Sunday, November 25, 2012

How To Simulate Windows 8 Touch Experience on Acer 1810TZ

Many criticize that installing Windows 8 on a non-touch screen workstation is a disastrous decision. It causes horrible user experience as the main screen is Metro interface than the conventional desktop we used to have prior to Windows 8. After I successfully installed Windows 8 onto my Acer 1810TZ, I agree on this to certain extent. The bundled touchpad driver only provides the basic mouse functionality. Adding salt to the wound, it's such a pain to navigate from one edge of the screen to the to other on 1810TZ's small narrow touchpad! Really, I would urge you not to follow my silly decision to upgrade.

Well, the above is true if there's no workaround. And fortunately Synaptics came into rescue. Hit read more to reveal the details.

How To Relocate Windows 8's Users Folder to Another Partition

Whenever I perform upgrade on Windows, I always think about separating the data from system drive/partition. When I say data, I refers to the Users folder where you have your "My Documents", "My Videos" and whatever "My xxx" saved under it. Typically, it's under C:\Users\<your user id>. This is also the folder you should backup before the upgrade. It is kinda easy with registry hack in Windows 7 and prior versions. It's different in Windows 8. Fortunately there is always kind soul that discovered and wrote up the how-to steps for the benefits of Windows 8 community.

The best way to do this is during the installation/upgrade. For my case, I have C drive as system drive and D drive as data drive. Windows 8 installs Users folder to C:\Users and I want to relocate it to D:\Users. I also have to rename the existing D:\Users (from Windows 7) to something else before the new one is created. The method to do the relocation is called Audit Mode, using an answer file in System Preparation (or SysPrep). In summary:
  1. Install Windows 8 half way (until Personalize screen)
  2. Boot into Audit Mode
  3. Prepare your system i.e D drive and answer file
  4. Relocate the Users folder using SysPrep tool
  5. Exit Audit Mode and continue to Personalize screen

OK, shall we get started now?

Windows 8 Boot Up and Shut Down Time

Boot up and shut down times are always the first layman benchmark for a new operating system. The new operating system always scores fairly well for a new PC but not on old PC if users chose the upgrade path.

I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 on my Acer 1810TZ. This lappy came with Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, I upgraded it to Windows 7 Pro as I needed the XP Mode and Offline Files Sync features. Now I am on Windows 8 Pro. Many reviews praise the fast boot up and shut down of Windows 8, let's check out after the break how it performs in 1810TZ.

Windows 8 Upgrade (Advanced User)

This is the follow up post of Windows 8 Upgrade.

I always prefer to have fresh install a.k.a clean install so that I don't bring rubbish over to the new OS. If you prefer this option, you can use the thumb drive installer (that you created from upgrade assistant) to upgrade. Make sure you have all your program installers for re-installation later and make sure your BIOS is set to boot from USB drive...

You will be greeted to select language. Oddly that the downloaded boot image only allows me to select English (United Kingdom) as my language. This is possibly due to the system locale setting in Windows 7. Anyway, it can be changed later.

Windows 8 Upgrade

Windows 8 has been out for a month. I was reading reviews in order to make my decision whether to hold on to my favourite Windows 7 or jump into Metro interface. The reviews did not help at all as it was a 50-50 split between two extremes - hate it or love it! LoL. I was wondering which side will I be? I moved on to compare its features against Win7 Pro 64 bit on my Acer 1810TZ (yes, this Acer is still serving me well!). One of my requirements is the new Windows must support offline files sync, and I decided to dive into it with the promotional upgrade price USD$40 for Windows 8 Pro Edition.

The upgrade process is quite intuitive. First, head to this link and click "Download Pro...". That will download an upgrade assistant to check compatibility. Before you run the upgrade assistant, make sure you have:
  • checked the system requirements.
  • Windows 8 product key - copy it to a paper, you might need to enter it during the upgrade process.
  • internet connection - you need to download 2GB files.
  • thumb drive with minimum 2GB space - to create a backup installer. Data inside will be formatted during the disk creation process.
  • minimum 20GB of free space on system drive (drive C)
  • backup, backup, backup - backup your files off the PC. Or use Windows' system repair utility to create an image in case you need to revert.

Run the installer after download and it will begin the upgrade process...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MotoActv: How To Get Better Map

The maps bundled with the MotoActv might not be detailed enough. If you live in a new area, you probably get a blank display with no topology and roads. Plus, the watch did not bundle with Malaysia and Singapore maps as I bought it from the States, so I have to download the maps from

But Motorola do not provide frequent update especially maps outside of US.

Fortunately, there is a workaround and it's very simple, provided you have an Android device. Read the steps after the break.