Leaving Windows 3.1

Today is a great day, I’ve finally completed migrating all my years of calendar entries in the archaic “Calendar.exe” format. (For the moment only over to simple textfiles, but later they’re going into the personal diary-blog).

Reading all these old entries while copying them by hand brings back so many memories, sometimes from happier times, sometimes not.

However, from a more technical perspective this means not only will I finally be finished with Windows 3.1 emulation, I can also leave Windows XP mode (which was the only way to run calendar.exe), and thereby I can also in turn leave Windows 7, which I used for running the XP-machine. Not bad.

(Except I should have done this a long time ago, so it hadn’t prevented me from upgrading my only Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 10 while upgrades still were free).

And for my next challenge I believe I’ll be trying to find a way of migrating calendars from Lotus Organizer over to something readable on my current platforms.

First Major Update for Windows 10

While waiting for the Windows 10 November update to resolve my Xbox problems, I’ve tried to see what’s really in it for me, besides a lengthy time-wasting upgrade period and up to then a lot of non-working apps, like the Xbox app.

Microsoft says,

  • that the new update improves performance over Windows 7, which for me is irrelevant since I noted that already in the original upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. So, nothing new there.
  • that there are new features in Cortana, which to my knowledge still isn’t available in Sweden. So, nothing new there, either.
  • that there are new features in Edge, however Edge is still not on par with Firefox in areas such as syncing my favorites, offering addons and plugins. So any news in Edge is a waste of time for me.
  • there’s also said to be a lot of upgrades to
    • mail (don’t use it since I use Office365)
    • calendar (don’t use it either)
    • Groove (what’s that…?)
    • Xbox (hm, ok, it starts to work again, that’s nice)
    • Store (haven’t seen much news yet, still a lot of unuseful apps)
    • OneNote (nice, but I use the OneNote 2016 in Office365)
    • Solitaire (oh well, one for the kids, maybe)
    • Photos (not sure what’s new but that’s nice, sometimes I even open it and look, mostly though what I see of it is the icon on the start menu, but I guess it’s good anyway)
  • And then there’s supposed to be a lot of updates for office users, which I am not, (on these computers).

So, essentially it’s a major upgrade to resolve a login problem caused by another update, to offer me a new photo icon on the start menu, and maybe give the kids some news in playing solitaire.

I still like Windows 10, but I hope the next major update brings me something more useful.

I used to update because I needed to, now I update because I’m forced

Earlier versions of Windows gave me the opportunity to patch and install updates frequently, in order to keep the system stable and secure. And I did update as soon as possible.

With Windows 10 this has changed, now I update because I am forced to. Since I can’t block patches. Like a few weeks ago, in mid-october, when KB3097617 was released, and Explorer.exe started to hang on my Windows 10 Pro machine, (though luckily not on the ones running Windows 10 Home). Typically like this, if any dialogbox shows up at all.

Explorer.exe system hang 2015-11-28 2

Add to this now the latest upgrades of apps, which I can’t stop, which upgrades the Xbox app from version 9-something to 11-something, after which it won’t login any more. Instead just giving a green screen, and nothing else can be done, no buttons, no logout, nothing.

Xbox wont log in 2015-11-28

At first I thought I had a corrupt user profile. But then by coincidence one of the computers downloaded the Windows 10 November update, which oddly made the Xbox app start to work again.

Now if only I could force the other computers to download the November update instead of just waiting for it to happen magically at the time of Microsofts choosing.

This new enforced upgrade policy is starting to get slightly annoying, loosing me time not being able to run software I have paid for, loosing time troubleshooting things I shouldn’t have to, and loosing time waiting for updates I cannot force install. Time I could use for many other things.

 

Office 2016 was released today

Office 2016 was released today and I didn’t have the patience to wait for any automatic upgrades to kick in, so I logged in to my account page and launched the installation from there (with the added benefit that the page finally updated itself to show correct OS-version, previously it kept insisting I was still running Windows 8.1 even though I upgraded to Windows 10 as soon as it was released).

So far there’s not much to say, installation worked smoothly, launching Outlook and OneNote with retained settings and, well… if not the color schemes I had hoped for, then at least more color and more contrast.

Beyond that I’ve yet to experiment with the new online apps which are not downloaded, namely “Sway” and “Docs.com” which are linked from the Office365 homepage.

Sway at first glance looked like an enhanced Powerpoint-meets-Wordpress storyline kind of thing. Quite nice and possibly something I’ll test out more later on.

Docs.com I’ve still to understand what it really is, it requires a separate registration, so is it part of Microsofts Live.com or not? And it offers unlimited free space, how does that compete with OneDrive, and if it’s true what use do I have for a paid Office365 subscription? But I don’t think it’s actually free, few things are and they often come with commercials and ads instead, and then I prefer the small cost of my subscription.

But I still want more color schemes. (Preferrably the dark red one from outlook.com!)

Fully upgraded to Windows 10, and it’s working great!

Fully upgraded to Windows 10, and it’s working great!

The household is now fully upgraded to Windows 10.

I upgraded my third and last (out of those that can be upgraded, sadly the Surface can’t), and most important computer to Windows 10. After having had some glitches with the graphics driver on both previous upgrades and also hearing about a friends total crash and burn with her upgrade I wasn’t exactly nervous, but still not entirely sure how this would work out.

Especially since this computer runs an Iris HD touch screen graphics card, which the upgrader reported as non-compliant and would be replaced with a factory default driver, and I had unsuccessfully tried to upgrade or replace the driver already on Windows 8.1, since ASUS did not release any newer driver (yet). So I was expecting some functionality drop, at least until a new driver was released, and hoped that touch screen would still work.

As it turned out, the entire upgrade was extremely fast, download and upgrade in all took about 15 minutes, it felt almost faster than waiting for the first login screen. (“Stand by. We’re doing some things…”), and the new graphics driver that came with Windows 10 is actually light years better than the old OEM version, it has less 3rd party tools to manage settings (even though the old Iris control panel for some reason hasn’t been removed and pops up in some scenarios) and it also scales graphics to actual screen size much better than the OEM driver did. And all touch functionality remains. Total win for this one!

Another thing that had been causing me some trouble was OneDrive. None of those happened here. OneDrive correctly identified all previous settings and started to sync files. It seems Windows 8.1 must have missed quite a lot of files, I knew some were missed but not the full extent, since it reported it needed to download 65 GB of missing documents and pictures. But I let it run in the background through the evening and after that all seems to be in order. Except I now need a larger hardddrive…

So, this far most things seems to be running smoothly, at least the important things are. Still I’ve noticed a few small remaining glitches or things that could work better

  • One computer won’t run Store, I’ve read there’s a patch about to be released for that so I’ll just wait and see.
  • Favorites/bookmark sync between Edge and “all the other browsers” is not yet there, prior to upgrade I had full sync between 4 computers and 2 devices and between Firefox, IE11 and Safari of all bookmarks. Edge is the missing item here, I’d really like to see a native sync between IE and Edge, or as second best that XMarks updates and adds Edge to their sync mechanism. Or. Scratch first option, I’d like to sync with master source on XMarks.
  • I’d like to know what keeps changing my username to my email adress all the time, not that it’s a big problem it’s just that on the login screen I see the family’s names except mine which is my email adress. It’s just odd.
  • I’d like to get comfortable enough to upgrade the “compatibility” PC I’ve kept running Windows 7 (since it also runs a virtual Windows XP in order to support an old Windows 3 (!) application. Or I should really take the time to finalize migrating data from that app…)
  • And I’d like to see an upgrade path for Surface RT. Actually not an upgrade path to Windows 10, more an upgrade path that said something along the lines of “return your failed device here and get a new shiny Surface 3 in exchange”)

But apart from that, things are working quite well right now. It feels like there’s less tinkering and fixing than before, and more time to actually do things.

Second computer upgraded to Windows 10

Second computer upgraded to Windows 10

Two out of three done, the second computer never downloaded the boot.wim file, or at least that’s what the setup stated was missing. So I ran the manual upgrade tool which worked perfectly, and the setup was even smoother this time than the first time even if this was a Windows 7 computer with local user rather than a Windows 8.1 computer with a Windows Live account.

So far no problem encountered except the same NVIDIA driver issue as the first computer had, which was easy to sort out. Next in line would be the third computer which has an unsupported Intel graphics adapter where ASUS has yet to release a supported driver, that could become a bit more challenging.

First computer upgraded to Windows 10

First computer upgraded to Windows 10

I’ve upgraded the first of my computers to Windows 10, the others have not yet gotten the option to upgrade but that’s no problem since I can then spend a bit more time learning and fixing any issues on the first PC for the time being.

The upgrade worked very smooth in itself, it paused for quite some time detecting devices and for a moment I thought the process was hanging, but then it resumed and upgrade finished without any glitches. At least at first glance.

Then I noticed the poor screen resolution and discovered the graphics driver must have failed to install. And after login that proved to be the case. The Microsoft and NVIDIA drivers battled a short while for control over who gets to be in the driver seat, but soon things seemed to be settled with NVIDIA as the winning driver.

Windows 10: NVIDIA driver

That’s where things went wrong and in retrospect I must blame myself as well. This is when the OneDrive upgrade started, and I didn’t check the fine print well enough, since I didn’t notice that it defaulted to the C: drive, even though in the existing installation I had moved the folder to D: due to its size. So the installation process started to create a new folder structure, and for unknown reason this failed too, leaving me with one failed OneDrive which refused to sync, and one giant unused OneDrive datafolder.

After some searching I happened on this most excellent article on how to initiate a reinstallation/reset of OneDrive, which turned out to be just what I needed, in one go I cleared up both problems and now I have OneDrive syncing properly and located on the right drive. Though I must confess I’m not entirely comfortable with the new design that only synced folders are visible, I would really like to see non-synced foldes in order to be able to add files to them even if I don’t want to download the entire folder contents.

But, all in all, for the moment all basic things seems to be running. (Except my 3rd-party antivirus was uninstalled and replaced with Windows Defender, but I’ll think about reinstalling it later).

And now on to find all the new and fun stuff…!

Windows 10: Here we go!

Update 1: I’ve noticed a few glitches, mainly right now concerning user accounts. All other user accounts on the computer seems to work fine (except several of the kids apps are failing). For my own accounts however, it’s quite annoying that the display name keeps changing from full name to email adress. And I’ve found no way to change it, I even ran NETPLWIZ.EXE and set the account properties but they got removed at next login, so it’s “something” unknown that keeps changing the name. And it all started when I reinstalled OneDrive, so that’s were my primary suspicions lie.

Update 2: I’ve also seen the new Store and several apps fail, for both myself, I cannot make or install purchases, not even for free apps. (They get added to the list of purchased items, but they never install.), and also for the kids where some apps (mainly Microsoft games) fail to run, and requests reinstallation, which I can do, but they still fail to either run, or fail to install. And there are tons of popups to re-authenticate with Xbox Live, hopefully this is only due to some overload, and not a sign that Windows 10 is this glitchy permanently.

Update 3: It also seems the Family functions in the accounts are broken, I’ve had to reenable the link to the kids accounts on this computer, which seems fine since the disconnection was due to the upgrade, but the links on the SurfaceRT are also broken. But I guess I’ll just live with that for now, it’s only SurfaceRT so far and it’s mostly useless anyway.