Win8 BTD – [B]oot[T]o[D]esktop

Win8 BTD LogoI already wrote about how you can boot directly into the classic desktop in Windows 8. However those, who do not like to get their hands dirty while working with the Windows registry or just want quickly switch back and forth, should pay me their close attention for a moment. I developed a tiny tool which is called Win8 BTD where BTD stands for Boot To Desktop.

Win8 BTD is a small tool written by me, which does not more or less than to set the appropriate settings in the registry, so that Windows 8 launches directly into the classic desktop. Of course, any changes made can also be undone with a single click, if you would rather want to start again directly into the new tile view.

Download: Win8 BTD – Version


Win8 BTD - [B]oot[T]o[D]esktop Screenshot 1  Win8 BTD - [B]oot[T]o[D]esktop Screenshot 2

The tool requires .NET framework 4.5, which is, however, included in Windows 8. About feedback or requests for changes I would be very happy as always.


How to boot directly to desktop in Windows 8

Meanwhile everybody should have seen or atleast heard of the new user interface which comes with Windows 8. One of the big changes is that your computer will directly boot into the new tile-(start-)menu. I personally do not mind about that, but I’ve heard of many people who would like to boot directly into the (classic) desktop view without beeing confronted with the metro/tile-view at first. Nothing easier than that.

To boot directly into the classic desktop, only one value needs to be adjusted in the registry. What it is and how it needs to be changed, I want to show you briefly below.

Step 1:


At first you have to open the registry. (Therefore either search for “regedit” in the apps menu or start the “Run as”-dialog by pressing Win+R and then enter “regedit”.)

Step 2:


Navigate to the following key (as shown in the screenshot above):

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

There you will find a key-value-pair with the name “Shell”.

Step 3:

windows_8_direkt_in_den_desktop_booten_3  windows_8_direkt_in_den_desktop_booten_4

Change the value of the Shell entry from “explorer.exe” to “explorer.exe /select,explorer.exe” and confirm the changes by clicking “OK”. From the next reboot on, you will boot directly into the classic desktop. If you want to reverse your changes and boot back into the ModernUI tile view, you only need to change the value of Shell back to “explorer.exe” and reboot once again.


How to install Arduino drivers on Windows 8

One of my favourite “gadgets” is the Arduino (no matter if UNO, Leonardo, Mega, …), which you will surely read some articles about in the near future. But let’s get back to the title.

Unfortunately the drivers of the Arduinos are not signed for Windows 8. So, when you try to install the drivers, you will get an error that will look similar to the following message. (Click to enlarge the picture.)

Before installation:

So that this doesn’t happen to us, we have to make sure that we will be able to install unsigned drivers on Windows 8. How to do so, you can read in this article I’ve written some days ago. If you have followed the steps of my article, you can start to install the Arduino driver in Windows 8

Step 1:


Connect the Arduino via an USB cable to the computer and open the Device Manager (Explorer-> Control Panel -> Device Manager). The Arduino should be displayed as “Unknown device”. Make a right click on it and choose the menu item “Update Driver Software”.

Then select the option “Browse my computer for driver software”, because the automatically (internet-based) driver search won’t match due to lack of a signed driver.

Step 2:


Now select the folder where the Arduino driver is located on your hard disk. Usually you will find the driver in a subfolder called “drivers” in the Arduino installation-folder. If you have not loaded the Arduino development environment yet, you can download it from here. Sooner or later you will need the IDE anyway.

Step 3:


There is not really a third step. Follow the subsequent steps of the driver installation dialog and the driver should be successfully installed. So after a successful driver installation you should see the Arduino, like in the image above, in the Device Manager.

And now I wish you lots of fun playing with your Arduino. Should you have implemented your own projects already, I would be glad to read something about it in the comments. You can also post a link to your homepage, if you have written something about your project.


How to install unsigned drivers in Windows 8

Meanwhile for me it’s almost impossible to live without Windows 8. I got used to the new interface and don’t want to miss it even for one day. Then, yesterday I detected a very unpleasant problem. Windows 8 just didn’t wanted to install a driver, because it was not signed. In the end it worked out. And this is how I did it.

Install unsigned driver with Windows 8

To install unsigned driver (driver which are not signed by Microsoft) in Windows 8, you have to reboot your system in a “special way” before.

Step 1:

unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (1)

As soon as Windows 8 is ready, you need to start the Boot-Options-Menu. Therefore you need to press Win+R at the Windows 8 desktop, to open the “Execute”-Dialog. Now you have to use the following command to boot into the Options Menu:

shutdown.exe /r /o /f /t 00

Attention: When you perform this command, the PC will reboot immediately. So save all your open file and applications before you enter the command.

If you are interested in the meaning of the particular command, simply read to following explanations.

  • shutdown.exe  - It’s a Command-Line application which is inclusive with Windows. It does various kinds of restarts and shutdowns.
  • /r – means restart
  • /o – means the PC should start in the Option menu
  • /f – means restart directly and all open applications will be closed automatically
  • /t 00 – shows the time until the restart (in seconds). In this case 0 seconds which equals an immediate restart


Step 2:

unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (2)  unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (3)

Click “Troubleshoot” and then “Advanced options” in the Option menu.

Schritt 3:

unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (4)  unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (5)

Click “Startup Settings” and “Restart”.

Step 4:

unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (6)

In Settings you can choose between various options, which you can validate with one click at the respective number key. We need to click option 7 – “Disable driver signature enforcement” – to deactivate the driver check.
Step 5:

unsignierte_treiber_unter_windows8_installieren (7)

Now, after another restart, you are able to install unsigned drivers by using Windows “Device Manager”. There will be still a query in the beginning, as you can see in the screenshot above, but the installation of the driver will be possible without problems.

Final advice:
Please keep in mind that the functionality of Microsoft’s signed driver is implemented for a reason. A bad or broken driver can cause instability of the system. Therefore only install unsigned drivers if you know the source respective the publisher and you are able to evaluate the risk. If you want to be on the “safe side”, simply set an system restore point.


Best of Web #8

best of web - runde 8And again a Monday. Besides the fact that Monday, as the beginning of the week, probably is one of the scariest days of the week, there’s a second thing that always takes place on Mondays: My “Best of Web” series.

Today, it is already the 8th episode and this time there is again a novelty. There is no video in addition to some interesting articles at the end this time, like every week, because nothing suitable has crossed my paths this week.

But everything remains the same. That means – there are a few more bits of web development, the C# world and of the subject of hardware hackers. And now, I hope you enjoy reading.

HDMI over IP Windows client

HDMI over IP PC ClientDaniel was looking for a way to capture videos from HDMI sources with his PC. Since he had had to realize that HDMI capture cards were too expensive, he decided on the following HDMI over IP adapter. Adapters such as this one take a HDMI source, convert the frames into IP packets and send them over the network to a matching receiver. However, instead of using the matching receiver, Daniel wanted to use his PC and, in particular, its network card. So he analyzed the protocol of the HDMI over IP adapter by using Wireshark and then he wrote a client software for the PC.

This kind of project really gives me inspiration and so I’m just dreaming about a project working the other way aound at the moment. So, for example, bringing the image of the PC via LAN to a receiver, which then brings it to the TV via HDMI. So you could take the loud media server in the basement and stream its image over the network.

Cookies without Cookies and Javascript

Luc, a Dutch programmer and security analyst, describes on his website how to track visitors even when Javascript, Flash, cookies and Local Storage are blocked. For this method neither the IP of the visitor nor its user-agent string are needed. I admit that, at first, I could not imagine how that should work, but his shown workaround  is simple and awesome at the same time. I only reveal so much – for tracking, Luc uses only one image file. No more and no less. The solution for the “puzzle” is on Luc’s website.

Dynamic favicons with favico.js

favico.jsWe just talked about a code that works without Javascript, Flash and all the fancy stuff, but in opposite to this, the following subject is based almost exclusively on Javascript. It’s about favico.js, a Javascript library that allows you to create dynamic favicons. So by favico.js you can dynamically change favicons, provide them with small badges or even play animated favicons.

One use case would be to show small badges on the favicon to realize a notification system, so you will immediately know about news/messages, even if the appropriate tab is not in the foreground. All in all, the project is still slightly buggy and not 100% compatible with all browsers. Still, I think Miroslav Magda’s favicon library “favico.js” is worth mentioning.

What does the ??-operator in C# do?

Attention dear friends of C#. Who of you has programmed in C# and has ever used the “??-operator”? And who of you has not yet used it or does not know it? I admit that I have not used the ??-operator, also called null-coalescing operator, too often so far. It is actually a useful enrichment. You can read on code project Sampath Lokuge’s article about the ??-operator and what it does and how und when to use it.

Regex testen im Browser

Regex 101 TesterThat I’m a fan of regular expressions should be clear if you have read more than one or the other article on my blog. (At this point,  the ingenious regex crossword puzzle needs to be mentioned again.) To find the correct regular expression, however, can sometimes be quite tricky and therefore, there are, as for all difficult things, also great tools and helpers.

My both favourite tools are browser-based and you should really check them out. So have a look at myregextester.com an regex101.com.

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