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Windows 7, Windows 8.1 & Windows 10 ISO Download – MS Official Links (Product Key not included)

Just like we did some weeks ago with MS Office we share here a list of official URLs to download the ISO images of the most recent versions of Windows OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Don’t worry, this is not warez or pirate software: all of these URLs come from the official Microsoft installation tools or are a link to download the tool itself. This also means that if you want to activate the software after installing it you still need to purchase a valid Product Key (not included) from the Microsoft Store or from any official reseller.

If you want to download the ISO images for the latest versions of Microsoft Office (Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 365) you can also check this post.

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Startup folder location on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 2012 Server

Do you remember the Startup folder, where users and administrators – and also malware and other malicious software – could put shortcuts in order to execute certain programs on system startup? Since Windows 8 – with the Start menu gone for good – that folder was quickly forgotten in favor of more robust, service-based approaches, to the point it was nearly forgotten.

Despite all this, the folder is still there, up and “running”: it’s just that the new GUI is designed in a way that prevents us to accidentally stumble upon it like we were used to. Here are its upated filesystem paths.

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Windows 8: Disable Auto-Restart after Updates feature

UPDATE: If you need to do this for Windows 10, read here.

Windows updates are generally a good thing, except when they force the shutdown process giving you no chances to do anything about it except save your work. We’re talking about the dreadful “Restarting in XX minutes, YY seconds” countdown message, which happens to be one of the most annoying features of the new operating system, even among those – including me – who actually like it.

Luckily enough, there are some ways to prevent this feature from happening, depending on which version of Windows you’re using, or just to shutdown the countdown.

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Windows 8.1: how to fix Windows Update Error 8024402F

The problem

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely running Windows 8 or 8.1 and also experiencing problems with your Windows Update throwing the 8024402F error.

windows-update-error-8024402F

The issue has been addressed in a number of threads (see Other resources below), most of them offering some regedit script patches to fix common configuration errors; there is even an official Windows Update Repair Tool by Microsoft who can automatically solve most of them.

The thing is… there is a specific – and also rather common – scenario in which none of them seems to be helpful at all.

Here’s what you have to do if you’re one of the lucky ones.

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How to disable the On-Screen Touch Virtual Keyboard in Windows 8

You probably already know that Windows 8 has a nice on-screen virtual keyboard just like any other mobile-ready OSes. Once activated, the keyboard will automatically slide-in every time a textbox field gains focus inside a web browser, a desktop application and so on, giving the user the opportunity to tap and/or make handwriting gestures using the touch-screen:

fuller_keyboard

This handy feature comes up and running in most Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 pre-installed environments such as laptops, HTPCs, etc.; needles to say, there’s plenty of scenarios where we just do not need it. For example, when we already have an hardware keyboard.

Question is: how to effectively turn it off?

The answer is quite simple: the virtual keyboard is part of the “Touch screen keyboard and handwriting panel” local system service). In order to shut it down we need to:

  • Press the Windows Key + W (to open the search panel)
  • Type “services” and press ENTER (to open the local services panel)
  • Scroll down to the “Touch screen keyboard and handwriting panel”service.
  • Click/double click to it and select Stop (to shut down the service).
  • If the service startup is Automatic, you should also change it to Manual in order to prevent the system to restart it upon your next reboot.

Please notice that disabling the aforementioned service will also disable the handwriting service, so you’ll lose handwriting gesture recognition. I’m fairly sure that, as long as you have an hardware keyboard, you mosts likely won’t miss it.

 

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