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Monday, November 30, 2015

Windows 10 and Me. The ongoing saga. Final update 3/21/2016

My PC died and the Landcaster said I should buy a new computer.  He loaned me a Mac, but this old dog had some issues with learning new tricks (software) so I got a Surface Book pre-installed with Win10 and Nvidia discrete GPU.  This will be an ongoing post of some issues and how they got solved.  So far there have been only minor annoying bugs. I rather like investigating the fixes and trying them out.   There are new updates frequently so I assume Microsoft is working on them as well.  I have 90 days to schedule an appointment at the Microsoft help desk but have avoided them so far. So far I can't say any of these issues are actually Win10 issues. 

1.  In Firefox, I got a message that the application had been blocked from accessing graphics software.  This seemed to be solved.  I had to un-install the Nvida drivers, then re-install them.  It was a little fussy doing this and the Lancaster had to step in.  Win 10 wouldn't just recognize video card and load the new drivers but they were eventually installed manually.

2.  Time was always wrong.  I messed with the time settings.  The zone, the time.  It would be fine for the moment, but always slowed down.  By morning I was a hour off.  I tried a couple of servers to synchronize the time with, but got an error that the synchronization failed.  I finally tried this method and the time finally seems to be fixed.

3. Everything seemed hunky dory until I let the computer sleep for several hours.When the laptop woke up the second monitor did not.   I'm still working on this one.  On shutdown and restart the second monitor was detected.  I have turned hibernation off but will have to see what happens next time the system sleeps.  Well that didn't work, so now I have edited the display settings to "extended" under multiple displays, and "sleep never" in power and sleep in the PC mode.  Well that didn't work either.  The microsoft knowledge base says "On waking from sleep, your Surface may have trouble reconnecting to an external display. To fix this, unplug the video cable from the Mini DisplayPort and plug it back in again. This can also affect daisy-chained monitors."  I don't think it's a cable problem but I'll have to try it.
Waah.  I checked with the help desk and my monitor is one of the Dell models that is not compatible with Surface Book.  Here is the the complete list: 
Dell: *U2715Hc *U2515Hc (Only FW revision A00-A01. A03 is good) *U2415b *U3415W (disable DP 1.2)
Phillips: 288P6L
Samsung: U28D590D
So the work around is to not let the 'puter sleep, or if it does sleep to deeply, unplug the dock and plug it back in.  Or consider just using the laptop monitor, or buying a new monitor.  Sigh.  At least it's not a fatal error.

4.  Jan 13, 2016.  Firefox was freezing off and on and I suspected it had something to do with Shockwave Flash.  I finally uninstalled it after reading Win 10 had it's own flash.  Yesterday I plugged in a new usb/bluetooth device, headphones just to charge..  After that I started having freezzes, and finally BSOD.  The Landcaster was called in.  The Nvidia driver was inconsistently loading.  I was not looking forward to a day with Micorsoft support.  Finally I decided to stop using the external monitor and just let it be a laptop like it wants to be.  So far no freezes.  Time will tell.    Again, this doesn't not seem to be a Win10 problem, but a hardware issues.

5.  March 17, 2016.  I continued to get blue screens, random freezes have problems with the book finding the discrete nvidia drivers.   I spent time with Mellow at Microsoft support who commandeered my system and ran a bunch of updates.  Seems Windows updates automatically, but the Surface system hardware/firmware does not.  I hope this fixes the problem.  3/20/2016.  After chatting with another Microsoft person I finally went down to work with a real live person.  It was determined that I may have a hardware issue so I'm going through setting up a brand new Book.  So far so good.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

6.  March 21/2016.  After suffering enough, I made an appointment with a live "expert" and after updating more things and looking up my warranty, I got a replacement.  There were no refurbished ones so I got a new Surface Book.  Let me tell I feel better about it already.  The Nvidia gpu seems to be happy now. 

So in the end, none of my woes had anything to do with Windows 10.  I just happened to get a lemon with hardware issues. Over and out:)