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Windows 10 – 5 Tips and Tricks that you need to know

December 3rd, 2016 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Windows 10 is finally here, and Microsoft’s latest, greatest operating system is chock full of tricks and tweaks that can enhance your experience—and tailor Windows to your personal needs. Here’s a look at five of the most useful. (Pssst: Our massive Windows 10 tips and tricks guide has much, much more.)

Make Cortana more useful

windows 10 cortana getting around settings

You’ll definitely want to tweak the “Getting around” section of Cortana’s Notebook if you plan on using her to help with daily travel plans.

The Cortana digital assistant is one of Windows 10’s highlight new features, but she truly shines if you take the time to tell her your interests. Open Cortana and select the Notebook icon in her left-hand pane. From there, browse each section to tailor your preferences for specific news topics, alerts, and even the types of restaurants you like. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and be sure to ask Cortana these questions. You’ll be glad you did that, too.

Check out all of PCWorld’s Windows 10 coverage

Tap into Cortana’s smarts while you’re browsing

Did you know Cortana’s built into Windows 10’s new Edge browser, too? You may have missed it, because the notification alert when she’s available is pretty subtle.

windows 10 cortana edge browser

Cortana chiming in on Windows 10’s Edge browser.

When you’re surfing the web, Cortana will sometimes pipe up when she has helpful supplemental info. For instance, she may offer driving directions and Yelp review information when you’re browsing a restaurant’s site. Look for a blue Cortana icon with “I’ve got more info” to appear in the browser bar when it’s available. There’s no chime or in-your-face pop-up beyond the easy-to-miss text, however—so pay attention!

Try it for yourself by browsing to the Trattoria Cuoco restaurant’s website.

Master virtual desktops

Rejoice, fellow geeks: Multiple, virtual desktops have finally made their way to Windows!

windows 10 virtual desktops

Finally. Virtual desktops natively supported by Windows. *Drools*

The Task View button in the taskbar will show all your created virtual desktops—you can seemingly summon as many as your hardware can handle—as well as windows showing the software currently open in your active desktop. You can move open windows from one desktop to another by opening Task View and simply dragging-and-dropping the program onto another virtual desktop. Dragging a program over to the New Desktop button will (you guessed it) create a new virtual desktop to house your open window.

Bring back Metro

Does the return of the desktop make you yearn for Windows 8’s Start screen? (You monster!) You can force Windows 10 to use the touch-friendly interface—replete with full-screen Windows Store apps—by opening the Action Center in the lower-right corner of the taskbar, then selecting Tablet Mode. (Don’t worry, it looks less janky on actual PCs than it does in the low-resolution virtual machine I used to snag this screenshot.)

windows 10 tablet mode

Tablet Mode in Windows 10: Slightly different from Windows 8’s Start screen, but the basic bones are the same.

Search for “Tablet Mode settings” in Cortana for more options, such as the ability to enter Tablet Mode by default when Windows boots, or to shift to it when you’re using a 2-in-1 device as a tablet. (Microsoft calls that Continuum.) If you like the Start screen-like effect but still want to use the rest of the traditional desktop, you can simply expand the Start menu to full-screen using the button in its upper-right corner.

Schedule your restarts

Last but certainly not least, Windows 10 won’t allow you to skip updates this time around, but it tosses enthusiasts a bone by finally—FINALLY—including an option to schedule exactly when those mandatory restarts happen.

Once an update’s been downloaded, head into the Windows Update section of the Settings app’s “Updates & Security” section to tell your PC when it’s got a greenlight to reboot. If you head into the advanced options you can tell Windows to notify you to schedule a restart whenever an update’s ready to rock.

windows 10 updates advanced options

Windows 10 finally lets you be the boss of your update timing.

If you want to save some bandwidth, you can also download Windows Updates to a single machine in your house, then use it to spread the patch to other PCs in your network. To do so, head to the same Advanced Options menu for Updates & Security, then click on “Choose how updates are delivered.” By default, updates are available either way—via direct download to an Internet-connected PC, or via other PCs on your network—but you can change it to accept Windows Updates only if delivered via your local network. Be sure not to enable the option on the PC you’ll use to download the initial update!

Thanks to PCWorld for this great tip!

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Set your alarm: Microsoft’s ’12 days of deals’ starts really early Monday

December 3rd, 2016 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Microsoft is once again serving up a new holiday deal each day in its online and brick-and-mortar stores, starting Monday, December 5 at 12 a.m. PT, or 3 a.m. ET.

It’s hard to say what the best post-Black Friday sale on tech products is, but Microsoft is reprising its “12 days of deals” sale and it once again looks promising.

It officially kicks off on Monday, December 5 at 12 a.m. PT, which is really Sunday night to folks on the west coast and early Monday morning for folks on the east coast (3 a.m. ET). For those in the middle of the country, well, you can take your pick between late night or early morning.

Like last year, each day for 12 days we’ll see a new sale on select items. Here’s the full list of deals, according to Microsoft’s sale preview page:

  • Day 1 (December 5): Save up to $1,000 on select Intel PCs, with prices starting at $199.
  • Day 2 (December 6): $199 for a Lenovo IdeaPad 110 laptop ($100 savings).
  • Day 3 (December 7): Save up to 50 percent on select Xbox One games, now $19.99.
  • Day 4 (December 8): Save $250 on the Surface Pro 4 with Intel Core M3 and 128GB SSD (now $649), plus a free sleeve.
  • Day 5 (December 9): Save up to 70 percent on select Windows tablets, with prices starting at $49.
  • Day 6 (December 10): Save up to $250 on the Windows Premium Collection PCs.
  • Day 7 (December 11): Buy select Xbox controllers and get a $25 Microsoft Store gift code.
  • Day 8 (December 12): Save $50 and get two free games with select Xbox One consoles, plus discounts on Xbox accessories and games.
  • Day 9 (December 13): Get a $100 Microsoft Store gift code when you buy the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift VR headsets.
  • Day 10 (December 14): Save up to $1,000 on select Intel-powered gaming PCs.
  • Day 11 (December 15): Save up to 40 percent on select Dell PCs, with prices starting at $199.
  • Day 12 (December 16): Save up to $200 on select Surface Pro 4 models, plus get a free Type Cover (up to $359 value).

Source: Cnet

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Implementing Office 365 with Exchange Hybrid

May 25th, 2014 by Jabez Gan [MVP]


You have a customer. They are on Exchange on-premise. You want to implement Office 365 with Exchange hybrid. What is the Exchange Server versions that is supported in a Hybrid mode?


On-premises environment Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v14 Exchange 2010-based hybrid with tenant version v15 Exchange 2013-based hybrid with tenant version v15
Exchange 2013 (CU1) Not supported1 Not applicable Supported
Exchange 2010 SP3 Supported Supported Supported5
Exchange 2010 SP2 Supported Not supported2 Not supported
Exchange 2010 SP1 Supported Not supported2 Not supported
Exchange 2007 SP3 RU10 Supported3 Supported4 Supported5
Exchange 2007 SP3 Supported3 Not Supported Not supported
Exchange 2003 SP2 Supported3 Supported4 Not supported
1 Blocked in Exchange 2013 setup
2 Tenant upgrade notification provided in Exchange Management Console
3 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP2 server
4 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2010 SP3 server
5 Requires at least one on-premises Exchange 2013 CU1 or greater server

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Creating X500 addresses in Office365/Exchange Online using PowerShell

March 4th, 2014 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Recently I was doing an email migration from Exchange On-premise to Office365, and the customer’s environment is not suitable to use Dirsync.

This means that I will need to export the X500 address from my local Active Directory and import it into Office365.

Here is the brief steps if you are facing this issue:

Export the LegacyExchangeDN and mail field in your AD:
1. In your DC server, run Command Prompt
2. Run the command:
csvde -f c:\sample.csv -l legacyexchangedn,mail

Now, with that .csv file, make sure that it has a “mail” and “legacyexchangedn” under the heading. See my attached sample file: sample CSV with LegacyExchangeDN

Import the legacyexchangedn/X500 into Office365/Exchange Online using PowerShell:

1. Connect to Exchange Online. using PowerShell
2. Run the command:


Import-CSV C:\sample.csv | foreach {

$user=Get-Mailbox $_.mail

Set-Mailbox $_.mail -EmailAddresses $user.EmailAddresses



To check if the address has been added:
Get-Mailbox $user | FL emailaddresses

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IIS in Workgroup, Clustered File Server in a Domain – Access Denied

February 28th, 2014 by Jabez Gan [MVP]


IIS Servers in a DMZ Zone, configured in a Workgroup.

Clustered File Servers in the corporate network, in a Domain environment.

All servers are running Windows Server 2008 R2.



When IIS web app tries to access the clustered file server hosted in the domain, it shows Access Denied.


Path to Solution:

On running Procmon.exe, w3wp.exe shows that it is trying to authenticate using whichever account. So I check my IIS Config and make sure that it is using an account which has rights to access the cluster file server in the domain.

Solution 1 – Ensure that your IIS is configured correctly with a user account that has the access rights to the cluster file server.

Specify the correct user account under Identity in the Advanced Setting









Select the Application Pool that this web application should use.

If the above does not solve the problem, please continue with Solution 2.


Solution 2 – Ensure that the username and password is the same between the domain server and the Workgroup IIS Server

If my clustered file server is using the following name:

User: domain\webapp
Password: Pa$$w0rd

Then my Workgroup IIS Server should have a local user created with the following name:

User: IISSERVER\webapp
Password: Pa$$w0rd

(IISSERVER is the name of the IIS Server)

(Make sure that all of your IIS Servers have the same username and password created as well)


Solution 3 – Use ICACLS.EXE to provide the rights to the clustered files

Now that you have the same user created on both server (Domain and Workgroup), we will have to use ICACLS.exe to provide the permission (No, using the GUI does not work):

1. Map the shared cluster to Y: Drive

2. Open Command Prompt and execute the following:


(Replace the SHAREDFOLDER to the folder that your web application needs to access; Replace the WEBAPP with the username that you created in Solution 2)


Hope this helps someone out there!

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Windows 8 – To come integrated with Anti Virus

January 18th, 2013 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Folks! Good news for the consumers of Windows, and bad news for anti virus vendors.

In the next version of Windows 8, anti virus application will be integrated together with Windows Defender, which is used to block spyware and protect from slow performance due to certain applications. However, Windows Defender will be extended to include anti virus in Windows 8.

This would potentially means that, there is not necessary to purchase and install a third party anti virus software like Norton, McAfee or Sophos anti virus.

In the Windows XP and older era, consumers and businesses would purchase firewall applications for all PCs, until Windows XP SP2 introduces both incoming and outgoing monitoring, purchasing firewall application becomes an optional item for enterprise customers.

With integrated anti virus in Windows 8, would this further decrease the profit and growth of major security vendors out there?

What’s your thoughts?

Merc Elite

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Lync for Android or iOS not able to sign in? But Lync client works?

January 3rd, 2013 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Lync for Android and iOS were launched recently. However, automatic sign in does not work for Lync/Lync Online (Office365).

Using Lync client on PC and Mac, it signs in fine; however, when trying to sign onto Lync using Lync Server or Lync Online, it fails to sign on.

As part of setting up the domain in Office365, it is missing a few CNAME records for Lync.

Add the following 2 more CNAME records into the DNS of your domain:



Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Lync for Android or iOS not able to sign in? But Lync client works?

Creating Users in Bulk without Dirsync on Office365

January 1st, 2013 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

If your customer has an environment that can’t setup Dirsync (perhaps they are not on Windows Server 2003 DC and above), and you would want to create users manually, here is what you should do:

1. Create a CSV and use Administrative Portal | Users | Add Bulk Users to import the users.

2. Export the X500 addresses from Exchange 2003 server (You can refer to this link on how to do it).

3. Import the X500 addresses that you have exported from your local Exchange 2003 to Office365. You will have to do the following in Exchange Online Powershell:

$foo = get-mailbox jabez
$foo.emailaddresses += “X400:C=Malaysia;DC=domain;DC=com”
$foo | set-mailbox


If you are doing a temporary co-existence without using the recommended approach (Exchange 2010 Hybrid), you may also want to:

1. Create mail-enabled users with external email addresses to If you have 100 Exchange on-premise users, then you will have to create 100 extra mail-enabled users that points to the email account.

2. Create a forwarding from the Exchange on-premise to Office365

Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Creating Users in Bulk without Dirsync on Office365

Blackberry Enterprise Server coming to Office365 near you…

October 12th, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

If you are just like me, who has a Blackberry with your emails hosted on Office365, this is for you: BES is coming to Office365 very soon!

Details as following:

Oct 2011: Blackberry Business Cloud beta starts
Jan 2012:Blackberry Business Cloud goes public

Are you excited just like me? Read here for more information:

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HTML5 for Metro

September 26th, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Microsoft’s been pushing HTML5 hard to developers, giving them another option to develop application on top of Windows. However in my opinion, the HTML5 implementation is still far from being useful. I’ve been developing xaml based apps for quite some time and I have to say that along with expression blend, it’s powerful. Developers will stick with xaml unless they come from a web background. Please don’t get me wrong, I for one agree that the combination of HTML5, Javascript and CSS3 is a must learn for all developers. We should spend time on building HTML5 sites, but not for building Metro apps.



Kingz The Legendary Kingdom

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Reengineering Windows Boot Experience

September 23rd, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Phew! We’re all back from BUILD and focused on our next milestone. It is fair to say we had an awesome time showing everyone Windows 8 in depth and all of our speakers and Microsoft attendees are unbelievably appreciative for the warm reception you gave the product. We know it is early still–a developer preview–and there are lots of questions. We’re going to be answering them in new posts as we focus on using the Windows Developer Preview (WDP) as a baseline–so if you haven’t been running it, consider it sort of like a prerequisite for many of the blog posts.

Boot is the sort of effort that gets no respect. It is either too long or all the work to make it nice and pleasant hopefully goes unnoticed since you never want to boot your machine. I remember a meeting many years ago where Bill Gates said (paraphrasing) “Boot is a one-line function call that computes a constant yet takes forever: fBoot = SystemBoot()” At the same time it seems like everything boots these days—phones, TVs, cable TV boxes, even my TV remote boots. In building Windows 8, we set out of take advantage of some new technology and revisited some old assumptions to totally rethink the boot experience. We also wanted to make it more accessible and better suited to devices without keyboards. Of course, we also did a lot of work to continue to minimize reboots altogether, but this post is about what happens when you do boot. Billie Sue Chafins authored this post. She is a long time program manager who spent many years on user interface design, and in this release she helped us to focus on the boot experience (in addition to the Metro style app sharing contract which you can learn about from BUILD here).



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Bing with video background?

September 23rd, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Bing is famous for having a different background picture whenever someone browses to Bing. However today onwards, when browsing to Bing using a HTML5 supported browser, it will show a video in the background.

What do you think? Waste of bandwidth?

Source: Bing Blog at

Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn

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Windows Server 8 Developer Preview [Where to Download?]

September 14th, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

If you are wondering where can you download the Windows Server 8 Developer Preview, it is only available for MSDN Subscribers for now.

Many are reporting the downloads to be very slow, however, if you have a MSDN subscription that method is reportedly faster right now.

Interestingly, Windows 8 dev preview expires on 3/11/2012 4:59PM. Does this mean we’ll see a beta sooner than we thought?

Posted in MS News | Comments Off on Windows Server 8 Developer Preview [Where to Download?]

Windows 8 Developer Preview is OUT! [Direct Links]

September 14th, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Windows 8 Developer Preview just launched a few hours back, and here are the links:

Direct links:

What are you waiting for? Start the download and give Windows 8 Developer Preview a test drive!

Project Black Sheep

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Windows 7 Tablet with great reviews? It’s definitely Samsung Series 7 Slate PC

September 6th, 2011 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a new Windows 7 slate, which is why I
was so interested to check out the brand-new Samsung Series 7 Slate PC, which
Samsung debuted today at the IFA conference in Germany. Samsung was cool enough
to give me sneak-preview of the Series 7 about a month before today’s launch, so
what you’re reading today are my thoughts on the almost-finished version. My
unit came with a full-voltage second-generation Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM
and a lightning-fast 64GB SSD. When it hits store shelves in early October
you’ll be able to get one for $1299. There will also be a model with the same
specs,minus the Bluetooth keyboard and dock (more on that later) for $1099, and
a full-loaded version with a 128GB SSD  for $1349.




Look and Feel


The Samsung Series 7, much like the ASUS EP121 that I looked at a few months back,
is a pure-slate device. It’s super thin and light, measuring only 13mm thick and
weighing in at just a hair over 2lbs. Like all Samsung products it’s solid
without being bulky and well balanced without being heavy. It’s 11.6” across and
sports a 16:9 aspect ratio with a 1366 x 768 HD resolution, which puts it on-par
with most 11-13” widescreen laptops. It’s responsive and comfortable to use in
widescreen mode, and that extra screen width comes in very handy when browsing
the web in landscape mode.




In the box with my Series 7 came three accessories – a dock that has a
headphone jack, HDMI out and USB, a Bluetooth keyboard (which Samsung
thoughtfully made exactly the same width as the PC, so when you carry them
together they just “fit”) and a WACOM intelligent pen for taking notes. The
inclusion of these accessories makes the Series 7 extremely versatile and
equally good as a portable slate and a desktop PC. I used the PC as a pure touch
device when watching video and browsing the web (making use of the on-screen
keyboard when I needed to type in URLs), as a tablet-with-pen when scribbling
down notes in OneNote in meetings and brainstorming sessions, and as a docked
PC-with-keyboard when at my desk. The latter two modes were my favorites – I
found the pen very responsive and fluid and the “docked” setup as good as a
traditional laptop when sitting at my desk. The Bluetooth keyboard connects
almost instantly so there’s no annoying lag between when you fire up the PC and
when you can get to work.








All together, the PC plus all of the accessories and power cord weigh less
than 4lbs, making it an ideal travel companion. For comparison that’s a few
ounces less as my Lenovo ThinkPad X220, and about the same weight as my Toshiba
Portege R830.



Read the rest of this entry »

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