Oftentimes, files that have no ending can be treated as text files. Still, Windows 8.1 kept asking me, which program to use for such files.

The solution is to provide a default program for files without extension – and this can be easily done, even without modifying the registry directly:

  1. Open a priviledges Shell:
    (Windows+Q -> cmd -> Context menu -> Run as administrator
  2. Enter:
    assoc .="No Extension"
  3. Enter:
    ftype "No Extension"="[Path to your favorite text editor]" "%1"
  4. (Optional) Enter the following to get a nicer default icon for files without extension:
    assoc "No extension"\DefaultIcon=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-102

Thanks to this post at Stackoverflow for the solution.

Cygwin is a great Unix emulation for Windows. A killer feature, to my mind, is its ability to handle arbitrary long file names (e.g., when moving or deleting files), which is for some ominous reasons still impossible in current versions of Windows.

A very useful command in the Cygwin repository is chere: It adds a context menu entry that allows to start the Cygwin Terminal from the current directory.

Here are the steps to install:

  1. Install Cygwin. See http://cygwin.org/ for details.
  2. In the package selection dialog, select chere, which is located below Shells, for installation.
  3. Open a Cygwin Terminal as Administrator
  4. Type chere -i to install a context menu entry. You may also try chere -h to get more info. Running chere -u uninstalls the context menu entry.
  5. Let’s try it out: Open your file manager and right-click into a folder and select Bash Prompt Here.
  6. A terminal pops up with the current working directory set to the selected folder.


This solution and some alternatives are listed in a stackoverflow thread.


I faced the challenge of working with Windows 8 after several years of using Kubuntu. This article summarizes some of the interesting things while working into W8.

Must-know shortcuts

  • Win + Q: Search for programs… (replacement for the search bar in the start menu)
    • Alternatively: Press Win (to show your apps) and start typing right away.
  • Win + Left/Right Arrow: Place currrent window in the left/right half of the screen
  • Win + Up/Down: Maximize/Restore/Minimize current window
  • Win + D -> Alt + F4: Shutdown menu

See also: In Windows 8.1 und 8 Programme finden und starten [German]

Environment variables as file names

In the Explorer, you can access the address bar using Ctrl+L (just like in Firefox, Opera, etc.). Instead of typing an actual path, you may also enter an environment variable representing a path, e.g., %APPDATA%.

I guess this is not a new, but anyway a cool feature.


Since there is not official “Start Menu” any more, the folder containing autostart programs may be a hard to find. A convenient workaround is to open the Run dialog (by pressing Win+R or selecting Run from the context menu of the windows logo in the bottom left corner) and to issue the following command:


Show confirmation dialog when deleting files

In my default configuration, W8 would remove files without any further confirmation which may be troublesome. In order to enable the confirmation dialog, locate your Recycle Bin (should be on your desktop) and right-click it. Select Properties and, in the dialog popping up, set the check box next to Display delete confirmation dialog.

If you cannot find your Recycle Bin, see here.

Uninstall apps

Even though this should be a simple task, I did not find out how to uninstall apps by myself – probably because I was not used to the W8 philosophy. To uninstall apps, go to the “apps screen” (by pressing Win) and afterwards press Tab and then Enter to access the list of of alphabetically sorted apps.

Here, you can uninstall apps by simply right-clicking an app and selecting Uninstall…

Using touch, this procedure is a little tricky as described here.

Disable startup jingle

Windows should not welcome me with an intrusive sound, especially when booting it in a meeting or so. So, I disabled system sounds all together. To get to the sounds configuration, on the Run dialog (Win+R or via start context menu) and enter the following command:

control mmsys.cpl,,2

Change to the Sounds tab and uncheck the appropriate checkbox.

See also: Soundschema in Windows 8.1 anpassen [German]

Disable screen orientation hotkeys

Some display drivers assign the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down with flipping the screen. Since these combinations are also used in Eclipse for duplicating lines, this behavior confused me. The following thread on stackoverflow describes how to disable these hotkeys for some drivers: How to disable the screen orientation hotkeys in Windows (XP)?

Searching for a Cygwin package named telnet, I was surprised to be unsuccessful. This has a simple reason: telnet is contained in a utilities package called inetutils.

Follow these steps for installation:

  1. Run your Cygwin’s setup.exe and follow the all steps up to the package selection.
  2. Here, type inetutils into the search box. An appropriate match should be located below Net.
  3. Select inetutils for installation and install it the usual way.


The built-in administrator account (Administrator) of Windows Vista, 7, and 8 can be used instead of creating a custom administrator.

In an elevated prompt, issue the following command to activate Administrator:

net user administrator /active:yes

Likewise, the following command disables the account:

net user administrator /active:no

Opening an elevated prompt

To open an elevated prompt, open the start menu (in Vista and W7), type Command Prompt and open it with admin privileges by pressing CtrlShift-Enter. In W8, you need to right-click the start menu button and select the respective entry.


  • [1] Instructions with screenshots