Show more tiles on your Windows 8 and 8.1 start screen

Ok, so I’m slowly getting used to the Windows 8+ tiles mode for the start screen, and I’m admittedly preferring it to the old start menu, or the full blow ‘all apps’ view that’s available as of Windows 8.1.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we could make the tiles smaller?

This is actually an option, but quite a hidden option.

This is my tiles view before:

Windows tiles default view
Windows tiles default view

And here is what they look like after:

Smaller windows tiles
Smaller windows tiles

How do I do it? may ask

Simple, just:

  • Open your charms (put your mouse in one of the left corners, or slide your finger from the right edge of the screen, inward).
  • Select Settings
  • Select Tiles
  • Select Show More Tiles
Show more tiles
Show more tiles

Note: This only applies if you select ‘settings’ whilst in ‘Tiles View’ (i.e. not in desktop mode)

I hope this helps someone :)


Windows 8 thoughts after a day at BUILD 2011

In this post, my fellow friend, colleague, C# Disciple and MVP Marlon Grech gives a good overview of his impressions of Windows 8 and how it will affect the future of computing.

Hop over to the link to see what he thinks -> ‘the link :)

Mounting your SkyDrive in Windows Explorer

In this post, I will go over how to set up your Microsoft Live SkyDrive as a mount in Windows, so that you can use it normally as you would use any networked drive.

The first step is to associate your LiveID with your user account.

  1. Launch the User Accounts control panel
  2. In the sidebar, select Link online IDs
  3. If there is an Online ID Provider of type WindowsLiveID, skip to step 7
  4. Select Add an online ID provider
  5. In the webpage that loads, select download, and then install the downloaded provider.
  6. Close and re-open the user accounts control panel
  7. Next to WindowsLiveID, select update credential… and enter your live id
  8. Launch Microsoft Word 2010, or any office 2010 application
  9. Select File > Save & Send > Save to Web > Sign In
  10. Once connected, select Save As
  11. In the save dialog that pops up… copy the address https://qwrapq….
  12. Cancel and open Windows Explorer
  13. Select Map network drive
  14. Give your drive a letter,. and paste the address that you copied earlier
And that’s all there is to it :) Now your SkyDrive is accessible from any program on your machine as easily as you would use a USB drive.
Has this helped you in any way? Let me know in the comments below :)

Using the original Remote Desktop Client (mstsc) in Windows 8 Developer Preview

If you’re using Windows 8 Developer Preview, you will have noticed that the bundled Remote Desktop Client does not play so well with older machines (Windows 7 and below).

If, like me, you are a constant user of the Remote Desktop Client (a.k.a mstsc, and.a.k.a. Microsoft Terminal Services Client), this can be quite a problem.

Luckily the older remote desktop client is still very alive and kicking in Windows 8 Developer Preview.

  • You can either navigate to C:\Windows\system32 and locate mstsc… and of course just fire it away
  • Or you can run it from your run dialog (WIN+R) as C:\Windows\system32\mstsc.exe
  • Or, you can call up your new fancy Metro-Style start menu (or legacy one if you’ve disabled metro), type mstsc, and voilà, it just pops up
And there you have it… from here on, you can launch it any way you want… create a tile, a short-cut, pin it… the choice is yours :)
That’s what I love most about Windows vs Mac… so many choices :)

Update help content in Visual Studio 11 Dev Preview to point to proper MSDN queries

When Microsoft released Visual Studio 11 Developer Previews (express or ultimate), the REST help query service for VS 11 was not yet deployed, therefore when you hit F1, you are sent to the dev10 (VS 2010) help service, rather than the correct VS 2011 service.

In the meantime Microsoft have now deployed the proper Visual Studio 11 help service on MSDN.

Thankfully, we can update our Visual Studio installation to use this new help service via a simple registry tweak :)

NOTE: If any of the keys are not available in your registry hive, feel free to create them.

For Visual Studio 2011 Express Developer Preview

For 32-Bit:

  1. Launch your registry editor (hit WIN+R, type regedit, hit enter)
  2. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VSWinExpress\11.0\Help]
  3. Add a string value called OnlineBaseURL
  4. Set it’s value to

For 64-Bit:

  1. Launch your registry editor (hit WIN+R, type regedit, hit enter)
  2. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\VSWinExpress\11.0\Help]
  3. Add a string value called OnlineBaseURL
  4. Set it’s value to

For Visual Studio 2011 Ultimate Developer Preview

For 32-Bit:

  1. Launch your registry editor (hit WIN+R, type regedit, hit enter)
  2. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\Help]
  3. Add a string value called OnlineBaseURL
  4. Set it’s value to

For 64-Bit:

  1. Launch your registry editor (hit WIN+R, type regedit, hit enter)
  2. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\Help]
  3. Add a string value called OnlineBaseURL
  4. Set it’s value to
Since Visual Studio caches this key upon launch, you will need to close visual studio and re-open it for the change to take effect.

Disabling USB ports on a Windows machine

If for some reason you want to disable your USB ports, maybe for security reasons, you can do this with a simple registry hack.

  1. Launch your registry editor, by pressing WIN+R and typing regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStor
  3. Change the value of the start key to 4
  4. Reboot your machine
Your USB ports will now be disabled completely.

How to use the Windows Snipping Tool to capture menus and stuff you need to click on

The Windows Snipping Tool is a great little utility… almost as good as the screen capture features found in Mac OS X (I still prefer apple’s implementation of this feature).

Yet it might seem a bit hard to actually ‘snip’ certain items that we need to active either by hovering over them or clicking on them.  Ex. Menus, combo boxes, hover effects, etc…

It turns out that it is actually quite simple, just do the following:

  • Launch the Snipping Tool
  • Hit Esc, or click cancel – basically get out of ‘snipping’ mode
  • Active the menu, combo box, or whatever it is that you want to take a snapshot of
  • Hit the PrtSc (Print Screen) keyboard button…
…and voila… your screen is frozen as it is, and you are free to snip away any section that you want :)