Tag Archives: Microsoft

Find the missing Windows 8.1 update on a Dell

We’re finally replacing the ancient Windows XP machine at home, and for various reasons went with a Dell Inspiron running Windows 8. In part I wanted to familiarize myself with the new operating system. It’s…a significant change, though Katie’s found it easier to adjust by thinking of it like a phone/tablet interface (which makes sense, because really, that’s what it’s designed for).

I wanted to upgrade it to Windows 8.1 before we really started transferring files* or installing applications in earnest, and was dismayed to find that…

  • You can only upgrade through the Windows Store. (There’s no stand-alone installer you can download.)
  • There was no sign of it in the store, or indication of where in the store I should look, or whether it was being hidden due to some incompatibility.

After running Windows Update again (no help), looking around for other settings and updates such as drivers, trying the compatibility tester, and digging around online for a while, I finally found a solution** that worked for me:

  1. Open Control Panel, then go to Programs/View Installed Updates and uninstall update KB 2871389, the update that makes the Windows 8.1 update appear in the store. Reboot.
  2. Download KB 2871389 from Microsoft’s website instead and run the installer. Reboot.
  3. Open the Windows Store, go to Settings/App updates, and check for new updates. It won’t show up here, but…
  4. After you close the app updates screen, the far left of the store should have a giant, full-height/width entry for the Windows 8.1 update.

If it’s available, you can’t miss it. If it’s not, you can’t find it. It’s incredibly frustrating.

*And it turns out I should have done this in the other order, because the 8.1 version of Windows Easy Transfer drops support for XP and Vista, as well as transferring over the network. Just in time for the final get-off-of-XP push. REALLY, Microsoft? Here’s hoping it doesn’t have some stupid thing that blocks plain old file transfers…

** Update: The tech support forum at commweb-ps3.us.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19538336.aspx appears to be gone now. I figured that would happen eventually, which is part of why I write up troubleshooting posts like this in the first place.

Divide and Conquer

Two billboards featuring the tablet and keyboard for the Surface tablet.

I like the use of dual billboards in this Windows 8/Microsoft Surface tablet ad. It’s a creative use of the structure that only works in places that have this sort of setup, and works more effectively than cramming the whole thing onto one billboard would.

(Posted on Instagram a month and a half ago, and I kept meaning to post it here and forgetting.)

How to Get Rid of Windows Live Messenger

You know how it goes. You install something that you think might be useful or interesting, and it installs something else that just. won’t. go. away. I ran into the problem while setting up a new Windows 7 system at work. I installed Windows Live Essentials mainly so that I’d have them available if I ever had to talk someone through tech support, and it included Windows Live Messenger.

I don’t use Windows Live Messenger. I don’t even have an account on Windows Live Messenger. But every time I logged in to my system, WLM would pop up a window and ask me to log in. Every single time.

There was no obvious way to disable it, and most of the suggestions I found online only applied to earlier versions of Windows.

It doesn’t provide an option to stop it from launching on startup. Or rather, it does, but only if you’ve logged into WLM. Since I didn’t have an account, I couldn’t do that, and I wasn’t about to create one just to turn it off!

It wasn’t in the Start-Up folder.

I didn’t see it in Services, so I couldn’t disable it there.

I tried running System Configuration and disabling it in the Startup tab, but that didn’t work.

I couldn’t even find it in the list of programs to uninstall.

But you know what?

I finally got rid of it! And it was easier than I expected.

It turns out that if you uninstall Windows Live Essentials, you don’t have to remove the whole thing. You can choose which pieces to remove! Just tell it to uninstall, and it’ll bring up a checklist of the pieces that are on the system. Check off Windows Live Messenger, leave the pieces you want to keep, and hit Continue.


Word Weirdness, Bandwidth and Typos

  • Odd: the Weather Channel Android app is 3 times the size of Sherpa. What did they do, forget to compress the graphics? #
  • Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of disks on the freeway. Or a pigeon w/a datacard. #
  • Realized while writing “Go to Help…” that it would be easy to make a very unfortunate typo. #
  • WTF? MS Word 2007 *still* has no keyboard shortcut for Find Next…and it’s not listed in the Customize Keyboard dialog! #
  • Aha! It’s called “RepeatFind” even though the button is “Find Next” and DOES have keys…Shift+F4 & Ctrl+Alt+Y??? Standard is F3 or Ctrl+G! #
  • Saw a good typo on a tech forum: Windows XP “Service Park 2” #

Reinstalling Windows, etc.

  • Taking the opportunity to do a clean Windows installation (i.e. old box died). Downside: reinstalling a bazillion apps & updates. #
  • Hmm. Firefox spellcheck underlines Hiro but is perfectly OK with Nakamura. #
  • Ah, a clean desktop! Only 2 icons: Recycle Bin and my rebuild to-do list. #
  • I agree with @rzazueta:

    Also – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE refrain from building sites all in Flash! Treat Flash like you treat images – enhancement. #sbbuzz #