Tag Archive for 'windows 8'

Start Screen Alternatives

While many are trying to get used to the new Start screen, viagra others immediately want to get the classic Start menu back.

The list of alternatives for the Start screen can be found here and is maintained by forum member hoak.

Aero Cursors

Windows Server 2012 by default uses the plain white non-animated cursors. The following steps will help you to get the Windows 8 cursors in Windows Server 2012.

1. Download aero_cursors.zip (93 KB) from win2012workstation.

2. After downloading the zip extract the zip, prostate run install.cmd as an Administrator and follow the instructions on the screen.
Extract aero_cursors.zip and run install.cmd

3. Open the Start screen and search for pointer in the Settings section. Next click the Change how the mouse pointer looks link.
Extract aero_cursors.zip and run install.cmd

4. Deselect and reselect the Windows Default (system scheme) scheme in the Scheme section and click OK to start using the Windows 8 Aero cursors!
Select a different scheme and then reselect the "Windows Default (system scheme)"


Continue to configure Windows Server 2012 to run Windows 8 (Metro) Apps…

Windows 8 Default Apps

The default Windows 8 Start screen is shown below. Click the tile on the screen to view more details about the application. If you are visiting this page using Internet Explorer in Windows Server 2012, you will be provided with a direct link to the Windows Store to download the Application.


Continue to get Internet Explorer with Windows 8 interface. If you have already done this, install dll’s required for some games and applications from this page

Wish List

This list contains all features we still want in Windows Server 2012 and are working on at the forum. If you have any wishes, no rx please leave a comment or place a request at the forum.

WishDiscussion/Solution TopicSatisfied
Metro UI Internet ExplorerForum: Metro UI Internet ExplorerYes, see tutorial.
Quick Switch Between User AccountsForum: Quick Switch Between User AccountsNot Yet.
Automatically boot to Classic DesktopForum: Automatically boot to Classic DesktopYes, see tutorial.
System RestoreForum: System RestoreYes, see forum topic.
Background for Start screen Forum: Background for Start screen Yes, see forum topic.
BluetoothForum: BluetoothNot Yet.
Online Microsoft AccountForum: Online Microsoft AccountNot Yet.
Picture Password and PIN for AuthenticationForum: Picture Password and PIN for AuthenticationNot Yet.
Portable Workstation Creator (aka Windows To Go)Forum: Portable Workstation Creator (aka Windows To Go)Not Yet.
Windows Sensor and Location PlatformForum: Picture Password and PIN for AuthenticationNot Yet.
Sticky NotesForum: Sticky NotesYes, see forum topic.
Speech RecognitionForum: Speech RecognitionNot Yet

Windows 8 UI Internet Explorer

Even after installing the Desktop Experience feature, the Internet Explorer tile in the Start screen still runs Internet Explorer on the classic desktop. This registry hack will make Internet Explorer run as Windows 8 UI application when started from the Start screen.

Download MetroIE.reg and import it into the registry. Next time you click the Internet Explorer tile in the Start screen, it will start with the Windows 8 interface. Make sure you also followed the Windows 8 Apps and IE Enhanced Security Configuration steps. The classic Internet Explorer can still be accessed by starting Internet Explorer from the classic desktop.
Metro Internet Explorer in Windows Server 2012


Continue to install dll’s required for some games and applications…

Visual Effects and Thumbnails

By default Windows Server is not really configured for visual glamor. The Start screen and menus aren’t animated and in Windows Explorer no thumbnails of images are shown. This page will guide you through the steps of enabling thumbnails and having visual effects in Windows Server 2012.

No preview thumbnails in Windows Explorer

1. In the Start screen enter performance, change the search scope to Settings and click the Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows icon.
Performance settings in Start screen

2. In the Performance Options screen, check the checkboxes of the improvements of the graphical user interface (GUI) you want to have. Most have to do with smooth animations and graphical improvements, however the Show thumbnails instead of icons will generate small previews of images in Windows Explorer. The default configuration of visual effects in Windows 8 is shown below.
Default Visual Effects configuration of Windows 8

Enjoy thumbnails in Windows Explorer and the visual effects of the Start screen and at other locations!
Thumbnails in Windows Explorer


Continue to get the ‘Performance Information and Tools’ page in the Control Panel…

Windows 8 Apps

After installing the Desktop Experience feature, the Store will appear in the Start screen. However, if you try to open it, it will notify that it is not possible for the Built-in Administrator account to open it.

Cannot open Store using Built-in Administrator account.

There are two methods which can be used to enable the Windows Store for the Built-in Administrator account.

Method 1

(Thanks to Lotusisrael. Will be changed to a visual version later)

Enable the User Account Control for the Administrator account: Open Local Security Policy, go to Local Policies –> Security Options –> User Accoumt Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Build-in Administrator Account, and click Enabled.

More info at the forum.

Method 2

We will create a new user, assign Administrator rights to this user and finally disable the Administrator account. This way we have configured the user security configuration just like Windows 8 with as result that we can use the Windows 8 AppStore and Windows 8 (Metro) applications.

1. Open the Start screen, type lusrmgr.msc (with as first character an L, not a capital i) and press Enter to open the Local Users and Groups management console.
Open "lusrmgr.msc" via the Start screen

2. In the management console in the left pane, click the Users section and then in the right pane right click in an empty spot and choose New User.
Create new user via the Local Users and Groups management console

3. Enter information for the new user. If you do not want to use a password, first follow the Password Restrictions instructions to disable enforcement of strong passwords. In case you do not want the password to expire, uncheck User must change password at next logon and check the Password never expires checkbox. This option is also checked by default when you create a new account via PC Settings in the Windows 8 Charms bar. After you finished filling in the fields, click Create. The same window will reappear to create another new user, but click the Close button.
Enter information to create new User

4. Now double click the newly created account, go to the Member Of tab, click Add and type Administrators in the Enter the object names to select text field. Finally confirm the group selection by clicking OK and save the settings by clicking OK again in the user properties window. We have now added the newly created user to the Administrators group.
Add user to Administrators group

5. Sign out the Administrator and login with the newly created user.
Windows Server 2012 login screen

6. After logging in, again go to the Local Users and Groups management console by typing lusrmgmt.msc in the Start screen and pressing Enter.
Open "lusrmgr.msc" via the Start menu

7. In the left pane click the Users section, then double click the Administrator user to open its properties. Finally, check the Account is disabled checkbox and click OK. You now successfully disabled the Built-in Administrator account so it won’t show up again in the logon screen.
Disable Built-in Administrator account

8. Now you can open the Windows 8 Store or any other Windows 8 App without problems!
Windows Server 2012 Store


Continue to get the default applications from Windows 8 installed in Windows Server 2012…

Desktop Experience

To fully get the Windows 8 experience to Windows Server 2012, Microsoft added the possibility to install this as a feature. This will install additional desktop applications and add several GUI improvements.

Installing this feature will have the following effects:

  • Applications added to the Start screen: Windows Store / Default Programs / Windows Media Player / Character Map / Disk Cleanup / Snipping Tool / Sound Recorder / Math Input Panel.
  • At startup, the Start screen will automatically appear instead of the classic desktop.
  • Charms bar (bar on the right side of the screen) will beside the buttons ‘Search’, ‘Start’ and ‘Settings’ also have ‘Share’ and ‘Devices’.
  • The Settings option of the Charms bar will also have the ‘Change PC Settings’ option which is a Windows 8 version of the Control Panel.
  • The context menu of the classic desktop will have the ‘Personalize’ option added.
  • Applications: Windows Mail, Windows Photo Viewer
  • Services: ActiveX Installer, Offline Files, Windows Image Acquisition (WIA), System Events Broker, Time Broker, WebClient, Still Image Acquisition Events, Microsoft Account Sign-in Assistant
  • Miscelanous: Various screensavers, Ability to burn .iso’s from Windows Explorer, Sync Center in Control Panel, Adobe Flash Player


1. Start the Server Manager and click the Add roles and features link in the Welcome Tile. If you already closed the Welcome Tile, make it visible again via the View menu or in the left panel navigate to Local Server, then in the right panel scroll all the way down to ROLES AND FEATURES, click the TASKS dropdown and choose Add Roles and Features.
Add Roles and Features in Server Manager

2. Skip the information page by clicking Next.
Beginpage of Add Roles and Features wizard

3. Select Role-based or feature-based installation as installation type and click Next.
Installation type in Add Roles and Features wizard

4. We want to install the Desktop Experience feature on the local server which is also selected by default so choose Next.
Select Destination Server

5. The Desktop Experience feature is not a Server Role, so skip the Server Roles page by clicking Next.
Skip the Server Roles page

6. At the Select Features page, expand User Interfaces and Infrastructure and check the Desktop Experience checkbox. Probably it will now ask you whether you also want to install the features required by Desktop Experience. Click the Add Features button to proceed. Now, click the Next button to proceed.
Desktop Experience feature in Add Roles and Features Wizard Features required for Desktop Experience

7. At the confirmation page, optionally check the Restart the destination server automatically if required checkbox as the Desktop Experience feature will need a restart to complete. You can also manually restart the server after the wizard completed.
Confirmation page

8. Wait while the features are being installed. You can also close the ‘Add Roles and Features Wizard’ window if you want; it will continue in the background.
Installation progress of Desktop Experience feature

9. After the installation has completed, your system will automatically restart if you checked the checkbox at step 7. Otherwise you can close the wizard and restart the server manually. In case you don’t know yet what possibilities there are to restart Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012, read the essentials page.
Installation finished

10. Wait while your computer finishes the installation and restarts.
Finishing installation of Desktop Experience feature

11. After logging in, the Start screen will appear with the new applications installed.
Start screen with Desktop Experience installed

12. If you now click the Desktop tile, right click somewhere at a blank spot and choose Personalize, the Windows 8 Theme can be selected. Everything will however still remain gray because the color schema is by default determined by the overall color of the desktop background, which by default is the gray Windows Server 2012 background. This behavior can be changed by clicking the Color option in the Personalization screen.
Personalization of classic desktop

13. Install a custom theme via the Get more themes online link in the Personalization screen.
Desktop Experience with custom theme


Continue to configure Windows Server 2012 to automatically boot to the Classic Desktop…

Windows 8 / Server 2012 Essential Knowledge

Compared to all previous Windows versions, many of the working of the GUI has changed. On this page you will learn the essentials of the new Windows Operating System. The actions are similar for both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.


There are multiple ways to shutdown, restart or put the system in sleep mode.


Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination. You will now get the following screen at which you can click the shutdown icon in the lower right corner.
Press the Ctrl + Alt + Del key combination and click the icon in the lower right corner

Right bar

1. Move your mouse to the upper right or lower right corner of the screen, a bar will now appear in which you click the Settings option.
Right bar

2. The new options that appear includes the Power option which you can click to shutdown, restart or put the system in sleep mode.
Shutdown/Restart/Sleep the system via right bar

Alt + F4

Go to the classic and press the Alt + F4 key combination while no application window is active. The Windows shutdown window will now appear in which you can select what Windows should do.
Shutdown window after pressing Alt + F4 at classic desktop

Show all Programs

In the classic Start menu, one could browse all applications by expanding the ‘All Programs’ item in the Start menu. In Windows 8 / Server 2012, this changed slightly.

Right click

Open the Start screen, right click somewhere at a empty spot and in the lower right choose All Apps from the bar that appears.
Right click at a empty spot in the Start screen and choose All Apps

Windows Key + Q

Press the Windows Key + Q combination to go straight to the screen with all applications. Then click on an empty spot somewhere on the left to hide the search bar.
Search in apps

Power User Menu

For advanced users to quickly perform advanced system functions, it is possible to open the Power User menu by right clicking in the lower left corner of the screen. The short key to open this menu is Windows Key + X. The Power User Menu contains: Programs and Features, Power Options, Event Viewer, System (System Properties), Device Manager, Disk Management, Command Prompt [Admin], Task Manager, Control Panel, File Explorer (Windows Explorer), Search, Run and Desktop.
Power User Menu