Windows 8 BitLocker Recovery Keys

OneDrive, Tips, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
With an ever-growing concern around data security, it’s no surprise that many companies (and individuals) make use of Microsoft’s BitLocker drive encryption technology. BitLocker, once enabled, will encrypt your entire drive (or drives) on your computer (e.g. desktop, laptop, or tablet). As long as your computer continues to run “normally”, things are hunky dory. However, if you end up in a “recovery” situation with your computer, you will need a BitLocker recovery key. Not just any recovery key, but a specific key that will work only with your computer. You’ll know you need your recovery key when you are presented with a screen that looks something like this: It is good practice to backup your BitLocker recovery key for just such an occasion. However, if you haven’t backed up your…
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Straight to Desktop in Windows 8.1

Windows 8
If you find you spend more time in the Desktop than you do the Start Screen then you may want to consider setting the desktop as the default start mode for your PC.To configure your PC to go to the desktop when you logon or close all apps on a screen, follow these steps:1. From the Start screen, start typing “Taskbar” and select the “Taskbar and Navigation” option from the list.  This will display the Taskbar and Navigation properties dialog.2. Click on the Navigation tab.3. Check the “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen…” checkbox.  This option instructs Windows to take you directly to the desktop when you sign in or if you close all apps on a screen.4. If you would like an experience that…
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TFS Agile Poker for Windows 8

ALM, TFS, Utilities, Windows 8
If you have been involved with agile software development in any form or fashion, chances are you’ve spent some time estimating effort or relative size of user stories.  This is often done by selecting a card from a special planning poker deck.  A typical planning poker deck is based on a Fibonacci sequence (e.g. 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8…) though the sequence is sometimes modified after 13 for even numbers (e.g. 20, 40, 100).  This process works fairly well when all participants are located relatively close to each other (i.e. in the same room).  What if the team members are geographically separated?It just so happens that a fellow Visual Studio ALM MVP, Mike Douglas, has recently released TFS Agile Poker for Windows 8 that works with Microsoft’s Team Foundation…
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A Backup Strategy

Guidance, OneDrive, Windows 8
Anyone using computers for any amount of time knows that backups are a must.  We’ve all heard or read that it’s not if your hard drive fails but rather when your hard drive fails you’ll wish you had backed up your files.  However, history has taught me that it’s not always a failed hard drive that makes me run to my backups but the more likely catalyst is my own actions.  For example, have you ever re-imaged a computer, thinking you’ve backed up everything you considered important, only to realize five minutes after installing the operating system that you forgot to include something really important in the backup set?  I have! :-) So, with the new year starting, now is a great time to think about a backup strategy.  Even…
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Introduction to Windows 8 Development–Go Metro!

Conferences, Windows 8
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at this year’s Heartland Developers Conference (HDC).  I gave an introductory talk on developing “Metro” applications for Windows 8.  The goal of the talk was to cover some of the basic features that every developer writing Windows 8 apps would have to face when first getting started.  Some of these features include: Obtaining Windows 8 Obtaining the developers tools – e.g. Visual Studio 2012 Understanding the Windows Runtime framework Specific application features such as: Roaming data (e.g. app settings) to the cloud Contracts and extensions Using the File Picker Implementing application settings (via the charms bar) Create app bars Understanding the application lifecycle Windows Store Registration Packaging Publishing The talk went very well and I was pleased with the turnout of my…
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How Many Windows 8 Apps are in the Windows Store?

Tips, Windows 8
Although there are roughly one bazillion (yes, I made that number up :-) “desktop” apps currently available that will run on Windows 8, the number of Metro “Windows Store” apps still measures in the hundreds (not hundreds of thousands, just hundreds).  If you’re curious about how many Windows Store apps are available in your marketplace, follow these steps: Launch the Windows Store app. Open the Charms Bar and tap Search (or press Logo+Q). Enter * (an asterisk) as the search term and press Enter (ensure Store is the selected search source). As of the time of writing this, there are 937 Windows Store apps available (in my marketplace). NOTE: There may be a simpler, quicker way to determine the app count for Windows Store apps, I just haven’t come across…
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Visual Studio 2012 Available August 15th + Windows 8

Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8
Today Microsoft announced that the final build of Visual Studio 2012 has been completed.  The final bits will be available for download from MSDN and “elsewhere” on August 15th.  The official launch will be on September 12th via an on-line event.  You can find out more about the launch event here: http://www.visualstudiolaunch.com/ Also from Microsoft, today they announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows 8.  Windows 8 will be generally available on new machines as well as on-line on October 26th.  For more information about Windows 8 visit the Building Windows 8 blog.
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Windows 8 Beta and Visual Studio 11 Beta Quick Links

TFS, Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8
If you haven't yet downloaded the Windows 8 Beta or Visual Studio 11 Beta, a list of links are provided below for convenience.  If there is anything missing (from the February 29th beta wave release), please leave a comment below and we'll get it added to the list. Windows 8 Windows 8 Consumer Preview Windows 8 Server Beta - must register to download Visual Studio 11 Beta Download - this link works for the following product downloads: .NET .NET Framework 4.5 Beta Visual Studio Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Beta Visual Studio 11 Premium Beta Visual Studio 11 Professional Beta Visual Studio 11 Test Professional Beta Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Web Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Windows 8 IntelliTrace Collector for Visual Studio 11 Beta Agents for Visual…
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Observations and Contemplation with Windows 8

Windows 8
Like most people who downloaded the Windows 8 Developer Preview last week, I’ve have only a short amount of time to play around with the bits.  During that time I’ve hit several speed bumps and have scratched my head a bit while attempting to figure out a few (seemingly simple) tasks.  What I’ve listed below are just a few of my observations and moments of contemplation that I’ve had over the past few days. How do I shut down my Windows 8 machine?  This is one of those functions that is so completely obvious that you don’t realize it’s even there until someone moves it from the place it’s lived in for the past 16, or so, years.  Like a lot of people, I installed the Windows 8 Developer Preview…
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