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.

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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.

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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).

Toshiba Satellite C55-A5300 with SSD

Best Buy has been running a sale on the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5300 for $229. At one point they even had the Skull Candy headphones – the one I chose is the S6HSDZ-072. It’s a $60 value and it was free. Here are the key specs of the laptop.

  • Intel Celeron 1037U 1.8GHz (Ivy Bridge)
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz (installed in 1 of 2 slots, can be maximized to 16GB and run up to 1600HMz)
  • 500GB HDD 5400RPM
  • Intel HD Graphics (integrated and shared)
  • LAN 10/100 (not gigabit)
  • 15.6” widescreen TruBrite at 1366×768 (supports 720p content)
  • HDMI port
  • SDHC size card reader
  • Windows 8 (upgradeable to 8.1)

So the specs aren’t jawdropping but for the price it’s a very good deal. I picked one up and the first thing I did is swap out that horrendous hard drive. Running at 5400RPM and it’s not SSD makes me cringe. All my computers, except for my 2008 iMac are running on SSD. It’s hard to go back to regular HDD.

The upgrade is very easy. First, you will need to boot to the desktop. So I had to let the laptop initialize and answer a few questions. Next, I created DVD restore discs using the Toshiba Recovery Media Creator software. This is how I will get the OS onto the new hard drive. Laptops no longer come with restore discs. It’s been this way for many years now. They usually have a hidden partition on the hard drive if the computer needs to be restored. You can also order a copy of the restore discs for around $16. Or, if you’re lucky, the computer comes with software that will allow you to make your own. For this particular laptop, you can use 3x 4GB DVD-R or 16GB+ USB thumb drive. I went with the DVDs and the process took about an hour to create. Make sure you label the DVD discs so you know which goes first, second, and third. When restoring it will ask you for all 3.

Once I got the DVDs made, it’s time to open up the laptop. Ensure that it’s unplug and the battery is removed. Flip the laptop over so the bottom is up. There is a screw holding in the panel that covers both HDD and ram. After you remove the panel, you will need to remove another screw that’s holding the HDD in place. Lift up from the screw area once your remove the screw. Swap the HDD with the SSD. Close everything back up and boot off the DVD. I had a Kingston HyperX SSD 120GB lying around so I used it to play around with. With the SSD, boot up is under 15 seconds. I removed most of the Toshiba crapware and the Norton AV trial. Here are some pics I took.

upgrade

Here is an Instagram video I recorded. You can see the whole boot up process all the way to the desktop within the 15 second time limit.

Opening an Apple Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A

I wanted to upgrade my old Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A. Here’s what I did. Remember that I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipment.

With most Apple computers, opening them can be trivial. The trick to opening this one is using a putty knife. There are no screws holding the case to the computer/motherboard.

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There shouldn’t be any hidden wires connecting the case and the computer itself. Once you have the case off, here’s what you’ll see.

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You will notice that the DVDRW drive is at the top, while the hard drive is right underneath. At this point, you’ll probably not see the ram. It’s underneath the hard drive. You have to remove some screws to get access to these components. You should note that there is a wire that needs to be disconnected before removing the screws.

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In the front view of the above picture, please note A. This is the wire that needs to be disconnected.

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You will need to unclip the piece marked A to gain access to one of the screws.

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The picture above shows you where each of the 4 screws are. They are black with one of them being longer than the other 3. The labels A, B, C, and D shows where the screws are located. D is the longest of the 4 screws. E just shows you I have removed the component to get access to screw C.

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Keep in mind, there is a ribbon connecting the mid layer you are about to lift and the motherboard. This is to the back of the Mac Mini. The SATA ports are joined to the motherboard by a card. Slowly lift up keeping the 2 components I just mentioned. Figure A is the ram location. You can install 2x DDR2 667. Up to 2GB (2x 1GB) are supported but 3GB can be supported according to Wikipedia. These are not desktop size ram, they are laptop size – SODIMM. Figure B is the hard drive. It is a 2.5” size. According to Wikipedia, it’s a SATA2 port that supports up to 3Gbps but it has been throttled down to 1.5Gbps.

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Figure A is the ribbon I was referring to above. You can remove it but remove the end that’s attached behind the DVDRW drive. It is a little pain to connect it back but it will make moving things around easier. It’s up to you but check out how it’s connected first so you know how to put it back later.

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Above is a picture with a closer look of the SATA card that connects the hard drive and optical drive to the motherboard. Figure A connects to Figure B. So be aware of that when lifting the middle piece off the motherboard. You should lift up.

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The 2 pictures above I labeled where the 4 screws are located to remove the hard drive. It’s fairly easy to remove from the SATA connection after the screws have been removed but putting the new hard drive can be more of a challenge. There’s a gap between the hard drive and DVDRW drive so you can’t rest the hard drive on the optical drive while connecting it to the SATA port.

If you’ve ever opened up a Macbook Pro or other laptops, you will notice the ram is place in a similar fashion. There are 2 clips on the side. Once you unclip the ram, it will pop up. The ram chips are stacked on top of each other, with their own clips.

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Above is another view of the motherboard.

That should cover how to replace the hard drive and ram for the Mac Mini. Before putting the case back, I would suggest turning it on and ensuring your new components are recognize. Just be careful when you have it running to not touch any of the components as you may damage it. Apple may have nice designs but the price of it is the difficulty of upgrading.

Optibay Kit from Maxupgrades.com

I just installed the optibay kit from Maxupgrades.com on my Macbook Pro (MC723LL). The kit cost $89 with the USB enclosure. I called them up before ordering and spoke with one of the sales people for almost half an hour. He knew a great deal about Apple products and he says that he’s one of the machinist that builds the kits. He guarantees that they are aluminum. I gave them a chance and was surprised at the level of quality and shipping/packaging. The package is well wrapped and padded. The parts were in anti-static bags and on top of the that, the tools were included as well as the screwdriver was magnetized to help with assembly. It didn’t come with any instructions on how to remove the optical drive. I tried to look on Youtube but didn’t find what I needed. I have opened other Macs before without any guide. A good rule of thumb is to go slow and be careful. I figured I’ll give this a shot. I took roughly 30 minutes for the whole install so it wasn’t as bad as open up an iMac.

There were 3 screws I didn’t use because the holes didn’t line up. It’s on the SATA adapter to be screwed on the aluminum bracket. It was either screwing the adapter and not having the SATA connectors fully plugged in or not screw it on and have the SATA connectors fully plugged in. I chose the latter. It’s fairly secure even without the screws. Here are some pictures during the unboxing.

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Upgrading my iMac MB324LL/A

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

Update: their videos on Youtube are no longer there. I’ll keep their usernames in the post just to show credit.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

So now I got the new 1TB hard drive installed. How do I get my old system on the new drive? There are 2 ways to do this. The first way is to use Time Machine (if you actually did use it). You can install a fresh copy of Leopard on the new hard drive. After installation, you get an option to use a Time Machine back up to restore. I’ve tried this but since I have over 200GB of data, my iMac ends up sleeping while trying to load the data to restore.

The second option is the image the old hard drive and restore it on the new one. This option took me about a day to complete. What you will need is an external hard drive, your old hard, and the new hard drive. If you image your old drive before installing the new one, you don’t need a second external enclosure. The first thing you’ll do is to boot your computer using the Leopard DVD. Open Disc Utility on the Leopard DVD. Do not do this while booted on the hard drive. It’s possible that it will not work because the drive you are imaging is in use. The external hard drive is where you will save the image file. Once finished, restore the image onto the new hard drive. That’s pretty much a brief summary of what I did.

I did run into some errors while formatting the new hard drive. This post helped me outhttp://macosx.com/forums/hardware-peripherals/290989-disk-utility-problem-erasing-large-external-hard-drive.html.

The image/restore process took most of the day. It may be quicker or longer for you, depending on the size of the data. Make sure you take any necessary precautions before working on your expensive Apple hardware 😉

New upgrades for my Asus EEEPC 900A

After a few days with my netbook, I’ve decided to buy some upgrades to better my experience with it.

Here’s the video I posted on YouTube on installing the ram.

I didn’t bother posting another video for installing the new SSD drive because it’s fairly the same procedure as the ram upgrade.

Here’s the video where I got the idea to use the Case Logic HDC3 case.

Cost for all the upgrades were around $100. With the price of my netbook, it still cost less than the average startup price for a netbook.