Pausing automatic Windows Updates in Windows

Today I noticed my internet speed running slower that usual when running an internet speed test over the wireless network, I isolated the network usage to automatic Windows Update downloads that were in progress yet frustratingly there was no way to stop the Windows Update session.

Here’s how to pause/suspend an in-progress Windows Update session in Windows 10 as a local Administrator (by default for personal computers):

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Type cmd to open the Windows search dialog with Command Prompt appearing as the Best Match
  3. Right click Command Prompt and from the dropdown menu select Run as Administrator
  4. The Command Prompt window will appear
  5. Enter the following Windows command:

    net stop wuauserv

  6. If successful the following response will be given:

    The Windows Update service was stopped successfully.

  7. Close the Command Prompt window

That’s it! 🙂

To resume your Windows Update session either open Windows Update from Settings > Update & Security and click the Retry button, open another Command Prompt window using the above instructions and replace net stop wuauserv with net start wuauserv, or simply restart Windows from the Start > Power menu.

EasyCAP drivers for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10

Update: I’ve moved EasyCAP driver file hosting to Google Drive as Google Cloud billing hit $100 AUD per month, EasyCAP driver downloads were 638 Gigibytes for the month of November! All links have been updated. 🙂

The EasyCAP converts an RCA or S-video source into a USB video and audio capture device – known as a Sound, video and game controller device in Windows – the possibilities for connecting analog sources to a Windows machine are endless and it’s priced insanely cheap.

All of this positive feedback stops when you connect it to a Windows machine – XP, 7, 8, 8.1 and now 10 – and realise there are hundreds of variations of this device produced with drivers designed specific to each variant with no original manufacturer to provide drivers or compatibility… at this point most users bin it and go on with their lives… I almost gave up too…

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After a fortnight of driver hunting, driver conflicts, BSOD’s from resource conflicts and even ‘Windows driver paywalls’ – where you have to pay to download drivers for the EasyCAP – I got ‘my’ EasyCAP working as a video and sound capture device in Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10)!

Here’s the gotcha, ‘my’ EasyCAP – shown in packaging above but with labels on each cable – is sold on eBay, Amazon, etc. as the EasyCAP Capture USB 2.0 Video Adapter with Audio which is shared by every other variant out there but internally it is called the eMPIA Technology USB 2861 Device.

Unfortunately there is no way to tell what variant you have until you open the package and check the Device Properties for that Unknown Device showing within the Windows Device Manager and at that point you then can start looking for drivers that may be ‘compatible’ with – definitely not designed for – Windows 8, 8.1 or 10.

The eMPIA Technology USB 2861 Device has the following hardware details shown within the Windows Device Manager.

Screenshot from Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

screenshot-easycapw10
EasyCAP drivers working in Windows 10 connected using the RCA output of the EasyCAP device.

Manufacturer and Provider:

  • eMPIA Technology

Hardware IDs:

  • USB/VID_EB1A&PID_2861&REV_0100&MI=00
  • USB/VID_EB1A&PID_2861&MI=00

Below is a link to the Windows 7 drivers that were compatible with my EasyCAP device and further down a list of other EasyCAP drivers you can try. All of them require you to disable Windows Driver Signature from Advanced Startup; you can read about this from Sparkfun’s tutorial for Disabling Signed Driver Enforcement in Windows 8.

The driver package that worked in Windows 8.1 and now Windows 10:

I suspect this USB 2861 Device 5.8.306.0 – 3/6/2008 driver package hosted on the Microsoft Update Catalog is a newer driver release than the one I have working but I have not installed it so cannot confirm compatibility; in my mind, don’t fix something that ain’t broke…

Other driver packages and installers that might help other frustrated EasyCAP users (some are duplicates but different driver versions), good luck!

Note: Google Drive cannot scan ZIP archives over 85MB and EasyCAP_USBVID_1B71&PID_3002_FullCD.zip just happens to be 85MB, while EasyCAP CAPTURE USB 2.0 Video Adapter with Audio.zip is 151MB. It’s clean just wanted to give you heads up. All other download files are ~4MB up to 34MB.

I will host these driver packages as long as I can and mirror them if the server load is too high. Yup we hit the $100 AUD per month billing limit for file hosting, the downloads links are now direct links to Google Drive. If you have a question ask here in the comments as other readers may help you.

Integral Fusion USB Flash Drive H2testw report

Here’s my H2testw report for the Integral Fusion 8GB USB Flash Drive. The report was run on a Windows 8.1 laptop with a Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series hard disk using an available USB 3.0 port with H2testw 1.4 configured to write and verify the entire contents of the drive.

integralfusion-h2testw

Here is the H2testw report in plain-text.

Test finished without errors.
You can now delete the test files *.h2w or verify them again.
Writing speed: 4.91 MByte/s
Reading speed: 24.7 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

SanDisk Ultra microSDHDC UHS-I 16GB H2testw report

Here’s my H2testw report for the SanDisk Ultra microSDHDC UHS-I 16GB which is a Class 10/UHS-I class micro SD card. The report was run on a Windows 8.1 laptop with a Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series hard disk using the provided micro SD to SD adapter with H2testw 1.4 configured to write and verify the entire contents of the drive.

sandiskultra-h2testw

Here is the H2testw report in plain-text.

Test finished without errors.
You can now delete the test files *.h2w or verify them again.
Writing speed: 14.0 MByte/s
Reading speed: 18.8 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

Adding Media Keyboard support to Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3’s Type Cover hits the mark for most uses but the lack of native multimedia keys (Next Track, Previous Track) is a sore point that needed addressing. Read on.

Since we can’t bind key combinations in Windows 8 we’ll use the excellent/free AutoHotkey to bind our multimedia key combinations (e.g. CTRL+RIGHT fires the Next Track action).

  1. Download and install AutoHotkey from their home page
  2. Open AutoHotkey
  3. On the first start it will prompt you to generate a first sample AutoHotkey script
  4. Copy and paste the following script into the sample script
    ;next song
    ^Right:: ;the ^ means CTRL
    Send {Media_Next}
    return
    ;previous song
    ^Left::
    Send {Media_Prev}
    return
  5. Save the AutoHotkey script file
  6. Close and re-open AutoHotkey to enable the new multimedia key combinations

Finally a Fix for XAMPP and WordPress Permalinks

Error 500 – Server error!

Fun times with Apache… Recent releases of XAMPP for Windows hide additional Apache overrides outside of the reach of …/apache/conf/httpd.conf. If you’re like me and exhausted all prior Google results to get Permalinks working with XAMPP give this one a go.

  1. Open …/apache/conf/extra/httpd-xampp.conf
  2. Replace all instances of AllowOverride None and AllowOverride AuthConfig with AllowOverride All
  3. Save changes
  4. Open XAMPP Control Panel and restart the Apache service or open the Windows Services dialog and restart the Apache2.4 Service
  5. Breathe and give that Error 500 tab a refresh

Woop! In case this doesn’t work it’s likely you’ve missed one of the basics:

  1. Open …/apache/httpd.conf
  2. Uncomment #LoadModule rewrite_module modules/mod_rewrite.so
  3. Replace all instances of AllowOverride None and AllowOverride AuthConfig with AllowOverride All
  4. Save changes
  5. As above, restart the Apache Service.

Fix for Adobe Flash Player crashing under Chome 31 and above

So you’ve updated Chrome (version 31+) and re-installed Adobe Flash Player (version 11.9 r900+) a countless times yet web pages with Flash still crash? Welcome to my world.

If Chrome has for whatever reason decided to not play nice with Adobe Flash Player ala Shockwave Flash try this trick out, turns out it worked for me and doesn’t leave you simply disabling Flash content like other YouTube fixes…

  1. Via the Chrome Address Bar enter ‘chrome://plugins’ and press enter
  2. From the Plug-ins screen that opens in your browser tab click Details from the top-right corner of the screen
  3. Under ‘Adobe Flash Player’ check if it says ‘2 files’ beside the Plug-in name and version
  4. If it does say 2 files hit Disable for the ‘file’ that has a Type of ‘PPAPI’
  5. Open a web page that has a tonne of Flash content… hooray!

That’s it.

Fix for poor A2DP quality for Bluetooth headphones under Windows 8, 8.1 and 10!

I’ve been happily using my Bluebuds X Bluetooth Headphones for the past 6 months without problem between my Windows 7 laptop and Sony Xperia Sola but after updating to Windows 8 this peace has ended in cracking and hissing reminiscent of low quality internet radio.

To resolve this and bring back full A2DP high quality Bluetooth streaming try the following:

  1. Open Devices and Printers from Hardware and Sound within the Control Panel
  2. Expand the Bluetooth headphone listed under Devices by double clicking it
  3. Switch to the Services tab within the Properties dialog
  4. Turn off Hands-free Telephony and click OK

Screenshots

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Re-connect to your Bluetooth headphones and play a song from your Windows 8 machine, fingers crossed the hissing is gone! I’ll be updating to APT-X shortly which will do away with reliance on Bluetooth for audio but Bluetooth will still be required for track changes, etc. Hope this helps!

Update: This same fix works for Windows 8.1 and now Windows 10 😀

Change Default E-mail “Open With” behavior in Windows 8

In Windows 8, it’s by default set to use the native Mail Windows 8 app but here is how you can change it.

  1. Open Control Panel. You can do so easily press Win+X, and select Control Panel from power user menu that pops up.
  2. Click Programs, and choose “Make a file type always open in a specific program”
  3. In the next Window, find and highlight MailTo item from the long list of extensions. You should be able to locate it at near the bottom of the list.
  4. Double click and pick one from the “metro style” popup.
  5. Pick one from the list and Close. You are all set.

Reference: http://www.nextofwindows.com/how-to-change-default-mailto-behavior-in-windows-8/

Adding Multimedia Keyboard support to the ASUS Zenbook UX32VD

For reasons unknown ASUS decided to leave out multimedia keyboard mapping on its UX32VD model which doesn’t side well with Windows 7/8 users. This tutorial adds basic multimedia keyboard key mapping support – Play/Pause Track, Previous Track, Next Track – to Windows 8 and is not limited to just the above UX32VD model.

  1. Install AutoHotKey
  2. Add the following lines to your AutoHotKey.ahk script
    #F10::Media_Play_Pause
    #F11::Media_Prev
    #F12::Media_Next
  3. Reload the hotkey script by right-clicking the AutoHotKey tray icon and selected Reload This Script
  4. Open Windows Music or Zune and play an album
  5. Hold down the Windows key and press F10 to pause the track, F11 to play the previous track and F12 to play the next track

Hey presto! Enjoy your new multimedia keyboard support.

Update: I tried remapping CTRL+Right Arrow without success, I suspect this is due to it already being mapped by Windows to ‘skip to next word in sentence’. Windows+% is good enough for me!