Archive for November, 2015

How to Install SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 on Windows Server 2012 R2

November 26th, 2015 by Admin

SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview 3.0 (CTP 3.0) was released to the public on 28th October, and I downloaded a fresh copy to start trying it out. In this article I’m going to explain, step-by-step, how to install SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 instance on a Windows Server 2012 R2 system.

Preparing for installation

Before beginning, you should check the minimum hardware and software requirements before you install SQL Server 2016. both .NET framework 3.5 and Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) are required to be installed. Check out the following articles on how to install .NET framework 3.5 and KB2919355 on Windows Server 2012 R2:

Install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 with / without CD
Fix: Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) is not applicable to your computer

How to Install SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 is free for trial and you need to sign-in to download it from Microsoft’s web site. The ISO file I’ve downloaded is SQLServer2016CTP3.0-x64-ENU.iso that takes around 2.58 GB of space on disk. Once downloaded, you can burn the ISO image to a DVD for making a installation media. Here’s how to install SQL Server 2016 on Windows Server 2012 R2:

  1. Insert the SQL Server 2016 installation DVD. From the root folder, double-click Setup.exe and you’ll be greeted with SQL Server Installation Center. To perform a new stand-alone installation, click New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation.


  2. Enter the product key and click Next. As the final version of SQL Server 2016 is not released yet, so just select evaluation edition.


  3. In the License Terms window, tick the box I accept the license terms and then click Next to continue.


  4. A new option appears here to use Microsoft updates if you would like to. I keep it unchecked as I would patch SQL Server manually at the right time, after testing.


  5. Run the setup rules checks. I have a warning to tell me that the firewall is on and just ignore it if you haven’t configured Windows firewall to block SQL Server access.


  6. On the Setup Role page, choose SQL Server Feature Installation and click Next.


  7. Select the required SQL features and click Next. Make sure that Database Engine Services is checked. I have also chosen to install the Management Tools – Basic so I can use Management Studio to manage SQL Server.


  8. At this step another check will run, this time to identify problems that might block the setup, based on your choices of the last step. Just wait for its completion and click Next.


  9. This step lets you decide if you want to go with Default Instance or a Named Instance. Be aware that you can only install one default instance but you can install multiple named instances on the same computer.


  10. On the Server Configuration screen, you can specify the service accounts and startup type, or simply leave it at the default configuration as you can change them after the installation.


  11. Now you need to choose the authentication mode of your SQL Server instance. For the purposes of this article, I will be choosing Mixed Mode Authentication. You will also need to specify the SQL Server administrators to be used; in this example I will use the current logged in user by clicking Add Current User button.


  12. This page shows a tree view of installation options that were specified during Setup. Review and click Install.


  13. The installation will begin — wait for completion.


  14. Once the installation is complete, SQL Server 2016 Setup will confirm this showing which items of the install succeeded.


Fix: Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) is not applicable to your computer

November 25th, 2015 by Admin

Unable to install Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) on your computer? Even if you’ve enabled automatic update in Windows, you might find out that KB2919355 doesn’t appear in the list of available updates. If you download KB2919355 directly from Microsoft’s online website and then install it manually, Windows Update Standalone Installer will fail with the error message “The update is not applicable to your computer“.


KB2919355 is essentially a service pack released for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, but Microsoft has decided not to call it “service pack”. It is officially known as “Windows 8.1 Update”. In this article we’ll show you an effective way to install Windows 8.1 Update on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 without such a problem.

How to Install Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) Successfully?

  1. Press the Windows key + X to open up the Quick Access Menu. Next click Control Panel.
  2. Click the View by option at the top right of the Control Panel. Set it to Large icons. Click on Windows Update.


  3. Click the Change settings link on the left side of the Windows Update window.


  4. Under Important updates, check the “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them” option from the drop-down menu. Click OK.


  5. When come back to the Windows Update window, click on the Check for updates link in the left pane. The search may take some time, depending on how many updates are waiting.


  6. When the search is finished, click the link that says how many important updates are available.


  7. In the list of available updates, select the update KB2919355, then click Install and you’re done! However, if the update KB2919355 doesn’t appear in the list of available updates, check ALL important updates and click Install.


  8. After installing all available important updates, open your Web browse to download the Windows 8.1 Update from Microsoft’s website:

    At the download page, select your language and then click the Download button.

  9. Windows 8.1 Update contains six separate files: clearcompressionflag.exe, KB2919355, KB2932046, KB2934018, KB2937592 and KB2938439. You just need to select the file contains KB2919355 and click Next to begin downloading.


  10. Now double-click on the update KB2919355 you’ve downloaded and it should be able to be installed successfully.


Install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 with / without CD

November 24th, 2015 by Admin

Today, there are lots of applications available that require .NET framework installed to run, including SQL Server. When try to install .NET framework 3.5 on a computer running with Windows Server 2012 (R2) or 2008 (R2), you might receive one of the following error messages

“The request to add or remove features on the specified server failed. The source files could not be downloaded.”

“The source files could not be found. Use the “Source” option to specify the location of the files that are required to restore the feature.”


This problem happens because the computer cannot download the .NET framework from Windows Update, or you specify a wrong alternate source path. So here we’ll walk you through the steps of installing .NET framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 (R2) with / without a install CD.

How to Install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 (R2)?

First of all, open the Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 (R2). Click Add roles and features.


On the Before you begin page, click on Next.


On the Select installation type screen, select Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.


Select the local server you want to install .NET 3.5 framework onto and click Next


On the Select server roles page, do not select any role and just click Next.


On the Select features screen, check .NET Framework 3.5 features and click Next.


On the Confirm installation selections page, you will get a warning “Do you need to specify an alternate source path? One or more installation selections are missing source files on the destination server.


Here you have two choices:

  • If your computer has Internet connection, just ignore this warning and click Install. The wizard will try to connect to Microsoft’s online server and download the missing files from Windows Update.
  • If your computer has no Internet connection, you have to specify the alternate source path. Click the Specify an alternative source patch link at the bottom of the above screenshot. Then enter path of the source files from Windows Server 2012 installation CD.


    In my example, it’s D:\sources\sxs, where D: is drive letter of my installation media. Click OK and then click Install to begin installation.

Once .NET Framework 3.5 has been installed, the screen will tell you Installation succeeded.


Click Close to exit the wizard. That’s it!

How to Recover Outlook 2016 .PST File Password

November 21st, 2015 by Admin

Forgot the password for Outlook 2016 data file (.pst)? If you have set a password for a pst file and did not select the “Save this password in your password list” check box, a dialog box will ask you for the password every time you start Outlook.


If you can’t remember the pst password, you’ll have a big trouble and can’t access your email or do anything. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to recover your forgotten pst file password for Outlook 2016 running in Windows 10.

Part 1: Find the Location of PST File

Before recovering pst password, you need to know the location of your password-protected .pst file. Here is a simple way to find out where your pst file is stored:

  1. Open the Control Panel and change the View by option to Large Icons. Double-click on Mail (Microsoft Outlook 2016).


  2. In the Mail Setup – Outlook dialog box, click on the the Data Files… button.


  3. Select the password-protected .pst file you want to unlock and click on “Open File Location…“.


    This will take you to the location of your selected .pst file in Windows Explorer. By default, Outlook 2016 stores PST files in the folder C:\Users\{account_name}\Documents\Outlook Files.

Part 2: Recover Outlook 2016 PST Password

Now that you’ve figured out the location of your password-protected .pst file for Outlook 2016, you can recover the password quickly in just a few simple steps. Here’s how:

  1. Download and install the Outlook Password Recovery program on your local computer. After installing, launch the program and click on Unlock PST File button.


  2. Browse to select your password-protected .pst file and click on Open.


  3. It will immediately show you three passwords and you can use each of them to open your pst file.


  4. Now when you open Outlook and are prompted for a password, enter one of the passwords given by the program and you can gain access to all mail stored in the pst file. That’s it!

How to Find and Recover Outlook 2016 Saved Password

November 20th, 2015 by Admin

Lost your Outlook 2016 email password and have no clue what it is? Is there a way to view or retrieve the email account passwords saved in Outlook 2016? Most of people tend to let Outlook application remember their email passwords so that they don’t have to type passwords each time they check for new messages, but this can result in forgetting the passwords.


In this tutorial we’ll show you how to find and recover forgotten email account passwords saved in Outlook 2016.

How to Find and Recover Outlook 2016 Saved Password?

  1. Download the Outlook Password Recovery program and save it on your computer. After you’ve completed the download, just double-click on the .exe file to install the software on your hard drive.
  2. Launch the program and click on Start Recovery button.
  3. Since Outlook email passwords are stored in the Windows registry as an encrypted format, the program will scan the registry and decrypt just about all types of email account information (such as email address, password, mail server) in Outlook 2016.


  4. After your Outlook email passwords are recovered successfully, you can manually copy out your account details and save them to a text file for safe keeping.

This program works with all versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2016/2013/2010/2007/2003. But it’s not a password hacking utility because it can only recover your own passwords on your local computer. However, if you install it on someone else’s computer without their consent, you can gain access to any passwords they have stored in Outlook 2016, but that is completely illegal.

2 Options to Get out of Safe Mode in Windows 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista

November 20th, 2015 by Admin

Are you stuck in Windows Safe Mode? Every time you turn on or restart your computer and you still keep ending back in Safe Mode? In this article we’ll show you 2 ways to get out of Safe Mode in Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista, so your system will go back to normal mode.

Note: The following methods require you to log on your computer as administrator. If you’ve forgotten your password, try to reset lost Windows password with PCUnlocker.

Option 1: Get out of Windows Safe Mode Using MSConfig Utility

MSConfig is a built-in tool available in all versions of Windows, which is designed to help identify problems that might prevent Windows from starting correctly. From within the MSConfig utility, you can set Windows to start in normal node instead of Safe Mode.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to bring up the Run box. Type msconfig and press Enter.


  2. When the System Configuration window opens, you’ll see the Safe boot option under the Boot options section.


  3. If Safe boot is checked, your computer will keep booting in Safe Mode. To get out of Safe Mode, you have to uncheck Safe boot and click Apply.
  4. Restart your computer and it will start in normal mode.

Option 2: Get out of Windows Safe Mode Using Command Prompt

  1. Before get started, you need to open a Command Prompt with administrator privileges. If your computer is current running in Safe Mode – Alternate Shell, you should be now at an administrator Command Prompt.
  2. Type the following command directly at the Command Prompt. Press Enter and it will turn off Safe Mode.
    bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot


  3. Reboot your computer with the command:
    shutdown /r
  4. Now your computer will boot back into normal mode. That’s it!

How to Upgrade to Windows 10 without Using Windows Update

November 18th, 2015 by Admin

Windows 10 is available to public as a free upgrade to every qualified computers running a genuine copy of Windows 8.1, 8 or 7. (Enterprise editions do not qualify.) Just download the official Media Creation Tool from Microsoft and it allows you to upgrade to Windows 10 as well as create installation media such as bootable USB or DVD drive. This tutorial will show you how to upgrade your current or another computer to Windows 10 directly without using Windows Update.

How to Upgrade Your Computer to Windows 10?

Head over to Microsoft’s website to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Media Creation Tool. Pick the 64-bit version if you want to run Media Creation Tool on Windows 8 or 7 64-bit OS. Otherwise opt for the 32-bit version.

If you don’t know whether you’re running Windows 32-bit or 64-bit, right-click on “My Computer” or “This PC” icon on your desktop and select Properties, the field labeled System Type will indicate if you are using a 32-bit or 64-bit OS.


Run the Media Creation Tool and follow the steps below to upgrade your current computer or another PC to Windows 10.

Option 1: Upgrade Current Computer to Windows 10

  1. Run the Media Creation Tool and then select the Upgrade this PC now option.


  2. The Media Creation Tool will download Windows 10. When it’s done, accept the EULA, you’ll be presented with three options:
    • Keep personal files and apps
    • Keep personal files only
    • Nothing
  3. Select the first option to ensure your PC upgrades and you keep your files and applications. Windows 10 will start installing and after a few reboots and customization you’ll be upgraded.

Option 2: Upgrade Another Computer to Windows 10

  1. Run the Media Creation Tool and then select the Create installation media for another PC option.


  2. Select the language, edition and architecture (32 or 64 bits) of Windows. Make sure your selections match those of the computer(s) you wish to upgrade. So, if you currently have Windows 8 Pro (32-bit), choose Windows 10 Pro 32-bit.


  3. Select USB flash drive. If you plan to burn this to DVD instead, select ISO file and, after the process is over, you’ll have to use a DVD burning program to write the ISO to disc.
  4. Click Finish when the process is complete. If you don’t plan to upgrade to Windows 10 right away, you can remove the drive and stop here.
  5. Insert the created CD or USB flash drive into the computer you want to upgrade, and then run setup.exe. Follow the on-screen instruction to complete the upgrade process. If the software asks you for a product key, you are using the wrong edition of Windows 10 to upgrade.

2 Ways to Set Password Hint for Windows User Account

November 9th, 2015 by Admin

“I have activated the built-in guest account on my system so guests can use to work on my computer. To log on they must enter a password. How can I set a password hint to inform users of the correct password when entering wrong password? Please help!”


The password hint is used to remind you of your password in case you forget it. In this article we’ll show you 2 ways to set up a password hint for any user account in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP. The first method is the most common way of setting a password hint, but it doesn’t work for Windows guest account. While the second method is a bit complicated but it works with any situation.

Method 1: Set A Password Hint Through Control Panel

It’s super easy to set up a password hint when you change or reset your Windows user password. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel. Set the View by option to Large icons. Click on User Accounts.


  2. Once on your user account page, click on the Manage another account link at the bottom.


  3. Click on the user account whose password hint you want to create or change.


  4. In the next window, click on Change the password.


  5. Type your current password and set a new password. Next enter a word or sentence for your password hint that will help you (and you only!) remember your password. Click Change password when you are done.


Method 2: Set A Password Hint Through Windows Registry

It turns out that the password hint is stored in Windows registry as a readable format after you set up it through the Control Panel. Here we’ll walk you through the steps of set a password hint directly from the registry.

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run box. Type regedit and hit Enter.
  2. When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM. To go beyond SAM you have to give yourself permission by right-clicking the second SAM Key and selecting Permissions….


  3. In the Permissions for SAM dialog box, highlight the “Administrators” and click the “Full Control” box, click Apply and OK.


  4. Press F5 to refresh the registry and you’ll be able to navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM\Domains\Account\Users.
  5. You’ll notice a Names subkey with a registry key for each user account. Click on your desired account and you’ll see the RID of your account in the right pane. In my example, 0x1F5 is the RID of the built-in Guest account.


  6. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM\SAM\Domains\Account\Users\{User_RID}. Right-click on an empty area in the right pane. From the pop up menu, select New > String Value.


  7. Rename New Value #1 to UserPasswordHint. Next double-click on UserPasswordHint, type your password hint and click OK. Close the Registry Editor and it’s done.


After setting the password hint, log off or restart your computer. Type in a wrong password at the Windows login screen and it will show you the password hint as a reminder of the password. Make sure you choose a good and secure password hint. If you’re locked out and the password hint couldn’t remind you of the forgotten password, you have to use PCUnlocker to reset the login.

Fix Automatic Startup Repair Loop in Windows 10, 8 and 7

November 6th, 2015 by Admin

A customer recently mentioned that his Windows 8 laptop was stuck in an Automatic Repair loop. When he turned on the computer, it came up with the ‘Preparing Automatic Repair’ screen, and then rebooted automatically and ran Automatic Repair again, becoming caught in the loop again and again.

There could be many reasons for a failed automatic repair. However, the most common problem is corrupted registry or missing files on the hard disk. Here I will give the complete solutions on how to fix this issue in Windows 10, 8 and 7.

All the solutions below require you to run certain commands at the Command Prompt. Here is a way to access the Command Prompt at boot:

  1. Insert your Windows installation DVD, turn on the computer, and wait until you see the message “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD“. Just press any key to continue. (Note: If you don’t see this message, you probably have to change the boot order in the BIOS)
  2. After a while, you’ll get to the Windows Setup screen. Press Shift + F10 to open a Command Prompt.


Solution 1: Running check disk to see if your hard drive is the problem

Chkdsk could be used to check and repair your hard drive for filesystem corruption. Before running the chkdsk command, you have to find out the drive letter of your system drive. Depending on how your system is setup, this could be either C: or D:.

  1. Type dir C:\ and press Enter.
  2. If you see the common folders: Program Files, Users and Windows, then you have found your system drive.


    If the drive is not your system drive, repeat the step above, changing the drive letter to D, E or some other letter until the system drive is located.

When you have located your Windows system drive, type the following command and press Enter. Replace d: with the actual drive letter of your system drive.

chkdsk d: /f


The scan should start. This could take several hours depending on the size of your hard drive. Once the scan is done, exit the Command Prompt and reboot your computer to check if the problem has been solved.

Solution 2: Manually attempt to rebuild the BCD and repair MBR

Running the bootrec utility to rebuild the BCD / MBR might fix the automatic repair loop problem. Type the following set of commands at the Command Prompt, one by one.

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /rebuildbcd


The /fixmbr switch writes a new MBR (Master Boot Record) to the system partition, the /fixboot switch writes a new boot sector onto the system partition, and the /rebuildbcd switch scans all disks for Windows installations and provides a choice of which entries to add to the BCD store.

Solution 3: Disable Automatic Startup Repair

If the automatic repair couldn’t really repair your PC and just get you stuck in a repair loop, it’s better to disable the automatic startup repair. Type the following command and press Enter:

bcdedit /set {default} recoveryenabled No


Now you’ve successfully disabled the automatic startup repair feature in Windows.

Solution 4: Restore your Windows registry

A corrupted registry settings can also cause a auto-repair loop. Here is how to restore your registry from the RegBack directory. The RegBack folder is located in :/windows/system32/config, which is used by Windows to hold a recent backup copy of the registry hives.

Assuming your system drive is d:, run the following command to restore Windows registry:

copy d:\windows\system32\config\RegBack\* d:\windows\system32\config


if prompted to overwrite existing files, type All and hit Enter. Type exit and hit Enter to close the Command Prompt window. Restart your computer and most probably, you may able to access your Windows system as before.