ACPI_BIOS_ERROR on installing Windows 8

Problem

I had a new notebook computer with no operating system installed on it. I had a Windows 8 license and a Windows 8 ISO which I wanted to use to install on this notebook. I prepared a Windows installer USB thumbdrive using the ISO and booted the notebook from it.

The computer would throw this error and keep restarting:

Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.
If you'd like to know more you can search online later for this error: ACPI_BIOS_ERROR

Solution

Searching online for this error, I found that this occurred to most people when they were updating or upgrading. Mine was neither, I was installing on a fresh computer. In any case, their solutions were either inapplicable or did not work.

While looking up solutions for this error, I discovered that I could use my Windows 8 license to install the newer Windows 10. I decided to give this a try, since Windows 10 ISO is easily available for download here. I made a Windows installer USB thumbdrive and surprise, it booted up normally and I was able to install Windows 10 Pro without any further problems!

How to fix internet access on Windows hosted network

Problem

Hosted network is a feature of Windows 8 using which you can turn a computer with a network connection into a wireless hotspot. For example, this can be used to convert a notebook with wired internet connection into a wireless hotspot for other wireless devices like smartphones, tablets or other notebooks. The steps to create such a wireless hotspot are described here.

Sometimes, you may find that your other devices can connect to the hosted network, but cannot get internet access.

Solution

This can be fixed by checking for two services:

  1. Open services.msc.

  2. Right-click on Internet Connection Sharing service. Change its Startup Style to Automatic. Start the service.

  3. Right-click on Routing and Remote Access service. Change its Startup Style to Automatic. Start the service.

You should have internet access on the devices connected to your wireless hotspot now.

Tried with: Windows 8.1 x64

How to create wireless hotspot on Windows 8

There are some situations where you may have to create a wireless hotspot from your Windows 8 notebook. For example, you have only a wired LAN connection to the Internet, but have wireless-only devices like smartphones or tablets. In these situations, your Windows 8 notebook can be configured to act as a wireless router offering wireless access to internet to your other gadgets.

This can be done on Windows 8 in a few steps:

  • Open a command prompt with Administrator privileges. Use this command prompt for all the commands given below.

  • Check if the wireless adapter has support for Hosted Network. This is needed to make it work as a wireless hotspot. This can be checked by using this command:

netsh show wlan drivers

This prints out all the properties of the wireless adapters on your notebook. Look for the property named Hosted network supported and it should be say Yes. If it says No, you are out of luck 😦

  • Create a hosted network with a name and a key. Lets assume the network is named foobarwifi and key is foobarkey. The command to create such a network is:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=foobarwifi key=foobarkey
  • Start this hosted network using this command:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
  • Next, we need to link the network connection that has internet access to this wireless hosted network. To do this, open the Network and Sharing Center and go to Change adapter settings. You should be able to see the connection that has internet access. You will also see a Local Area Connection with the name foobarwifi. It will have a * (asterisk) in its name.

  • Right-click on the connection with internet access and choose Properties. Switch to the Sharing tab and enable the option: Allow other network users to connect through this computers internet connection. In the dropdown, pick the Local Area Connection that is foobarwifi.

  • That is it! Your Windows 8 notebook is now available as a wireless hotspot named foobarwifi to which other devices can connect wirelessly using the key foobarkey.

  • This wireless hotspot is temporary and is removed when Windows is rebooted. If you need this hotspot frequently, then create a .bat file on the desktop with the above two command lines in it. Shift + right click on the file and choose Run as Administrator whenever you want the wifi hotspot to be created.

Tried with: Windows 8 x64

How to remove wireless network profile in Windows 8

Windows 8 just does not provide the GUI to perform certain operations. For example, you cannot remove the network profile for a wireless network. This cannot be done with the Charms Bar nor using the Network and Sharing Center.

This is an important operation because it is all too easy to click and join many networks. And over time you may want to change the settings or just remove some of those wireless network profiles. Thankfully, you can still do this from the command prompt.

To list all the wireless network profiles:

C:\> netsh wlan show profiles

To remove a wireless network profile named foobar:

C:\> netsh wlan delete profile name="foobar"

Tried with: Windows 8 x64

How to have the daily Bing image on your Windows 8 lockscreen

Gorgeous Bing image as Windows 8 lockscreen
Gorgeous Bing image as Windows 8 lockscreen

The Bing homepage has a gorgeous image as background, which is updated once every day. It is really cool to have this daily updated Bing image as the lockscreen wallpaper in Windows 8.

There is an app for that! Go to Store, search for Bing my lockscreen and install it. Open the app and in its settings choose the regional Bing webpage whose images you want to appear on your lockscreen. Also ensure the Automatic lockscreen updates option is on. There is nothing more to do. The app will take care of checking for new Bing images and updating the lockscreen when a new image is available.

Enjoy your gorgeous lockscreen! πŸ™‚

Tried with: Windows 8 Pro x64

VT-x is not available for VirtualBox

VirtualBox error

Problem

A virtual machine running Ubuntu in VirtualBox which was working fine threw up an error when I tried to restore it. The error read:

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Ubuntu-12.04-LTS-x64.

VT-x is not available. (VERR_VMX_NO_VMX).

Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)
Component: Console
Interface: IConsole {db7ab4ca-2a3f-4183-9243-c1208da92392}

This happened even though I had not changed any settings in VirtualBox.

Solution

VT-x is hardware visualization which the Intel Core i3 M330 processor I have does support. It was strange that the hardware visualization feature suddenly was not available to VirtualBox.

Then I remembered that I had enabled Hyper-V earlier in the day. Windows 8 ships with Hyper-V and I had turned it on to try it out. It turns out that Hyper-V grabs hardware visualization and VirtualBox is left stranded not being able to access it.

I disabled Hyper-V and my VM in VirtualBox booted up without any errors.

Tried with: VirtualBox 4.2.4 and Windows 8 Pro

How to change border width in Windows 8

Problem

Windows 8 displays the windows in Desktop mode with a pretty thick border. The Advanced Appearance Settings dialog which could be used to change the border width in Windows 7 does not seem to be present in Windows 8!

Solution

Fear not, these settings can be changed in the Registry in Windows 8. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics. The keys here that are related to the border width are BorderWidth and PaddedBorderWidth. The default value of BorderWidth is -15 and that of PaddedBorderWidth is -60. Change them to higher values to reduce the border width and vice versa. For example, I prefer to change both of them to 0 for a thinner border.

Tried with: Windows 8 Pro x64

Start multiple instances of an application in Windows 8

Problem

Windows 8 runs non-Metro applications in the desktop. By default, if a second instance of an already running application is started by typing its name and pressing Enter, Windows 8 just switches to the already running application. For example, if you have one window of Notepad open, running Notepad again from the Start screen by typing its name and pressing Enter switches you back to the Notepad window already open.

Solution

To indicate to Windows 8 to open a new instance of the application, use Shift + Enter instead of Enter.

Tried with: Windows 8 Pro

SD card support in Windows 8 for Dell Vostro 3300

Problem

You installed, not upgraded, a fresh copy of Windows 8 on the Dell Vostro 3300 notebook. Everything seems to be working fine except the SD card reader. If you put in a SD card into the reader, it does not appear as a drive in Windows Explorer.

Solution

The Dell Vostro 3300 uses the Realtek RTS5138 USB controller for the SD card reader. Windows 8 does not seem to ship with the driver for this controller. Go to the Support section of the Dell webpage for Vostro 3300. Find the Realtek-Driver under the Chipset section, download it and install it. Restart Windows and your SD card should work now.

Tried with: Windows 8 Pro