Get rid of Windows 10 upgrade nag

Recently my father asked me to setup a couple new machines in his dental offices. The requirement of the dental billing software was that the operating system choice be Windows 7. Any other operating system such as windows 10 so far not supported. To make the setup even more annoying was that constant upgrade to windows 10 nagging popups and icons on the bottom tray. I tried making some registry edits to get rid of those nags without luck. Tougher than I thought to out smart Microsoft until I found the GWX Control Panel.

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This little nifty tool got rid of all those windows 10 upgrade nags. Worked very well. Highly recommend it. Wish I found it before my father accidentally upgraded his laptop to Windows 10. This aggressive upgrade marketing stragedy is shameless on Microsoft’s part. Whats next for Microsoft.. healthcare.. obamacare? Seriously not cool especially for people in business that are stuck with Windows 7 due to licensing costs and what not.

In any case I recommend after using this tool others also try the Start10 app from StarDock. Gets rid of the clutter and tiles on the Windows start menu. Its a throw back to Windows 7 but it works nicely.

NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Windowed ATX Computer Case Review

 

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Recently I upgraded one of my PC system and replaced the motherboard. I had enough left over parts to build a new system but was short one computer case. As the old system was serving as a homebrew hackintosh I wanted a midtower case that had an Apple like feel that wasn’t so expensive that it would break the bank. After looking around I came across the NZXT H440 Windowed case at the local Microcenter. Its features include:

  • Liquid cooling support: 240mm, 280mm, 360mm Radiators (Front and Top)
  • The H440 comes standard with 4 of NZXT’s newly designed FNv2 case fans: 3x 120mm in front and 1x 120mm in rear
  • All-steel top and front panels, HDD drive trays, and chassis
  • Motherboard support for ATX, mATX, and ITX, as well as GPUs up to 406mm
  • Effortless cable management capabilities
  • Integrated power supply shroud with SSD mounts
  • 5mm thick closed-cell sound dampening material
  • Integrated 10-port fan hub
  • Signature NZXT rear I/O LEDs
  • Horizontally mounted 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, HD Audio mic/headphone input

 

I found the case aesthetically pleasing and very clean looking after cable management work was complete. Finding places to hide extra lengths of wires and cables was a little challenging and tight however but not impossible.  Installing my P8z68 motherboard was simple enough and mounting the cpu cooler even more enjoyable thanks to an open motherboard tray design revealing easy access to the backside of the cpu socket. The case can accommodate up to a 360mm rad either on the front or top side. I had no trouble mounting a Corsair 240 GTX water cooler on the inside top of the case. The mounting holes matched the radiator perfectly and required no modifications. Found all the internal cables were just the right length as well and had no problems reaching the motherboard headers. The fan hub also was an added plus if you run out of fan headers on your motherboard. I used it to power the Corsair H100GTX cooler.

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There are two solid state drive mounting fixtures above the power supply shroud which looks pretty nice when viewed behind the window. The case also has plenty of room to mount traditional hard drives. However the removable hard drive trays can only be accessed from the rear side of the case which might make it difficult to frequently remove hard drives often without taking off the back side panel. Not only that accessing the psu chamber also requires going in from the back side of the case. I found that a little bit of a pain though the advantage is a very clean looking build. I really liked the black and white look of this case especially the fans complemented the color scheme.  The added sound dampening material was another benefit though how much it helps reduce noise pollution probably isn’t all that much. I found the H100i cooler impossible to silence.

So over all I am very pleased with H440. I found it very esthetic and clean looking on the inside. The black thumbscrews are a nice touch but look non standard and finding replacements might be difficult. My only other gripe was the size of the reset button is too small. Looks more like the reset button you find on most routers. Other than that the power button has a nice feel to it at least. The case also didn’t feel that heavy. I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 


Where there is a NVME will there is a way..

Just wanted to blog about how I figured out how to get my old P8Z68 Deluxe board to boot from an Intel 750 pci-e card solid state drive. I mostly bought the card as it was on sale and was curious if it work on an older unsupported main board. I knew that there was a guide on Win-Raid  to get the drive recognized by transplanting three nvme files (nvme.ffs, nvmeint13, and nvmessm) from a newer motherboard into the bios of my old main board. That sort of worked and the system did see the drive at the boot menu, and was able to install windows, but I could never boot cold straight into windows from the boot menu not without having the boot sector on another drive or using a bootloader.

Thats where and when I started to think and imagine it could be possible. I noticed that Clover, which is used to boot osx, had its own NVME Express efi driver. Using that I was able to simulate a UEFI boot process. Problem was my bios had an incomplete UEFI implementation and the bootloader on the drive never could startup as a result. Wasn’t sure if it was because it was a new standard or if Asus just never got around to fixing it. Anyhow using Clover solved my bootup issues but it was sort of a cheat as I still needed a usb drive.

So I wondered if the NVME Express driver could be converted into a bios module and inserted into the Asus ami bios file. The nice folks at the clover discussion forums gave me a few hints and pointed me in the right direction using these commands:

./GenSec s EFI_SECTION_PE32 o CLOVERX64.pe32 CLOVERX64.efi  ./GenFfs t EFI_FV_FILETYPE_DRIVER g 9F3A0016AE554288829DD22FD344C347 o CLOVERX64.ffs i CLOVERX64.pe32

My first attempt I wasn’t aware of GenSec and failed. Second try I got the arguments correct finally and was able to produce a working ffs file that with the help of MMTool I was able to insert into my bios file and risk bricking the board flashed successfully. Thankfully that never happened and boy did I get the shock of my life when after flashing I was able to boot straight into windows!