Keyboard Failure On Boot, Clearing CMOS Is A Possible Panacea

I got a scare today!  My computer’s motherboard can sometimes be very unfriendly.  What had happened was that I turned off my computer while the Mobo was trying to boot up the BIOS, and this was when I got the scare as the Mobo would spit out keyboard failure error on the next boot up.  I’m telling you this, if you never have had experience this with your computer, you would not know the panic and frustration of this scare!  Keyboard failure error on boot would not allow you to use your keyboard at all to bypass the black error screen stage even though the screen would encourage you to press F1 or F2 to get pass it.  Trust me, I had tried to press just about anything on the keyboard to have a try at getting pass this scary black screen of death, but nothing would work!

Naturally, I went into instinctive mode by switching out the USB port for the keyboard’s USB connector, but this was a futile effort.  I watched a YouTube video that suggested of pressing F1 really fast till at certain point and then holding down F1 till certain point on boot up to get pass the black screen of death, but this method just did not do it for me.

Consequentially, I got physical with the Mobo by accessing it physically!  Don’t worry, the Mobo is fine, because I did not punch or kick it.  Anyhow,  what I did was clearing CMOS using the jumper on the Mobo.  I don’t know about your Mobo, but mine came with 2 jumpers.  The first jumper got 2 slots to slip onto 2 pins of the first three pins jumper group, and the second jumper got 2 slots also to slip onto the 2 pins of the last three pins jumper group.  In my case, I had to remove the first jumper physically from the first three pins group and slip the jumper onto the first and second pins of the first three pins group.  Right after, I repositioned the graphics card and what not so the computer would run normally as before, I powered my computer back on.  Of course, nothing would happen, because the jumper wasn’t in the right position for anything to work, and so I had to remove and reposition the jumper to the second and third pins of the first three pins jumper group.  Once again, the pain of reaching the jumper slots meant I had to remove the graphics card from its slot, but the inconvenience was unavoidable.  Unfortunately, even after clearing the CMOS with the jumper, my Mobo was still spitting out the keyboard failure error on boot.  Back to square one!

Onto the second method of clearing CMOS, I removed the CMOS battery from the Mobo for at least thirty minutes.  Afterward, I repositioned the CMOS battery and rebooted the computer.  Unfortunately, even this would not get me pass the black screen of death!  Naturally, I thought that my computer was done for!

Fortunately, after the second try of clearing the CMOS with the motherboard’s first three pins jumper/group, the computer was finally booted pass the black screen of death.  Windows is now booting up just fine as the result, and I’m able to use the keyboard just fine.  Everything else works just fine also!  The scare is finally over!

In summary, clearing the CMOS should be your last resort to fix most BIOS related failure errors on boot!  Of course, even clearing the CMOS sometimes won’t get your computer going again, because your computer’s motherboard might be done for at this stage for whatever reasons!  Another possibility is that the CMOS battery could have died on you and need a replacement before clearing the CMOS would actually work as intended!  In my scenario, clearing the CMOS with a motherboard’s jumper is the panacea to the health of my computer.  By the way, here is my warning, don’t get physical with your computer’s motherboard unless you know what you are doing!  Warning is here for a reason… just in case you would blame me for your motherboard screw up when you find yourself in a similar situation as mine.  Anyhow, if you ever find yourself in this similar situation, I think clearing the CMOS will get your computer going again!

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My Downgrading Of Windows 8.1 To Windows 7 For Reliability And Driver Availability

Sometimes, more whistles and bells don’t mean more if the support foundation isn’t reliable and working just fine.  Windows 8.1 is this very case!  Although Windows 8.1 is bold and exciting, I’ve found it’s too unreliable and not stable.  Perhaps, it’s not Windows 8.1’s fault, but it’s more of that it’s too new and thus not enough drivers that are designed to work with its core services, leading to a very unreliable operating system.  I’ve encountered more computer issues with Windows 8.1 more than any other operating systems that I’ve ever used.  Thus, nowadays, whatever computers in my vicinity that have issues with Windows 8.1, I don’t have any hesitation to downgrade the computer’s Windows 8.1 to Windows 7 operating system.  I’ve to say I’m fond of Windows 7 for its reliability.  Sure, Windows 8.1 is more appealing in term of features and user interface, but reliability is more important in my opinion.  With reliability, Windows users don’t have to waste time in figuring out why their computers suddenly aren’t working the way they should, and such reliability enhances productivity.

As I was downgrading a computer of mine from Windows 8.1 to Windows 7, I’ve found UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is nice but troublesome.  Nice in a way that UEFI has more whistles and bells and prettier than traditional BIOS user interface, but UEFI is a troublemaker.  How?  When installing other operating system that isn’t Windows 8.1 or newer, computer user might encounter a hairy situation.  For an example, a newbie computer user may not be able to figure out how to enable Boot\CSM(Compatibility Support Module) and set Boot Device Control to UEFI and Legacy OPROM.  Without enabling Boot\CSM support within UEFI Bios settings, a newbie computer user would find that it’s impossible to install Windows 7 and have Windows 7 boot up.  Of course, this would also hold true for installing Linux and other operating systems when a motherboard is using UEFI and not a traditional BIOS settings.

I’ve also found out that when installing Windows 7 under UEFI system, it might be confusing and hard to make sure Windows 7 would install its reserved partition on the intended hard disk/drive.  I’m not sure about you but when I didn’t physically disconnect a second hard drive that is larger than 2 terabyte from the internal arrangement of my PC, Windows 7 got confused and installed reserved partition on the second hard drive, thus nullifying the ability to convert the second hard drive to GPT (GUID Partition Table) filesystem.  Without being able to do a conversion of a second hard drive to GPT partition/filesystem, Windows 7 won’t recognized that my second hard drive is a 3 terabyte drive, thus my PC can only use 2 terabyte out of second hard drive’s 3 terabyte hard disk size/space.  Here is a tip for you, perhaps when installing Windows 7 under UEFI system, you might have to physically disconnect all internal hard drives except for the main hard drive that you are using for installing Windows 7.

Through the trial of downgrading Windows 8.1 to Windows 7 for a PC, now I learn a lot more about UEFI.  According to TechRepublic’s “10 things you should know about UEFI” article, UEFI BIOS user interface supposes to simplify how drivers would be written for most operating systems… which is to write one driver for a specific PC component that would work for all operating systems so a developer won’t have to write different drivers for different operating systems.  Save time and effort!  Nonetheless, in practice UEFI makes life harder for PC users.  Nonetheless, I guess UEFI does have a benefit of making life easier for the developers.  Still, I think more emphases need to be emphasized for PC users, because without PC users (and their happiness) the developers won’t have customers to write software for (thus will not be able to generate incomes).

In conclusion, I think Windows 8.1 is a step in right direction for Microsoft to embolden the effort of improving Windows operating system ecosystem, but Microsoft’s execution is not in synch with the mass.  Drivers for Windows 8.1 should be readied at the inception of the Windows 8.1 official release.  Still, 3 months after the Windows 8.1 official release, I had read many driver compatibility complaints and see many Windows 8.1 driver issues first hand, thus I’m not having an easy time with Windows 8.1.  Instead of relying on Windows 8.1, I’m backpedalling toward the stream of Windows 7.

Source:  http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-things-you-should-know-about-uefi/ (link)

Got Windows 8.1’s Wi-Fi Connection Drop Issue? Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB Adapter Is Here To Fix It!

It’s surprisingly so surprising that even three months after Windows 8.1 got released, Wi-Fi connection drop is still a recurrent occurrence for desktop and laptop users alike.  I don’t know how large is this specific problem in exact number, but I had read many complaints of how Windows 8.1 would not work well with PC users’ Wi-Fi network interface card (NIC), both internal and external.  So, it’s not a surprise to see myself in the same boat as these folks.  I found out that my Asus desktop too had experienced Wi-Fi connection drop quite frequently.  Furthermore, couple times my Wi-Fi NIC actually had caused Blue Screen of Death and crashed Windows 8.1 completely.  Such problems had not really occurred when I was using Windows 8 (not 8.1).

To fix this specific problem, the obvious answer would be installing a Wi-Fi NIC’s driver that would cooperate with and would not crash Windows 8.1.  Unfortunately, my Wi-Fi NIC’s brand has yet to release any driver which would be compatible to Windows 8.1.  With all typical tricks to help soothe the situation such as disabling desktop from automatically powering off Wi-Fi NIC to save power and so forth, but none of these tricks has had any luck so far.  I can’t use the ethernet connection for my Asus since it’s (Asus) not sitting near a router at all, and this very router has to be situated far away (from my Asus) as it also hosts ethernet connections for my other electronic devices.

Without a proper driver for Wi-Fi NIC, there aren’t that many solutions for going around this problem.  Of course, one can always downgrade a PC’s OS from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8, but I hate the idea of downgrading for various reasons.  One notable reason would be reinstalling software.  I went online and looked for an external Wi-Fi adapter which could be compatible to 802.11ac router and 802.11ac speed… and it must be USB 3.0 type of Wi-Fi adapter… and I found out that not that many of these external Wi-Fi USB 3.0 802.11ac adapters had good reputation with Windows 8.1 at all.  These newer Wi-Fi USB 3.0 802.11ac adapters are experiencing the Wi-Fi connection drop issue in Windows 8.1, too.  Thus I thought I would not be able to find a solution to my Asus’s Windows 8.1 Wi-Fi connection drop (a driver problem really).

I was wrong!  As I went about my business in Walmart the other day, I checked out their electronic section.  I saw the last Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-F USB Adapter on one of the Walmart’s shelves, and I boldly bought it to see if this would solve my Asus’s Windows 8.1 Wi-Fi connection drop issue.  Of course, I thought to myself that I could always return the Belkin Wi-Fi adapter to Walmart if the darn thing wouldn’t work.  It was a right move, because Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB (3.0) Adapter (for 802.11ac) is working very well with my Asus.  I noticed that when I used this adapter in Windows 8 compatible mode, it would crash Windows 8.1 (as in Blue Screen of Death).  Nonetheless, it works quite well when you just use this adapter without applying Windows 8 compatible mode for this adapter’s driver even though this adapter’s driver is meant to be working with Windows 8 (and not with Windows 8.1).  How weird, right?  I’ve also noticed that this adapter does drop connection randomly (although quite infrequently), but it automatically reconnects to the router again.  The Asus’s original internal Wi-Fi NIC would not reconnect to the router under Windows 8.1 unless you had restarted the PC.

Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB (3.0) Adapter (for 802.11ac) is being advertised with the speed of up to 867 Megabits per second with 802.11ac router’s dual-band connection.  I guess this advertising up to 867 Mbps speed is for the download speed.  Personally, I think it’s fast, but I haven’t truly tested the download speed of this adapter out, therefore I cannot confirm how fast it’s.  Nonetheless, I have done a lot of uploading such as uploading large files to my own Network Attached Storage server (locally), and I’ve noticed that the upload speed I’ve experienced with this adapter is roughly around 168 Megabits per second (21 Megabytes per second) with 802.11ac router’s dual-band connection (i.e., 5.0 GHz).

One thing I know clearly though, this adapter does solve my Windows 8.1’s Wi-Fi constant connection drop issue and it does reconnect with the router if its infrequent Wi-Fi connection drop does ever occur.  I’m happy with it!  I’m hoping that Belkin will release a newer driver for this Wi-Fi adapter so it will be even more compatible with Windows 8.1, because the current latest driver for this adapter is meant to be working with Windows 8 (not 8.1).

In summary, if you have Windows 8.1’s Wi-Fi connection drop issue with a Wi-Fi NIC when using desktop or laptop, you might want to give Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB adapter a try.  The model for this adapter is F9L1109 version 1.  You can find the adapter’s driver on Belkin’s official website.  When you open the adapter’s box for the first time, you see that it got a CD which carries the firmware/driver for the adapter, don’t use it.  Just go to Belkin’s official website and download the latest driver for F9L1109 version 1.  Alternatively, you can use DriverMax to upgrade this adapter’s driver to the latest driver.  DriverMax’s latest Belkin USB Adapter driver isn’t working at all for Belkin AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB Adapter.  So, don’t use DriverMax for upgrading this adapter’s latest driver.  Stick with going to Belkin’s official website and download the latest driver for F9L1109 version 1 model.  It’s odd though, usually DriverMax does have the best and correct drivers for many computer hardware components and gadgets.

Easily Upgrade ASUS Desktop’s BIOS With ASUS Software Manager

Have you purchased an ASUS desktop lately?  In case an ASUS desktop’s model you have does work with ASUS manager software, then you’re in luck.  I’ve found out that it’s very easy for you to upgrade your ASUS’s desktop BIOS with ASUS manager software.  Basically, you can visit ASUS’s official website, download the latest BIOS, use ASUS manager software to locate the BIOS you had downloaded, and just let the ASUS manager upgrades the BIOS.  Of course, just make sure you don’t turn off your ASUS desktop or play with it during the BIOS upgrade, because your system can become very unstable if you do such things.

Just a caution, you should not upgrade your ASUS desktop’s BIOS or any computer BIOS unless you have a very good reason to.  It’s not wise to mess with a BIOS, because you are doing some major change to your computer system and you’re taking a great risk of breaking your system big time.  Nonetheless, it’s a given when your computer system isn’t functioning as it supposes to be, maybe the latest BIOS is the antidote to your system’s sickness.  Also, make sure you does download the original BIOS and make a backup of it on an external hard drive or a thumb drive just in case that the new/latest BIOS might be a worser problem than the original BIOS.  Some computer manufacturers may not allow you to download the original BIOS but only the latest or near latest BIOS, then you are taking a great risk in upgrading your BIOS, hence you might not be able to make a rollback to the original BIOS.

Since Windows 8.1 came out, some ASUS models might experience driver problems.  For an example, 8821AE (802.11ac) wireless network card is the wireless NIC for my ASUS desktop/PC, but it got a really bad attitude for Windows 8.1.  Instead of working correctly, it would cause Blue Screen of Death on Windows 8.1 and slow down the flow of network traffic that got streamed.  Even right after I had upgraded the 8821AE wireless NIC to its latest driver, the problem persisted.  Only right after I used ASUS manager software to easily upgrade the BIOS to the latest BIOS that the latest driver for 8821AE wireless NIC would function correctly.  Now, I could stream movies and transfer data at 802.11ac, real world, data rate (i.e., not at a marketing or lab measure rate) without a problem.  So, in case you got an ASUS desktop/PC and experiencing Windows 8.1 driver problems, you might want to consider of upgrading the drivers to the latest drivers first before thinking of an even more drastic action such as upgrading the BIOS.

How To Protect Windows 8.1 From Viruses And Malware For Free Or On The Cheap!

Windows 8.1 just came out to update Windows 8.  Usually, a slight change in the iteration version such as Windows 8.1, hence it’s still a Windows 8 iteration, means there will be little improvement and change to the overall of the iteration.  Nonetheless, Windows 8.1 is not at all like this.  Instead, Windows 8.1 iteration version brings a lot of changes to the Windows 8 iteration.  One example of the major changes to Windows 8 iteration is that 3D printer is now being supported by Windows 8.1.

When early adopters such as I see something new and shiny, we want to be the first people to jump on the bandwagon.  Unfortunately, more than often we think, being the first people on the bandwagon can be rather unfortunate.  In Windows 8.1 case, there are many unfortunate events.  One example would be driver failure.  Nonetheless, with enough heart, an early adopter might eventually feel that it’s totally worth it.

In Windows 8.1 case, driver failure is supposed to be the least concern, but it turns out to be a much bigger concern.  Furthermore, many software that support Windows 8 aren’t so compatible with Windows 8.1, considering 8.1 is a slight change in the iteration versions.  Some of these incompatible software might work just fine with the switching of the compatibility mode.  (Sarcastically, yes it’s still being run on Windows 8!)  I found out that other software basically refuse to be ran on Windows 8.1 altogether even though these are being instructed to be ran in Windows 8 compatibility mode.

With all of that being said, I’m definitely all for being an early adopter, because being an early adopter might push you to tinker with whatever you’re trying to experiment with at the early stage of its lifespan.  By tinkering with things, one might be able to improve one’s whatever skill and knowledge.  Furthermore, being an early adopter means you can be the early warning sign hero in telling the good and the bad about whatever that you’re trying to adopt early.

In Windows 8.1 case, although not a biggie, I’m going to be the early warning sign hero of how to protect Windows 8.1 from viruses and malware for free or on the cheap.  Within the video right after the break, I speak of how to protect Windows 8.1 from viruses and malware for free or on the cheap.  (Not everyone is having a luxury of affording expensive computer security software’s annual subscription, therefore knowing how to protect a computer from computer infections with a shoestring budget is a very cool thing to do.  Saving money is definitely cool!  Saving money but having a computer getting hacked is definitely not cool!  So doing it right is definitely awesome!  Obviously, there won’t be a hacker proof computer security measure or measures.  Nonetheless, without trying to protect your computer from the bad stuffs implying that you’re welcoming your computer to be hacked.)  Enjoy the video right after the break, and hopefully you don’t snore before the video ends.

(The audio of the video is now synching correctly!  Please enjoy the video!)

Upgrading To Windows 8.1 From Windows 8, Some Software Might Not Be Compatible

Windows 8.1 is now available for you folks to download and upgrade, but you must have Windows 8 already installed before you can get it for free.  The upgrade process went smoothly for me, and I think it did take its time in doing so.  Everything is now back up and running like a clockwork.  There is this exception though, some Windows 8 software/apps will fail to work with Windows 8.1.  For one example, I’m using Steinberg’s Triebwerk VST, and this very VST is failing to work with Windows 8.1.  Steinberg’s Triebwerk VST uses the eLicenser.net’s software to validate the license key, and eLicenser.net’s software is also failing to work correctly, locking me out of Triebwerk altogether.  Luckily, Windows 8.1, just like Windows 8, does allow users to switch the software compatibility mode.  To fix the Steinberg’s Triebwerk VST problem, I just located the Triebwerk’s .exe file and opened its property dialog box, selected the Compatibility tab, selected the Windows 8 in the pull down menu form, checked “Run this program in compatibility mode for” box, and clicked the Apply button.  After the compatibility fix, Steinberg’s Triebwerk VST is now working beautifully again.  Of course, I had to use the compatibility fix for eLicenser.net’s software in the same manner before Steinberg’s Triebwerk VST would work again.

To sum it all up, if you feel scare in upgrading to Windows 8.1 for the reason of your software might not work with Windows 8.1, then I think you should wait till you have enough confidence of doing the Windows 8.1 upgrade.  Nonetheless, I think some of your Windows 8 software will not complain when you run them in Windows 8.1’s Windows 8 compatibility mode.  Still, it’s best to be paranoid about the safety of your computer, otherwise you might regret and have to do a roll back to Windows 8.  That would suck for real!  For me, I’m happy that my software are working fine under Windows 8.1.  Now, it’s time for me to take a look around to see what are new about Windows 8.1.