Top Creator’s Update Issues and How to Fix Them

Here are the top problems with Microsoft’s Creator’s Update and the way to resolve them all…

The Creators Update is the latest update to Microsoft’s Windows 10. It’s the start of what Redmond says will be a biannual update to their desktop operating system. The Creators Update was released in April of 2017. The next update, the Fall Creators Update is scheduled to be released in September of 2017.

The new strategy behind Windows 10 is to release two major feature updates per year. Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a bit of research on the Creators Update; and it introduced a number of new features. With the implementation of new features and functionality, there are likely to be problems and issues. Some are easy to resolve. Others, take a bit more doing to resolve.

So, without any additional hullaballoo, here are the top Windows 10 issues and the best and easiest ways to resolve them.

The Update Doesn’t Download
If you’ve got the Anniversary Update – Version 1607 – then you’re a prime candidate for the Creators Update – Version 1703. However, it doesn’t always get to you when you want it or when you’re ready for it. Sometimes, it just seems like it doesn’t want to come down to your PC. If that’s true, there are a couple different things you can do, however, depending on your PC, you may be intentionally blocked due to a technical problem with your PC that hasn’t been patched yet.

If you can’t get the update, that may be the best thing. However, if you have to have it, you can do the following things:
Download the Windows 10 Update Assistant. It will pull down the Creators Update and upgraded your computer the ISO. There’s an ISO image. You’ll need to be a registered Windows Insider first, but you can still get it.

Windows Update gets Stuck
Similar things have happened to me with other updates. You wait for the update to come down and update your system; but while doing so, the update either stops coming, or it won’t actually update your system no matter how many times you’ve hit “Restart and update.” Unfortunately, Windows Update isn’t the best at what it does. When this happens, you’ll need to open the Command Prompt, with elevated privileges so you can execute some administrator level commands.

To get the Creators Update moving again, follow these steps:
At the command prompt, type,

net stop wuauserv

and hit enter. This will temporarily stop the Windows Update service.
Open up a Windows Explorer Window and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Delete any and all files you find in that folder. Do NOT delete the actual folder itself.
Go back to your Command Prompt. Type,

net start wuauserv

and hit enter. This will restart the Windows Update service on your PC.
Go back to Settings – Windows Update and have it look for updates again. It should find the Creators Update and start downloading it again.

Windows Defender Can’t Update
Nearly everything comes down as a result of Windows Update. This includes updates to Windows Defender and its malware definitions. Unfortunately, sometimes Windows Defender’s updates gets stuck, too. When that happens, you can do one of the following things to get things going again.

Try again.

Sometimes getting Defender updated just requires you to run Windows Update again. Pull the trigger again, and see if the updates come down all the way. If they do, you’re in business. If they don’t, move on to the next step.

1. Reset Windows Update
You can use the steps I noted above to kill Windows Update’s cache. If simply running Windows Update again doesn’t download new malware definitions for today, and you know you haven’t gotten them already, use the steps I noted above to stop Windows Update’s service, delete its cache files, and then restate the service
2. Malware Updates Windows Defender
Alternatively, you can manually download Windows Defender malware definitions from Microsoft here. Once you do, just run the .exe file, follow the prompts, and your Windows Defender is up to date.

Windows won’t Add New Users
Adding new user accounts to a single PC can be a big deal. Sometimes, you just have to share workstations. In some instances, Windows won’t let you add new users to an existing Windows 10 install when they don’t have Microsoft Accounts.

It’s unclear whether this is actually a bug or whether this is all part of Microsoft’s evil plan to take over the world. Any way you slice it, this is an issue, but don’t worry there’s an EASY resolution.

Turn off your internet connection.

If you’re using Wi-Fi, turn the adapter off. If you’re using an Ethernet connection, pull the cable. Either way, the lack of a connection to the internet is what you’re looking for. When Windows 10 can’t communication with the outside world, it will let you add a standard, local account without demanding that it be a Microsoft Account.

Please note that you won’t need to do this every time you want to add a local account. The only time you’ll need to kill your internet connection is if and when Windows 10 Creators Update won’t add the local account while you’re connected to the internet. Again, simply killing the internet connection will turn off Windows 10’s apparent need to be all Microsoft Account connected.

Windows Won’t Shut Down All the Way
Sometimes Microsoft goes out of its way not really NOT help itself. Such is the case with the Creators Update and some of its performance features. In some cases, the OS can’t get out of its own way. On rare occasions, installing the Creators Update may accidentally enable Windows Fast Startup option. Fast Startup puts your PC into a low-level hibernation state instead of actually shutting the PC down.

Fast Startup allows your computer to hibernate instead of actually, fully shutting it down. This can make turning the PC back on a lot faster, as the PC doesn’t have to go through its full startup procedures which may include a full POST.

This “benefit” may create startup problems as well as making it difficult to access your BIOS if you need to make adjustments or changes to boot sequences or other startup options. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to this – you just need to disable hibernation through elevated permissions via the Command prompt.

To do this, follow these steps:

1. Open the Command Prompt in Administrator Mode
2. Type the following at the prompt –

powercfg /h off

3. This will disable hibernation system wide and should turn off fast startup.

A couple of normal restarts later, and you may be able to reverse this by typing

powercfg /h on

later. If you really need hibernation back, and have found that your PC now shuts down like it’s supposed to, turning this back on should be ok. If you find yourself in the same boat, turn hibernation back off by repeating the above commands.

Location Services won’t Turn Off
Location services are a big part of Windows 10; and they can, if not monitored correctly, use up a great deal of battery power. With early installations of the Creators Update, some users are reporting that the Update is causing Location Services to turn on and remain on, despite the fact that users have turned them “off.” Unfortunately, this is a bug in the OS, and its one that Microsoft is going to have to fix. Don’t worry… they’re get to it, eventually.

In the meantime, if you want to try to work around it, you can do the following.

1. Open Settings.
2. Click Privacy and navigate down to Location
3. Turn the feature off entirely.

This will turn off all location based updates Windows makes, but should resolve the issue and the potential battery drain. You’ll need to pay attention to the updates that Windows Update installs. If any of them update Windows Location Services, try turning Location Services back on to see if the issue is resolved

Gaming Mode Disables Night Light
It’s never fun when one feature implementation interferes with the functioning of another. Unfortunately, as I’ve learned over the years, this is just the way software works sometimes. In cases like these, you have to watch out and be careful.

Unfortunately, there are some instances where Microsoft’s new Gaming Mode can interfere with another new feature, Night Light. Night Light is a blue light filter system that diminishes the amount of blue light your screen emits at night time. The thought here is that if Windows can automatically warm your PC’s display output colors, thereby limiting the amount of blue light it emits, you’re going to sleep better at night. Blue light stimulates your brain and increases brain activity.

Unfortunately, the Creators Update can disable Night Light when game mode is on and you’re playing a game. In cases like these, Night Light gets disabled not only in Game Mode, but also at a system level. There are two ways to resolve this issue.

1. Display Settings
Open your video games’ video settings and switch it from full screen to borderless windowed. This should prevent Night Light from being disabled. You may notice a performance hit here, as everything will be run in a Window instead of in full screen mode. However, this shouldn’t impact FPS rates too badly.
2. Disable Night Light
if using the feature is important to you, you might want to consider going with a third party alternative. Disable Night Light and then install an app like F.lux to manage the warming of your display. Using a third party utility should also resolve any performance hits your PC might take as well.

Windows Game Bar prevents some users from streaming
Gaming updates in Windows 10 Creators Update are a big deal and are a huge addition to the overall OS. I know that the integration of Gaming in Windows 10 makes it a lot easier for my son to play Xbox One games while I still get to use the TV in my living room. He can stream games directly to his gaming desktop from the console, providing the family with a great deal of peace and quiet as no one vies for the TV screen.

In the Creators Update, Microsoft has rolled out a number of new tools, like Game Mode and a new version of the Game Bar, making Windows gaming more accessible and reliable. Microsoft’s streaming service, Beam, will now natively integrate with the Gaming Bar, allowing you to stream any game on your PC.

Unfortunately, and somewhat unsurprisingly, there are issues with streaming in the Creators Update. Beam either fails to broadcast entirely, or prevents certain accounts from streaming at all. Unfortunately, there’s no solution right now; but there are work arounds.

The easiest way around this problem, unfortunately, is the least desirable – set up a new Beam account. If you have a following on Beam, this might not be the best option for you. However, if all you’re really trying to do is stream games to a couple of your buddies, then, this just might be the way to go.

If you need to stick with your existing Beam account, you can always try signing out and signing back in. If that doesn’t work, you can try unlinking it from your Microsoft Account. You can do this through your Beam.pro account page. After you unlink Beam from your Microsoft Account, you’ll need to reinstall the Creators Update by redownloading and running the update on the ISO file.

When the update finishes, you can relink your Beam account and retry your microphone. If it still doesn’t work, you may be better off with another streaming solution like Twitch or Steam’s game streaming until Microsoft has a chance to address the issue.

Game Mode cuts off microphone access for third-party apps
Gaming on Windows 10 provides an improved experience in the Creators Update. Now, you get optimized performance of your system resource usage; or at least your supposed to. There have been reports of some microphones not working in third party apps while Game mode is enabled. When this happens, you might be better off just turning Game Mode off.

To disable Game Mode, open Settings. Under the gaming category, you can toggle Game Mode on or off inside individual games with the Game Bar, accessible when you press Win-G.

Conclusion
Microsoft’s Creators Update is the latest release of its desktop operating system, Windows 10. It brings a great deal to the table. However, it also brings users as many issues and problems as it does beneficial updates.

While the update was originally released in April of 2017, the new bits haven’t reached everyone yet. For example, after I had to wipe my Surface Book, it hasn’t come back down for me. I’m still waiting for it.

The problems and solutions I’ve outlined here are likely the most common problems, and the best solutions available for them. If you’ve bumped into these problems and resolved them, I’d love to hear about it. I’d especially like to know if you’ve resolved your issues using the solutions I’ve outlined above, or if you’ve found a different work around.

If you’ve bumped into additional problems than the ones I’ve outlined, above. I’d like to know what those are too. Have you found a way around those additional issues, or are they still a problem? If you have found a way around them, I’d love for your to share those additional solutions with the rest of the class.

Any way you slice it, kids… I’m in the Discussion area below. You need to give me the latest update on what’s going on with you and with your Windows 10 Creators Update powered PC.

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Olio Released Model One Firmware Updates 1.1.61 & 1.1.63

olio updateOlio recently released firmware updates to help address bugs and issues in their smartwatch, the Model One.

If you recall, I recently published a review of Olio’s Model One smartwatch. Unfortunately, I declared it pretty much one of the worst train wrecks I’ve ever seen in an electronic accessory, and most certainly, the worst product I’ve looked at in 2015. My initial reaction was so poor that I recommended everyone stay away from it for now.

Recently, I’ve received noticed of not one, but two, device firmware updates for the Model One, direct from Olio. Firmware version 1.1.61 was released on 2015-12-25 and addressed a number of different issues. You can see the specifics on those, directly below. Firmware version 1.1.63 was released to resolve a firmware update issue where the watch may get stuck in “update mode, ” and not recover. In this case, as long as the device is connected to power and showing connected in Olio Assist, Olio says version 1.1.63 can be passively downloaded to the watch and the watch updated, resolving the issue. Watches successfully updated to firmware version 1.1.61 without issue would simply update to 1.1.63, and would see no additional issues or new functionality other than what came with version 1.1.61.

Thankfully, I didn’t experience this particular issue. My watch updated to versions 1.1.61 and 1.1.63 without a hitch.

Bugs and Issues Resolved:

  • Bluetooth on your watch and phone settings should no longer randomly disconnect. If it does, it should automatically reconnect.
  • Improved gesture sensitivity and optimization.
  • Added tap only setting on watch so that if gesture sensitivity doesn’t work well, you can put it on tap-only mode to save battery life.
  • Bug fixed that can cause the watch to run out of battery in less than 4 hours.
  • Automatically setting all watches to medium brightness to prevent the ALS from causing some screens to turn off. A long-term fix to use auto brightness is in development.
  • Fixed accelerometer bug that can cause the watch not to turn on via gesture. The watch will reboot when the accelerometer is in improper state.
  • Implemented synchronization protocol to ensure all Android phones display accurate time within 10 seconds. Some Android phones don’t send notifications continuously over Bluetooth, so the time update takes a while to send.
  • Fixed bug that can cause the wrong caller to be displayed on the watch during phone calls.
  • Fixed bug that causes the “updating” screen to stay on too long when updating day/night.
  • Fixed bug where “auto” mode didn’t transition properly in day/night mode.
  • Fixed bug that can cause notification actions to not work properly when notifications first came in on watch.

Based on the information above, some of the big problems that have been causing the watch to run through its full battery charge in four hours or less has been resolved. I’ll be looking at this VERY carefully, as it speaks to how the device uses Bluetooth as well as power management.

Battery life still remains the biggest issue with the Olio Model One. Even though I’ve got the latest updates on my watch, I’ve still had to have my watch sit on its charger part of the day today. (and the thing still gets bloody hot when it charges…)

Honestly, things are getting a bit better, as the update from 1.1.61 to 1.1.63 for me happened over night as planned – and was the first firmware update to happen this way. Every other update I’ve had to babysit and try to coax along. The battery life does seem a bit better, but not much.

There seems to be a long interval of time between 100% charge and 90-85% charge, and then after that, the device’s charge level drops like a rock to the mid 40%’s, where it again sits for about an hour before dropping like a rock again to the mid 20%’s. From there, it’s a gradual and steady decline to the end. I’ve also noticed that when my watch hits one of these plateaus, I can often expect it to restart on its own, out of nowhere, and when it comes back, the charge rate is much reduced (by as much as 15%).

Olio is also working on other issues, and has other updates planned. Items up for release next include, but aren’t limited to the following:

Known Issues with Pending Fixes

  • The iOS app can show disconnected when the phone setting and watch settings say connected. If this happens, turn Bluetooth off on the watch, wait five seconds, and then turn it back on. If the issue persists, kill the Olio Assist app, turn Bluetooth off on the watch, restart the phone app, and turn Bluetooth on the watch back on.
  • In “gesture off” mode, the watch will detect some wrist turns as taps. We are tuning tap detection to prevent this.
  • Despite the watch being on the charger for a long time, it might show less than 100% charged. The wireless charging firmware stops charging the watch when the battery reaches 100%, and does not restart until the battery drops below 90%. We are working on an update to the firmware that will keep the battery topped off without degrading the battery health.
  • We have identified a state that can cause the watch to charge slower than it should (>90 minutes). We are working on a fix to prevent this state from occurring.
  • It is possible that your watch will enter a state where the screen does not turn on. This is a known issue with the ALS calibration and we are working on a permanent fix. In the meantime, if you notice this issues, shine a bright light (your mobile flashlight should work) to get the screen to turn on, and set the brightness to medium.
  • When entering a new time zone, watches paired to iOS can take up to two hours to update to the new time zone. We have identified a new way to update the watch time from iOS and are working to implement that change. Temporarily, restarting Bluetooth on the watch will reset the time.

I’ll keep everyone posted on how things go with some of these updates. I still can’t recommend this smartwatch to anyone, even those that are used to beta testing and to living on the bleeding edge of technology. It’s just a bit too cold and bloody out here…

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FEATURE REVIEW: Microsoft Band – Part 1

 

MSB-01

Introduction

When I was a kid, I was always skinny. When I was a young, married adult, I was always skinny. In fact, I was 135 pounds (61.24 kilos) until I was about 35. I was skinny my entire life until we moved from Chicago to Nashville in 2000 where I had a group of kind hearted, good natured rednecks introduce me to the REAL meaning of fried chicken and biscuits and gravy.

Now, I’m a fat slob. I should never have learned the recipe.

My weight jumped from 135 pounds to about 170 pounds (77.11 kilos). After I turned 40, I began fluctuating between 170 and 180 pounds (81.65 kilos). Now that I’m nearly 50 (Lord, that seems so OLD!), I’m weighing in at a hefty 191 pounds (86.64 kilos); and I lost my feet. I think they’re still attached and below me because I haven’t fallen down yet.

My wife has been wanting to lose some medically added weight for a number of years and I’m finally ready to get rid of the inner tube around my waist, so for Christmas in 2014, I purchased both of us a Microsoft Band at a local brick and mortar location near the office.

Microsoft’s first entry into the wearables market is a smartwatch and fitness band unremarkably named, Microsoft Band. Microsoft Band is really the FIRST commercially available, actual and totally genuine, platform independent Smartwatch available on the market today; and it’s all about the quantitative self – the end user’s need/ want/ desire to learn more about how much calories they’re burning, how far they’ve walked or run on a given day, what their active and resting heartbeats are like, etc.

This review is part one of a four part series. I’m reviewing the Microsoft Band, the Fitbit Surge and the Apple Watch (when its released, currently expected in April of 2015). The last part will be a round-up based article where I will try to compare and contrast the good and the bad of all three to help everyone pick the device that’s the best for them.

For now, let’s sit down (or, perhaps a more appropriate colloquialism would be, “let’s get up and jump around”) and really take a look at how the Microsoft Band works (or doesn’t).

Hardware

Microsoft Band is an interesting accessory. The design is a bit on the rigid side, however…and there are some strange and curious design decisions that were made, that are clearly evident, as you become more and more familiar with the device.

For example – the device isn’t water proof or even water resistant. That last one really is confusing. Depending on how hydrated you are, or like to be during a workout, you can sweat. Not to be gross or anything, but I’ve been in karate classes where I’ve soaked a gi. I’ve done walk or elliptical workouts where I’ve been equally as sweaty; and I’m certain I’m not alone.

Microsoft Band may be encased in rubber and plastic; but there are many seams in the device where it’s easy for water to get in. I do not understand why Microsoft would make and market a device that’s meant to get somewhat wet (with sweat at least) and not make it water resistant at least. Microsoft says Band is “splash resistant” meaning that if you accidentally splash water on it, it’s likely to survive, but you’re going to want to wipe it up right away.

However, you should not swim, shower or do any other kind of activity (like run any kind of marathon or other activity where you’re going to potentially pour water on yourself or get wet) while wearing Band. You’ll ruin it.

Totally the most stupid design decision I’ve heard or seen on an exercise and activity band… Why in the WORLD is this thing not water resistant at least?! I can understand the issue of being water proof… they may have issues with the heart rate sensor and such; but if Band has issues with excessive amounts of sweat and other moisture, how useful is the device going to be, REALLY?? This is a huge hole that really needs to get resolved in future hardware updates of Band.

Wearability and Usability

Microsoft Band is VERY bulky. Aside from the lack of water resistance, this is probably the device’s biggest issue and problem. As you can see from some of the graphics and photographs of the device, its thick, its bulky and very inflexible.

I’ve been wearing the device daily since Christmas Day 2014, as of this writing. There have been times when Band has loosened on my wrist, and has turned at an awkward angle. Due to its rigidity, its pressed against my wrist bones and can be very painful to wear.

I’ve also heard people say that it’s very difficult to sleep with because it’s so bulky. This hasn’t been my experience. The only problem that I’ve had sleeping with the device is when I forget to turn sleep monitoring on. I have the device in Watch Mode (it displays the date and time in a dim, white font when Watch Mode is turned on), and the screen never turns off when it’s in Watch Mode. While the full graphic and color screen isn’t active unless the device is actually “on,” Watch Mode is none-the-less, very bright at 2:37am, and has woken both me and my wife up from a sound sleep because its shining in our eyes. Obviously, during the day, and in bright sunlight, the Band’s Watch Mode isn’t very bright at all, and is in some cases, difficult to read, but in a dark theatre or other dimly lit area, it can be brighter than you think. If you’re using Watch Mode, as I am, and NOT using the sleep functions, you’re likely going to want to remove Band and charge it overnight. As I said, even its dim, Watch Mode, the display is VERY bright in a dark room.

Notifications

Microsoft Band does notifications rather well. The only other smartwatch that I’ve seen so far that does them as well or better is my Pebble Steel; and that’s feeling very, VERY tired and old (and it’s not even a year old yet). That’s both good and bad for Pebble, as they seem to understand what Notifications can and should do on a smartwatch (dismissing also deletes, and you can send a call to VM, directly from the watch). It’s bad because some of this really shouldn’t be old and long in the tooth at just shy of a year old, but that’s technology and Moore’s Law for you…

However, with the Microsoft Health software on your smartphone, you can configure Microsoft Band to send over every single notification that hits your phone (via Band’s Notification Center widget), or you can choose any number of predefined notifications, for example – Facebook, Mail, Calendar, phone calls, etc.

If you enable Band’s Notification Center, then don’t have it send over notifications for any of the other specific tiles like Messaging, Mail, Calendar, etc. You’re just going to get duplicate notifications that you’ll either need to clear or allow to expire when they hit your Band. The only thing about this is that Notification Center then becomes a huge dumping ground for duplicate notifications, and going through more than a handful at a time is messy.

The big problem with notifications on Microsoft Band is that even if you dismiss them when they pop up on Band, they don’t dismiss from your smartphone; and they also never leave your band, either. You can dismiss the notification, but there’s no real way of deleting a notification from Band, that I can find at least.

I’m hoping this is simply a work in progress and that Microsoft will soon have a software update for Band that will resolve some of this. Notifications can be really cool, but the hodge-podge of a mess that you have in Notification Center really needs to be addressed (the simple fix is that if you have both Notification Center and any of the other app/ notification specific tiles turned on, they don’t show up in Notification Center; but that’s just a start…)

MSB-03

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More on Tablet Mode

I got a bit sidetracked the other day…

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So, I’ve been doing a lot of work with windows 10 over the past few weeks. I’ve got Build 9926 installed on just about every Windows machine in the house. I’ve got it on a Surface Pro 1, Surface Pro 3 and a Dell Latitude 10 ST2.

When I started talking about Tablet Mode the other day, it really sorta morphed into a bit on installing it on the ST2, which had its own challenges. I never really got to what tablet mode really is or does on a Windows Pro tablet.

From what I can see right now… not much.

My thought was a bit-more iPad-esque. Believe it or not, I really wanted to see a bit more of a ModernUI approach on a pure tablet device. I mean, that IS what Microsoft was originally shooting for when they released Windows RT and Surface RT. The desktop pretty much hidden, full screen Modern apps, etc.

Yeah, you don’t get any of that…not even when you invoke Continuum (Tablet Mode) either automatically (by removing the keyboard) or manually (by tapping the Tablet Mode button in the Notification Center).

What you do get is a darker display (?? Really?), a static task bar and view back to the desktop and a full screen sized Start Menu when you tap the Start Button. The device is supposed to run all apps in full screen mode; and it does. All Modern apps are supposed to run full screen and without any min/max or close buttons; and they do.

All of which seem a bit useless; and a bit confusing. Microsoft is still mixing their UI’s. This is just more desktop focused and not tablet focused. Fancy that… a tablet, running in tablet mode that is full of desktop UI components. I am SO confused.

I like EVERYONE else under the sun complained bitterly when Windows 8 was released. The whole mix-n-match desktop and tablet OS hybrid drove me nuts, too. However, I can see where a tablet mode might work, and work well if it totally switched interfaces and could be turned on and off by the user where and when needed, and/or activated automatically when the device was separated from its detachable keyboard.

Microsoft needs to pay attention to something like this, because this is what Tablet Mode really should be. Switch the device – in full tablet form factor – into a tablet interface. It’s clear that’s what user’s want… You don’t have to look any further than Apple’s own iPad to see that. Many iPad owners are also Mac owners (and vice-versa) and are happy bopping back and forth between the two now that Convergence is in place under iOS 8 and Yosemite.

I’ve pushed this idea through the Windows Feedback app, with an invite to talk about this; and we’ll see what Microsoft does. I’m not holding my breath or anything; but if they’re looking to find about a bit more about the vision I have for this, then I’m willing to sit down and talk if they are.

What do you think?

Are you a Windows Insider? Are you running Windows 10? Have you ever run

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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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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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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.

Tweet9926

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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Windows Phone 8 Devices will get Windows Phone 8.1

 

Windows Phone 8 Devices will get Windows Phone 8.1

Windows 8.1

I know this made a lot of Windows Phone users happy…

Back in the day of the Palm Pilot and the Compaq iPAQ, getting a ROM upgrade for your device was pretty much a foregone conclusion.  They got update support for about 18 months after they were released. It was really a decent experience, as it made you feel as though you were getting a lot for your money.  Having a company support the devices they release is always a post-sales selling point. While devices were really nothing more than electronic phone and datebooks, the practice has all but ceased.

Today, except for Apple and the iPhone, updates for ANY smartphone are not a foregone conclusion.  Even Google’s Nexus line – the pure Android experience that’s supposed to get updates from Google for at LEAST a year – doesn’t always get them, or get them as long as you might think they should.This usually happens because device makers want you to buy the newest device, if you want the latest OS and/or software updates.  Providing an OS update to an already released device doesn’t provide any additional revenue. Apple does it for the iPhone.  Google does it for (at least the latest) Nexus device.  Every other device maker or provider usually doesn’t.  This includes Microsoft, but thankfully, Windows Phone 8 users just got some welcomed news.

Microsoft announced recently that Windows Phone 8 devices will run Windows Phone 8.1, the next, and Windows Blue version of their smartphone operating system. This wouldn’t be news or even of interest to tech news readers if not for two things:

  1. The trend of device (as well as service) providers to not provide updates in order to push sales of the next generation device, as I noted above.
  2. Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5 device owners are still angry over being left out of the Windows Phone 8 upgrade cycle.  Windows Phone 8 was released soon enough after some newer Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices hit the market that many thought an upgrade to Windows Phone 8 was all but a done deal.  When that didn’t happen, not only did it cause a huge uproar with those owners of the newer devices, sales of those devices literally tanked overnight.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any official information on the upgrade itself at this time. Microsoft hasn’t released any yet.  There are a number of rumors floating around about what might be included in the update, including a much desired notification center and digital, virtual assistant code named, “Cortana.” However, Microsoft BUILD is coming up in April of 2014, and more information should be made public at that time.  Stay tuned to Soft32 for additional news and commentary on this as we get closer to BUILD.

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