How to Use Non Certified Play To Devices in Windows 8.1

Posted Posted in Play To, Windows 8.1

If you read my blog posts this Spring on enabling legacy DMR’s in Windows 8.0, you know that you had to create individual entries and modify them for each device you have in your home.

Gabe Frost from Microsoft has just shared a single Registry key that will enable all your legacy Digital Media Renderers to appear on the Charms/Devices/Play tab in Windows 8.1.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\PlayTo with a DWORD ShowNonCertifiedDevices with value 1 will enabled all your legacy Digital Media Renderers. Without this modification, Windows Store Apps won’t be able to use the Play function to send content to your non certified devices.

I have an older Samsung TV which without this registry key, is not capable of sending mp4’s on my hard drive to my TV using the Device/Play Charm. You can see below that it appears as TV, Not Windows Certified.



As before, your first step is to insure your device works as expected on the Classic Desktop with your Photos, Music, and Videos (depending on the device, not all would be appropriate).

Fire up regedit.exe by typing regedit.exe on the Start screen, acknowledge UAC and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft

Create a NEW key by right clicking Microsoft and name it PlayTo



Once the key is created, right click it and create a new DWord




The new Dword should be named ShowNonCertifiedDevices. After you have created the key, right click, edit and change the value from 0 to 1.


End result: My non certified Samsung TV shows up in the Play menu from the Devices Charm and successfully can send to my TV.



Note: You alternatively could use HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\PlayTo with a DWORD ShowNonCertifiedDevices with value 1 which would limit functionality on a per user basis.

Windows and Surface Community Reader App Available Now

Posted Posted in Windows 8.1


I have created a Modern UI App for Windows 8/8.1 Preview that serves as a quick way to see hot topics in the community discussion categories for Microsoft Windows and Surface. This is a FREE App.

The App is available at







Screen shots:

Main interface, supports images when present.

Main Article View, includes link to article/thread online for full participation


Subscription Page


Windows and Surface Community Reader relies on feeds provided by Microsoft, which is currently limited to 40 articles per specified target. I selected ALL Questions and Answers for Windows/Surface Version/Product Categories by Topic and Apps/Topic as the level of detail to expose.

Because this is a feed based app, new posts/replies need to be made in the web browser. To view an entire thread, view an individual article and then select the hyperlink which will open in Internet Explorer so you can participate fully.

Microsoft sends items to a feed based on activity, which included replies being marked as helpful, edits, marked as answer – any change made. The feed display reflects this.

Fixing broken or uninstallable apps in Windows 8.1 Preview

Posted Posted in Windows 8.1

On both my test x86 desktop and my Surface RT, I’ve experienced some app issues after upgrading to the Windows 8.1 Preview.

Symptoms are any of the following:

1. App can’t be updated even though Windows Store shows Update Available

2. App is shown as owned in the Store , but does not appear either on the Start Screen main app list or on the All Apps list and cannot be reinstall from the Store because of this

3. App opens and crashes immediately

Before you do anything else:

Close the Windows Store App from Task Manager. To do this, type taskmgr on the Start Screen. Run Task Manager and End Task on the Windows Store


First things to try before bring out the heavy artillery is

Try the WSRESET tool:

On the Start Screen, type in WSRESET and press enter, then run the tool when it appears


Try the App Trouble Shooter

You can download it from



If these don’t work, and you can’t uninstall/update/run an app(s) it’s time to try Power Shell to uninstall the app so you can reinstall it again and hopefully get past the issue.

All that follows is entirely at your own risk. There is no guarantee that it will work for your Windows 8.1 Preview installation. For any help with Powershell, try the Technet Scripting Forum.

  1. Close the Windows Store if it is open (again)
  2. Download the zip file at 
  3. Acknowledge the license


   4. Extract to a new folder like C:\scripts


   5. Open the RemoveWindowsStoreApp.ps1 file with notepad or other text editor and Add the cmd

          Remove-OSCAppxPackage to the end of the file.


   6. Run the file (you may need to right click and select Run/Open with Powershell or press and hold and select Run/Open with Powershell on a Surface tablet). Type Y to any prompts.

   7. You will see a Powershell windows like the one below, select the IDs (like 4,17 shown in the example) and press enter. Type Y to confirm each time it appears and follow the prompts.


How to Change Photo Tile Live Images in Windows 8.1

Posted Posted in Windows 8.1


If you delete an image from your library, the Live Tile does not immediately sync and select a new picture to replace it. This was an issue in the original Photos App in 8.0 and Microsoft did not fix this in 8.1. You have to wait 24 hours after the last tile refresh for new images to appear. You can use the info below to change the images displayed on the Photos App Live Tile any time you wish to make a change. You still cannot pick and choose what is displayed, unfortunately.


I have tested this on both a Desktop and Surface RT running Windows 8.1. Here are the steps to follow:


1. Open the Photos App, select Charms, Options

2. If the Shuffle option is on, turn it off

Screenshot (34)

3. Close the Photos App

4. On the Start Screen, if the Live Tile is On, turn it OFF.

Screenshot (35)

5. Close the Photos App and make sure it is not running. To do this, either open it and drag it down to the bottom of your screen about half way and hold it there until the icon flips around to show the Photos Tile Logo OR on the Start screen, type TASK MANAGER and open it and end task on Photos.


6. Go to the desktop and navigate to




7. Delete all the Tile*.jpg files and any *.dat files – you may have two.


8. Open the Photos App and turn the Shuffle option back on

9. Turn the Photos App Live Tile back on

10. You should have a new set of images appear on the Live Tile within a few minutes.


As you can see if you compare the cached tiles above to the Live Tile on the Start Screen below, a new set of images will start to appear on the Tile.

Screenshot (33)

IE 11 Pinned Live Tiles on Windows 8.1 Preview

Posted Posted in Windows 8.1


While I have a stand alone Windows Store App for this blog, I wanted to experiment with and share information on new functionality on the Windows 8.1 Preview with the Modern UI version of IE that allows site owners to push content (via RSS) as a Live Tile if a visitor elects to pin the site.

One of the things I noticed in the Windows 8.1 Preview was that the familiar push pin tack no longer appeared in the position it occupied in Windows 8 RTM (it was missing) when browsing the Internet. Turns out you will need to add a site to your Favorites before this functionality is enabled.

Live Pinned 1

I had previously done a site icon for folks using IE 10 and lower (you can see it lower left corner of above screenshot). When I navigated to the site in my Favorites (Favorites Bar or any folder under Favorites) the option appears to Pin to Start.

To get started, visit where you will find a menu driven web app.


You can customize the background color of the tile, select a Title, and upload and crop images that will be used for the four supported tile sizes on Windows 8.1 Preview.

Then, you need to supply the full URL to your RSS feed.

Next, you will be given the HTML markup to add to your site <head> section (place this in header.php in WordPress if you are a WordPress blogger on a self hosted site).

Finally, upload the files which are presented in a downloadable zipfile to the root of your server.

The end result when visitors pin your site in IE 11 from the Start Screen is a Live Tile that pulls from your RSS feed that display as follows.


Pretty cool!

live pinned tiles ie11