/ windows

Windows 10: installation and bugs

Oh boy. Windows 10.

Check out my comments regarding privacy on Windows 10 here

Here we go

On July 29th, Microsoft released the weird Windows upgrade ever. I'm old school, so I like to have my system upgrades from some kind of media (optical medias or, more recently, flash drives). But now I'm not a student anymore, so I can't really get my hands into a free copy of Windows from MSDN-AA (aka DreamSpark). The solution? Accept their weirdly free upgrade.

I don't consider myself a standard user: I wanted to have Windows 10 as soon as possible, and not wait forever in that queue of distribution. So I download the media creation tool and decided to make it upgrade my system. CDNs were extremely slow, so my download took a while (1~2h). Eventually, the thing started. Turns out the setup was in German. I know my previous copy of Windows was from Germany, but it was an English version. I couldn't accept that. I looked the log files (yes, there are log files!) and saw that the setup select de-de as language. After some hacking, a lot of regional settings changed to English, I managed to get it to install the en-US version. First problem gone.

Oh, in case you're wondering: the download is using HTTP, not HTTPS, but the file seems to be encrypted. There's a decryption key on the log file at least. Enjoy! :-)

Installing the system as an upgrade with full reset was pretty straightforward. But then it started behaving weirdly: some stuff wouldn't install properly, webcam software (from Microsoft) would crash on setup, etc. Also, the system decided that my username (as in %username% and C:\Users\%username%) should be not Ricardo. Come on, even the Technical Preview used Ricardo as my username! I gave up and decided to try again next day.

Next day, after dicussing with some colleagues at work what happened, I got some ideas. I decided to reset the system (again, pretty straightforward, I liked that) and reconfigure it. First thing was to change the username, which is pretty easy. Second thing was to install some drivers and reboot all the time. That fixed some setup issues. CDNs were still slow, so you can imagine the painful process of downloading things at 7kb/s. Yes, really slow. But finally, I had a fully working system: uhhhh, fancy GUI! :-)

Languages and keyboards

So, my regional settings were configured to Germany, since I was living in Germany with this computer. After the installation, it was set to the United States settings. I decided to change it to the Brazilian ones, since I'm now living in Brazil. Yeah, that's ok, let's just change it. Oh, but wait, they changed it! And guess what, they synced my settings from the Technical Preview with the Release: and they are kinda screwed up! Yey! So let's reconfigure the OS: system language should be English, regional settings should be Brazilian Portuguese. After some painful process of changing everything and rebooting, everything looked fine. Except that it wasn't: keyboard layouts.

For some weird reason, I kinda like to use a German keyboard. They have a weird layout and they're just terrible for coding. Extremely terrible. But they're nice to write in German, of course. Oh, and you can't really write in Portuguese: there's no ç or ã. Some dead keys are all screwed up.

While I was in Germany, I designed a new keyboard layout using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator, which is a really cool tool. There I added everything I wanted to write in Portuguese, plus some random extras. After configuring and testing the whole thing, it worked. On Windows 10, I installed the same layout, so I could write in Portuguese: it didn't work. I even rebuilt the package for it, but it wouldn't work at all. Turns out that, since Windows 8, you have to reboot to make Windows load that layout. Seriously, what the hell?

Anyway, so after reconfiguring the whole thing, I now have a system in English that accepts stuff being written in English, Germand and Portuguese, and using Brazilian regional settings. That's exactly what I wanted. Except Windows 10 can't deal with that:

Start Menu

Take a look at the new shiny Start Menu. You have Search and Settings, but you also have Rechner (calculator) and Sprachrekorker (some kind of speach recorder). Oh, and take a look at the Wetter (weather) on the right: it's in German! But my system is in English, as you can see by the Back option at the end of the menu.

... what the hell, Microsoft?



Note: your mileage may vary.

I need to post this meme I made once at work before I continue:

Bugs, bugs everywhere

As we all expect, Windows 10 should come with some bugs. There is some weird behavior going on. I'm gonna list the last ones I remember. They're just... weird.

  1. Without a video driver for my graphics card (CDN from NVIDIA was down as well that day), the new, shiny and weird Microsoft Edge couldn't open. I know it opens because I did it once, but on my system it simply couldn't open. At all. It would open and close itself for unknown reasons. Well, that's awkward. And yes, I wanted to use it to download another Browser. Sorry about that, Microsoft.

  2. I wanted to restart my system because of the previous bug, so I went to the Start Menu, Power and... nope, it crashed. The Start Menu just stopped working. It didn't really crash, as in a software crash, but something internally wasn't working properly. The Power menu (sleep, shutdown and restart) wasn't opening. At all. All I wanted was to restart. Ok, that's fine, a simple Win+R, followed by a shutdown -t 0 -r, fixed the issue.

  3. I have a HD webcam from Microsoft. I really like it. The microphone is insanely good for conversations (not great for playing guitar, though). Windows Update usually installs the Microsoft LifeCam software. Guess what? The installer crashes and fails to install! Yes, it's a setup file from Microsoft and from Windows Update! How can they publish something like that? Oh well. Oh, and btw, the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center sometimes also crashes during installation, but the second time I tried (after a reset), it worked. Go figure.

Also, some applications behave weirdly now. My biggest example is VirtualBox 5.0: it crashes way too much. If I try to mount an image on it while the VM is running, it crashes. If I ignore some warnings about broken shared folders, it crashes with an exception (nice!). But just like Windows, I believe they'll start rolling out some patches in the next weeks to fix all those bugs. Everything is new and noone really knows what is going on. There's just way too much stuff to recompile, port, adapt, fix bugs and even rewrite. Just like any other new Windows release, it's going to take a while until it's stable. Let's wait and see.