Quick guide on upgrading a WinBook TW700 to Windows 10

It’s rather tricky to get Windows 10 onto a WinBook TW700, between WIMBoot’s inefficiency, the inability to delete things from the preload, and the limited storage available on a TW700, so I thought I’d write this quick guide on how to get the device updated. These instructions should work on any WIMBoot device – or, for that matter, any Windows 8.1 Update (and possibly earlier versions of Windows, I’m not sure if Win10 will run from 8.0 or 8.1 pre-Update) device that’s short on space. Please note that your profile and apps will NOT be migrated – I’d use User State Migration Tool, from Windows 10’s Assessment and Deployment Kit, to save profiles, and then restore them after you have the device reloaded. I’ve not used USMT in quite a few years, though.

Following this procedure will result in the loss of all data and applications on the device, and I will not be held responsible for data loss as a result. You are responsible for ensuring that you can get everything restored.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two USB thumb drives of 8 GiB or larger capacity (one of these may not be necessary)
  • A MicroSD card or a third USB thumb drive of 8 GiB or larger capacity
  • A USB hub, keyboard, and mouse (shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s useful in case something goes wrong)

Here’s the procedure that I followed in a nutshell:

  1. Create a USB recovery drive and put it in a safe place. This will allow you to go back to the factory preload at any time. This is a good practice even if you plan on staying on Windows 8.1.
  2. Reset your PC (Microsoft directions, go to “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”). This is necessary to get free space back.
  3. When the Out-of-Box Experience comes up, connect to a wireless network, but do not log in using a Microsoft account (you don’t want any OneDrive data downloaded), and disable Windows Update (you do not want updates taking up the storage space you just freed).
  4. Use the Media Creation Tool on another Windows machine to create a install USB drive for Windows 10 Home 32-bit English (US), then connect that USB drive to the tablet and run setup.exe on it. You may not need to do this, it may be possible to use the Media Creation Tool’s ability to update the computer it’s running on, but I played it safe.
  5. The Windows 10 installer will mention that you need more space to install. Either use a USB hub to connect another thumb drive, or insert a MicroSD card, and select that drive in the installer.
  6. I personally chose to change the settings that would have migrated my profile and apps, and chose to only install the OS. This one’s up to you, though.
  7. Proceed to wait a while, while Windows 10 is installed. There may be a few points where the device freezes during boot, just shut the device off by holding the power button down, then release the power button, wait 5 seconds, and press it again, it will proceed normally.
  8. Go through the Out-of-Box Experience and adjust settings to your liking. Once this is complete, the device may be sluggish for a while, as it’s performing a lot of background tasks (updates, driver installations, and the like). Let it complete these before continuing.
  9. Delete your previous version of Windows. Why keep it around, when it’s just the preload missing the software that came with it, and you’ve got a thumb drive with the USB recovery drive?
  10. Somewhere along the way, a driver update will have happened, and Windows will have decided to run at 125% zoom. If you like this, leave it alone. If you don’t, go to Settings, System, Display, and change the size of text, apps, and other items to 100%. Do note that Modern UI apps are rendered smaller than in Windows 8 (and currently don’t appear to respect the system scaling setting), and Universal apps tend to have smaller UI elements than Modern UI apps did in Windows 8. However, Win32 apps are rendered the same at 100% as in Windows 8. This one’s up to personal preference, really.

That’s all there is to it. (Well, there may need to be a Bluetooth driver update, I haven’t checked that fully yet…) There’s still some glitches in Win10 (the on-screen keyboard only really works the way it did before when in a Universal app – Modern UI apps at 100% don’t quite behave right, and Win32 apps don’t move out of the way at all), but generally, things should work. And, it’s faster, lower RAM usage, and lower disk usage than before (Win10 has a much better compression mechanism).

WinBook TW700 first impressions, survival guide

So, Micro Center is selling Windows 8.1 tablets for $60. No, really. That includes a Windows license, a quad core Atom (that’s right, this isn’t even RT), an IPS display, and a friggin’ Office 365 Personal license (even with rights to install on a desktop or laptop)! Now, it does only have 1 GiB RAM, and worse, only 16 GiB of eMMC, so there were corners cut. However, even with those limitations, the price really does seem a bit too good to be true.

Then again, it’s only $60, and Micro Center does take returns (and there are plenty of open box units for $48, although I strongly suggest avoiding those for a couple of reasons), so… I ultimately couldn’t resist (if nothing else, it’ll be a decent device for running the excellent VCDS Volkswagen diagnostic tool by Ross-Tech), and I’m typing this post on it. Continue reading

What’s going on with the HP TouchPad?

So, most likely, you’ve heard by now that HP announced on Thursday that they are discontinuing all of their webOS hardware. (I’m gonna single-source most of this, simply because it’s easier, and I generally like This Is My Next’s reporting. They link to their sources, so…)

Friday, reports began coming in that the TouchPad was being fire-saled at $99 and $149. At this price, they’re already sold out almost everywhere… except they keep popping back up in stock. And, HP’s site has a notifier for when they come back in stock – and it’s clearly aware of the fire sale.

What’s going on here?

So, when I heard that HP was discontinuing their webOS hardware, I first thought that webOS was doomed – after all, if the hardware was discontinued, nobody will want to touch the ecosystem, even any potential licensees (which HP has claimed they’re trying to do).

But, I think this is something different entirely.

I think one of two things has happened:

  1. HP was lying about discontinuing their webOS hardware. What’s interesting is that they’re coming back in and out of stock, here. Why would that be, if the hardware isn’t being made any more? And, they just updated things the day before shitcanning all of their hardware to say that the TouchPad 4G was coming out
  2. HP already has a licensee lined up.

If they’re lying about discontinuing their webOS hardware, this was one hell of a way to build a huge install base quickly – and now developers can’t say “nobody has webOS devices”. The fact that a product that HP is taking a massive loss on is being “found in warehouses” tells me this might be the case.

If they already have a licensee lined up, they need to keep the platform alive until that licensee is churning out hardware. So, the same strategy works – loss-leader TouchPads for everyone!

Only time will tell what’s actually right, though…

Mac OS is the new Apple II, iOS is the new Mac OS

This is a thought that I’ve actually had for a while now, but I thought I’d put it in a blog entry.

There’s plenty of signs, in my opinion, that within 5 years, there will be no more Mac OS, or it will be a niche OS for developers and such. Instead, iOS will be Apple’s main platform. And, Apple’s target market will embrace this change.

So, you’re asking, what evidence do I have for this happening? Read after the break, and you’ll see my evidence. Some of this is sourced from rumors, but some isn’t. It’s not in any particular order, either – just because I have it listed earlier doesn’t mean it’s more important. Continue reading

Why tablets suck, and have set us back over a century

Tablet computers are being marketed as one of the most innovative computing devices yet, but, in my opinion, there are some fatal flaws with the concept, as a mainstream computing device.

There are applications where such devices are useful, but the trend towards tablets as potentially replacing desktop and laptop personal computers, or “tabletification” of those platforms (see what’s going on with Windows 8 for an example of that) is, in my opinion, hazardous.

So, I’d like to discuss why this is such a bad idea. I won’t bring up any specific tablet OS, other than as examples to illustrate my point, however – this isn’t meant to be a slam against specific OSes, but rather against the trend of tabletification itself. Jump past the break for a breakdown of what I see wrong with the tablet concept. Continue reading

Why Apple is evil: Claiming that jailbreaking caused an iPad to dangerously overheat

This is a disturbing one.

A reader of The Tech Report has reported that his iPad’s charging cable melted, and the iPad itself got dangerously hot – to the point that he reflexively dropped it, causing the screen to crack.

So, he took it into his local Apple Store, expecting a replacement.

But that didn’t happen.

The Apple Store rep noticed a Cydia icon on the screen. At that point, the reader was told that his device was completely not covered under warranty, and that the crack also meant that it wasn’t covered – never mind that the crack was caused by the overheating incident.

Here’s the thing. Let’s say that the iPad did overheat due to software. It should still have thermal protection circuits to protect users from fire hazards. The fact that those failed means that Apple should at the very least make this go away, because otherwise it’s bad PR. Oh, wait. Apple didn’t make it go away, and now it’s bad PR time.

The other thing is… Apple has a burden of proof, under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, that the jailbreaking caused the machine to fail. If they can’t prove it, then they’ll be forced to replace the iPad.

Seriously, Apple, this is just getting ridiculous. (And there’ll be another article later today.)