Windows 10 Upgrade Errors

Microsoft has finally released Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. I took part in the tech preview and was impressed by how the new operating system looked and felt. Even though I was running the beta for several months on a VM, I was excited that the final release is finally available for download for current Windows 7 and 8 users. That excitement however, quickly turned into frustration.

What I wanted to do was upgrade my machines running Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Then do a clean install. In order to do this, you would have to upgrade to Windows 10 and wait for the activated confirmation message. Once you see this, you should be able to do a clean install and it will automatically activate afterwards. The upgrade process already gave me issues.

Everything was going well during the upgrade but during the reboot I get the following error.

second boot error

Second Boot error

I’ve tried different things, even disabling the AVG 2015 antivirus (which I read some people having issues with). I also started uninstall software that I feel may have compatibility issues with Windows 10. Still no luck. Finally, I decided to uninstall AVG and it looks like that was the culprit.

I didn’t get a chance to take photos of the settings part when it asks after upgrading but it’s something I’d like to mention. There are many settings that you should pay attention to regarding privacy. Here’s some photos I took when I was upgrading my HP Stream 7 tablet.

express settings

Click on Customize Settings to view and change.

customized settings

Customize the default settings

After running Windows update and restarting Windows 10, I checked the Windows activation status and it said it was activated. I felt confident that the troubles are over and I now can do a clean install. The process went fine but now I have more issues, this time regarding activation. I now get the following error with activation.

Error code: 0xC004C003

blocked key

Blocked key

If you run the following command, it’ll bring up the screen to call Microsoft and display the installation ID, which should then give you an activation code.

SLUI 4

Select your country and it will give you the phone number to call. You will have to provide your installation ID which should generate a confirmation ID that is similarly long.

I ended up speaking with something and they told me that the blocked key error is a bit misleading. He said that the activation server cannot handle all the requests so it’s blocking people out. It’s not necessarily mean you have a bad copy of Windows and it won’t allow you to activate. They recommend to continue to wait and it will activate. I also found this thread to be a little helpful in terms of what others are experiencing – [http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/error-code-0xc004c003-on-clean-reinstall-of/834e0c2d-6229-4258-8038-3e209b745242](http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/error-code-0xc004c003-on-clean-reinstall-of/834e0c2d-6229-4258-8038-3e209b745242).

So I guess I’ll have to wait. Back to the AVG 2015 antivirus. Once I stabilized Windows 10, I installed it again and it ran fine. It should, since they said it was fully compatible. From what I heard, the reason why it could affect upgrades is AVG can sometimes lock files and prevent the upgrade process from upgrading them. So it’s best to uninstall it and reinstall once everything is finished.

Finally, I want to share an error I got with a Dell T3600 workstation I upgraded to Windows 10. This error occurs after I used the Reset This PC. I chose to delete all the files and applications. During the final reboot, I get this error. It will just keep restarting and never fix itself.

inaccessible boot device

Inaccessible boot device

Looks like I’ll have to do a clean install on this one as well.

I’ve talked to a few friends who upgraded to Windows 10 and not have any issues. For some reason, I attract these kinds of issues. I hope Microsoft can improve on the upgrade process. So far though, Windows 10 has been a treat. I guess anything is better than Windows 8 – it’s not too bad, but this has been a better user experience (except for the upgrade process).

Aida64 Extreme

I recently built a new PC on the X99 platform. Now I’d like to run some benchmarks. What should I use? My search lead me to Finalwire’s Aida64. I’ve heard of the tool before. Many of the bloggers and Youtube users I follow use it. I now have a reason to use it. I first started playing with the trial, but ended up getting a license. Some of my screenshots will have “Trial” watermarks to show limitations of the trial versus a licensed copy.

Interface

The interface itself is intuitive. I myself don’t do much benchmarking on a regular basis nor am I highly experienced with it, but the interface is not intimidating at all. In fact, it felt just like any other software. I was able to find things as well as things I didn’t even know it could do.

main window

Main Window

On the left you have two tabs. The menu and favorites. They are pretty much self-explanatory. Each section in the menu has a triangle to expand and reveal additional features. On the screenshot above, I am displaying the CPU information under the Motherboard menu. Here it shows different attributes of my CPU. I used to have to install CPU-Z to get such information, now I don’t have to since it’s included with Aida64. Also in the screenshot, you will notice that not all the information is available during the trial but you are still given a lot of functionality.

preferences

The Preferences window show above uses the same layout as the main window. As you can see, you can customize many different settings and behavior of the program.

Benchmarks

So what exactly does Aida64 do? Well, it’s a benchmarking software. The software sends instructions to the computer and it measures its performance with a score. The scores are then used to compare between different systems. You normally would want to run the same benchmark a few times and calculate the average. Now these benchmarks are synthetic and may not represent “real world” experiences. Here are the different benchmarks you can do with Aida64.

types of benchmark

Benchmarks

I normally just use the following.

  • CPU AES
  • CPU PhotoWorxx
  • CPU Queen
  • CPU ZLib
  • Memory Copy
  • FPU Julia

You can read more about each benchmark from their websitehttp://www.aida64.com/products/features/benchmarking. You can display results with other CPU for reference and comparison. You can also just display your result.

results with other cpu

Results with other CPU
individual result

Individual result

Other Benchmark

Aside from running benchmarks on your CPU, it can run benchmarks on your storage, ram, and display. You can access these benchmarks under the Tools menu on top. When using the Disk Benchmark, you are able to run 6 different types of benchmark.

  • Read Test Suite
  • Linear Read
  • Random Read
  • Buffered Read
  • Average Read Access
  • Max Read Access

You can find more information for each benchmark by selecting the “About” on the drop down menu found at the bottom left of the window, right above the list of benchmarks. I tried out the Read Test Suite on both my Samsung 840 EVO and Samsung 830 Series SSD. Below is the result I got. Unless I missed it, but I didn’t find a benchmark for write.

840 EVO VS 830

Samsung 840 EVO VS 830

Under the same Tools menu, you can run benchmark on your memory as well.

Cache & Memory Benchmark

Cache & Memory Benchmark

Finally, here’s a screenshot of the GPU benchmark you can do which is also found under the Tools menu.

GPU Benchmark

GPU Benchmark

System Stability Test

Yes, it can do more than benchmark. You can run the System Stability Test where it will run you computer to its limits to test stability. This is great when you are overclocking or changing bios settings and want to ensure that your components can handle it. I just did a quick 2 minute stress test and took a screenshot of it displaying the statistics. The other tabs actually display graphs.

System Stability Test

System Stability Test

Conclusion

In the past, I had to use many different tools to run different benchmarks and get hardware information. But now I don’t need to. Aida64 does most of what I need. I may still use another benchmark for my storage since I didn’t see it do any writing tests, but for CPU, it does everything that I’m looking for. The amount of details you get with hardware is impressive. The interface is great. The support staff so far have been responsive. I have been in contact with them via email regarding different topics and have received replies in a timely manner.

The version I tried out is 5.00.3300 and the build date is 12/8/2014. I tried it on three different computers, two are running on the X79 platform and the other on X99. You shouldn’t have any issues running it on other Intel platforms or AMD. Just check out their system requirements. You can find this at their product pagehttp://www.aida64.com/products/aida64-extreme. The $40 annual license cost is reasonable for the amount of features you get. If you are a student, they can offer you a discount by providing them some proof of eligibility – usually a copy of your student ID or other proof of enrollment. Just contact them to find out more information.

If you are interested in running benchmarks on your computer, you should try out Aida64 Extreme. As I mentioned, you can run a trial for 30 days with some limitation. It should be plenty of time for you to decide whether you want to buy a year’s license or not. You can download a trial copy athttp://www.aida64.com/downloads. They also offer a discount for the renewal license.

Headaches with WinXDVD software

I recently tried out Digiarty’s Blu-ray Decrypter because my Makemkv trial has expired. I tried to install the newer version but it still tells me it’s expired. So far it was good during trial. It ripped the 3 movies I tried with it to M2TS files. I then tried to encode it using Arcsoft MediaConverter 7 and I get the stupid “cannot find splitter” error.

error

I figured if the decrypter is made by DIgiarty, why not get their own encoder too, so I did. I purchased both decrypter and encoder from Digiarty. Well I was wrong about my assumption. Now I get a file not supported error.

error

I contacted their support via email because their phone number is in China. The began to help but now I haven’t heard from them in a few days. I requested for a refunded since their site says there’s a 30 day money back guarantee. I have yet to here a response.

Their DVD software may be good (I haven’t tried but read some good reviews) but based on my experience, their HD stuff isn’t working. It’s too bad. I hope I can get my money back. I want to try other programs.

Virtu trial expired?

I opened my Arcsoft MediaConverter 7 so I can do some more transcoding. To my surprise I was greeted with the following error.

error

I went to the Lucid Logix website for support just like the error said. I couldn’t find any help nor did I find a way to purchase the full version. All I found was a message that says if I ever need support for this product, to contact the motherboard company. So I go to the Gigabyte website and their support is through email. I haven’t heard back yet but I’m guessing it’s because of the weekend.

I hope I can get this resolved. Using Quick Sync is the biggest reason why I went with the Z68 platform. For now, my CPU usage is close to 100% every time I transcode. Unlike before, with Virtu and Quick Sync, my CPU usage was around 40% and my fans don’t even kick up.

Update: (2011-09-19)

I called Gigabyte’s tech support and was able to get help after several calls. Here are the problems and solution in a nutshell.

  1. My motherboard – Z68MA-D2H-B3 – didn’t come with the Virtu software so I downloaded the one from Lucid Logic directly. According to Gigabyte, I have to use the one that came with the motherboard CD because that version is licensed with them. I have been using the version straight from Lucid Logic’s website which is why it is now expired.

  2. I downloaded and installed the Virtu software from Gigabyte but I still get the error. It turns out that my Bios version (F2) is old and I need to install the current version (F8).

After updating the bios and using Gigabyte’s version, I can now use Virtu once again. Gigabyte support team has been helpful and I will continue to use their products.

Moving back to Windows?

It’s been over 6 years since I exclusively used Windows and have been using Apple. But recently I’ve had the urge to build a PC – mainly for games and video transcoding. So I started doing so research on hardware. As I am doing research, I’m starting to realize how much Apple has limited me from doing certain things and lacked support for some I/O devices.

I find myself running Windows virtually for doing simple tasks that I can’t seem to do with Apple either free or efficiently. For instance, if I need to edit metadata on a video file without having it render again is only possible with iTunes. But if I use iTunes, it has to be added to the library and not all file formats are supported. In Windows, I can accomplish this by using a free app called MP3Tag. I’ve looked and have not found an app for OS X – free anyway.

My second example. USB 3.0 and eSata has been available for years now (well eSata has been around for years) – no support at all by any Apple hardware. Yes, there is FW400 and FW800 but it isn’t as practical or affordable. I have many external devices that have both USB 2.0 and eSata. The eSata is begging to be used but I can’t. Even my HD camcorder uses USB and iMovie can recognize it – no FW support on the camcorder.

My third example. I have a bluray burner and have a lot of movies. Not all have portable media versions that come with it and even if they did, I would download through iTunes and have it be stuck (DRM) to 5 accounts. I’d like to throw this file onto my DLNA server and have it stream throughout the house. I don’t want to leave my iMac on all day just so that iTunes can share things – that’s why I have a Terastation with DLNA. Now I can rip blueray videos. I use MakeMKV to rip it then use Handbrake to create an MP4 file which would take around 9 hours to do. I’m hoping to cut this down by a lot on a Windows machine because Windows supports blueray format.

My fourth example. Time Machine is great. But without the expensive Time Capsule, I can’t do back ups over the network. I have found hacks but they are not 100%. Again, I have a Terastation and want to use it to its full potential.

My fifth example. My iMac that I bought in 2008 has been maxed out of its upgrade. The ram is at 4GB and the hard drive is 1TB 7200RPM (I think this model should recognize up to 1.5TB). I’m unable to upgrade the video card because iMacs are built like laptops. So whenever a new game comes along (Starcraft 2), I’m stuck with hardware from 2008. I’m able to get as high as medium setting and still experience some lag. World of Warcraft, I’m able to get 22-40 FPS in high populated areas. For my uses, I can’t upgrade the hardware anymore and would like to. If I had bought a Mac Pro, I probably could but for the price… no thanks!

So the plan is to build a PC that will let me have a better experience in games as well as transcode/edit videos more efficiently than my current iMac. I will be using an Intel i7-2600K processor and an H-series motherboard. The P-series is a little more expensive and I don’t plan on overclocking anytime soon – even though the 2600K allows me to. Now why spend the extra bucks on K? I just want to have the capability of overclocking once I do decide. And when I do, I just get a new motherboard. By then the Z-series motherboards will be available will have the Quick Sync capability and overclocking capability. I will be running 8GB DDR3 1333 ram for starters but the motherboard will be ready for 16GB when I am. For now, I’ll be running 500GB Sata 3Gbps, but in the future I’ll have it set up with 4 250GB on Sata 6Gbps with RAID10. That should give me a powerful and enjoyful experience compared to what I have now with my iMac.

I enjoy using Apple and OS X and will continue to use it. But as a desktop and for my current needs, I feel I’m better off on a PC running Windows 7 64bit. My MBP 13” will be my second desktop/laptop because I still don’t feel comfortable nor do I trust doing certain things on a Windows machine.

Once I get more comfortable and have a nice workflow set up on my new PC, I will be selling my iMac. But that won’t be for weeks. Hopefully, what I have read and expect is true. If not, my new PC will just be a gaming computer and I will continue to do everything else on my Mac.