Tag Archives: Windows 10

Howto make a bootable USB stick on OS X

Recently I updated my Windows PC (which I only use for gaming purpose of course) and managed to screw it. Once I did the planned restart it showed me “No operating system found”. Since I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 via the update manager I also did not had a Windows 10 image available to recover the system.

Thanks that I still have my Mac, and I am even more thankful, that it understands most of the Unix/Linux commands. So to get back to my old life, I first downloaded the Windows 10 ISO image from the Microsoft Homepage [1].

Okay so we have an ISO image – how to we get it on an USB stick – a simple copy would not make it. Therefore the following steps are required.

1.) Identify your USB stick – you would not like to replace your data storage or your OS X system.

This I usually do via the mount command:

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ mount
/dev/disk1 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk2s1 on /Volumes/Data (exfat, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)
/dev/disk3s1 on /Volumes/ESD-USB (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)

And here we go /dev/disk3s1 is the drive I was searching for. To be sure – double check it in the Finder App.

2.) Convert the .iso image to an .dmg image by using hdiutil

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o Win10.dmg Downloads/Win10_1511_German_x64.iso
J_CCSA_X64FRE_DE-DE_DV5          (Apple_UDF : 0) lesen …
........................................................................................................
Dauer:  1m  2.901s
Geschwindigkeit: 61.0M Byte/s
Ersparnis: 0.0 %
created: /Users/jvr/Win10.dmg

The last sentence looks promising!

3.) Unmount the USB stick

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ diskutil umount /dev/disk3s1 
Volume ESD-USB on disk3s1 unmounted

4.) Write the image to your USB stick using dd command

This is the most critical part – so be sure that you write the image on the correct drive/stick. Just for your information: if stands for input file, of for output file and bs is the blocksize. The dd command basically copies block by block to the new drive.

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ sudo dd if=Win10.dmg of=/dev/disk3s1 bs=10m

5.) Unmount USB stick again

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3s1

And by now you should have a bootable USB stick to recover your system. Lets cross the fingers that everything will work out fine with the PC 🙂

[1] Microsoft, Windows 10 ISO Image

Windows 10 – Tech Preview – Test

Before I go into the details of my testing report, I have to say honestly that I personally do not like Windows that much. I am a friend of Unix-like derivates, where you easily can trace log files, enter some magic commands and where a reboot is seldom needed. Neither the less I am open minded and I am looking forwards for positive surprises.

In advance I additionally would like to note that the below described testing results might only scrach on the surface of Windows 10, but at least it should give you some first impresssions.

Installation

Having a virtual Windows 7 on my MacOS X, I decided to give it a try to upgrade to Windows 10 based upon the announcement of a free upgrade for the first year. After I read some advices from Techradar [1] I signed up on the Windows Insider Program [2]. From there you will be able to download a small executable – the installer. Installer and small you might think? After executing the installer, the upgrade was basically provided as an Windows update, which to be honest, I see very comfortable.

Since I installed it on a virtual machine, the disk space was limited. So within the installation process Windows told me that I need additional 5GB disk space. Shutting down the virtual machine, reconfiguring the disk space, rebooting and restarting the update process was not an issue. Unfortunately after a few minutes Windows told me that I need additional 8GB. Finding Nr. 1: Windows still has some problems with basis disk space calculation.

After addition additional 15 GB the installation was actually quite smooth without any major incident. One side comment: prepare to spend some time – in my case the overall time for the upgrade was around 1h.

First boot, suprisingly you will get the option to boot either Windows 10 or to switch back to the previous version.  Finding Nr. 2: This option really makes sense, even if I am not sure yet if the rollback would work without issues.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 10-17-55

As you can see in the screenshot I have been honoured with a German version of Windows 10. Finally starting the Windows Tech Preview, the operating system actually starts up quite fast. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of task running in the background which made the system a bit bumpy in the first minutes.

Look & feel

The first view on the desktop and the launcher actually looks quite cleaned up. New to me are the Windows tiles, which are omnipresent in the Windows Phones and within Windows 8. Since I have not been using Windows 8 and I am not a fan of Windows Phones, therefore this is quite new to me.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 16-13-29

Nice to see that you can simply change to a full-screen mode, by clicking on the minimize/maximize button on the top right corner.

Screenshot_9

Opening the Explorer, a new icon-set can be noticed immediatley.

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A new thing – at least in the Windows world – is also the notification center.

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Finding Nr. 3: Cleaned up Desktop and Windows Menu.

Update

Used to former versions and a bit sceptical in regards to security – my first thought was: Update! So hit the Windows key and enter “Update” as quick as you can – and somewhere on the result list, it gives you the System Update Menu. Unfortunatley, felt 100 trials resulted into the same dissatisfying error message.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 09-43-11

Ok, might also be that the update function is not yet activated – I remember some of those issues, when I tested Mac OS Yosemite as well. So let’s check the store if updates might be applied over this way. And – see it yourself.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 09-42-34

Yeah – we all have bad days! At least somebody at Microsoft have some humor – this adds a plus. On the other side, this error messages are not really responsive to me – not given me any hint how to fix this.

Finding Nr. 4: Windows Update is broken or at least the error messages could be less cryptic! A side note on this topic – I also installed Windows 10 Tech Preview on another PC, and there, magically, the update did work. So it might be a glitch in the Matrix.

The Internet Explorer

Just to crosscheck I started the Internet Explorer if there is not connectivity issue. Bang – the new Internet Explorer “Spartan” is not yet there. So Windows 10 comes with the Internet Explorer 11. Neither the less IE 10 is fast and responsive.  Within the screenshot you can see IE 11 on the left side, while Goolge Chrome on the right side.

Comparison IE Spartan & Google Chrome

I’ve tested a few websites, and I have to say that IE 11 seems to be on most websites a bit faster. Furthermore the scrolling seems to be smoother than on Chrome. So lets wait and see what “Spartan” will bring.  Therefore my Finding Nr. 5: Lets wait for IE Spartan.

The PDF Reader

Browsing a bit around through the application landscape, I noticed that Windows 10 comes with an own pdf reader called “Reader”. Since pdfs are used for everything and everyday, I compared the pdf reader with the standard Adobe Reader XI. Comparing those two, the first thing I’ve noticed is that the font in the build in reader seems to be a bit blurry compared to the Adobe Reader. Zooming in, I still felt drunk somehow. Neither the less the application looks cleaned-up and fast. Finding Nr. 6: The Reader, a good start, but still a way to go to make it “human” readable.

Screenshot_7Screenshot_8

 System Tools

The task manager, the tool you fire up whenever you have troubles. A stucked application, that you want to kill, a laggy application, which might pull all your ressources – for all of those the task manager will help you.

Screenshot_11Screenshot_12

Suprisingly the old friend got a remake – and it’s nice. Finding Nr. 7: Windows did a good remake of the task manager. 

Within the system tools you can also find Windows Control Panel, which comes in the classic look.

Screenshot_13

A bit strange to me, as there is also the “new” Settings menu, which offers most of the functions shown in the Windows Control Panel – but not all of them (e.g. de-installation of programs).

Screenshot_14

From my point of view Microsoft should have integrated the full functionality of the Windows Control Panel into the “Settings” – but this might come up (let’s cross the fingers). Now you’ll have to guess where to find the function you need, which results for me into Finding Nr. 8: Finish what you have started: Splitting up the system settings into two applications (Windows Control Panel and Settings) is not a solution.

Some things never change

…and in the end – I’ve noticed that some things never change: the notepad and the disk utility.

Screenshot_10

Furthermore was is making me mad since Windows 7, but might need an improvement, is the Snipping Tool. Colleagues, a keyboard-shortcut would be really benficary. Have a look at Lightshot [3], which from my point of view is the best of all screenshot tools (And in addition: there is also a Mac Version).

Finding Nr. 9: Some things never change, even if the need a makeover or some additional features.

Summary

I have to say that Microsoft did a really good job so far. To be honest I expected far less. Neither the less it has to be said that still there is a far way to go. My decision is that I will continue using Windows 10 on my virtual machine as well as on my private Gaming PC. Needless to say I still prefer Linux and MacOS, as from my point of view they are more stable, technologically more advance and from the usability still in the lead.

Finding Nr. 10: I do not see a reason for a downgrade and therefore I will continue testing Windows 10.

References

[1 ]Techradar, Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview? Here’s 10 things you should know

[2] Windows Insider Program

[3] Lightshot