Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to recovery files from a dead computer (+playlist)

Windows 8: How to bring the start button back

Windows 8 is a great operating system.  That's right, I said it: "Windows 8 is a great operating system."
Its just that the user interface sucks ;-)

With that said, I am going to show you:

  • how to bring the START button back and
  • how to boot into the desktop by default
Part 1: Update to Windows 8.1
Download the Windows 8.1 update from the Windows App Store.

Part 2: Boot into Desktop mode by default
Switch to Desktop Mode (How to:
Once in desktop mode:
1. Right-click any open area in the taskbar, (the grey bar at the bottom) then click Properties.
2. Click the Navigation tab, then check the box next to “go to the desktop instead of Start” when I sign in.
3. Click OK, then reboot. Windows should plunk you right into Desktop.

Part 3: Bring back the Start Button
Here is the best trick I can give you, hands down, to get the start button back just like in Windows XP or Windows 7.
Install a great free add-on called "Classic Shell":
Go here:
(The download should start automatically)
Once downloaded, run and install "ClassicShellSetup….exe"
That will put a button like the old start button on your desktop.
That’s it. Now your Windows 8 PC should boot into the Desktop by default and have the old start button just like in Windows 7 / XP

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What is Google Apps?

Question:  What is Google Apps?
One of the most common conversations I have with Small (and sometimes Medium) Business owners is how Google Apps can help them power their business and take it to the next level.
However, trying to explain Google Apps to someone who has never used it is almost impossible.


Here is an Excellent Overview video on Google Apps from Google themselves.
If you are a small business owner and are looking into Google Apps, have a look.
Oh and if you have any questions about Google Apps, please ask in the comments area below and I will be sure to get back to you:

Google Apps: Setting up Google Apps for Small Business

Setting up Google Apps can be a little intimidating for the first time.
Having gone through this experience, I have tracked down an excellent video that steps you through the process.
Have a look and let me know if you have any questions by posting in the comments area below.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to design a cooling solution for a server room

If you're reading this article, you probably have a server room that you are struggling to keep cool. Recently, I ran into the same problem on server room consisting of 3 racks and about 80 servers. After a few days of research, I decided to pay a visit to some friends of mine over at to run the problem past them. Needless to say, they have been in the hosting business for a while and had lots of tips for me. Let me cut to the chase, before you start calculating your BTU needs or looking at split vs packaged AC systems have a look at the following video from Intel on the subject:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Connecting Entourage 2008 to Exchange 2007

I was doing some training on Mac's and I ran into a very hard one to solve so I am posting the solution on my blog in case someone else runs into the same issue.

Getting Entourage 2008 working with Exchange 2007 (bundled with Small Business Server 2008 in this case) is oddly confusing.
In the end, here is how I got it working:

Just in case your account name is different from your email address you need to use the email address:
Username:                      bobmarley
Active Directory Domain:  contoso.local
Email address:      
OWA URL:             
The proper format for the "Exchange server" field is in Entourage is:
What is strange is that is URL doesn't really exist.  You would expect it to be: 
But that's not the way it works.

The URL that works is a standard from the Exchange 2003 days.
By default, the OWA URL used in Exchange 2003 is:
"" not 
(In Exchange 2007 the URL changed from "Exchange" to "OWA")

Its just a guess but I assume that the developers were working with Exchange 2003 when they were coding Entourage 2008 so they followed the Exchange 2003 OWA URL Format.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Windows Home Server: How to configure a Mac

These resources are a little tricky to track down so I have created a post that contains links to all the resources you need to connect a MAC to a Windows Home Server:

How to configure a MAC to remotely run the Home Server Console:

How to Connect a MAC to a Windows Home Server:

How to configure Time Machine:
Note:  If you want to use a network folder to store your Time Machine Backups you'll need to download a program called iTimeMachine for your Mac.

At the time of this writing you could download it from here:
I had problems using a Windows based computer for the network folder for TimeMachine.
I have talked to Mac users that are using TimeCapsule or other Mac based products for the network storage for TimeMachine and they haven't reported any problems.

HP's Guide on Windows Home Server and Mac:

How to Mount a network drive on a Mac:
Connect to the server on your Mac. Now, on your Mac, from Finder's Go menu, choose "Connect to Server." Enter the IP address you just obtained from your PC, preceded by smb://, as shown:

UPDATE: To use your PC's name instead of IP address, replace the number with the name. So if your PC's name is "MyWindowsBox", you'd use smb://mywindowsbox (not case-sensitive).

If it finds your server, you'll get prompted to enter your network credentials - by default, your Windows username and password:

Once you're in, you'll get to choose which shared folder you want to mount on your Mac. In this case, we're going to choose the "PC - My Docs" share:

And you're done! Now the "PC - My Docs" folder will be mounted on your Mac, and accessible from your desktop and in Finder. If you've allowed reading and writing to the shared folder in Windows, you can drag and drop and save files to it as if it were any disk.

This technique comes in very handy for backing up your Mac's data to a PC, too - just set your Mac's backup software destination to the Windows drive. Also, using Hamachi, you can also do this over the internet when you're away from home.

UPDATE: You can automatically mount your Windows drive every time you login to your Mac by adding it to your Login items. In System Preferences, Accounts, choose the "Login Items" tab and add the Volume to the list of apps that automatically start up