Category Archives: Windows Tips

Easiest RemixOS Install (alternative, non-dual-boot)




Items Required:
USB Flash Drive (4GB+)
x86 or x64 PC, with ability to boot from USB
30 Minutes of your Life

1. Download the proper variant of RemixOS for your machine. As a general rule, x86 for machines with <4GB RAM and older specs. x64 for newer machines with >4GB RAM.

2. Use the included executable to prep your flash drive with the image. Make sure you have nothing to lose on the flash drive as this process will format your drive.

3. Insert flashdrive into your computer and set it as your primary boot option; or use the boot menu to select your flash drive.

4. When RemixOS boots for the first time, you’ll be given the option to either go into Resident Mode or Guest Mode. Press [TAB] to enter your options. Hit backspace until you have removed the line “USB_DATA_PARTITION=1”, then type in “INSTALL=1”.

5. The RemixOS installer will appear. Go down to Create/Modify Partitions, and hit ENTER. Select your hard drive and hit ENTER. When asked to use GPT, select NO. Next, use your arrow keys and enter to delete all partitions. Once it only lists FREE SPACE, choose NEW and select PRIMARY. Use the entire disk. Before hitting write, mark the partition as BOOTABLE. After the formatting is done, hit quit.

6. You should now have a single partition on your hard drive. Hit OK to select it. Choose to format EXT4. Choose YES to install Boot-Loader GRUB. Choose skip when asked to install GRUB2 EFI. Choose YES to set the system directory to READ/WRITE.

7. Choose to Reboot, and un-plug your flash drive. Now you can follow through the rest of the install. Use the shortcuts on the desktop and follow the simple instructions on your screen to set up GAPPS and get online.

How to Switch to AHCI Mode without reinstalling Windows

Haven’t made a post in a while, as I’ve been very busy with work, but here’s something I had to blog about:

I recently realized that my brother’s PC was running in IDE mode, but he has a semi-new SATA harddrive! If you’ve ever messed with your motherboard BIOS before, and changed from IDE to AHCI mode, you would know that Windows will not boot after making any changes, as it is looking for the non-AHCI drive.

To get around this issue, simply run msconfig.exe and set your computer to reboot into minimal safe mode. Then shut down, change your BIOS settings, save and exit, then boot into Windows. So long as you set it to minimal safe mode, you will get right in, and then you can check device manager! Your storage system will now be set to AHCI mode. Run msconfig.exe again, and change to a normal boot. Shutdown and reboot one more time, and behold–you now have a working Windows install!

I highly recommend that anyone running a modern motherboard with all SATA drives should enable AHCI mode to get the best performance out of their machine. Also, if you’re installing a SSD or cloning an old HDD to an SSD, always make sure that AHCI mode is enabled, as it will make a huge difference with solid state drives.

How To Install A New CPU Without Losing Windows

Sysprep to the rescue!

Anyone that enjoys building computers and upgrading their own rigs has run into the common issue of Windows not booting or refusing to validate after installing a new motherboard/processor. However, Windows (since 7 or so) has a program built-in that can make migration easy.

Sysprep is software included in most Windows installs, that can easily generalize your drivers and prepare Windows for a completely new set of hardware. It’s perfect for moving an old harddrive to a new PC, OR for creating a Windows PC that will appear new to a customer, but has apps pre-installed.

If you are going to upgrade to a new motherboard and processor, Sysprep is your best option for keeping Windows and all your files!


  1. Click START, and go to RUN. If you can’t find run, use the search box. Type “sysprep”.
  2. You want to run Sysprep.exe, which can be found in C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep …
  3. After running the application, a box should appear giving you several options. If you’re simply preparing the PC for a customer, and your drivers are already correctly installed AND you are not going to alter the hardware, choose the “OOBE” mode option. If you’re going to replace the motherboard/processor, or any other hardware that may cause issues which may cause Windows to not boot, check the box for “Generalize.”
  4. Choose shutdown if you plan on unplugging the PC once the process is finished. It will take time, so be patient and have a cup of tea while it loads. When it’s finished, you can rip out your old motherboard or deploy the PC to a new owner’s home.
  5. The next time you turn on the PC and boot from the Windows drive, you will be greeted with a “new,”  clean install of Windows that already has all your apps ready to go! Just install the drivers for your new hardware and you’re ready to rock and roll!

NOTE: If you are going to use this functionality to refurbish a PC, make sure you delete all personal files and users from the PC before allowing anyone new to use the PC. Sysprep only removes temporary files and prepares Windows to look new again–all files and users will still be there!

Windows Antivirus in 2015

Should I pay for a subscription antivirus?

What antivirus is best for a typical user?

Windows, and PCs in general, have evolved quite a bit in the last decade or so. Viruses, although more pervasive than ever, are actually easier to avoid so long as the user is informed. I have a theory that I have tested extensively over the last decade, and it may save you a lot of money: it is simple–do not depend on antivirus to keep you safe, and be proactive!


Why are subscription antivirus services a scam?

  1. Most subscription-based antivirus are active protection, and work by constantly scanning your memory and hard drive for dangerous files. They do not usually use passive techniques to prevent viruses from gaining foothold, and these active methods are often ineffective and will slow down your computer significantly by constantly taxing your resources. They often have false-positives, which means that the antivirus may quarantine or delete files that are mistakenly identified as being dangerous.
  2. Antivirus subscriptions are expensive. Many claim to provide “total support” or “full protection,” but in reality these are false and exaggerated claims. You should not pay 50-100$ a year for a service that simply will not keep you safe and will degrade your user experience by slowing down your computer.
  3. Antivirus subscription services want you to think that you need their service to be safe, but in reality the best antivirus is you. By simply using a few free antivirus and anti-malware programs that employ passive protection and avoiding clicking ads or going to unsafe websites, you will be much safer and your PC will run at full speed.


What do I suggest?

  • Start with a clean copy of Windows. If your current PC is very infected with viruses, the easiest way to get back to normal is to wipe it clean and start again.


  • Use to install/update critical software quickly and securely. Make sure Windows is also fully updated, and that it continues to update regularly; this will patch security holes in the OS and also manage the anti-malware software that is built into modern Windows OS.


  • I highly recommend installing Spybot Search and Destroy 2, and Malwarebytes. If you absolutely must use active protection, Avast! Antivirus has a free version that is decent. Spybot has an immunization function that will keep malicious code from running, and you can manually activate both programs to perform an active scan when you need it. They will not scan without your permission. All are free, but you can pay to support and have access to additional features.


  • Use Google Chrome as your web browser and install the Adblock extension. I also highly recommend using Greasemonkey and installing anti-malware/adware plugins. Unchecky is another great piece of software that can keep you safe.


  • Be proactive and vigilant. Do not click ads and never download files from mysterious emails. Keep in mind that you should never download a file to participate in a survey or print coupons–any website that demands you do so is trying to cause you to download malicious software.


  • When downloading programs from the internet, be certain that you click the correct “download now” button, and not an ad. When you begin downloading the file, make sure the filename matches the filename on the download page.


  • When installing programs, always watch out for boxes checked, which may give the installer permission to install other unwanted programs, toolbars, or default homepages/search engines.


  • It doesn’t hurt to occasionally check your Windows startup applications, and make sure that nothing suspicious is going on. Check my Msconfig post for details. It also doesn’t hurt to use software like CCleaner to regularly sweep your PC of temporary files, and to scan for registry issues. A clean PC is a happy PC!


All Recommended Downloads


MsConfig and Startup Apps

If you’re running any modern version of a Windows OS, you can easily check and configure your startup applications.

First, on Windows OS with an old-fashioned Start Menu:

  1. Click Start, then click Run…
  2. Type “msconfig”
  3. Check the Startup Tab.
  4. Disable unwanted or unnecessary applications!

On more modern Windows OS without a traditional Start Menu, simply ctrl+alt+delete, then go to the Startup tab in Task Manager.

If you disable unnecessary applications, you can significantly increase the boot time of your OS. This can also be extremely helpful if you are dealing with a computer that is infected with many viruses. Simply enter Safe Mode before the OS boots, and then disable the services and applications related to the virus.