Software Giveaway… just in time for Halloween!

WinXDVD Over the course of the last couple of years I have talked about several promotions from a company called Digiarty Software.  I have done so because I happen to like their products, and when they are giving them away (as they occasionally do) I am glad to share that information with you, my devoted readers 🙂

Last week Digiarty told me they were launching a Halloween Giveaway program of their award winning WinX DVD Ripper Platinum software.  It is a great tool that is a true all-in-one DVD ripper that supports over 350 types of outputs, including AVI, MP4, M4V, FLV, and a plethora of others.

They don’t give away the Platinum version very often, so I strongly recommend you take advantage.  Click here to access the giveaway promotion, and don’t forget to tell your friends!

Making Your Windows 8 ISO work for You

English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanD...

English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanDisk Cruzer Micro, 4GB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is the day that a huge number of you will be downloading and installing the final bits (RTM) of Windows 8.  You now have an ISO image of Windows, and you need to install it onto your computer.  In order to do that you have to put it onto media – DVD or in many cases USB sticks.

DVDs are easy… since the introduction of the technology people have been burning .iso files to CDs and DVDs, thanks to such tools as Alex Feinman’s ISO Recorder.  All you need is a DVD burner and a blank DVD.  In fact in Windows 8 if you click on an ISO file in Windows Explorer there is an option to either mount or burn the image file (as seen)

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A lot of PCs these days – including but not limited to ultrabooks, tablets, and minis – do not have DVD players built in, and so USB keys (sticks, thumb drives) have become the preferred method of installation for many.  All you have to do is make it bootable and you are off to the races.  There are several ways to do that.

Because it has been available to us for so long, the method I use is tried and true – I use the Disk Partition Tool (diskpart.exe) in Windows.  Because DiskPart is so destructive it is a good idea to unplug any unneeded drives before proceeding, and then continuing with extreme caution.

  1. Open a Command Prompt (from the Start Menu type cmd.exe).
  2. From the command prompt type diskpart.exe and press Enter.  If you are using Windows Vista or later a UAC window will come up.  Click on Yes (or OK).
  3. SNAGHTMLb5dda52In the DiskPart tool type list disk to see a list of connected devices.  In this example you will see that I have three disks connected. – Disk 0 (238 GB) is my internal hard disk.  Disk 1 (14 GB) is an SD card that I plugged in to transfer pictures from my camera.  Disk 2 (3841 MB) is the 4GB USB key that I am using for my bootable Windows 8 key.
  4. Type select disk X (where X is the number assigned to your USB key)
  5. Type clean.  This will wipe everything off the disk, so be careful that you have selected the appropriate drive, and be sure there’s nothing important on it.image
  6. Type create partition primary.  This creates a primary partition on the key.
  7. Type assign.  Your blank partition now has a drive letter assigned to it.  You can check in Windows Explorer to see what letter it is.  The volume name will be NEW VOLUME.
  8. Format the disk.  The easiest way is to click on the NEW VOLUME in Windows Explorer and select the options for Quick Format.  You can also, should you wish, name the volume from the Format Disk window by entering the name (15 characters or less) in the Volume Label field.
  9. Type active.  This marks the partition as active.
  10. Type exit to close the DiskPart tool.
  11. Type exit.  This will close down your command prompt.

Our USB key is now bootable.  All that is left is to copy the contents of the ISO file (and not the ISO file itself) onto the key.  Use any tool that you like to mount the ISO file (such as Windows Explorer in Windows 8, or Magic ISO Maker in Windows 7) to mount the ISO file, and do a simple file copy from that drive to your thumb drive.  Depending on the speed of your disks it might take as long as 20 minutes on USB 2.0, but if you have USB 3.0 then it’s much quicker.

The next step is easy but often overlooked… when you boot your system there are two things you have to do:

  • Make sure the bootable USB key is plugged into the system before it POSTs.  If not it may not be considered a boot option.
  • If the USB device is not set first in the boot order (in your BIOS) then you have to select it manually.  Different PC makers make you press different keys (HP is F9, I think Dell is F12.  check your PC to be sure) to show you the Boot Device menu.  Most tablets will boot from USB first by default.

At this point you are ready to go… install Windows 8, and start playing.  It’s that simple.

Welcome to the world of 8… the luckiest number in Chinese, and the newest evolution on the desktop and tablet!

Free software? Contest with Giveaways? Wow, this is good stuff!

Hey folks! So many of you have heard me talk about the importance of backing up your software (See Oakville.Com Tech Tuesday) but if you have kids it is also a good idea to back up other media – especially things like DVDs that you have invested money in.  Digiarty Software, Inc. has a couple of great tools for that, and for the next few days they are giving them away!

During their Easter Software Giveaway” they are providing two pieces of software for free, in stages.

Stage 1: WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe

From now until April 10, Digiarty will be giving away their WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe.  This is a great package that allows you to convert video between file formats.  However you have to hurry – the offer ends Tuesday!  To download the software for free, click here.

Stage 2: WinX DVD Copy Pro

For five days only – April 11 through April 15 (that’s next Sunday!) they will be giving away their WinX DVD Copy Pro software.  I know that as a parent I have already had to buy a lot of my kids’ DVDs a few times, because they scratch, break, get fed to dogs.  WinX DVD Copy Pro allows me to buy the DVD and copy it before giving it to the kids.  If the copy gets destroyed, all I have to do is make another copy, and not go out and pay full price again.  For those of you who are wondering, this is completely legal… as long as I do not give the copies to anyone else.  To download the software for free (starting Wednesday), click here.

Contest: WinX DVD Ripper Platinum

To celebrate all sorts of things – the coming of Spring, my 1000th follower on Twitter, and what should be this Monday or Tuesday the 45,000th visitor to the new World According to Mitch Digitary has given me five copies** of the software you will want most from their catalogue to give away.  So for the next ten business days, I will give away a copy of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum to one lucky reader, with the following caveats:

  1. I will only give away a copy on days where the site has over 150 visitors (Of the last 21 weekdays, 18 have exceeded 150 hits, and Good Friday probably shouldn’t count as a weekday).
  2. I will give the software away at random to a visitor who comments on my blog – any comment will do, as long as WordPress and I do not consider it spam.  That means you can comment on certifications, virtualization, Windows 8, or you can comment here and say ‘I want to win the prize!’
  3. I have to have your e-mail address.  That will not be published, but if I cannot contact you I cannot award you the prize!

I use WinX DVD Ripper Platinum all the time – we buy DVDs, and I rip them into our Windows Home Server Media Center so that the kids can watch them from the XBox any time they want without accidentally feeding DVDs to the dogs.  I also use it for myself – I can now watch movies on airplanes on my HP EliteBook 2740p tablet without bringing the docking station (the PC itself doesn’t have a DVD player).  I can rip my movies into any format, which means I can watch them in full size on my laptop, or really small on my Zune or Windows Phone 7.5.  If you don’t already have this software you will want it!  And all you have to do is… click Comment once Smile

Good luck, and happy Spring/Easter/Passover/45000th hit/1000th visitor!

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**Software giveaways will not be hard copies, but will be fully licensed software codes already in the possession of the writer.  These copies are given away freely with the permission and endorsement of the software vendor.  They are distributed by The World According to Mitch, and not by any company or corporate entity that the writer may work for or contract for.  Odds of winning are directly related to the number of valid entries received.  The winners will be chosen at random according to the terms stated in the contest, however the selection process will be at the discretion of the writer, and his decisions are final and not subject to any audit process.  There are five licenses of the software to be given away beginning on Monday April 9th, 2012.