Windows 10 Upgrade with black screen

Discrete Display Adapter Blues
Like a child waiting for christmas, then I clicked the upgrade button as soon as it appeared. The upgrade began, and suddenly during the upgrade the screen went black. I thought it was the display driver install during upgrade that had issues, and just let it be. After 8 hours of black screen and no mouse-cursor, then I made a hard reboot but the black screen continued after the BIOS-POST.

I guessed that it was the display driver, so I tried to boot into safemode, but Windows never made it into safemode and instead soft-rebooted. I googled the black screen issues, and was told to either download and install a new driver, or uninstall the existing one using device manager. Sadly enough I'm not like Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury.

Instead I booted into recovery mode and reverted to the previous Windows Build. Then I uninstalled the Nvidia GTX 750 Ti-drivers (and my discrete Intel-drivers) using the Control Panel, but after the required restart, then Windows Update had installed them again. The solution was to use the Display Driver Uninstaller from Guru3d (without restarting), just before pressing the Windows 10 Upgrade button.

Windows 10 was then able to boot into a black screen with a MOUSE-CURSOR, and after an extra reboot then I was presented with the second half of a extended desktop. Windows 10 had forgotten that my Nvidia-card was the primary one, by pressing Windows-Key + P (3 Times) then my second display adapter became the primary.
Start Menu
Yes it is back! Sadly enough it is big and bloated, because they have stuffed the tile screen into the start menu. But for some strange reason they have left out the search-box, which has its own start-menu (Looking Glass Icon - Windows-key and enter search). Don't mind the active tiles thing, but it could be nice that they had combined "Most Used" and "Pinned Tiles" into one collection called "Favorite Apps". These "Favorites Apps" could then have a little magic, where it automatically added apps that I used a lot, but still allowed me to customize it. Still some transformation is needed here to unify Store Apps with Desktop Apps.

I removed all the "Pinned Tiles" and were able to resize the Start Menu into a normal size with only "Most Used". Would have preferred just having the "Favorites Apps" together with a search box. Also miss the ability to pin anything to the Start Menu (Documents, Shortcuts, etc.).
Windows Store Apps
Windows Store Apps are no longer forced full-screen, and can be juggled around with Desktop application. The transformation seems complete here, so Frankensteins Monster is no longer that ugly on the Desktop.

The color of the Windows Title Bar is now forced white, with a slightly grey coloring for inactive windows. It is now difficult to recognize the window currently active. *Update* This has been fixed with Threshold 2. The non-solution is to activate a butt-ugly high-contrast theme, and customize it with this command:

rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,Advanced,@Advanced

The WebBrowser works fine, but strange that "Frequent Visited" has been removed from about:tabs. Instead you have "Top Sites" chosen by some random dude.
Movies & TV
Xbox Video App is now called "Movies & TV". It doesn't use DirectShow Filtering, but instead Media Foundation (Just like Windows Media Player). This means that DirectVobSub (VsFilter) doesn't work for showing subtitles. Strangely enough the old Xbox Video App was able to handle subtitle files, but this feature is no longer there. Rather annoying.

I have found this plugin Local Subtitles for WMP, that enables SRT subtitles in the old Windows Media Player (WMP) together with Media Foundation. It seems WMP is now able to handle MKV-containers without having installed Haali Splitter.

WordPress 4.2 Upgrade

First post after upgrading to WordPress 4.2 BETA3 (from ver. 2.0) with the following benefits:
  • PHP Engine warnings about being deprecated are gone.
  • Updated theme to use bootstrap, so it works better on mobile devices and Google will not give penalty.
The old problem with taxonomy has not been fixed, but I found a way to fix it for this site.

Performance has gone down hill since WordPress 2.0, so now a caching plugin is even more important:
  • Old Version - FrontPage: 14 queries. 0.131 seconds
  • New Version - FrontPage: 23 queries. 0.266 seconds
  • Old Version - Single Post: 12 queries. 0.086 seconds
  • New Version - Single Post: 29 queries. 0.326 seconds
Please tell if something has been broken in the upgrade.

Zotac ZBox BI320 as HTPC Mediacenter

I bought this unit after seeing lots of recommendations at the Kodi forum, where it replaced my now broken Shuttle XS35GS V3. Zotac BI320 has a fan but it was said it was very silent, which is rare, since small case means small fan which usually means noise. I have also looked at Zotac CI320 which is completely fanless, but the Kodi forum said the 2957U Haswell CPU was better than the N2930 Baytrail CPU.
I just installed the 2x2GB Crucial DDR3L SO-DIMM and SSD with Win7 from my old HPTC, and then it was up and running after installing the latest Intel drivers from the Zotac homepage.
  • I had an issue with igfxEM.exe running at 100 pct. CPU usage, but this was fixed by using the latest Intel HD Graphics 4400 driver
  • I also changed the BIOS settings to allow more RAM sharing for the GPU (512 MByte instead of 64 MByte).
The Celeron 2957U is so much faster than the Atom D2700. Before I had to force "High Performance" powerplan for the Atom D2700 to work okay, but the Celeron 2957U works wonderful with "Balanced" powerplan (Allowing it to throttle for even less heat). Movie-startup is faster. Movie-playback is smooth with deinterlacing and post processing enabled. Netflix HD also works without issue together with Chrome HTML5.
Noise and temperature
When playing movies then I really don't care about the fan noise, but when idle then it should be silent. By default the fan will start when temperature is above 30 Celsius, and it gives a faint noise, but I just went into the BIOS and changed it to 50 and then it was silent. When idle the CPU is about 38 Celsius and when high CPU usage (without GPU) then 48 Celsius.

The chassis is not warm to touch when idle, and the power consumption when idle should also be around 5-7W compared to the 19-27W of my previous Atom D2700 (+Radeon HD 7410M GPU)

Steam Box alternatives

Was looking for new PC with the following requirements to replace my Core2 Duo:
  • Cheap - This means laptop/all-in-one are out.
  • Fast GPU - This means NUC are out
  • Upgradable - This means replaceable motherboard, CPU and GPU
  • Small - This means SFF / Mini-ITX / SFX
  • Silent - This means no small fans
I was not able to find anything that actually matched all these requirements, but found these candidates:
  • Alienware X51 - PSU only delivers 330W, so not very upgradable
  • Asus ROG GR8 - Large cabinet compared to X51
  • CyberPower Zeus Mini A-300 - Not available in my country
  • MSI Nightblade - Expensive even as barebone.
  • MSI Hetis H81 - Cheap, but not sure if PCI-e supports dual-slot GPU
  • BitFenix Prodigy - Large cabinet compared to X51
  • EVGA Hadron Air - PSU has very small fan, and it is expensive.
  • Acer Aspire XC-605 - Not very upgradable
  • Silverstone SST-RVZ01B Raven - Large cabinet compared to X51 and expensive.
  • Silverstone SST-ML07B - Large cabinet compared to X51 and expensive.
  • NCASE M1 - Very promising but not available in my country
I decided to go for the Dell Alienware X51 R2, as I'm getting old and like things pre-assembled. The i5 + GTX750 combo is not super expensive compared to building yourself. The only real problem is the PSU is only 240W, so the upgrade path is very limited.

Shuttle XS35GS V3 as HTPC mediacenter

*Update 2015-01-06*
Computer stopped working after running 24/7 for little over one year. The PSU shows green light, but when plugged to the computer then it blinks green. This seems to indicate a short circuit somewhere in the computer. I have tried to detach SSD, RAM, DVD and all other connections but the problem remains. I have contacted Shuttle support and they say problem requires that I sent the unit for repair, but I bought the unit at and they only provide 1 year warranty. I have now bought a Zotac ZBOX BI230 and happy again.

I bought this unit after having read some positive feedback about it:
Asrock ION 330 HD was failing
I had an Asrock ION 330 HD, but it gave an evil noise from the small GPU fan, and had a small stutter when doing 1080p playback, along with a soft plastic remote control that was about to break. I had tried to fix the small GPU fan with a fan-mate, and it lowered the noise, but didn't remove it, and a new smell of burned electronics arrived. I had tried to fix the 1080p stutter on XBMC by synchronizing the refresh rate with the movie, but then the sound was out of sync. The easy solution was to change the refresh rate to 50 Hz (Instead of 60 Hz), and it solved most of the stutter, but it was still there.
Sensitive when it comes to RAM
I bought the barebone version of Shuttle XS35GS V3, and had purchased the RAM else where (Corsair Value RAM). But quickly discovered that it was very sensitive, and failed to perform BIOS POST without the correct RAM. I then bought the recommended Crucial RAM, and it started up nicely.
Windows 8 is not recommended for XBMC
I installed Windows 8 on the computer and the VGA card was recognized as an AMD Radeon HD 6430M. I then installed the VGA drivers from Shuttle homepage, and the card was recognized properly as HD 7410M and everything seemed faster. But XBMC had a small stutter, even after fixing the normal issues:
  • Ensure to force DXVA (Instead of AutoDetect). Ensure to activate DXVA2
  • Ensure to set output audio device to DirectSound, and disable all unnecessary audio output formats
  • Ensure to set true fullscreen, instead of running it as a fullscreen window
I then tried Windows 7, and after installing the drivers from Shuttle's homepage (AMD Catalyst 12.6 WHQL), then all issues was removed. The XBMC menus was much more responsive and the playback of 1080p movies did not have any stutter. Later tried the updated drivers (AMD Catalyst 13.11 WHQL) from Shuttle's homepage, but then performance was slow again.
Netflix cannot play in HD
Silverlight 5 fails to make use of the GPU for DRM content, and the CPU is not strong enough to handle a HD stream. When forcing it to only use SD-quality, then everything plays without lag. Could be nice with a better XBMC plugin than NetfliXBMC
TrueHD and DTS-HD support
If you have a fancy surround sound amplifier, then this little device will produce a high quality audio experience.
No heat and no noise issues
I used a Samsung SSD 840 as main drive, and then had a 5400 RPM harddrive attached as an external USB 2.0 drive. And it works quite nicely. The USB drive will power off when not in use, so even though it fails to give hearable noise when active, then the dogs will not be affected either in idle state.
Hauppauge MC Remote Control Kit
Since there is no IR receiver on the Shuttle XS35GS V3, then I bought one from Hauppauge. It was just to plug the device in, and then the remote control was working nicely in XBMC. No additional drivers or extra tweaking was needed.