Tag Archives: Windows 8

Pin RDP Shortcut to Start Screen

You can not directly pin a RDP connection to the start screen for some reason in Windows 8, even the native Windows 8 Remote Desktop Metro application you can not pin  a connection directly to the start screen. To work around this issue you will need to follow these simple steps.

Manually create a shortcut on, e.g., the desktop (right-click the desktop, select “New > Shortcut”), and enter the following command:

%windir%\system32\mstsc.exe "C:\Path\To\My\RDF File.RDP"

You will be able to pin this shortcut to the start screen or the taskbar, and remote desktop will now directly launch the connection.

Ghostscript Setup Windows 8 64 bit

If you are supporting custom software or older line of business software that your organization needs to operate you might come across an issue with Ghostscript and windows 8 64 bit.

The issue is simply when you try to add the Ghostscript printer windows 8 will look like it is stuck in a loop, if you check the error logs you will find an error that look like this.

 Log Name: Application
Source: Windows Error Reporting
Event ID: 1001
Level: Information
Description:
Fault bucket -1485095716, type 5
Event Name: PnPDriverImportError
Response: Not available
Cab Id: 0

Problem signature:
P1: x64
P2: E000022F
P3: ghostpdf.inf
P4: 9fa1429c89509ac5eb7661ffa0fa86850304a1fd
To install the Ghostscript printer follow these steps:

  1. Open your charms (the right side popup menu) and select “Settings” and Click on the last option on the list called “Change PC Settings”
  2. In the “General” category click the “Restart now” button under “Advanced startup”
  3. Then the system restarts it will show you several options, you want to select “Troubleshoot” then “Advanced options” and finally “Startup Settings”
  4. The system will reboot one more time and you will have a new listing of options, you will want to select option #7 “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”
  5. After the system has finished restarting for the final time you will be able to add the Ghostscript printer to windows 8 64 bit.

The final item of note is that you must select “File: (print to file)” as the port for the printer as “LPT1” will not work.

You can download the latest version of Ghost script from this website http://www.ghostscript.com/.

Windows 8 and Browsers

I have looked at how to use a browser on windows 8 in a way that feels proper to me. I have found that Chrome works well in Metro mode, but it Metro apps do not support plugins at this time. The good news for Chrome is since it uses pepper flash so will have no problem with flash unlike Firefox.

My issue is that I have dual monitors, this means that I want two browsers open at one time. I have not yet found a way of having two Metro apps open at one time on different monitors. So you might ask why I do not just open my browser in desktop mode? Well when you have a browser set as the default browser in Windows 8 it likes to open in Metro mode when launched from the start menu. I could set a browser that I do not use as the default, but this means that every time I open a link from my email or in a different application it will not open in the browser I want to use.

How to workaround this behavior.

Pin Browser to Taskbar

Pin browser to taskbar to open in desktop mode

I have noticed that if you are already in desktop mode when you click on a link it will open in desktop mode not Metro mode. You will still have the problem of opening your browser in desktop mode to start with. What you can do is pin your default browser to the taskbar, and to launch the browser go to the desktop from the start menu and then use the browser pinned to the taskbar instead of the start menu.

Setup Windows To Go on a USB Drive

The idea of a windows to go setup for Windows 8 is very interesting and I have wanted to try this as soon as I hear about it. After doing some research and testing I have managed to get a working copy of Windows To Go to work on a 32GB USB drive.

Now I have seen that this is not the fastest thing in the world, but this is because of some simple reasons. The drive I am using is only USB 2.0 not USB 3.0 making it rather slow, as well as the drive is just not that great to start with. I still really like to use the device and it is a lot of fun to use when you’re at someones house and you want to browse or do work but you do not want to use their computer.

You will need the following.

How to setup the drive.

  • From a command prompt
  • Run: 
    diskpart
  • At the DISKPART> prompt find your USB drive by typing: 
    list disk
  • Select your USB drive by typing: 
    select disk 2

    (if your drive is listed as drive 2)

  • Prep the drive by typing: 
    clean
  • Now we create a partition: 
    create partition primary
  • The partition needs to be formatted and set as bootable: 
    format fs=ntfs quick
  • Set the drive letter for the partition: 
    assign letter=W
  • Set the partition as active: 
    active
  • Exit diskpart: 
    exit

You will now need to get a file off the Windows 8 DVD ISO and a copy of imagex.exe. To access the files in the ISO I recommend using winrar as it can open ISO files. The file you need is called install.wim and it is located in the sources folder in the ISO, copy this file to your local hard drive I recommend the C:\temp\ as it is simple to access from the command prompt.

Windows 8 ISO, install.wim location

Windows 8 ISO, install.wim location

You will also need to get a copy of imagex.exe. This is not a simple file to find, you can use Windows AIK but I do not like to download such a large file for a tiny program. I found this great tool called Waik Tools, this will download only the parts that you need. After you have imagex.exe copy it to the same location as your install.wim file.

We can now install Windows on to the drive, to do this run the following command. (change drive letters and paths to what you have set your self)

imagex.exe /apply c:\temp\install.wim 1 W:

After this has run you need to create to boot records on the drive, run the following command.

bcdboot.exe W:\windows /s W: /f ALL

The drive will work properly at this point but it still needs two more changes to make it shine. You will need to apply a SAN policy to take the internal drives offline preventing any changes to the internal drives. This is done by creating a file called san_policy.xml and placing it in the root of the drive with the following contents.

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8' standalone='yes'?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
 <settings pass="offlineServicing">
 <component
 xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State"
 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
 language="neutral"
 name="Microsoft-Windows-PartitionManager"
 processorArchitecture="x86"
 publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35"
 versionScope="nonSxS"
 >
 <SanPolicy>4</SanPolicy>
 </component>
 <component
 xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State"
 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
 language="neutral"
 name="Microsoft-Windows-PartitionManager"
 processorArchitecture="amd64"
 publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35"
 versionScope="nonSxS"
 >
 <SanPolicy>4</SanPolicy>
 </component>
 </settings>
</unattend>

After you have placed this file in the root of the drive run this command: (this command only works on Windows 8)

dism.exe /Image:W:\ /Apply-Unattend:W:\san_policy.xml

You will now want to create an answers file that will disable the Windows Recover Enviroment for the drive. Create a file called unattended.xml with the following contents.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<unattend xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:unattend">
 <settings pass="oobeSystem">
 <component name="Microsoft-Windows-WinRE-RecoveryAgent"
 processorArchitecture="x86"
 publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral"
 versionScope="nonSxS"
 xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State"
 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
 <UninstallWindowsRE>true</UninstallWindowsRE>
 </component>
 <component name="Microsoft-Windows-WinRE-RecoveryAgent"
 processorArchitecture="amd64"
 publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral"
 versionScope="nonSxS"
 xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State"
 xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
 <UninstallWindowsRE>true</UninstallWindowsRE>
 </component>
 </settings> 
</unattend>

Save this file as unattended.xml to the sysprep folder on the drive. (W:\Windows\System32\sysprep\)

You should now be ready to use your drive. all you need to do now is boot from it. The first time you boot to the drive on a new computer it will take some time to setup but after that it will be a lot faster to boot.