Thursday, December 27, 2012

3D Pinball Space Cadet works on Windows 8

In case you wondered, 3D Pinball for Windows, aka Space Cadet, (which was introduced in Microsoft Plus 95 and part of Windows NT 4 by default) works great on Windows 8.


Link: More info & how to get it

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Syncing any folder with SkyDrive


The issue:

The SkyDrive desktop app for Windows only allows synchronizing a single directory (by default C:\Users\<Username>\SkyDrive) between your hard drive and the cloud.

The workaround:

Using NTFS junction points you can “create a symbolic link to a directory which then functions as an alias of that directory”.

The command to execute in the SkyDrive folder is:

mklink /J <name-of-alias> <path-to-existing-folder>

(e.g. mklink /J Photos D:\Skype\Photos)

More information can be found in these articles:

Warning: Unfortunately, if you create junction points in the SkyDrive folder itself, SkyDrive will not correctly monitor for changes (see here). As a workaround you could move the original folders into the SkyDrive folder, and create junctions at the old locations to point at the same data. This way SkyDrive monitors the folders as expected.

Updates to this blog post:

  • Updated (March 4th, 2013): Added warning regarding SkyDrives monitoring (see here).
  • Updated (March 15th, 2013): Added workaround to to get the monitoring to work with junctions (an idea found here).

Windows Live Mesh is now deprecated

… and “will be officially retired on February 13, 2013”.


How to fix: Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded (IE)

When trying to download a file in IE you receive the following error message:

“Security Alert: Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded.”

Your current security settings do not allow this file to be downloaded.

Steps to fix the problem (found here):

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. Click Tools » Options.
  3. Click on the Security tab.
  4. Select the Internet Zone.
  5. Click on the Custom Level button and then scroll down to Downloads.
  6. Make sure to set File download to Enable.
  7. Click OK.



How to download a file from the web using the command line

You can use wget.exe:


Windows reports its missing a required driver or certificate in order to use a smart card

When trying to use a smart card, you receive the error message:

A smart card was detected but is not the one required for the current operation. The smart card you are using may be missing required driver software or a required certificate.

Steps to resolve:

  1. Go to the Microsoft Catalog and download the driver required for your smart card (I searched for "Gemalto" and found the Gemalto Minidriver for .NET, which worked for me).
  2. Unzip the downloaded file.
  3. Right-click the .INF file and click “Install”.
  4. Done. You can use your smart card now. :-)

More information (thanks to Ben and Daniel for those articles):

Monday, December 24, 2012

Recycle IIS app pool using the command line

To recycle an application pool on demand, run:

appcmd recycle apppool /

… where string is the name of the application pool that you want to recycle (Source).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Windows 8 setup: black screen during install after restart


If you are stuck at a black screen (blinking cursor) after the first restart, this can have several reasons.

How to solve it

In case you are installing from a USB stick, use the DVD instead.
Source: answer on this forum post

Other possible reasons:

Windows 7 Backup fails after a few seconds

Windows 7 Backup claims that there is not enough free space, although there is...If you observe the following behavior:

Windows 7 Backup fails after a few seconds with an “Insufficient Space" message and error code 0x81000033

Error Message:

“Windows Backup skipped backing up system image because one of the critical volumes is not having enough free space. Free up some space by deleting unnecessary files and try again.
Error code: 0x81000033”


The problem is caused by lack of free space in the hidden ‘system reserved’ partition (that Windows created).

How to fix:

Enlarge the hidden ‘system reserved’ partition (e.g. to 350 MB).

Further information:

Windows 7 Backup: Cannot backup to network share

Windows 7 Backup is also available in Windows 8.When using Windows 7 Backup (also available as part of Windows 8), you receive the following error message when trying to store the backup on a network location:

“The validation information class requested was invalid.”

Workaround (found in this forum post):

In the username field, specify the username as “DEVICE\username”, where DEVICE is the network device where you are trying to store the backups to.



PS: The German version of the error message is: “Die Überprüfungsinformationsklasse war unzulässig.”

What’s the correct order in which Dell drivers should be installed?

Drivers should be installed in the correct order.Taken right from Dell Support article #268873:

  1. Desktop System Software (DSS) or Notebook System Software (NSS)
  2. Chipset
  3. PCMCIA/Smartcard controller
  4. Intel Storage (located under Serial ATA Category)
  5. Audio
  6. Video
  7. Network Interface Card (NIC) / Ethernet Controller
  8. Dell Control Point (DCP) (only for some Latitude Laptops)
  9. Dell Quickset
  10. Wireless Network Card
  11. Bluetooth
  12. Touchpad, Pointer, Track stick, Mice, and Keyboards
  13. Other Devices

Note: Please read the original article for many important details!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Microsoft Expression Web is now deprecated

Microsoft Expression Web was a software to create HTML-based websites.

From the Expression website:

“The web is now about applications as well as traditional web sites, and this requires a new set of tools. Microsoft is committed to offering a unified approach to focus on web design and development features in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012.


Expression Web is now available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center, and no new versions will be developed. Customers who previously purchased Expression Web will receive support through the established support lifecycle.”

Together with Expression Web, the SuperPreview service will come to an end, too:

“Expression SuperPreview Remote Beta will continue running as a service through June 30, 2013”