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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Windows 8.1 OEM FREE


Just something I went though and thought I might as well share it to save you some pain if you plan to go through it.As you know Windows 10 is not actually FREE if you have to buy it. Its pretty expensive actually from the leaked pricing. The best way to secure it is to get hold of the upgrade NOW by pre-booking.

BUT in order to quality, putting the license issue aside, you better be on Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 U1. Yes, nothing below is going to work. The pre-booking “app” is actually a Windows Update component which will not install on anything lower.
So, for those stuck in Windows 7 or 8.0, maybe it’s time to upgrade.

Windows 8.1 is kinda a SOB cos of the license key and all. Its not compatible with the keys used for 8.0 and such. But what I am going to share is a secret to get whole of the legitimate keys, right in front of you on that bloody machine of yours. A lot of people did not know this. When you buy a Dell, HP and what not, OEM machine, they actually implanted a CD Key into your BIOS. And its always activated automatically based on that key. Its usable for Windows 7-8.1. Meaning if you bought it a few years ago with Windows 7, you are supposed to get Windows 8 and 8.1 upgrade FREE. Looks like your school admins did not do their job :P

But nevertheless, I will tell you how to get it right. Pretty much without their help.
You will need to download the media to install Windows 8.1.
NOT, not from some torrent or fileshare site! But right from Microsoft, perfectly legit.


It’s a few GB of download, but ONLY this version works (out of the ISO) for OEM products. There are other ways to get it to work by changing the ISO or branding it, that’s pretty complex and I won’t discuss it here (Although the 26-in-1 OEM ISO is pretty exciting, with all the Asus wallpaper and all).

While download that, you should EXTRACT your OEM CD-KEY. 3 ways to do it, but I cut the chase and show you the easiest one.


Run the EXE and you better be sure to print it out, especially if you plan to wipe you HDD.

Now, you have all you need to “upgrade”. By Upgrading, Its far too glorified a term to use. I assure you 90% you will fail. But be my guest and try to upgrade your Windows 8.0 to 8.1. Its due to the amount of software and shit that had been in there since 8.0 was installed that cause a lot of complication to just upgrade. In the end, I guess most of us choose to REINSTALL 8.1.

I won’t say it’s a bad choice, but it’s definitely clean. Now, the important point is during the installation right from the start, you will see the CD-KEY prompt and you will be able to fully verified with the one you had extracted. It doesn’t matter if you bought your Acer with Windows 7 or Windows 8 at all. It’s a perfectly legit copy of Windows 8.1 in your hands now and nobody just want to talk about it.

Well, you may or may not need to activate it, more often than not, yes. But if you do not want to use an online account (which gives you Sky Drive Pro, which could sync your personnel settings onto the cloud. This however is flagged by Mcafee Webwasher as “Uploading to Skydrive” though  DOOH!), you should unplug you network during the installation and you will be given a choice to create a local account for Windows 8.1.

Let me know if you find this useful.  






Missing Email Inbox in Outlook 2013


Ever set up a new IMAP account on Outlook and suddenly find that no matter how you set it up, with all the configurations right, you can't seem to fetch your Inbox. Well, if you are getting your Sent or Outbox, then you are right onto this problem.

Its related to 2 of the Microsoft Update in fact, KB2837618 or KB2837643. The long version is here:

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/email/email-troubleshooting/imap-issues-affecting-outlook-2013-and-office-365-functionality

But to keep this short, all you need to do is to disable a feature call show only subscribed folders.
To access this,


  1. Open the Folder tab. Look for "IMAP Folders". Click it.
  2. You should see the dialog below. Uncheck it!


Well, I wondered if Microsoft asked anyone's opinion when implementing this, but this has cause me to loose some hair and a few hours of sleep. I hope I have some some of yours.

Let me know if this is helpful!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

SFC failed May 2015 - utc.app.json telemetry.ASM-WindowsDefault.json


After some Windows Update in May / Jun, you may find that your Windows 8.1 SFC /SCANNOW suddenly failed with some corrupted files. If you followed some instruction to check the logs, you will notice that there are 2 files mentioned.

  • telemetry.ASM-WindowsDefault.json 
  • utc.app.json


Well, the guys at Microsoft had did it again and broken their own tool. Luckily there is a way to fix this. Well, there are 2 exactly, the hard way or easy way. I would link you to the easy way instead.

The hard way is to manually do what the easy way did, line by line on console.

Tech Cookbook SFC Fix:
http://thetechcookbook.com/windows-7-update-kb3022345-causing-corrupt-files/

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Visual Studio 2010 Offline Help


Visual Studio 2010 is the old platform whereby you can still create Windows Form applications with C++. You can't from Visual Studio 2012 onward. However, you will find that it is quite troublesome when you needed some help and references while you are on the move and possibly offline. In the good old days, there was MSDN Library for older Visual Studio, but there isn't any for Visual Studio 2010 on... So what happened to it?

Simple. Its on the DVD for Visual Studio 2010. And a separate download for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=34794

Well, since the steps are similarly, you should be able to follow through it similarly for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013. So back to Visual Studio 2012. Grab your DVD (or mount your ISO) and let's start.


  1. Launch Visual Studio 2010. Help Menu. Select "Manage Help Settings".
  2. Strange path, but accept it nevertheless.
  3. Select "Install content from disk".
  4. Browse to your DVD "ProductDocumentation" folder and select the file " HelpContentSetup.msha".
  5. Click "Add" for all items (or some, but don't cry when you can't access it when you are offline).
  6. Local help is available now.
Hope this helps. Let me know on the comments!


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bad Bad Cards from Dominion Adventures


As we look forward to the new release of Dominion Adventures, we should also remind ourselves that there are some hiccups with this release which may want you to hold back and wait for a re-print.

Some of the threads:
http://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/34c9wh/gamers_beware_newest_printings_of_rio_grande

TL;DR, The cards are inferior, lighter and so much so that it can be distinguished whether sleeved or not. That's bad enough, especially if you are mixing it with other elements from another Dominion set. This gives you the "predictability +5" ability to know whether the next cards are from Adventures.

I would suggest to hold back and wait. Look out for the "Made in USA with pride" logo. It means it sucks for this instance anyway.


Friday, June 05, 2015

Install Dot Net Framework 3.5 onto Windows 8 / 8.1 and Server 2012


Do you know that it is a lot more complicated than just throwing in a installer to install Dot Net Framework 3.5 on Windows 8 / 8.1 or Server 2012? The reason is that it already came with Dot Not Framework 4.5 and the installation of these Windows actually comes with Framework 3.5. It is just not enabled.

So, actually all you have to do is to enable it. But wait, why does it need to go to the Internet to do that? The installation is really stupid. If you are stuck in an offline environment, this is really terrible. But fear not, there is a way around it.

Simply locate your CD or where the Windows installation source files are and run this command to enable Dot Net Framework 3.5 :

Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx3 /All /Source:(CD Drive):\sources\sxs /LimitAccess

Remember to run this as administrator though. And you should see something like this.


Hope this had been helpful. Let me know in the comments.

VMware vSphere Client V5.5 Update 2



I have no idea why VMware want to make life so difficult for everyone by going through so much forms and that and in the end you find that you are unable to find the download for VMware vSphere. Well, here I put up a direct link to their official copy for my own use and yours.

Download it here:
http://vsphereclient.vmware.com/vsphereclient/1/9/9/3/0/7/2/VMware-viclient-all-5.5.0-1993072.exe

If me know if this helps you.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Intel Rapid Storage Technology - Intel Smart Response Technology Problems and Solutions Unable to Activate Acceletate


Intel Rapid Storage Technology
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/rapid-storage-technology.html

This should be the reason why you had bought your Z series or other high end motherboard. If not, then you might be under utilizing it. This group of technology had evolved into many complex functions which I might talk about in the future when I have time. Today I want to talk about one particular expects of it. Smart Response Technology.


For a readup, here is the official site:
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/smart-response-technology.html

In English, its just the use of SSD to cache your HDD whether the SSD is build in or a separate one.
Let's see that is the requirement to have this feature:

1. SSD free space (unpartitioned) 16GB-64GB (MAX, Intel had determine anything more than 64GB is not effective)
2. HDD (whether OS is on it is optional, do not believe the BS that tells you that OS MUST be on a HDD)
3. Intel chipset Z68, Z87, Q87, H87, Z77, Q77, H77 motherboard.
4. Intel RST Software installed. (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/search?keyword=intel%C2%AE+rapid+storage+technology+%28intel%C2%AE+rst%29)
5. BOTH SSD and HDD must be plug into the Intel SATA clot, not the 3rd party ones. You can verify this when you
6. At least 2MB of unallocated space on your HDD.

I am not going to write a set up guide, but link to one instead:
http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/sb/CS-032826.htm

Most people either had partioned the SSD or simply plug into the wrong SATA port which make the installation failed. For those who could not activate SRT because there is no Accelerate button. TAKE NOTE OF POINT 6 above! Somehow Intel need some space (2M on mine.,. but I suspect it may varies depending on your HDD). Simple shrink your partition and expand it again later.

Happy SSDing...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rooting Xiaomi Mi Pad and Installing Google Play Store!


The Xiaomi Mi Pad is a power tablet that can rival the Nexus and even Nvidia Shield itself as it is build upon the Tegra K1 chipset as well. However, rooting it and installing Google Play is slightly more than trivial if you do not know where to look.

Firstly, before we even start about Rooting. THE XIAOMI MI PAD OFFICIAL STABLE ROM IS NOT ROOTABLE! Yes, the stable is fully patched and there is no way to root it (and make it stable) as proven by many who tried including myself.

Now, you will see many articles teaching to install Vroot etc on your PC to root this. BUT do note that Vroot is detected as malware (probably because of the rooting codes) by many AV products. And whether it does contain anything malicious, that is entirely another topic. But I guess its safe to say we want to avoid installing anything if possible. And that is why you are reading this. :)

So this article is going to provide you a way to Root your Mi Pad without installing anything on your PC. BUT still it means you will need to be on one of the developer ROM. And there is NO INTERNATIONAL version of the Developer ROM. What is the difference? See this:

STABLE ROM

  • International - Comes with Google Play
  • China - No Google Play
DEVELOPER ROM
  • China - No Google Play
I think by now you know why we are even talking about Google Play in this article. Because if you are going to root it, you will need to be on a Developer ROM and you are going to lose Google Play if you come from an International ROM.

You can of course download the official Developer ROM from Xiaomi. But then you will need to find a matching Google Play what works with it. I decide to give you at least something that I tried and claim that it will work. Here is the Developer ROM I based on:


Now just flash this using the build in Updater. Nothing fancy. And get used to the Updater, you are going to use it at least one more time!

Next, after on the Developer ROM and rebooting a few time to make sure everything is stable (so that we can avoid blaming the rooting and all for something that already exist on the default ROM). Let's start Rooting... No wait. To be able to Root, you cannot use the default Bootloader. So I had chosen to use the CWM since I prefer that than TWRP since I had some screw up with it.


Put this onto your Mi Pad and.... No wait... Listen to me and your save yourself a few plugin and out with your cable.

Download the Root Package :


Download the Google Play Package. Well you can ignore this if you prefer not to use Google Play.


Put these 2 into the root of your Mi Pad (preferable on your SD Card if you need to re-use it again...)

OK, now you are ready to go to the Updater again. Select to flash a update and choose the CWM Package. It will reboot... If you are fast enough, hold Volume +, if not, reboot again to recovery anyway.

In CWM, choose to flash ZIP. Now you can select the Root Package. And if you want Google Play, flash that in after the Root. NEXT, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. And is the reason why 90% of the rooting and flashing screwed up. GO TO ADVANCE AND CLEAR DAVIK CACHE!

Now you can reboot, and accept the few prompts with Yes. Your Mi Pad should boot up nicely without any error about Google Service failing etc. If you do, its likely you screwed up on the flashing, but you can easily repeat it.

Well, that's all and although it sound so simple, I had bricked and crashed at least a dozen times with different configurations and packages, so I had decided to save your the trouble. Leave some comments and tell me how it works for you!  


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mcafee vs Mcafee aka Error 12152 vs the Internet

Today, I am going to tell you a joke. Well, seriously I find it funny. There is this quite clumsy web proxy product from Mcafee call "Webwasher" (or Web Gateway as what it is called today) which more or less prevents direct downloading of most binaries, thus crippling most web storage as well as even Windows Play Store itself. This is the product information:

http://www.mcafee.com/sg/products/web-gateway.aspx

And which other product is the most well known from Mcafee? Yes, Viruscan or Internet Security:

http://home.mcafee.com/store/packagedetail.aspx?pkgid=272

As the days of media evolves... think is long forgotten. I recalled "buying" my viruscan DOS update from computer shops before BBS got popular, then there were diskette... and later CDs and so on... Now, guess what? You can no longer install Mcafee Internet Security from a media. You will need to download it via the "web installer". And I am not bullshitting this, read this:

http://service.mcafee.com/faqdocument.aspx?id=TS100407 

Normally, I would see other product introducing the offline installer here. But not for Mcafee.

Well, I promise you a joke, so here it is. Why do you think I need an offline installer? Yes, its well thanks to Mcafee Web Gateway! The very product that is stopping me from Mcafee Internet Security is from Mcafee! And to make it worse, it is not even listed as an incompatible product here:

http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?lc=1033&id=TS101083

Well, it was a good laugh and I guess gave me the perfect reason to say "No" to Mcafee and move on. Well in case you are still wondering if the CD does exist, I would say... "Maybe.." Try asking the local store for the box version and shake it real hard... If it sound like there is a CD inside... you mayb be in luck, but I am skeptical.


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Domain Name Change



The previous domain for this blog :

http://blog.winston-avalon.com

is not longer working and has been replace with :

http://www.winstonavalon.com

Please update your links and bookmark accordingly.

Thanks.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Clustrmaps Resetted

As indicated by http://blog.clustrmaps.com/2015/03/25/important-www4-servermap-news/, it seems that my clustrmap data might had been destroyed... So following their suggestion, I recreated the account. Hopefully I will get back my stats... I can only hope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kali KEYEXPIRED 1425567400 KEYEXPIRED 1425567400 KEYEXPIRED 1425567400


While updating Kali Linux, I got a rather strange message:
KEYEXPIRED 1425567400 KEYEXPIRED 1425567400 KEYEXPIRED 1425567400

Somehow that indicate that the keys used for GPG is likely to be expired. 

I dig a bit and found that the way to update the keys is as follows:
apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 7D8D0BF6

Now your Kali should be updating normally again!
BTW, Kali v1.1.0a is out. Maybe its a good time to reinstall the latest version!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Download Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft


There are times you loses your Windows 7 machine and you will need to find some way to resinstall it, but then you realized you have no Windows 7 CD!

Well, that has been a problem and it is finally solved now when you can legally download the Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft and not from other other unverified sources where you might be installing spyware to your system.

Simply go to this website and key in your CDKEY and you are all ready to download it!
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery

Trillian and MSN


As MSN chat is closing down slowly, the original server "gateway.messenger.hotmail.com" is no longer available and as such messagers like Trillian will fail to connect to the MSN chat network.

A simple solution is luckily available for now, simply change your MSN server address to :
bn1msgr1011204.gateway.edge.messenger.live.com

And it will work. For now. 

Solution is also highlighted on the official Trillian forum:
http://help.trillian.im/kb/accounts/windows-live-msn-the-servers-protocol-did-not-match-our-requested-protocol

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Chinese AV "Patches" Windows XP


As all of you know, Windows XP is dead.
Or it is? As far as the Chinese community is concerned, there is still hope.

Several AV companies had pushed for a special product where we do not see anywhere else in other markets known as "XP Protection". Basically, the AV Product claim to be able to protect even the unpatched XP against these new vulnerabilities and attacks.

Don't take my word for it. Recently, at "The EXP Challenger Contest". a total of 179 hackers and security experts coming from all over the world have tried to compromise Windows XP computers running:

  • 奇虎 360 XP盾甲 
  • 腾讯电脑管家(XP专属版本)
  • 金山毒霸 XP防护盾

In the 13 hours event, only 腾讯 was broken in 57 seconds by "shaheshang", followed by 金山 later. Qihoo managed to withstand all the attacks.

So, what does this mean? Maybe for those Chinese who are not going to upgrade to new Windows for whatever reasons, they could use these products to actually provide them protection and continue to use Windows XP?

But there is a epilogue to the story. At the end of the event, a hacker "小小小乖兔" managed to break through 奇虎 as well. So, it does means that, maybe hard, but there is a way. Nothing is invulnerable.


So, I guess at least with such products around, it is safe to assume if the clients in Chinese are still using Windows XP, they will be deploying at least one of these products.

And lastly, all the listed products had been updated and are FREE.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Microsoft Re-Patch Tues Aug 2014

It seems that due to the BSOD patches being retracted few weeks back, Microsoft had been working hard to restore the status of these vulnerabilities, especially when some of them are critical. Sure enough, we see a new patch that is suppose to replace the previous patch and I think for those who had not uninstalled the patches according to my post here:

http://blog.winston-avalon.com/2014/08/microsoft-aug-patch-tue-could-cause-bsod.html

You should apply this whether or not you had it uninstalled since this is quite critical in my opinion.

Just use your Windows Update and you should see this patch available now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Microsoft Aug Patch Tue Could Cause BSOD


Yes, no joke~! 4 of the suspected Patch Tue updates for Aug 2014 were suspected to cause some users to crash or BSOD. Judging from the descriptions, it will only be a matter of time when the criteria are met. In fact, it is Microsoft who advise users to UNINSTALL these patches ASAP!

Don't worry,  let me walk you through this. Hopefully when you are now reading this, your PC has not crashed yet. Then the steps are simpler (I did not say it is simple, just not as complicated).

If your Windows is still alive... Time to uninstall those patches. According to Microsoft:
Open the Programs and Features item in Control Panel, and then click View installed updates. Find and then uninstall any of the following update that are currently installed:
  • KB2982791
  • KB2970228
  • KB2975719
  • KB2975331
Well, firstly, not very helpful. The patches are not arranged by KB numbers and the search somehow do not deal with these numbers either.
But luckily, you can still sort them by name and you should be looking for these two:
Security Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2982791)
Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2975719)

Based on the descriptions, it is very likely you will only have one of these:
2975719 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 
2975331 August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012
So you might want to look for the other one instead if you are still on Windows 8.0

So, I guess its perfectly normal to have just one of them. As for the other missing one:
2970228 Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows

It sound like I may not have it because I do not have the Russian language installed? Likely.

Well if you are a bit out of luck and had the BSOD, you will have to go into safe mode to save that. The details are on their page at:

I strongly suggest you print that out on a working computer. Or be lazy and just system restore back to the previous month... That will probably work.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Download Opera Offline Installer

As more and more of the installers, especially for browsers, goes online, their installers had became smaller and smaller. In fact, most of these installers pulls the actual installation right from the Internet during installation. What you actually download is nothing more than a downloader.

So today, let's visit Opera. The default installer is the one you get when you click the big Blue button in the above screen. But however, do you see a smaller line of text just below it? Yes, that is the link to the Offline Installer. This is very useful when you are in an environment with funky proxy (that doesn't really work) or without Internet. You Opera can still be updated using a Thumbdrive or something along that line.

Grab Opera (both online and offline installer) at:
http://www.opera.com/computer
Or just grab the Offline Installer here:
http://www.opera.com/download/get/?partner=www&opsys=Windows

Monday, August 04, 2014

Turn Off Facebook Video Autoplay


Facebook has recently introduced a new feature which will autoplay video posted as you scroll to it. While there are reasons why this is cool, there are also reason why you may not want to do so. Let me name a few. For example, when you are on limited or charged bandwidth, playing some useless MTV posted yb your friend is definitely not a good idea. But more seriously, if there is a way found to be able to exploit the video codec on your browser, you will be 0wned as soon as the autoplay starts. Without even clicking anything!

Well, its easy to disable this feature actually.
1. Upper Right corner, click on the dropdown settings menu. Select Settings.
2. On the left side, select the Video tab.
3. Check the autoplay to off on your right panel.

That works for Desktop. What about on Android? Well, it is just as easy.
1. Open your Facebook app.
2. On the Left sidebar, tab App Settings.
3. Check Auto-Play Videos on Wi-FI Only.

Now, wait right there. That doesn't disable the autoplay totally. In fact, you can't. It will play when you are in Wifi mode. If I find a way to do so, I will update this blog.

Similarly, you can do it on iOS. Very similar steps. And since I couldn't care less about iOS I would skip the instructions here.

Hope this helps you.

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