Windows 8.1 Preview – First Impressions

The Windows 8.1 Preview was released last week and initially I was trying to decide whether to install it on my main computer or create a VM to evaluate it.  Eventually I decided to download the ISO and create a VM, with main reason being due to the fact that Microsoft has stated that when Windows 8.1 RTMs you will need to re-install all of your applications again that you have installed from the app store.

First impressions, is that the much talked about return of the Start menu is a bit of a non-event initially.  The start button in the taskbar merely saves you pressing the Windows key however upon further inspection you realise that there are new additional options available when you right-click it.


You are now able to shutdown your computer, restart it or use sleep mode.  Command prompt has also been replaced with links to Windows PowerShell and you can also quickly access Network Connection settings.

The Start menu has also been updated with new features including the ability to resize tiles by right-clicking them and selecting resize.  You can now also name a group of tiles such as Games or Applications.


This is just a quick sample of the changes that I have found to be useful so far.  Overall its a much needed update and one which I hope will mean more people start using Windows 8, especially in enterprise environments.



Windows 8 – Run As Administrator

I’ve been running the Windows 8 RTM on my main PC for about 2 weeks now and I’ve reached the tipping point in terms of getting familiar with the new Start Menu and the ModernUI (you’re not allowed to refer to it as Metro now).

I often find that I need to run Command Prompt as an administrator.  Normally, on a pre-Windows 8 machine, I would click the Start Menu, Go to the Accessories folder, locate Command Prompt, right-click it and select Run As Administrator.  However, with Windows 8’s new Start Menu there is no Accessories folder nor is there a shortcut to the Command Prompt.

Instead in Windows 8 you can simply start typing on the Start Menu when its open and as you type applications will start to appear.  If you are familiar with using the Search box on Windows 7 and Vista Start Menu, it works in exactly the same way.  In the example below I typed ‘cmd’ to bring up Command Prompt.  You can also type ‘Command Prompt’ and you will notice Windows automatically searches as you type.

 Once you’ve located the application or utility you want to run you can then right-click it and select Run As Administrator.

You could alternatively click on Open File Location and copy the shortcut to your Desktop, however I like to keep my desktop tidy and only have my most used application shortcuts on it.

Using Restart-Service On A Remote Computer

I discovered the other day the Powershell command Restart-Service doesn’t allow you to restart services on a remote computer.

If you type the following command it will show you the full detailed help for the Restart-Service cmdlet:

get-help restart-service -detailed

You will notice that there is no option to specify a remote computer.  However, you can use the option -InputObject to specify another cmdlet such as Get-Service.

Restart-Service -InputObject (Get-Service -ComputerName ComputerName -name Service)

The above command uses the Get-Service cmdlet for the InputObject where ComputerName is the remote computer and Service is the service you wish to restart.

You may need to go to Control Panel / Services and open the actual service to determine the Service Name.

Using the above cmdlet in this way saved me a lot of time when using SCCM recently to develop and test a new Operating System Deployment Task Sequence.