Windows 8/ Windows Server 2012 basic help getting around.

Windows 8 / Windows 2012 are interesting OSs. There are new features that take a while to get used to.

  • There is no Start Menu. There is now a start screen. To access it, move the mouse towards the left hand corner of the screen, a small start square will appear. Click it to display the start screen. Or press the key.
  • Apps – When you click on an app, it opens full screen. You cannot re-size or minimize. There is no close button. To close them put the mouse at the top of the screen. The mouse pointer will change to a hand. Click and drag the page to the bottom of the screen, as if you are throwing the application away. This is how you close it.
  • Charms – By moving your mouse to the right of the screen, (near the top right or near the bottom right) icons will pop out from the side. Search, Share, Start, Devices, Settings. Or ( + C)
    • Search – Clicking search will allow you to search for apps, settings, or file.
    • Share – I’m assuming you can share stuff by clicking on this, so far I get the message saying I’m unable to share anything.
    • Start- This toggles the start screen menu and the desk top.
    • Devices – If you have dual screens, selecting this will allow you to share your screen differently to a second screen.
    • Settings – Here you can configure how the pc is setup. Also it gives you information about network, sound, brightness, notifications, power and keyboard
  • How do you shut down? Using the Settings Charm ( + C), click Power. You then get the option to Sleep, Shut Down, Restart.

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Start Screen is reset when Sysprep

After creating my Windows Server 2012, I installed all my software required. I then called Sysprep which prepares my machine so that it can be cloned and used multiple times on the network.

 After rebooting the machine and gone through the configuration of Product Key, Configuring Language etc, when I logged in for the very first time, none of the programs I previous installed and placed on the start screen menu were there.

 To ensure the menu is there after sysprep and for every user that is added to the machine afterwards follow these instructions. 

  1. Run the SysPrep tool to initialise system clean up. For example from the command prompt type: %windir%\System32\Sysprep\sysprep.exe”
  2. Select Enter System Audit Mode and Restart and click OK.
  3. Once the system has restarted, copy the AppsFolderLayout.bin file of the users start menu you wish to copy. For example c:\users\TestProfile\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\AppsFolderLayout.bin and copy to c:\users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows
  4. Run Sysprep again Select Enter System Out of Box Experience (OOBE) and tick Generalize. Select Shutdown options as Shut Down and click OK.
  5. Once your machine has shut down, feel free to copy the Virtual Machine. When someone next starts the virtual machine the basic set up will appear which they will need to configure, but when they hit the new Start Screen menu, they will see all the menu items available to them.


Turning on Hyper V for Windows 8

To install Client Hyper-V, you use the well-hidden Windows Feature control panel. (Thanks to the wonders of Start Search in Windows 8, however, it’s easily found if you know what you’re looking for: Search for windows features, filter to Settings, and select Turn Windows features on or off.)

Expand the Hyper-V entry and you’ll see two sub-entries, Hyper-V Managements Tools and Hyper-V Platform. If the second is grayed out, you can’t install Hyper-V. (That said, you may need to turn on virtualization features in your PC’s BIOS or UEFI firmware first. So check that before despairing.)

Select the features you want to install, click OK, and Client Hyper-V will be installed. After a reboot you’re good to go.

Upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8

I have just gone through the process of installing Windows 8 Enterprise volume license over the top of Windows 7. Normally I just do a clean install, but in this case I wanted to go the simple route. (Which will probably end up with me doing a clean install in about a month when I find things not working).


Steps to upgrade

  1. Insert the DVD VL disk. If autorun doesn’t work, explorer the disk and run setup.exe. Click Install Now.
  2. Select the option to get updates online.
  3. Accept licensing terms.
  4. Select Upgrade: Install windows + keep files.
  5. I have VM Workstation installed on my PC, which I got a warning about. I choose to ignore the warning about VM Workstation. (VM Workstation will not work once you have upgraded). I had to upgrade to VM Ware 9, or convert my disks to Hyper V. If you have VMWare Workstation, and planning on going to Windows 8, I would recommend converting all disks to Hyper V disks first before upgrading.
  6. Windows will now upgrade. This takes along time (about 45min to 1hr 30mins) just leave the pc running. A couple of times you will think the pc is stuck and be tempted to shut down pc. DON’T!!!
  7. Once installed you can personalise colour scheme.
  8. Next you have a choice to Express Set up or customise. I chose customise, but ended up just click Next Next Next to finalising.
  9. Sign in as your usual account, and then watch the repeating video while the pc is set up in the back ground.
  10. To insert the product key, as you were not asked once during the install, open a command prompt (click left corner where start button should be, bring up the metro menu and type cmd. Select the command window. In the command prompt type “slui 3”. This will bring up the Windows Activation window to type in the product key and activate.