Windows 8.1

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Add the Undo icon back to Windows File Explorer in Windows 8.1


I regularly see folks asking “where did the Undo button go in Windows 8.1”. Following is a simple usability tweak to add this functionality back.

By default Windows File Explorer in Windows 8.1 doesn’t display the Undo (or Redo, Rename, etc.) icons:

wheres undo

So when you move a file and then change your mind, you have to work a little harder to undo this. The icons aren’t visible for Undo or Redo.

You need to find the teeny tiny drop down arrow and one by one, add in the commands that you want displayed all the time.

add undo

Once you do this, you’ll see (if you look carefully) grayed out icons:

greyed out

For better visibility, you can select the drop down again and then Show below the Ribbon:


below ribbon

And after you move a file, etc. you’ll see the Undo icon light up:



lit up

End RDP Session and Return Session to Physical Console in 8.1 with Batch File


One of the things that has bugged me in Windows 8.1 is that the shortcut I had on my main desktop to End RDP and return control to the console:


C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#1 /dest:console


stopped working because Window 8.1 increments the session every time you initiate a session. I’ve used this for years, going back multiple operating systems.

This was driving me crazy. Why? Because I’m lazy and if the session isn’t returned to the console, in Windows 8.1, I have to deal with the lock screen and logging on locally. (This is at home, not in an office, where obviously I’d want the computer locked when not sitting at it).

I looked at Power Shell, and didn’t want to deal with the complexity of determining the session ID and generating the right commands. What I came up with was an old fashioned batch file. You can construct this and increment to your heart’s content. It looks like this:

C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#1 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#2 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#3 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#4 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#5 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#6 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#7 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#8 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#9 /dest:console
C:\Windows\System32\tscon.exe RDP-Tcp#10 /dest:console

You can keep incrementing to suit your needs. Mine goes up to 60 or so.

Next, place the batch file somewhere on your hard drive (NOT on the desktop itself).

Right click the batch file and select Send To, Desktop (create shortcut)


On your desktop, find the new shortcut and right click and select Properties

Select Advanced

Check Run as administrator and then OK


Next (optionally) change the icon to something you will recognize easily by selecting Change Icon.

I selected the icon that was attached to my old, no longer working shortcut


Click OK and you’re done.


Now when you RDP in to your desktop, you can double click/tap the icon for the shortcut on your desktop which will run the batch file as administrator and disconnect the session and return control to the console.


FDA Recalls and Photos App


I was watching a local TV news broadcast (OK, I was multi-tasking) and saw a quick mention of Häagen-Dazs® ice cream which I love. I wasn’t paying full attention, but it struck me that of late I’ve seen/read/heard more and more FDA recalls. Had to go to the website to see what was up with my favorite ice cream.

Later, I looked around in the Windows Store and didn’t find what I wanted so I built an app. FDA Recalls and Photos –

fda app

The app has 4 galleries and has a live tile. Does what I need it to do. Give it a try (it’s free of course) if you’re interested in this kind of thing.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Report App


The first named tropical storm of the 2014 season, which grew into Hurricane Arthur, prompted me to look around for a simple free app that provided the basic status of these disturbances. I found a few apps in the Windows Store but nothing that provided exactly what I wanted to see. So I fired up Microsoft Project Siena and quickly created an app. Amazingly, it went through certification in 26 minutes. It’s now available at 

The app includes large on demand overlay versions of graphics and a live tile.

Below are a couple of screenshots from the two graphical galleries. The third gallery is the text from the NHC RSS feed.

breaking news overlay


tropical cyclone activity

Insteon Windows 8.1 App Fixed with Update


Yesterday, I wrote about my disappointment with the initial release of the Insteon for Hub App that was released to the Windows Store. An update was made available early this morning to the app which fixed both the inability to login and the non connect camera issue. Note that if you install the app, you should also immediately check for an update to insure you have the fixme version. Open the Windows Store, select Charms, Settings, App Updates to do this.

insteon fixed

Above image shows one of my cameras in the Windows 8.1 app interface. I can pan and tilt, etc. and also hear the audio on my Windows 8.1 devices.

While I’d like to see some GUI improvements and some usability enhancements, it’s a great first step.


Insteon’s Director of Marketing reached out to me today (a great sign that they’re serious about insuring a great end user experience). It appears that for whatever reason, the first version uploaded to the Windows Store was not designated ready for release and the folks at Microsoft fast tracked it through certification (which makes some sense as Microsoft is now selling the Insteon hardware online as of today.

I’m a big fan of Insteon products. With the new Microsoft+Insteon partnership, you should look seriously at Insteon products for Home Automation and Security.

I’ll be writing more about Insteon in the near future.

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