Surface Book Supplies are Constrained – Part 2

This is not something you want to hear when you’ve got a fatal problem with your Surface Book…

Last time, I waxed poetically about how my three month old Surface Book turned up defective. It wasn’t a happy time over here, and I did my best to get Microsoft to cover its replacement under warranty. I was successful, but it took a bit of doing on my part; and it also uncovered an unknown and previously unannounced product constraint on the Surface Book.

There are effectively no additional units to be had (as of 10 days ago, based on the date that I’m writing this, 2017-06-12). I guess this just really bothers me. When something like this happened to me with my Surface Pro 3 a couple of years ago, product constraints weren’t an issue. I was able to get everything swapped out without issue. Now, there’s a problem getting replacement Surface Book units.

I was a bit curious about all of this, so I contacted my good friend, Mary Jo Foley, through Twitter:

I had heard about the rumor that Surface Book may be replaced, but it seemed to me to be insubstantial. I’m also not buying that the product’s supplies are being constrained NOW for a refresh later this year.

Yeah… I trust MJF completely, but I find that her not having heard anything about the current constraint to be concerning. She usually has the inside track (hence the “All About Microsoft” thing and her going so well together.

Since this whole incident went down, almost 10 days ago, things have been going pretty well over here for me and my Surface Book. However, this is not the first time that I’ve had a Surface device die on me when trying to restore the device to a previous version of Windows.

It happened twice with my Surface Pro 3, as well.

I don’t know if this speaks to a problem with the SSD, the SSD drive controller, the driver for the SSD or the controller, or just the process in general. However, to be honest, this is not something that I really want to repeat, any time soon. It’s gotten to the point where I really don’t have any trust in the Windows 10 Restore process.

I think it would have been fine if I had started everything with the Surface Book Recovery Image Image; but in truth, I don’t know for certain. It may just have been a bad controller. However, I wasn’t experiencing any issues or problems with my Surface Book that would leave me to believe I had a hardware issue. I just wanted to return to the previous build, which shouldn’t have been a problem. As soon as the device restarted for the first time, things went sideways.

If this were just an issue with the SSD (and not, as I have postulated, the drive controller), then the device should have started up from the Recovery USB stick. We should have gotten a different set of screens. Instead, all we saw was a flashing Surface Logo and the UEFI setup screens.

I think the things I find most concerning about all of this are the following:

1. No one seems to know what that drive icon with the “X” through it on the UEFI setup screen really means.
Is it a bad driver, bad drive or bad drive controller? According to the service techs at Microsoft’s Answer Desk (read the MS Genius Bar…), your guess is as good as mine… or theirs. They don’t have any documentation on it.
2. No one knows why Surface Book Supplies are currently constrained.
They also don’t know when they will get stock; or when the constraint will end. They can’t fulfill warranty replacements when someone brings in a three month old lemon and asks for an exchange, even if you’ve purchased their extended warranty (which I haven’t; but was suggested to me). I find this to be very confusing AND very concerning.
3. Microsoft tried to sell me an extended warranty for a broken unit they couldn’t replace. I’m also not pleased that the original service tech suggested that I lay down an extra $250 for an extended warranty that wouldn’t do me any good until God knows when. That didn’t – and still doesn’t – sit very well with me. It seems like the guy was trying to score points for a warranty sale that would benefit HIM instead of me.

So, at the end of the day, what am I left with?

1. A replaced Surface Book. I appreciate the Manager going the extra mile here and cannibalizing a business order to replace my defective consumer unit, but honestly, this should have been her first, go to answer. I shouldn’t have had to turn to leave and then beg her and the store staff for some other kind of solution to my replacement problem.
2. A bit of customer service concern. Again, I shouldn’t have to beg for something that should have been a very easy fix on Micrsoft’s part. They also shouldn’t have tried to sell me an extended warranty for something that I was in their store trying to have replaced. That was kinda tacky.
3. Confusion about the supply constraint. No one seems to understand why the Surface Book is currently constrained. At best all we’ve got is conjecture and rumor; and potentially upset customers who need replacement units, if needed.
4. Concern about Windows 10’s Restore Process. This isn’t the first time that I’ve had an entire unit break because I tried to use Windows’ Restore PC process. I think there’s enough here to warrant some kind of internal investigation. At this point, I can’t recommend users running Restore at all, especially on a Microsoft Surface device. I haven’t been able to run Restore without the process killing my device.

Microsoft…? Are you listening? I’d really appreciate an off line conversation, here. I’d really appreciate some answers. To be honest, I’m not completely comfortable with the results noted above, and I’d like to hear a response from someone at your office.

What about you, kids..? Has anyone here had issues with Microsoft’s Restore PC process in either Windows 8.x or Windows 10? Has it bricked your device? Have you done it on a Surface Book and then had trouble replacing it due to the supply constraint? Were you able to recover?

I’d love to hear from you on all of this. Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and give me your side of the story?

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Recover all of the data from your iDevice

With EASEUS MobiSaver – a must have, multiplatform tool.

0024695It totally sucks when your iDevice locks up or dies and you lose your data. If you live in your iPhone, like I do, having something like this around for those times when the world turns upside down is a must have…a must have. That’s where EaseUS MobiSaver comes in. It’s a data recovery utility for your iPhone and Windows machine.

EaseUS MobiSaver is an easy-to-use iPhone data recovery app that allows you to directly scan your iPhone – or extract iTunes backup files – to recover deleted iPhone dat. You can recover notes, text messages, call history, calendar data as well as photos and videos. EaseUS MobiSaver supports iPhone 5, 4S, 4, and 3GS. EaseUS MobiSaver can solve all data loss problems with 3 simple steps. You can preview your lost files, and get all your missing data back in minutes.

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EASEUS MobiSaver has two recovery modes – direct from the device and from iTunes backup. The app lets you scan your device, and with one click to recover data from iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS, New iPad and iPod Touch 4. When recovering data from an iTunes backup, you can extract the files and then send them to your device quickly and painlessly.

EASEUS MobiSaver is a great app. If you’re in a bind where you can’t get regular access to your iDevice or if your iPhone just isn’t doing what you want or need it to do and you MUST get your data off before you wipe it, then this is the app that you need. Its just that simple. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that you MUST have iTunes installed on the PC you use do to the recovery. This is the only fault that I can find with the app, however. So, other than that, this is a total winner of an app.

download EASEUS MobiSaver

 

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Malwarebytes Secure Backup – Protect and backup your data

mwbrKeeping your data safe is probably the one of the most important things a computer can do. Without your data, there really isn’t a reason to have or use a computer.  Its for this reason that having a backup strategy is important.  If I were you, I’d give serious consideration to Malwarebytes Secure Backup.  It’s a backup program for Windows.

With Malwarebytes Secure Backup, your files are backed up automatically to a secure server, according to a schedule that you set. Every version of a backed up file is archived. Every backed up file that is deleted from Malwarebytes Secure Backup is archived. Every file can always be retrieved, so you never have to worry about something being lost forever. With Malwarebytes Secure Backup, your data is always, ALWAYS safe.

The app even backs up infected files; but thankfully, the app automatically scans your files with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware engine and cleans them.  Don’t worry about your data. Malwarebytes Secure Backup keeps it safe and clean.

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Many backup services backup your most current dataset and that’s about it. As items change, so does your backup set. That’s not the case with Malwarebytes Secure Backup.  It backs up and archives every version of every file on your PC.  You’re not limited by the number of devices it backup, either.  It will backup most any device on your PC or network with just one license.

If you’re looking for a backup service or thinking of making a change, then you really need to give Malwarebytes Secure Backup a serious look. Its worth the cost and the time it takes to backup the data.

download Malwarebytes Secure Backup

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Restore files from formatted disk, deleted or lost partition

thumbnail-100x100Everybody knows that the best way to keep your data safe is to back it up in some way. Having an extra copy is likely the best way to keep the data you need available. However, you have to have a disk, or some type of media to put it on, and sometimes that media gets damaged. Situations like that are made worse when the bad media in question is your backup drive, and your primary copy has bitten the dust. Its at times like this when you need tools like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It’s a data recovery tool for Windows that just might be able to save your bacon.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is free, a one-stop data recovery too that can recover up to1 GB data. It can recover deleted files or folders even when they’ve been emptied from Recycle Bin. It can also recover data due to format, lost partition, system crash, virus attack, etc. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can restore files with their original file names & storage paths.

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The app was designed as a wizard, making the data recovery process easy even for a beginner. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard works with just about any rewritable media, including hard disks memory cards, and USB flash drives under Windows 2000, to Windows 8. Itt supports dynamic disks and all file systems including FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS/NTFS5, and EXT2/EXT3.

Free, easy-to-use, and powerful, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition is a must-have too to combat data loss. No matter how you lose data, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will likely recover what you’re looking for. At the very least, it’s a convenient first stop; and the price is right, so its very difficult to go wrong here.

Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

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Clean, protect and maintain your PC with Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10

box_ashampoo_winoptimizerMaintaining your machine is a must.

In order to keep on functioning correctly and provide an effective service, computers, like any other type of machine, require regular maintenance. Whilst computers come with optimization and maintenance facilities as standard, utilising these can often be difficult, and require the user to have a sufficient amount of technical know-how, while also requiring the time and effort to keep abreast of current technological developments.

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10 promises to take the sting out of things by offering all manner of customisation tools for your PC or laptop in one simple application. It offers backups, restore points and task schedulers, as well as allowing users to analyse detailed information on hardware and software specifications, such as the space and health statuses of disks and drives. There are a large number of file tools, allowing the user to recover lost or deleted files, remove duplicate files or safely and securely delete files, as well as maintaining internet history and cleaning up the system registry.

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Ashampoo have long been providing essential utilities for computer maintenance, and WinOptimizer 10 continues on that trend. The User Interface is a joy to work with, and takes the hassle out of tuning up your PC. Installation was quick and easy, and the main program was up and running within a matter of minutes. As WinOptimizer continues to grow and develop as a program, so too do the list of features it has on offer, and it comes highly recommended for tweaking, tuning and optimising your machine.

While the free trial has its limitations, some people may be reluctant to fork out $39.99 for the full version, especially when there are numerous free tools and utilities online. Although for ease of use, and having a wide variety of powerful features in one simple to use application, we think it’s a solid choice when it comes to PC optimisation.

Download Ashampoo WinOptimizer 10

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Keep your Windows Registry clean and optimized with Registry First Aid

While powerful, the Windows Registry isn’t the sturdiest thing in the world. Its easily corrupted, easily fragmented and often contains a lot of orphaned or unneeded information. I can point to any number of PC’s anywhere in the world and after a simple analysis show you how messed up their Registries are.  That’s why I really, REALLY like Registry First Aid. It’s a system utility for Windows.

Registry First Aid is a safe and easy to use utility and it safely fixes more Registry errors than ever before. Its new color coded results make identifying corrections much easier for the novice PC user. RFA’s color coded results allow you to see exactly what can be fixed without any possible problems.

RFA helps eliminate system crashes, software lockups and slow loading programs caused by incorrect Registry entries leftover from software installations & uninstallations that went awry. Registry First Aid fixes these problems by removing this orphaned or unneeded data. Hundreds of these entries bog down the registry, slow down your computer and cause other software to lock up. RFA offers added features that check the registry for unused software entries and “Run” registry entry errors. It also supports adding multiple entries into an excluded list and a new safe invalid path detection algorithm.

Registry First Aid scans registry for orphan file/folder references, finds these files or folders on your drives that may have been moved from their initial locations, and then rewrites your Registry with the correct locations. In addition, if your registry has links to files of deleted applications, Registry First Aid will find these invalid entries and remove them from your registry. With Registry First Aid, your Windows registry will be always clean and correct, helping your programs load faster and speeding up your computer. Registry First Aid helps you can keep it clean and keep it fast!

read full review | download Registry First Aid

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Backs up any type of document with easy to use AutoSave Essential

Keeping your data safe isn’t always easy. It’s very easy to have something eat your hard drive – a virus or other piece of malware for example or for your hard drive to fail. This is one of the reasons why I like applications like AutoSave Essentials. It’s a backup tool for Windows systems.

With AutoSave Essentials, you’ll never lose important data again. With its automatic file backup software, you simply follow the wizard and select what you want to save and where you want your back up. The application automatically saves any types of documents – Photos, Emails, Videos, Documents and more without you having to worry about it. The app runs continuously in the background to automatically protect your files If disaster does strike, easily restore your data in one click.

AutoSave Essentials can save any data that is valuable to you. If you collect your family’s memories or your company’s accounts or even general data, it will protect the data that’s important to you. Your data can be saved locally, externally or on remote network drives, including FTP sites, without any hassle or fuss. AutoSave Essentials works in the background while you are doing other things

AutoSave Essentials is a good backup program; but there’s nothing really remarkable about it. It backs up your data, any of the data you specify; and it does a good job, but it’s just one of many backup apps available on Soft32. The app is reasonably priced and if you give it a try and purchase it, it’s not going to be a purchase you regret making.

Download AutoSave Essentials

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Backup and restore Firefox and Thunderbird with Ease

As great as it is to use Mozilla Firefox for browsing the Internet, and Thunderbird for sending and receiving emails, backing them up is quite hard for most of us. I’m talking about all those things you care about: bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords and so on.

No matter which scenario are you having in mind – you reinstall your OS, your profile file gets corrupted, you move to a newer computer – you’ll want backup and than restore all the those thing you care about related to Firefox and Thunderbird. One of the best tools you could use to automatically back up Firefox and Thunderbird as well as Sunbird, Flock, Postbox (Express), SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird, Netscape and Wyzo is Mozbackup.

Mozbackup is a light tool which makes the process of backing up all those programs a stress-free experience. Without further introduction, lets start backing up Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Before launching MozBackup, make sure both programs are not running in the background. Now launch the application. Choose “Backup a profile”, select Mozilla Firefox from the list and click Next to continue. In the next step, we’ll have to choose a profile from the list and the backup location. If there is only one profile associated, click default. After this, MozBackup will offer you the option to password-protect your backup file, why not choose ‘yes’ – just in case. In the third step, choose which elements you want to back up and click Next to begin the process.

The same procedure goes for Thunderbird or any other supported applications. In case you want to restore your Firefox profile or your Thunderbid emails using a backup, launch MozBackup, choose “Restore a profile” and click Next. In the next step, select the profile you want to restore. An important thing to remember is that the profile you select will be overwritten by the contents of the profile that is backed up in the backup file. If you do not want to overwrite any of the profiles listed in the MozBackup screen, you should create a new profile by clicking on the “New Profile” button. After that, select the backup file that contains your backed-up profile. When done, click next to begin the restoration process.

Download Mozbackup

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