Windows 8 tips: troubleshooting

46. VirtualBox error

The safest way to sample Windows 8 is to install it on a VirtualBox virtual machine. It's fairly easy to set up, there's no need to worry about partitioning or other issues, and if it doesn't work for whatever reason (which is possible, it's a beta after all) then you'll have lost nothing but a little time.
After completing your installation, though, you might find your virtual Windows 8 complaining that "Your PC needs to be repaired". But despite telling you to "Press Enter to try again", or "Press F8 for alternate boot options", neither option works.
Fortunately there's an easy answer. Close the Windows 8 window, select your virtual machine in VirtualBox, click Settings > System > Processor and check the 'Enable PAE/NX' box. Click OK, restart your virtual machine and this time it should launch properly.

Windows 8 tips

47. Windows 8 apps won't launch

You click a Windows 8 app, and nothing else happens? Display issues are often the cause. In particular, Windows 8 apps don't currently support screen resolutions lower than 1024 x 768 (or 1366 x 768 when snapping), so increase your resolution if possible (launch the desktop, right-click, select Screen Resolution).
Or if that's no help, try updating your video drivers.

48. Performance problems

If your Windows 8 system seems sluggish, the revamped Task Manager may be able to offer some clues. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to take a look.
Click 'More Details'. The simplified Processes tab then reveals what's currently using your CPU time, RAM, hard drive and network bandwidth. (The more in-depth data available in previous Task Manager versions is now accessible via the Details tab.)
The Performance tab gives you a graphical view of resource use over the last few seconds, while the App History dialog looks back over days or more to reveal which app is the most resource-hungry.
And is your boot time slow? Click the new Startup tab to see programs your system is launching when Windows boots. The 'Startup impact' now shows how much of an effect each of these has on your boot time; if you spot high impact programs you're sure you don't need, then right-clicking them and selecting 'Disable' will ensure they're not loaded next time.
Powerful though all this is, if you can think of a reason to use the old Task Manager then it's still accessible. Hold down the Windows key, press R, type TaskMGR and press Enter to launch it. (Typing TM will launch the new version.)

Windows 8 tips

49. Device Manager Events

If you've got a driver or hardware-related problem with Windows 8, launch Device Manager, browse to the relevant device, right-click it, select Properties and click the new Events tab. If Windows has installed drivers, related services or carried out other important actions on this device then you'll now see them here, which is very useful when troubleshooting.

50. Recovery options

Windows 8 has performed well for us, but if you find it won't boot at some point then you now have to press Shift+F8 during the launch process to access its recovery tools.
Access the Troubleshoot menu, then Advanced Options, and you'll be able to try the Automatic Repair tool, which may fix your problems. No luck? The same menu enables you to use the last System Restore point, tweak key Windows Startup settings, and even open a command prompt if you'd like to troubleshoot your system manually.
If that all seems like too much hassle then the Troubleshoot menu's option to 'Refresh your PC' may be preferable, because it essentially reinstalls Windows 8 but keeps your files, and will fix many issues.
But if it doesn't then there's always the more drastic 'Reset your PC' option, which removes all your files and installs a fresh new copy of Windows 8.
You don't have to access these features from the boot menu, of course. If Windows 8 starts but seems very unstable, then open the new Recovery applet in Control Panel for easy access to the Refresh, Reset and other disaster recovery features.

Windows 8 tips
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