HP Stream 8 with Windows 10 To-Do Checklist Part 1

The HP Stream 8 (2014) is an average Windows tablet with a dismal 1GB of RAM, an Intel Z3735G Atom 32-bit processor and overall features that may discourage buyers of ever even considering a Windows tablet. The upgrade to Windows 10, does provide a measure of consolation for users who purchased the Stream 8. However, there are a few steps that users might want to perform directly after the Windows 10 upgrade to get the most from the sub-par device.


1. Windows Updates - Microsoft's execution of Windows Updates in Windows 10 has been met with some controversy but there is very little doubt that the HP Stream 8 requires the full set of Windows 10 updates for the device to perform properly. On the downside, an upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 leaves you with very little storage space from the 32GB of internal memory even after you dump the Windows 8.1 restoration files.


2. Run HP Support Assistant and install patches and updates - Users who are familiar with HP's support applications in the enterprise will recognize HP Support Assistant's obvious origins. Unfortunately, it's meant to be run in desktop mode and looks awful in Stream 8's tablet mode. Stream 8 is clearly an ODM device so drivers come from different hardware vendors. Realtek and Broadcom are two recognizable contributors to the Stream 8's hardware but Kionix, Semtech and Goodix are atypical providers. Kionix and Semtech provide drivers for the various sensors on the tablet while Goodix handles support for the Stream 8's insensitive and unreliable touch screen. Suffice to say, you're going to need to install the HP drivers or the HP Stream 8 isn't going to be much use to you.

HP Support Assistant is often confused when you switch from Tablet mode to Desktop mode. Desktop mode is recommended and even then it takes up the full screen of the Stream 8. As clunky as Support Assistant is on the Stream 8, it certainly simplifies the process and users will see a marked improvement after installing the correct drivers.

3. Settings for Display and Power - The Stream 8 has one of the worst batteries I've encountered in a tablet. Next to a budget ASUS MemoPad HD7, the Stream 8 is a minute man. After installing the appropriate drivers and updates, control battery consumption on the Stream 8 by heading off to Settings > System > Display and then moving on to the Power & Sleep and Battery Saver settings. 

Windows 10's Battery Saver option is untested in real use but a little goes a long way with the Stream 8's atrocious battery performance. When configuring Power & Sleep, think of the Stream 8 as a power hungry desktop NOT a laptop (an average  Windows 10 laptop can easily beat the Stream 8 in battery life). In fact, treat the Stream 8 as a full-sized computer and power off the tablet rather than putting it to sleep. The battery life is that bad.  In addition, the Stream 8 has some serious issues related to power, sleep and battery. For more details, refer to the article Tablet shuts down on Windows startup/Battery won't charge (Stream 8) .

4. Change the default Save locations - One admirable setting added to Windows 10 for tablets is the ability to change the default user folders for documents, music, pictures and videos. After installing Windows 10, the 32GB internal memory of the Stream 8 is pretty much unusable even after you clear the storage allotted for Windows 8.1.

Tap Settings > System > Storage to change default save locations to the micro SD card.

To reclaim space consumed by Windows 8.1, tap This PC > Temporary Files > Delete Previous versions.

Note: Windows 10 will actually notify you that it will remove the previous version of Windows within a month (worth 4.18GB of temporary files).

5. Use a compatible USB On-the-Go adapter -  To make the most off the Stream 8, invest in a USB On-the-Go adapter for connecting USB accessories. The ability to switch to a Windows 10 desktop is largely one of the few advantages over iOS and Android that Windows tablets have but the desktop experience is challenging without a mouse or keyboard. Again, it's a poor replacement for a Windows 10 ultrabook or even a thin-and-light entry-level laptop but it will do in a pinch. 

A USB OTG is invaluable for running firmware updates, transferring files from external hard drives and connecting USB wireless accessories.

6. Keyboard settings - The default onscreen layout of the Windows 10 keyboard is actually not bad. I've actually become used to the Windows Phone 8.1 keyboard on my Lumia 925 so I'm fairly open-minded about Microsoft's touch keyboards. Unfortunately, the Stream 8's poor touch screen has a tough time keeping up with touch typists so a Bluetooth keyboard like the Logitech K480 is recommended (or use a standard wireless mouse and keyboard connected via the USB OTG). Still, if you occasionally type short messages in Skype or WeChat on the Stream 8, configure the Typing settings under Settings > Device > Typing.


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