Monday, July 8, 2013

[Article] Upgraded my desktop to Windows 8.1 Preview as well

I didn't have much to do on Sunday afternoon so I wanted to check out how Windows 8.1 performed on my desktop PC. There were some notable performance improvements on the tablet and I was wondering if it would extend to the desktop PC as well.
 
I thought it would be a quick update because the server issues won't be a problem anymore and the PC is 100 times faster that the tablet. But it wasn't the case. The download was so slow that it took more than a hour and a half to finish. And the installation wasn't fast either. Not good!
 
Nevertheless, the update succeeded in the first attempt and I didn't have any compatibility issues at install time. There was a newer NVidia driver installed, 325.71, I believe. Windows 8 still has the 320 series. And guess what just had to ruin my dinner? (We watch movies when we have dinner, by the way) Creative X-Fi driver! That darn thing gets hiccups even when the wind speed changes. Need to replace it soon!
 
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So, the problem was tht there was no sound coming out of the speakers. The drivers were installed but no sound. I reinstalled the drivers. Installed the latest PAX drivers though. Reboot, and still no sound. I had the official drivers downloaded to the hard drive a while back and I tried them next. They worked! The next day when I woke up and turned the PC on, the sounds were gone. Infuriating! I had a feeling that the NVidia drivers - the HDMI audio driver - is the culprit. That had happened before and I always unchecked that option when updating the drivers. But the problem is, there aren't any drivers to update to. But when I searched the Internet, I found out that there were some newer drivers out (326.01) for 8.1, and even though they were supposed to show up in Windows Update, they didn't. Guru3D had posted the direct links to download them. I grabbed them but before installing the drivers, I ran driver sweeper to clean out all the NVidia drivers and settings. And that too got stuck in the middle of the cleaning process. I terminated it from Task Manager and straight away updated the drivers without reboot. I was afraid that whatever driver sweeper did would kill Windows. The last thing I needed was to reinstall everything from the scratch. So I installed the 326.01 drivers, only selecting the driver and PhysX option and telling it to do a clean install (i.e. all the settings will be reset to defaults). That seemed to fix the problem. Even without rebooting, the sounds started coming out of the speakers. I did a few reboots and so far the audio driver (this is the official driver) is holding its ground.
 
But now GeForce Experience doesn’t work. It says that there is a newer drivers available for my GPU, which is 320.49. But it is not newer. Without installing it, I cannot use GeForce Experience. Nuts! So I ended up updating to 320.49 drivers and got a BSOD within few minutes of Crysis 3. Stupid me, I disabled the Page File because I didn't think I will ever get a BSOD again as I have finally got my CPU stable. I came back to the desktop and tried to update to 326.01 by running the setup that I downloaded but the installation failed. I tried Driver Sweeper and it stopped working at the middle of the cleaning process. Still I couldn't install 326.01. The only option for me was to reinstall 320.49 via GeForce Experience. At least it worked and haven't got a BSOD since then. It seemed in Crysis 3 I was getting more FPS with 320.49 driver than the 326.01. Well, as long as 320.49 doesn't crap out on me, I'll be happy. By the way, I also managed to overclock the display to where I had before (69Hz) without much trouble.

Then I noticed that my custom mouse button assignments weren't working. Logitech Gaming Software is where I set them in since I have a Logitech G500 mouse. The settings were intact and the Gaming Software was running in the system tray, but it wasn't working. A simple Google search revealed that reinstalling the Logitech Gaming Software fixes it and it did. Phew! For a second I thought that I might have to go back to Windows 8, because custom mouse button assignments not working is a deal breaker for me. By the way, doing a Clean Install of GeForce drivers seems to ruin the Logitech Gaming Software. I had to reinstall them after installing 320.49 drivers as well.
 
I don't give a crap about Metro on desktop so I was only looking for enhancements in desktop environment. But I have to say, they have ruined the My Computer window. The libraries were nowhere to be found and there were some unneeded folders from the user profile. I was doing fine with Libraries. But a simple Google search again showed me how to get back the libraries. I wish I could move it to the top of the sidebar. Seems like you cannot do that.
 
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I almost forgot. After the update, there was the dreaded Windows.old folder in the C drive. You cannot just delete it. You have to use disk cleanup.
 
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But in Windows 8.1 Preview, disk cleanup doesn't show up under search results! Did they remove disk cleanup?? No, you just have to open Administrative Tools and launch Disk Cleanup from there. No idea why Microsoft is making these nonsense changes.
 
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I already had the App Switcher & Charms bar disabled and auto booting to desktop enabled using SkipMetroSuite and it worked well. But now I'm using the inbuilt settings for that.  I also replaced the PowerShell with Command Prompt because that's what I'm used to.
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