Category Archives: Windows 10

{WED} Another End of an Era: MS Announces Impending Final MCSA MCSE MCSD Retirements

Thanks to a rare weekend post from Martin Brinkmann at, I can share some big news. I now know MS Learning has a date for official retirement of its-big name 4LA (four-letter acronym) certs. This comes from an MS Learning Blog post and Alex Payne, GM of Global Technical Learning. Alas, these old stalwarts are all headed for retirement. Yes, that’s right: MS announces impending final MCSA MCSE MCSD retirements for June 30, 2020. Although I knew it was coming, it still has a big impact. In fact, rampant popularity of the MCSA and MCSE propelled me into the certification game. (I remember: this happened between 1994 and 1997). And 1997, of course, is when Exam Cram launched at Coriolis Press. (Pearson took it over in 2002, where it remains a pretty big deal today).

Here’s a quote straight from the blog post:


Since we announced our focus on role-based training and certifications in September 2018, we’ve added a total of 34 certifications to our portfolio across Azure, Modern Workplace, and Business Applications. As we continue to expand on role-based learning offerings, all remaining exams associated with Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) will retire on June 30, 2020.

When MS Announces Impending MCSA MCSE MCSD Retirements, Then What?

Of course, this shift has been underway at Microsoft Learning since September 2018. MS is axing its big-name, freestanding certs, and promoting role-based certifications. There are a lot of them around (34, according to the preceding quote). In fact, MS now lumps them together with MTA and MOS certs. (Explanation: MTA = Microsoft Technology Associate, and MOS = Microsoft Office Specialist.) All fall under various job roles at the “Browse all certifications” page at MS Learning. Overall, these include:

AI Engineer DevOps Engineer Messaging Administrator
Administrator Developer Modern Desktop Administrator
Data Analyst Enterprise Administrator Security Engineer
Data Scientist Finance & Operations Consultant Solutions Architect
Database Administrator Fundamental Skills (MTA) Teamwork Administrator

Heads-up: that’s 15 roles in all, if you’d care to count them.

Thus, when retirement rolls around at mid-year in 2020, MS certification finishes its total make-over. Truly, I’m a little saddened and nostalgic about this evolution, but it’s inevitable for many reasons. Of course, Azure leads this new parade. It proves the importance of virtualization and (or in) the cloud. Get ready: It’s almost time to say hello to a brave new world.


MS Announces Impending Final MCSA MCSE MCSD Retirements.table
The first 16 of 79 role-based MS certs (including MTA and MOS items).

Above, you’ll find the first 16 (of 70-plus items) that show under “Browse all certifications” at MS Learning right now. It’s downright fascinating…


{WED} Updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers

I’ve learned the hard way that working with Realtek Universal Audio Driver (UAD) drivers can be interesting. I’ve accidentally switched back from the “Realtek(R) Audio” drivers shown in first screencap for this story to the Realtek HD Audio drivers more than once. But alas, only the “Realtek (R) Audio” drivers work with the Realtek Audio Console UWP app (see next image following). That’s why I wrote today’s post on the topic of updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers. There are several steps involved, and a couple of (usually reliable) sources to which I turn for driver downloads. Read on for those details please!

Updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers.realtek-audio

The name of the driver says nothing about UAD. You must simply recognize that the name “Realtek (R) Audio” signifies that a UAD driver is present and running.

Updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers.console

Simply put, one MUST install the UAD (Realtek(R)) driver to use this UWP app.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers 1: The UAD Driver Itself

I use the excellent French Station-Drivers website to grab my UAD drivers. There, Realtek Audio gets its own landing page. It’s still a bit of a slog to get to the right driver from there. I’ll explain this as a sequence of steps for my particular motherboard, which comes from Asrock:

1. Click on Realtek High Definition Audio (HDA/UAD)

2. Click on Drivers (UAD).

3. Click on the name of your motherboard (or system) maker. (In my case, that’s Asrock.)

4. Examine the listings to find the highest-numbered drivers version (at bottom of list; in my case, that’s 8890.1).

5. Click on that version link, then click “Download” on the resulting web page.

This will grab a ZIP file that you can use to unpack and install the driver. Personally, I prefer to right-click the driver inside Device Manager, and point the “Update driver” option at the folder location where I unzipped the download file contents. Why? Because the Realtek installer requires not one, but two (2!), reboots to do its thing. I can use my right-click technique to update the driver without rebooting at all. Do what you like best on your PC(s), though.

Updating Realtek UAD Drivers 2: The Software Components

If you open the category in Device Manager named Software Components, you should see something like the next screencap, which shows three (3) additional Realtek software components. You can update the first two of these three items. I grab them from DriverHub, by searching for them by name. That is, I search on “Realtek Audio Effects Component” and “Realtek Audio Universal Service” and download the corresponding ZIP files. Right-clicking those drivers in Device Manager, to point the driver update function at the contents of those ZIP files works fine to update them, too.

Updating Realtek UAD Audio Drivers.sw-comp

Only the first two of these three drivers get updates, for whatever reason. Thus, that’s all you need look for.

I do this once every six months or so, unless I see a news or other online info item (perhaps at TenForums, which I visit more or less daily) to tell me an update is available sooner. And that’s how I keep my Realtek UAD audio driver and supporting items up-to-date!


{WED} Older Lenovos Need Utility Clean-up

Poking around on my two old Lenovo laptops today, I noticed several of their vendor-supplied utilities are passe. Indeed, now that Lenovo offers its Vantage UWP caretaker app, many older ThinkVantage tools are obsolete. That’s why I assert that older Lenovos need utility clean-up. Lenovo itself will happily let you download and install Vantage on any of its PCs. But it doesn’t automatically remove the older stuff when you do. In fact, if you check information pages at Lenovo (URLs below) for the following items, you’ll see what I mean:

+ (HT501246) Lenovo Quick Optimizer

+ (PD022501) Lenovo Solution Center

+ (DS105970) Lenovo System Interface Foundation

+ (DS012808) Lenovo System Update

+ Thinkpad Settings Dependency

+ ThinkVantage Fingerprint Software*

Note: all of the preceding items, except for the last one, can be safely uninstalled. Happily, the Lenovo Vantage UWP app supersedes all of them (except for the Fingerprint software, which must be at version 6.0 or higher for Windows 10 users). Likewise, do NOT uninstall Lenovo Service Bridge: it remains necessary to report your Lenovo PC’s serial and model number info back to the Lenovo servers.

Older Lenovos Need Utility Clean-up.SolutionCenter

The old-fangled Solution Center and its various brethren are all now longer under developer support. Most of them can go.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Why Do Older Lenovos Need Utility Clean-up?

Good question! Apparently, Lenovo left it to device owners to root out these older items (except for the Fingerprint Software, which you must keep if you have an older fingerprint reader and want to keep using it). Methinks they should’ve offered a clean-up utility. Better yet, the Lenovo Vantage installer should look for these passe items and offer to uninstall them as part of its install process. I’ll be communicating this back to Lenovo, in hope that they might listen to — and possibly even heed — this plea. We’ll see.

What About Newer Lenovos? Do They Need Clean-up, too?

I checked my newer Lenovos, of which I have four: two 2018-vintage X380 Yogas, 1 2018 vintage X1 Extreme, and 1 2019 vintage X390 Yoga. All had the older System Update utility installed, except for the 2019 X390 Yoga. Consequently, I did a bit of clean-up on those newer laptops, too. All’s well now, though.



{WED} Some Errors Need Fixing; Others Are Hiccups

From time to time I check in the Reliability Monitor on my Windows 10 PCs. It gives me an excellent sense of PC health, and points me at causes when errors occur. Take my compact road laptop as an example: it’s a 2018 Lenovo X380 Yoga with an i7-8650U CPU, 16 GB RAM, and a 1 TB NVMe SSD. An entirely capable, reasonably fast, and incredibly stable machine. I was surprised recently, in fact, to see a driver error show up on that machine. As you can see in the screencap that follows, the faulting item is the igfxEM Module. That is the name that Intel gives to the software that drives the Intel UHD Graphics 620 built into the CPU chip itself. Upon seeing this error, I was reminded that some errors need fixing; others are hiccups. I soon learned that this one was an apparent hiccup.

Some Errors Need Fixing; Others Are Hiccups.devmgr

When some that starts with “igfx” pops up, I know it refers to “Intel graphics,” that being the company’s standard abbreviation.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Deciding on Some Errors Need Fixing; Others Are Hiccups

Windows update didn’t think I needed a new Intel graphics driver. Nor did the new UWP app named Intel Driver & Support Assistant. Ditto for the Lenovo Vantage UWP app, which does a pretty good job of keeping up with drivers, too. Thus, there’s no new driver to replace the offending item.

But because it happened exactly once and hasn’t recurred in the past two weeks, I’m convinced this particular error represents a hiccup rather than an ongoing problem in need of fixing. So I’ve concluded that there’s nothing further to do here — except, as always, to keep an occasional eye on Reliability Monitor. It’ll let me know if and when the situation changes.

Some Errors Need Fixing; Others Are

Intel’s new Driver & Support Assistant works inside a web browser and seems faster and more capable than it’s application predecessor.

SideNote: Running Reliability Monitor

Once upon a time, I could type “reli” into the search box in the Start menu, and the Reliability Monitor would run. No more, not since 1809 or thereabouts. Now, I type “perfmon /rel” into the search box instead. That still works. Or, if you prefer, try “reliability” spelled all the way out. That should produce the “View reliability history” control panel item. The long way around is to click Control Panel → Security & Maintenance → Maintenance → View reliability history. I wish my old method still worked: typing four chars beats typing 12. But that’s the way things go sometimes, here in Windows-World!


{WED} Future Win10 Driver Updates All Optional

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the MS Hardware Dev Center, posted February 18. It comes from Senior Program Manager Kevin Tremblay who focuses on Windows OneCore (OS kernel, methinks) and “device enablement” (LinkedIn Profile). Going forward, device driver updates for Windows 10 will always show up in Windows Update as “Optional updates.” Because future Win10 updates all optional now, that means users must initiate such updates manually. In fact, working through the process means:

1. Clicking Optional Updates

2. Checking boxes next to one or more available device driver updates

3. Clicking a “Download and install” button on the Optional updates page to initiate (and approve) those activities.

Here’s what a sample Drive updates window looks like, showing the checkboxes and the “Download and install” button. I’ve already made use of this feature myself on Fast Ring Insider Preview test machines, and can confirm it works as it’s supposed to from personal experience.

Future Win10 Driver Updates All Optional.example

Going forward, Win10 users will have to acquiese and participate actively, before WU will install device drivers on their PCs.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

If Future Win10 Driver Updates All Optional, Then What?

Previous Win10 feature updates have come in for qvetching, criticism, and occasional cries of anguish because of updates installed automatically. They could show up, without prior warning for users. This denies them the opportunity to refuse, or to take preventive measures (a backup image to restore should something go sideways, for example). As far as device drivers go, this is now off the table. Good on Microsoft, for making this change. Because drivers are a perennial and predictable source for post-update instability, this new approach provides a way to avoid trouble, rather than having to clean up a post-update mess. But wait? Isn’t this the way things worked in Windows 7 and 8.x versions. What was once old, is now new again, it seems. A welcome bit of news nevertheless!


{WED} Temperamental Dual mSATA SSD Cleaned Up

A few years back, I found myself with some extra mSATA Samsung EVO 250 SSDs on my hands. I purchased two Syba 2.5″ SATA 6G/USB 3.0 to Dual mSATA RAID (SD-ADA40107) adapter cards. I paid about $40 each (they cost $26 now). One of them has been terribly temperamental. Over time its plugged-in SSDs become unreadable. Seems like setting the card down on a conducting surface causes the drives to go bye-bye.  (I don’t have it in a case, as I undoubtedly should.) This happened before on my Surface Pro 3, which sits on a set of (metal) baker’s racks. And today, when I tried to back up my Lenovo X380 Yoga Fast Ring test machine, its drives were once again MIA. Thus, I found myself with a temperamental Dual mSATA SSD cleaned up. Good thing I only keep throwaway data and backups on those drives. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything I couldn’t recover from.

Temperamental Dual mSATA SSD Cleaned Up.device

I’m guessing that the SSD devices somehow conduct to the rails on the case, and cause the drives to short out if grounded. Sigh.

How Temperamental Dual mSATA SSD Cleaned Up Happened

When I tried to access the devices I got a warning message that they were inaccessible. (I have them set up as JBOD, not RAID, so they show up as Drives E: and F:.) Having seen this before, I attempted repairs using MiniTool Partition Wizard 11. Alas, it couldn’t find anything to recover. So I went into DISKPART and ran a CLEAN operation on each of those drives. Then, I reformatted them as MBR devices using NTFS. They definitely ran faster after the clean-up: Macrium Reflect reports read speeds of 3.6 Gbps and write speeds of 2.6 Gbps for the most recent (and only) backup on the device now. (Of course, this is an artefact of the compression the program uses when accessing the drive: actual throughput isn’t really that fast, either coming or going.)

The funny thing is, I’ve got another one of those cards plugged into a drive caddy where it’s safe from accidental grounding. I’ve never had a problem with that one. So maybe — just maybe — it’s time for me to buy a 2.5″ case (which form factor the card matches exactly). Then, I can  take care of the problem once and for all. But at least I got a refresher on DISKPART out of the deal, and the backups are now running lickety-split. (Elapsed time for the last one was 05:30 for a total of 28 GB of disk space consumed.) That’s the way things go here in Windows-World sometimes, where even backups need occasional backups. Would that I could so easily cure my tendency toward operator error!


{WED} MS SaRA + Removing IRST Restores Win10 Stability

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been fighting some vicious Windows 10 issues. One of them manifested in the form of over 100 Outlook MoAppCrash errors related to WindowsCommunicationApps that check in with remote email servers. Those came at a rate of at least 5X daily. The other involved regular IAStorDataMgrSvc.exe errors, at the rate of at least one a day. Between the two, as the intro screencap shows, my system’s Reliability Index hit rock bottom 7 days in a row. But between using the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant (aka MS SaRA) and removing an unnecessary driver, I’ve been able to return my production PC to more or less normal operation. Hence this blog post’s title: MS SaRA + removing IRST restores Win10 stability.

MS SaRA + Removing IRST Restores Win10 Stability.main

As SaRA’s home screen shows, it’s good for addressing a broad range of Windows problems. It definitely fixed my Outlook errors without too much muss or fuss.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

The Many Powers of SaRA

I hadn’t used SaRA much before (though I did have a copy in my utilities folder). But when I ran it, the software asked me to revisit its Download Center page to grab the latest version. I’m glad I did, because it’s added a lot of new Office and Outlook capabilities in this latest incarnation. And because that’s just what I needed, it was well worth doing. Having now used it on multiple occasions to fix a couple of trivial problems and this latest, more annoying and persistent Outlook issue, I can recommend it to Windows admins, power users, and even ordinary users alike. It should be part of any Windows user’s troubleshooting arsenal, as it is now part of mine (it goes way beyond Windows 10’s built-in Troubleshooters, available through Start → Settings → Update & Security → Troubleshoot). Grab a copy today.

Why Use the Intel IRST Drivers?

The ultimate source of my IAStor related “stopped working” error messages came from this folder:

C:\Program Files\Intel\Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology\IAStorDataMgrSvc.exe

That’s what clued me in that the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) software was involved. Although IRST offers some modest performance boosts for SATA disks run independently, its biggest benefits come through its support for software-based RAID (Redudant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks). It turns out that for AHCI users who don’t have RAID disks, IRST is more or less optional. If you really want ALL the details on IRST drivers, versions, and access to nicely-modded alternatives, check out Fernando’s IRST Coverage at

In my case, I decided to uninstall the whole environment because anything that causes errors but provides only modest performance gains is not something I want. Out it went. And, as the rising tide of the Reliability Index shows, taking care of both errors finally has things moving in the right direction. And that’s the way things go sometimes, here in Windows-World. I’m mildly pleased to see the system becoming more stable. Let me see it get back to a perfect 10, and I’ll be somewhat more pleased. Fingers crossed!


{WED} Windows Enterprise Desktop Blog Gets New Temporary Home

Just yesterday, I learned that my ongoing blog for TechTarget Windows Enterprise Desktop (WED) is no more. It first appeared on September 29, 2008 as Vista Enterprise Blog (see the banner graphic below for that initial item). Since that first post appeared, I wrote 1,583 items for that blog. My assigned frequency was 12 times a month. Starting on October 2008 through January 2020, gives 135 months. In fact, my actual monthly posting frequency was 11.72 over that period. Given holidays, vacations, and occasional sick days, I believe I met my blogging commitment over the 11 years, 3 months, and 13 days that my blog ran on TechTarget. For now, Windows Enterprise Desktop blog gets new temporary home here at

Don’t get the wrong idea, though. It’s not just my blog that’s been cancelled. All the other 80-plus blogs at the IT Knowledge Exchange are cancelled, too. TechTarget plans to post no new Q&A or other content to that site, either. It’s the end of an era, and I’m just one of many industry people and players affected. Insider sources tell me the decision emerged from declining statistics, and unsatisfactory SEO results. That’s why I’m neither devestated at the loss, nor inclined to take it personally. Apparently it’s a hard-boiled business decision, pure and simple.

Windows Enterprise Desktop Blog Gets New Temporary Home.banner

I’m bemused to see my tenure extends back to the much-reviled Windows version named Vista. Personally, I never thought it was all that bad. Among many other good things, it brought us Desktop Gadgets, which I still use today.
[Click for full-sized view.]

Windows Enterprise Desktop Blog Gets New Temporary Home Right Here!

I will keep blogging 3 times a week about Windows 10 topics. Right now, I’m still negotiating with TechTarget about obtaining access to my historical blog stream. They own the copyright. Even so, I’m hopeful I can make an archive copy for my readers. While we’re working out those details, however, I’ll post three times a week right here on Windows 10 topics until I get things worked out. So far, my friend and colleague KariTheFinn has graciously offered to host the blog at our jointly-owned Win10.Guru site. But because I already post 3 times a week there on Windows 10 news and topics, I’m concerned that doubling up might reduce my following there. (Yes, there is indeed the possibility of “too much of a good thing.”) I’m also in conversation with a couple of other websites/content developers about staking out a presence somewhere else, so we’ll have to see how things turn out.

Time to Change Your Favorites/Bookmarks

For the next little while, you’ll want to change your bookmarks or favorites from one of the two that worked for this blog’s previous incarnation to the temporary new one. Here’s a list of relevant links:

1. TechTarget: SearchEnterpriseDesktop: Windows Enterprise Desktop (Old, but still has archival content)
2. TechTarget: IT Knowledge Exchange: Windows Enterprise Desktop (Old, but still has archival content)
3. Blog: WED posts in my ongoing Blog Stream will start with {WED} ahead of the actual post title. I plan to post there every Mon-Wed-Fri (starting today), until a new home is found or built.

Stay tuned!

A Preview of Coming Attractions

There are several different kinds of items I like to post to WED. First and foremost, I like to document Windows 10 problems, errors and misunderstandings that I experience myself, up close and personal. If I can find a fix or workaround, I’ll include that in the coverage because “problem + solution” beats “problem by itself” without exception. Some mysteries do, alas, remain forever unsolved. Second and less often, I like to share important bits of Windows 10 news and information that should impact or interest readers. Third, I like to share step-by-step instructions or how-to’s for Windows 10 topics that I’ve had to tackle and use on my systems, on the theory that others may find them useful too. Fourth, I’m a little bit of a gadget freak, so when I find a piece of gear that helps me work with Windows 10 more productively in the office or on the road, I’ll share my experiences, describe the gear, and point toward the best prices I can find.

All in all, it’s enough to keep me engaged and interested in publishing bits and pieces three times a week. Ongoing, longtime readership suggests that others feel the same way about these modest efforts. Thus, I hope you’ll shift your bookmarks around (or add a new one) to keep up with these re-housed, but continuing adventures in Windows-World. Thanks for your patronage and support over the past 11+ years. I hope you’ll allow me to keep it going forward.


Mixcder E10 ANC Bluetooth Headphones Are a Real Bargain

From time to time, people contact me to ask me to review their products. That’s how I’m trying out a pair of Mixcder E10 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth headphones. So far, they’re a great set of low-to-modestly-priced headphones with excellent product build and sonic characteristics. Here’s what comes with the Mixcder E10 ANC Bluetooth Headphones, from one of their publicity stills:

E10 entire kits

Clockwise from top left: E10 headphones, old-fashioned dual jack airplane audio adapter, genuine leather zip case, dual mail mini-RCA cable, mini-USB to USB-A cable.
[Click image for full-sized view. Source:]

Where Does Ed Get Off, Writing About Audio/Headphones?

I’ve been an audiophile since high school. As soon as I got to college and made some money, I built a HeathKit pre-amp. It went with a Dynaco Tube amp to drive a pair of Arena speakers. My first job after undergrad was as an audio engineer at the Library of Congress (LC). I upgraded to a pair of JBL 4331 Studio monitors. I still used the same pre-amp, with a BGW 250-B solid state amplifier (it still drives my right and left front speakers today).

These days, I run an Outlaw Audio 976 pre-amp/video processor. I also use that same BGW amp, plus 3 Rotel 100-watt solid state amps. They drive a 5.2 setup on Phase Technology speakers. Once upon a time, I attended a summer course on audio engineering at the Eastman School of Music (summer of 1974). This came courtesy of Head Engineer Bob Carneal and the LC.

As part of my job at the LC, I mixed up to 8 channels of audio into stereo. This happened on a Langevin mixing board in the LC’s Coolidge Auditorium. During the “cultural season,” we taped chamber music concerts for public radio distribution. That remote mixing board was backstage. Perforce I had to listen in on a set of “cans” (as we called headphones, back in that now-prehistoric time). My ears hosted Sennheiser headphones that cost over US$300. (The Inflation Calculator says that’s worth $1,737.89 in 2020 dollars.) Those concerts could run two hours, or just a bit over. That explains why I’m (painfully) familiar with extended headphone wear.

E10 Build Quality

As you can see from the preceding photo, $65 to $93 buys a fair bit of stuff. (List price on the website is $112.99; the other prices come from swadeal and Amazon, respectively.) The headphones themselves are substantial, and not overly heavy, at 304 grams (10.72 oz). They’re a closed-ear design. Firm memory foam cups are covered in light leather (or a reasonable fascimile thereof). The headrest is built likewise (memory foam underneath, leather wrapping outside). The cups are labeled “R” and “L” inside. This makes it easy to orient them properly when donning them. The materials are solid and the headset looks able to withstand normal wear-and-tear (and then some, perhaps).

E10 Accessories

I’d have liked it better if the ‘phones sported a USB-C port for charging rather than mini-USB. But the E10 is what it is. Charging is quick: the first full charge took about 94 minutes. A second full charge only took 60 minutes. The maker claims 60 hours of battery life with ANC turned off. ANC turned on cuts that in half (a still-respectable 30 hours). So far, I’ve not been inclined to push things. I’ve not exhausted the battery after more than 20 hours of active use (with ANC turned on, mostly).

A mini-RCA cable runs the ‘phones in wired mode. Another reviewer claims this produces slightly better audio quality than Bluetooth. Personally, I couldn’t hear any difference between the two forms of input myself. But at age 67 my ears probably don’t work as well as Jupit3r’s (the other reviewer) do, either. Take it under advisement, knowing that a wired connection is handy in signal-rich environments or when flying. I guess that’s when the mini-RCA to dual airplane jack might come in handy. But I haven’t flown on any planes that featured such jacks in quite some time. (I just got back from Washington, DC last Saturday, January 4: we flew a Boeing 737 with USB-A ports.)

E10 Listening Experience and Headphone Comfort

I’ve read numerous reviews (see links at the end of this story) that praise these ‘phones comfort and fit. I’m sorry to say I don’t agree. Though the sound quality is quite good,  the phones weren’t comfortable for extended wear. I found myself remembering the “headphone headache” I got in the Coolidge Auditorium after wearing the Sennheiser ‘phones. I couldn’t wear the E10 ‘phones for more than 90-120 minutes without taking a break from their firm grip.

That said, that’s my only gripe with the E10s. The sound quality is good enough that I heard some things amidst my recordings that I’d never heard before. (Not even on my mid-range semi-professional audio rig.) The price is especially attractive, given that you can buy the E10s for under US$100. (In fact, as much as $30 less than that from some sellers.) I have a nearly16-year-old son who’s lost one set of earbuds. He’s also worked his way through two different kinds of Bluetooth headphones over the past couple years. I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute to buy him E10s. I’m enjoying them myself, too. I just can’t handle them for more than two hours at a time. YMMV when you put them on for yourself and see how they fit you. They’re definitely worth a listen, in any case.

Other E10 Reviews Worth Reading

Here is a trio of reviews (including the afore-linked one cited earlier in this story) of the E10 headphones. For more info and different perspectives, check one or more of them out!

KnowTechie: Review: Mixcder E10 — Impressive, lag-free noise canceling headphones
Engineering & Technology: Top-of-Mixcder’s-range noise-cancelling wireless headphones for a less-than-a-ton price. Mixcder E10 Review – Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth V5.0 Headphones


SpiceWorld 2019: Native Boot VHDs in Windows 10

Here, as promised, is the slide deck for my presentation at SpiceWorld 2019 this morning, about Native boot VHDs in Windows 10. Click this download link for the PowerPoint file (OneDrive).

SpiceWorld 2019: Native Boot VHDs in Windows 10.title

Native Boot VHDs in Windows 10: Using GPT and Type-2 HyperVisor VHDs (.vhdx)

For GPT, add the “convert GPT” command to the DISKPART script, as follows:

create vdisk file=F:\W10PRO.vhdx maximum=51200 type=expandable
attach vdisk
convert gpt
create part primary
format quick
assign letter=W

When creating a VHD file for native boot, always use MBR partitioning! To upgrade Windows on a native boot VHD, you must temporarily run it as a virtual machine. This means attaching that VHD to a VM.

An MBR partitioned VHD is easy to attach to a VM: mark its Windows partition active. OTOH, a GPT partitioned VHD with only a single partition for Windows requires that you manually create system partitions before it’s usable as a bootable VM (MSR and EFI along with the system partition at a minimum, recovery partition if a complete emulation of “normal Windows 10” is desired).

Say you want to use a GPT partitioned VHD for native boot for some reason (and we can’t think of a valid one). In that case, it is best to first create a Generation 2 VM in Hyper-V, then install Windows 10 on it. This takes care of the partitioning automatically, and does so correctly. That VHD can then be added to the boot menu for native boot, or used as a VM.