How-To Geek

Ask HTG: Dealing with Windows 8 CP Expiry, Nintendo DS Save Backups, Jumbled Audio Tracks in Windows Media Player


Once a week we round up some great reader questions and share the answers with everyone. This week we’re looking at what to do when Windows 8 Consumer Preview expires, backing up your Nintendo DS saves, and how to sort out jumbled audio tracks in Windows Media Player movies.

What Happens When Windows 8 Consumer Preview Expires?


Dear How-To Geek,

I downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview and installed it… over Windows Vista. I clearly wasn’t thinking things through and now I’m currently running a one OS machine and that OS is set to expire in January of 2013. What happens then? What should I do?


Early Adoption Blues

Dear Early Adoption Blues,

Although we can’t say with absolute authority what Microsoft will do at that time, we can look at how they handled Windows 7 to give us a pretty good idea.

When early releases of Windows 7 reached their expiry date, a few changes occurred. The desktop switched to black, users were given a “Windows Activation Expired” warning at logon and every hour after that, and the computer would automatically restart every two hours. We imagine something similar will happen with the early releases of Windows 8.

As for what you can do, for the moment you can enjoy playing around with Windows 8. What you may wish to do in the near future is to reinstall Windows Vista (or get your hands on a newer released, Windows 7) and set up your system for dual booting. This way you can play with the various pre-releases of Windows 8 from one partition while maintaining a stable OS on the other. Check out our Windows 8/Windows 7 dual boot guide here.

How Can I Backup My Nintendo DS Saved Games?


Dear How-To Geek,

I’ve recently gotten into playing long RPG style games on my DS and I’m looking for a way to backup my game saves. There is no way I’m going to invest another week in getting back to the same place I am now, you know? How can I back these games up? I have both a DS and a DSi (if having the SD card on the DSi helps any?) I’ve searched the Nintendo web site backwards and forwards but I can’t find anything about backing stuff up other than the DSi will let you backup DSiware games to the SD card. Is there anything I can do?


Backup Cravin’

Dear Backup Cravin’

Unfortunately, the DSi doesn’t really take advantage of the SD card slot in any really useful ways. It would be awesome if they included a simple tool for backing up your saved games, but alas. Your only solution is to turn to the dark side, as it were, and get yourself a “flash cart” to allow you to run homebrew software. In addition you’ll need some homebrew software to read the saved games and dump them to the flash cart. It could have been a really simple process if Nintendo had included the functionality, but in en lieu of that you’ll want to check out this resource on that covers three different techniques for getting at your games.

How Can I Get Windows Media Player to Play the Right Audio Track?


Dear How-To Geek,

I have a problem I can’t seem to figure out. I have a movie file and, when I play it in Windows Media Player, both the English and Spanish audio tracks play at the same time?! What gives? How can I fix this problem so that I only hear one audio track at a time?


Garbled Audio in Austin

Dear Garbled Audio,

There are a couple potential scenarios here. First, whoever encoded the movie you’re trying to watch royally screwed up and somehow encoded both audio tracks at the same time. If this is the case there is no way to separate them and you’re stuck with a movie that has both language tracks laid over it. If it’s a hiccup with Windows Media Player, however, and it’s behaving oddly by selecting both tracks instead of one or the other, you can force it to pick easily enough.

With Windows Media Player open and the movie file loaded, press CTRL+M to bring up the classic menu. In the menu bar, navigate to Play –> Audio and Language –> Choose Track and pick from the available tracks there until you get the language you want. If you only see one track, as seen in the screenshot here, you’re out of luck and stuck with a movie file with a dual-layer soundtrack.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at and we’ll do our best to help.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/26/12

Comments (5)

  1. Citrus Rain

    @Early adoption blues

    Don’t wait until the last moments! Everyone I knew that had Windows 7’s RC on their computer ended up with a bad sector on their HDD if they were within 4 days of the date when it went to being 2 hour shutdowns.

    If you need something cheap and fast to hold you over, just throw some ubuntu or linux mint on!

    *I am paranoid and refuse to try the Win 8 CE because of what happened with 7 RC*

  2. pbug

    I’m still amazed at the gross stupidity of people who just install a beta or preview of anything over their day to day computer system. Sorry, but we’re not talking brain surgery here, we’re talking common sense. If you don’t know a safe way to do a preview, DON’T do it.

    Or at least do a little research first. Lots and lots of how to articles out there, and they all say the same thing. Either do it on a PC you don’t care about, use a virtual machine system like VirtualBox, or dual boot. The last option I list is still way to dangerous for many people.

    In the meantime, this guy needs at some point to back up all his data, make sure he has all needed license keys for things like MS Office, and then properly install the OS of his choice. Before the CP expires. And then do a CLEAN install of that OS he chose, because it is never safe to upgrade from beta to final release – if indeed you are allowed to do it.

    After 40 years of programming, maintaining and using computers, I’m still amazed at how stupid people can be about them. I wonder – is that just in the US?

  3. Slomem

    @ pbug one mans stupidty is anothers learning experience. Stupid is a cruel word. I’m sure you intended to say or write annoyed. But it is what it is. I think your solutions were spot on. Remember “stick and stones” ? Well words do hurt. Again thanks for the solution and advice and continue to have a happy computing experience.



  4. Minty Fresh

    +1 for citrus rain’s suggestion to dual boot. I’ve been very impressed with Linux Mint, very solid. Well worth a try if you’re not tied to a particular app that only runs on windows, and even then it’s often possible to run it within wine.

  5. sweat

    @ Slomem
    You’re more tactful than I am. Thanks.

    I dual boot Win7 and Ubuntu. Just learning Linux.
    Learned about dual booting when the Windows Developer Preview (win8) first came out.
    If I knew how to make a third partition, I might play with another OS. Not Win8 though. Waste of time on hardware without a touch-screen.

    For me, it’s all about the experience. People like pbug either don’t understand, or don’t care.
    Fascists insist on having EVERYONE do things their way.

    Dang it….. Dropped my tact.

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