Windows 8.1 Pro RTM Tips and What’s New

With the release of of  Windows 8.1 Microsoft have added many new features and keyboard shortcuts, some of which I will try and cover here in the hope that it may help someone somewhere..!


Windows 8.1 (Professional) asks for a license key before you can proceed with any install.  It also seems to want you to enter your Microsoft account details or create a new one if you do not have one. 

Start Screen

The start screen has not changed much on initial viewing. 


All Apps

There is a down arrow on the bottom left of the screen which takes you to a list of all applications, this is also mirrored in the Windows Server 2012 R2 release. 


Naming icon groups is also a bit more accessible and intuitive, by right clicking any icon an option appears at the top to name the group.  Previously one had to zoom out and right click the group they wanted to rename.



Tile Sizing

There are now four tile size options where previously there were only small and large for tiles that support these sizes only.  Here is the largest option for the supported weather tile.


The smallest option for the same tile.  The SkyDrive tile to the right is the default of medium.



Windows+S for Search

The Search (everywhere) box pops out on the right hand side of the screen as shown below.


Only problem with this for me is that I use One Note and use the screen clipping function of Windows+S a LOT.   I have changed mine to Windows+A as it was next to S and not in use for anything.  So in order to get around this I found various articles on the internet and put my findings here. 

  • Open Registry Editor, Navigate to
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\OneNote\Options\Other
  • Create a new DWORD and select Decimal and enter the ASCII code for the letter you want to use.  In my case I used A which is 65 for Windows+A. image

Restart One Note.

The trickiest part is getting used to the change !

Proper Shutdown

As Windows 8 and 8.1 do not properly shut down the computer (not the full kernel)  when shut down from the GUI using the charms bar.  There may be occasions where you want to shut down the machine properly.  To do this create a shortcut on the desktop with the following text.

shutdown.exe /s /t 0

Save this and I would recommend changing the icon to the Shutdown button via properties of the shortcut.  If you then right click and select save to Start menu it will also appear on your Windows Start Screen.

  • Right click on the desktop and select new short cut,
  • Enter shutdown /s /t 0
  • Name it Proper Shutdown or whatever you want.



  • Save the file and right click properties to change icon
    Close, then right click again and select Pin to start.



This will now show on the start screen




The Windows+F features opens a search box for FILE searching as opposed to the S option which searches everything.



Integrated SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro

Windows 8.1 now has SkyDrive baked into the OS.  Previously one had to download the desktop app, configure it and view options in the task bar.  Now SkyDrive appears in Windows Explorer and right clicking this allows access to it and location change settings.

Other options are available from the start screen if you type SkyDrive you will have access to storage settings and sync settings as well as options to buy more storage !

SkyDrive Pro lets you Sync up with SharePoint libraries

Once you have given it a URL of a SharePoint library to sync with a shortcut appears while it syncs in the background.



The “Start” Button


Show Desktop on Start

To change Windows default behaviour of opening up the start screen and change to desktop mode when Windows starts right click anywhere on the task bar and select properties.

Click the Navigation Tab, and select “When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start


Two new start menu options

Now when you right click the new start button (previously bottom left of screen) there are two new options which are Network Connections and Shutdown or sign out.  It was easy in Windows 8 via CTRL+F4 but not very intuitive so this is a nice addition.

comparing Windows 8.0 start menu (left) to windows 8.1 (Right).



Hyper-V Generation 2 Virtual Machines

Hyper-V in Windows 2012 R2 and in Windows 8.1 introduces the Generation 2 specification for virtual machines which aims to move away from legacy features and requirements for virtual machines which have been around for many years.  Generation 2 adds new features such as support for PXE booting from a virtual SCSI disk rather than the old legacy adaptor which was required when using PXE network installation images.  Increased bandwidth offered by SCSI allows faster performance as well as being the default disk type.

See comparison of Generation 1 VM on the left with Generation 2 on the right which has no IDE interface.


specifying the Generation ID of virtual Machines in hyper-V in Windows 8.1


Note Generation 2 VMs can only support X64 editions of Windows 2012 R2 and Windows 8 and they can not be converted to Generation 1 VMs after build.  Also Generation 2 machines can not be migrated to older Hyper Visors such as those that ship with 8.0 or Windows 2012.

IE 11 Compatibility Mode

From IE press F12 to get the develop tools.  Use the User Agent String to change the browser behaviour as shown here :-



Overall Verdict

I think 8 was fantastic in what it was trying to do but had some serious work to do to content with the almighty Windows 7 OS.  Windows 8 brought a new look and feel as well as the excellent Hyper-V features.  My opinion is that Windows 8.1 is now the finished product which feels a lot more smoother and definitely a lot more stable.  It is much more refined and reliable and as a result very pleasant to use.   I have not tried touch screen as yet but the app arrangement looks a lot better too.  

I would call Windows 7 AND Windows 8 legacy Operating systems, controversial I know.  If you are considering a solid platform for your organisation and are considering Windows 8 then windows 8.1 might save the day for you.  I may review 8.1 Enterprise when it RTMs and purely focus on the Enterprise features.

I hope you found this useful, if there are some good tips you think people may like then feel free to post them and I can add them to the article.

Have you tried 8.1 and how do you find it ?


Togaf Certification exam tips and some notes


Today (April 19th 2013) I passed the combined Level 1 and Level 2 certification exam OG0-093 on Togaf Enterprise Architecture after many weeks of reading and preparing for it. I thought I would write this in an attempt to point people in the right direction.

What is Togaf ?

“TOGAF®, an Open Group Standard, is a proven Enterprise Architecture methodology and framework used by the world’s leading organizations to improve business efficiency.” Read on here..

Studying for Togaf

You can attend a course such as the one I did which was run by “Architecting the Enterprise” in London or you can self-study. The course provides a good introduction and a chance to talk with others, partake in some role playing exercises and ask questions which you miss out on if you only use self-study. The course notes I was given also included the whole Togaf 9.1 Specification in HTML format which was VERY helpful.

Study Materials

I also used the following study guide before and after the course.


This book provides a really good overview and all that is required for the level one exam (as it is intended). Some good questions and examples are included with each chapter and at the end of the book. This book should be all you need really to pass the level 1 certification.

For the level 2 certification you really need to study the Togaf specification available on the Open Group Website. Luckily I was given them for personal training use as part of my course.

The notes are available as a PDF, HTML online access version or book to purchase. There are free versions which require membership of The Open Group and there are also commercial versions for use internally in your organisation. There is also a license to purchase if you intend to adopt the framework commercially with your clients.


What do you need to study?

Some examples of the areas for study and the depth to which you should know the material are given below.

  • All the level 1 material which includes the ADM, Core concepts the inputs and outputs of each phase.
  • What are the core concepts of Togaf and their purpose?
  • E.g. Learn what an Architecture Repository is, what makes up the repository, WHY do we need one and what is its relationship to the Enteprise Continuum.

  • You will need a solid understanding of Architecture Principals and Risk Activities defined in Togaf.
  • Learn the purpose of each ADM phase and each core component such as what is the purpose of the content framework, what IS the Enterprise Continuum.
  • Learn all of the important definitions such as:-
    •          What is a conformant architecture vs a compliant architecture?
    •          What makes up an Architecture Principal and what each element means and how they are referred to and why.
    •          Each part from II (ADM) to Vii (Capability Framework)

The Exam Process

The exam is an online one which can be booked through any Authorised Prometric Test Center. There are 40 questions in Level 1of which you need to get 55% (22 questions) correct.

After question 40 the exam jumps straight into Level 2 which consists of 8 scenario based questions with no option to return to level 1. The left side of the screen was the scenario and the right was the multiple choice answer options. To pass you need 24 out of 40 points or 60%. For Level two each of the 4 options per question are graded as 5 points for the correct answer, 3 for the next closest answer followed by 1 and 0.

The total time limit is 150 minutes with 60 minutes for Level 1 and 90 for Level 2.

The level 2 exam is also open book and a PDF is provided as a button to view the spec if required.

Exam Tips

I have included some tips here which should help you along the way to certification.

  • Ideally learn with someone else who you can talk to and quiz each other. I had this during the course only.
  • Work through the modules using the official Togaf spec as mentioned above. The modules are listed here..
  • This one alone helped me the most. Pick an area you feel you do not fully understand and ask yourself questions like:-
  • o Where does this part fit in?

o What does it relate to?

o Who by and when is it used?

o What is its official definition and purpose

Feel free to post other links and useful tips here for others to pick up.

All the best and good luck in your studies !