Upgrading Intel Compute Stick to Windows 10

29 11 2015
Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 18.01.18

Intel Compute Stick

If you buy an Intel Compute Stick that comes with Windows 8.1 you may get prompted to upgrade to Windows 10 as you setup the device. DON’T!

Intel Compute Sticks have some flaws that will prevent a successful upgrade to WIndows 10 and also prevent you from rolling back to Windows 8.1. You will find yourself with a bricked Compute Stick. The “recovery Partition” that comes with the device is also faulty.

There is a way to do the upgrade without problems, here are the steps.

If you made the mistake of upgrading and your compute stick is non functional, scroll to the end of this article for recovery instructions.

Step 1 – Upgrade to the Latest BIOS for your Compute Stick

Compute sticks with a BIOS version prior to release 24 will fail and create a catch 22 situation with your upgrade. To upgrade your BIOS follow instructions at Intel’s website here.

Screenshot 2015-11-29 at 16.36.54

Be sure to select the latest version

Step 2 – Download WIndows 10 Upgrade Instructions from Intel

Download a very helpful PDF from Intel’s website located here.

Step 3 – Obtain Windows 10 Home Edition from Microsoft

The instructions will guide you through downloading an ISO image for WIndows 10 Home 32-Bit. Do not use the 64-bit version of Windows 10. Use a USB drive of 16GB or larger capacity.

Before copying the ISO to a USB drive be sure to format the USB first using NTFS partition type first. The 6GB ISO image will not copy to a FAT32 USB drive. FAT32 has a 4GB file size limitation.

Step 4 – DON’T install Windows 10 yet as instructed!!

First do the post install step of downloading new drivers for WIndows 10 and place them on your USB drive. This is important as you may not be able to connect to the internet if the wireless adapter driver fails under Windows 10.

The latest drivers can be located at Intel’s Website here.

Copy the drivers for Wireless, Bluetooth and Graphics Adapter to your USB drive.

Step 5 – Upgrade to Windows 10 as instructed

Now its OK to upgrade using your USB drive per the Intel instructions. Be sure to follow the instructions by the letter. Key points are

Attached USB Drive and reboot the system.

Don’t download updates as prompted by the Windows Update Process.

When prompted to choose what to keep when upgrading, be sure to select keep personal files only, even if it’s a brand new unit with no personal files on it.

Step 6 – Install the drivers you downloaded earlier.

I found it useful to download and run the Intel Driver Upgrade Utility. It takes the guess work out of selecting the right driver and finds others you may have overlooked.

Step 7 – Check Windows 10 is activated.

Press the WIndows Key and the letter I at the same time. Choose Update and Security.

Choose the option ACtivation option on the left hand menu to check your Windows Activation Status. If you are activated you are done.

Step 8 (Optional) – Reclaim 2GB of Lost Disk Space due to Upgrade

Windows retains a complete copy of your old windows 8.1 installation should you wish to rollback for any reason. This rollback is available for 28 days after initial installation. The disk space lost to the old installation is significant on the small 32GB disk drive Compute Sticks come with.

Download CCleaner from Piriform here.

Look at the advanced options and check “old windows installation” then click on clean. The cleaning process takes 4-5 minutes.

After cleaning is complete disable monitoring on the options tab after installing the CCleaner product.

Did your Compute stick get stuck upgrading before you came here?

To release your compute stick from its Catch 22 dilemma follow instructions at this intel community forum. The poster provides a total recovery image that does what the recovery partition fails to do on the original Compute Stick. The Intel forum will re-direct you to a support site for Hannspree and instructions for using the image are found in this PDF document





The black art of Wireless Networking

16 05 2010

It rained all day today so I was able to resolve a wireless issue I had experienced on a laptop a friend gave me to repair/rebuild.

After replacing a faulty hard drive and loading Vista from scratch I discovered the wireless would not link in to my wireless network.  Other computers in my home ran just fine on the wireless network so I ‘knew’ there was no problem with my network. In addition I could boot the laptop to Ubuntu 10.4 on a  Live CD and it worked just fine too. This ruled out the laptop hardware as well. The finger pointed at Vista and the Intel Drivers.

After a reload of the Intel drivers from both HP and Intel, and a reload of Vista from scratch again and still no joy. I was running out of options.

I did discover that if I set the IP address as fixed on the laptop it worked just fine, so it was connecting to the router just fine but not getting an IP address. Puzzling since I could get an IP address assigned automatically using Ubuntu using the same wireless adapter.

Out of options I rebooted a wireless access point even though all other computers and the same computer using Ubuntu worked just fine. That fixed the problem. Note the router I rebooted was NOT the one assigning IP addresses, just the access point the laptop was connecting to. Somehow the access point was preventing a specific combination of hardware/software from getting an IP address from another router. Weird.

Not sure what can cause a specific combination of Wireless router, Operating systems and Wireless divers to fail to get an IP address, but there you go. Wireless sometimes eludes any logic.

The old axim of  ‘reboot and try again’ lives on….

Equipment

  • Buffalo WHR-G54S Wireless access point (DHCP off) with DD-WRT
  • Buffalo WHR-G54S router (DHCP On) with DD-WRT
  • HP Pavillion DV2910US
  • Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 32-bit
  • Ubuntu 10.4 32-bit
  • Intel 4965AGN Wireless adapter
  • Marvell Yukon 88E8039 Nic




Solid State Hard Drives – Performance Boost worth the money?

25 04 2010

Short answer – No.

Long answer follows.

I recently compared the performance of a good quality Solid State Hard drive compared to a traditional magnetic hard drive in use in most computers today.

My tests were restricted to start-up and shutdown times on a new Acer Netbook. Here is what I recorded.

Windows 7 Starter Edition – 32 Bit

Conventional Hard Drive – 160GB 5400 rpm Hitachi

  • Start-up time – 31 seconds
  • Shutdown Time – 11 Seconds

Solid State Hard Drive – 80GB Intel Mainstream

  • Start-up Time – 21 Seconds
  • Shutdown Time – 8 Seconds

This shows about a 1/3 reduction in time to start-up or shutdown the same computer with an identical installed image of Windows 7 Starter Edition. The solid state ‘mainstream’ hard drive from Intel costs around $200 and is only half the capacity of the original drive shipped with the Netbook. So it only makes sense if you really need to have every piece of extra speed or durability from your computer. (The Netbook only cost $225 to purchase in the first place). To buy a 160GB Intel Solid State drive to match the 160GB traditional drive would cost $400.

The start-up and shutdown times were averaged over three operations. Start-up was measured as the time it takes from the power button being pressed to a password prompt being presented. Shutdown was measured from the time shutdown was selected until the computer turned itself off.

By Comparison Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix on the same Intel SSD took 14 Seconds to start-up and 5 Seconds to shutdown.

The drivers for investing in a Solid State Drive should be

  • The need for every bit of speed one can muster
  • The need for a drive that is very durable and can absorb shock and impact of up to 1500G’s without failing.

Use cases that come to mind are

  • Server System Drives, where speed and not capacity is most important.
  • Laptops that are subject to considerable vibration/impact. Either in an industrial environment, or subject to constant vibration in a moving vehicle.

List of Equipment used in this quick test





Laptop running slow? Check temperature with Speedfan!

19 12 2009

Computers typically run just fine when you first get them but then slowly degrade. Even after loading Windows 7 as a clean install I was still experiencing a slower laptop than I remembered when I purchased it 2 years ago. Windows startup/login time was just too slow.

Click on image to enlarge

Using Speedfan (download here) I noticed the laptop was running a little hot, about 140°F and the cooling fan was operating all of the time. Speedfan also measures the actual CPU speed and my dual core cpu’s were running at only 900Mhz. The Intel T2080 Dual-Core CPU installed in the laptop is rated at 1.73 Mhz, so I was losing almost 50% of the rated speed.  This additional CPU information is on the new ‘exotics’ tab of Speedfan (see graphic). I replaced the cooling fan with a brand new one I got off eBay for $20 and the laptop is running at full speed now!! (Speedfan CPU numbers are not dynamic like the temperature and other numbers, the speed reported is at the time Speedfan was started. To get a good sample exit and restart Speedfan several times).

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