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Resetting your network adapter in Windows 8

Is your network connection running slow? Or maybe your Internet browser isn't allowing you to go to specific websites? Installing/uninstalling applications or viruses/malware/spyware can add unwanted entries into the network protocol. If so, it may be time to reset your network adapter inside of Windows 8.

Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8
Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8

Windows 8 has a built-in administrator tool, Network Shell (Netsh), that allows you to configure and monitor network adapters on your Windows 8 computer. Netsh can completely reset your network adapter back to its default state. It can also reset the Windows Firewall in Windows 8. All you need is a Command Prompt with administrator privileges.

How to open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges in Windows 8

To use Netsh, you will need to open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges. There are a few ways to do this:

    Using a mouse
  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right-click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Right-click the 'Command Prompt' tile to bring up the app commands.
  5. Select 'Run as administrator'. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Using a keyboard
  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Z to open the app commands.
  3. Press Enter to select 'All apps'.
  4. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the 'Command Prompt' tile.
  5. Press the Application key Application key to bring up the app commands.
  6. Use the arrow keys to navigate to 'Run as administrator' and press Enter. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Using touch
  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the Start menu to bring up the app commands.
  3. Select 'All apps'.
  4. Scroll to the 'Command Prompt' tile and press and hold it to bring up the app commands.
  5. Select 'Run as administrator'. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Netsh commands for resetting your network adapter in Windows 8

The following is a list of the Netsh commands you can use at a Command Prompt with administrator privileges to reset your network adapter in Windows 8.

netsh advfirewall reset Restores the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security policy to the default policy. The current active policy can be optionally exported to a specified file. This command returns all settings to not configured and deletes all connection security and firewall rules in a Group Policy object.

netsh branchcache reset Resets the BranchCache service. Flushes the local cache. Every configuration parameter of BranchCache will be reset to its default value.

netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt Resets TCP/IP and related components to a clean state.

netsh int ipv6 reset Resets IPv6 configuration state.

netsh winsock resetResets Winsock Catalog to a clean state. All Winsock Layered Service Providers which were previously installed must be reinstalled. This command does not affect Winsock Name Space Provider entries.

Sync data between your PC and smartphone with CompanionLink

Like a lot of people, I use Microsoft Outlook as a PIM (Personal Information Manager). And being in the computer repair industry, I need to keep all of my data (contacts, calendar, etc.) synchronized and up to date on both my PC and smartphone. I found I can do all of this quite easily with CompanionLink.

CompanionLink 5 for Outlook setup screen
CompanionLink 5 for Outlook setup screen

I wrote an article a while back about syncing Outlook with my Android phone using CompanionLink on my PC and DejaOffice on my Android. It works because you install CompanionLink on your PC or Mac and install DejaOffice on your Android, iPhone / iPad, Blackberry, etc. You then define what database (Outlook, ATC!, etc.) and what fields (contacts, calendar, etc.) you want to sync.

DejaOffice 2.2 main screen
DejaOffice 2.2 main screen

Recently they released a new version of both CompanionLink (V5) and DejaOffice (V2.2) with more capabilities and features. They have multiple versions for different applications (I use CompanionLink for Outlook). Here's a quote from their website on the products they offer:

Our products work with Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, HP webOS, Palm OS, and Windows devices. We also sync with Google, Gmail, Google Apps, and Windows Live (Hotmail) accounts

CompanionLink for Outlook
Sync Microsoft Outlook with Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink for Palm Desktop
Sync Palm Desktop or Pimlical with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and memos.

CompanionLink Express
Sync ACT!, Lotus Notes, HighRise, or GroupWise with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink Professional
Sync Salesforce CRM, Goldmine, or any other supported database with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Includes all the features of CompanionLink Express, plus the ability to sync to from multiple databases, sync with up to 5 devices, and advanced sync options.

CompanionLink for Google
Sync Microsoft Outlook contacts and calendar to Google Contacts, Google Calendar, and Google Tasks. Works with any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Two-way sync is fully supported so you can make changes to data in Outlook or in Google.

CompanionLink for Outlook.com / Windows Live
Sync Outlook with your Windows Live Hotmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, and tasks.

CompanionLink for Time & Chaos
Sync Time & Chaos with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink FA
Sync Wise Agent, Infusionsoft, SalesJunction, or Respond with smartphones, tablets, Outlook, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink for Mac
Sync Mac's Address Book and iCal with any Android device. You can also keep Outlook for Mac in sync with Android. Requires OS X Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8).

For more information on CompanionLink and DejaOffice, follow the links below:

CompanionLink

CompanionLink FAQ's

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

In 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 with a new feature called the Start menu. To make it easy to use, they added a key to the standard keyboard and called it the Windows logo key. Microsoft even added a hand full of keyboard shortcuts to go along with it. The Windows logo key is now standard on Windows based computers, and Windows 8 takes full advantage of it.

The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard
The Windows logo key from a Microsoft keyboard

There are now over forty different Windows logo key shortcuts inside of Windows 8 (all of them are listed below). For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links at the bottom of this article.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 8

Press To
Windows logo key Start screen
Windows logo key + C Open charms
Windows logo key + D Show desktop
Windows logo key + E Open Windows Explorer
Windows logo key + F Go to Files in Search charm (+Ctrl to find computers on a network)
Windows logo key + G Cycle through desktop gadgets
Windows logo key + H Share charm
Windows logo key + I Settings charm
Windows logo key + J Switch focus between snapped and larger
Windows logo key + K Devices charm
Windows logo key + L Switch users (Lock computer if on a domain)
Windows logo key + M Minimize all windows (desktop)
Windows logo key + O Lock screen orientation
Windows logo key + P Projection options
Windows logo key + Q Search charm
Windows logo key + R Run...
Windows logo key + T Set focus on taskbar and cycle through running desktop apps
Windows logo key + U Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key + V Cycle through notifications (+Shift to go backward)
Windows logo key + W Go to Settings in Search charm
Windows logo key + X Quick link power user commands (Opens Windows Mobility Center if present)
Windows logo key + Z Open app bar
Windows logo key + 1-9 Go to the app at the given position on the taskbar
Windows logo key + + (plus) Zoom in (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + - (minus) Zoom out (Magnifier)
Windows logo key + , (comma) Peek at the desktop
Windows logo key + . (period) Snap a metro app to the right (+Shift to snap to the left)
Windows logo key + Enter Narrator (+Alt to open Windows Media Center if installed)
Windows logo key + Spacebar Switch input language and keyboard layout
Windows logo key + Tab Cycle through metro app history (use Ctrl to use arrow keys)
Windows logo key + Esc Exit Magnifier
Windows logo key + Home Minimize non-active desktop windows
Windows logo key + Page Up Move Start screen to left monitor
Windows logo key + Page Down Move Start screen to right monitor
Windows logo key + Break System Properties
Windows logo key + Left Arrow Snap desktop window to the left (+Shift to move window to left monitor)
Windows logo key + Right Arrow Snap desktop window to the right (+Shift to move window to right monitor)
Windows logo key + Up Arrow Maximize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + Down Arrow Restore/minimize desktop window (+Shift to keep width)
Windows logo key + F1 Windows Help and Support

For more keyboard shortcuts for Windows, see the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows explorer keyboard shortcuts

Mix static and dynamic video elements with Microsoft Research Cliplets

As many of you know, when I'm not working on computers, I like to work with photos and videos. And some of the coolest software I've found for doing panoramic images has come from Microsoft Research. I have written about Microsoft Research before, Microsoft Image Composite Editor, and HD View, and they have recently released a new project for video called Cliplets.

View of main screen inside of Microsoft Research Cliplets
View of the main screen inside of Microsoft Research Cliplets.

With Cliplets, you can combine static and dynamic elements from a single video to create some pretty cool effects. It works by isolating different elements on individual layers. Each layer has it's own action (still, loop, mirror, or play) and timeline. Just open a compatible video, and Cliplets will ask what segment you would like to use. The maximum amount of time that Cliplets can work with is only ten (10) seconds.

This video is a sample of what Microsoft Research Cliplets can do. The palm tree on the left has been frozen, while the palm tree on the right sways is the wind. Also, look for the bird is flying through.

When you are all done editing, you can export your final Cliplet in three different formats, animated GIF (*.GIF), MPEG-4 video (*.MP4), or Windows Media Video (*.WMA). Cliplets works with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. Here's a quote from their site:

Cliplets: Juxtaposing Still and Dynamic Imagery

What Are Cliplets?

Microsoft Research Cliplets is an interactive app that gives users the power to create "Cliplets" -- a type of imagery that sits between stills and video, including imagery such as video textures and "cinemagraphs". The app provides a simple, yet expressive way to mix static and dynamic elements from a video clip.

About Cliplets

Cliplets is a research project from Microsoft Research. This project explores a form of visual media that juxtaposes still image and video segments, both spatially and temporally, to expressively abstract a moment. The tension between static and dynamic elements in a cliplet reinforces both aspects, strongly focusing the viewer's attention or conveying a narrative. We develop a set of idioms, essentially spatiotemporal mappings, that characterize these cliplet elements, and use these idioms in an interactive system to quickly compose a cliplet from ordinary handheld video. A key challenge is to avoid seam artifacts by maintaining spatiotemporal continuity in the cliplet composition. We address this using several algorithms from computer graphics and vision.

For more information on Microsoft Research Cliplets, follow the links below:

Microsoft Research Cliplets

How to dual-boot with Windows 7 and Windows 8

I wanted to install Windows 8 on one of my production systems but didn't want to perform an upgrade to my existing version of Windows 7. I have had dual-boot systems in the past, so why not try it with Windows 7 and Windows 8. And to have some fun with it, I decided to use my Netbook.

Windows 7 / Windows 8 boot manager screen
Windows 7 / Windows 8 boot manager screen

I was surprised as to how easy it was. All that is required is an existing Windows 7 installation, Windows 8 installation media, and enough free space on your hard drive. I didn't even have to edit the boot loader; Windows 8 did it automatically. Here's how I did it.

Rename the existing Windows 7 partition/volume

Once your system is dual-booting, you will need to identify which partition has what operating system. Renaming the existing partition now will make things easier later (see image below).

  • Open My Computer and right-click on the C: drive and select Rename. Give it a name that indicates which operating system is installed on it, something like Win7 or Windows 7.

Create a system image of your existing hard drive

The next thing to do is create a system image, just in case you need to recover your system back to its original state.

  1. Click the Start button, then click on Control Panel. Inside the Control Panel, click on System and Security, then click on Backup and Restore
  2. or
  3. Click the Start button. In the search box, type Backup, and then, in the list of results, click on Backup and Restore

In the left pane, click Create a system image, and then follow the wizard's steps. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Shrink the existing Windows 7 volume

You will need some free space on your hard drive to install Windows 8. Windows 7 makes shrinking the existing partition easy. If you are logged in as an administrator, you can repartition your hard disk using the Shrink feature in Disk Management. You shrink the existing partition to create unallocated disk space, from which you make a new partition during the installation of Windows 8.

  • Click the Start button, then click on Computer, which will bring up Windows Explorer. Inside of Windows Explorer, right-click on Computer, then click on Manage
  • or
  • Click the Start button. In the search box, type Management, and then, in the list of results, click on Computer Management.
  • If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management.
  • Right-click the volume you want to shrink, and then click Shrink Volume. Follow the instructions.

install windows 8 on the free space

Insert the Windows 8 installation media (DVD or USB drive) and reboot your system. If your system does not automatically boot up on the Windows 8 media, you may have to modify the boot options in the system's BIOS.

Once the installation starts, you will be prompted to do an Upgrade or Custom installation. Select Custom, and then you will be asked which partition you would like to install Windows 8 on. Select the unnamed, unallocated disk space you just created and let the installation complete.

I have built quite a few dual-boot systems in the past and used a third party boot editor to finish the setup. Not this time. Windows 8 modified the existing boot loader.

The reversed drive letters on a Windows 7 / Windows 8 dual-boot system
The reversed drive letters on a Windows 7 / Windows 8 dual-boot system

Once the installation is complete, open up Windows Explorer using the instructions above. You will notice that the drive letters associated with the partitions have changed. The partition you renamed earlier is not the C: drive anymore under Windows 8. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8, when in operation, will make their active partition the C: drive. Rename the unnamed Windows 8 partition Win8 or Windows 8, and you're set.

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