Watch DVDs on Windows 8

Because Windows 8 now ships on a vast variety of hardware that doesn't always have a disk drive (e.g. touch devices), Microsoft decided not to include DVD codec in their new operating system to make it cheaper. This leads to the problem that devices that actually do have a disk drive cannot play DVDs out of the box:


The easiest way to circumvent this problem is to install a third-party multimedia player that is able to play DVDs - for example the popular VideoLAN player (VLC Player) which is able to play nearly any multimedia format.

You can download it here.

After downloading the installer, double-click it and follow the instructions. Afterwards you can right-click the DVD again and open it with VLC:



Deactivate localisation in Windows 8

When you set Windows 8 up you were given the choice whether you wanted to allow applications to read your locality or not. If you made up your mind towards the choice you have taken you can still change that setting whenever you want to. To get to it

1. open Charms by hovering your mouse to the top right corner
2. open the Settings charm
3. click on Change PC settings on the bottom of the panel
4. click on Privacy
5. change the first switch's position to your likings:


Play Minesweeper and Solitaire on Windows 8

Along with all the other applications, games on Windows have been turned into Metro apps that can be downloaded from the App Store. The simple consequences are that

1. you need to play them full-screen and
2. you need to download them before being able to play them.

To download them, turn up the Metro menu and go to the Store. All games, including the classics, are found in the Games section:


After they have been installed you will find them in the XBox Games section of the Metro menu!

Deactivate Lock screen on startup in Windows 8

One of the most unnecessary things that Windows 8 brings to desktop computers might be the lock screen you need to wipe away every time you start your machine - luckily it's also one of the things you can disable.

To do so, open the Local Group Policy Editor (as shown here).

Browse the left pane for Computer Configuration > Administrative Tools > Control Panel > Personalization and double-click Do not display the lock screen on the right pane. Enable the setting and confirm by clicking Ok!

Open Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8

The times are over where you just hit a key and typed everything you needed in to get there. Now you need to learn key combinations or know how to get to the items you need by clicking your way through. System items such as the Group Policy Editor that are usually hidden deep within some system folders are an especially hard case - that's why I'll show you the easiest way to get there here.

- open the Charms menu by hovering your cursor over the top-right corner and
- click the Search charm. Afterwards
- click on Settings on the right pane and
- enter policy:

Update: The Local Group Policy Editor is only included in Windows 8 Pro, but not in Windows 8 Home. Thanks to Mahmood and Dave for pointing that out.

How to disable MySQL replication on master/master andmaster/slave setups

The following guide shows how to disable and remove mysql replication from two or more mysql servers. These steps can be used for master/slave and master/master mysql setups. The following SQL commands have to be be executed in phpmyadmin or with the mysql commandline program. It is just important that you are logged in as mysql root user. Below I will use the mysql commandline client.

Login into mysql as root user from commandline:

mysql -u root -p

the mysql command will ask for the mysql root password.

Then execute these commands if the installed mysql version is < 5.5.16:


use the commands below instead if the mysql version is > 5.5.16


Now edit the my.cnf file (/etc/mysql/my.cnf) and add a # in front of all lines that start with "replicate-" or "master-". Example:

# replicate-same-server-id = 0
# master-host =
# master-user = slaveuser
# master-password = akst6Wqcz2B
# master-connect-retry = 60

Then restart mysql:

/etc/init.d/mysql restart


Transparent window borders in Windows 8

With Aero gone, the options to customize the appearance of your Windows desktop have highly decreased. Though while you don't have the option to add transparency to window borders, you can still achieve them with a simple trick (you won't have the blur anymore - just transparent borders).

To do that,
- right-click your desktop and click on Personalize.
- Activate the High Contrast White theme and
- click on the Color options beneath the theme selection pane.
- Right-click your desktop again to open another personalization window (don't close the first one).
- Activate one of the default Windows themes again.
- Afterwards, switch to the first window again -
- click the Save changes button there.

You should now have transparent window borders without blur:

As you might have noticed this way of achieving transparent borders is not intended to be used - some machines may experience graphic corruptions when using this method. If you happen to have these, you can reverse the whole thing by chosing another theme again!

Setting up email routing to gmail / google apps via ISPConfig 3

The following guide describes the steps to add DNS records that route emails from a domain managed in ISPConfig 3 to google apps / gmail. The guide assumes that you have already setup the dns zone for your domain in ispconfig.

Login to ISPConfig, click on the DNS module icon in the upper navigation bar, then open the settings of the DNS zone that you want to redirect to google and click on the "records" tab. You should see a record list similar to this:

Now Delete the existing MX record and the "mail" A-Record. Then add the following new records:

CNAME Record:

Hostname: mail


IMPORTANT: All full domain names like "" have to end with a dot, if the dot is missing, the name is treated as subdomain of the zone.

The resulting record list should look like this:

Reorder accounts in Thunderbird (Windows)

There's one important feature missing in Thunderbird that you will need when working with many different accounts, that is, reordering them. You won't find any option for this in the settings, nor is there any obvious way. The only one I found involved editing the prefs.js file (close Thunderbird while doing so!), that is located in C:\Users\user-name\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\[profile-name]:

Some people suggest changing the order of the user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts") parameter but this did nothing for me. What worked instead was setting the user_pref("mail.accountmanager.defaultaccount", "accountx") parameter.

Setting it will put one account at the top of the list - by repeating this process, you can order your accounts the way you want it! Just replace the number of the account (marked with x in the text above) with the one you want top.

Activate the title bar in Mozilla Thunderbird 17 again

Starting with the Mozilla Thunderbird 17, the classic title bar has been hidden in Thunderbird. To get the classic title bar back, follow these steps:

  1. Start Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Open the config editor by clicking on Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> General -> Config Editor (button)
  3. Navigate to the setting "mail.tabs.drawInTitlebar" in the config editor and set it to "false" by double clicking on the line.
  4. Close the config editor and restart Thunderbird


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