Winning my Windows 10 War on the HP Stream


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For the past few months I’ve been struggling to get the HP Stream updated.  The single biggest barrier was the hard drive issue since its capped at 32GB.  This is the one thing that I can’t upgrade either since its part of the motherboard rather than being a component.  I knew what I had to do, I had to find a way to reinstall Windows on this laptop.  When I originally bought the computer, it came with Windows and I upgraded it to Windows 10.  Now whats neat about the licensing now is that I don’t need a license key if I reinstall Windows on the same machine.  That took a little bit of research since its not apparent when just rummaging through settings screens.

There is a neat tool that Microsoft provides now where you can make a bootable USB drive with Windows 10 on it so that you can reinstall it nice and clean on a computer.  I attempted to do this with a 4GB flash drive since that was the minimum requirement on the website but I kept on getting into trouble with an error message.  After a little more research, the minimum requirements stated by MS is incorrect.  I actually needed something closer to an 8GB flash drive and thats not something that I have handy.  I started looking to get another flash drive just to make this tool work.  The last thing that I wanted to do was to spend more money since I only needed it to reimage the computer this one time.  After doing some rummaging in my desk drawers, I found a USB micro SD card adapter.  I also remembered I had an empty 32GB micro SD card in the HP Stream.  I thought that maybe I can fake out the MS tool and install it on the micro SD card.  I gave it a go and surprisingly it worked out!  I think it was the the increased size that helped me create the installer since it had more room.

Next challenge was actually installing it.  As part of the original image for the computer, about 1/4 of the space is dedicated to a recovery partition.  I’ve never used it before and the last time that I tried to delete it I bricked the computer.  Being a little gun shy, I decided to run the installer AND delete all the partitions on the drive so there was only one partition left.  Surprisingly there were about 4 partitions on the drive and I had to delete them all.  Since I had something to do today, I left the installer to run the entire day and when I came back it looked like Windows installed just fine.  It just needed to do some updates and since I deleted the partitions to recover a ton of space and didn’t bother with a recovery partition I had almost 10 gigs of space, just what I needed to do the updates!  The rest of the setup was smooth but time consuming.  I downloaded Chrome again and had to uninstall a ton of apps that come pre-loaded with Windows 10 which took me another few hours but overall things are working again and for the better.

The amount of time it takes to re-install everything from scratch on a laptop is definitely something I don’t like spending time on.  It used to be a lot worse with floppy disks or even CD’s so relatively this was less painful.  The fact that there wasn’t any data to transfer definitely sped things along, my daughter doesn’t “create” things on her computer, its just to do her homework on the web.  When she starts “creating”, I’m going to teach her how to use the cloud so I can just blow away the computer when it starts to slow down or is infected by a virus (hopefully none of these things happen).  Whats great is that I’m doing this blog post from the HP Stream and it doesn’t suck!  I tried doing this when I was having memory problems and it was so slow I gave up and did it on the Mac.  I hope my daughters programs run better now, I’ve been using her iPad more for her streaming videos since the HP Stream couldn’t pre-load the video on the hard drive.  I’ll test it later this week to see if reinstalling Windows solved the problem.  Now I have no reason for a new computer until the desktop is truly dead, its getting there since I can’t open any MS Office files and Photoshop still hangs and does nothing.  An SSD would fix it but its time to go mobile!  Well also if there is some nasty security thing that Apple won’t update on my Mac, then that would be another reason to get a new computer 🙂

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