UKASH Virus’ infected PC, to get an idea about how it actually looks:

Ukash Virus PC infection
For better analysis, below are some common points that you can notice in case of Ukash virus infection:
  1. Freezing, Computer speed slows down automatically.
  2. Series of popup warnings containing set of threatening message.
  3. Permanently inaccessibility to files & folders stored in the drive as warning pop ups has fully locked your computer.
  4. Startup failure, unexpected computer errors etc.
Steps for Manually Removing Ukash Virus

Follow the simple steps to manually remove it from infected PCs,
  1. Normally, restart your PC
  2. Press F8 during startup to go to 'Advanced Startup Options'
  3. Select option 'Safe Mode with Networking'
  4. Start 'Task Manger' and locate to ‘Processes’ tab to find out all unknown or unexpected processes running on your computer. Kill them immediately. Enter administrator password whenever required.
  5. Restart the system and see if you have successfully removed the virus.

If Ukash virus still exists on your PC, simply download SpyHunter from here. After installation, this will automatically traces all print of Ukash and will easily remove it.

Some unknown, but most useful utility for Macs OS X

There are plenty of useful utilities that work to maintain the well-being of a Mac system. They may not be available as a single utility and often comes with bunch of other useful tools. Such a combination of different utilities combined together is termed as a toolbox (like a car toolbox equipped with all the necessity tools including jack, screwdriver, rinch etc.). Taking Mac into consideration, the tools that are of much help are the ones which focus to maintain the smooth running of the in-built Mac hard drive.   
If you go through any Mac forums, Yahoo Questions & Answers, even on Apple's thread you may find Mac users asking pool of questions related to a troubled hard drive, sudden Mac shutdown, bad blocks, a slow responding Mac, partition related queries and much more. A general Mac user may find it difficult to solve any of the above mentioned queries due to lack of proper knowledge and sufficient tool. 

In this particular article, we shall focus our discussion at solving most basic and frequent occurring troubles:

Q1) How can I check my hard drive for bad blocks?

A1) Bad blocks can occur on a hard drive no matter if it’s a brand new or an old drive. But old hard drive are more sensitive to bad blocks because they have went through various read/writes operations, formatting, sluggishness and in some cases even power jolts. To check the hard drives for bad bocks, the surface of the drive must be checked through a utility commonly known as 'Surface Scan'. As the name suggest, Surface Scan tool with the help of its in-built algorithm launches the entire hard drive and scans each and every blocks (of sectors) to bring in front the bad blocks. 

Step: 1) Select the source drive for surface scan:

Step: 2) The selected volume (hd) is ready for vigorous scan and upon hitting the “Start Scan” button, the operation is launched. 

Once a bad block is encountered by the tool, it will be marked in red color block indicating a danger.

Q 2) How to protect my data when bad blocks on hd have reported?

A2) Bad blocks are the worse occurring error on a hard drive which can eventually damage the drive to repair or beyond repair. Extracting data from a bad drive is a challenge, but it can be done with the help of a cloning utility which can duplicate all the content of the drive residing in good sectors (blocks). 
To make a clone the bad hard drive you need an external drive (having a larger space then the source drive) and a clone utility. When all is set, use the cloning software's 'Clone Drive' option which copies the entire content of the drive to the destination. When the process completes, the user now has the content copied from the good sector of the source drive, skipping any bad block. Other than cloning, imaging process can also be performed which performs the similar activity of copying data from good sectors only. However, it is advised not to save the image on the same drive because if any malfunction occurs on the drive, image file will also be affected.  

For more information on Mac OS X hard drive surface scan, drop me mail at