ZUNE Tip of a Lifetime: Zune Pass info needs to be refreshed solved! (KB946369)

I like to do the Xbox Tip of the Week on Sundays, but this time I feel obligated to let everyone know of a little Zune tip I have for you. I know, they’re not extremely popular, but my sister has one and she recently let her Zune Pass lapse. After she renewed, she was receiving the Your Zune Pass info needs to be refreshed error message, even though she had synchronized her Zune.

Microsoft used to have a support article about this in their Knowledge Base, but if you try to visit http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946369 there is no page there anymore. It’s like Microsoft wants to disavow knowledge of the Zune’s existence. Well, I used a little Archive.org-fu and dug up the original contents of the page. Deeper in this article, you’ll find some of the contents of the original Knowledge Base article, with multiple tips for fixing this and similar issues. Continue reading “ZUNE Tip of a Lifetime: Zune Pass info needs to be refreshed solved! (KB946369)”

How to Change your Product Key and Activate Windows 8

There are just some things you can’t get away from, and the command prompt is one of them. A lot of people with the new RTM of Windows 8 Professional have will run in to an issue with activation. When you download the ISO, at least the one for Windows 8 64-bit Professional from Microsoft’s TechNet, it installs with a 90 day trial license. By default, there is nowhere you can click to change the product key! So I fell back on an old trick where you can use the command prompt to change the key in Windows. Here’s the step by step guide:

  1. Hold the Windows key on your keyboard and press “R” (this will bring up the RUN prompt).
  2. Type CMD and press enter or click okay (as seen above) (you can also do this directly from the start menu and click the “Command Prompt” icon).
  3. Type: slmgr.vbs -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX (with the X’s of course being your 5×5 product key – note the key I used in the screenshot below is also a fake, so don’t waste your time).

That’ll do it! You’ll get a pop up Window confirming that the key has been changed, then you can proceed with your Windows Activation.

Microsoft has some new tools to take malware and spyware seriously

Even though I have listed off a good number of programs in my IT toolkit and cleaning malware infected computers, I have a new tool I’m starting to use more and more – and you already have it. It goes by two names. The “Malware Removal Tool” from Microsoft, or even “Microsoft Safety Scanner.”

Microsoft packs this little beauty in to your computer with each Windows Update. Simply go to your Start Menu and click RUN (or if you don’t have run just use the search box at the bottom of the Start Menu), type in MRT and press enter. You’ve opened the latest Malware Removal Tool! With a few presses of the next button, you’ll be on your way to scanning your computer for known pieces of malware that can slip right by antivirus and other tools.

If you don’t know the last time you’ve run your Windows Updates and you want to ensure you have the latest and greatest version right from Microsoft’s Security Scanner website. Don’t plan to keep this one in your IT toolkit – unlike the download from Windows Update, this download will actually expire every 10 days to ensure you’re keeping a fresh and up-to-date copy with you.

Microsoft has also launched the very interesting Malware Protection Center, which reports most active and recently published / identified pieces of malware. Currently, Microsoft is reporting the top ten desktop threats right now to be:

  • Trojan:Win32/Sirefef.AC
  • Trojan:JS/IframeRef
  • Worm:Win32/Conficker.B
  • Worm:Win32/Conficker.C
  • Virus:Win32/Sality.AM
  • Exploit:Win32/CplLnk.A
  • Virus:Win32/Sality.AT
  • Worm:Win32/Dorkbot!lnk
  • Trojan:Win32/FakeSysdef
  • Trojan:DOS/Alureon.E

So be sure to check your computer for your own safety!

How to pin an app to the Windows 8 Start Menu

So on the Windows 8 Start Screen (with all of the large tiles) – what is the fastest way to find and launch an application? Simple! Pin it to the Start Menu! You may wonder how to get about doing that, when you can’t find an application to begin with! Here is an easy way to find applications, and how to pin them (as of the Release Preview) to the new Start Menu:

  1. From the main Start Menu, simply start typing anything (I suggest the word Note, as though your were searching for Notepad).
  2. Press the Escape key on your keyboard to see the full list of applications.
  3. Find the App you would like to Pin (we’ll use Paint for our Example) and hover your mouse over it.
  4. Right Click on it (notice the Green check mark that appears).
  5. Left click on the option in the lower left corner of the screen, to “Pin to Start.”
  6. Press the Windows Key on your keyboard, and you’ll be back at the main Start Menu, and you should see your newly pinned application.