It’s less than 3 weeks since Unit 42 from Palo Alto published the IOS XCodeGhost malware that has infected 39 apps in Apple App Store. And they’re at it again! This time Unit 42 published findings on the malware YiSpecter, which uses many attack vectors with the key differentiator being Enterprise certificates & Private API to implement the hack.
This level of sophisticated is usually associated with Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)rather than a simple infection but since Apple Store has very strict checks, I guess they have to go to this level of sophistication in order to infect non-jailbroken devices.
Now I’m not saying that this malware company (YingMob Interaction) is really good, but they did “go the extra mile” to ensure a successful widespread infection by borrowing APT techniques published over the past 5 years.
In summary, YiSpecter mainly targets iPhone & iPad users in China & Taiwan, so maybe the hackers only target Simplified Chinese language users. The infection starts from infected websites, Windows-based IM platform like Tencent’s QQ Chat and forums where malicious HTML files are posted & displayed on the target IOS screen.
On IOS 8 devices, if the user click on dialog box to allow downloading the app, it is automatically installed because it contain a stolen but valid Enterprise certificate. On IOS 9, you have to switch on the permission to install Enterprise app, so new users are protected. However, if you’ve upgraded from IOS 8, it’s likely you’re still infected because YiSpecter is self-preserving, can spread the infection as part of a Botnet and is hidden from the user.
I wouldn’t go into the mechanism of the infection because it’s too technical for average users. You can find the link to the original Palo Alto notice at the end of the article.
To Clean the infection, you have to do the below:
In iOS, go to Settings -> General -> Profiles to remove all unknown or untrusted profiles;
If there’s any installed apps named “情涩播放器”, “快播私密版” or “快播0”, delete them;
Use any third-party iOS management tool (e.g., iFunBox, though note that Apple’s iTunes doesn’t work in this step) on Windows or Mac OS X, to connect with your iPhone or iPad;
In the management tool, check all installed iOS apps; if there’re some apps have name like Phone, Weather, Game Center, Passbook, Notes, or Cydia, delete them. (Note that this step won’t affect original system apps but just delete faked malware.)
Unit 42 finds that malware XcodeGhost infects 39 iOS apps, including WeChat, affecting hundreds of millions of users.
Update your software now as many of the affected developers have updated their official Apple Xcode IDE, which is NOT affected, and republished their apps. If you can’t update the app, it’s better to temporarily uninstall it.
Also make sure to change your app passwords and AppleID password as it’s likely being phished by hackers.
HFMD, all parents dread these 4 letters & with good reason. It’s the chicken-pox of the 2010s, where your child cannot go to childcare or school and there’s no cure and no vaccine.
In Singapore, MOH has declared it endemic and there’s a good chance it’ll infect your kids like it happened to my (then) 4yo daughter.
As an insurance professional, I’ve handled many HFMD claims for StarShield babies so far this year (2015) and heard many horror stories regarding the pain & suffering of their toddlers and themselves. My kids are 6 & 5 so I understand their pain and I was somewhat prepared when my 4yo (at that time) daughter got HFMD. So I’m here to share how to be prepared to handle the situation if this happen to your child.
What is HFMD?
Hand Foot Mouse Disease is caused by 2 different families of virus, and like flu, your immune system is only primed for that particular strain in that particular sub-family. If you’re infected by a different virus strain, your prior infection isn’t going to help you.
The symptoms appears 3-4 days after infection and the most common ones are lesions around the joints & mouth, a low level fever and most painful of all, many many ulcers in the mouth. It’s seriously scary to see so many ulcers in your child’s mouth if you’re unprepared so I’d prepare you by showing my daughter’s. 😉 13-14 ulcers in total!
The ulcers are the worse part of the disease. That’ll take about 5-6 days to clear before the doctor can declare your child healthy and non-infectious. HFMD affect different children differently because there’re so many virus that can cause it and these virus particles can survive even when the mucus is dried up. So the best defense against HFMD is to ensure your kids washes their hands before eating anything. Since there’s no vaccine & no treatment available, it’s a waste of time & money to see pediatrician unless your child is below 2 years of age.
Just see a normal GP for liquid Paracetamol or acetaminophen to manage the fever & pain from the ulcers. Some GP prefer to prescribe Ibuprofen and that’s fine because it’s more effective as a painkiller, but the dosage MUST be strictly followed because liver damage is a known effect even with a light dosage. This is why I opted for Paracetamol.
First of all, don’t worry, most HFMD in Singapore don’t result in death. Hospitalisation may be needed if you can’t manage it properly so I’m here to help you manage it properly!
Be prepared to take 1 week leave if you cannot find someone willing to take care of your child. Please don’t ask your parents to take care of your sick child. Elderly has a weaker immune system & if they catch HFMD, they’ll suffer badly!
ENFORCE hand washing for everyone at home if you don’t want everyone to be infected! Also, no kissing and reduce touching to minimize the chance of contaminations and increasing the itch to those blisters.
DO NOT share food! Always pass the food to the child so that his/her utensils never touches what the rest of the family is eating.
Wash your child backside or ensure he/she washes his/her hands after using the toilet because HFMD is passed from feces to the mouth.
Prepare some topical (non-steroid) cream to reduce itching.
Prepare the following if ulcers start appearing. (Painkiller, ulcer cream, watermelon plant powder)
If ulcers becomes bad, prepare plain porridge everyday with some salty or sweet condiments. Everything that goes into the mouth is going to hurt like hell for your child. Sympathise with the pain but ensure your child gets the food down because he/she really needs the nutrients to fight off the infections! (Contrary to many advise, ice cream hurts!) High salt or sugar content hurts the ulcers so plain and warm is good.
Use alcohol swaps to wipe down all the child’s regular toys + surfaces he/she touches everyday like door knobs to minimize cross-contamination. Sterilising the whole house is frankly impossible and since HFMD viruses are not air-borne, just ensuring everyone washes their hands before food and you’d be fine. My 6yo son has close contact with his sister but by following our instructions, he never contracted it.
What NOT to do
Do Not Let your child play in public & spread the virus.
Do Not Bring you child to childcare & expect them to take care of your sick kid.
Do Not Eat all sort of medicine, western or traditional. It’s not going to help. Just ensure your child is well-fed & hydrated.
Do Not Use steroid based cream or medication. (It hinder the child’s development.)
Do Not Punish the child for not following your instructions or being cranky. Trust me, the ulcers are driving him/her crazy enough.
Do Not Overdose your child with painkiller.
Do Not Give lots of kisses & hugs. If you go down, it’ll take twice as long for YOU to recover! Then WHO’s going to take care of you & your child?
Dealing with the ulcers
The most painful ulcers are those at the back of the throat & mouth. Those under the tongue will make it hard for your child to eat anything.
Give painkiller. Follow dosage carefully especially with Ibuprofen. For very young toddlers, watch out for these side-effects & stop the medication immediately and see your doctor.
For Paracetomol or acetaminophen, you can safely increase Paracetomol dosage slightly if needed.
If you believe in Watermelon plant powder, you can spray 2-3 times to the back of the tongue. My girl didn’t like it because it’s so bitter.
Personally, I prefer the ulcer gel because there’s no restriction on dosage.
Clean your hands and carefully apply a dot of ulcer gel on your little finger.
Dap or rub the dot on the ulcer. Repeat until you’ve covered all the ulcers.
For those ulcers at the back of the throat, I squeeze a liberal amount under my daughter’s tongue and ask her to mix it with saliva, gargle & swallow.
If you do all 3, most of the pain will be gone enough for you to feed your child!
Since there’s no cure for HFMD, it’s important your child is able to fight off the infection him/herself. This means he/she must eat or at least drink formula milk that can fulfill the daily nutritional needs.
Plain, bland, soft & warm food is the best. I found plain porridge is the best for my daughter, together with those Taiwanese mock duck or glutten which is not too strongly flavoured. After a few initial tentatively swallows, my daughter manages to finish her porridge in record time! Just remember to spread the porridge in a big plate so it cools down fast!
We’ve tried different food, milo, cold milk & ice-cream. All hurt her badly especially cold stuff.
After food, I find that another round of ulcer gel helps to take the edge off the pain enough for her to sleep soundly.
For hydration, I found that plain water is the best because the sugar in flavoured beverage hurts the ulcers for a long time. If your toddler is young, you can try to thin the milk a bit if he/she is rejecting the milk.
I generally wouldn’t worry about the fever unless your child becomes listless and lethargic, or worse, have a seizure. If you follow the dosage of the painkiller & the fever stays high, quickly seek medical help.
By following these rules, my girl recovered nicely with no weight loss or lasting effects. I hope this article helped you if your child got HFMD.
Most insurers don’t comprehensively cover all aspects of managing childhood disease like HFMD. Fortunately, I know one that does that. From outpatient GP/Specialist costs, to taking care of the taxi fare or parking fees shall your child be hospitalized, to the actual hospital bill. It’s very affordable to boot.
For more information, please email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Errors? Comments? Questions? Use the comment box below!
(PDPA: Note that by emailing me, you consent to allowing me to email you back regarding HFMD information shared in this article. Don’t sue me later saying your email is in the DNC ah!)
Update: 16/3/2015 – Corrections & additions to WP8 Nextgen Reader & Magnify, Weave Server deactivated Update: 15/3/2015 – More in-depth review of NextGen Reader for Windows 8 & WP8 Update: 12/3/2015 – additional info for NextGen Reader for WP8
Weave is no more!
Weave News Reader was one of the first and one of the best news reader for the Windows Phone platform. I started using it when it was Windows Phone News. It is a Windows Phone exclusive app from Windows Phone 7 till now but like we Chinese say, “There’s no celebration/banquet that lasts forever.” Weave stopped working on 16 March 2015, with @Selesgames pulling the plug on the Weave server. This also means that Weave for Windows 8.x has stopped working as well.
@Selesgames has posted on Windows Central regarding the abrupt decision and while I’m sad that Arash Emami, the sole proprietor of @Selegames, is discontinuing Weave, I’m happy that he’s joining LinkedIn. Hopefully he can do something about the LinkedIn app in Windows 8 / WP8 & Windows 10.
I exclusively use Weave (Windows 8/WP8) for news on Windows, Windows Phone, Technology in general, Science & Astronomy, World News and Self-help. In fact, based on Battery sense, Weave is usually the single biggest usage of Battery!
So what’s next for users like me? Well I think it’s time to do a comparative review of some of the best news reader for the Windows/Windows Phone platform.
There are many great news aggregator in the Windows Store but I have chosen these few to compare against Weave. The areas that I’ll compare include ease of initial & subsequent setup of accounts & feeds, ease of synchronization between devices including Windows & Phones, speed of app in pulling feeds online & offline, speed in displaying news aggregate and individual articles, UX and customisations.
Converge 4.3.1 – Converge is a popular app with a 4.5 star rating. It focuses on Tech news only which makes it less useful for me but it has a very nice UI & includes a Video Hub that display all videos embedded in all the downloaded articles.
The Popular page is the Home page and you can switch between Tile mode shown below as the 2nd screen or Slideshow mode (find this in Settings) which changes to a magazine mode shown below as the 3rd screen.
It doesn’t sync to other devices and also doesn’t have a Windows 8 app, which is a waste, as the potential for this app to be popular as a Universal app on Windows 8 & 10 is definitely great.
Flipboard 2.6 – Flipboard is a social-media driven news aggregator app that’s ported from IOS. The main draw of Flipboard for IOS users was it simulates the page curling and flipping when you switch between articles, akin to flipping the page of a magazine. Alas, this flipping transition was not ported in WP8 thus reducing the “magic.”
The lineage of the app is very Apple-esque. The Windows version is very versatile but UI takes some getting used to. Things like Following which Feed or which Category was scattered all over the Modern app. I have not tried Flipboard on my iPad so I can’t tell if it works the same way there but I felt it could have been better organized. Flipping the page and other navigation is through keyboard left and right cursor keys or the Scroll on your mouse. BUT, there was NO indication on the screen on how that’ll work if you’re not using a touchscreen! Unlike other Modern apps like Microsoft News which has pop-up left/right edge cues, Flipboard for Windows doesn’t have those!
After you spend a few hours sieving through all the hundreds of feeds/website/categories/whatever and Follow the correct Feeds, you’d be very happy as it syncs back to your Flipboard account and that will propagate to all your devices. Unfortunately, there seems to be some issues with my Flipboard for Windows. After I’ve followed some feeds, it doesn’t sync back to my Flipboard account. It will always revert to the default Flipboard feeds & categories.
FlipBoard for WP8 works much better as it syncs perfectly with my Flipboard account and with other devices. However, it overwrites all the categories I’ve selected in FlipBoard for Windows. Now sieving through so many feeds isn’t productive on a small screen so it’s a real bummer that FlipBoard for Windows wasn’t synching properly.
A lot of potential here but it takes too much time to get to the news I want.
Fuse 22.214.171.124 – Fuse is created by legendary Windows Phone developer Rudy Huyn. It is a very functional software with an interesting Film reel layout. Setting up is quite easy but still requires you to sieve through a huge list categories of RSS feeds. After which you can categories it according to your preference.
It is the least polished of the apps in this round-up and lacks important features like sync to cloud and a Universal app for Windows 8/10. The film reel news feed, while functional, is very distracting with huge website name and the perforated separator for time making this part of the UI rather clunky and un-modern.
There’re some nice touches and animations here and there like all of Rudy’s other apps but this app definitely could use more development.
Microsoft News 126.96.36.1991 – Microsoft 1st party News app is a showcase of how a Modern app should be like and they have more or less succeeded in that mission. BUT, it’s also the least customizable of all the apps in this comparison. There’re also some nagging bugs like the Featured News showing SUPER OLD NEWS. See the picture below!
The pre-installed list of news sites are very few and doesn’t cover the full spectrum of interests and categories. You could make it show news from all your favourite websites but you’d have to manually key in the address and configure the RSS, which is why I only use MS News to follow Singapore & World news.
For some reasons, MS removed a great feature which allows you to add your own “Topic of interest.” This is moved to Cortana so I suppose MS means for us to use Cortana as our News source?
Nextgen Reader 188.8.131.52 – Nextgen Reader is another 4+ star app that has won the praise of many user and reviewers. It is highly functional and the Windows UI is modeled after Outlook Express. It’s also a Universal app which automatically syncs your account between devices.
However, its Achilles’ Heels is the configuration has to happen at the Feedly website. As a client only, it is not possible to configure from the Windows app. Fortunately, the Feedly website is easy to navigate with interest & categories clearly sorted and searchable. Even though the list isn’t pre-selected or curated, it was very easy for me to add the individual websites into the category as major topics of interest are #hashtagged in search. Unlike Flipboard or Fuse, getting organized was super easy & quick, and I don’t feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of websites.
After I’ve added some of the websites that was curated from Weave, I selected a few more which were not in Weave’s list. After that, clicking Sync in the Windows 8 Nextgen Reader immediately displays all my selection from the website. It was super easy!
Opening the app in WP8 was the same, the list and news feeds were all sync and ready to read. I just have to change the view to “Headline with Large Image” and it works almost the same as Weave!
You can add & delete Feeds from within the WP8 app which makes it a bit weird that the Windows app can’t. Did I miss something? WP8 Nextgen Reader has an awesome built-in Twitter sharing engine but if you prefer another app, you can always disable to share via WP8 Shares, or you could have BOTH! This multiplicity of functions is what I’ve come to expect from Desktop software. To see it in mobile apps without clunking up the whole UI is why I love WP8 platform and why I’m growing to like Nextgen Reader more everyday.
I subscribe to a large number of Feeds from multiple sources and it can go into the hundreds within a few hours. I don’t read every article, so I scroll through the list and tap only those I’m interested in. A very useful feature for both Windows & WP8 is the ability to, “Mark above as Read.” This allows me to go through a huge list of articles and simply mark ‘read’ the posts that I’ve scrolled past so I don’t have to go through them again later.
Nextgen Reader is not the prettiest of the bunch but so far, it’s the closest competitor to Weave. After using it for a couple of days I find that there were some areas that can be improved. In the WP8 app, currently in List view, ‘Read’ articles are denoted by a greyed Headline, it would be much clearer if the preview image was greyed as well. And when I go into an article, I have to tap “get full article”, why not set this as the default behavior? This is true for both Windows & WP8.
Magnify News Reader 3.1.7 – Magnify (Beta) is a beautiful app with so much bells and whistles, they had to create a video tutorial that runs the first time you open the app. It is also a Feedly client like NextGen Reader and thus, all my feeds are downloaded and sync to the app immediately after I sign in. If you haven’t create feeds in Feedly website, the app will appear empty and that’s why I scratched my head the first time I installed it months ago. The UI & UX is vastly different from NextGen Reader and users who like 3D animations are in for a treat.
All the transitions have 3D animations, from Home Page to individual section, there’s that flying pages animation. In the Preview page, scrolling up & down also scrolls up and down the Preview images. Once inside the article, a 3D cube effect changes the page instead of a standard scroll.
The app is also packed with tons of features that I use regularly in Weave so this is definitely a strong contender, although I must say that after reading a few articles, I got a headache from all the animations. Fortunately, there’s an ‘Article view’ which switches off the 3D cube effect and just scroll as per normal.
A very important feature that sets it apart from Nextgen Reader is the included Curated lists when you tap the “+” hub. It is a full featured Feed management system which gives users the ability to manage their Feeds completely within the app or use the pre-selected ones in each category or interest. It’s also more powerful than Weave and almost as easy to use as the Feedly website, which is an impressive feat given the limited screen size. Also, when I tap to view an article, Magnify shows the preview while downloading the full (mobilised) article automatically in the background. Kudos to the developers!
Its biggest annoyance is perhaps the lack of the “Mark above as Read” which is so useful in Nextgen Reader. Since the Feeds are not paginated, I have to tap on individual Feeds group if I think I cannot finish all the posts at one go. Within the Article list, you can only Mark all ‘Read’ or ‘Unread’. This can definitely be improved. Personally, the app is a bit too colourful for my liking but if you like your Groups to be colour-coded and fully customizable, you’d love Magnify!
Weave News Reader 184.108.40.206 – Weave News Reader. Much has been written about it. It’s a fantastic news reader for the busy person. It looks fantastic when it first came out. While the look is a bit dated now with Flipboard & Magnify looking awesome, Weave still gets the job done pretty well.
One of its best feature, the Weave (mobiliser) server that Weave News Reader sync to is no longer unique and in fact, can be unstable at times. Certain website also doesn’t get mobilised, including some of my favourite websites, causing Weave to switch to the much slower Web View. Beside mobilising the webpage, the Weave Server also prepares the page for Text-to-Speech, which is a great feature not available in most other apps.
Unfortunately, Weave News Reader has its fair share of bugs like the synchronization of Read/Unread posts can become out-of-sync between devices. When the Weave server was unstable, Weave News Reader would crash or its Live Tile can go haywire. Another very common complain was a stuck Live Tile but that’s less common after WP8.1.
Having said that, Weave still has the best curated list of websites sorted into interest & categories to get newbies up and running quickly. After that, you can opt to sync to your Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter or Google Account. This allows your selected feeds to sync between devices, including read/unread posts so you can continue reading on the go or at home/office.
You can easily customize your preferred website or add more if you so desire although IIRC Feedly isn’t supported. Articles can be easily shared to multiple destinations without any fuss and you can favourite any posts so it stays in your synchronized feed forever, or until Weave server goes dark on 14th March.
Weave has tons and tons of features but somehow doesn’t feel cluttered and is one of the best example of a modern app there is!
Which app is the winner?
Well, after this review, I still prefer Weave but since I have to choose an alternative, my recommendation goes to NextGen Reader. It has the best balance between UX, UI, features & customisations. I’d continue to play with the other apps and update this article with my thoughts as I go along.
To help readers make up their own mind, here’s a table.
Comments are welcome and if you want me to review another app on either Windows or WP8, I’d be happy to do so when I have the time. Remember to like my post & subscribe!
This is a new series of food hack/recipes that I’ve done at home which I’m sharing to cater for men & women who are too busy to cook a decent meal but still wants to enhance what they can get with limited ingredients and limited time. More importantly, it’s cooked at home so you control the quality & nutritional value.
You will see many of the ingredients are being reused & remixed so you do not have to spend time looking for them but at times, the mix of ingredients may seem bonkers and that’s the whole point. Doing something special to surprise your loved ones and delighting their taste buds.
There’re only a few condiments/spices that I frequently use which I’d reveal over the series but rest assure I’d keep reusing/revisiting the same taste so the ingredient don’t go bad from disuse. Most of the ingredients I use are of higher quality but because you’d only need a little, in the long term, it’s inexpensive.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you love it as much as I do, please click the article header and find the comment section below.
Recipe #1 – Bacon Butter Rice
To kick off the series, I’m going to show you how to enhance your plain rice. Unfortunately, some of my recipes don’t have Halal equivalent (like this one,) so I’d put that in the title.
This recipe is so ridiculously simple because you simply throw all the ingredients into the rice cooker and wait. I got the idea last week when I realize my bacon is about to expire and rather than simply frying it up, I thought why not put it in the rice to give that wonderful smoky fragrance! Heavenly! I can already imagine the aroma from this special butter rice. And the best part is, it goes well with Chinese food as well!
Don’t worry, I’d explain the purpose of the ingredients so you don’t have to buy a specific brand or type. Just find the closest match, mix it up and have fun!
One last note. It’s hard to cook for 1-2 person, so most of my recipes are upsized to be stored for later consumption. It’s perfectly fine to use the microwave to reheat rice. For meat, fish & vegetable, you should consider steaming if possible.
Serving size: 8 adult portions or 6 man-sized portions
1 pack of streaky bacon (you’d want more fats to make the rice smoother so back-bacon is not such a good idea & definitely don’t waste that parma ham!)
2 tablespoon of salted butter or cut about 1cm from the block (if you use unsalted butter, add about half a teaspoon of salt)
All-purpose herbs (unsalted) in a shaker
4 cups of rice (Jasmine or Thai fragrant rice is best but long-grain or pearl rice should work too)
Note about the ingredients:
Real Bacon has a smoky aroma that really adds a fantastic and luxurious taste to the rice. This can’t be easily replicated with Turkey Bacon or even good ham.
Use REAL butter, buy what you can afford. Generally more expensive butter has more milk solids + water and thus taste more creamy. NEVER use margarine for your health’s sake.
All-purpose herbs comes in a shaker form but are not cheap unless you mix it yourself. Fortunately, you don’t have to use a lot each time. However, because it’s so versatile, it’ll be used in many of my recipes! If your herb contains sea salt, use a little less salt if you find the result too salty.
Most Asian get our carbohydrates from polished rice. It’s so versatile but its potential is under appreciated. I’m going to show you MANY things you can do to enhance the humble rice in future posts!
Wash your rice once and drain. Fill it to the number 4 mark in the cooking pot.
Dump the salted butter or the unsalted butter + salt into the water.
Shake the herb onto the water so it covers most of the surface loosely.
Cut the streaky bacon in half (meaning from 15cm slices to 7.5cm)
Chuck the first half to the bottom of the rice and the other half on top, making sure it’s completely submerged.
Cook the rice as per normal.
Don’t worry about the quantity of the ingredients. Adjust it to your liking. These recipes are supposed to be quick food hacks.
Do not use too much herbs! The herb is there to give you a tantalizing aroma, too much and it becomes bitter. If you like a stronger smell without the bitterness, use fresh herbs!
Similarly, do not use too much salt as the bacon is pretty salty already. You’d want the salt to enhance the savory sweetness (umami) but not to make the rice salty!
Know your rice! Stick to what you know best. Most Japanese brand rice cookers will cook Thai Jasmine rice, Thai Fragrant rice & Japanese Pearl rice to perfection with the Plain rice program. However, different rice are cooked differently, for example, USA and China Pearl rice has a lower moisture content, meaning you need to pre-soak the rice for some time after washing and before cooking!
Do NOT use turkey bacon, ham & luncheon meat, it wouldn’t turn out as well.
NEVER use margarine! It just isn’t healthy!
Putting the ingredients into the rice before the water. You need a very specific amount of moisture during and after cooking as the oil & fats will drive out some of the moisture from the rice grains. You’d want a chewiness to the rice and the moisture in the rice is very important!
Using Soya sauce instead of salt. I personally think the soya bean taste will dilute the smoky aroma of the bacon but I have not tested this. I just imagine the 2 together and it seems to cancel out or at least doesn’t flare wonderfully.
Well I didn’t hold anything back so you should be able to get the same taste as my family last week. Everyone loved it and I hope your family loves it too!
As readers on my website knows, I’ve been using Windows 8.0 since the Developer Preview beta program on my Fujitsu T4210 TabletPC and I bought the license on Day one for my TabletPC.
I also bought 2 additional licenses for my desktop PC & for my wife’s laptop but I didn’t install Windows 8.0 on my desktop for quite a few months because Windows 8.0 was less keyboard/mouse friendly than Windows 7.
I did do a multi-boot for my wife so she can try Windows 8.0 if she wanted on her Fujitsu S6310 laptop or she can continue to use Windows 7 if she didn’t like Windows 8.0. Turns out she didn’t like Windows 8.0 because her laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen, which makes Windows 8.0 harder to grasp and use than it needed to be.
Before Windows 8.1 was launched, I installed Windows 8.0 on my desktop in anticipation of the much better keyboard/mouse environment in Windows 8.1.
My Fujitsu TabletPC and DIY desktop upgraded without any issues but my wife’s laptop couldn’t be upgraded. Whatever I tried, I ended up with the error 0xC1900101 – 0x20017 which indicated some kind of driver issue or hardware problem.
The symptom is always the same. It’ll install everything but during the final phase of booting up to Desktop, it’ll crash and refuse to boot, thus triggering a roll-back to Windows 8.0.
No Solutions in sight
You can find MANY threads at Microsoft forums of people who have this exact problem or something similar but few people manages to solve it.
This issue dragged on for months and months with Microsoft promising to solve it once and all in a major patch for Windows 8.0. Unfortunately, while it solved the problem for many people who has driver issues, it didn’t help my wife’s laptop.
I’ve tried different versions of drivers, including NOT installing drivers for unknown devices. I’ve tried upgrading Windows 7 using a Windows 8.1 Boot disc, which had the same issue, rendering the Windows 7 partition corrupt. I even tried to rename the Windows 7 partition as “System Reserved” because I read Windows 8 requires a separate recovery partition. Nothing worked. So my wife was stuck with 2 Windows 8.0 installation at the Boot screen but only one works.
Suffice to say my wife wasn’t too happy with the situation but since she only uses the laptop to watch TV dramas, I wasn’t in any danger of having to sleep on the sofa.
Solution came after solving an unrelated problem
Well if you read my previous post about installing Windows 8.1 without DVD or Product Key, you’d know that Microsoft recently updated their Windows 8.1 installation to handle more hardware, especially the new Ultrabooks which doesn’t have any DVD drives and all the recovery information are stored on the harddisk. So if said harddisk were to crash, like the one in the article, you must download a program from Microsoft which creates a bootable recovery disk on a USB thumbdrive or DVD disc.
After I recovered that laptop, I noticed that the Recovery disk has created 2 additional hidden “System Reserved” partitions at the front & back of the SSD besides the main System partition. Now in my wife’s laptop case, I only have the one at the back of the harddisk.
During the installation of Windows 8.0, the installer created 1 additional System Reserved folder which exceeded the maximum number of 4 allowable for a Basic Disk. In order to have more than 4 partitions, I needed to convert to a Dynamic Disk but that will create a lot of compatibility issues with harddisk and data recovery software that I have. So I opted to stick to a Basic disk and of course, Windows 8.0 couldn’t boot to continue the installation.
So I booted up to Windows 7 and ran Eason Partition Manager 8 to delete the extra partition and shifted some other partitions around. Windows 8.0 booted up fine and finished the installation after that but as a consequence, the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) now has missing and non-continuous partition numbering. I had to edit Windows 7 BCD so it can dual-boot with Windows 8.0. It was messy.
This turned out to be the actual problem with our Windows 8.1 upgrade!
Since I still have the USB thumbdrive for Windows 8.1 installation, I tried to upgrade my wife’s laptop and of course, the same error code cropped up. Then, I remember about the partitioning issues a few years back & realized that I could just edit the BCD! But I thought, now I have an extra partition, it’ll be cleaner to just backup her data and just delete off all the partitions and start over.
So I did just that and it was the exact same procedure as my previous article except before installing, you have to delete off ALL the partitions on the harddisk/SSD. My wife’s laptop was based on the old IBM-PC BIOS so I had to key in her Windows 8.0 Product Key. And YES, even though the Recovery Media program is meant to install Windows 8.1, it happily accepted the Windows 8.0 Product Key!
After that, it was smooth sailing all the way! 🙂
Her laptop is working better than ever!
I hope this helps some of you. Like the article and subscribe. If you have any questions, feel free to comment!
Disaster! My Laptop Harddisk has crashed! How many of you had this happened to your laptop or your child’s laptop?
You were happily using your new Core i7 laptop which you got it cheap during Black Friday or Cyber-Monday, or during one of the 4 IT shows in Singapore. But after using for a year, the harddisk crashed right after the warranty expires? Sounds familiar?
No problem, you tell yourself, Windows 8/8.1 has a “Recovery” function that will restore the laptop to factory condition! So you booted to the Recovery section of Windows 8 where you can “Refresh” or “Remove everything & Reinstall Windows”. Neat!
Except it takes forever to do the “Automatic Repair” or “Remove everything” fails at some point due to a head crash or media degradation and all because the laptop was moved around while in use! Or worse, the laptop simply don’t recognise the harddisk anymore!
OK, never mind! You (hopefully) have a backup of the important data, let’s just change the harddisk to something more resilient, like a Solid-State Disk (SSD)! You can get a Samsung EVO 850 256GB at $220+ these days and reviews are great for these SSDs, 10x faster than harddisk, no moving parts to crash, useful lifespan of more than 10 years & uses half the power! Why didn’t you buy a laptop with an SSD in the first place? Oh, that’s right. Cheaper models don’t come with an SSD option.
The Recovery nightmare continues!
Alrighty! You bought your SSD, replace the failed harddisk yourself, which was easy enough, let’s open the laptop box for the recovery DVD & Windows 8 Product Key. Except your new Ultrabook doesn’t come with a DVD-ROM or Recovery DVD & maybe even without a Windows 8 Product Key! Faintz!
OK, don’t panic, let’s go to the maker’s website for support! What? You have to pay extra for a Recovery Disc to create a special thumbdrive because you didn’t do it the FIRST time you switched on your laptop? What is this daylight robbery?!?!
Now what? Try cloning from the old harddisk? Can’t do that. It’s bigger than the SSD & it’s full of bad sectors!
Get someone to do it? Will they do a good job & what are the charges?
Download the Recovery disc from Torrent? Is it infected with virus?
Search Forums? Most of them don’t have a clue.
Ask Microsoft for help in their forums? Moderators ask you to look for your OEM/laptop maker…
The solution for new laptops with UEFI BIOS
Lucky you! You’ve come to the right website! The solution with many recent (last 3 years) laptops is so simple that I’m amazed no one’s got it! Or at least publish it widely enough that a simple Google or Bing search will find it. There’s no need to extract the encrypted product key from UEFI, no need to create Bootable thumbdrive & mount the Windows 8 Rescue ISO. No need to mess with Linux Bootloader like Grub or syslinux. I’ve tried so many different methods and they don’t work due to some incompatibility here or there. It was a massive waste of time! Argh!
Microsoft has published the solution starting from Windows 8.1! Why they don’t publicise is a great mystery! Anyway, many newer laptop have the new UEFI BIOS instead of the old IBM-PC BIOS. Without going into details about how great UEFI BIOS are, one of the features these new BIOS allows is for laptop makers to embed a Windows 8 Product Key into the BIOS itself! This is why there is no DVD or Product key or License sticker included in the laptop box!
So the next question is, how do you install Windows 8.1 onto your new SSD? Just get a fast 8GB thumbdrive or SD card, go to this Microsoft website and follow the instructions!
* For your convenience, I’ve included the steps & things to watch out for below.
Windows Installation Media Creation Tool
Why do Microsoft like to use such LONG names for their stuff?
Click the “Create Media” button & run the downloaded file
Select your Language
Select the Edition. Most consumer laptops are running “Windows 8.1”. Business laptops will likely be “Windows 8.1 Pro”.
Select the Architecture. If your laptop will NEVER EVER be installed with more than 4GB of RAM, chose “32-bit (x86)”. If you have more than 4GB of RAM or you’re planning to install more in the future, you MUST choose “64-bit (x64).
Click Next and you’ll see this.
Select USB flash drive and click Next.
Select the correct drive before clicking Next!
Click “OK” at the dialog box if you’re sure you have the right drive.
Wait for download to complete & for it to check the files & getting the files ready & creating the USB…
Once it’s completed. You should click “What’s next?” which will take you to a Microsoft website that guide you on using this Thumbdrive to install Windows 8.1. Print it or open it on your phone or something! This is the link for Boot from the media you created to install on a partition.
Insert the thumbdrive into your laptop & boot from the thumbdrive instead of the SSD. Different laptops has different keys to enter the Boot Manager. Search for your brand online. It’s usually ESC or DEL or ENTER key.
Install Windows 8.1 even though your laptop came with Windows 8! It’ll even auto-activate if you’re online! There’s no need to key in any Product Key! This thumbdrive has now become your Rescue/Recovery drive as well! Keep it safe!
Well I hope this help you. Leave comments, subscribe and like my posts!!! 🙂