Easily Evaluate Windows 10 on Microsoft Azure

Posted in Windows 10 by Steve Sinchak

Would you like to play around with Windows 10 without the hassle of reloading your PC or installing virtualization software?  Microsoft Azure offers the Windows 10 preview build in a virtual machine image that makes building a cloud VM very simple.  Just create a Microsoft Azure trial account, and provision a virtual machine following this guide.  Then you will be able to remotely connect to your virtual machine using Remote Desktop from anywhere. 

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Speed up your Browser with Namebench

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 by Steve Sinchak

DNS (Domain Name Service) plays a critical role in the operation of all web browsers.  When you type in a domain, such as Tweaks.com, your browser must resolve the address into an IP address so your computer can talk to the site's server and download the web page.  Once the page is downloaded, it is processed by the browser, which then can trigger hundreds of downloads as the various resources on the page are fetched. Many of these requests for resources go to different domains which also must be resolved before the browser can download the file.  The result is a lot of domain resolutions, which makes the performance of your DNS provider critical to your web browsing speed.

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Free Office 365 for Students and Teachers

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 by Steve Sinchak

Microsoft now offers students and teachers of qualifying organizations a free Office 365 Education subscription.  Office 365 Education includes includes Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, and OneNote. Users can install the software on up to five PCs or Macs and five mobile devices such as an iPad or Android tablet.  Users also receive a 1 TB OneDrive online storage drive for the life of the subscription. 

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Remove All Icons from the Desktop

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP by Steve Sinchak

If you are a fan of minimalist desktop experiences, hiding the desktop icons are an easy way to clean up the Windows interface.  Instead of saving everything to your desktop, use the default profile folders such as downloads and documents.  Actually hiding all the icons on your desktop is a very simple customization hidden in the right-click context menu.  Just right-click on the desktop, select View, and then Show desktop icons to remove the check. The icons will be hidden instantly. 

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Tweaks.com Start Updated for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8 by Steve Sinchak

Now that the Start Menu is back in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, Tweaks.com Start still provides a lot of utility for any power user.  Convenient jumplist items help any Windows user quickly access important settings and utilities.  New in version 1.9 (February 2015), we included the ability to show the desktop when you click on the taskbar icon, just like the old Show Desktop icon in Windows XP. 

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Install Group Policy and AD Tools on Windows 8

Posted in Windows 8 by Steve Sinchak

Group policy and Active Directory are very important in any organization with more than a few computers.  When I loaded Windows 8 on my work PC one of the first tasks I had to do was install the Group Policy Management client (GPMC) and the AD tools such as Active Directory Users and Computers MMC.  The two tools that I need to manage our domain based group policies and AD accounts.  Installing the Remote Server Administration tools are now just a simple download so let's get started. 

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Increase Network Performance of Hyper-V Virtual Machines

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8 by Steve Sinchak

Hyper-v is a great free hypervisor that allows you to run virtual machines on Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.  I use Hyper-v to power virtual machines that I use for development and testing and recently ran into an issue with very slow network performance on my new system.  The host system performed without any issues, but the virtual machines running on top experienced very slow network performance with sporadic moments of high latency.

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