I had some time today to take a run at getting the new Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9926 installed on one of my Dell Venue 8 Pro tablets. Similar to my experience with getting the original Windows 10 TP installed this was a bit of an adventure featuring USB hubs, thumb drives, a keyboard, and a mouse.
First I will set the stage. The device is a Dell Venue 8 Pro with 32 GB of internal storage. The device came from Dell with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded. I later installed the first Windows 10 Technical Preview over top of the OEM Windows 8.1 installation. This was not a terribly complicated process but it, like the one I will soon describe, was a bit convoluted.
Things you will need…
Windows USB/DVD Download Tool
- Yes it says Windows 7. No it doesn’t require Windows 7. This tool simply automates the preparation, formatting, and copying of files to the USB drive.
Windows 10 Technical Preview (x86) ISO
- Tested with the English version
- Yes, you need the 32-bit version (x86)
- Direct link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=522101
- For those who are downloading from MSDN – This is the filename: en_windows_10_technical_preview_9926_x86_dvd_6245077
- Thumb Drive/USB Stick – I’d suggest an 8 GB drive or greater.
- Micro USB to USB adapter
- Buy on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1AidDxP
- I keep this handy for general purpose use with my Venue Pro tablets
- A powered USB hub
- A powered USB hub will have an external power supply which you plug into an electrical outlet whereas other USB hubs draw power from the device they are plugged into. For this process you *must* have a powered USB hub.
- USB Keyboard
- Bring a mouse if you want
Direct to Venue 8 Pro support site: http://dell.to/1E54xn1
- Network Adapter / WIFI
- Dell Wireless 1528 WiFi+Bluetooth Driver
- Intel Atom Z3000 Series Driver
One fully charged (or reasonably charged) Dell Venue 8 Pro
- There is apparently a (late 2014) version of this device.
- I am using a Dell Venue 8 Pro that was acquired in April of 2014
- I have disabled Bitlocker on the internal storage. You will need to do this in order to operate the device with Secure Boot disabled during the installation process.
Prepare the Things!
- Download the Windows 10 ISO file listed above
- Download the Driver files listed above from the Dell support website
- Download and install the Windows USB/DVD Download tool on a laptop or desktop of your choice.
- Note: you will not be downloading anything with this tool. You need to download the Windows 10 ISO file separately using the link above
- Plug the USB drive you’ve chosen for this exercise into the laptop or desktop you are using
- *ALERT* Proceeding will DELETE ALL DATA FROM YOUR USB DRIVE*. Run the Windows USB/DVD Download tool and select the ISO file you downloaded in step 2. Click next.
- While you wait for the copying to complete go ahead and get your Venue 8 Pro hooked up to your powered USB hub. I would recommend only having the keyboard, mouse, and USB drive plugged into the HUB during this process. You also could use this time to disable Bitlocker on your Venue 8 Pro.
- Once the Windows USB tool has completed its work copying files from the ISO to the USB drive you need to copy the driver files you downloaded in Step 2 to a new folder on your USB drive. Once you have done that remove the USB drive from your laptop or desktop and plug it into the USB hub attached to your Venue 8 Pro.
At this point you should have a USB drive loaded with the Windows 10 Technical Preview (x86) Build 9926 + Dell Drivers and you should have a keyboard, optional mouse, and the aforementioned USB drive plugged into a powered USB hub. Your USB hub should be connected to your Venue 8 Pro via the Micro-USB to USB adapter. Last but not least your Venue 8 Pro should be operating with Bitlocker *disabled*.
I will assume that because you have a Dell Venue 8 Pro you are familiar with the Windows 8.1 user interface. Our first task is to boot the device into its BIOS so that we can make a few adjustments. This is most easily accomplished by swiping in from the right side of the screen to expose the charms bar and selecting “Settings” which is represented by a gear icon.
After you select Settings you are presented with a larger sidebar on the bottom of which you will find “Change PC Settings”.
After selecting “Change PC Settings” you are presented with the PC Settings app. Navigate to the following section: PC Settings > Update and Recovery > Recovery
In the Recovery section you will see “Advanced Startup” and under that “Restart Now” which is exactly what we want to do. Once you select “Restart Now” the device will boot into a maintenance screen where you will see the following options:
Select “Advanced options”
Finally, select “UEFI Firmware Settings” and select “Restart”
Once you select Restart the device will reboot into the BIOS.
At first you may not see all of the menu options at the top of the BIOS screen. Simply tap the “Esc” box in the top right corner of the screen to jump back to the main BIOS menu. Yes, touch is enabled in the BIOS. It’s like the future or something. When you are at the main BIOS menu screen you will see “Main | Advanced | Security | Boot | Exit” menu options at the top. Let’s start by checking out the “Advanced” menu.
If “Enabled USB Boot” is not set to Enabled select it and change it to Enabled. Hit the “Esc” square to go back to the previous screen.
Next we’ll look at the “Boot” menu. Remember when I told you to disable Bitlocker? If you have Bitlocker enabled and you disable “Secure Boot” you will not be able to boot back into the currently installed version of Windows. No sweat though as simply re-enabling Secure Boot will get you back in. This will only matter if you are unsuccessful in your attempt to install the new Windows 10 TP.
In this menu disable “Secure Boot”.
Assuming your USB drive is plugged in it should show as an option under Boot Option Priorities.
You will want to change Boot Option #1 to the USB device leaving “Windows Boot Manager” to Boot Option #2.
Click the “Exit” menu item (not the Esc button that was previously mentioned) and select “Save and Reset” (Yes you want to Save Configuration).
At this point the device should boot into the Windows 10 setup on the USB drive. I’ve found that the USB port and my cheap adapter can be a little touchy at times so if you have troubles getting the USB drive to populate in the BIOS just keep trying and eventually you will get it. Give the cable a slight wiggle…
At this point your device should be booting into the Windows 10 Setup screen and you will be presented with an OS installation process that you are likely familiar with.
From here you should progress through the dialogues as you normally would, however, when it comes time to choose between “Upgrading” Windows on your device or doing an advanced/custom/new install choose the later. Apologies but I forgot to grab a screen capture of this part.
Once you select the option to do an advanced install you should see the following window:
*Caution: I would highly recommend that you leave the small system partitions alone. These include types “System”, “OEM (Reserved)”, “MSR Reserved)”, and “Recovery”*
In order to progress we need to clear space for the new installation of Windows 10. *ALERT* Proceeding will DELETE ALL SYSTEM AND USER DATA from your Venue 8 Pro. Hopefully that was already obvious.
Select and delete the partition called “Drive 0 Partition 5: Windows”.
- One thing to keep in mind is that there is a possibility that you will see different partitions listed than those in the image here. You want to select the “Primary” partition (as listed in the Type column) which also will likely be the largest partition – around 23 GB.
Once you have deleted the partition you will see an “unused space” partition in the “Where do you want to install Windows” box. Select that unused space partition just as you did previously. This time click “New” and click OK to confirm that you want to use all of the available space. This will leave you with an empty Primary partition with ~23.2 GB of space.
Select the empty partition which you just created and click Next.
And with that you are off to the races. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you are whisked away on a great adventure! Ok, it might not be that exciting.
This is the first screen you will see post install. You can choose whichever option you want. I went with “Express Settings”.
You now have Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9926 installed on your Dell Venue 8 Pro.
But wait! There’s more. At this point you have no touch capability or network connectivity. Both are a huge downer for a mobile tablet device, right? Remember way back WAAAY back in the beginning when you copied those driver files to a new folder on your USB drive? Those are going to be very handy right now.
Here is a quick peak at the Device Manager on your newly installed Venue 8 Pro:
This thing is having some serious identity issues right now. Time to use those driver files! We’ll fix all those unknowns by first installing the network adapter device drivers.
- Dell Wireless 1528 WiFi+Bluetooth Driver
One you install the Network driver you should see that you are able to locate wireless networks and the device should show properly in the Device Manager. Next up is the big one. The Intel Atom Z3000 Series Driver should take care of the rest of those Unknown Devices. The file name is:
- Intel Atom Z3000 Series Driver
When your Venue 8 Pro comes back to life you will be pleasantly surprised to see that touch is now working! Once you log on and open Device Manager you can see that everything on the drivers front looks to be a-OK.
Hopefully this was useful. Enjoy being part of the Windows 10 Insider Program.