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  • Even Charlie Kindel gets the Surface Laptop 3/Surface Dock blues

    Posted on November 8th, 2019 at 11:02 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (Yes, that Charlie Kindel – Windows Home Server, Alexa, Control4)

  • Bowman: How to update the Marvell driver for your Surface — without installing Win10 version 1909

    Posted on October 28th, 2019 at 14:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There’s a detailed, step-by-step explanation in this new video from Barb Bowman.

    There are quite a few folks desperate for fixed Marvell Wi-Fi drivers for Surface devices following bad drivers that were sent down through Windows Update in early August. The greatest impact seems to be on mesh type networks. You can, or course, roll back the bad driver. But if you need to test the “fixme” version, and intend to stay on 1903 until 1909 is “proven safe for mankind” (so to speak), there is an option.

    It seems possible to join the Insiders Preview Ring to get the “fixed” Marvell Wi-Fi drivers for Surface devices without being forced to download and install 1909 if you are already running 1903. 1909 “should” be offered as an optional update and I’ve made a short video explaining the steps, as there are multiple restarts in addition to the specific order of steps that need to be followed. I’ve tested this and it works for me. I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but the worst that can happen is, if you are running 1903 and 1909 does install, you can open the classic Control Panel, Programs and Features, view Installed Updates, and UNINSTALL the 1909 update.

    Neat trick – and a safe way to get the drivers that’ll fix your WiFi.

  • Watch out for non-MS Surface Pro 7 (and Surface Laptop 3?) drivers

    Posted on October 27th, 2019 at 09:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

  • Microsoft fixes some NEC compatibility problems, but keeps the 1903 upgrade block in place

    Posted on October 25th, 2019 at 11:26 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    NEC was a major PC manufacturer, back in the time of pterodactyls. These days, not so much. But that doesn’t let them off the hook for compatibility problems.

    Microsoft just announced that it’s worked with NEC to fix a compatibility problem that kept NEC computers from working with Win10 version 1903. Quoth the Release Information Status page:

    Safeguard on certain devices with some Intel and Broadcom Wi-Fi adapters

    Microsoft and NEC have found incompatibility issues with Intel Centrino 6205/6235 and Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi cards when running Windows 10, version 1903 on specific models of NEC devices. If these devices are updated to Windows 10, version 1903, they will no longer be able to use any Wi-Fi connections. The Wi-Fi driver may have a yellow exclamation point in device manager. The task tray icon for networking may show the icon for no internet and Network & Internet settings may not show any Wi-Fi networks.

    Because of that problem, Microsoft has been blocking Win10 1903 upgrades on NEC machines with the afflicted hardware.

    Now comes word that MS has fixed the problem. It’s resolved in this month’s second, optional, non-security cumulative update for 1903, KB 4522355 (although the fix isn’t mentioned in the KB article).

    Microsoft’s keeping the upgrade block in place until “mid-November,” no doubt waiting for next month’s first cumulative update, which should include the fix.

  • Win10 version 1903 cumulative update bug and stuttering ASUS sound cards

    Posted on October 13th, 2019 at 07:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This one’s been brewing under my radar for quite some time, it seems. I remember the “Audio in games is quiet or different than expected” bug introduced by one of the September cumulative updates (and since, apparently, fixed). But this one’s different.

    btarunr at TechPowerUp has a refreshingly direct take on the problem:

    Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) is the pinnacle of neglect and contempt Microsoft has shown towards the all-important audio subsystem of the modern PC. With it, Redmond has one-upped its last big move against audio, by killing the DirectSound hardware pipeline and mongrelizing PC audio under Intel’s lousy and fundamentally anti-competitive Azalia specification that solves common audio compatibility problems under a scorched-earth guiding principle – “kill any feature that could possibly lick our aftersales support budget, by dumping every aspect of audio onto a very restrictive host-signal processing (HSP) architecture, let people come up with their own soft DSPs, because CPUs can handle them.” Windows 1903 proves how this approach wasn’t a silver bullet against PC audio problems, and is fallible…

    He goes on to explain in give-em-both-barrels style how Win10 1903 had a stuttering problem (likely with ASUS cards) that was supposed to be fixed in the second July cumulative update, KB 4505903. But it wasn’t. Those of you who have been hanging out here for a while certainly know that tune.

    I just received an anonymous email from a reader who has an interesting take:

    I’m writing this email because i might have possibly found a workaround solution for those with asus sound cards running under windows 10 v1903. (mine specifially is Xonar AE but as far as i can tell this problem affects many more sound cards from asus).

    Basically the whole thing started with this.  If you dig around, there are many more threads on both asus forums and other places that discuss this problem. I’ve posted my finding on some forums, mailed both asus and microsoft about this, don’t know if they will care enough to fix this.

    Would be great if this was published on your website because you cover a much bigger audience and perhaps posting it would force either microsoft or asus to take action.

    So here’s the solution that works for me:

    Thinking that it might have something to do with latency (as per having read numerous threads about it), i’ve fired up LatencyMon in the hopes of finding what is causing the audio stuttering issue. For some bizarre reason while LatencyMon is running and monitoring latency i’ve had zero audio stuttering for over 5 hours of non stop music listening.

    I’m really not sure how or why running LatencyMon fixes the audio stuttering issue.

    Anybody else in the crowd have the problem? Any idea why running a monitor fixes the stuttering?

  • Surface Neo and Duo – coming a year from now

    Posted on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:46 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I just finished watching the Surface presentation. Most of it was ho-hum, well anticipated (thanks, Evan!), and kind of repetitive. The Surface Pro X (with an ARM chip) is moderately interesting. Mary Jo Foley has details, availability and pricing on ZDNet.

    But then the presentation ended with a bang. Microsoft is finally bringing out the almost-decade-old concept of a mobile machine with side-by-side screens, called Andromeda, er, Surface Neo. Along with Surface Neo, we’ll also get a tweaked version of Win10 called Windows 10 Lite, er, Windows Core OS, uh, Windows 10 X, that supports two interacting side-by-side screens with a hinge in the middle.

    Details are scarce, but Paul Thurrott has a speculative article about Win10X (paywalled). No, Win10X isn’t the son of Win10 in S Mode. (No, Windows 10 X does not run on Surface Pro X. What, you expected any different? UPDATE: The Surface Pro X also isn’t compatible with TypeCovers.)

    That’s kind of cool, albeit a year out. What’s really interesting is the Android phone that Microsoft’s going to deliver in about a year: the Surface Duo. Yes, that’s right: It’s an Android phone, er, device with two side-by-side, interacting and folding screens with a hinge in the middle. Details in Wired.

    As folks get their hands on working prototypes, we’ll have lots more coverage. For now, sit tight. We’ll have lots to discuss as the details hit the fan.

  • The sad saga of Surface problems continues

    Posted on September 19th, 2019 at 04:46 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You’re going to hear a lot about the shiny new Surface devices coming in the next few weeks.

    Should you be tempted to shell out your shekels, be aware of the problems we’ve hit with Surface devices recently — and how Microsoft has (or has not) responded to the complaints.

    Extensive details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    I’ve said it before… I won’t buy — or recommend — a Surface device until Microsoft cleans up its support.

    Thx Barb Bowman!

  • ChromeOS Enterprise

    Posted on August 26th, 2019 at 11:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Google and Dell sittin’ on a tree….

    Big news from both Google and Dell. Tom Warren at The Verge puts it this way:

    Google is launching new Chromebook Enterprise devices that it hopes will draw more businesses away from Windows-powered laptops… Dell is launching Chrome OS on a pair of its popular business-focused Latitude laptops, offering both a regular clamshell design and a 2-in-1 option.. Businesses will be able to choose from Dell’s 14-inch Latitude 5400 ($699) or the 13-inch Latitude 5300 2-in-1 ($819).

    Microsoft keeps promising a new Windows version codenamed LiteOS. It isn’t clear to me at all how LiteOS will be better. When it finally appears.