Where are my regular Desktop programs Windows 8?

So you’re in the Windows 8 “Desktop Mode” – because the Start Screen just doesn’t feel right. You installed a few programs, but with no Start Menu – you can’t find them! Sure you can try to browse using Windows Explorer and find you way in to program files, but that’s just not what you want to do. So where are the desktop programs?

Well, good and bad news. The good news is they’re easy to find – the bad news? They’re in the new Start Screen. Go ahead, put your mouse down in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, or press the “Windows Key” on your keyboard, and scroll all the way to the right. There are probably several small, not exciting icons. Those are your Windows desktop applications. “Apps” you install from the Windows 8 App Store get live tiles, and are different sizes and more bright and vibrant. Most normal applications that would put a shortcut in the Start Menu are going to also create an icon here. If it doesn’t? You’re not out of luck.

If you have the Start Screen open, just start typing the name of the program! You can also move the mouse to the right side of the screen or press “Windows Key + C” to bring up the “Charms” bar and begin searching. As you can see in my screenshot above, I installed a program called Handbrake – and in order to find it in the Start Screen, I just started to type – and sure enough it showed up in my list of “Apps.” The same goes for my installation of Office 2010 programs, and other applications like Steam and games installed like Half-Life!

If you’re looking for something like how to pick and choose your Windows Updates, you can search for Windows Update, then click Settings on the right side of the screen and then click on the icon to Install Optional Updates.

In Office 2010, how do I change my product key? It's easy!

Some business users may have put in the wrong key when the first installed Office 2010. Some software pirates may have been caught. Whatever your reason, changing your Office 2010 Product Key is easy, here’s how you do it:

I consider Microsoft Word to be the father of all Office products, so I advise opening Word. But if you didn’t install Word, any Office product ought to do, such as Excel, or even Outlook. Click on the File menu in the upper left. Then select Help. To the right, you should see that your product is already activated – if it isn’t, this is where you can activate a new install, or change your key of an existing install. In order to avoid the need to reinstall your Office product, your product key should match the current version of Office installed (Home and Student, Professional Plus, etc…).

Similar steps can be followed in Office 2013 to activate or change your product key, should you need to.

Exchange error 421.4.4.2, unable to connect, Attempted to failover… Fixed!

Users complain that they can’t send email. You dig through your exchange queues and logs, and you stumble across this:
451 4.4.0 primary target IP address responded with “421.4.4.2 unable to connect.” Attempted failover to alternate host, but that did not succeed. Either there are no alternate hosts, or delivery failed to all alternate hosts.

The root cause of this is that something, be it a hardware or software firewall, or antivirus product, something is blocking outbound traffic on port 25.

You ready for me to read your mind? In our particular case, and in at least 3 other cases I have confirmed with other IT persons, we had installed antivirus software from McAfee on our Exchange server. McAfee has a feature which watches for Mass Mailing worms – this is great on your desktop! But not so great on your Exchange server, as all of your SMTP outbound mail needs to leave on port 25. McAfee’s software does this by watching for outbound traffic on Port 25. Although I don’t know what the exact threshold is, eventually it decides there is too much traffic, assumes your computer may be infected, closes the port on your computer (in this case, our Server), and mail stops flowing. Here is my solution for the McAfee software:

All you need to do to fix this is open up McAfee from the System Tray, then find the Access Protection Properties, they look like the menu pictured above. Then choose Antivirus Standard Protection on the left, and uncheck Prevent Mass Mailing Worms from sending mail on the right. I would uncheck both the BLOCK and REPORT options, otherwise you can expect some pretty large log files.

I first encountered this and posted a solution on TechNet in October, but thought it was worth revisiting as it was a heck of a process to narrow down! At least one user there has confirmed it to be the solution for them.

Reset spooler, rebooted, reinstalled printer, still can’t print? Fixed!

I’ve seen people who have gone so far as to uninstall and reinstall their printer yet STILL could not print! If you’ve already tried all of the steps in how to reset your print spooler, try the steps below… tested and has worked for me on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 32 and 64-bit… the solution below has worked for me several times!

  1. Stop the printer spooler (see this article for instructions).
  2. Browse to this folder: C:\windows\system32\spool\PRINTERS (for newer versions of Windows, you will have to say Yes to a UAC prompt asking if you want to proceed).
  3. Delete everything in the folder.
  4. Start the printer spooler (see above article about stopping/starting).

Try your print job again!