My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

View previous topic View next topic Go down

My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:14 pm

Nov or Dec or somewhere around there, I bought two cheap win10 laptops with problems, meant to compete with the now popular Chromebooks. They are basically Chromebook hardware with win10 instead of ChromeOS. 11.6 inch screen so pretty small.

The Acer Cloudbook had busted screen. The win10 install on the Lenovo Ideabook 100s-11 was fubar and reset failed.

I posted reviews on Amazon, guess easiest to just repost duplicates of my reviews here, though might eventually rewrite them for clarity purposes. Will add them in two separate posts to this thread.

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:16 pm

This review is from: 2016 Newest Acer Laptop Aspire One Cloudbook AO1-131-C9RK Intel Celeron N3050 (1.60 GHz) 11.6" (Personal Computers)
Fist I bought mine off ebay for $9 shipped with broken screen and whole lot sticky residue from tape and stickers. I can forgive a lot faults at that price point. LOL Yep it is a AO1-131-C9RK! Shows what they are worth in short order, huh? Got new generic screen for it for $18. Hint if you ever replace one of these just look for generic 11.6 inch screen (non-touch) with 30pin connector. Dont spend more for one guaranteed to work on the AO1-131-C9RK. The generic fits exactly and you seriously wouldnt know the difference. None of these little laptops have super high quality screens. Took all five minutes to change it out, lot videos on this sort thing on youtube. Simple once you've seen it done.

So it boots up to some strangers win10 login screen. So I reset win10 to factory from reset partition. Thats an annoying long process. This reset puts it back like new including bloatware that came with it new. Thanks ACER. My goodness ACER likes the bloatware. I uninstalled anything that didnt look like hardware driver though pretty sure some of those are just bloatware drivers where its huge, but windows actually uses some 20kb ini file out of all that mess, rest is just salesmanship and bluff. MacAfee was especially nasty as it has anti uninstall stuff that has to be disabled first. Still leaves huge mess of bloat that M$ installed and doesnt want you to uninstall since uninstall is greyed out. Its easier to prune this during actual installation with third party "win10 LITE" script but this was a reset, not an install. I ran Destroy Windows Spying and got rid of all but Cortana, Edge, and Store. Told Cortana to shut up and go sit in the corner. Edge despite my earlier lackluster experiments with it on another computer actually ran pretty fast. Maybe this is newer version?? No interest in store. Also DWS blocked communication with all known M$ servers using hosts file and firewall. No mandatory/inconvenient updates this way. Oh and downloaded Kmeleon browser. I have yet to experiment, says I can install Firefox NO-SCRIPT extension with some effort, unfortunately wont just work out of the box. Worth it cause Kmeleon is very small fast browser. Long ago I had a win95 only laptop long after everybody else had moved on, Kmeleon was last browser truly usable on that thing. Firefox gets ever more bloated as time passes.

Might mention when I bought this ACER, I also picked up a similar used Lenovo 100s with win10 problems that turned out to have bad/failing eMMC flash drive. People call them SSD, but they really are more crude, like a camera flash card on steroids. Unlike the ACER with its celeron, it has the BayTrail Atom setup, more common in tablets and lot less friendly to linux. eMMC cant be replaced so I used external SSD velcro'd to lid and hooked to usb for it. Installed Sparky Linux which supports its hardware nicely.

Even with different processor, they are very similar machines. Suspect the other such win10 cloud laptops are too. I like Sparky Linux much better than win10 but probably like the ACER laptop bit better than the Lenovo.

As to other comments about all these win10 cloud laptops and poor slow operation. Frankly it comes down to win10 trying to serve two masters with very limited resources. Since left as installed it wants to spend its time phoning home to Bill Gates, downloading mystery updates, and trying to sell me stuff, it cant do very good job doing what a computer operating system should be doing for its owner. Once stripped of much of its nonsense and locked down, it runs pretty well despite minimal hardware specs on this computer.

Installed my preference of free version Jarte for word processor. Seriously dont really need some huge mega bloat office program to write a letter or even write a novel... And file search called Search Everything. Oh and Ifran and VLC.

Now my rating of four stars is for fully functional version, not including my efforts to resurrect my bargain. Its ok, has much friendlier bios than the Lenovo 100s. Keyboard is ok. The trackpad sucks though its usable for most part. Get a mouse. Seriously, get a mouse! Wifi at first couldnt see my router for couple hour, then all at once it did and works to connect ok after that. Be prepared to spend lot time cleaning up and locking down win10 and making it behave. Sad thing lot people that buy these think of it same as buying a toaster or microwave. Should just work great out of box. But in real world, computers tend to require lot tinkering and customizing. Both ACER and Microsoft and every other company for that matter, dont have your best interests at heart, they are in it to maximize profit. Sorry little fact of life. You need to look after your own, not worry about what makes corporations happy.

Modify what they offer to best serve YOUR needs and wants if what they offer makes economic sense to you. Personally I have to scratch my head about people so happy to give $150 to over $200 for what is basically computer with ten year old specs. The only real advantage to these chrome and cloud books is their light weight and ability to go long time on a battery charge. If you dont need those things in an extreme, you can get a perfectly functional early two core, ten year old, laptop for much less. Some of those old buisiness laptops were built amazingly well but then they sold for the big bucks back in the day so they could build in lot more quality at that price point. I doubt any of these little plastic cheapies will be around in ten years.

Oh anybody using this as your home computer, invest in an hdmi cable and hook it to your tv or with an adapter, can even an old desktop monitor. Lot easier on the eyes than staring at tiny screen. A full size keyboard nice too.....

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:17 pm

This review is from: Lenovo - IdeaPad 100s 11.6" Laptop / Intel Atom Z3735F/ 2GB Memory / 32GB eMMC Flash Memory / Webcam / Windows 10- Red (Personal Computers)
Ok, first I bought mine used off ebay for $30 shipped. Yea, new price maybe cheap for a new laptop, but seemed might salty for a minimal spec computer. $30 about most I was willing to give. Looked like new, but win10 install was fubar. Seller said it would boot to win10 lockscreen then go to black screen of death. When I got it wouldnt even try to boot win10. I gave it a shot resetting win10, but it would get to 51% and couldnt continue. No doubt seller had tried that though didnt mention doing so. Didnt really want win10 on such minimal spec machine anyway. Then spent good bit time learning how to get Puppy Linux (Slacko64-6.3.2) to boot from thumb drive. It isnt easy since the 100s has 32bit UEFI only bios. There is no legacy mode. You can however turn off secure boot. Anyway Puppy would boot but I had to use usb keyboard/mouse. Puppy has linux kernel 4.1 and support for this keyboard/trackpad on 100s not added until kernel 4.2.

So reading online, I discovered Sparky Linux. 32bit version supports 32bit UEFI out of box. Apparently everything else also, except wifi. You want wifi you have to either compile the proprietary driver yourself or use a usb wifi adapter. Netgear 150 usb wifi very nice in linux by way... There are Chinese knockoff of it for less than $5 that work just as well. Look for white one with Atheros chipset.

I got copy of 32bit Sparky 4.3. It uses the 4.5 linux kernel. And kernel can be updated to 4.7 if you want. It does support everything, even webcam and power management. I honestly never thought of this thing even having a webcam, but there was my ugly mug on the screen in living color. Live version Sparky boot from usb, but installed it to internal eMMC drive (have to use the advanced Sparky installer) and wouldnt boot. I thought GRUB2 configuration bad. Beat my head against brick wall trying to figure the problem in configuration. Couldnt find one.

Then thought about problems with that eMMC drive for win10 trying to reset and for Puppy trying to create a save file. Full install of Sparky again, this time to a small SSD I hooked up via usb. There we go. Using it now. It installed and boots as default system. So I have nice little 100s, though going to look bit geeky with usb SSD velcroed to lid. There is no practical way to ever replace the eMMC as its soldered to motherboard. Thumb drives work for for some things including frugal install Puppy or running "live cd" version of linux, the SSD vastly superior for full install of any operating system.

Its a truly nice little laptop with Sparky installed, Sparky is really what these should come with in first place. Full install of Sparky 4.3 only uses 5GB space for those of you interested in installing it. There is a Sparky 4.4 now and think its bigger though dont know that.

EDIT: Late December. I guess I was just bored one nasty weather day. I decided to try reinstalling win10 on this little beast, first just to see if I could, and second kinda curious how win10 runs on it. Got copy 32bit win10 HOME, free download from Microsoft website. Used Rufus to make installer UEFI bootable on usb thumb drive. Yep it booted and ready to try to install. Well nothing currently on the eMMC since its got bad areas, so nothing to lose, I let it try to install there. Surprise it succeeded and there I was booted into win10. Well I did my usual batten down the hatches to get rid of the cloud/metro apps and prevent it phoning home. Blocked updates since they at best reverse my modifications and at worst just FUBAR whole install so it no longer boots.

Free program DWS-lite (there are other similar programs, just this is one I am most familiar) does much of this modification automagically, though if you are glutton for punishment, can do it manually. Said unactivated, but when I used Edge to download 32bit version Firefox, it activated itself. I guess win10 can phone home through Edge even with other communications blocked. Gotta love builtin spyware. Installed NO-SCRIPT, adblocker ultimate, and self destructing cookie extensions on Firefox. Lot other little Administrator commandline tweaks, seriously win10 is like a big swiss cheese, just full of built in holes and backdoors and nuisance software. Then still had no keyboard, trackpad, or sound. Or laptop power/battery monitoring. Had to use usb keyboard and mouse. Tried installing individual driver for keyboard from Lenovo.... nothing. After reading various places on web, found there is a package of drivers from Lenovo site called "intel platform driver for windows 10 (32 bit) - ideapad 100s-11iby". You want actual file called 9j1101af.exe. Install this package of drivers and you get keyboard, trackpad, sound, and laptop battery/power management.

Saying all this, with the wonky eMMC, no idea how long this install will last, but it was interesting. If I wanted I could use free program, wintousb, to copy the install to an external usb SSD or hard drive. Dont know in my case if its worth it. I still prefer Sparky. But just saying it is possible to do. Somebody out there may find these observations useful.

EDIT: Jan 10. Ok, guess I was bored again. Used that free version wintousb, to clone the installed version of win10 to an external usb SSD. Faster than either a reset or a clean install. Takes just few seconds longer to boot than from internal eMMC drive. Once booted, seems to run about as fast as it did on the internal drive. For some people this might be nice workaround to give you win10 on a decent size SSD. Remember this is a clean install M$ version, not the original Lenovo version. The original Lenovo version is bit weird in that win10 uses some files on the reset partition. So no idea how wintousb might deal with that. It probably can, but I dont know that.

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:28 pm

Interestingly I by far tend to use the Lenovo the most with the reinstalled from scratch win10, mostly cause it was the one I happened to put Kindle app on. These make great dedicated kindle machine. But of course also a win10 laptop.

And surprisingly the eMMC hard drive is holding up with this reinstall of win10 to it. I am surprised. I was first surprised it would allow anything to properly install and be functional, but then to hold up. Anyway it works and I do have usb drive with a clone of this win10 install so if this one goes fubar, can just plug in the usb and win10 boot on it.

It recently did have a hiccup. The keyboard stopped functioning. Common on these apparently. Tried all the ideas short of reinstalling win10. Had to either be driver or funky eMMC as keyboard worked when I booted from either the usb win10 or usb Sparky Linux.

Anyway at one point it wasnt shutting down fully (win10 seems to really hate fully shutting down) and pushed and held the power button to force it to shut down. Ok, it shut down. When rebooted, the keyboard was working again. Heaven only knows. Win10 is one weird operating system and not in a good way. Seems like it was designed to steer the user into doing things the Microsoft way to benefit Microsoft, not the consumer's way to benefit the consumer.

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:31 pm

Ok, bugger (Lenovo 100s) did it again. Clearer description of getting keyboard/trackpad working. With win10 booted to desktop. Hit power button once (and release). While its trying to do whatever its doing, at this point push and hold power button until the laptop completely shuts down (all little lights go out). Now reboot, keyboard and tackpad will be functional.

Yea I dont know whats going on, assume some wonky win10 power control thing. Combined maybe with a slightly wonky driver. Know its a win10 thing cause keyboard fine with both win10 backup booted from usb, and Sparky Linux booted from usb. Hasnt happened on the Acer, though the wifi adapter sometimes works and sometimes doesnt on the Acer, but can always just plug in a usb wifi adapter if necessary. So yea, Lenovo problem probably the keyboard/trackpad drivers poorly interacting with windows power control settings.

Annoying but as long as I get it working again as described, not horrible. Some people on web suggesting one has to reinstall win10, well that isnt happening. It gets to where I cant get it functional without reinstall, I will just nuke it and use Sparky from usb SSD. Its a royal pain, but apparently can get windows Kindle app functional in linux using WINE emulator-translator.

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:03 am

The Lenovo has ongoing occasional loss of keyboard and trackpad. But so far always able to get it back removing drivers and then doing forced poweroff by pushing and holding power button. On reboot they are back. Drivers seem to be flawed as I dont have same problem with the Acer.

Oh been experimenting with Knoppix Linux 7.7.1. It has a really cool script to create a "live flash drive". This drive once created on 8GB thumb drive uses bit over 4GB for Knoppix and rest as save file to remember settings etc on reboot.

Anyway it boots on both older computers with traditional bios and on newer ones with with UEFI and Secure Boot.

Works well on my ancient HP desktop with 2GB RAM and a hyperthreaded single core processor that pretends to be dual core..

Works so-so on the Lenovo, think Sparky does better on it.

Its amazing on the ACER, supports sound, wifi adapter, keyboard, trackpad. If you set Knoppix to laptop mode, you get a battery app that isnt very useful. However there is another included app you can manually use that does much better. I didnt look for or try dimming screen. These tiny screens, I tend to find best to use full brightness, though dimming them gives longer life on battery charge.

I dont use Acer with win10 much, think I will nuke win10 and install Knoppix to the eMMC. I like Knoppix that much. Knoppix installed in live mode will take same 4.3GB and rest will be save file. Lot more efficient use of small 32GB drive. Also Knoppix includes huge amount software out of the box (highly compressed files) so you will probably add little if any. There will soon be Knoppix 8 out. There is an SSL bug in Chrome browser in Knoppix 7.7.1 that gives problems on some sites, especially Amazon. I played around and used Synaptic package manager to upgrade Chrome to newest version Chromium. That solved problem. I will say the included Chrome and Firefox both come with some extensions that are permanent. The Firefox extensions can be disabled. The Chrome extensions can be uncheckd but on reboot are checked again. This persisted even after I updated to latest Chromium. I get they did this for those wanting to run live dvd without a save file, but it sucks for anybody wanting to install live version to hard drive for day to day use.

Admin
Admin

Posts : 101
Join date : 2014-07-09

View user profile http://homesteadtinkerer.betaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Re: My experiences with two win10 "Chromebook/Cloudbook" laptops.

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum