Windows 8.1 setup experience
New Thinkpad X1 Carbon arrived today. After unboxing and inspecting for signs of NSA interdiction, first thing to do is turn it on and setup Windows.
First, I have to create a Microsoft account. Maybe this is optional? I know I bypassed it once before when installing the original Windows 8, but I couldn’t find the option to say no this time. Setting up an MS account requires them to text me to verify my phone number. Of course, the text never arrived. So there I am, all giddy and excited to play with my new computer, twiddling my thumbs waiting for a text message. Boy, that was fun. Finally verified my account by switching back to my other Thinkpad and visiting the link they emailed me. What would somebody who can only afford one Thinkpad have done?
The screen resolution is doubled at first, which works for some of the Microsoft applications. IE does look really nice. But even a lot of the included software isn’t ready for resolution scaling. The Synaptics control panel looks like total balls, with various elements scaled or not scaled. How many years have they had to fix this now?
While uninstalling the regular bullshit (Symantec crapware, etc.) I discovered one gem. There is a preinstalled program called “Disable AMT Profile Synchronization Pop-up for Windows XP/Vista/7/8” with no publisher. W. T. F. Generally, though, it seems pretty clean. Mostly “value add” stuff from Lenovo for that one of a kind Thinksperience, but not loaded down with hundreds of demo apps and desktop shortcuts to rando websites.
On the bright side, Lenovo appears to have installed all the latest Windows updates available as of last week. I’m not sure if this is because I have such a recent model or if somebody has finally figured out just in time patching before shipment. Either way, it was a pleasant experience to not spend six hours downloading and patching and rebooting. Curiously, however, the Lenovo Solution Center now believes that since I (personally) never installed updates, it should harass me with a critical alert telling me to fix that straight away.
The F1-F12 keys are disabled by default in favor of the Fn keys like volume and brightness. You can reverse the default, but all that really does is enable FnLock, which then turns a green LED on on the Fn key. I want F5 to work like it’s always worked, and I don’t want another glowing button on my keyboard. Why is that so hard to understand?
VMWare Player is also not quite resolution scaling ready. The console for the OpenBSD VM I just booted is about two square inches on screen. Good thing I’ve installed OpenBSD enough times I don’t need to read the text. Otherwise, this could be difficult.
There’s something wonky about two finger scrolling. Most applications support it just fine (reversed direction by default, but that’s ok), but doing it in control panel instead triggers some other gesture (unknown?) and causes the window to wobble and drop shortcuts on the desktop. This appears related to a bug where even after I switched the scroll direction back to “normal“, some control panel windows continue scrolling in the opposite direction. That’s not confusing and frustrating. Not at all.