Category Archives: Guides

Clean-Install Windows on 2020 MateBook X Pro

Installing a clean copy of Windows on the 2020 Huawei MateBook X Pro is more complicated than on previous generations. Follow these steps set up a clean Windows installation of your preferred language and edition. English speakers who are getting your 2020 MateBook from China will need this.

Preparation

  1. Back up any needed files from your current installation. We will be wiping the disk.
  2. If you need Windows in a different language than the one it came with, you must buy your own copy of Windows. If you’re in university, check if your school provides Windows 10 Education (feature-equivalent to Enterprise).
    1. Reason: the OEM license is single-language only.
  3. Use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to create a bootable installation USB drive.
    1. Within the install drive, delete \Sources\ei.cfg to enable the prompt to choose a different Windows 10 edition such as Pro or Education. Otherwise, it will default to the current edition (Home).
  4. [1909 only] Copy Intel’s WiFi driver to the USB drive.

Installing Windows

Continue reading

Disable Power Limits using ThrottleStop

If your CPU frequency is being reduced under load, even at low temperatures (below 90°C), then you probably have power limit throttling. Here’s how to disable those power limits.


Warning: disabling your power limits may cause your computer to run at levels of power beyond its design. Make sure you keep BD ProcHot on. If BD ProcHot kicks in, your VRM is not getting enough cooling and you need to decrease the power limit or improve the VRM cooling.


How do I know I have Power Limit Throttling?

  1. Open ThrottleStop’s “TS Bench” to run a stress test.
  2. Set the Size to 1024M so that it runs longer.
  3. Start the TS Bench.
  4. Open the “Limits” window.
  5. If any PL‘s light up, then you have power limit throttling.

Disabling Power Limits

  1. You need to have ThrottleStop set up. That’s covered in this guide. Make sure you read it before this one.
  2. Open ThrottleStop.
  3. Go to the FIVR menu.


Continue reading

Fix Precision X1 Not Opening or Crashing After Splash Screen

The Problem

You try to open Precision X1, but it closes itself after the splash screen, and the main window won’t open at all.

The Cause

Do you have multiple GPUs in your system? Graphics cards of different models? eGPU? Ever since version 0.3.1, Precision X1 breaks in face of GPU diversity.

The Solution

Go into Device Manager and disable the other GPU you’re not currently using. In this case, it was my laptop’s own MX250.

Workaround: Broken “Input Range” Setting in Intel Graphics

The Problem

Comparing between 0-255 and 15-255 input range.

If you’re connecting your laptop to a TV and the black in the image is gray instead, your laptop is not outputting the full 8-bit-per-channel color range. Instead of sending values between 0 and 255, it’s sending 15-255. You could compensate for this in some TVs’ settings, but you’d be losing color definition.

Input Range setting in Intel Graphics Control Panel

Intel defaults to 15-255. There is a setting for this in the Intel Graphics Control Panel (In Video > Color Enhancement), but it doesn’t seem to take any effect… unless you do the following:

The Workaround

  1. Make sure Input Range is set to ‘Full Range‘.
  2. Now go back to the main menu and into the Display page.
  3. In the Color Settings section, Enable ‘YCbCr’.
  4. Wait for several seconds for the setting to revert itself. You should now be getting full 0-255 color range.

You have to do this every time you restart the computer or reconnect the TV.

Actually Useful Tweaks to Make Your Laptop Faster & More Efficient

[tab title="Guide"]

These are the tweaks I use every time I set up a Windows laptop, to make it faster, more power-efficient, and less annoying. Some of these are pretty standard and well known; others are more advanced and thorough.

Fresh Windows Installation

Skip manufacturer bloatware altogether and start with a clean slate. YOU decide what OEM packages you want to install back.

  1. Back up your files. If your laptop comes with a display calibration profile (like Razer Blade), then find the ICC file in Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color and back it up to reinstall it later.
  2. Use the Windows Media Creation Tool to make an installation USB drive.
  3. If you want features like Group Policy Editor (helpful for some tweaks below), you'll want to install the Pro version instead. In this case, download this ei.cfg file (right click, save link as) and put it in the \Sources folder of the created install disk. Putting this config file there enables the option to choose a different Windows edition. You'll need a license for Windows 10 Pro.
  4. Boot into the install drive using the Boot Menu or Settings/Update & Security/Recovery/Advanced Startup.
  5. Go through the installer. While doing so, make sure you choose the "Custom" option instead of "Upgrade", and delete all the partitions. Choose to install Windows in the resulting unallocated space—it will set up the partitions for you.
  6. Once you've booted into the system, wait for Windows Update to automatically install drivers - no need for any OEM software to do this. If a device is still missing drivers afterwards, you can selectively get that driver from the manufacturer website.

Reduce Startup Programs

Make Windows start up faster by disallowing unnecessary programs to automatically launch.

  1. Open Task Manager (you can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc).
  2. Go to the Startup tab and disable any programs you don't need to automatically self-launch every time you turn on the computer.
  3. You can also do the same thing for many programs like Spotify and Skype from within the application's own settings page.

Disable Intel's Cringe-worthy Graphics Features

Does the brightness or color of your display change by itself from time to time? Intel's "image enhancement" is probably messing with you. All these "enhancements" do is make the image inconsistent and worse.

  1. Open Intel Graphics Command Center by searching "graphics" in the Start Menu.
  2. Go to the Video section.
  3. Press the "+ Custom" button to create a different video mode.
  4. Turn off all the "enhancements" like Noise Reduction, and Film Mode DetectionSkin Tone Enhancement, and Contrast Enhancement. All of these adulterate the content your computer is meant to display.
  5. Go to the System section, and then Power.
  6. Disable Extended Battery Life for Gaming to get maximum frame rates.
  7. Disable Display Power Saving Technology. This one messes with your display brightness. Make sure you set this for both "On Battery" and "Plugged In" and all power plans.
  8. A Windows version update may reset the Power settings, so set them again if that happens.

Disable Panel Self-Refresh

Continue reading

Prevent Installation of a Specific Driver WITHOUT Group Policy

You can prevent Windows from automatically installing or updating a specific device or driver using the “Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs” Group Policy, but what if you’re using Windows 10 Home and don’t have Group Policy Editor? You can do the same thing using Registry Editor.

  • For convenience, we can edit this template REG file to our needs and install it, instead of manually creating each registry in Registry Editor.
  • Once you’ve downloaded the REG file, right click on it and Edit. We’re going to replace the Device ID in the template with the correct Device ID of your device.

Continue reading

My AutoHotkey Script for Typing Special Characters

This is the AutoHotkey script I use to type common special characters, including Spanish accented letters, superscripts, math and science symbols. I’ve also included shortcuts to simulate the media control keys.

You can copy and paste the script, or download a precompiled version that doesn’t require AutoHotkey to run.

You can put it in %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup (navigate to this quickly by running “shell:startup” in the Run box) to have it automatically run at Windows startup.

(‘!’ means Alt, ‘+’ means Shift, ‘^’ means Control, so ‘!a’ means pressing ‘Alt’ and ‘A’ together.)
Continue reading

You Actually CAN Bring Your Own Android to Xfinity Mobile

Contrary to what Xfinity Mobile officially declares, you actually can bring your own Android phone (BYOD) to Xfinity Mobile. You just need an iPhone that you or a friend have laying around unused.

  1. Bring the spare iPhone to the Xfinity Store and tell them that’s the phone you’ll be using.
    1. If you’re making the switch online, enter the iPhone’s IMEI on the webpage.
  2. After the initial activation, take the SIM card out of the iPhone and insert it into your Android.

Xfinity does not have anything in place to actively block your ‘unapproved’ Android from accessing their network. Your or your friend’s iPhone will remain on their records as associated with your phone number, but you are able to use your Xfinity SIM card in any compatible phone.

There are a few caveats. The rule of thumb for whether your phone is likely is succeed is:

  1. It should be a Verizon-compatible phone. Xfinity uses Verizon’s network. If a Verizon SIM won’t work in your phone, Xfinity won’t work with it either.
  2. If your phone is similar to one that Xfinity themselves have offered, your chances are much higher.

Examples: I have been using my Galaxy S8+ (which I originally got from Sprint) this way without any problems. On the other hand, OnePlus phones on Xfinity can’t send or receive SMS.

Did this work for you? Leave a comment.

Easily Disable Intel DPTF (Power Throttling) for Good

Important: this is no longer necessary; ThrottleStop‘s “Disable and Lock Power Limits” option overrides DPTF. If that doesn’t work, try the following.

If your CPU frequency is being reduced under load, even at low temperatures, you’re probably experiencing power throttling. Most of the time, you can solve this by disabling or raising the power limits, and disabling DPTF explicitly is not required. But sometimes, you need to disable Intel’s Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework, which tries to set the power limit dynamically on your behalf.

Your laptop may have an option to disable DPTF in the BIOS menu. If not:

  1. Install NoDPTF.reg to prevent Windows from automatically reinstalling DPTF.
    1. This registry file is from my NoDPTF project repository on GitHub.
  2. In Device Manager, find all the devices whose names start with "Intel(R) Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework". They may be in the "System devices" list. Right click on each and "Uninstall device". Check "Delete the driver software for this device" whenever available.

This method only works if you have Group Policy Editor (Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, Education).

  1. Open the Group Policy Editor.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Device Installation/Device Installation Restrictions.
  3. Open "Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs".
  4. Click "Enabled".
  5. Checkmark "Also apply to matching devices that are already installed".
  6. Click "Show".
  7. Now you will enter the device ID of each of the DPTF-related devices. You can find them all by finding those devices in Device Manager/System Devices or by copying all the values from NoDPTF.reg.
  8. Click “OK” and "OK" again. You should see each of those devices become "Unknown device" in Device Manager. That means they are disabled.

Keep in mind: the removal of DPTF will not inherently change anything until you raise the power limits using ThrottleStop or Intel XTU.

Warning: if your computer can’t cool its CPU VRM properly, then raising the power limits may cause it to suddenly shut down. If that’s the case, you need to give the VRM more cooling like I did here.

If any DPTF devices are still present, please tell me their hardware IDs in the comments. (To check hardware ID: right click on the device, Properties, Details, select “Hardware Ids” in the drop-down menu.)

Reversion Instructions

  1. In Registry Editor, delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DeviceInstall\Restrictions.
  2. Reboot.