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Back in January, Microsoft announced that it had sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses. But it seems that the majority of these licenses were sold to PC makers and have yet to be loaded onto system and sold to the public. More than four months after its release, Windows 8 is seeing very slow adoption amongst users.

Why is this, and what could Microsoft do to make the operating system more attractive to consumers?

Microsoft is slow to adapt to changing times. Have you noticed that Linux is free, Android is free, and OS X is cheap, while Microsoft continues to charge big money for Windows, even when it is selling an upgrade? This is because Microsoft’s business model continues to revolve around selling software, while many others have moved on to selling products that combine software and hardware. A system builder copy of Windows 8 Professional will set you back over $130, even when discounted on Amazon. Compare this to a Kindle Fire, which only costs $159, or a Kindle Fire HD, which starts at $299.

Even compared to its closest rival, Windows comes across as pricey, especially when it comes to upgrades. Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion upgrade had a price tag of only $20. Compare this to a retail upgrade copy of Windows 8 Professional, which has a recommended retail price tag of $199, and even when highly discounted on Amazon, it is still only a few bucks less than $100.

Windows is expensive. Very expensive. Too expensive.

Touch is at the core of Windows 8. It’s the reason Microsoft dumped the Start Menu in favor of the Start Screen.

So if touch is so important, give people a reason to want it.

Sources I’ve spoken to at both Microsoft and hardware makers are all pointing fingers at the other side, claiming that they need to do something to educate users about touch. Microsoft believes that this is the job of the hardware makers because they have the most to gain or lose, while the hardware makers think that it’s Microsoft’s job because it was Redmond that wanted to change Windows to make it work across all platforms.

Whoever ends up picking up the tab, education is surely needed. I’ve spoken to countless people who don’t have a clue about the benefits that touch offers or why they should care about it. And some are so confused that they believe that you can’t use a mouse on Windows 8 and that all hardware has to be touch-enabled.

There’s a lot of confusion out there, and that’s not good for sales.

PCs are cheap. But if you add a touchscreen to them, all of a sudden the price rockets stratospherically. Partly this is due to the expense of touchscreen panels, but it doesn’t help that the hardware makers see touch systems as ‘premium,’ and as such, are padding the price out accordingly.

Microsoft has a lot of clout with hardware makers, and it should work to bring down the price of touch hardware. A simple way for Microsoft to do this would be to cut the price it charges for Windows licenses for touch-enabled machines. Microsoft is rumored to pull in some $70 to $100 per Windows PC from the hardware makers, so there’s plenty of wriggle room here.

One of the primary drivers for iOS and Android has been apps. People love apps, and they can’t seem to get enough of them.

Microsoft has built an app store into Windows 8, but in order to get compelling apps into that app store, it needs to convince developers that people are buying Windows 8 hardware and that there are eyes on the app store. Developers are wary of supporting new operating systems and platform, instead choosing to go for quick and easy targets — iOS and Android.

Microsoft needs to encourage developers to write compelling apps for Windows 8. There are two ways Microsoft could do this.

First, it could get Windows 8 hardware into the hands of as many people as possible. The more people are using Windows 8 hardware, the more eyes are on the app store, and the more confidence this gives developers that Windows 8 is a serious platform.

Second, it could give developers incentives. Currently, Microsoft takes a cut of around 30 percent for sales through the app store. Cutting this would mean more revenue in the pockets of developers.

The biggest complaint leveled at Windows 8 focuses on the touch elements of the user interface. While Windows 8 is an awesome operating system on devices such as ultrabooks and tablets, it’s not as good on regular desktops and notebooks driven by keyboards and mice. In fact, it’s so bad that usability experts at Nielsen called it “a monster that terrorizes poor office workers and strangles their productivity.”

Not good.

This is something that Microsoft can’t ignore. The easiest way that Microsoft could address these concerns is to bring back the old interface — specifically the Start Menu and desktop — for people who are using traditional hardware.

The best time for Microsoft to reintroduce the old user interface elements back into Windows 8 is when it releases the first service pack for the operating system. This would eliminate much of the resistance to the new operating system and allow people who want to use Windows 8 like earlier versions of Windows the opportunity to do so.

The new interface presents a significant learning curve for users. And for people who aren’t on touch hardware, this is wasted time that would be better spent using the PC rather than learning how to work around the new interface.

Whenever I write about Windows 8, I feel conflicted. On a tablet or ultrabook, I feel that Windows 8 is modern, refreshing, and easy to use. But take the same operating system and install it on a desktop or notebook, and the interface that I loved suddenly feels like a massive drag on productivity.

And then you stop and realize that you are paying for this drop in productivity, and you can’t help but feel angry at Microsoft for breaking the Windows that I had come to know and love — not to mention rely on daily.

I want to love Windows 8, and I want others to love it too. Microsoft has a chance to follow its touch aspirations and make an operating system that works on non-touch systems. All it needs to do is give users a choice. Combine this with cutting the price a little and getting compelling apps into the app store, and I feel that I could learn to love Windows 8 again.

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How To Manage The Windows Services In Windows 8

Windows Service is an executable which runs in the background in Windows. Most of the Windows services start with the system startup. The main purpose of the services is for them to run in the background and keep performing a particular task or trigger an action when needed.

There are two major groups of services. The first group of services includes the default services from Microsoft while the second group consists of services created by third party software.

Accessing and Managing Services

Windows provides a few ways to access and manage the Services installed on the computer.

1. Task Manager

2. Services Management Console

Viewing only services created by third party software

In most cases, you will only see the big list of services that include both the default services by Microsoft and those that are created by third party software. To only list the third party services, follow the steps below:

Go to the Services tab

Check “Hide all Microsoft services” (ALT + H)

This will hide all Microsoft-related services and show only those services created by third party software. If you want, you can uncheck any of the services to remove them from running in the background.

Safely disable services without any complication

Some of the services are essential to the system and wrongly disabling them can cause the whole computer to malfunction. If you are not sure which services can be disabled and which one you need to keep it constantly running, you can use Vista Services Optimizer software.

Vista Services Optimizer is a useful software which can the services according to your profile.

1. Download Vista Services Optimizer. Although the software does not mention Windows 8 in the system requirements, I can confirm that it works in Windows 8.

3. After completing this, you will need to press the OK button followed by the Optimize button. Vista Services Optimizer will automatically enable or disable services according to the information provided by you.

4. After optimizing, it is recommended that you restart your PC for it to take effect.


Usman Khurshid

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Med’s Robert Lowe A Metcalf Award Winner

MED’s Robert Lowe a Metcalf Award Winner Teaching students how to be empathetic physicians

Robert C. Lowe, a MED associate professor of medicine, will receive a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

As a kid in New York City, Robert C. Lowe always knew he wanted to be a doctor. Teaching, however, never crossed his mind, he says, because he wasn’t the best public speaker in high school and college.

Fast forward several decades to 2010, when the School of Medicine’s graduating class selected the associate professor of medicine as its convocation speaker. Following a speech that was equal parts humor and wisdom (he opened with a quote from the Who’s Roger Daltrey), he received a standing ovation. Lowe won MED’s annual teaching award three years ago. And on Sunday, May 20, during Commencement ceremonies, he will receive one of the University’s highest teaching honors: a Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“His exemplary commitment to the teaching of the art and science of medicine has shown students how to practice their profession with both expertise and compassion,” notes the award citation.

“Rob Lowe is a dedicated physician and inspiring educator,” says Karen Antman, dean of MED and Medical Campus provost. “We are delighted that his outstanding talent as an educator is now being recognized by the University.”

Despite his work as a physician and a researcher, Lowe says that teaching is “a real huge part of what I do.” He is a clinician educator, who in addition to teaching students is engaged in faculty development workshops as both a participant and an organizer. And he has honed his skills by taking health care education courses at Harvard’s Macy Institute.

“No matter how many times people tell me I’m good at this, I always want to see if there are things I can do to improve,” Lowe says. “And I really enjoy primarily watching the transformation of college students into physicians—both at the level of knowledge and skills, but also the attitude of becoming a physician.”

Lowe, or “Doc,” as he prefers to be called, stresses the importance of empathy in medicine. He’s read the studies showing that medical students’ idealism dulls as they are exposed to the mental and emotional stresses inherent in medical school. He tries to counteract that by paying careful attention to how students talk or act in front of patients, leading by example and letting them know that even the smallest things they say or do may have huge impacts.

“There’s always been a tendency in medicine to tell students to dissociate themselves emotionally in order to maintain a certain calm,” he says. “But it’s a balancing act. You have to actually feel the emotions and control them. Getting rid of the emotions does not help. Patients do not appreciate unemotional doctors.”

Lowe has been cited for his skill as a physician as well as for his teaching. He has been named one of Boston’s Top Doctors three times by Boston magazine, most recently this year. Not surprisingly, he loves being a doctor.

“It allows you to actually help people as part of your daily life,” he says. “Many jobs in the world involve you succeeding at the expense of someone else. You win; they lose. You get something; someone else gives something. Here it’s not like that. Everybody wins and loses together essentially.”

His students’ admiration and respect for his devotion to medicine and teaching come across clearly in their letters recommending Lowe for a Metcalf award. “Dr. Lowe is awesome—he makes you marvel at the physiology of the GI tract!” wrote one. “He is an effective, compassionate, and knowledgeable physician,” said another. “He demonstrates how empathy itself can be healing,” from yet another. And last, but not least: “He is exactly the kind of physician I would hope to be in a few years.”

The Metcalf awards date to 1973 and are funded by a gift from the late BU professor and Board of Trustees chairman emeritus Arthur G. B. Metcalf (SED’35, Hon.’74). The Metcalf Cup and Prize winner receives $10,000, the Metcalf Award winners $5,000 each. A University committee selects winners based on nominees’ statements of teaching philosophy, supporting letters from colleagues and students, and classroom observations. This year’s Metcalf Cup and Prize winner is Andrew Duffy, a College of Arts & Sciences master lecturer in physics, and the other Metcalf Award winner is Marisa Milanese, a CAS Writing Program senior lecturer.

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How To Transform Windows 7 Or 8 Into Windows 10

Windows 10 is just around the corner, and the new version not only packs some of the best and most interesting features, it is also visually appealing. In fact, it is much better than Windows 8 or 8.1 with revamped start menu, upgraded notification center, updated icon sets, etc.

As most of you know, Windows 10 is free for all the genuine Windows 7 and 8 users as long as you upgrade within one year from the launch date (July 29th). But if you are happy with your current Windows machine and don’t want to upgrade, here is how you can easily transform your Windows machine into Windows 10.


1. Even though I’m showing this in Windows 8.1, the procedure is similar for Windows 7.

2. The transformation can be applied to Windows Professional and Enterprise versions only. And make sure that you have .NET versions 2, 4 and 4.5 installed as the program we are going to use requires those.

Create a Restore Point

In the process of transforming Windows 7 or 8 into Windows 10, some of the important system files will be modified. As a precaution, it is always a good idea to create a system restore point so that you can easily revert back if anything bad happens.

To create a system restore point, press “Win + X” and select the “System” option. If you are using Windows 7, search for it in the Start menu.

In case you are wondering, here is what system restore can and cannot do in Windows.

Transform Windows 7 or 8 Into Windows 10

Transforming Windows 7 or 8 into Windows 10 is easier than you think. To start, download the Windows 10 transformation pack from ThemeMyPC.

The good thing about the software is that it comes with:

All the relevant icons, images, fonts, cursors, and sounds

Auto repair and update feature

Virtual desktops just like in Windows 10 (Sys Internals application)

Redesigned Start Menu and a search bar like in Windows 10

Once you’ve downloaded the required file, open it and execute the “Windows 10 Transformation Pack.exe” application.

The installation is straightforward; you don’t have to do anything. Once the installation has been completed, restart your system so that the changes will take effect.

You’ve successfully transformed your Windows machine into Windows 10.

Of course, there is no Cortana and the Start menu may not resemble the real Windows 10 start menu, but the app is free, and the developers are pushing updates regularly.

Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.

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8 Ways To Make Cyberpunk 2077 Run Faster


Nvidia-provided numbers showing how much extra performance DLSS provides with ray tracing turned on at 4K.

DLSS Quality Mode looks identical to native but provides the smallest (though still massive) performance uplift, while Performance Mode prioritizes performance first and foremost. It still looks great, but you can occasionally spot some degradation in static scenes or Cyberpunk’s photo mode. DLSS Performance Mode works best on 4K displays. DLSS Ultra Performance mode can greatly improve frame rates but adds a bit of blurriness from its aggressive upscaling. Avoid it if you can unless you’re trying to play at 8K on an RTX 3090. Finally, DLSS Balanced splits the difference between the Quality and Performance Modes. Play with all three and see what works for you.

Brad Chacos/IDG

The FidelityFX CAS options provide more options when you activate them. 

5. Tweak these specific graphics settings

If the resolution scaling options aren’t enough to propel frame rates to your desired levels, Cyberpunk 2077 offers a smorgasbord of settings for enthusiasts to tinker with in its graphics menu. Good! Only a couple of them make the most significant performance differences, though.

Brad Chacos/IDG

Setting Screen Space Reflections Quality to Low (or even off, if you dare) instantly granted 10+ percent more frames on the couple of cards we tried it with. Dropping Volumetric Fog Resolution to Low did the same. Doing so detracts from the look of the game—especially turning down reflections in the rain- and neon-soaked Night City—but much, much less than simply switching over to the Low or Medium presets.

The game also includes numerous shadow-related graphics options. Reducing shadow quality can make a noticeable performance difference in many games. None of the individual options move the dial much in Cyberpunk 2077, however, while the extra shadows make Night City feel much more lifelike. Cranking every shadow option down to Low can improve frame rates by another 10+ percent if you need it. Start with Ambient Occlusion, as that particular option can add about 5 percent more performance. 

6. Help out your hard drive and CPU

Graphics settings may get all the glory, but big open-world games like Cyberpunk 2077 hammer a lot more than your GPU. Your storage and processor carry a heavy load too. A couple of options tucked into the Gameplay menu (oddly enough) can give them a hand.

Brad Chacos/IDG

The Gameplay menu also holds some helpful settings to tweak for possibly better performance.

Open-world games perform best on a solid-state drive because they’re constantly loading in assets. You won’t see a loading screen in Cyberpunk 2077 after you’re in the game unless you fast-travel. CD Projekt Red recommends storing the game on an SSD, but if you can’t—Cyberpunk’s 70GB install size is nothing to sneeze at—then turn on the Slow HDD Mode option. I installed the game on SSDs so I can’t test it, but hey, it exists for a reason. (Also, seriously consider upgrading to an SSD. They’re cheap now.)

Open-world games with lots of characters also stress your CPU. Playing around with various configurations revealed that Cyberpunk prefers more cores. It also performs better with faster cores. In our test system with an Intel Core i7-8700K overclocked to 5GHz, changing the Crowd Density option from High to Low made no real difference. But when I took the same RTX 3090 and put it in my personal rig with a slower first-gen Ryzen 1800X, which has much lower single-threaded performance than modern processors, tweaking the Crowd Density added 5 to 8 frames per second at 4K—a roughly 15-percent performance improvement in that particular section. The densely packed crowds add a lot to the vibe of the game, so turn down this option only if you must.

7. Shrink your field of view

Brad Chacos/IDG

8. Let the cloud do the work

Cyberpunk scales down to work on less-capable hardware pretty well if you start making more extreme graphics setting compromises. But if your potato PC still can’t keep up after endless tweaks, all is not lost. Nvidia’s fantastic GeForce Now cloud gaming service supports Cyberpunk 2077 regardless of whether you bought it on Steam, GOG, or the Epic Games Store. Because the service taps into your PC storefront accounts to play the games you already own, if you play Cyberpunk with GeForce Now, your cloud saves should work just fine on your local PC once you’ve upgraded its firepower.

Brad Chacos/IDG

Don’t cross Keanu.

GeForce Now targets smooth 60-fps, 1080p gaming. Nvidia offers a free tier of the service, while springing for a $5-per-month Founders subscription lets you turn on those gorgeous ray tracing effects that can make even the beefiest graphics cards sweat. We’ve talked in depth about why you should play Cyberpunk 2077 on GeForce Now rather than overspend on new hardware in a scalper’s market. It’s also available on rival cloud gaming services like Stadia and Shadow, but those don’t offer a free option like Nvidia does.

Editor’s note: This article originally published on December 10, but was updated December 12 with additional tips.

How To Make A Chest In Minecraft

Minecraft is all about resource collection. Whether you are exploring the amazing Minecraft biomes or gathering materials to make a Minecraft house, you will encounter a huge number of items and blocks. Now, you can place most of them in your world and pick them up again. But, if you know how to make a chest in Minecraft, all your items can be safely placed in a single location. Except for beginners, most players already know about the mechanics of this item. So if you want to join the masses, learn how to get and make a chest in Minecraft.

How to Find a Chest in Minecraft

Chests are one of the most basic items in the game, and they spawn throughout the world of Minecraft. You can find a chest in the following locations:




Jungle Temples

Desert Temples

Nether Fortresses

End Cities


Woodland Mansions


Ocean Ruins

Buried Treasure

Pillager Outposts

Bastion Remnants

Ruined Portals

Ancient Cities

While the loot of each natural chest is different in Minecraft, you can pick any chest by breaking it with or without a tool. If you break a chest without emptying out its contents, the stored items drop alongside the chest.

Items Required to Make a Chest

8 Planks

Crafting Table

You can use any type of wooden plank to make your chest. They don’t even have to be of the same type of wood. The final chest always looks the same. Though, if you want to challenge yourself, we suggest you get the new bamboo wood for your chests. To get planks, you can place log or wood blocks in the crafting area to easily turn them into planks.

Minecraft Chest: Crafting Recipe

Follow these steps to easily make a chest in Minecraft:

2. Then, place the wooden planks in all the cells of the crafting area, except the middle cell. You can use any type of wooden plank here.

How to Make a Double Chest in Minecraft

The crafting recipe we just covered will get you a small chest. It is useable in a variety of ways but many players rely on a large chest as their main storage option. But there is no crafting recipe for a large chest in Minecraft. Instead, you need to make two small chests and place them horizontally next to each other.

The game automatically turns the two small chests into a single large chest. This mechanic doesn’t work with more than two chests. But you can use this method to create as many large chests as you want.

How to Use a Chest in Minecraft 1. Storage

The most obvious way to use a chest in Minecraft is by placing it on the ground and putting your items in it. A small chest has 27 item slots, each of which can hold one stack of any item, totaling a maximum of 1,728 items. Similarly, a large chest has 54 slots that can hold at most 3,456 items.

When it comes to interaction, you can use a piston to push a chest, but this mechanic only works in Minecraft Bedrock edition. Further, lava and water can move around the chests without affecting them. Even if fire shows up on top of the chest, it doesn’t burn it down. All chests in Minecraft are fire and lava-proof. However, they can still be destroyed by blasts of any kind.

2. Transportation 3. Crafting Other Items

As a crafting ingredient, you can use chests to create the following items in Minecraft:

Trapped Chest

Shulker Box


Boat with Chest

Raft with Chest

Minecart with Chest

4. Christmas Chests

To celebrate the Christmas spirit, every year on December 24–26, the texture of chests in Minecraft changes into wrapped presents. The small chests turn red and golden in color, while the large chests turn green, white, and red in color. This change happens across all editions of Minecraft.

Moreover, you can trigger the Christmas chests by manually changing the date of your computer to December 24–26. However, do keep in mind, this change is only visual and doesn’t affect the mechanics or functionality of chests.

Now that you know how to craft a chest in Minecraft, you can stop worrying about storing items and start collecting them throughout your world. However, if you are playing on one of these best Minecraft survival servers, creating a simple chest might not be enough. Any player can break or steal your chest and its items. If that concerns you, you should make an Ender chest in Minecraft instead of a regular chest.

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