Windows 8 based PE boot disk with explorer shell and many great utilities

This is my newly created customized Windows 8 PE x86 boot disk with windows 8 explorer shell and many great diagnostic and repair utilities.

I have updated the iso  on 06.07.13 to include two imaging /cloning applications.  Drive Image XML and Drive Snapshot. Shortcuts for each  in the start menu and on the desktop.

ISO bootable image includes the following open source free apps

·         Google Chrome 26

·         Opera 12

·         7Zip

·         MBR Fix

·         ServiWin

·         Regshot

·         AMSN

·         ANote

·         Eraser

·         Filezilla FTP

·         Foxit PDF Reader

·         Infran View

·         Multi Res

·         Notepad ++

·         Process Explorer

·         Process Hacker

·         Tree Size

·         Tweet Deck

·         IMDisk Virtual Disk

·         Defraggler

·         VLC

·         Virtual Keyboard

·         DriveImage XML

·         Drive Snapshot

·         All the basic windows apps

·         Plus much more

All portable apps are listed in the Windows Start Menu under all programs.


If you prefer to use the Portable Apps menu instead then run the Portable Apps Menu shortcut on the desktop.  The portable apps menu also allows you to download more apps by selecting the Apps>Get more apps. These freshly downloaded apps will only be available during the current session.




image Gandalf's_Win8PE_x86-4-30-2013 4-17-37 AM

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It’s a large download (about 500mb) so be patient it can take 10-20 minutes (depending on your internet speed) to download. After downloading burn the bootable Gandalf’s_Win8PE_x86.ISO file to CD, USB or mount  the iso.

Waves Collection Windows Wallpaper Theme

This is my Windows 7/8 Waves Collection Windows Wallpaper Theme. After downloading double-click waves.themepack to install it.

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Previews of the wave pictures in the theme

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Restart Windows 8 or server 2012 in a remote desktop session

Restarting  Windows 8 or Server 2012 when in a remote desktop session

When you’re in a remote desktop connection in Windows 8 or Server 2012 the quickest way to restart the PC is to go to the desktop and  press ALT-F4.   Pressing Alt-F4  inside an application will close that application, so make sure you are on the desktop.

The below Shut Down Windows screen will appear. Choose Restart to restart the system.

Getting the New Windows 8 Remote Desktop client on your Windows 7 system

The Remote Desktop Client Connection Software that comes with Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 features a new menu called the Remote Commands menu. This menu allows you to send special commands, such as a start menu, accessing the Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Charms, switching apps, snapping apps and application specific app commands.

If you are in a windowed remote desktop session you can access the remote commands by selecting the remote desktop icon and then choosing remote commands Image If you are running remote desktop full screen click the down arrow on the connection bar to display the remote commands. ImageIf you can’t wait for Microsoft to publish a version of the new Remote Desktop client for windows 7, then all is not lost. There is a way for Admins still running windows 7 desktops to get the new version on their systems. You have to copy four files from a Windows 8 x64 or Server 2012 system to your windows 7 x64 system.  If using windows 7 x86 then copy the files from a windows 8 x86 system

  • mstsc.exe  (in c:\windows\system32)
  • mstscax.dll  (in c:\windows\system32)
  • mstsc.exe.mui  (in c:\windows\system32\en-US)
  • mstscax.dll.mui  (in c:\windows\system32\en-US)

Instead of overwriting the existing files on your windows 7 system (in case you ever want to revert back to the old version) create a new folder called Remote Desktop 8 anywhere on your system.  I put my folder on my desktop. Now copy mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll to that folder. Inside that folder create another folder called en-US and put the other two files into that. If you’re running a version that is not English then you will need to put the two mui files in the folder that corresponds to your language version.

Running mstsc.exe will now launch the new RDP client with the new remote commands on your Windows 7 system.

Or if you prefer you can download my installers that will automate the process for you.  Available for Windows 7 or Server 2008  in x86 and x64 versions.  English Only

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The official Microsoft version has now been released. Check here for links and info or instead of downloading each file from the above link and running them individually get my MS Windows 8 RDP all-in-one combo updater package that automates the process into one installer.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Keyboard Shortcut Keys and Mouse Keys Movements

Windows 8 Start Screen


Need to access new Windows 8 Start screen (pictured above) or toggle between the Start screen and an app? The new Start experience replaces the Start button we had on Windows 95 thru to Windows 7

Keyboard: Tap the Windows Key (WINKEY) on your keyboard, or CTRL + ESC.
Mouse: Mouse into the lower left corner of the screen to display the Start tip, and then click it.

Power Menu

The power menu gives you quick access to many commonly needed windows utilites (see picture)

Keyboard: WINKEY + X.

Mouse: Right-click the bottom left corner

Back to previous app

In Windows 8 you can move “back” to the previous app. You can invoke Back with the following input devices:

Keyboard: WINKEY + TAB (or WINKEY + SHIFT + TAB)

Mouse: Move the mouse cursor to the top left corner of the screen. A thumbnail of the previous app will appear. Click it to go Back.

Switching between windows

Switching between the currently running Metro apps and desktop applications. This  works in both the desktop and Metro. You invoke it as follows:


Mouse: Move the mouse cursor into the top left corner of the screen. When the thumbnail of the previous app appears, move down the left edge of the screen.

Switcher provides a vertical list of thumbnails representing all of the running apps and applications and, at the bottom, the Start screen. You can navigate between them until you find the one you want; select it, and that app will move to the forefront.
Switcher also lets you close running apps and applications. To do so, drag it out of Switcher and down to the bottom of the screen. (You can also drag thumbnails out of Switcher to utilize the side-by-side screen sharing feature described below.)