Windows 10

Get Hue or LIFX light alerts for Dona Sarkar Build Tweets

flight If you’re a hard core Windows Insider, you’ll want to be one of the first to know when new Insider Builds are available for download and corresponding blog posts go up. You can always watch @donasarkars Twitter stream (and check the hints that builds are coming in images she posts), but if you have Hue or LIFX connected bulbs, you can use IFTTT to set up an Applet (used to be called a recipe) to get a visual alert.

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Add a Fingerprint Reader to Surface 3

You read the title correctly. I’ve added a fingerprint reader to my Surface 3. (And you can do this with any Windows 10 device that has a USB port). Windows Hello is a wonderful feature that provides an extra level of protection from prying eyes while traveling. While I’m not necessarily paranoid, I don’t want strangers seeing my password or PIN while I’m lunching and computing. I feel more secure.

While you can purchase a typecover for the Surface Pro 4 (that also works with Surface Pro 3, but this combo has some power management issues), there is no similar option to purchase a typecover with a fingerprint reader for a Surface 3.

Luckily, there’s a way to do this (if you don’t mind using the single USB port on the Surface 3 and tying it up at least while you log in; you can remove and attach this peripheral while Windows is running so for me it is no big deal).

Amazon sells this super tiny add-on fingerprint reader from “Eikon” at a good price. It’s made by Authentech, who made many of the built in fingerprint readers for nearly all the big computer vendors (they were purchased by Apple in 2012).

authentech

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Installing Windows Insider Builds on a Low Capacity Tablet

 

There has been a lot of misinformation in the Insider’s Forum (from customers) about the necessary free space to install an Insider’s Build. I decided to take my only low memory device, an ASUS Vivo Tab 8 M81C-B1-MSBK Signature Edition Tablet that I purchased from the Microsoft Store, and test this out for myself. The device is 32GB to start with and was VERY full. A little over 4GB free space was available. Nevertheless, I was able to install an Insiders Build from a mounted ISO and subsequently download and install the latest Fast Ring Insider’s Build from Windows Update.

Here’s how I did all of this:

I used the following procedure to install 14372 from an ISO image. This is the process that should work for folks upgrading from 10586.xxx 1511 to the official release of the Windows Anniversary Update (with a few changes on where and how to get the ISO) with minimal free space.

The first problem is that the default Downloads folder was on C:\ and only a bit over 4GB of free space was available, so I needed to move Downloads to my 128GB microSD card. I wanted to move this at the System level as opposed to just specifying a different folder. The ISO for 32 bit Windows is 3GB+ and to say the least, with only 4+ free, I needed to download to a drive other than C:\.

4 gigs free

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Windows 10 WiFi Issues with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3

 

There are a large number of Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 owners reporting severely slow wireless speeds, limited connectivity and other problems with the new Windows 10 Operating System. These issues are being widely reported on Microsoft’s Community forums, Reddit, and on third party sites. Examples:

 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfusingwin10/surface-pro-3-slow-5-ghz-wifi/a86d1d08-fe47-45f6-841d-93c6efa2a752 

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surf3-surfnetwork/wifi-slow-surface-3/9d537832-877e-4690-83c6-4239a00af15a

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surf3-surfnetwork/surface-pro-3-with-netgear-nighthawk-dog-slow/a28b43e3-5990-4573-a81b-566736cc46bf

https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/3gbf3o/5ghz_packet_loss/

http://forums.windowscentral.com/microsoft-surface-pro-3/369901-updated-windows-10-driver-issues.html 

 

So far, there’s been no real comment from Microsoft on whether or not they understand the issues or any information on timing of a fix. For some reason, Microsoft will not post the older Marvell wireless driver Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller: 15.68.3073.151 which some folks report resolves the issue. The driver is available elsewhere on the web, and although it is not legal to redistribute Microsoft software, it’s out there on the web. Some (but not all) customers are reporting relief using the .151 driver. (They need to force install the old driver from device manager using the browse, have disk, let me pick option, and also disable driver updates..). I’ve personally asked that the old driver be posted on the official drivers page at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826 and have had only silence as a reply. Quite frankly don’t understand why Microsoft won’t post a driver that is known to help some customers with these issues. Most likely reason is that posting an older driver is admitting the existence of a problem. And it seems to be a marketing mantra to not acknowledge problems until a fix is available.

Given that it took Microsoft 9+ months to fix Wi-Fi driver problems on Windows 8.1, I’m not very optimistic. If you are severely impacted by slow/bad connectivity, you can throw a small amount of money at the problem and buy an external USB Wi-Fi adapter that should improve performance on at least the 5GHz band. I currently carry around one from Edimax which is less than $17 on Amazon. It works extremely well on Windows 10.

edimax

Should you need to spend money to fix something Microsoft broke? Absolutely not. But given the lack of engagement from Microsoft on this issue, it’s probably the only reliable option.

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