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Windows 8.1 to be released officially on October 17

August 18, 2013 1 comment

You will have to wait another two months before you can install the final Windows 8.1 update on existing Windows 8 machines or buy computer systems that ship with it pre-installed. Many users expected Microsoft to release the update in August, but that was never more than a rumor.
Windows 8.1 will hit the market about a year after the official release of the Windows 8 operating system, and it will be free for existing users.

The update will be available for all Windows 8 users through the Windows Store on October 17th, and as a retail version starting October 18th. While not explicitly mentioned, it is likely that the update will also be made available as a standalone download.

Interested users can still download and install the Windows 8.1 Preview which provides them with some but not all of the new features that Microsoft has integrated in the update.

Some of the features that are already available are Internet Explorer 11, a revamped search behavior, a redesigned Windows Store, integrated cloud connectivity with SkyDrive or more personalization options.

Features that were not included in the preview are a new bunch of tutorials that help you understand how to operate Windows 8.1 new cues that help users find and use features in the operating system, or the new “motion accents” personalization feature that animates the background when you scroll on the start screen interface of the operating system.

windows 8.1 help

New features added after the Windows 8.1 Preview

  • Windows-X menu now with sign-out option.
  • New “motion accents” feature on start screen.
  • New tutorials, including screenshots, short textual explanations, animations or links to Internet contents.
  • Apps list extended.
  • Several core apps have received updates.
  • Tooltips in the lower right corner for additional options are displayed in many core Microsoft apps which shows more commands (similar to right-clicking on pages or using Windows-Z)
  • Assigned Access is back. Select a (user) account to have access to only one Windows Store app.
  • SkyDrive fully integrated in the system. You can now change the location of the SkyDrive folder on your hard drive.

The most likely scenario right now is that Microsoft will finish up testing of the operating system in August, get the RTM release of Windows 8.1 out soon thereafter and distribute it to OEMs and partners so that they can start integrating it into their products.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft may not make the RTM version available on MSDN or Technet soon after it is hitting RTM status. That’s however just a rumor at this time and not something that got confirmed by Microsoft yet.

If you want to get your hands on the update at the earliest possible – legal – moment, you may need to download and install it by visiting Windows Store.

Here is a video that highlights many of the changes of the latest Windows 8.1 build.

It is clear that Microsoft is addressing several of the issues that users of Windows 8 had with the operating system. Windows 8.1 attempts to provide users with additional visual cues and tutorials to understand features of the system.

Dropbox Torrent uses Dropbox to load torrents on local PCs

March 15, 2013 2 comments

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/03/14/dropbox-torrent-uses-dropbox-to-load-torrents-on-local-pcs/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e820%2evh0ao03kwj%2euev

By on March 14, 2013

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If you work on multiple computer systems, some local some remote, you may have encountered situations where you’d want one of your remote machines to handle a task. Maybe you discovered a torrent that you want to download, but since you are not at the right location to do so, you may have come up with a workaround. Maybe you have attached the torrents to emails for safekeeping or loaded them into online storage.

Services like Iffft may have improved the handling for you, by automating the task so that you do not have to load that torrent manually on a system once you got access to it locally. And some clients, like uTorrent, can monitor locations on a computer systems for new torrents that you add to it.

The basic idea behind Dropbox Torrent is very similar. It is a program that monitors your Dropbox folder for new torrents, and when it finds any, it will start to add those torrents to its internal client and start the downloading right away.

Here is how it works in detail:

  1. You install Dropbox Torrent on a local Windows system and run it from C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\PhrozenSoft\PDBOXTORRENT afterwards.
  2. A click on Settings displays the Dropbox path, device name, the number of tasks that you want the program to run at the same time, and the logs count you want displayed. Make sure the Dropbox path is set correctly here. There does not seem to be an option to change it though.
  3. All you need to do now is save torrent files you want to download on the computer Dropbox Torrent is running on into the main Dropbox directory.

dropbox torrent

You do not really have control over the downloading itself. You can’t for instance specify upload or download limits, remove broken or non-working downloads from the finalized work table, or change other torrent related settings such as ports.

You can configure the uTorrent client for pretty much the same task. The main benefit here is that you get better controls over the process.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Open uTorrent and click on Options > Preferences or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-P.
  2. Switch to Directories on the left and locate the “automatically load .torrents from” section here.
  3. Select a Dropbox folder, or any other file hosting folder, e.g. SkyDrive or Google Drive, here.
  4. Torrents that you move into that folder will be loaded into uTorrent automatically, provided that the system uTorrent is running on is up and connected to the Internet.

utorrent load remote torrents dropbox

I do prefer uTorrent for this right now as it is offering better controls over the whole process.

Windows 9 to be released November 2014?

March 2, 2013 2 comments

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/02/28/windows-9-to-be-released-november-2014/?_m=3n%2e003a%2e116%2evh0ao03kwj%2e487

By on February 28, 2013 – TAGS: None

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We do not know a lot about the operating system that is coming after Windows 8. It has been rumored for a while that Microsoft wants to reduce the time span between operating system releases considerable, and one of the technologies that got mentioned in this regard over and over again is Windows Blue.

As it stands now, Windows Blue does not seem to be Windows 9, and while none of this has been confirmed officially, it appears as if we are going to see a release of Windows Blue this year. It is interesting to note that Microsoft is keeping the tight-lipped approach about future products after the departure of Steve Sinofsky.

If rumors turn out to be true, Windows Blue will be a free update for Windows 8 users coming this August. Information about Windows Blue were posted on a Chinese forum. The main points posted there are:

  • No major UI changes, which means no start menu, no changes to start screen / desktop interface.
  • Lower power consumption.
  • Better performance, downsized Kernel.
  • Scaling improved for Metro apps
  • Multi-screen applications.

If you take this into account, it looks more like a service pack then a new version of Windows. Instead of releasing service packs, Microsoft seems to move towards a system that is similar to Apple’s release schedule.

Today news about Windows 9 were posted on Soft-forum that suggest the following timeline for the operating system:

  • 7 January 2014 Windows 9 Beta
  • July 2014 Windows 9 Release Candidate
  • October 2014 Windows 9 RTM
  • November 2014: Windows 9 Release

windows 9 release date

It needs to be noted that this has not been confirmed and should be taken with a grain of salt until it is. If true, it would confirm the faster deployment of operating systems as Windows 9 would be released only 2 years and 1 month after Windows 8.

What strikes me as odd is that there is only one month between the Windows 9 RTM and the public availability of the operating system.

With Windows Blue being released in 2013, it could very well mean that we will see a new version of Windows being released each year from now one.

Based on all the rumors currently in circulation, it seems as if Windows Blue will be more like a service pack type of update for Windows 8, while Windows 9 may introduce major changes to the system instead.

5 TIPS FOR SEARCHING ON INTERNET

November 23, 2012 5 comments

Extracted & Modified by S. Reza Merchant

Online Marketing Consultant & Trainer

sreza_econsultant@hotmail.com

Over 60 million American adults use search engines on a typical day. With over a trillion Web pages to search, just how effective are those millions of Internet users in finding information? According to IDC, a top provider of Internet research, at least 50% of the time, searchers are unable to find what they seek. Fortunately, by using the following top 10 search tips, you can greatly increase your chances of quickly and easily locating what you want on the Internet.

TIP 1: Choose the Right Search Tool or Technique If you looking for Web pages containing specific words or phrases, search engines, such as Google, provide a fast and efficient means of locating those pages. For a broader view of the information on the Internet, or when you are unfamiliar with a topic, you can use subject directories, such as the World Wide Web Virtual Library, to acquaint yourself with the field and select the most appropriate information resources. Sometimes your best approach is to intuitively guess at the name of the site that might hold the information you seek. Unfortunately, search engines, subject directories, and informed guesses cannot find the vast majority of Web pages on the Internet because they are stored in databases, inaccessible by conventional search tools and techniques. Instead, you must use specialty search resources to locate this hidden content. For an informative overview of search engines, subject directories, intuitive search, and specialty search resources, take a moment to view the entertaining video Searching the Internet – A Primer by Internet pioneer Marcus Zillman or his more in depth whitepaper on the subject at http://www.SearchingTheInternet.info/

TIP 2: Use Boolean Operators The biggest mistake a search engine user makes is to enter a single nondescript keyword. If you type “car” into Google and click the Google Search button, you will receive over 900 million search results! To narrow your search, start by adding more keywords. Adding the keywords battery dead after car will return less than a million search hits. To hone your search further, you will need to construct a complex query. A complex query uses Boolean operators to define the relationships among your keywords. Common Boolean operators include AND, OR, and NOT. The AND operator restricts your search results by telling the search engine to return only Web pages that contain all the specified keywords (e.g., car AND battery AND dead). It is unnecessary to use this Boolean operator in Google because, by default, it assumes any keywords or phrases you enter are connected by the AND operator. The OR operator let’s you expand your search by locating all the pages that contain a least one of the specified keywords (e.g., car OR automobile OR vehicle). The NOT operator, symbolized by the (-) minus sign in Google, causes the search engine to exclude pages that contain certain keywords (e.g., -buy). You can combine these operators to create a complex query that will locate the exact information you desire. For example, if you are looking for details about a dead car battery and you don’t want to be bothered with sales pitches, you could enter this complex query: car battery dead (-buy OR -purchase OR -sale). Google will return pages about dead car batteries, but exclude those with the words “buy, purchase, or sale,” thus, reducing the chances you will be pestered by sites attempting to sell you a new battery. To learn more about how to improve your searches with Boolean operators, check out Boolean Searching on the Internet and Google search basics.

TIP 3: Use Advanced Search Operators The major search engines, such as Google, offer advanced search operators that let you really zero in what you are looking for on the Internet. For example, in Google you can use the site: operator to search a particular Web site for information. Type health care crisis site: www.newsweek.com into Google and it will return a list of articles in Newsweek.com that mention the health care crisis. Let’s assume that you have found an expert on the health care crisis in one of the articles you read at Newsweek.com and now want to read more about subject by the same author. Simply type health care crisis author:Dr. Marc Nuwer into Google and you will receive more than 1,300 search results to choose from. Google offers many other powerful advanced search operators, such as location: to restrict a search to a particular country (e.g., health care crisis location:UK), info: to discover details about a site (e.g., info: www.newsweek.com), or link: to see who is linking to a site (e.g., link: www.newsweek.com). To learn more about these advanced search operators, visit Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators, Yahoo! Meta Search Words, and Bing: Advanced Search Keywords.

TIP 4: Google is Not the Only Game in Town Although Google is by far and away the most popular search engine, no single search engine, not even Google, can cover even a fraction of the entire Internet. To perform a more comprehensive search of the Internet and, hence, increase your odds of finding additional useful information about a topic, be sure to use these other general purpose search engines: AllTheWeb, AltaVista, AOL Search, Ask, Bing, Hotbot, SurfWax, and Yahoo!

TIP 5: Use Metasearch Engines Since each search engine covers different portions of the Internet at different times, to perform a thorough search of the Internet, you should query as many search engines as possible. However, going to each search engine and repeatedly entering the same search query is both time consuming and tedious. Metasearch engines let you enter your query just once and then query multiple search engines simultaneously, returning a compilation of search results from all the search engines queried. The best metasearch engines eliminate duplicate results and even rank the results based on relevancy to your query. The potential time saved by using a metasearch engine is offset by the limitation that often the most popular search engines are not queried by a metasearch engine because of legal and fee issues. Thus, the most thorough search strategy is to employ metasearch engines in combination with the individual search engines (i.e., Google and Bing).

Resize windows to use the available free screen space

November 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Reference Link: http://www.ghacks.net/2012/11/20/resize-windows-to-use-the-available-free-screen-space/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e709%2evh0ao03kwj%2eq95

If there is one feature of Windows 7 that I make use of a lot it is the option to quickly snap windows to the left and right side of the screen so that both take up 50% of the screen estate. Sometimes things are not as simple, for instance if you want to display three or even more windows on the screen at the same time. While you can do all the resizing and positioning manually, you can also use a program like WinMaximumize to aid you in the task.

The program has not been designed to mimic Windows’ own show windows side by side feature which you can make use of with a right-click on the taskbar. Instead, it has been designed to maximize the screen estate of the selected window without interfering with other windows that are open. To be precise: it will maximize the active window using free screen estate only.

If space is available to expand the window horizontally or vertically, then this is what is going to happen when you use the shortcut the program makes available. The default shortcut is Ctrl-F1 which you can modify in the program settings. This may be necessary if a program of yours that you want to resize using the program has mapped that shortcut as well.

You will notice that the resizing shortcut sometimes does not work. The program is configured to block the resizing if windows overlap, but that can be easily disabled in the options so that you can always resize the windows even if they overlap.

The author has implemented a reverse shortcut into the application. When you hold down Shift in addition to the selected shortcut you will notice that the previous window position is restored.

The program may offer an interesting option for Windows users who often work with several open windows on the desktop at the same time that need to be resized frequently to use all the available screen estate. It is a lightweight program, but requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 on the system. You can configure the program to start with Windows.

How to recover data from a damaged docx, xlsx or pptx document

November 12, 2012 13 comments

REFERENCE LINK: http://www.ghacks.net/2012/11/11/how-to-recover-data-from-a-damaged-docx-xlsx-or-pptx-document/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e699%2evh0ao03kwj%2epv8

Interrupted transfers, system crashes while editing documents or malware may corrupt Office documents on your system. When Office fails to open a document that it opened previously or supports, you know that something is not right. While you could try a program like File Repair to recover data from corrupt documents, you can alternatively try to fix the issue by yourself, provided that the damaged documents are stored in docx, pptx or xlsx format on your hard drive.

The following method won’t bring back the document in its original form. What you may be able to do however is to extract contents like text or media from the document.

Docx, xlsx and pptx files are archives that contain a number of files when extracted. We use this to our advantage to extract the contents of a damaged document to the system to see if the data we need to access is recoverable.

The easiest way to do that is when you have 7-Zip or a comparable archiving software installed on your system. If you do, all that needs to be done is to right-click the document and select 7-Zip > Extract to from the Windows Explorer context menu.

If you have another application installed or use the default Windows tool to extract archives you may need to rename the file extension of the document to .zip before you can extract the contents.

recover data damaged docx xlsx pptx documents

If the extraction is successful, you end up with a number of files and folders that you can browse. The important folders and files are:

  • word > document.xml which contains the text of the Word docx document
  • word > media which lists the media embedded in the Word document
  • xl > worksheets > sheet[X].xml which contains the spreadsheet data of sheet X
  • ppt > media which lists the media embedded in the PowerPoint presentation
  • ppt > slides which contains the data of each slide

You may want to explore the folder structure for additional data that you want to recover. Trying to extract the contents of a corrupt Office document is definitely worth a try before you use third party software to recover the data. Note that the manual option described in this tutorial works under all operating systems, not only Windows.

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