Blog: Windows 8

We were having issues with screensaver security locking not working on Windows 8 clients.  At first we kept zeroing in on the GPOs being applied to the PCs.  After further evaluation and verification that the settings were configured in the registry from the GPOs appropriately, we began to look at application interference.

Turning off Citrix Receiver client software allowed the screensaver to come on as it normally would during idle period.  It was discovered that the application refresh interval had been set to 15 minutes (default is 1 hour), the same amount of time as the screensaver settings.

Manipulating the registry keys below and testing a 1 hour value allowed the idle timer to function correctly and initiate the screensaver.  We believe that the application refresh was causing the idle time to reset itself. 

" RefreshMs " controls the interval for subsequent refreshes. By default the value is 1hr (3600000 ms ).

64-bit Windows Location: HKLM\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Dazzle
Name: RefreshMs
Type: REG_SZ
Value: 3600000

32-bit Windows Location: HKLM\Software\Citrix\Dazzle
Name: RefreshMs
Type: REG_SZ
Value: 3600000 



I was recently working with a customer and they had been prompted to reboot their server mid-day because of Windows updates. I told them to click “Restart Later” and forget about it because it should initiate the restart that night. However when I logged on to the server a few days later I got the notification that the server would reboot in 5 minutes.  I disabled the Windows Update service to prevent the reboot, then followed the steps below to force a reboot after updates are installed regardless if someone is logged into the server or the session is locked.
To change the AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime registry key value to enable automatic Windows Update restarts, follow these steps:

  1. Install Windows Update 2822241
  2. Start Registry Editor. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
    2. In the search box, type "regedit.exe".
    3. Tap or click the displayed regedit.exe icon.
  3. Locate the following registry subkey:
  4. Swipe across or right-click AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime, and then tap or click Modify. Note If the entry does not exist, follow these steps to add it:
    1. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then tap or click DWORD Value.
    2. Type "AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime" in the Name field, and then press Enter.
  5. In the Value data box for this registry key, enter "1".
  6. Click OK.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor.


By default in Windows 8 and 8.1 after you lock your screen, the display will timeout and power off after 1 minute of no activity, requiring you to wake the screen to login again. [more]There is no way to modify this through the GUI by default. You can, however, add a registry key to enable control of this setting. The reference site below has .reg files you can download and use to make the registry change or you can make the change manually if you are familiar with modifying the registry. If going the manual route, set the DWORD value Attributes to 2 (a value of 1 hides the entry). This value controls the visibility of the option ‘Console lock display off timeout’ under Advanced Power Settings.


To modify the timeout setting, go to Power Options, choose ‘Change Plan Settings’, and then choose ‘Change advanced power settings’. Under Display, you will now see the option ‘Console lock display off timeout’.



Recently an external DVD drive was not accessible using Windows 8.1.  The device didn't show up in explorer and device manager indicated "Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged" and it indicated "Code 19" as additional information.[more]

I tried uninstalling and then scanning for hardware changes but the same error occurred.

Finally, I found a technet article that showed promise ( which linked to if the offending device is a CD or DVD drive.

Even though the subsequent article indicates it is for Vista, the solution worked for Windows 8.1. Of course, I saved a copy of the applicable registry subkey before making any changes - just in case I needed to undo my changes. However, the change fixed the problem.


A Windows 8 machine was being backed up with the Windows 7 backup. The backup completed all the file level backup but it failed backing up the system image. I found various articles indicating that the problem was in creating the shadow copy, and apparently it tries to create the shadow copy on the system partition instead of the larger “C” partition (in this case). In this case, the system partition (partition #1 on the physical disk 0) was 1GB and the C drive (partition #2 on the physical disk 0) is about 450GB. [more]

I used the partition program Mini Partition Home Edition V7.7 (downloaded from to resize the C drive smaller, then shift it so the system partition can grow contiguously. I increased the system partition size to 2.5GB. Then, the Windows 7 backup program ran to completion and backed up the system image also.

In using the Mini Partition program, I had to remove all USB drives from the system. If USB drives are found, then the Partition Wizard will error out when it reboots to apply the partition changes. This problem is discussed in the FAQ’s for the Partition Wizard found here:


I have an external drive I use from time to time with various types of files.  I thought it would be interesting to see how Windows indexing would handle files and information on the external drive, so I checked its checkbox in the indexing options and let it index the drive.  Sometime later, I noticed my system disk space was dropping precipitously.  I looked at the disk space use and found the windows.edb database file had grown to more than 100GB.  After I unchecked the external drive in the indexing option and had Windows rebuild the index from scratch, my disk space was back to normal.


I was wanting to create an ad-hoc network on a Windows 8 system, but discovered the “Create an ad hoc network” feature available on prior Windows OS systems is not available on Windows 8.  However, I found in Window 8 you can use the Network Shell (netsh) utility to create a virtual wireless network (WLAN).

  1. First you need to verify your network interface supports virtualization.  Open a command prompt (with administrative privileges) and run “netsh wlan show drivers” – look to see if “Hosted network supported” is “Yes”
  2. Enter the following command to configure the wireless network “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=<name> key=<password>
  3. Now start the hosted network by running “netsh wlan start hostednetwork”


Microsoft has started to roll out new functionality for touch screen devices in windows 8.  On my personal Windows 8 system, I noticed I had updates to apply.  I applied the updates and my desktop was slow coming back up, somehow this new functionality got invoked and my computer started to narrate my keystrokes.  I was briefly caught off guard until some research uncovered this new Microsoft feature.


Crucial M500 SSDs support self-encrypting drive (SED) technology which allows BitLocker for Windows 8 to simply be used for encryption key management rather than software-based encryption.  Out of the box, the drive encrypts all written data and decrypts all read data - and functions like a non-SED drive until key management software like Windows 8 (and Server 2012) BitLocker is used. [more]

When you turn BitLocker on using Windows 8 and a compliant SSD like the M500, you don't have to wait for the whole disk to be rewritten and it's encrypted.  Thus, you can encrypt the whole drive in a couple of minutes or less.  As far as BitLocker and Windows is concerned, it functions just like traditional non-SED drives do regarding pre-boot passwords, recovery keys, etc. 

An interesting spec is Crucial states their SSDs are designed to support 72TB total bytes written (TBW) - which is equal to 40GB per day for 5 years.  It stands to reason that if you don't have to rewrite every byte of an SSD when you use BitLocker to encrypt or decrypt the whole drive, it should help the life expectancy of the drive. 

So, since the drive I/O specs include the hardware encryption overhead, you lose no performance whatsoever when you implement whole disk encryption using BitLocker for Windows 8 on these drives. 

A very basic description of Crucial M500 encryption can be found at 

More specs are available (since this is a Micron drive) from:


Extended Control Panel:  There is a special hidden feature in Windows 7 (Vista and Windows 8 also) that allows you to show an extended control panel (so called “God” mode). Here you will find a detail list of most things you can imagine and some things you never heard of… about your operating system. [more]

Create a NEW Folder, and rename the folder to “Extended Control Panel.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”

The folder will then change to a blue icon and you will see a list of items to control/administer your operating system.