Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926: Part 2 – Surface Pro 1

Surface Pro 1

SurfacePro1

I honestly thought that things would have been better – read: really, REALLY clean – on a device that was already running Windows 10; but again, Microsoft reminded me that you really do need to approach running a prerelease version of Windows with a bit of caution.

I’m actually kicking myself over this you see, because I’m a software QA manager/director. I should *REALLY* know better; but I honestly got seriously trapped by the reality distortion field that was Windows HoloLens and didn’t think that I’d have too much to worry about when Microsoft released an update to Build 9926 hours or minutes after making the latest build available to testers.

In other words… Yeah. I’m an idiot.

So while I was trying to download Windows 10 TP2 Build 9926 as an ISO on my Surface Pro 3, I was also using the updated build mechanism in Windows 10 Build 9879 to download the update on my Surface Pro 1. The internet connection on that particular device – or I should say, the Wi-Fi adapter – is pretty good. I normally get some really decent speeds from it, regardless of where I go or what network I’m on.

For example, while my Surface Pro 3 might get 50Mbps down on the office wireless network, my Surface Pro 1 will get 104-117Mbps down on the same SSID. The funny thing is, they’re sitting almost literally, right beside each other. So I have really no idea what is causing the SP1 to have nearly twice as fast network download speeds on the same Wi-Fi network other than the very well documented Wi-Fi issues.

And yes… the install of Build 9926 was (almost) a train wreck on the Surface Pro 1, too.

However, I did have a bit of a better go here than on my Surface Pro 3. So, it wasn’t as BAD of a train wreck…

With the Surface Pro 1, I upgraded through the Update and Recovery function in Windows Settings. I thought that with the faster internet connection speeds I had on this device I would have been able to download the update file (which, by the way is a totally BLIND download and install… something on the Windows side of the world that you aren’t used to). I mean, Apple at least gives you some kind of a progress bar and download X of Y total…

With the Update and Recovery tool, you don’t get that. All you get is a greyed-out Download Now button and the spinning, disappearing dots until everything is downloaded and you’re ready to install. This is both good and bad.

Its good because you can go on about your day, working and being productive without having to worry about where you are in the install. It’s in progress until its done and until then, you don’t have to worry about it.

It’s bad because you have no idea where you are. It’s also bad because your download progress isn’t saved and resumable. If you have to cancel the download, as I did, mid-way through, you have to start all over. I found this out the hard way, Monday after I got back in the office and figured I had about 30 minutes of download time left on the SP1. Boy was I wrong!

I had over three hours of download time, as I can download about a gigabyte to a gigabyte and a half per hour at work.

So, fast forward about three hours and the Surface Pro 1 finishes its download. At that point, you need to tap the Update/ or Install button and then… yeah. You have to wait some more as the process goes through its pre-reboot process of installing the latest Windows 10 build.

However, the first time I did this, I got a nasty error about 15 minutes in. A line of red text appeared above the Install button telling me that Windows couldn’t be updated right now and to try again later. The Install button changed to a Download Now button, and I thought I was going to be required to go through the entire three plus hours of downloading all over again. Instead, I got a bit of a reprieve and only had to download/ redownload content for about 20-30 minutes. Then the Install button showed up again.

restartwin10When it’s ready to restart the machine, you get a full screen “Windows 8/ Windows 10 dialog box” that throws a narrow, colored band across the entire screen, telling you it needs to restart. You tap the Restart button, and you’re device will reboot into a black screen where it will give you an update percentage, a spinning set of disappearing dots and, in my case, a Surface logo.

After that was completed, I got my standard lock screen and I was asked to sign into my Surface Pro 1. After I signed in, I got the “Hi.” Screen and waited for Windows 10 to download my Store apps, install them, and finish any remaining configuration and file prep. From there, I was pretty much done… at least with the Windows 10 Build 9926 install… I had the update files from Windows Update to go through next.

That process went smoother than I thought it would, but was still a bit bumpy. Updates on an updated or upgraded machine still aren’t the best way to get this done, in my opinion. There’s always legacy code or program or resource files left behind that effect performance.

On the Surface Pro 1, there isn’t another firmware update as there is on the Surface Pro 3. There is, however a System Hardware Update, dated 2015-01-15 as well as the KB3034229 Windows Technical Preview for x64-based systems that Microsoft informed everyone of. (There’s also a definition update for Windows Defender that you might need. Make sure you get this, too.) What really burns my butt about the History information on Windows update (and has for quite some time, by the way) is that the web links they put into all of the updates are a totally generic link to Microsoft Support. The whole purpose of putting in a hyperlink should be to get you to the EXACT KB article covering a particular update. Taking me to the root of the MS Support site and making me search, sort and sift through articles to find information that may or may not exist on this particular subject is simply infuriating. Give me the information, give me links to the correct information or simply tell me that there isn’t any information on the update in question, please! I shouldn’t have to search for this crap by myself!

I’m also having issues with the MS product key and Windows 10 Activation again. Windows 10 has NEVER activated correctly on this device. I’ve had to manually activate Windows 10 on every build I’ve installed on this device, including all of the updates that I get via Update and Recovery.

Tapping the Activate button in the Activate Windows screen gets me the spinning, disappearing dots, but I get an error message indicating that Windows can’t be activated right now and that I should try again later. It doesn’t matter how many times I try to activate with the “current” key (ending in -MKKG7), Windows simply won’t activate, and tapping the Enter Key button and reentering the same key doesn’t work.

Thankfully, this is a pretty well-known error, and the issue can be easily resolved. The issue is that the product key in question – ending in –MKKG7) is incorrect for the Enterprise version of Windows. I’m not certain what causes the CONSUMER key to be entered into the PC when the ENTERPRISE version is installed and acknowledged by the system; but it is.

To resolve this issue, go to the Technet Evaluation Center, log in and register for the Enterprise Preview. After you do so, the download for the Enterprise version of Windows 10 will start automatically (after you pick which language version you want). You can cancel the ISO download if you want.

In the Preinstall Information section, you find the Product Key that you need. In the Activate Windows Settings page of your unactivated, Windows 10 machine, tap the Enter Key button and enter this new product key into the dialog box that appears. After you type in the code correctly, Windows will automatically activate.

Conclusion
It’s safe to say that this update went a lot smoother than the upgrade I did on my Surface Pro 3. This went like most of the installs and updates of Windows 10 that I’ve done on my Surface Pro since the beginning of the program back in October of 2014. I find this both encouraging and concerning.

It’s encouraging because it’s been pretty much consistent. At least with consistency as a Quality Assurance professional, I can measure improvement. While the consistency has been consistently mediocre to crummy, the install process has been pretty much the same.

One of the biggest things that Microsoft needs to do with the update and recovery pages in Settings is implement some kind of progress bar, internet speed meter and download x of y progress system. I’d like to know how far along I am in the process, how fast the download is progressing and how much I’ve downloaded out of how much there is total, please. It only seems logical and reasonable to expect this kind of information on these screens, even if the bulk of it is supposed to happen in the background, without my knowledge.

I haven’t seen any performance issues with the Surface Pro 1 like I did with the Surface Pro 3 and its video driver issues. However, it is running a dual core, Intel Core i5-3317U Ivy Bridge Processor where the Surface Pro 3 is running a dual core Intel Core i3-4020Y Haswell-MB Processor. The SP3’s processor is a year and three months younger than the processor in the SP1, but its running 0.2gHz slower and has 1MB less L3 cache. In this case, I’d give the SP1 a slight advantage on processing power, but they’re going to be pretty close. However, this version of the i3 was really meant to conserve batty power more than anything else, so we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. The GPU on it (HD Graphics 4200) is only running at 850mHz max, so it’s not surprising that it was overwhelmed.

Neither of these are going to win any speed races, but it’s clear from what Wikipedia is showing me that the SP1 is clearly the faster of the two.

Do you have Windows 10 installed on a Surface Pro 1? Did you clean install or upgrade from a previous build? I’d love to hear your experiences with the upgrade process and subsequent use of the device and new OS. Why don’t you join me in the discussion area below and give me your thoughts on the upgrade experience and on Windows 10 in general.

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  • Alex Day

    Tried upgrading my SP1 to Windows 10 through the system update process. Said that it installed successfully, but I am still running in Windows 8.1. There are about 4 or 5 logs, that alternate between saying that it failed and it succeeded. I am now downloading the ISO to install through that method.

  • David Rector

    I just installed the technical preview on my Surface Pro 1. It went smoothly. Right now, I get networking failures where Windows 10 says that there are no connection available for Wi-Fi even though it was connected just fine a minute earlier. A restart fixed that for now.

    Windows 10 starts fast on the Surface Pro 1. It’s way faster at letting me get work done than my Samsung Book 8 laptop running W8.1. But that’s probably because of the SSD in the Surface Pro 1 being a few times faster than the slow laptop HDD.

    My install was an update from W8.1. SO far, things work fine including the Windows Store app that I wrote.

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