Random Tech Questions you want answered.

The Windows 21H1 update recently put one of my machines into a BSOD reboot loop. No recovery step I tried (including above) worked and eventually I just wiped the system partition and reinstalled from scratch. There likely was some recovery step that would work but I gave up trying.

I don’t ever backup my system partition on machines anymore I just don’t trust any of my data on there and backup/sync important files directly (or just keep those files completely off that partition it I can). I’ve got in the habit of soft linking game saves to OneDrive on another hard drive if I know that game doesn’t have cloud saves. I’ve got pretty efficient at reinstalling and configuring my stuff so I don’t worry about having to do a full system reinstall once in a while.

The one new issue I ran into this time is I had a bunch of Game Pass games installed on my other drives and I couldn’t access any of that after reinstalling windows or even configure windows to allow new installs to those other drives. In the end I took ownership or the windows apps folders on other drives and just outright deleted them. Freed up a few hundred GBs but had to redownload those games. Oh well. Likely there’s an easier path there but Windows doesn’t seem to like you using previous app downloads in new Windows installs.

I’m wary of installing 21H1 on any machines right now. That same machine after the windows reinstall doesn’t show the option to go to 21H1 so maybe Microsoft tagged something about my hardware as incompatible. Wouldn’t be the first time. Mt MacBook has Windows 10 in bootcamp and Windows updates have broken that machine a few times. Usually I just downgrade and eventually MS fixes the incompatibility.

pandasuit wrote:

I don’t ever backup my system partition on machines anymore I just don’t trust any of my data on there and backup/sync important files directly (or just keep those files completely off that partition it I can). I’ve got in the habit of soft linking game saves to OneDrive on another hard drive if I know that game doesn’t have cloud saves. I’ve got pretty efficient at reinstalling and configuring my stuff so I don’t worry about having to do a full system reinstall once in a while.

This is wise. Always treat your OS as disposable. Because it is, whether you want it to be or not.

*Legion* wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

I don’t ever backup my system partition on machines anymore I just don’t trust any of my data on there and backup/sync important files directly (or just keep those files completely off that partition it I can). I’ve got in the habit of soft linking game saves to OneDrive on another hard drive if I know that game doesn’t have cloud saves. I’ve got pretty efficient at reinstalling and configuring my stuff so I don’t worry about having to do a full system reinstall once in a while.

This is wise. Always treat your OS as disposable. Because it is, whether you want it to be or not.

Pro tip: Keep a document (in cloud storage or git or whatever works for you) that describes the steps you use to setup a new machine with links to all the relevant things you use. Start to automate parts of that over time sure but for now just a plain text list of steps is enough. Refine over time. This has made my life a lot easier over the years. I’ve moved to using package installers to install/update all my core apps over time. I wish Windows did a better job or mirroring my config changes across machines.

Some pointers from someone who avoids reinstalling the OS at almost all costs. I used to do all the software distribution renaming and other tricks but the below methods are just so much easier with Win 10 (or maybe I have just been lucky):

Pro tip: Before trying a fresh install use the Windows update assistant to try to jump to the latest build bypassing whatever build is trying to install through windows update. Restart before doing this to make sure Win update isn't running in the background because it will slow everything down.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/soft...

Pro tip 2: Try a repair upgrade, using the media creation tool, to keep files and apps but do a fresh install of the core OS. I successfully did this a few weeks ago with a work computer that was having major SMB network issues. Make sure to make a new tool, and not use an installer you already have lying around, to assure you get the latest build.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...

Thanks guys. In the end I did a clean install last afternoon as the problem continued to grow (my keyboard stopped working - even though it worked fine in the BIOS, and Windows refused to acknowledge any driver for a keyboard). Something must have been royally messed up because I still had to run a lot of repair/restore functions for Windows to even properly go through with the clean install. Now things are working perfectly again.

Have you checked to see if your drive is still in good working order?

Oh yeah, when this all started happening a month ago the first thing I did was run every diagnostic test I had access to multiple times.

Ugh. My TCL 5 Series TV just started doing something weird and I fear it's just toast. The image is flickering in a big horizontal shift--the whole picture flicker-scrolls up up the screen every 5 seconds or so. It happened while I was playing an Xbox game, and I thought it was just a weird software issue, but it then happened on the Xbox home screen and then it kept happening when I went to the Roku TV home screen, and on the TV's apps and on other inputs. I'm just boned, right? Some people on youtube want to convince me that if I put some tape on one of the ribbons connecting the screen it might fix the issue but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I think I'm probably just buying a new TV? Argh. Any better ideas than my current one of "leave it off for a while and hope it just works tomorrow"?

If I do buy a new TV, anyone have strong feelings on the Vizio V-Series vs. the Toshiba Fire TV? Both are 4K TVs that I could get a 50" model at around $320, which wouldn't be too too painful.

edit: here's what's happening:
IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/qcC2XDRBUdAAQrKN62/giphy.gif)

mrlogical wrote:

Ugh. My TCL 5 Series TV just started doing something weird and I fear it's just toast. The image is flickering in a big horizontal shift--the whole picture flicker-scrolls up up the screen every 5 seconds or so. It happened while I was playing an Xbox game, and I thought it was just a weird software issue, but it then happened on the Xbox home screen and then it kept happening when I went to the Roku TV home screen, and on the TV's apps and on other inputs. I'm just boned, right? Some people on youtube want to convince me that if I put some tape on one of the ribbons connecting the screen it might fix the issue but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I think I'm probably just buying a new TV? Argh. Any better ideas than my current one of "leave it off for a while and hope it just works tomorrow"?

If I do buy a new TV, anyone have strong feelings on the Vizio V-Series vs. the Toshiba Fire TV? Both are 4K TVs that I could get a 50" model at around $320, which wouldn't be too too painful.

edit: here's what's happening:
IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/qcC2XDRBUdAAQrKN62/giphy.gif)

How old is it and where did you buy it from?

A month or so short of 3 years old. Best Buy. Certainly out of the manufacturers warranty.

mrlogical wrote:

A month or so short of 3 years old. Best Buy. Certainly out of the manufacturers warranty.

ugh. Yeah if you happened to buy it with a Costco card it would still be in credit card warranty, but I suppose that wasn't the case.

mrlogical wrote:

Ugh. My TCL 5 Series TV just started doing something weird and I fear it's just toast. The image is flickering in a big horizontal shift--the whole picture flicker-scrolls up up the screen every 5 seconds or so. It happened while I was playing an Xbox game, and I thought it was just a weird software issue, but it then happened on the Xbox home screen and then it kept happening when I went to the Roku TV home screen, and on the TV's apps and on other inputs. I'm just boned, right? Some people on youtube want to convince me that if I put some tape on one of the ribbons connecting the screen it might fix the issue but I'm not sure if it's worth it. I think I'm probably just buying a new TV? Argh. Any better ideas than my current one of "leave it off for a while and hope it just works tomorrow"?

If I do buy a new TV, anyone have strong feelings on the Vizio V-Series vs. the Toshiba Fire TV? Both are 4K TVs that I could get a 50" model at around $320, which wouldn't be too too painful.

edit: here's what's happening:
IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/qcC2XDRBUdAAQrKN62/giphy.gif)

I wouldn't give up on it just yet. It could just be a loose cable and opening it up to make sure none of the ribbon cables to the screen are loose could fix the issue. Of course you could just be boned like you assume. If you do open it up, just be careful not to mess around with the area that deals with the power delivery. That shouldn't be too hard. You would be surprised at how very little there is to TV internals.

I assume everything you described is plugged into separate inputs on the TV and you aren't running everything through a receiver with only 1 HDMI plugged into the TV? If that's the case check that one HDMI cable. It could have gone bad. Or maybe the input to the TV is having issues. If everything is plugged directly into the TV using different inputs then It's probably the TV itself. Just checking to make sure I am not missing something obvious.

If you can still navigate on it, try doing a factory reset in the system settings. Worth a shot. If that doesn't work, also check for updates.

Yep, that menu screen is with no inputs, but I've tried different devices and the smart apps, it happens in all. It does seem to fix itself when I turn it off for 10-20 minutes but then kicks back in after an hour or so. I agree it seems it's a fault in the connection, and maybe I'll be lucky and it's something I can correct by opening it up and reconnecting whatever is loose, but I'm guessing more likely it's not reparable. We'll see. Leaning towards the Toshiba 4k 50" Fire TV now at $310, deal lasts for another week so I'm guessing I'll know by then whether I need to replace it or not.

Mrlogical... Maybe...

In Settings>System>Advanced system settings>Advanced display settings, go to 'Auto-adjust display refresh rate' and make sure this is 'Disabled'.

You have nothing to lose by opening it up. Give it a shot!

I have an LG Plasma that had a weird display issue ( here it is ). I found an article in a forum explaining how to fix it and was able to do it myself.

If yours happens after it is on for a while, ie. after it warms/heats up, maybe it's a cracked solder that expands just enough when hot that it goes haywire.

Take it apart and resolder anything you can if you can't find anything obvious like a loose wire/connection. Nothing to lose.

-BEP

I was hopeful about your suggestion, Robear, but that's not an option in my menu. Oh well! Will crack it open later this week I think, depending on how it progresses...

Yeah, figured it was a longshot.

pandasuit wrote:

Pro tip: Keep a document (in cloud storage or git or whatever works for you) that describes the steps you use to setup a new machine with links to all the relevant things you use. Start to automate parts of that over time sure but for now just a plain text list of steps is enough. Refine over time. This has made my life a lot easier over the years. I’ve moved to using package installers to install/update all my core apps over time. I wish Windows did a better job or mirroring my config changes across machines.

The closest thing to automating/package installing or anything of the sort I could do is using Ninite. I've no clue how else you could make that happen. I'm assuming once you are knowledgeable enough to do such things, it becomes trivial. The whole process is still quite a pain for me, especially since my computer operates as a gaming and work machine so I'm installing extra apps all around. It also means there's even less good time to be down for an OS install.

Any recommendations on how to find out how to automate more other than Ninite?

mrtomaytohead wrote:
pandasuit wrote:

Pro tip: Keep a document (in cloud storage or git or whatever works for you) that describes the steps you use to setup a new machine with links to all the relevant things you use. Start to automate parts of that over time sure but for now just a plain text list of steps is enough. Refine over time. This has made my life a lot easier over the years. I’ve moved to using package installers to install/update all my core apps over time. I wish Windows did a better job or mirroring my config changes across machines.

The closest thing to automating/package installing or anything of the sort I could do is using Ninite. I've no clue how else you could make that happen. I'm assuming once you are knowledgeable enough to do such things, it becomes trivial. The whole process is still quite a pain for me, especially since my computer operates as a gaming and work machine so I'm installing extra apps all around. It also means there's even less good time to be down for an OS install.

Any recommendations on how to find out how to automate more other than Ninite?

Ninite is a good start. Winget will soon be the official Microsoft way to automate installs. I expect that to become the goto solution soon. Chocolatey is currently a good non-official way. I still use Ninite for some stuff. I'm still wary of which packages I trust on Chocolatey. In some cases I just have a list of my common software with website URLs in my text file. I definitely still install some stuff without automation.

pandasuit wrote:

Ninite is a good start. Winget will soon be the official Microsoft way to automate installs. I expect that to become the goto solution soon. Chocolatey is currently a good non-official way. I still use Ninite for some stuff. I'm still wary of which packages I trust on Chocolatey. In some cases I just have a list of my common software with website URLs in my text file. I definitely still install some stuff without automation.

I am really looking forward to having winget included with the OS at some future date. Like looking forward to it enough that I am tempted to volunteer to maintain our own custom repository here at work so that I will be able to use it.

does this seem too good to be true to you all? 500$ for a razer blade with 2070 and i7 9th gen. seller has no reviews and it's a new listing.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Razer-Blade...

my point is that it probably isn't real, but ebay does a good job of protecting it's buyers so might at well take a chance on it.

FiveIron wrote:

does this seem too good to be true to you all? 500$ for a razer blade with 2070 and i7 9th gen. seller has no reviews and it's a new listing.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Razer-Blade...

my point is that it probably isn't real, but ebay does a good job of protecting it's buyers so might at well take a chance on it.

“Seller refurbished” from a seller with zero sales and a shady Twitter-egg name. I wouldn’t trust it.

Especially with nothing but stock pictures.

also, fakespot flags the account as suspect if you have it installed.

Is anyone familiar with Chromebook specs? E.g. how much memory is enough/not enough for this or that model/screen size/etc?

Vargen wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
Vargen wrote:

I'm doing some work with the local Scouts BSA and they've asked me about having a looping promotional video in their summer camp store. What's the best way to go about that these days? Their TV set might have playback off a USB stick but I'm not going to bet on it. I know I can do it with a DVD but that definitely doesn't seem like the best answer. Is this a good time to learn about those Raspberry Pi gizmos?

My mid-range plasma from 2009 has USB video playback. I would assume any and all TVs should have that function. I would think a prudent course of action would be to ask them what they have available to connect to it and what the model # on the TV they have is determine it's capabilities.

So I finally got access to the hardware. It turns out that plasma TVs from 2007 do not have USB video playback. Or at least these don’t.

Managed to get a TV that's only a couple of years old. It plays the video just fine. It won't loop it. I asked customer service and everything. I've done a workaround by rendering a really long video that repeats the material several times, so now it only needs to be manually restarted every 2 hours instead of every 12 minutes. I would have made it long enough to cover the entire time the camp store is open, but that made it too large for the FAT32 file system that the TV requires.

Vargen wrote:
Vargen wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
Vargen wrote:

I'm doing some work with the local Scouts BSA and they've asked me about having a looping promotional video in their summer camp store. What's the best way to go about that these days? Their TV set might have playback off a USB stick but I'm not going to bet on it. I know I can do it with a DVD but that definitely doesn't seem like the best answer. Is this a good time to learn about those Raspberry Pi gizmos?

My mid-range plasma from 2009 has USB video playback. I would assume any and all TVs should have that function. I would think a prudent course of action would be to ask them what they have available to connect to it and what the model # on the TV they have is determine it's capabilities.

So I finally got access to the hardware. It turns out that plasma TVs from 2007 do not have USB video playback. Or at least these don’t.

Managed to get a TV that's only a couple of years old. It plays the video just fine. It won't loop it. I asked customer service and everything. I've done a workaround by rendering a really long video that repeats the material several times, so now it only needs to be manually restarted every 2 hours instead of every 12 minutes. I would have made it long enough to cover the entire time the camp store is open, but that made it too large for the FAT32 file system that the TV requires.

This sounds like a good problem to solve with a Raspberry Pi. There are preconfigured images you can download and load onto them specifically for doing stuff like this.

So my OpenReach BT ASDL is 10Mb/s down 1Mb/s up and super flaky as we are far from the exchange on copper. My EE 4G mobile gets 25Mb/s and 8Mb/s up. An unlimited data EE 4G sim is the same price as my BT monthly payment (screw you charging for line rental for phone only called by spammers).

Is there a trap here for the unwary for using a 4G router to provide the home WiFi? Just me and Mrs Brown so fairly normal usage for Netflix and other video. FaceTime and the occasional Steam game download. My counter strike days are behind me so ping less important than it was.

OpenReach have been promising Fibre for years but no joy. Virgin aren’t viable either.

Edit: This is in the U.K. ^_^