Hands On: Windows 10 build 10122 in Tablet Mode on HP Stream 7

Hands On: Windows 10 build 10122 in Tablet Mode on HP Stream 7

You may remember reading how I managed to successfully install Windows 10 on the HP Stream 7 back in February.

The process required a real Frankenstein setup of a powered hub along with a wired mouse, keyboard and the latest ISO of Windows 10 prepped on a USB flash drive but it worked. It was a slow upgrade process but it does get the technical preview on the device.

After multiple cycles of installing subsequent Windows 10 Technical Previews on the device I finally ran into my first show stopper error with Windows 10 build 10122.

After downloading and beginning the installation from Windows Update, the upgrade would fail after the first or second reboot with a Blue Screen error labelled DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE.

In each instance the install would attempt that part of the process again only to fail and ultimately roll the device back to the previous install of Windows 10 – in this case build 10074.

So I decided to break out the Frankenstein Install gear and do a clean install of build 10074, the last one with an ISO released to Slow Ring Insiders, and then update to build 10122 from there.  My thought was this would clean up the previous upgrade junk and maybe help get past the error.

Well it worked but first I did see the DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE again after the second reboot during the upgrade and while I thought the system would revert to build 10074 it did not. Build 10122 did complete despite the error and so I have spent some time on the device between last night and this morning using it in Tablet Mode.

Overall I can see where Microsoft is headed with this mode and, despite its issues, this build is the best experience with Tablet Mode I have had so far with Windows 10.  It is easy enough to configure your layout and use on the HP Stream 7 however, the build is littered with bugs and UI inconsistencies that need to be addressed.

Unfortunately, the HP Stream 7 does not have an easy key combination to grab screenshots when it is in use as a pure tablet but with a mouse and keyboard paired via Bluetooth I was able to use the Windows Key + Print Screen to grab some examples of the issues I faced in Tablet Mode.

I have placed those images in a screenshot gallery so they are easier to see and follow along with the issues however, here is a quick rundown of what I saw:

  • The issues with re-drawing the screen as I switched between landscape and portrait mode happened regularly.  Sometimes it would leave an area open showing the desktop and at other times the app would fill the whole screen but then only use part of the screen layout and not full the entire breadth of what was available.
  • At times content being displayed by an app, for instance Outlook Mail, is cut off in the preview pane and there is no capability to tap/drag or use a mouse to scroll the view.
  • The spacing between and around groups of tiles on the Start Screen waste a lot of space. This needs to be corrected and maybe add an option for displaying more tiles like Windows 8.1 had so the layout can be further customized.
  • When using a Windows Store app and then clicking on a link Windows 10 Tablet Mode has the same behavior as Windows 8.1 and it opens that content in a window next to the app by splitting the screen.  While this works OK in landscape mode it failed every time in portrait mode. An option should be added to customize this behavior in tablet mode on small devices so that the subsequent windows that gets opened goes full screen instead of trying to share 50% of the available screen.
  • Some apps show up in the All Apps menu with a light bar underneath them that is reminiscent of the progress bar in Windows 8.1 as apps were installed.  I can not get the app to install or get rid if this bar on the menu.
  • I could consistently reproduce a bug where I was unable to pin an app to the Start Menu/Screen from the All Apps list.  I found that this failed without any sort of error nearly 100% of the time if I did not do it immediately after a reboot of the device.
  • Another bug I encountered 9 out of 10 times was closing an app by swiping from the top of the app to the bottom of the screen which would then leave a partially opened Cortana interface on screen for some reason. The only way to clear this was to swipe in from the left and then hit the on screen Start Button or the physical hardware Windows key.

As I mentioned earlier, I can see where Microsoft is headed with Tablet Mode and the concept is great for small screened devices like the HP Stream 7. As I used apps like Tweetium and NextGen Reader to start my day and share content they worked well on this device.

The new universal versions of the MSN/Bing apps also adapted to this small screen and consuming content from them was a pleasure on this device. They also suffered from the graphical bug when I switched from landscape to portrait mode which helps confirm this is likely a graphics hardware issue and not app related.

So bottom line is that Tablet Mode has made a lot of strides over the course of the last few builds of Windows 10 but there is still a lot of fit and finish left to be done.

Have any of you been able to use the 10122 Windows 10 Insider Preview on a tablet with any consistency or success? How did your upgrade process go?

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