My last post detailed the process to add Microsoft non certified devices to the list of supported “Play To” devices in Windows 8 Modern UI Start Screen Apps so that they appeared in the Charms/Devices menu. Once again, if you experiment with this, you will need to verify that your device is a DMR (digital media renderer) that works from the classic desktop explorer/libraries interface by right clicking an asset and verifying Play To appears and that you can successfully send the media to the device).
I already knew my circa 2009 Samsung LN52B750 series TV was not the greatest Play To client (which is why I have been using the WDTV LIVE Hub) but I wanted to enable it to see what kind of results I would get. The LNB Samsung TV series is neither certified by the DLNA.org folks or by Microsoft (just as my Sonos speakers are not certified by either organization).
In DLNA years, 2009 is ancient, and in TV cycle years, prehistoric. Samsung stops issuing firmware updates after 9-12 months so there was really not much hope of improving the DLNA experience after that time. Aggravating, but true. So for most people, the iffy DLNA experience (due to codec and transcoding support) the Microsoft decision to not show these uncertified devices is justified. It would be a support nightmare. But, if you are a geek and accustomed to tinkering with the registry, etc., once again, enabling these devices let you experiment.
Again, this is for geek enthusiasts only and unsupported. Backup your registry and the subkey before you begin. Proceed at your own risk.
Note: I performed this exercise on my Surface Pro and Surface RT with success.
To add the TV to the whitelist, once again, from the Network window, I right clicked the media icon for the TV and accessed the properties.
Since the DeviceShims registry already listed Samsung Electronics,all I needed to do was add the subkey for Samsung DTV DMR and the 32 bit dword IsLegacyDMR and set the hex value to 1. I did have to take ownership of the Samsung Electronics key and give local users full control in order to perform this modification.
Next step was to reboot.
Concurrent with my experimentation with non MSFT certified DLNA DMR’s, I also was looking to be able to play MKV files and had downloaded the trial of Cyberlink’s Power DVD Mobile from the Windows 8 App Store. (I’ll have more to say about this app soon, but I had a WOW experience; it’s one awesome program).
I opened my Avatar MKV and it played beautifully on the Surface Pro. Now the moment of truth, could I send to my Samsung TV through the Devices menu. You can see in the screen capture below that both my TV and WDTVLiveHub are available from the Devices charm.
The answer is a big YES. My Surface Pro displayed the following:
And the output to the TV worked perfectly.
The picture looked great and there was no lagging/glitching (and sound was in sync – I run audio from the TV out to a home theater system via Digital Optical SPDIF). I won’t say it was a good as watching the original Blue Ray, but close. This same TV has had trouble with mp4’s using Play To where it doesn’t correctly handle the aspect ratio at times. And when I set still digital images via the Device charm, they displayed beautifully.
I love my 128GB Surface Pro. I can’t wait for a driver for Wacom pressure sensitive support and a fix for legacy desktop scaling, but other than that, Surface Pro is a wonderful electronic companion that does just about everything.
As with all software, there are bugs. And I think I’ve found a corker. On my Windows 7 machines, I’ve always installed all my apps and configured them and then performed a system image backup (using Windows 7 built in create system image backup tool) both to an external hard drive and over the network. As I added major apps, applied Service Packs and major app updates, I’ve renamed those backups and performed new image based backups. WHS performs the same kind of image based backups, too.
Windows 8 emphasizes some dumbed down recovery methods, including system refresh. The refresh will keep some, but not all of your files. You will lose your installed desktop programs and will have to re-install and configure them. Most Windows Store Apps will be retained, but if you bought a Surface Pro, you bought a machine to run real desktop apps.
So, after having my Surface for 6 days and installing desktop apps, I bought myself a new USB 3.0 external WD Passport portable drive and got ready to use the system image tool that I knew was included (but hard to find) in Windows 8. I was chagrinned to find that it didn’t work as advertised. Here’s what I did:
On the Start Screen, I typed in windows 7 file recovery and then selected Settings
The control panel applet appears (you can also find the applet in the classic control panel when the show small icons view is active). I next selected Create a system image. My external hard drive connected by USB was detected.
A confirmation box appears with everything preselected (you cannot deselect any because this is a full image of all partitions on the drive/SSD) and the backup location I had selected.
I tapped Start backup and the following screen displayed (so far so good).
Then, another positive reinforcement that things were working as they should:
What happened (or did not happen) next is the source of my aggravation and complaint.
I reformatted the WD drive, tried 3 other drives, sacrificed a rubber chicken, with NO success. I checked the Microsoft forums. Uh Oh, others had experienced the issue and MS Support was clueless, offering solutions like chkdsk and/or sfc /scannow. The real issue is that the hidden partitions that contain the recovery partitions and the secure boot partitions don’t contain enough free space for VSC (Volume Shadow Copies) themselves.
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro-surfgetstart/windows-7-file-recovery/a73b83ff-2511-44d9-b8a7-85bfd1135e87 is what Surface Pro owners are experiencing.
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-system/there-is-not-enough-disk-space-to-create-the/48532922-25bb-46fb-af8b-475ff05f55ce shows similar problems on other systems dating back before the release of Surface Pro.
Here is the (really not too informative) breakdown of space allocation on my Surface Pro. The three small factory partitions must be the issue.
The @Surface folks on Twitter did not understand my tweets on this and kept trying to tell me about freeing up space by creating a USB flash drive bootable recovery device and deleting the 7.8 GB recovery drive. This is not the issue at all. I finally pointed them at a YouTube video demonstrating the process above. They finally tweeted “ http://www.twitter.com/surface/status/302581927423115264 “ but I am not holding my breath.
In the meantime, I am investigating third party image creation tools. But I maintain that if Microsoft offers the tool on Surface Pro, it SHOULD work, or they should document it in a KB prominently.
If you have comments, feel free to contact me on Twitter @barbbowman
I have been ranting and raving about not being able to configure my Office 365 hosted domain to be configured to let me pull down mail “as it arrives”. It turns out that there is a three account limit. After three accounts are configured to get mail as it arrives in the Windows 8 Mail App, that choice is no longer offered when additional mail accounts are configured.
Of course, you need to configure a Microsoft account to even get started and that gets the first slot (hotmail, outlook.com account, etc.) In my case, I configured my Microsoft accounts first, and then a Gmail account. When I got to configuring my vanity domains, I only could get PULL settings, of which every 15 minutes was the shortest interval.
Realizing that only three accounts could be configured, I had an aHa moment and changed the settings on my hotmail and outlook.com accounts which are far less important to me, and then was able to configure my other accounts for PUSH (as it arrives).
I have made contact with the Mail team at Microsoft and am working towards getting this limit removed (and some other things).
A while back I was complaining that there was nothing like Siri on my Surface. I was wrong. I happened to go into the classic control panel for something entirely different and found Speech Recognition . So I started exploring.
I selected Start Speech Recognition and was prompted to select a microphone type. I didn’t know for sure so selected the bottom choice for external and Windows did the right thing.
After reading the phrase, I was guided to a rather long tutorial. The graphics shown were a little odd as they were obviously for the x86 version of Windows 8 since they were showing WordPad. However, it was worth believing that Speech Recognition would work on Surface.
After going through the tutorial, I said “Start Listening” and then “Open Word”. Word 2013 RT opened. I started dictating. While slower than Siri and far less accurate, the words I spoke appeared in the document. Eureka. Maybe training will improve this. I hope so.
Next, I tried a voice command from the Start Screen, “Open Mail”. Here’s what happened:
While in one of my mail account, I decided to say “Compose”. A new window opened where I could DICTATE an email. I’ve blocked out my email address, but here is the screen shot:
I’m off to explore more, but clearly I’m on to something here.