Windows users vulnerable to Meltdown/Spectre until at least January 9, 2018

Security-conscious Windows users attempting to protect themselves against Meltdown and Spectre attacks in the wild are being met with a deceptive “Your device is up to date” message — but they’re not yet protected.

In the days following the disclosure of CPU cache attacks Meltdown and Spectre, hardware, kernel, and software developers have rushed to provide security updates for their respective devices and platforms in an (ongoing) effort to secure their users against the wide-ranging (and not yet fully understood/internalized) side-channel vulnerabilities disclosed a few days ago on the 3rd of January, 2018.

For those that aren’t up to date on these attacks – stop now, and read this excellent LWN article on Meltdown and Spectre; if you’re so inclined, you can even have a look at the original Google Project Zero article where it all started.1

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  1. While the latter is more technical in nature, programming-inclined readers in the audience may find it to actually be easier to grok with its more definite and concrete approach, vs the somewhat abstract nature of pretty much all the other coverage out there. 

Windows 10 Embedded Product Key Tool

Product Key ToolWe’re proud to introduce the immediate release of our newest utility for Windows users: the NeoSmart Technologies Embedded Product Key Tool. Designed for users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, our embedded product key tool will retrieve and display the Windows setup product key embedded in the BIOS or EFI, allowing you to store it for safe-keeping or use it to reinstall Windows with an official Windows setup image.

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Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10

Did you skip Windows 8? Interested in upgrading your PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10, but not planning on installing Windows 8 in between? You’re in luck. The next version of Windows, Windows 10, aka Windows codename “Threshold” will let you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 just fine.

Questions about upgrading or activating Windows 10?
Read everything there is to know about Windows 10 licensing, free upgrade eligibility, and more in our exposé on the topic: Windows 10 activation and licensing explained.

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Windows 10 Technical Preview: A first look at a Metro-free Windows

Yesterday, Microsoft somewhat unexpectedly made available1 a preview of the next version of Windows – official Windows 10 and codenamed Windows “Threshold” – on its website for immediate download to the general public.

Today, we take a quick look at some of changes and new features that have made their way into Windows 10. As various “leaks” from within Microsoft had made clear, the biggest changes are going to be in the areas of UX and UI, as Windows is toned-down to become less alien for its long-term userbase that has clung on to Windows 7 for dear life, looking in utmost horror at the completely foreign landscape that is the Windows 8 metro desktop. Microsoft had previously made some steps to assuage these fears and boost adoption of Windows 8 with Windows 8.1, going so far as to make it possible to (finally!) disable the metro desktop on startup but refusing to bring back the start menu. Well, don’t let it be said that people can’t make a stand by boycotting with their wallet – the lackluster adoption of Windows 8 and then Windows 8.1 has thoroughly convinced Microsoft (and its new head, Satya Nadella) to release a somewhat more-sane Windows.

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  1. The release yesterday of the Windows “Threshold” Technical Preview itself was not unexpected, but the sudden springing of the entire Windows 10 affair on the tech community this week most certainly was! 

Download EFI and UEFI repair CDs for Windows

Welcome to the future. Ever since 2000, EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) has struggled to replace the decades-old BIOS, and now, some 13 years later, it’s finally really here. More than ever before, new computers, laptops, notebooks, and other computing devices are being shipped that use an entirely new and very much different technology as the foundation that powers the actual hardware, sitting between your motherboard/CPU and the operating system.

EFI is pretty nifty and very powerful, and opens a lot of new and exciting possibilities for your computer. It lets Windows theoretically boot faster than ever before, and can protect your computer against malware and viruses thanks to enhanced security features like signed bootloaders. And for Windows users, EFI means GPT (GUID Partition Table) instead of MBR (Master Boot Record). Abbreviations got you confused? Don’t worry – it just means that your computer now supports hard disks that are bigger than ever before (more than 2TiB in size!).

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Windows 8 Recovery Disk and Repair Disc Download

Download our recovery and repair disk for Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (also available for Windows Vista, 7, XP or Server editions) that can be used to access system recovery tools, giving you options of using an antivirus, System Restore, document and picture backup and recovery, automated system repair, and a command-line prompt for manual advanced recovery.

Download recovery disk for Windows 8/8.1

Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows 8

Our recovery disk is compatible with desktops, workstations, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, ultrabooks and servers from Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Samsung, Lenovo, IBM, Toshiba, Compaq, Gateway or eMachines that have Windows 8 or 8.1 installed.

The disk is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. It supports x86 and x64 platforms and works with EFI and MBR configurations.

Easy Recovery Essentials – or EasyRE – is a 50 to 135 MB ISO image that you can download and burn to any CD, DVD or USB drives.

With Easy Recovery Essentials you can recover and repair your computer.

About our recovery and repair disk

Windows 8 LogoIt has become harder and harder to get recovery or installation disks for your computer as major PC manufacturers no longer distribute a recovery or repair CD/DVD with your purchase.

A Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 installation DVD can be used to recover your computer. You can use it to access many recovery options, use System Restore and automatically fix boot errors or blue screens.

But instead of giving customers real recovery CDs and DVDs with their purchase of a computer (like notebooks, laptops, desktop computers etc.), PC manufacturers (like Dell, HP, Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba and others) usually require you to make the recovery media by yourself.

If you can’t boot into Windows or your PC isn’t working, only a bootable recovery and repair CD/DVD/USB can save you.

Our recovery disk, called Easy Recovery Essentials, is an ISO image that you can download today and burn to any CDs, DVDs or USB drives.

You can boot from our disk to recover or repair your broken computer.

We provided instructions on how to do this below, see Burn to CDs, DVDs or USB drives.

With Easy Recovery Essentials you can:

  • Find and fix errors automatically with Automated Repair
  • Recover your PC from infections with the built-in antivirus
  • Restore your PC to a working state
  • Access and backup your most important data (like documents, pictures, music, videos and so on)

Easy Recovery Essentials is used by computer technicians and IT experts for its many features:

  • Fully-featured visual partition editor
  • Scriptable command line
  • Advanced recovery options
  • Web browser

Read more about EasyRE for computer repair professionals here.

Download recovery disk for Windows 8 and 8.1

Our recovery and repair disk uses a non-destructive repair process that can recover your PC without formatting your hard drive or reinstalling Windows.

Easy Recovery Essentials comes with:

  • Powerful Automated Repair feature
  • Antivirus scanner built-in
  • Ability to access System Restore
  • Web browser to browser the Internet
  • Ability to backup your most important files (documents, videos, pictures, music and so on)
  • Memory diagnostics and a command-line tools for advanced options

Update: Please note that this disk is no longer free, due to licensing restrictions imposed upon us.

Download Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Our recovery disk supports x86 and x64 platforms and all Microsoft Windows 8 editions:

  • Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit editions)

Our disk is in ISO image format. You can burn the image to any CDs, DVDs or USB drives and then use it as a bootable recovery media.

You cannot use a recovery or repair disk to install or reinstall Windows 8.

Burn to CDs, DVDs or USB drives

We published a guide on how to burn an ISO image to CD or DVD. Our recovery ISO image can be burnt to any CDs or DVDs and USB drives.

You can burn it with your favorite burning program. We published step-by-step instructions and guides on how to do this for any CDs or DVDs:

You can opt for a recovery USB instead: follow our guide on how to make a EasyRE recovery USB drive here.


Our recovery and repair disk works with any desktop computers, workstations, laptops, notebooks, ultrabooks, netbooks or servers computers from all major PC manufacturers:

  • Dell
  • HP
  • Asus
  • Acer
  • Lenovo
  • Samsung
  • Toshiba

It’s also compatible with older or no longer available PC brands, such as:

  • IBM
  • Compaq
  • Gateway Computers
  • eMachines

If your computer runs Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you can download Easy Recovery Essentials.


Our recovery disk is compatible with Dell computers:

  • Dell Adamo
  • Dell Inspiron
  • Dell Studio
  • Dell Vostro
  • Dell XPS
  • Dell Latitude

Do you have a Dell computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Dell.


Easy Recovery Essentials work with your HP computer. It’s compatible with the following series of HP PCs:

  • HP EliteBook
  • HP Essential Home
  • HP Pavilion
  • HP x2 models

Do you have a HP computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for HP.


Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with Asus computers.

Do you have an Asus computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Asus.


Our recovery disk can be downloaded by Acer customers. The disk is compatible with all Acer series and models:

  • Aspire M and T, Aspire X and Predator G
  • Aspire R, Aspire V3 and Aspire E
  • Aspire S7, Aspire S5, Aspire S3, Aspire P, Aspire M, Aspire V7, Aspire V5
  • Aspire One

Do you have an Acer computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Acer.


Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with Lenovo computers:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad
  • Lenovo IdeaPad
  • Lenovo Thinkcentre
  • Lenovo Ideacentre

Do you have a Lenovo computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Lenovo.


Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with any Samsung laptops or desktops:

  • Samsung ATIV Book, Gaming and Business PC series for laptops
  • Samsung ATIV One for All-in-One desktops


Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with all Toshiba series and models:

  • Toshiba Satellite
  • Toshiba Qosmio
  • Toshiba Portege
  • Toshiba Tecra
  • Toshiba Kira family series
  • Toshiba All-in-One desktop series

Do you have a Toshiba computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Toshiba.

IBM, Compaq, Gateway, eMachines

These PC manufacturers were either acquired by another company or they are no longer on the market. Our recovery disk is compatible with these PCs, if your computer runs the supported Windows versions:

  • Windows 8 and Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012


Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer division in 2005.

Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with IBM computers and laptops (like the ThinkPad series) and Lenovo computers (see Lenovo).


HP acquired Compaq in 2002.

Easy Recovery Essentials is compatible with Compaq desktops and laptops (including the Presario series) and HP computers (see HP).

Gateway and eMachines

eMachines was acquired by Gateway Computers in 2007. In 2007, Gateway Computers was acquired by Acer. The eMachines brand was used until 2012.

Easy Recovery Esssentials is compatible with Gateway computers:

  • Series SX, DX and One ZX
  • NE and NV series
  • LT series

Do you have a Gateway computer running Windows 8? Read our recovery and restore guide for Gateway.

Easy Recovery Esssentials is compatible with eMachines PCs and Acer computers (see Acer).

Disk for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP or Server editions

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials for other versions of Windows, such as Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP or the Windows Server editions.

Windows 7

Read more about our recovery disk for Windows 7.

Our recovery disk supports Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) and its editions: Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter.

Download the disk for Windows 7.

Windows Vista

Read more about our recovery disk for Windows Vista.

Easy Recovery Essentials supports Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and its editions: Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic and Starter.

Download the disk for Windows Vista.

Windows XP or Server editions

If your computer runs Windows XP or Windows Server, you can download Easy Recovery Essentials.

Our disk supports Microsoft Windows XP, including the Service Pack updates:

  • Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)

Download the disk for Windows XP.

You can download the disk for any of the following Windows Server editions:

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2012

Download the disk for Windows Server.


Please don’t ask for help below, it’ll get real cluttered real soon!

Open a support thread at and we’ll help you resolve your problem ASAP.

Windows Recovery Essentials Officially Released!

SystemDiscs logoEasy Recovery Essentials for Windows, the ultimate and easiest-ever Windows system repair CD that automatically finds and fixes problems with your Windows PC, has been officially released!

Back in April, we first announced the beta of Windows Recovery Essentials: our software to automatically detect, diagnose, and repair a multitude of common and uncommon issues that could prevent Windows from running or cause a BSOD on boot. It’s been a little longer than we originally anticipated, but over the months the Windows Recovery Essentials has been renamed to Easy Recovery Essentials (EasyRE for short), graduated out of beta going to a soft release, and is now being officially announced as grown up and ready to help everyone out of a tight spot!

EasyRE is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, for all editions and platforms. We are working hard on making a Windows 8 version available ASAP – we are expecting to see that version released sometime in the next week or two.

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All Windows 8 Wallpaper and Backgrounds Now Available

Continuing the tradition started long ago, now that Windows 8 RTM has been made available, we’re excited to announce the availability of the one part of Windows 8 everyone can agree is an excellent and welcome feature, and one we’re all more than willing and eager to welcome and embrace with open arms: the new official wallpapers and backgrounds!

There are some really great additions to the previous entries from the beta builds, though in a completely different vein from what we’ve come to expect from Windows Vista and Windows 7: not as much focus on natural beauty. In many ways, the Windows 8 wallpapers feel a lot more like the ones we first saw in the Longhorn beta: focus on effects, stressing modernity, and lots of color. Not a bad thing, of course… after all, the Longhorn wallpapers were what first started the whole craze.

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The New Windows 8 Metro Bootmenu/Bootloader

Windows 8 scribbleThis is a post that should probably have been made a little earlier, but we’ve been rather busy cranking out new EasyBCD versions and working on some exciting new developments. We’ve had a lot of questions regarding EasyBCD‘s compatibility with Windows 8, and what our findings are regarding the new Windows “touch-enabled” bootloader screen. In this post, we’ll cover the new bootloader and what works and doesn’t with EasyBCD.

The New Windows 8 Bootloader

Literally the very first thing you notice when installing and testing Windows 8 Developer Preview is the new boot screen. I personally find it to be very cluttered and unorganized, and generally aesthetically unappealing. However, compared to the decades of text-based boot selection menus that people are accustomed to, reviewers are seeing this as a dramatic improvement.

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WaitForMultipleObjects and WIN32 events for Linux/OS X/*nix and Read-Write Locks for Windows

As every programmer worth his salt knows, synchronization primitives form the very building blocks of multithreaded programming. Without them, the world as we know it would cease to exist and chaos would reign free and unchecked.

All joking aside, synchronization objects such as mutexes and semaphores are essential to safe multithreading and are found on just about any platform under the sun. Mutexes and semaphores alike have one purpose: to keep different threads from messing around with bits and bytes at the same time another thread is, keeping your code free of segfaults and memory access violations alike. But that’s about where the similarities between the synchronization primitives on different platforms end.

POSIX-compliant operating systems with pthreads offer additional really neat synchronization primitives not found on Windows, such as condition variables and read-write locks (the latter is now available on Windows Vista+). And Windows programmers have at their disposal automatic and manual reset events, which make designing certain types of multithreaded software incredibly easy, abstracting away much of the hard-core synchronization logic that lies beneath the hood.

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