Windows 10 : How to play DVD without buying the app!

Home from Walmart? by Dave Lawler

Home from Walmart? by Dave Lawler

Windows 10 upgrade

If you have upgraded but missed the chance to get the free Windows 10 DVD Player from Microsoft.  It’s trying to get the users who don’t know any better to buy the app instead of finding the free versions that are available on the web.   I am going to show you two different ways to be able to run you DVD’s on Windows 10 without having to shell out any money to Microsoft.   I’ve used Windows 10 Preview version for Months, now and have come to the conclusion that if you can get past the privacy issues, it isn’t really a bad system.  I’m not really happy with how they are doing the get app idea because I can still download apps and install them like normal, so why do I need an App store?

K-Lite Codec Pack

This little pack has been used by me and others for several years at least.  It comes with a little old Windows Media Player Classic(Came with Windows XP, I believe) application that has been test by me to work with Windows 10.   A warning for those who don’t read the installation messages, they want to install to programs that can be consider crap-ware (If it is a term) that you should just click DECLINE on both.   I also suggest installing The Full version or even the Mega version of K-lite Codec Pack, even though the standard also has the Media Player Classic in it, you might as well make sure you have all the codecs that you might need.  Once installed, you might not find the application in your start menu and the only way I found it is by searching for it.  It however is in the K-lite Codec Pack, when you go to All Apps on your Start button.

In truthfulness, this seems to work the best in Windows 10, so far.   However if you prefer a much more open source option.

Unblock the Internet for TV and websites with VPN4ALL

VideoLAN Player (VLC)

This one comes packed with VLC Media Player and has a little of a learning curve for the ones who have never used anything else but Windows Media Player or even the Windows Media Center.   You can do several different things like stream videos to a TV or on the internet.   You can capture and record off of a DVD.   That however has problems for those who do it.   The problem is that it can be consider breaking copyright and you could get in trouble.   I still love to use Handbrake to all that stuff anyways.  It just makes it much simpler and easy for those who have never done it before.  The only real benefit to use VLC is that you know people are looking at the code and might help keep your system safe.  If you know how to use VLC then go at it with playing DVD’s but if you’re a newbie, I’d suggest sticking with the Classic Player and using that.   Far less problematic for those who have never used anything else but that.

Lastly

As you can see there are plenty of options available to those who have no choice but to use Windows 10.   I’ve only touched on two applications that can be used to do DVD playback on Windows 10 but there are certainly even more options and applications out there that might fit your need.   If you like this post please consider liking the post and liking my Facebook Page.  Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, so you can keep up to date on when I post new content!

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Keeping Windows 10 upgrade away! (How To)

Bill Gates: The Windows portrait by Charis Tsevis

Bill Gates: The Windows portrait by Charis Tsevis

The Windows 10 Upgrade!

If you running Windows 8, 8.1, or even Windows 7, then you probably have seen the nag icon or the nag screen when you update windows 8, and 8.1.  In the early part of this year, Microsoft will upgrade the update from “Optional” to “Recommended“.  The problem with this is that if you don’t have your windows machine to show you the updates and let you choice the updates you want, you will install Windows 10 without knowing it.   This will prove to be a big problem for some because you might lose all you pictures or important files.  If you are like me then you should already have disabled automatic updating.  That however is only a small step to prevent Windows 10 upgrades.   You will have to go through the updates as they come and make sure that the upgrade isn’t HIDDEN in the updates and that can be troublesome!

I don’t want Windows 10!

There are many third-party applications to help hide the nag icon and some of Windows 8 or 8.1 nags.   I am going to share with you a few Third party applications that will help remove the nagging icon and might help you prevent from getting the upgrade all together.  I have used one myself for all my computers because it worked well for me.

  • I Don’t want Windows 10 — this one seems to work with Windows 10 Home, and Professional.   Since I don’t have Windows 8, or 8.1 I can’t be sure!  It removed the nag icon on my Windows 7.
  • GWX Control Panel  — Newest third party application that seems to be the talk of the town right now.
  • Windows 10WiWi — This one is also seems to be talked about but haven’t tried it yet!

Windows 10!

In all truthfulness I been using Windows 10 Preview Version on my Desktop and haven’t  had much problem with it.   I however believe that the end-user should have choices and not be pushed, bullied, or even nagged about upgrading to a newer version of Windows when their windows system is working just!   I will probably upgrade to Windows 10 on my laptop later on this year before the free upgrade expires but I am going to wait till it get closer to the end because then it will be much stabler for an old laptop!  So I will just have to wait!

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Why I started using Audible and Some Audible Suggestions!


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[*] Website disclosure

I love Audible.com!

I’ve used Audible [*] for the Past month, to help me get some house work done. It has been a really enjoyable.  The reason I started using Audible was a simple one, I got tired of going to the Library to borrow one of their books just to come back later on to borrow it again.  I seem to be have a few favorite books that I like to go back and listen from time to time.   With Audible, once I own it, I can listen to it as many times I want in my lifetime.   I also like the fact that I get a new book credit every month and this can go towards even the most expensive books that you normally would be buying at cost.

Audible and me!

I started this journey a month ago, for the fact that I have wanted to get away from renting audio books from the library and because they tend to not have all the right selections for my taste.     I’m an avid Science Fiction fan and Audible has the best possible selections for me.  I also tend to use these audible books as I am walking a treadmill or walking around the neighborhood to get me my daily exercise.  There is so much TV I can watch at the Gym, and this just make it that much more interesting for me!

The other fact of the matter is that there are several science fiction audible books that are in the Young Adults science fiction section of the library.  I usually get a look or two from the clerks when I borrow audio books such as the Harry Potter Series [*] or Honor Harrington Series [*], which both considered Young Adult in some libraries!

Some of my Audible Wish Lists are:

So I wanted to give you a few recommendations to listen to on Audible.   I havent listened to all of these but they do look quite interesting once I get all my Harry Potter series.  I’ll start listening to these after that!

I also must say all of those links, are Amazon Affiliate Links, and It cost you nothing to buy these books but I get a small commission every time you use these!  This is just a small list of books or series that I want to buy on Audible.com [*] and then I will be able to listen to them at my leisure and I must say it getting better and better every time I start listening to one of these series!

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Windows 10 and Version 10586, What you really Should know!

Microsoft Windows 10 by Global Panorama

Microsoft Windows 10 by Global Panorama

Windows 10 Preview 10586

I’ve been in the Windows 10 Preview club for over a year now and it looks like they are getting better at some of it. While on the side of drivers, Printers, and Monitors, we still have some problems to work out. I’ve been absent the last few weeks due to having some family and medical issues to work out. So we are going to talk about the problems that I have seen and what they have done to fix some of the problems about Windows 10.

Manufacturer Drivers Resetting

If you have a special driver for Printers, or even Video drivers that are from the manufacturer and not from Microsoft, you will need to keep the driver file someplace on you computer for when you have a new OS upgrade from Microsoft.   I went from 10565 to 10586, When you upgrade, you will always have the drivers from Microsoft installed and not the ones that you have installed.   So you will need to re-install all the drivers that you might need for you devices.  Driver Backup will help alleviate the problem for some.   I haven’t had much problems with this little utility but it doesn’t do automatic backups!

drbackup1

Display Resolution resetting

If you use a different resolution on your Monitor other than the most common 800 x 600 display setting.   After upgrading to a newer version on Windows 10, you will have go back and change the settings back to the resolutions you like.  This seems to be a hit and miss problem to some because it isn’t happening to everyone who updates their Windows 10 OS to the newest version.   I haven’t figured out how to fix the problem but maybe someone else has!

Windows 10

Seems to be developing better and working better but It still isn’t perfect.  I am sure that in the coming builds they will possibly fix some of these minor problems and hopefully we will have a more stable operating system.   Until then we just have to work around the flaws.  If they do we will find out really soon!

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The Roku Streaming Stick is Evil!

Roku 3500R Streaming Stick (HDMI)

Back Story!

I usually don’t do what they call an impulse buy but I was given then really good older 60 inch plasma television and I was wanting to stream my Amazon Prime Movies and Shows on the new screen. So I was at my favorite place Best Buy and I could have bought the Amazon Fire Stick which had everything the Roku had. I used to have the Roku SD Player, and it was the first generation that was the best little black box, you’d could ever have.  So I bought this little streaming stick and thought what could it hurt.   I’ll tell you how later!

Setting Up the Roku Stick

The setting up of the stick was simple sweet.   I did have to go through the process of linking all my accounts that I wanted to use the Roku with.   They would just give me a Code for those services like YouTube, Google Play, Hulu, Pandora and Many More.   There are a few like Netflix and Amazon that required you to enter username and password on the Roku.   The other process of registering your Roku was not anywhere as bad as it used to be.  I’m surprised my account was still active and I didn’t have jump through any hoops to log in.  I did however, decide to update my passwords for the account and that was probably best for my situation.

Amazon Prime

Like I said earlier, I wanted to be able to use my Amazon Prime Membership [*] and watch those shows or movies that aren’t available on Netflix yet or won’t be able available.   Some of the shows that I have binged are really old shows like 7th Heaven, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, Fringe, and Warehouse 13.   As you can see these are some old science fiction shows but hey I loved them and still do.   There are several shows or movies that I dare not mention just because there are too many.   I even bought a few shows on Amazon in the early days like ER and Trauma.   I could go on and on about why this is such a good blend to have instead of just having Netflix.

It’s Evil I tell you!

After a few days of just having it, I was just addicted to it.   I was bingeing on all the old shows and movies that I haven’t seen or was able to watch on Netflix.   It’s a disease I tell you.   I finally was able to pull myself away to even write this blog post.   There are so many things you can do with this little stick and even get HD videos on the tv with this.   I was just amazed at how well it was streaming to my TV even with me only have a 15 Mbps download speed.   It didn’t skip or stop at all while streaming these shows and movies to my big plasma tv.  I am going to try to get some work done now with the house but if you really must have a multipurpose streaming stick this would be one that I’d recommend to anyone who might want to cut the cord even more.   I am sure I’m not the only one who recommends this little beauty to watch your favorite shows on a big screen.  There is a Roku remote App on Google play if your interested, if you lose your remote.   It can be quite handy.  Please remember to “Do no Evil”.   I guess I will be working on that part over time with this stick.  Want to buy it, just click here [*].   Remember anything you buy with this link will help support my site and cost you nothing.

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Reviewing N300 Wifi USB Adapter

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[*] Website disclosure

The N300

You would think that The N300 Wifi USB Adapter[*], That I bought at Best Buy, could just easily plug into your computer and it would just work.  You’d be making a mistake to do that without at least installing the drivers. The Drivers for the Stick is on a DVD and is 123 MB but I compressed it to 100 Megabytes of information to make sure I always have a copy of it (WNA3100_N300_USB_Drivers) in the cloud for Emergency!   The Good news about this USB device, it can keep up with my Internet Service Provider (ISP) and I get the same speed down that I would be if I was using Cat5[*] or Cat6 Cables[*].  Which is saying a good deal nice for my system.   I am using the Netgear N600 Dual Band Router[*] that I bought a few months ago and it has always been that fast with my current cable provider.  So that was a nice touch with them.  I usually get anywhere from 15 Mbps to 20 Mbps Download Speeds and .75 Mbps to 2.0 Mbps Upload speeds. So it hasn’t been much of a change for me.

The Cradle

The N300 Wifi USB Adapter[*] is very handy for those who has their desktop hidden underneath the desk or blocked by cabinets and other such things that might interfere with Signal strength.  So that is a great plus for those who might worry about get the best possible signal with your place in mind.   The downside is the light on the USB Stick, can be bothersome to those who have their desktop in their rooms.   You will see the blue light flashing as you try to sleep and that could cause some sleepless nights unless you do what  I did and just cover the light with Black Electrical Tape [*] which prevents you from seeing that light.  You will also need to just cover the sides with it to.   I just wouldn’t cover it all the way up.   I am guessing this helps keep the stick from getting to hot.  It would be nice to have a software enable / Disable setting  to turn of that light and keep it from blinking.   It however tells you the adapter is working like it should.

Streaming Media and Gaming

My kids love to use the desktop to stream Youtube and play Minecraft with with it.  It doesn’t slow them down when the stream the Youtube videos to the Hisense 32″ Smart TV [*] using the Chromecast extension on Google Chrome.   Downloads and playing on the system with Minecraft for them has been nothing but fun.   It hasn’t slowed down yet or even been that laggy for them.   I like to use the Desktop and stream my Amazon Prime Membership [*] to the Chromecast and be able to watch even more shows for free.  I’ve been able to stream in HD with no difficult to the TV and seems to work just nicely as if I was streaming it from a Amazon Fire Stick [*], which is something I am looking into getting!

Bottom line

This seemed to be the best possible alternative than buying 50 feet of Cat5 cables or even Cat 6 cables that would have been around the same amount if not more expensive.   So I am really happy with my decision to buy this little stick and use it on my Windows 10 Machine!   I’d recommend this to anyone looking to cut the cord per say and go all wireless.   You might have some speed differences if you have a really fast ISP but it is all about what you’re looking to carry out with moving to wireless.   There are better Wireless cards that can be bought to accomplish this also but they are more expensive.   This USB solution is good for the low-end user who just want to save money.

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How to Re-install Windows 10 Insider’s Preview!

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Verifying information

Check your Microsoft Account to see what version your device is on the Microsoft servers!  Click on Devices in your Microsoft Account settings. Looking for your PC Name and Windows 10 Pro Version 10.0.10240.xxxxx.

Win-Version-MS1

After Verifying with the Server, you should also check your system to make sure it is the one that Microsoft has verified. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System. You can easily get to the Control panel by just typing it in the search bar at the bottom, the one that says “Search the web and Windows“.  You will need this information to find out which Windows 10 you will need to install.  It will be either Windows 10 Home (32 or 64 Bit) or Professional (32 or 64 Bit).   You may also want to go and find out your Product Key for your Windows 10.   That can easily be done by download Produkey and running that.  It will tell you the keys needed to enter when re-installing Windows, if your not an insider that is.  If your an Insider this is not needed because Microsoft will activate using your login information from the Microsoft Live servers.

Win-Version-MS2
Media Creation Tool

Next is needed is to create the DVD or USB Windows 10 Boot disk.  This where you start the process of creating the boot able disc or USB and using that to re-install windows.  Assuming you have everything on the current system all backed up.  Then this is the step needed to create the the system setup.   You either have a choice of download 32 bit or 64 bit, just get the one right for your system.   See above for details on that.   I suggest downloading the 64 bit.  Run the Program and select “Create Installation Media for Another PC“.   Depending on the version you need (Home, Professional, or if you need a Single language Windows installed) and the type of operating system you will need such as 32 bit or 64 bit, then is where you should choose BOTH, under architecture..  I got a 8 Gigabyte USB thumb drive that I installed this onto and that way I can install it on either a 32 bit or 64 bit system.  However if you just looking to install this on a 32 bit system, download the 32 bit media creation tool.  You will need a minimum of 4 gigabytes of space on either DVD or USB to do this.

Boot with Windows 10 Setup

Time to boot into the newly created Windows 10 setup menu, either disc or USB, and start the process of installing a Windows 10 onto the computer that needs it. Depending on how you partitioned your hard drive, this could be simple or hard but your not doing this because you a beginner, I hope not.  You’ll want to choose custom install and then formation the windows partition and install Windows 10 cleanly over it.   It could take several minutes to as long as half an hour.  I’ve not seen it take much longer than that.

Product key (Non-Insiders)

For non-insiders, this is where you bring out the key that you recently discovered by using ProduKey, and input the key when asked from Windows 10. If your don’t have it, you might try installing it like an Insider and Microsoft may activate your system without a key.

Product Key (Insiders)

When asked for the product key twice click “SKIP“, then the second time click “Do this later“. This will auto activate.

When you are asked to sign into your Microsoft account, just sign in after you boot Windows 10 before making a local account.   This will bypass the problems that most people are having and just let the system auto Activate your account.   I was able to get the preview versions without much problems doing it this way!

For Insiders

Finally, change your update advanced settings to:

  • Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update windows.
  • Click [Get Insider builds],
  • change the settings to FAST.
  • [Reboot]

Once all this is done you should be ready to go with your freshly clean system and hopefully all those errors and problems you were getting are gone for the time being.   You’ll also want to update Windows 10 to fix security holes and other such things.   That should be automatic but at least your starting a new.

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Windows 10 : First feature updates coming soon!

Dave Dugdale - Trying out Windows 10

Dave Dugdale – Trying out Windows 10

Windows 10

It only seemed a few weeks in and we are now hearing rumors of features that we will be seeing next month or so. It will be ahead of the 3 month window but we’ve already heard from people about Windows 10 problems and that these feature updates will help stabilize the problems.  I’m not sure what will be updated but I’ve heard from a really good friend who works for MS and they are saying the most common problems they are seeing are compatibility issues with drivers and hardware.   This first feature will help elevate some of problems.

Feature packs

These are what Microsoft is calling the Uber service packs or really big updates.   They haven’t really said what will be in these but I’ve gotten insights that it will be more stuff that Microsoft didn’t have the chance to install when they initially sent out the Windows 10 operating system.  it does seem they should have done more testing but that is beside the point.   I can’t wait to see what they will do.   They also released the Insiders Preview for those of us that are helping to make it a better operating system (10525).   It seems to be more stable and a little more usable   I also got rid of the Critical error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t Working, after installing this update.   So this update seems to have fixed that problem and maybe it should fix others.

When?

I would assume sometime next month or sometime in November.   They might release it a little bit earlier due to the problems customers are having with this RTM but it will obviously be something that will be released over the updates and we can assume it is only a matter of time before they fix this for the RTM.   I’ve been using the insiders Preview since Feburary and haven’t had much problems with it on both my Lenovo Laptops and Dell Desktop with (I3 2.3ghz speed).   We can only hope and wait for the updates to fix some of the problems associated with this RTM.

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Windows 10 Most Common Problems : Is Microsoft really to Blame?

Windows 10 Upgrade by Raymond Shobe

Windows 10 Upgrade by Raymond Shobe

Windows 10 Problems

We’ve seen several different problems from Start menu and Cortana aren’t working to The Dreaded error codes.  I’ve been on the Microsoft Answers Page for several weeks and have seen many different views about how to fix some of the problems in Windows 10.  I have seen some major flame wars in the Microsoft Answers page about the problems of Windows 10.   I just can’t seem to grasp why so many are claiming to have problems and that I even had one person say that it is Microsoft Fault and they demand them to fix it!

Compatibility Issues

Seems to be normal with any new OS.  This is no exception to the rule.   When upgrading to Windows 10, Most if not all programs will need to be updated to be able to use Windows 10.   I’ve seen it a million times when I’ve installed a new OS that is just been recently out for a few weeks.   It isn’t like we are asking the developers to jump through hoops or even be able to keep up with Microsoft.   I’m sure some of the problems are from the Manufacturers and the developers of the programs at hand.   They just haven’t kept up with Microsoft on that part.   I have been an Insider for a while, and I was a BETA Tester for Windows VISTA.   So I have seen all sorts of problems.   Not to mention, Microsoft having to Scrap Windows 9 due to the majority of bugs that they had just in BETA!   I’ve heard so many people say they were distancing themselves from Windows 8 but they just had to throw it out when they started developing Windows 9, due to no legacy support!

Hardware and Driver issues

There are many reasons that may or may not be reproducible on Windows 10 but the best possible way to narrow it down is to down the news drivers for your Display, you adapters, and so on to help reduce the chance that they are the problem that something didn’t install or something isn’t working.   I’m not saying will work all the time but this has been the majority of issues I’ve seen while repairing systems.  Just downloading a driver is usually what fixes the problem in the first place.   You also might want to consider updating your Antivirus Software or even disabling it to help cut that could be the culprit in Windows 10.  Always have a repair disk ready for those times when nothing else works and you can trying re-installing Windows 10 by USB and try to see if this resolves your issue.   Just remember to backup any important files on your system before trying a complete install.

These are the Most common problems I’ve seen with Window’s 10 and repairing them.   Nothing is set in stone but I’m still questioning if Windows 10 is really to Blame or if it is the Manufactures who couldn’t keep up with the FREE distribution of Window’s 10!   After all we had similar problems with Windows 8.0 and 8.1, so I am inclined to think it isn’t Microsoft Fault about the speed of the Vendors.

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Fixing the “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working.”

CriticalError-Windows10

Critical Errors

It seems that I am not the only one who had this problem is Windows 10. You just have to Google “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working.” and you come up with so many solutions to fix the problem that is if any of them work for you.  So I wanted to put the 3 main fixes on one page for those who don’t want to have to go search for all the possible ways to fix the issue.

Powershell Fix

The powershell fix works for some but sadly it didn’t work for me.   All these commands can easily be access by pressing the Windows key + R, or If you don’t have that CTL + ALT+ DEL and running Task Manager then Selecting FILE > Run New Task .   Here is how to do that:

    1. Open run command, type PowerShell and press enter to open it
    2. Right click on its icon on taskbar and select Run as administrator
    3. Paste the below script Or Type it

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

Wait for the Powershell to complete the process, ignore any errors if displayed in the window. Try to open your Start Menu and / or Cortana and see if this fixed your program, If this doesn’t work.   Try the next Fix.

System File Checker (SFC)

  1. Open Run Command, browse to C:\Windows\System32 and Find cmd.com
  2. Right Click that and run that as Administrator
  3. TYPE SFC /SCANNOW

It should start-up and it may take several minutes to complete.  Once done, Reboot your system and see if your System is working.  Although if it says it found corrupt files, it might be time to use Spinrite and check your other sectors of the hard before it is too late.

Microsoft Config Program (MSCONFIG)

This is Microsoft [Amazon Affiliate Link] suggestion on how to fix the problem.   It worked for me and it might fix your problem also.   It however is a not a temperament fix and thus the problem might come back in a few hours to days.   Usually this type of error is a sign of a hard drive problem and thus you should consider checking the HDD [Amazon Affiliate Link] for problems by doing a deep scan of the drive and trying to see if it is the problem in the first place.

  1. Open Run Command, and type MSCONFIG (Enter)
  2. Click on Boot and Check “Safe Boot” and then also check Network Like This:

Msconfig1

 

  1. Reboot and once you’re in Safe Boot Go back to Steps 1 and 2 and un-check “Safe Boot”
  2. Reboot Your System

This however just forces Windows to pull the corrupted files from another location.   So you will need to have the hard drive  [Amazon Affiliate Link] thoroughly checked out or move your OS to another HARD drive if your really don’t want to risk a bigger problem down the road.  This one worked for me and I also did a complete scan with Spinrite which didn’t find any problems but then again.   It just needed to refresh the service.

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