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Top Windows 8.1 issues explained

Applies to: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7

Did you know the same group that owns the Windows TechCenter and the Windows IT Pro Insider also owns the Windows desktop forums on TechNet? The forums are a great resource where questions are asked and answered on virtually any Windows IT professional topic. You can ask your own questions, or play an importing part in contributing to the community by helping to answer the questions that have been posed by your peers. I have the privilege of managing the Windows desktop forums on TechNet for Windows 8.1, Windows 7, MDOP, and more. Today, we have more than 750,000 posts with an answer rate of more than 80% (meaning that 80% of the questions asked are answered). So, what do we do with those questions? We watch for trends so that we can be proactive in generating new content for the Windows Client TechCenter. We also escalate some of the more difficult threads to the product and engineering teams.

There are a couple of ways to look at "hot" threads. These are threads that gain popularity, either in terms of the number of replies to the thread or the number of times someone views the thread. Many more people view forum threads than post in forums because they find the thread (and subsequently the answer) they need through search or by browsing the forums directly. Therefore, one important way for us to know what topics and issues are popular is to look at the page views of threads. Based on the number of times the threads were viewed, these are the five most popular threads in the Windows 8 forums today:

  1. Windows XP Mode on Windows 8 Pro
    After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8, the poster wants to know why he can’t use Windows XP mode on Windows 8 when it was available in Windows 7. The thread is answered correctly in that Windows XP mode (and Windows Virtual PC) is not supported on Windows 8 and the poster is referred to the Windows Virtual PC FAQ. The FAQ also contains a link to KB 2724115, which shows how to retrieve data from a Windows XP virtual machine from within Windows 8. The reasoning behind the discontinued support for Windows Virtual PC in Windows 8 is simply that the technology has advanced with the inclusion of Hyper-V, which is also built into Windows Server 2012. This enables you to copy/move virtual machines between Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.
  2. Why Cisco VPN Client fails to enable virtual adapter in Windows 8?
    The poster mentions that the Cisco VPN client won’t enable a virtual adapter after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8. The poster also mentions that he is using a legacy Cisco VPN client. The solution that worked for the poster was to edit the registry (which should always be done with caution) to alter the adapter name. The community is a great resource to help with workarounds like this, but I would like to mention that before upgrading to Windows 8, it is always important to check the Windows 8 Compatibility Center. You can also download and run the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit to inventory the hardware on your computer and report any compatibility issues.
  3. Windows 8 – Manage Wireless Networks?
    The poster of this thread simply asks a question about how to manage wireless networks in Windows 8. The marked answer is to use a netsh command to manage wireless profiles. I’d like to take a moment to let you know that using the charms bar under Settings, if you click the wireless adapter, you’ll see a list of all your Wi-Fi connections. Right-clicking any of those connections will give you an option to "Forget this network" which will remove it from the list. The poster in the thread wants to be able to manage the priority of those networks, which is now done automatically in Windows 8. The Wi-Fi networks will be listed in the order in which you connect to them, thereby establishing an implied priority.
  4. Windows 8 Pro volume license version does not have "Add Features" therefore cannot install media center
    As the thread title indicates, the poster wants to install Windows Media Center (WMC) on a Windows 8 Pro computer that has a volume license. This is not available in Windows 8 editions that were acquired via volume license. The subject of Windows Media Center in Windows 8 has come up many times and has caused some confusion. The best resource I can give you that illustrates the decisions about WMC is in Steven Sinofsky’s blog post on 5/3/2012. Due to the need to simplify the number of editions of Windows 8 and the cost associated with licensing WMC codecs, WMC is available at an additional cost, but only to those computers that purchased Windows 8 individually (i.e. no volume license). The additional cost covers the cost Microsoft incurs by licensing the codecs on every individual computer. Therefore, it can’t be included in volume licensing editions.
  5. I am unable to install .net 3.5 on windows 8
    As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a "top" thread is based on page views, meaning that many people view the thread to get an answer, but they don’t necessarily participate in the conversation. This particular thread not only is popular in terms of page views, but also in terms of responses. The original poster of this thread indicates that .NET Framework 3.5 is required by an application, but is not enabled in Windows 8. As is often the case in forum threads, there can be multiple correct answers. In this particular thread, there are two correct answers. The first shows how to use DISM.exe (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) to modify the image on your computer to install .NET Framework 3.5. The other correct answer is to use the UI to turn on .NET Framework 3.5, which is built into Windows 8, but is not enabled by default. Refer to the thread for specific instructions on both solutions. Once again, this is a great example of how the community jumps in to help other community members solve problems and answer questions.

So, make sure you visit the Windows desktop forums on TechNet to ask your questions or to help other IT pros by sharing your knowledge. As you can see from the threads above, the interaction between community members is what keeps the conversation lively, but more importantly a free resource that solves real problems and gets you the answers you need.

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About the author

Tony Mann imageTony Mann is a Web Forum IT Pro Audience Manager for the Microsoft Windows Commercial team at Microsoft. He focuses on managing web forums, influencer program management, and building online communities.