But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

‘Upgrading’ my Lenovo W520 to Windows 8.1

The upgrade experience for Windows 8 Enterprise is basically a reinstall, as you lose some many desktop apps and settings. So I decided to do a clean install, my PC was in need of a repave anyway.

My PC has 3 disks, a bitlockered SSD for the OS, another bitlockered drive used for data and a non bitlockered drive I use for ISOs, downloads etc. Just to be on the safe side I removed the bitlocker encryption on my second drive, then I deleted the contents of my SSD and re-installed.

All seemed to go OK, the OS installed and then a rebooted but then hung. I then remember the problems I had had installing Windows 8 RP, if I did not have the Intel video card enabled (I usually have it disabled as I find having both it and the Nvidia confuses projectors). Once I enabled both video cards the setup completed and I was able to join the PC to the domain and associate my LiveID with the domain account.

On checking device manager I saw a few items were missing drivers

  • Microsoft basic display adapter – Just used Window update and it found the Nvidia driver
  • Base system device -  This needed the Ricoh Media Card Reader driver from the Lenovo site
  • PCI serial port -  This took a while to find but in the end I needed the Intel Management Engine Interface 7.1 and Serial Over LAN (SOL) Driver from the Lenovo site

I also found, as before, I need to use Windows update to update the soundcard drivers, the default ones  were working on the laptop, but not via the base station outputs.

I then set to installing my desktop applications. Other than Office and Visual Studio I tried to do this all with Chocolatey, thus building up a script to make this easier in the future e.g

cinst poshgit
cinst 7zip
cinst notepadplusplus
cinst WindowsLiveWriter
cinst sysinternals
cinst skype
cinst git-tf
cinst eclipse-standard-kepler

This left me with one issue, i could not work out how to setup fingerprint login. In Windows 8 there was a Biometric icon on the Control Panel, but not in Windows 8.1. So I installed the Lenovo provided fingerprint tools, as I had to do in Windows 7. This allowed me to scan a fingerprint and associate it with an account. However, then i tried to login or unlock the screen with the fingerprint I got a message that ‘cannot use a fingerprint for a domain user’. Now in previous versions of the OS there was a checkbox on the Biometric control panel that set whether fingerprints could be used for domain accounts, but as i said before this tool is not present in 8.1.

After much searching, using Google as Bing found nothing, I found that you now have to enable fingerprint usage via a Windows 8.1 settings not the control panel. Once this was done my fingerprint scanner worked as expected.

So just need to re-bitlocker my PC and we are good to go.

Update 6th Nov 2013 –  I did have to disable the Intel graphics cards again when I had done the install. When I tried to use external projectors with it enabled I got all the same problems I had seen on Win 7 and Win 8. The BIOS handling of the Nvidia and the Intel graphics in tandem just does not work with most projectors. It allows you to extend to another screen but not duplicate. Switching to just the discrete Nvidia adaptor is the only solution I have found. Remember to suspend bitlocker on your boot drive if it is enable before you make the BIOS change, else you will be typing in long unlock codes.

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