Latest Steps to Recover from Surface Pro 3 9/29 Firmware BSOD Boot Loop

Posted Posted in Surface

 

If you are caught in the looping BSOD boot loop, the latest from Microsoft on fixes to try (in order) are posted at http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfusingwin10/repeated-bsod-after-firmware-update-surface-pro-3/529a1da2-3657-43f9-9af1-81c183650ce4?page=7&msgId=f76680cd-ee75-41a7-a1e4-38ffe3ac6b72 

This fix has undergone several iterations. For convenience, here’s a capture of the latest version of instructions:

 

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Recovery from Windows 10 Surface Pro 3 Firmware Update

Posted Posted in Surface

 

I had a bad experience with the September 29 firmware update for the Surface Pro 3 (bot not as bad as some). Unlike many other folks, my own wireless connectivity and speeds have been great with Windows 10, including using the .193 Marvell wireless driver. That was not the case for many, and a fix for some was to find the older .151 driver on the net and roll back to that. Or to use an external 802.11ac USB adapter (as I mentioned in a previous post).

The 9/29 firmware was unexpected as there had been one on 9/15. I installed it and rebooted and the wireless was MIA. I rebooted a second time and had connectivity, but it was intermittent, slow, and unreliable. Fortunately, I had the older zip files and drivers and was able to re-install the .193 driver and regain my great connectivity.

But this was not the case for others. Reports started appearing on the Surface Answers Forum and customers were reporting loss of wireless, BSOD loops and failed firmware updates in Windows Update history.

I sent emails to Microsoft on the issues and was forwarding threads for several days. The update was pulled on Friday I believe. (Edit 10/5/2015: I’m told it was pulled on 10/1, but if the computer has already pulled it down from WU, it can install anytime up to 10 days later). Customers are reporting getting hosed again but the update was probably already on their system awaiting installation.A couple of bad files were posted for SP3/W10 – both a zip and MSI file – neither of which contain wireless or bluetooth drivers for the SP3. This means there are no drivers posted on Microsoft’s site officially for Surface Pro 3 owners running Windows 10. I’ve always thought (and asked) that Microsoft should post all the drivers and leave older drivers available for those that need them.

Word came down that doing a system restore should get people up again followed by running the MSI to get the firmware/drivers installed, and the Forum owner posted that after doing a system restore, running the MSI file would take care of the issues. This has not been the case for many. And even getting to System Restore has been a problem for some.

Microsoft posted two files for 9/29. I looked inside and there are NO drivers for wireless or bluetooth. As of right now, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826 has two files you should not use:

badfirmware

 

Here’s the best fix (minus the step to run the MSI) to get out from under the BSOD groundhog day issue if you are still impacted AND can get to System Restore or if you are having issues after this firmware update:

“1.Boot Surface using USB recovery media.  If you do not have recovery media you can download from here:  http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/warranty-service-and-recovery/downloadablerecoveryimage.  Once you have recovery media proceed to next steps.
2.Press and hold the volume-down button while you press and release the power button.  When the Surface logo appears release the volume-down button.
3.When prompted select the language and keyboard layout you want.
4.Select Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, followed by selecting System Restore then select the target operating system.
5.Use a system restore point prior to applying the System Firmware update.  Edit 10/5/2015: Be sure to use a restore point 9/28/2015 or earlier.
6.After moving to an earlier restore point you should boot into Windows.“

If you can’t get to restore or don’t have a restore point, it is going to get ugly. I already see this on the Answers Forum. I don’t have a magic bullet and I don’t know if Microsoft is working over the weekend on this.

Windows 10 WiFi Issues with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3

Posted Posted in Windows 10

 

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 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

Posted Posted in Windows 10

 

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

 

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4. Next, select Set up under Windows Hello

 

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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.

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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?)

Posted Posted in Windows 10

 

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.