Unofficial Method to Update WP7 to ‘NoDo’

While at TechEd India 2011 in Bangalore last week, my phone suddenly popped up a message saying that a new update is available. Unfortunately since my laptop was not on the Internet at the time, I had to click the button to “Remind me Later”. Sadly I didn’t know how much later this was going to be. Repeated trying to get the update when I did finally get connected did not show me the update on the phone or the Zune software.

But thanks to some enterprising guys over at XDA-Developers (dawnrazr, Bonebreaker, pLUSpISTOL, zard, and others), there is a way to get your phone to find the update immediately. Note that I’ve tested this on my unlocked Samsung Omnia 7. However please try this at your own risk. I’m not responsible for bricking or otherwise damaging your phone or data.


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Categories: Gadgets | Tips | Windows Phone

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SharePoint 2010 Install Tips on Win08R2

It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog. So let’s start the year with some install tips for one of the most exciting products coming out this year from Microsoft – SharePoint 2010.

If’ you haven’t got it yet, head over and download the SharePoint 2010 beta. If you are planning to install it for testing on a Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 machine here are some small install tips for you that’ll take some small irritations away from installing the beta.

  1. Download the Pre-Requisites for SharePoint 2010 beforehand and install them yourself. You can get a list of direct downloads for these at
  2. Make sure you’ve promoted the machine to a Domain Controller
  3. Once the install phase of the SharePoint setup is complete, do NOT start the SharePoint 2010 Product Configuration Wizard automatically. Instead, install the very important hotfix for .NET Framework 3.5SP1. Reboot after the install.
    • In case you did start the config wizard, you’d most probably have gotten an error on Step 5 while installing services. Quit the wizard and install the hotfix above.
    • Reboot the machine and open up RegEdit and search and delete all of the following (whichever you can find)
      • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\14.0\WSS\Services\Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchWebServiceManagerService
      • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\14.0\WSS\ServiceProxies\Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchWebServiceManagerServiceProxy
      • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\14.0\WSS\Services\Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchService
      • HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Web Server Extensions\14.0\WSS\Services\Microsoft.SharePoint.Search.Administration.SPSearchService
  4. Complete the install using the configuration wizard and you should be up and running with SharePoint 2010 easily enough.

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Categories: Tips | Office | SharePoint

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Using OpenType Font Features in Word 2010

We normally use what are called TrueType fonts on Windows machines for everything – whether in applications or when typing a document in Word. However, Windows Vista and above have had a new type of font system called OpenType.

OpenType is a scalable font format, built to be compatible with TrueType, but having many advanced typographic features like:

  • Ligatures
  • Numeric styling
  • Fraction Styling
  • Glyphs
  • Style “sets”
  • Contextual Alternates

You can read about the full specification of features here. However, the strange part has been that you couldn’t use the OpenType features in your Word documents… That is, till now. Word 2010 does have the ability to use the OpenType features in any document.

To do this, you will need to use an OpenType font. Some of these are Calibri, Cambria and the other “C”-fonts. But to really see the power of OpenType you need to use Gabriola. This is a script like font that has a number of cool features to it. Open Word 2010, change the font to Gabriola and add some text to the document. At first glance, the text looks pretty normal.


Select the text and press <Ctrl>-D to enter the font properties dialog. Click on the Advanced tab to reach the OpenType settings. The easiest way to see the changes is to change the “Stylistic sets” value. Change it to say “5” for now and see what happens:


You can now see that there are some nice effects starting to show up. Crank up the value to say 7.


The text effects become even more pronounced. You can also experiment with the other settings to see other features of the font. For instance, the Number forms for “Lining” and “OldStyle” change how numbers are shown like this:


f5The Contextual Alternates allow you to let characters change according to their relative position to other characters around them. Take a look at the “D” in the word “different” being typed below:

As you can see, the way that the character “d” is drawn changes each time surrounding characters change. You can turn this off or on if you want.

There are a ton of other features available in OpenType fonts as well and combinations of the settings can help you create extremely rich looking typography.

Do try out the OpenType features and with different fonts to see the effect of all the different settings you can do on them. You can add a ton of richness to your documents this way.

Here’s a small tip: If you’re using Outlook 2010, you can use these features when creating a new mail as well! f6

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Categories: Office | Rave | Tips

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PowerPoint 2010 Broadcast Feature

One of the cool new features of PowerPoint 2010 is the ability for you to broadcast your presentation over the Internet for remote or networked viewers. This allows you to show presentations even if there is no projector available.


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Categories: Office | Tips | Rave

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Desktops Gadgets for Windows 7

I really liked the blog post by Bill Evjen regarding some of his favorite desktop gadgets. I’ve been using a bunch of gadgets since Vista days and I continue to use them here. Here’s my list of gadgets on the desktop:

G01G02Large Notes Gadget: This is a modification of the built-in Notes gadget available in Vista (but not in Win7). It allows you  to quickly write a sticky note on the screen and also increase the size of the note. I know Windows 7 has a built in Sticky Notes application, but I like my desktop to be clean and this fits the bill perfectly. Just remember to click the “English” link at the top to view the site in English when you go to download the gadget.

G04G03 I also use the built in Weather and Currency gadgets with settings for my city and country. I find this quite sufficient for my needs. The good part is that these gadgets are  now enhanced in Windows 7 and have a large mode as well for looking at multiple days of weather or multiple currencies at a time.


G05 System Monitor is the next gadget I use. It’s a combo gadget which shows a multi-CPU monitor, a memory monitor, date & time, notebook battery level, wireless strength and IP address. It also has useful tools like ping, traceroute and whois as well!

G06Another gadget from the same company is the Quick Launch gadget. This allows me to store shortcuts to apps that I use occasionally but are not “installed” normally. For instance, I have moved the Recycle bin off my desktop to this gadget as well as quick clicks to my C and D drives. I also have “portable apps” such as WinSCP, FireFox 3.5.2 and MS FTM that I use occasionally but are not in my Start Menu.

G07 Next is “The Region” Gadget which allows me to see the latest featured posts from – the blog aggregation space for Microsoft Regional Directors. It’s good to see what some of the top experts in the Microsoft technology space are talking about and i’m honored and humbled to be in this same list!


Since I’m on a 17” notebook running at 1920x1200 i have a bunch of more space that I occasionally try out some other gadgets in the space available. But the above ones are some that I use all the time.

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Categories: Gadgets | Windows 7 | Tips

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Windows 7 RTM – Smooth Install from USB Drive

Once it finally hit MSDN Subscriptions, I downloaded Windows 7 and went around installing it. One of the things I did differently this time is that instead of burning the ISO to a DVD and then booting my machine off it, I created a USB drive based install following these steps:

  1. Plug in your USB drive (thumb, hard disk, etc.). Must be >= 4GB in size
  2. Open a Command Prompt with Admin rights and run the following commands:
    • list disk [This will show a list of disks attached to your system. Note the # for the USB drive]
    • select disk # [where # is the number of the USB drive selected above]
    • clean
    • create partition primary
    • active
    • format fs=ntfs quick
    • assign
    • exit
  3. Now mount your ISO or open it with WinRAR and copy all the contents from it to the new drive partition
  4. Use the USB to boot your machine (if your BIOS supports it) and start the installation

On my 3 year old notebook, the complete installation off the USB drive took just about 18 minutes from start to finish. I highly recommend that you use this technique to get up and running with Windows 7 fast.

Every single device on my machine was detected and drivers installed automatically. It also found the latest official nVidia drivers for my video card from Microsoft Update and downloaded them and installed too. I had a fully working machine in about 30 minutes and have started installing all the software I need. Kudos to the Windows team on getting this so right this time.

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Categories: Microsoft | Tips | Windows 7 | Rave

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Loading Child Table Data in SilverLight & RIA Services

I’m currently working with the .NET RIA Services SDK with Silverlight 3 for getting and modifying data from the server using LINQ. Now there are a ton of samples and blog posts available that show you how to work with data from the server. However, one thing in common with all these posts is that they usually work with only one table at a time. What if you want to show the result of a join on the table? This is where a relatively unknown feature called the IncludeAttribute comes in. Let’s take an example for this to explain it in detail.


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Categories: Development | Tips | SilverLight

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Virtual Desktops on Windows 7

One of the things that I miss on Windows over Linux is the built-in ability to have multiple desktops. This is really useful feature that allows you to organize your application windows in different desktops for different types of work. For instance, you can go ahead and keep all your mail and IM windows on one desktop, your current work on another, your downloads on yet another and so on. The best part is that there are many programs for adding this feature to Windows as well.

I’ve been using a free application called VirtuaWin for many, many years now. It’s only recently after moving to Windows 7 M1 that I VWstopped as it did not support the new taskbar functionality yet and would give problems. The great news is that the latest release of VirtuaWin now finally supports Windows 7 as well!

I installed the VirtuaWin 4.1 Beta 2 on my Windows 7 RC machine. Not only does it recognize the new taskbar, it also works perfectly in it. The only issue you might have is the default settings to use the [Windows] key of your keyboard as hotkeys in the application. You will need to change this by going to the application’s icon in the notification area and selecting “Setup”.

Make sure that you modify each of the hotkeys to turn OFF the “Win” key option. This will enable you to use the hotkeys without conflicting with the built-in Windows 7 shortcuts.

If you like managing your windows even more than the defaults that you get in Windows 7, VirtuaWin is a great addition to your power user tools. Get it today to be able to add the ability of multiple desktops.

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Categories: Windows 7 | Tips | Rave

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Windows 7 and Application Compatibilty

I’m updating my blog after a long time since I’ve been tied up in doing a large number of Windows 7 Application Compatibility workshops all across India with a number of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) for their products. We’re basically testing out their products on the Windows 7 RC to see any issues that might surface and what they need to do to resolve them.

Most application run just fine on Windows 7. However, in the cases where there is an issue, it almost invariably turns out that the product has not been tested on Windows Vista and therefore it also fails on Windows XP. Vista and 7 have a tighter security mechanism called UAC that needs to be addressed in applications – and is something that many developers face problems with.

So here are two of the biggest issues that I’ve seen and their solutions: More...

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Categories: Windows 7 | Tips | Development

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Bing is the new Live

Well, the new search engine from Microsoft is now “live” – ummm, no I mean “bing” - “bing” is now “live”, ugh. “bing” is the new “live” and is “live”.

Ok, ok, what I mean is that is the successor to the and is now active. Browsing to Live redirects to Bing and so do the Internet searches from Internet Explorer and Windows. Bing has a ton of new features that you can find out more about.

The only problem is that this is currently available only if your settings are for United States – English. If not, you see a bunch of different things. For instance, take a look at the screens below.

Bing Home - India 
This is the Bing home page with “India” settings. As you can see, the auto suggest works quite well.

Binh Home - USA 
This is the Bing home page with US settings. Not just do you get an additional menu on the left, you also get hot spots on the image background with interesting information and ability to browse backgrounds!

Bing Results - India 
A search result with India settings shows the information as well as a “News” link on the left.

Bing Results - US 01 
The same search with US settings – notice the whole new set of filters on the left – Map, Hotel, Airport, etc. Clicking on any filters results to what you need as below:

Bing Results - US 02 
The filtered search – quickly get where you want to go!

So if you want all the features of Bing, you need to set it to the US – English setting by clicking the language on the top of the screen and selecting it. Hopefully, the other settings will also get these features soon.

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Categories: Tips | Windows Live

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