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The Windows Incident – Day 0 (codeweaver.so)
176 points by viclou on Nov 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 105 comments

I had a similar experience with my Asus Zenbook Prime ultrabook.

I noticed that the very loud fan was running a lot faster and more frequently than it should. I checked the power settings and minimum processor state was 100%. I changed it to a more reasonable number and all was good. But 10-15 minutes later the fan would come back on full blast because that setting has been reverted back to 100%! Every time I reset it, some time later it go back to 100%.

I'm not one to leave something like that alone and after a lot of searching the internet and applying updates I found that someone else had discovered the cause. The stock trackpad driver was responsible for constantly changing that power setting!! I found a different version for another laptop and that fixed it.

But just imagine how many people that own this exact laptop and it's always hot and gets terrible battery life. All that power management technology and passive cooling completely wasted because of one driver.

"our driver has a race condition which makes the track pad lock up sometimes, but it only happens when the computer is in powersave. We either need 5 man years to put proper locking of data structures in our horrible spaghetti code , or let Bob's nephew copy and paste this code from the Internet that overrides the windows power profile every 5 minutes "

trackpad driver

Quick Google brought me here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus/761664-asus-support-why...

It seems like the root of the problem is that their software stack is so inefficient that they have to set the CPU speed all the way to max in order to scroll without any lag... yet another point of evidence that the faster the hardware gets, the more inefficient the majority of software becomes.

I should start an online collection of stories like this, so I could refer people to it when they complain about Apple hardware being overpriced and/or only bought by idiots.

As one of those people who believe Apple's hardware is overpriced, this story doesn't change my opinion on Apple's hardware.

I recognize the quality in Apple's devices but I believe the price point is way higher than the extra quality found in their products.

I've even recommended a MacBook to someone recently. Mainly for 2 reasons; their needs aligned with what the MacBook Pro would provide them with and they weren't the one paying for it.

I guess it comes down to how much you enjoy tearing your hair out fixing other peoples bugs or dealing with their crappy hardware.

I've used a 2010 MBA running OS X and Win 7 for the last 4 years. I max'ed out its specs back then and paid about $2k, including an Apple Care warranty which has since expired unused. I've had at least half a dozen Thinkpads before this, and none of them ever came close to surviving this long. My first Thinkpad was a 600, followed by a T20, etc. My last Thinkpad, a T410s, lasted less than 13 months before the LCD failed, same as a dozen others just like it around the office purchased around the same time. That's when I bought the MBA on my own dime.

Part of it is this MBA hit a sweet spot in the upgrade cycle where SSD/CPU/RAM has proven good enough to keep for 4 years, and really shows little signs of slowing for most workloads, and could keep going strong for several years longer.

But the physical hardware has held up astonishingly well. It's the most stable PC running Windows I've ever had. Thinking back on it... I don't think it has EVER blue screened, and I never reboot it except for critical updates.

The only gripe I have with the hardware is the Windows BootCamp driver for the combined mic/headphone jack doesn't switch the mic on when you plug in a proper headset, so it's stuck using the internal mic. But the built-in mic is so good, I've never bothered buying the $20 USB mic to workaround the issue.

It would be hard to tally the number of hours saved on NOT having to upgrade hardware, NOT having to replaced failed components, and NOT struggling with general driver instability and blue screens the last 4 years. This laptop has paid for itself many, many times over. Given the success I've had with the MBA, personally, when I do finally break down and buy another machine, it would be another MBA without a moments hesitation over Apple's 40% gross margin.

Not to mention putting together a collection of stories like this would give Apple fans a fallacious reference for why everyone should "just get a mac". Sorry, if a Mac doesn't fit my needs, I'm going to use a normal personal computer, not a walled garden. Doesn't matter how many obstacles I need to get through if I need a real personal computer, not someone else's ecosystem.

I'm curious what needs can't be met by using a mac.

My desktop machine runs linux - currently it's ubuntu, but it over the last ~6 years it's also been centos, debian, and arch. I love linux.

Two weeks ago a started a new job and got a macbook pro. I love it - and am completely surprised by it.

I have not run into a single thing that I could do on linux I can't do on osx.

Oh, it will come.

The first weeks are fine. But in time, you will find little things, that will annoy you. You will find things, that are fine in Linux or Windows, but not in OSX. (Like X apps not working, apps that assume some Linux-specific capability or API not available, differently behaving linker - if you are developer, etc.)

And I hope you don't live in Eastern Europe. The Apple service there is attrocious, even little things like exchanging your power supply can take 3 or 4 weeks. Try using your computer without one...

Run in a VM on a linux host with OpenGL enabled.

That's not exactly "using a mac", though. That's running OS X in a VM.

This thread was going fine until someone talked about how apple is superior to all other manufacturers together.

This, obviously, needed a proper position from those who believe that Apple is not superior.

This whole "Apple is perfect" versus "Apple is for idiots" is pointless, as the majority here already knows. But some people insist in degrading a perfectly fine thread just to reproduce it here.

Grow up, guys.

BTW, I'm curious why people are allowed to talk about Google with the same adoration others talk of Apple but receive no counter arguments. Is Hacker News audience biased towards Google or Google is just consensus?

Yeah, an also note awesome laptops like an Acer I got for $400 5 years ago and despite many many hard hits against the floor it still works and has the same battery life length. This is true, but the problem with anecdotal experience is that you can "prove" anything with it.

It's not as simple as: all Apple products are perfect and all Windows laptops are terrible. But the chances of your Apple hardware having a horrible fault, in my experience, are very significantly lower. And if it does have a horrible fault, it almost certainly won't be a stupid and maddening one caused by a third-party driver.

So chances are that 2000-3000$ piece of equpment have less faults than 300$-3000$ piece of equipment?

The problem with your argument is that you're doing a comparison of vastly different hardware and target markets. Lumping all Windows manufacturers and their laptop series into the same basket causes disenginous argument which is sadly perpetuated by Apple marketing.

Doing a relevant comparison like Apple 13" MacBooks with Lenovo's comparable ThinkPad series usually shows very comparable quality hardware and software wise.

I have one of the new thinkpads at work, and (off the top of my head) the screen can be bent in and out considerably with a light push of the finger, and it has an incredibly rattly/wavy/cheap plastic strip of buttons above the keyboard. I don't think their quality is what it once was.

To be fair I've found Asus notebooks to be superb value for money hardware-wise, it's the drivers and software out of the box that are the problem.

I've switched to a macbook many years ago because of the drivers and software of my windows machine.

Hardware is worthless without the software driving it, and in my experience the hunt/hacking of the problematic drivers comes back at every new major version of windows/linux you'll install on the box. In this respect, superb value hardware with crappy software is only worth it if you are willing to be tinkering on a regular basis.

I'm the OP of this comment thread and I bought the Zenbook as an impulse purchase because it was many hundreds of dollars cheaper then the hardware-equivalent Macbook air at the time.

I'm definitely willing to tinker, and it was certainly frustrating to get right, but now it's one my favorite devices. But if you're not a little tech-savvy it wouldn't be a good purchase.

Sure, while you go collect those, here are a couple of the many collections that already exist for various Mac products:



I find myself trawling through these posts for help pretty regularly.

And of course, forums like are from comprehensive. The most recent issue with my MBP in fact doesn't show up on any of these forums: it involved the keyboard and trackpad being totally irresponsive when my MBP woke from sleep. After many wild goose chases such as “reset the SMC”, I stumbled onto the fix by luck. Turns out it kept looking for a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on waking up, totally ignoring the peripherals integrated into the notebook itself. The solution? Turning off Bluetooth. Sure, simple enough to fix, but “turn off Bluetooth” is not far from “you're holding it wrong”.

That reminds me of the way people sometimes defend flaws of their own nation by pointing out that it's worse elsewhere. So everybody points to North Korea, and North Korea points to outer space which is even more hostile to life. It's great for making people feel better, but completely useless to improve anything at all.

I own a Mac, but I recognize that Apple hardware is often grossly overpriced. For example, a 2014 Mac mini with a laptop-grade 3Ghz dual-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an integrated GPU costs $1,699. That's ridiculous.

Every Mac site and enthusiast has been complaining that you're better off in many performance cases with the 2012 Mac Mini, if you insist on a basic desktop sans monitor (which everyone admits is not Apple's forte, they concentrate on their portables and there are a few performance cases where a Mac Pro makes sense).

In short, you've picked what even Apple sites and enthusiasts claim is their worst choice.

> The stock trackpad driver

Why is this even a thing? Why is the trackpad not simply a compliant USB HID device that can be recognized by the standard OS install? What the hell are PC manufacturers doing?

Even Microsoft's mice and keyboards don't work when you first plug them in, Windows has to spin its wheels and "install a driver" (which it notifies you about) before they will work. If you're online with Windows Update, your computer will then offer to download some sort of control center for your mouse and keyboard. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Those are for application specific mapping of the special keys. They might appear mandatory, but aren't. Keyboards and mice run fine without any extra drivers. I own four different models.

I know it's not mandatory, but if I click the "update" button, it gets installed.

Consider yourself lucky you even got windows 8 installed. My lenovo laptop, with a big fat windows 8 sticker on it and win 8 screaming all over the purchase page, came with windows 7 preinstalled. Win 8 came with a bunch of dvds inside the packaging, the laptop does not even have a dvd-player.

I think this is because a lot of people didn't like Win8.

If that was the reason they wouldn't try so hard to give the impression that it is indeed running Windows 8.

They probably manufactured all the computers with the W8 stickers on them and then hastily dumped a W7 disk image on the hard disk of each one of them to stop users from complaining. But yes, the fact that the computer has no DVD drive to upgrade to W8 from the DVDs is a bit wrong.

We have to pay an extra $50 to have 7 instead of 8 on our Lenovos

You can download Windows 8 free online, and enter into the serial on the CDs when it comes time to register.

(Windows 7 was the first Windows OS that was fully installable from a downloaded or USB-stick copy.)

The serial is not written on the CD, it's a lenovo recovery CD, not a pure windows CD. Nor have i found it anywhere else.

I guess i could easily get a key from lenovos support but i really don't care much anyway, win 7 works great. I just find the whole experience a great example of how badly pc manufacturers consider the "whole package" experience of their products.

They did you a solid.

The funny thing is, a week ago I bought a 7.5"" 1200x800 tablet with just 2GB of RAM and 32 GB flash (see the similarity?), the difference is that mine is a even cheaper device (~$150) from an unknown Chinese brand, has an apparently slightly weaker Bay Trail CPU, and comes with Windows 8.1 - properly licensed as now Microsoft does it for free for small tablets, but it's by no means a "signature" device. The out-of-the-box experience was much, much, much better than the one from the article. The touchscreen not only worked, it still works fine, even for hitting small menu items or quickly typing on-screen. Sleep/resume (actually, InstantGo) doesn't have any problems, except you can't turn off the screen without desktop apps being suspended, which is annoying in the case of music players - but this is actually a problem with all devices supporting InstantGo.

There have been updates to fix early problems, which were already pre-installed on mine. I'm so happy with it, I don't think I'm buying an Android tablet so soon (having great multitasking alone is worth it). Another thing that surprised me, was that there wasn't any OEM bloatware.

Say what you will about Microsoft (and I usually say very bad things, and will keep saying), but it seems they really got Windows 8.1 right on tablets (the problem is desktops).

If an unknown brand can make a device with the same specs as the mentioned Asus, for a lower price, and still have the device work much, much better, why can't Asus? The "underpowered"/"underpriced" justification some people give here in the comments doesn't quite make it... I have had Windows 8 running on single-core 512 MB RAM VMs just fine, and these devices have four times the RAM and cores.

By my experience on cheap chinese Android smartphones, I don't think it is surprising at all to see a lack of OEM bloatware.

I have one, and it also has stock Android not unlike what's installed on the Nexus devices. I think this is mainly because these OEMs, who are trying to save expense wherever possible, are not going to do anything beyond making what Google provides run on their hardware, and this often involves just copying the reference platform provided by the SoC maker.

(The stories of them arriving with malware are likely from someone further down the chain of distribution installing it, and not the OEM itself.)

The bloatware tends to be installed by wireless carriers and mainline re-branders (e.g. HP), not back-alley Chinese OEMs. If you're buying a no-name tablet and you're not in a Verizon store, it might very well be fairly clean.

If you don't mind sharing, what tablet did you buy and from where?

I didn't say the model and maker of the thing on purpose, because I wasn't advertising/advocating for it, and also because when it comes to cheap devices like this, all you can get is pretty much anecdotal evidence (e.g., the touchscreen on mine works fine, but a few have come out with broken digitizers/too noisy power adapters). The general opinion on the tablet seems good, though, and the thing in question is a Voyo A1 Mini. Mine is the newer, slightly cheaper/less powerful 5V-powered Z3735F variant (vs. 9V Z3735D), bought on Amazon.de - but you can get it cheaper from Chinese-device-focused sites, just watch out for import taxes and the like.

This may be a stupid question, but is it possible the blog author was given a refurbished device? These all sound like exactly the kind of problems you'd expect from a device that was pre-owned and sloppily reinstalled.

Either way, the proper course of action would be to return it to the store right away, especially when it refuses touch input.

Honestly, I've bought some ASUS gear before, like the EEE PC netbooks as loaners at events and classes. They often have ghost in the machine problems like this. One has, for years, frozen for 1 second ever 15 seconds, no matter what software updates and drivers are applied. I mentioned the issues to some other OEMs in the same country and they just said it is well known ASUS build quality and consistency is generally terrible. I suppose that is why they manage such low prices.

While the submission title matches the article, it screams linkbait to me. I clicked fully expecting to read about a new 0 day exploit...

I got a different impression from the title: that this is a report of the first day of the (dramatically named) Microsoft Incident. In this interpretation, which is confirmed by OP's comment [0], the title matches the content.

0: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8546229

me too but the story is interesting anyway.

I both buy laptops like this and build my own machines. It's always befuddled me that, when I'm building my own computers and once the hardware is all assembled, the clean OS install usually goes really smoothly and on first boot there's usually no problems and the machines run great.

Get the latest updates and now the computer is running like a Swiss watch.

But whenever I buy a laptop, there's always something wrong with the way the OS was installed. Weird stuff like the wifi adapter drops every 10 minutes, or the left side of the trackpad doesn't work.

Sure enough, I'll just nuke whatever the system came with and install the OS from scratch and it'll work like a charm. It's almost like the manufacturers are trying to fuck up the out of the box experience.

It would be better for them 95% of the time just to put together the hardware and install the shipped OS and put it out the door.

Year after year I keep reading pretty much the same complaints from the Windows ecosystem I've been hearing since the 90's.

It comes with the territory: OS and hardware may not always play nice, and how well they play nice out-of-the-box or after upgrade depends on a lot of factors.

This is not an incident, this is business as usual.

You like Windows, you should be prepared to deal with. You don't want to deal with this kind of thing, don't use Windows.

The only way to avoid this is to use "official" devices. Nexus for Android, Surface for Windows, everything Apple for OSX. Some niche products for certain Linux distro's even.

Everything else is rolling the dice, if not at your initial purchase then definitely when you want to upgrade.

After so many decades, bitching about it is like bitching about the weather.

There is so much stuff in Windows 8 that I have no idea how it got out of the building. Really incomprehensible. Clearly a cancerous culture in Microsoft ala BlackBerry letting small but insane design choices out the door

I used a Windows 8 machine the other day. I've used OSX the last few years, but used Windows for a couple of decades prior.

I was so confused. It was difficult to work out how to open apps. I also got stuck in the full screen start menu replacement (whatever that's called) and I had to ask for help to get back to the desktop.

Give me XP over 8 any day. Security issues aside, that was a gem of an OS.

Seems like the Microsoft OS team hit the panic button soon after iOS & Android gained traction and have been clawing for innovation without considering actual use cases

>Give me XP over 8 any day. Security issues aside, that was a gem of an OS.

Yeah, security issues aside...

Windows 7 is when Microsoft finally got a consumer OS really 'right'.

No. its still shit. having to reboot constantly is not device grade platform

I think the security issues are exaggerated (MS certainly has a motivation to get people to buy their latest OS), especially for advanced users and developers who have a good idea of what their system is doing. A lot of the exploits being patched now are based on "user is tricked into doing X", and OSs are increasingly designed to be secure against their users.

XP is more hackable (in both senses of the word), but it also gives more freedom.to the user.

I stepped into the Microsoft store yesterday - they had the Microsoft band front and center and it lured me in. Every time I go into the store I keep saying "this is cool!" at every station. But I still find myself struggling with the usability of Windows 8.

The final station I stopped at in the store was the HP Sprout PC which uses a digital projector mounted on top of the monitor to project a virtual touch screen input device where the keyboard would normally be. So it can appear as a piano, a drawing surface, etc. Once again I said "this is cool!". I've never even heard of this thing.

I used it for 5 minutes before I somehow put it into a buggy state where it stopped responding to input on the virtual touch screen.

I'm always amazed at how crappy Microsoft stores are. Oh, they're pretty and welcoming and there are always happy people playing games in there (often the employees, because they have nothing to do), but nothing works. I go to actually try out a device and the games won't run because they need me to log in to some MS service, the machines aren't connected to WiFi, or stuff is just locked up....

And how much do you want to bet that they just can't figure out why the Apple Store across the corridor is packed from open to close and theirs is a relative ghost town.

Nothing new unfortunately. Sluggish operation, Windows updates take forever. Updates fail, reverting changes, installing ~150 updates more after 8.1 upgrade. Random SDBUS BSOD, reboots, WiFi / 3G connectivity issues. It seems that everything is working badly and update installation failures and blue screens are quite random and common. Eventually after tens of reboots and installing all kind of stuff you'll get everything installed. If you're lucky. Then you'll install upgrades by the device manufacturer, which take long time and require multiple reboots etc. Luckily I'm able to install these in volume as well as tasks are rarely urgent. So I can put tens of tables on table and run updates, after a few hours I'll revisit those, see what the situation is and continue. Yes, it's not consistent, some tables and laptops in the batch can be much slower to install and other faster, others fail and some won't etc. It's just basically absolutely horrible experience. I feel and know very well the feeling you described. Suddenly touch screen is totally unresponsive, or doesn't work at all. You'll need to use USB-keyboard and so on. As well as the sleep mode (aka connected standby) sucks life out of the battery really quickly. Properly hibernating device automatically is made quite hard, but is doable after all.

This is really more of an Ausu issue than a Windows one. Asus makes great motherboards and video cards but the rest of their hardware is rubbish as far as quality control goes.

Asus is giving users a bad Windows experience so it very much is a problem for Microsoft to address. This is no different than Google going around and trying as much as it can to force the many companies releasing android devices to put out less junk and keep them up to date. In both cases all we the users know is we picked up a Windows or Android device and it was a horrible experience and so I will probably not do that again.

That's a fair point here. But every single time I've bought Asus stuff like this, its had problems out of the box. Even things like monitors, that you would think they could get right, still have issues where it crashes - literally crashes - and you have to unplug it to reboot it.

So my general rule of thumb with Asus is: stay the hell away unless you can take the time to return/exchange it 2 or 3 times to get one that works. And never let Asus repair it because they break other things in the process, and they take so long that you can't even return it by the time you get it back.

Just get the tablet replaced or call Microsoft support.

Yes, take it back to the store for a refund. We took back a Win8 HP and got the money back.

Now we have a Win8 Dell. And every-time I hear about a problem, I've repeatedly said "Take it back, and get the money back." Too late now. Too bad, stop telling me about your problems with Windows. I am done with this years ago after going through the process of performing clean installs at least every six months.

If I really need to run Windows, and I don't, I use Wine. If Wine doesn't work I fire up Win7 in VirtualBox, get it in, do what I need to do and get out.

I hear that Win10 is going to be better. I certainly hope so.

Agreed, having to tinker around on a fresh, new device to get it working partially isn't acceptable : take it back.

It blows my mind such devices are sold, excepting the consumer to finish the installation and polishing that should have been the manufacturer's job in the first place.

Most people won't be able to because it's not their hobby. It's a huge problem, and Windows reputation is really bad because of this, people get awful experiences because of buggy drivers and manufacturers not finishing their jobs.

Yeah, it clearly has hardware issues or a terrible power supply (which can cause some screens to register touches poorly)

Having updated the drivers and OS, it seems that the issues are all fixed by this point (which I'm putting in the Day 1 entry tomorrow). Was a really disconcerting out-of-box experience, though.

I rarely have any problems with Windows but this is exactly the reason I root for Microsoft to "lose" in the desktop space. They'll only improve when they're facing some real market pressure.

Also, I think having so many manufacturers makes things worse. Other than hardware specs, there really is veryt little to differentiate feature-wise between different PCs. Android is starting to run into this problem as well. The "customizations" and "improvements" aka bloated buggy shit layered on top of the vanilla OS completely messes up the user experience.

Yikes - if Microsoft would just focus on what they are doing right, and perfecting that (Windows, MSDN, etc) they might have a chance at avoiding these constant and public "fails." I understand every enterprise level business needs to try new things, but it really just seems as thought they need to leave mobile / tablets alone as hard as it may be for them to hear until they have an MVP that murders it and people can't wait for.

In fairness, it sounds like this was Asus, not Microsoft's fault.

Microsoft's fault here is that they haven't tested products that they are selling in the own Store. Or they have, they saw the issues and they decided to go with the selling anyways. It's a logistical/delivery issue on the Store end, but it does reflect badly on Microsoft as a whole.

Microsoft sold it as a signature device, so it's just as much their fault.

Again, all it means is that it's OEM crapware free.

It's Microsoft's fault that this is all it means. "Signature" could (and IMO should) mean that they've worked with the OEM to ensure everything works well and stuff is up to date. If Microsoft decided that Signature just means "slightly less crappy than usual" then that's their own fault.

So if the OEM didn't install anything aside from a completely standard (albeit old) Windows 8 install, then this is Microsoft's intended behavior of Windows? What else would cause any issues with the OS out-of-the-box aside from OS problems if the OEM didn't add anything?


So everyone else talking about how they nuke the OEM install and do a clean install of retail Win8 aren't using the drivers from the OEM, but the standard MS drivers? I guess then my question is "why aren't the world's shittiest drivers written by the OEM that affect system stability and performance considered OEM bloatware when the MS drivers work just fine?".

avoiding these constant and public "fails."

Not sure that is possible (1), let alone it would help much (2).

(1) From all OS'es installable on a whole range of hardware devices and usable by hordes of different types of users I don't think I have ever met one that hasn't had a single problem.

(2) Even if there were 1 billion cases in which everything was ok, the one case where there was a fail would still be spread out all over the media. Like this one.

And then MS will form a committee to investigate why this is not selling, and will conclude that tablets needs a "clippy" helper for the user. Clippy crashes 5 min into power-up.


I would've taken into the store and returned it. MS costs a lot in wasted productivity.

Unfortunately, I need it for work and for some other Windows Store dev work I'm doing. So, I'm suffering through it and leaving my impressions in the hope that MS can smooth over this experience later.

To me the age of the software sounds a bit like channel-stuffing. Often manufacturers will report on devices as being sold once they've left the factory for the retail store, not when they are in a consumer's hands. Because there is great incentive to report good sales, manufacturers will often negotiate around inventory so that a warehouse somewhere gets filled with devices.

These devices then sometimes sit in the channel waiting to be sold (sometimes for quite some time, depreciating in value) but if the device flops then the seller writes it off as a loss and they go to the clearance rack.

That's why you can have amazing numbers for 'sales' and then 3 months later the thing is a well-known dud. Device manufacturers that sell directly to consumers tend to report sales when it's been shipped to the final buyer.

I wonder what the Surface experience is like, I can only hope it's better.

This also reminds me of when I got world of warcraft CDs and had to spend almost 48 hours just to patch up to the most recent version.

I have Surface Pro 3, and I absolutely love it ... but it's not without issues.

For starters, the price. Although having had it for a while now, and feeling that this is the best tech I've bought in a while, it is pricey. Between the tablet itself, plus warranty, plus the keyboard cover (a must. I love pen and touch, but too many things I use the keyboard for still), it gets pricey quickly.

Usability issues, there is this nasty driver bug with it's wifi card, where you get BSOD after waking up from sleep. Don't know if it happens to everyone, but when it happened to me, I searched and found PLENTY people with the issue. The fix is 'easy enough'.

Turn off a setting to not keep wifi on while sleeping. This however means, when waking up, I have disconnect and reconnect to my wifi. The fix was very easy to google for too, but not sure if someone non-tech savy would even know what to google for.

Also, my first surface had it's touch screen die out on the top half within a month. Apparently also common, but one support ticket to Microsoft and I got a brand new one.

Having said that, I will never buy any other laptop other than surface laptops. I am extremely happy with it. I am usually a Linux user, but haven't really missed it much (although I still have it on my desktop for any Linux specific stuff). I use it for developing, occasional drawings, writing notes, diagrams, reading ebooks, browsing in bed. It really is an all in one device, and worth every penny.

Let me get this straight. You bought a tablet you love but every time you want to use it you have to turn the wifi off and back on?

How the heck is Microsoft still in business selling garbage like that in their own store which is supposed to curate the "Microsoft experience"?

For what it's worth: people with those kinds of issues are rare. Not rare enough, of course, but it's not as if everybody has them. In a way, chamakits's problems demonstrate why Microsoft is still selling them: even if they show serious issues, the rest of the tablet is so good that people will still love it.

As an aside, my own Surface displayed a very minor issue with the pen tap location being off by about a millimeter at the top edge of the screen when I first got it. Windows Update fixed it right away. It hasn't shown any issues since then, at all. From what I hear from people I know that also own one, this is more typical than situations with serious problems.

> there is this nasty driver bug with its Wi-Fi card, where you get BSOD after waking up from sleep.

Have you installed the latest Surface Pro 3 firmware update [1]? It fixes several Wi-Fi related issues, including:

* Intel(R) 8 Series PCI Express Root Port #3 - 9C14 update (v2.0.1151.0) addresses cases when the Wi-Fi adapter is not available upon resuming the system from sleep.

* Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3059.117) improves Wi-Fi throughput, especially after rebooting with Bluetooth devices that are paired, enhances power consumption situations, and addresses instances of system instability.

You shouldn't need to disconnect and reconnect your Wi-Fi once the drivers have been updated.

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/install-updat...

At least w8 made the wifi way faster to connect.

My experience of the Pro2 was seamless, as you'd expect from a reference machine. Everything just works and is correctly configured out of the box. Set up your profile an go. If you already have an online profile it'll pull in your existing settings.

My experience with the S3 was less than stellar. Returned it within a month. Defective battery, UI on apps were bad (icons inaccessible depending on size of window), didn't like the keyboard either.

My parents, very basic knowledge of computers, bought a cheap $300 laptop recently. I'm across the country from them now and it's agonizing trying to give step by step directions over the phone. The computer wouldn't connect to certain routers and slow on other routers. Most things were fixed after an update to the OS, but that's kind of hard when the thing has trouble connecting to the internet in the first place.

That WoW thing was so painful. I still remember the old Burning Crusade days. 48 hours falls short.

But, still, by that time I was a kid, and thus it felt like a magical experience...

Everybody knows Windows is a pile of garbage. What did you expect ;)?

I don't know that. I think Windows is the best consumer OS out there.

What did you expect from a $250 device? Or, what did you expect from an 8″ 1200x800 tablet with just 2gb ram and 32gb ssd which comes with a full Windows OS, instead of Win RT? Some phones have more powerful hardware than that.

It's not Microsoft's fault that Asus decided to sell a cheap, untested, poorly-built device. It's your fault, as a tech-savvy customer, to buy it.

OP explicitly states that the machine was part of Microsoft's "Signature Device" program and as such MS certainly has a responsibility for allowing these hardware specs onto the street. Nonetheless, I totally agree with notion that I would personally never have been caught in that situation due to being able to read tech specs and having internalized rough idea of Windows performance in relation to hardware setup...

OP is mistaken. The signature designation only implies that it's free of pre-installed crapware and junkware. If one wants a real Nexus like device(branded Google), then Surface is their friend(made by MS).

>as such MS certainly has a responsibility for allowing these hardware specs onto the street

And then get sued by the DoJ and split up by a court. Thanks to the antitrust ruling, MS cannot force anything on the OEMs. If you can install Windows on a 512MB RAM machine and sell it, MS can't do shit to stop you.

Surely Microsoft can choose which devices they put some signature branding on, and which ones they choose to stock in their own retail stores though? They can't control the hardware running Windows but they absolutely should control be aware of what their 'signature' on an OEM device implies.

> It's not Microsoft's fault...

In addition to the "Signature" branding, OP bought it in a Microsoft Store. There is really no excuse for being so terrible at taking care of their own ecosystem.

As someone who worked in a testing department at a large company, I have to say that vetting even just your own devices for defects is an incredibly tough nut to crack, much less other companys'.

Your solution is effectively "Don't sell non-Microsoft products at your store."

Yes, I know that Apple has managed to do exactly that, build a retail store where there's an expectation that anything you buy there will be at the brand level of quality. Apple can do a lot of things other companies can't. It has the best designers, the best technology platforms, the best infrastructure. Apple's remarkable consistency is the product of the company Jobs built.

Microsoft has to struggle very hard to come up with one half-decent product.

>What did you expect from a $250 device?

I don't care what it costs - it should work.

>It's not Microsoft's fault that Asus decided to sell a cheap, untested, poorly-built device.

Microsoft probably wouldn't be able to prevent Asus from selling it outright, but it could refuse to sell it through MS Store or giving it a 'signature device' branding.

  > it should work    
It works.

  > refuse to sell it through MS Store
MS is probably bound by some partnership agreements so it cannot refuse, and 'signature device' means there's no third-party bloatware as OP said.

    > It works.
For a certain definition of "works".

    > MS is probably bound by some partnership agreements so it cannot refuse
Who cares? It's in MS store sold as MS "signature device".

Are you saying that if it had more ram, the vendor would've updated the windows image? I don't see a connection between the out-of-box software being broken and the device having lower specs than a phone.

No, I'm saying specs alone are a warning sign of a junk device. Outdated software and lack of touchscreen drivers are just another consequence of manufacturers neglect.

OP here. I was expecting something called a "Microsoft Signature Device" to be similar to a Nexus device, wherein MS was working with the OEM to make a sort of reference device for the form factor. Nexus devices usually don't have the latest-and-greatest, and they still work pretty damn well.

What I got out of this instead is that MS guarantees a "Signature Device" to just be free of any bloatware. I was also deceived by the devices in-store working perfectly well, but having been already fixed by store employees before customers could get to them.

Guess I know better for the next time, eh?

Things seem to be much better now that I've got 8.1 and some various other updates in. Still have more updates installing, and hopefully everything is peachy keen by tomorrow evening when I do the Day 1 post :)

I do hope your tablet works at least as well as devices in store (after finishing with updates :) ).

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