Windows 10

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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Get Miracast working on Surface Pro original with TH2 10586

 

I wrote about how Microsoft broke Miracast for Surface Pro original users when Windows 8.1 was released https://digitalmediaphile.com/index.php/2013/10/26/how-to-make-miracast-work-on-surface-pro/ and surprise, surprise, they’ve done it again with TH2 Build 10586. The supplied driver for the Marvell Wireless is not Miracast enabled. I don’t know why, as the chip is the same as the Surface Pro 2.

Here’s an unsupported way to get Miracast to work on your SP original with 10586.

Go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49042 and download Surface Pro 2\SurfacePro2_Win10_150818_0.zip. Open the archive and copy the WiFi folder from SurfacePro2_Win10_150818_0.zip\SurfacePro2_Win10_150818_0\Drivers\Network\WiFi to your desktop or other place where you can easily find it. Then follow these instructions:

  1. Type Device Manager in the Cortana/Search box and open it.
  2. Find Network adapters, expand it, right-click on Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller, and then select Update Driver Software.
  3. Select Browse my computer for driver software.
  4. Select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  5. Click Have Disk.
  6. Click Browse.
  7. Navigate to the Wifi folder (it has the INF file for the wifi driver), then click Open.

Go to the Action center, select Connect and your Miracast device should be discovered. Connect and enjoy!

mira sp1 working

Above shows a successful Miracast streaming session with my Surface Pro original happily connected to a Microsoft Display Adapter.

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.

Setup a Fingerprint Reader on Windows 10 Hello

 

If you have a recent model laptop with a fingerprint reader, you can setup Windows Hello to log in to Windows using your fingerprint.

To do this, you’ll first need to set up a PIN to logon.

Here are the steps:

1. Go to Settings, Accounts, Sign-in options. If you have a supported device, you’ll see the Windows Hello option. As you can see, you will need to first setup a PIN before the Setup button is activated.

f1

2. To setup a PIN, you will need to login to Windows 10 with a Microsoft Account and add your PIN to your MSA profile. Enter your password in the field provided and then select Sign In.

 

f2

 

3. Next, you need to set up a PIN and confirm it. Then select OK

 

f3

 

4. Next, select Set up under Windows Hello

 

f4

 

5. Select Get started.

 

f5png

 

6. Run your finger over the fingerprint scanner until the setup app reports completed. You can now optional add more/different fingers.

 

f6

 

 

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7. When you restart, you will be able to select Sign in Options and then sign in using your fingerprint.

 

 

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Windows 10 Home Entertainment (Should you Upgrade?)

 

Windows 10 is officially launching in just two days. There are lots of great improvements, but if you are a Home Entertainment enthusiast, there are things to consider before making the decision to upgrade. I’m very happy with Miracast for screen mirroring, but not so happy about the lack of great support for streaming to DLNA DMR devices which was present in 8.1 but has gone missing in 10.

Everyone needs to make their own decision on whether or not to upgrade, and if you are a Home Entertainment user and doing a lot of streaming, my observations may help you decide.

It’s been announced everywhere that Windows Media Center is kaput/gone/dead. You CAN run your Windows 7/8.1 Media Center computers and you do not have to upgrade them. So if you want to keep WMC, just stay where you are. If you have the Get Windows 10 icon and were able to run the compatibility checker, you would have been informed of this (and you should get another warning if/when you run the Windows 10 upgrade):

pcready

If you are currently using DLNA “Play To”, your choices in Modern/Universal Apps will be limited. In Windows 8.1, from the File System (classic Windows Explorer Interface) you could right click a file, then Play To – and any DLNA DMR devices would be available. In Windows 10, this is still present, but it’s called Cast To Device. This isn’t as nice an interface as the one provided by Modern Apps (in my opinion).

play to

In Windows 8.1, Modern Apps could implement something called a “Play To” contract, which enabled you to stream to DLNA DMR devices. I use this constantly with my Surface Pro 3 and Music to send music streams to my Sonos Living Room Speaker. I can also send to me WDTV Live Hub which is connected to my receiver, etc.

music 8

The new Groove Music in Windows 10 doesn’t have the ability to stream to DLNA devices. Yes, it can stream to my Bluetooth headphones or any other Bluetooth device like Bluetooth speakers, but I’ve been using DLNA, and now it’s gone missing.

groove music w10

The Connect Tab in Windows 10 supports Miracast and Bluetooth audio. But if I want to stream to my Sonos or WDTV Live Hub, I’m out of luck.

Similarly, Windows Photos in Windows 8.1 allowed me to play slide shows to my TV or through my WDTV Live Hub:

 

photos 8

Windows 10 has no such functionality in the Photos App. Only Miracast is supported through the Connect tab. There’s no Cast To DLNA functionality.

 

pictures w10

The ONLY Microsoft App that I’ve found that currently has DLNA Cast To functionality is Movies and TV (and it is not that obvious that it is there)

movies and tv W10

 

In Windows 8.1, there were multiple store apps that supported the Play To feature. MediaMonkey, VLC, etc. This functionality isn’t present for these apps in Windows 10 and these apps have other issues under Windows 10. So as of now, I really don’t have a way to stream Music to my DLNA devices OTHER than through Windows File Explorer. And that disturbs me.

Miracast – is it better in Windows 10? Microsoft has made some changes and more of this functionality is handled by the operating system. But many folks in the Windows Insider Forums are actually reporting that systems that worked properly with Miracast under 8.1 aren’t doing so well with Windows 10. On some systems, this may be due to drivers. But it’s worth noting that there are plenty of reports of “not working”.

 

Intel WiDi – Older systems from the Vista era may have included Intel’s proprietary Wireless Display technology. The upgrade disables this apparently and while Microsoft has said that customers can just reinstall the Intel WiDi app, reports from customers say otherwise, that it won’t install.

Bottom line, take a good look at your multimedia streaming needs, watch the Microsoft Forums, and don’t rush out to upgrade on day one.

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