Reinstalled Windows 10…….again!

img_1430I think this is the 3rd time that I’ve installed Windows 10 on the HP Stream.  The first time was when I did the original upgrade, the second time I was having trouble with the computer itself and just wanted to get it working, and now the third time was because I needed to get more space on the computer.  It occurred to me that the fastest way to get the computer working was to just reinstall windows.  I also noticed that I had a lot of partitions on the SSD that was just eating up space and not providing me any benefit at all so I deleted all of those and created one massive drive to do the install.

The reinstall went pretty well but it took a while to do.  I had to get Windows onto a USB flash drive first, then I had to wipe the computer and then do the installation.  After that was all done a little configuration was needed.  I used to have Chrome installed but I attempted to use just Edge.  That didn’t work so I had to install Firefox so that I could get to the websites that my daughter uses for school.  I also needed to do some driver updates to recognize the microSD card reader so I can save and access files that I had saved before hand.

I now have around 50% of 30GB free (that’s 15GB’s).  That should be enough for the swap file so that the computer doesn’t crash constantly when trying to surf the internet using Firefox.  By no means does this mean that the computer is going to be blazing fast or do all the things that I want it to do but it should be fine for my daughter to start using again.  I wrote in a previous post that I might get a new computer during Black Friday but since I was able to get the HP Stream working again I’m going to save the money.  Once my daughter outgrows the computer, I’m going to try and keep it around.  Whenever I have visitors there always seems to be a need for a computer and I won’t be upset if someone messes it up. I prefer to keep my MacBook Pro as my personal computer (not to mention I don’t need someone messing with my files and settings when they’re just a visitor).

I think its time to get rid of the HP Stream

img_0065I recently went to Best Buy with my daughter so that I could return the Ring Video Doorbell 2 (I would have to do quite a bit of legwork to get the thing mounted and I’m just not handy).  My daughter wanted to come along to play with the computers that are in the demo section.  She seems to really like using the Surface line of computers because you have the ability to draw using the included pen.  Although the real reason that my daughter likes going to Best Buy is because her HP Stream isn’t really working well.

I bought the computer 3 years ago for my daughter so that she could use it for school.  I originally bought it with Windows 7 but since then I’ve upgraded it to Windows 10.  Unfortunately the computer doesn’t have a lot of hard drive space and its been experiencing trouble loading web pages due the low disk space.  The picture in this post shows the hard drive only has about 60MB free which is basically nothing these days.  Because of this issue, videos are not loading on the computer which is preventing my daughter from using it to use it for school.  I’ve thought about trying to reload the computer again and delete all the partitions to start again but I don’t have a big enough flash drive that’s clear to put the Windows 10 ISO file on it.  I also don’t have the free time to do this sort of reload either at the moment because I’ll still experience the low disk space error.

I think that a new computer is in order for the family.  One that my wife and my daughter can both use.  I definitely have some requirements and both of them do.  I think the first part is that the screen needs to allow pen capabilities.  My daughter seems to enjoy drawing on the screen and likes to use my iPad Pro sometimes to make drawings in Paper by 53.  My wife has also expressed that this would be a neat feature to have.  Its definitely going to be a laptop.  This computer is going to potentially replace the desktop as well so all that gear is going to go away too.  I personally need the computer to be semi fast and have a decent amount of space on the hard drive.  I think 128GB or 256GB should be about right.  I think I’ll boost capacity to the NAS or I can re-purpose one of my external hard drives that I have lying around.

If money wasn’t any object, I think I’ll get the family the Microsoft Surface Pro 6.  The Surface Pro 6 is brand new but I have to pay extra for the type keyboard and the pen which will bring the price tag to over $1000.  Barring that, I think the Lenovo Yoga 730 would be an awesome machine too.  I haven’t seen one in person but it does hit all of the requirements and its under $1000 but I would also have to get the pen for it too.  However its a convertible computer so I don’t have to get a keyboard.

Black Friday is around the corner so maybe I can get it then, gotta love holiday sales for some awesome savings on electronics for the house.

Living without a personal computer is difficult

Recently my MacBook Pro died and since then I have resorted to using my daughters HP Stream or my old desktop computer, both of which are pristine since I reloaded Windows 10 on them.  It was a good thing that I had most of my data transferred to the NAS but not having my own computer to do backups, videos, surfing, and email has been a little tough.  The office computer isn’t always available since it’s in the office and my wife occupies it most of the time for work.  The thing is also painfully slow so it doesn’t give me a good computing experience at all.  The HP Stream is more recent but also suffers from its own limitations in that almost nothing can be installed on it since it only has 32 GB of hard drive space.  I did install iTunes just so I could do some backups of my iPhone because I have a tendency to mess it up and restore it.  The backups are incomplete because I don’t t answer over purchases.  If I did it would fill the drive in no time, I have almost 200 apps plus data on my iPhone 7 so pushing all that to a 32 GB drive wouldn’t be practical.

The biggest concern for me is picture backups.  I backup to Google and to the NAS but it feels incomplete by not syncing it with a physical computer.  Pictures are a reason for having an iPhone, I just shoot whatever and review it later.  I refuse to use iCloud because I’m not paying for cloud storage if I don’t have to.  Compounding my problem is that there are rumors that new MacBook Pro’s might be coming out soon with Kaby Lake processors.  I’m not one to be too concerned about processor speed but I want as much upgrade time with Apple as possible so buying the latest computer makes sense.  I also hear that the new Surface Pro’s will be announced today, maybe it will be compelling enough to get one of those but for the most part I’m convinced that I should get another MacBook Pro mainly for ease of use since I’m no longer concerned with tinkering.  I am going to reduce the number of apps I install on the next computer and limiting it to the essentials.  I’ll have to figure out if I need to start reformatting some of my drives since they’re mostly NTFS and loading those drivers last time was a real pain in the ass.

June can’t come soon enough, I can struggle on for another couple of weeks but beyond that I’m really going to have to put down some money and get me a computer, I don’t like being limited in what I do when it comes to my tech.

Winning my Windows 10 War on the HP Stream

2000px-windows_10_logo-svg

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 🙂