Windows 10 – Change Task Bar & Start Menu Accent based on current wallpaper automatically

Windows 10 is awesome and currently one of the feature which I like is, changing the task bar & start menu accent colour based on current wallpaper.

To invoke this, do the following.

  1. Right click on empty desktop
  2. Click “Personalize” menu item
  3. Select “Colours” tab
  4. Enable or toggle on “Automatically pick an accent colour from my background”
  5. Enable or toggle “Show colour on Start, taskbar and action centre”
  6. Optionally you can make Start Menu, taskbar & action centre transparent by toggling the last option.

Windows 8 Pro’s Boot-to-VHD is a good news for an indie SharePoint developer !

SharePoint & Windows
SharePoint & Windows

A post describing SharePoint’s high resource usage and how Windows 8’s Boot to VHD will help to run SharePoint host with more dedicated resource.

Trailer….

For people like me who has to depend on resource hungry SharePoint servers, life is difficult as a developer and IT designer.

Most of the time we have to run the server inside a virtual environment and most of the time it would be a standalone server.

The problem….

Initially with SharePoint 2010 you could get away with at-least 6GB RAM allocated to a guest OS. But with SharePoint 2013 you require at least 12GB for a better experience and most of the machines come with 8GB or 16 GB RAM.

The problem is, your host OS will take at least 2GB RAM which for SharePoint can make life and death kind of experience even though Windows is perfectly capable of keeping SharePoint alive with paging (Virtual RAM) and have the storage drive on a never ending marathon run !

For virtual environment, the following are the options we generally have.

  • Microsoft Virtual PC (Free)
  • VMWare Workstation (Costly)
  • Oracle Virtualbox (Free)
  • Windows Server 2008/2012 R2’s Hyper-V (Super Costly)

Out of these, VirtualPC and Hyper-V natively use VHD container format for guest OS. Others too have these (Thanks to Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise) but mostly they use proprietary format.
When Windows 7 was rolled out, the Enterprise & Ultimate editions had the native Boot-to-VHD support.

What is Boot To VHD ?
Refers to the ability of a physical computer to mount and boot from an operating system contained within a VHD – (PS: Shamelessly copied the text from wikipedia)

Again to the problem….
Consider a scenario where you own a VM host system with 8GB RAM and run a VM guest with 6GB RAM for SharePoint 2010. This worked mostly fine. Then comes the SharePoint 2013 which requires even more ram, at-least 2GB in addition. Now you are in soup, you can wait forever to see the guest OS, aka Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012’s desktop to show up!

Solution….
Gain as much RAM as possible from host or upgrade the system to have more RAM. You will be in luck for desktop systems. Laptops, you are mostly in trouble.

Windows 7…..
Luckily with Windows 7(Enterprise/Ultimate) you could boot physical computer to a VHD and utilize all the resources. That’s good news, now you have all the RAM available for the SharePoint. The bad news is Enterprise is available for volume licensing only and Ultimate prohibitively costly.

Windows 8…..(forget Windows 8 RT, that thing can’t even run a standalone app!, but still a good OS for daily basic usage, so Microsoft is forgiven!)
Then comes Windows 8 with even more simpler editions. A regular version, professional version & an enterprise version. Compared to Windows 7, Windows 8 Pro is affordable and can be bought by an individual.
The best news is, Windows 8 Pro comes with Client Hyper-V and supports Boot To VHD.

So now as an indie SharePoint developer, you have a host OS which can be bought, has a virtualization capability and supports Boot To VHD.

Assuming you bought the host OS, i.e. Windows 8 Pro, its time to utilize it for better SharePoint development experience.
PS: I am going to explain only Boot-to-VHD part. Enabling Hyper-V in Window 8 Pro or installing SharePoint are out of scope for this post. Get help from trusted friend Google’s Search or Microsoft’s Bing.

After a long story…Main Picture…..

Enabling boot-to-VHD…..

  1. Create a VM Guest using Hyper-V and make a note of the location where the VHD file is located.
  2. In VM Host, go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management. Go to Disk Management under Storage.




  1. In Action menu, click Attach VHD. Now you should have a volume with drive letter. Make a note of the drive letter. In this case it’s D:\



  1. Now launch a command prompt as administrator.
  2. Take a backup of current boot information by using the following command

  1.  Now let’s add the VHD’s Windows to boot by using the following command (The drive letter we noted will be used here)

  1.  Reboot the machine and you should be able to see the multi boot screen.

  1. Choose the SharePoint’s guest OS to boot.

You can use bcdedit command to rename the description of the Windows in multi boot screen.

Removing boot-to-VHD…

  1. Open command prompt in admin mode
  1. As mentioned in point 5 above take a backup of the boot system file
  2. View list of current boot entries by typing the following



  1. Make a note of the guid in the entries. In this case it’s {4ff0aa40-b17f-11e3-beaa-bc5ff4cf029e}
  2. Delete the entry by typing the following command


IIS Express – HTTP Error 400. The request hostname is invalid.

The following is the fix for the error “HTTP Error 400. The request hostname is invalid” when trying to browse an IIS Express site using a different host name or IP address.

1. Exit the IIS Express instant currently running.

2. Open IIS Express’s applicationhost.config located at the following path C:\Users\<user>\Documents\IISExpress\config\applicationhost.config

3. Find the entry for a particular site (e.g “Test” running in port 6306) which you are developing.

e.g.

4. Replace the following

bindingInformation=”*:6306:localhost” with bindingInformation=”*:6306:*

5. Save the file.

6. Start a command prompt in administrator mode and run the following command.

7. Now debug the site again and you should be able to access the url using IP address or host name.

Typing Indian Rupee Symbol in Windows Keyboard.

Microsoft on 18 May 2011, released an update KB2496898 to Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems to include support for the new Indian rupee symbol (₹). This update included font support, locale changes and keyboard support. With the Windows update, it is now possible to use alt code text entry to obtain the Indian Rupee symbol – Alt 8377.

Alt + 8377

Source: Wikipedia

Format FAT32 drives beyond 32GB limit

Recently I was planning to format my 64GB USB Drive with FAT32 format as my Car Player doesn’t support another format and Windows 8 or Mac OS X had the only option being NTFS or exFAT.

So after little bit of googling found out that there is an utility available called fat32format here http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?guiformat.htm.

If you want to know the default allocation sizes, check out the link http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140365

Copy list of files or folders as text from Windows Explorer

Ever wanted to copy a list of files as text from Windows Explorer?

The following has been tested in Windows 8 Pro.

  1. Select files/folder for which you would like to create a list
  2. Once selected, press Shift key and right click mouse on one of the selected files or folders
  3. You will get a menu “Copy as path”, click it
  4. That’s it, now you have the list of selected files/folders in the clipboard
  5. Paste it in any compatible applications like notepad

Intellisense for AXML files doesn’t work in Visual Studio 2012

Most of the people who work with Xamarin’s Mono for Android in Visual Studio 2012 face a bug where Intellisense doesn’t work for AXML in source view.

One of the fix which worked for me is mentioned below.

  1. Launch Visual Studio 2012
  2. Open a solution with .AXML file in it
  3. Now XML main menu should be visible on top
  4. Open “Schemas…” menu
  5. Sort by “File Name” column and see if “android-layout-xml” and “schemas.android.com.apk.res.android” are there. If found, skip to step 13
  6. If not found, go to “Program Files” if 32-bit system or “Program Files (x86)” if 64-bit system.
  7. Then go to “\MSBuild\Novell” or “\MSBuild\Xamarin\Android”
  8. You should be able to see 2 files “android-layout-xml.xsd” and “schemas.android.com.apk.res.android.xsd”
  9. Copy these 2 files to “\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Xml\Schemas”
  10. Again open the “Schemas…” menu as mentioned in steps 3&4
  11. Now click “Add…” button and add these 2 files which should be located as mentioned in step 7 & 8
  12. Now restart visual studio and the XML editor for design layout should work fine with Intellisense
  13. From step 5….
  14. If above steps don’t work, then close the Visual Studio 2012.
  15. Now open “Developer command prompt for VS2012” under Windows programs menu.
  16. Type “Devenv /ResetSettings” without quotes.
  17. Launch Visual Studio 2012 and see if Intellisense works.
  18. If still not working, better go to Xamarin  forums and post there.

DPReview Studio Shot Camera Comparision Configurator

Yesterday I posted about the DPReview’s “Studio Shot Comparison Tool“. Today I am posting a user friendly configurator tool.

Features:

  1. Primary Camera selection
  2. Automatic selection of slots based on numbe.r of camera’s selected.
  3. Pure jQuery hence very fast.

View it at http://apps.binarybits.net/dprtool/

For any issues or feature requests go to http://contact.binarybits.net and choose the section “DPReview Studio Shot Comparison Tool Configurator”