Windows 10 Tablet Mode

It’s a paradigm shift to be sure…

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I’ve been messing around with Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for a bit now. You can see a bit of my coverage here on Soft32, here where I talk about the new OS’ announcement highlights, and here where I talk about how surprised I was to find out that the latest preview got released about a week early.

Since then, I’ve had a very interesting time installing the OS. As of this writing, the two part article I wrote on how installations went on both a Surface Pro 1 and a Surface Pro 3 went haven’t been published. As I was sitting and thinking about Windows 10, my oldest son (an avid Xbox One fan) and Windows 10’s cool Game DVR, I thought about how he might be able to take advantage of that without a Windows 10 device to use (I use both my Surface Pro devices for work and review purposes and trusting those to a 9-soon-to-be-10 year old isn’t something that I’d recommend to anyone). I then remembered that I have a Dell Latitude 10 ST2 laying around in the home office doing nothing; and thought, “this might be the perfect device for him to use for Xbox One and Game DVR.” It really hasn’t been doing much since my initial review of the device in April of 2012.

The device itself has got low-end components and Windows 8 .x on it was a bit of a bust. I’m hoping Windows 10 with it, “only run what you need” approach to hardware and form factors will run a bit more smoothly than Windows 8 did; but that’s me – forever the optimist.

I’m not holding my breath…

The Dell was already running Windows 10 Build 9841. I wasn’t particularly happy with the performance on the device with that build; and after all of the grief I went through trying to get the thing on there, I decided it just wasn’t worth it, and shelved the device. Now that TP2 is here, I thought… why not dust it off and give it another go..?

I probably should have left the dust alone.

The Dell Latitude ST2 is a pure Windows Pro Tablet. This means it doesn’t have a native, detachable keyboard. It will use USB or Bluetooth keyboards, but it doesn’t have anything like the Surface/Surface Pro Touch/ Type Cover; and as I covered this in the review, it’s still an issue. I’m just sayin’…

Upgrading to Build 9926
This was the stupidest upgrade path I’ve seen in a long time. The Dell had Build 9841 on it. When I went to Windows 10’s Update and Recovery section under Settings, it found a new Preview Build and started to download it. Unfortunately, the first attempted errored out and I had to restart the download.

The build downloaded, but I had to wait until the next morning at the office to install it. It completed too late in the evening for me to start the upgrade. I’ve run into too many issues with Windows 10 installs to just let ‘er rip and let it go on its own. I wanted to baby sit it a bit…

So, I brought the device to work, plugged it into the wall and placed it on my desk. I started the device, hooked into the Wi-Fi network here, and brought up Update and Recovery again in Settings. I started the upgrade…

And wound up with build 9879…

Wait. What..??

How the heck did THAT happen? I was expecting Build 9926…

It became obvious to me that in order to get Build 9926, I had to upgrade to build 9879, run Windows Update, get any needed and important update bits for it; and then check for and download the new preview build. After it was installed, I would need to run Windows Update again to make certain I had the needed Technical Preview Update that provided all of the fixes that have been talked about.

So, as I said, I let the outdated preview build install and then tried to run Windows Update, and that’s where I started bumping into problems. While the big issue with SP3 was its graphics driver, the problem with the Dell Latitude 10 ST2 seems to be its Wi-Fi adapter. I always baby ALL of my equipment, so for me to have problems with a device that’s been shelved since October, was pulled out of the box to do this update and hasn’t left the home office in over 2 years really confused me. I’ve had eyes on the device for months.

For some reason, the Wi-Fi adapter on the Dell Latitude 10 ST2 likes to disappear. And when I say disappear, I mean, TOTALLY disappear. There’s no evidence of it in Device Manager. There’s no disabled adapter in the Network and Sharing Center. It’s just GONE…

That *SHOULDN’T* be just the driver. That should be a hardware problem…like “your ‘stuff’ is broke” problem. Which doesn’t make any sense. Currently *IF* the adapter disappears, it does so after a restart or power on. If the adapter were faulty, it would fail while the unit was on, running and using the adapter (if it was found…). I’ve had the device running Build 9926 (yes, I got there, but there’s more to this story, so stay with me…) for well over 3 hours straight, synching some OneDrive content. I haven’t run into an instance of the tablet dropping the adapter yet; and I’ve handled the device and used it a bit…

The adapter is usually lost after a Windows Update completes, which tells me that it’s a software issue, not a hardware issue. It also doesn’t matter how long the device has been running. If you turn it on, and it finds the adapter and you immediately run Windows Update after the boot cycle finishes, the Wi-Fi adapter will disappear after the device restarts.

Yeah… I’m TOTALLY confused on this one.

I can consistently reproduce this issue after performing a Windows Update (there doesn’t have to be any software to download). The Wi-Fi adapter disappears, is totally missing from the machine, and the ONLY way to get the thing back, is to totally remove ALL power from the device and restart it cold.

You may have to go into the Windows 10 boot loader , choose the Windows Rollback, and then choose the option to turn off your PC. If that doesn’t work, then you pull the battery (the Dell Latitude 10 ST2 has a removable battery…) and disconnect the AC power, let it sit for about 15-30 seconds, replace the batter and then restart. (so having that bug where the boot menu appears isn’t always a bad thing…). I’m also consistently able to reproduce the solution to the problem.

There’s a lot going on here with Windows 10. There are still MANY issues with it that clearly show it is NOT ready for prime time in any real sense of the word. If you don’t mind working through these issues, then Windows 10 may be a good option for you. If not, then you may want to wait a bit before you jump on board. Microsoft has a lot to do before Windows 10 is ready for release later this Fall. It needs to get crackin’, though if you ask me. It’s a little silly to having to jump through hoops like this to get the device to work normally.

Have you installed Windows 10 on any of your Windows 7 or Windows 8.x PC’s? Have you bumped into any issues? Why don’t you join me in the Discussion Area below and tell us about them? I’d love to hear your experiences with Windows 10 Build 9926.

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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 build 9926 and then some

Windows Insiders got a cool surprise on Friday afternoon 2015-01-23

Well, schniekies! Its available now instead of next week. My friend Gabe Aul over at Microsoft surprised me as well as everybody else today when Microsoft released Windows 10 Build 9926 to its Windows Insiders.

Nearly everyone was looking for this sometime next week. However, as I explained recently, I’m a bit of an update nut, and yeah… I decided to check this afternoon on the off chance that Microsoft did in fact release something. I knew when I was checking that I was going to be met with a “no update available” message or with the same ISO from the TechNet Evaluation Center’s Enterprise Download page.

I was wrong. Interestingly enough, Microsoft posted the 9926.0.150119-1648.FBL_AWESOME1501_CLIENTENTERPRISE_VOL_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO file to the download center, and then my friend, Gabe Aul (@GabeAul confirmed it all. The build is available now.

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If you’re a Windows Insider, get to downloading. If you’re not, but want to apply to become one, you can check out the Windows Insiders home page and apply for a spot there.

After you download the software and install it, you will need to run Windows Update. Microsoft has already released fixes to a few problems in the build. You can get the straight poop on all of the issues the hot fixes resolve, here.

Tweet9926Update

…Unfortunately – and I’m hoping it’s all the download traffic – the MS KB article came up totally empty when I tried to view it. However, I was able to snag the deets on all of the updates elsewhere. The hot fixes for Build 9926 address the following issues:

Reliability improvements to prevent some system crashes in explorer.exe
Fixes an issue that could cause a deleted app to be unintentionally reinstalled
Increased power efficiency to extend battery life
Reliability improvements for virtual machine live migrations
Performance improvements for Internet Explorer
Fixes an issue that could cause pending Windows Updates to be incorrectly reported in the update history
Fixes an issue that could cause the Start Menu to be improperly registered and fail to launch
Fixes an issue that could cause random pixilation on the screen when using Remote Desktop Client

It should be noted that this is NOT the same build that Microsoft demoed at their press event on 2015-01-21. The build demoed there was Build 9944, and this is a few builds behind (Build 9926)

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ISO Workshop – Take command of your data and your optical disc drive

iso_workshopWorking with optical discs is still a big part of computing. Despite recent trends to go completely digital, using CD’s and DVD’s is still a reliable way to store, share and transport data from one computer, one person to another.  This is one of the reasons why I am really thankful for apps like ISO Workshop. It’s a disc imaging utility for Windows.

ISO Workshop is specifically designed for disc image management, conversion and burning. The app has a very simple user interface and enables you to make ISO images, extract specific files and folders from disc images.  You can create disc backups by copying items to an ISO or BIN image file, convert different disc image files into ISO or BIN formats.  You can also burn standard and bootable ISO images as well as CUE images to blank discs.

IW-02

The application is pretty cool. It supports ISO, CUE, and BIN files  as well as others. It also supports CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD+R DL, and BD-R/RE disk formats; and will verify all images written to discs.

ISO Workshop is one of those applications that you really want to have in your PC’s toolbox.  Its easy to use, works with a number of different image formats as well as disc types.  If you don’t have a tool like this, this is one that you really need to take a hard look at ISO Workshop. The price is right and it does a great job of giving you the basics.

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Rescue you damaged CDs and DVDs with IsoBuster

ISOBuster is most popular for rescuing data from damaged CDs and DVDs. The ability to retrieve lost data, particularly when it has sentimental value, like photos, or business value, like documentation is invaluable.

There is a free version with limited functionality, and a Pro version, which unlocks high-end data recovery tools. However, for most people, the functionality available in the free version is more than enough to recover data from damaged or corrupted disks. ISOBuster supports a wide range of formats and works under all the Windows versions from Windows 2000 to Windows 7.

ISOBuster is a low-cost data recovery option that can restore files you thought were lost forever. It appears to be quite basic, but is very good at data recovery. Most people will find the free functionality more than enough for their needs, which also makes it very cost-effective.

read full review | download IsoBuster

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Open, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, mount and extract ISO files with PowerISO

The one thing I really like about Macs is its ability to distribute software on disk images. Most software is actually distributed in downloadable disk images and run or installed right from the image. This is one reason why I really like PowerISO. It’s a disk image editing and creating tool for Windows.

PowerISO is a powerful CD/DVD/BD image file processing tool, allowing you to open, extract, burn, create, edit, compress, encrypt, split, convert and mount ISO files as internal, virtual drives. It can process almost all CD/DVD/BD image files including ISO and BIN files. PowerISO provides an all-in-one solution, allowing you to do manipulate and use your ISO and disc image files as you need.

PowerISO doesn’t just allow you to mount and use CD/DVD/BD-ROM images like any other disk your computer connects to.  It also allows you to create a DAA (Direct-Access-Archive) file, an advanced image file, which supports compression, password protection, and splitting the image to multiple volumes, if needed.  PowerISO also supports creating and editing ISO, BIN, NRG, CD file formats as well.  Creating bootable CD/DVD’s is also supported in both 32bit and 64bit versions of Windows.

Read full review | Download PowerISO

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Backup protected DVD to ISO and burn ISO to DVD for free

BDlot DVD ISO Master is a breeze to use from download to your final product. You start off with a 2.5 MB zip file and in less than a minute have BDlot DVD ISO Master fully installed. The program itself is small and easy to navigate – it is just a single window featuring two tabs. One tab is for converting DVDs to ISOs and the other is for burning your ISOs to DVD. Using the program is also highly intuitive, and basically idiot-proof. You just need to select your DVD and then select your ISO’s save destination. If you want to you can remove region coding and some copy protection, but in either case when you are ready to go the giant blue ‘Run’ button makes it obvious what you need to do. In a few minutes, your DVD will be converted to an ISO with no change in size. The ISO burner in the next tab is equally simple to use.

This program simply couldn’t be simpler, and while there are a few options such as video downsizing and notifications that could be nice, overall any criticism just feel like nit-picking. A lovely little program.

Download BDlot DVD ISO Master

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Speed up your optical disk drive access with today’s cool utility

Optical drives take a great deal of space in a portable computer. In many cases, they not only take up a lot of space, but compared to other spinning media, the access can be slow. Thankfully, there’s Daemon Tools Lite to help remedy this issue.

With storage media as cheap as it is having a utility to emulate a CD/DVD ROM drive can make a lot of sense.  With Daemon Tools, you do two very important tasks – emulate a CD/DVD ROM drive and create a disk image.

Read the full review | Download Daemon Tools

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Mount virtual images with OSFMount

PassMark released a new version of their free mount utility OSFMount. Although it has been released as a major update, at a first look you won’t see any differences in its latest version. But I will show you that OSFMount is actually the most complete mount utility from the market. Let’s see:

Well, first of all, it can be used for programs that require high speed disk access, such as programs which work with a database, or games which use cache files. In general, OSFMount can be useful when a particular CD/DVD is used often and the speed of access is important. Another benefit is the security, considering that the disk contents are not stored on a physical hard disk (but rather in RAM). About the supports extensions, OSFMount can mount files such as: ISO, BIN, IMG, DD, 00N, NRG, SDI, AFF, AFM, VMDK an.d AFD. As I already mentioned, OSFMount is a program that can mount also RAM disks (a disk mounted into RAM), which is the unique feature among the competitors. This means that you can get the fastest access to disc images and the best overall performance of the mounted images.

You can even use OSFMount to create an image of your own. You just have to create the virtual drive, include all the necessary files, and with a simple right-click you can save the content as a virtual image in ISO, IMG, AFF, AFM or AFD formats.

read the full review | download OSFMount

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