ARCHOS Cesium 80 — support?!

Well, it’s that time again. I got something to blargh about.

Keeping it short and to the point: I recently bought a shiny new Archos Cesium 80 tablet with Windows 8.1. All very nice, being able to run w32 apps without any problem. But there’s one bottleneck: it only has 16GB of available disk space. Which is not much, but it should be plenty until you break it down:


Partition 0: Operating system and files – 9GB used; after updates ~10GB (without removing the default additional language packs like Russian and Spanish)
Partition 1: Recovery — 4GB
Partition 2: just the usual bootstuffs — 100MB


So that leaves us with very little workspace. I decided to remove the language packs (by ‘adding’ them and removing them, basically) and to delete the recovery partition. Which I shouldn’t have done: the EFI/GPT scheme doesn’t allow that for some reason, so you get a BSOD 0xc0000225 and no recovery options ofcourse. So I decided after inserting a recovery USB stick with EFI and trying to fix stuff with bcdboot and diskpart (which did not work at all; strangely enough, ‘no operating system’ etc.), and plenty of other methods. Not only that, the touch screen did not work by default in the non-Archos Windows 8.1, so I had to attach a USB hub and a keyboard.

After trying several thousand things, I decided to install Windows 8.1 Pro. And yet again, to my surprise, no drivers anywhere to be found on the entire net. I e-mailed Archos, they just skipped reading and said ‘we do not support this OS’ and that was that.
Terribly enough, no support at all — not even a recovery image or anything like that. So I took a twisted turn, I decided to make a deal with a webshop and ‘buy’ a new tablet: the same one. The plan: get a recovery image and extract all the drivers.

So I did just that. And it works. Here is the recovery image for Windows 8.1 with Bing for Archos C80:
Here are all the drivers (working in Windows 8.1 x86 and Windows 8.1 Pro x86):

And that’s all I got, and here are some interesting links:
Full recovery image(use Win32 Disk Imager to write this to a 16+GB USB stick or network-disk): http://a.eth9.org/

NOTICE: This image is only for use on the Archos 80 Cesium tablet. —
Trying this on a laptop or other type of tablet will cause unwanted results and might corrupt your partition table and EFI-stored Windows serial number if it does not correspond with the type and model if you do a forced install.
After installing this image, you can also upgrade to Windows 10 Home after installing all Windows updates and connecting an external USB stick once again for the installation files (see the Windows 10 Upgrade application (GWX) for moreĀ  information)

Drivers (7z): http://dl.marlon.ws/Media/archos80c.7z

Windows 8.1: More choice and less clutter.

I’ve installed Windows 8.1 on my main laptop, and it’s even faster (performance) than Windows 8.

Some games (and websites) do not seem to agree though, but I haven’t really installed any games which will drain a lot of performance; let alone to test it. So I’ll just assume that games don’t really work (though, Microsoft recently fixed that issue in an update).

There are a lot of new standard apps installed in 8.1, the most notable one is Skype. It’s not the so-called “Desktop” version of Skype, but the Modern version. I have to say that a lot of bugs in this version have been fixed and it’s more accessible, but I still prefer to use the desktop version.
Another app, called Food & Drinking which is targeted at home cooking users, includes thousands of (online) recipes and very nifty tools. One particularly interesting feature of this application is that you can actually use your hands to slide though the cooking instructions, called “Hands-free mode”.

Hands Free Mode
Hands Free Mode

There is another interesting app, called “Health and Fitness”. This app features advice and tips to keep you healthy, and has integration for apps like HealthVault (more to be added in the future, so it seems) to track your burned calories, have personal advice, and to measure your progress.

It features pictures of hot men and women too.
It features pictures of hot men and women too.

And since last week, Facebook (finally?) published their new Facebook app for 8 & 8.1. This does not really have anything to do with Windows, but it’s still worth to take a look.

You could also take a look at the new customization options for your Start screen.
You can resize the tiles to either elephant big, or to ant tiny now, change the background to match with your Desktop mode, or set whatever color you want to have.

Big icons in 8.1
Big or small? It’s your choice.
Small icons in Windows 8.1
… or just Medium and small.
Colors!
I didn’t know what color to choose, so I went for blue.

The other notable thing in Windows 8.1 is that there is a button.
A button, you ask? Well, it’s called a “Start” button.
People complained about it’s ‘absence’ or rather, ‘hiddenness’ (since it’s still there, but in the corner), so Microsoft added it back. Despite hundreds of users complaining about the return, since “it was much easier” and “it doesn’t take up space”, Microsoft didn’t add a control switch to turn it in “8-mode” button, or rather “old fasion”.

 

 

 

So the button is almost permanent by default, with no option (at least not in Windows) to remove the annoying space filling annoyance. Thus, somebody made a pretty clever application called “StartIsGone”. It’s simple. It injects itself in to the Explorer process, and disables the new code. And automatically bringing back the new (or well, new…) Start ‘button’.

 

If you want something new and something better, I’d recommend Windows 8.1.

My scanner is boxed!

A few months back, I got a scanner from my uncle. It’s an ‘old’ HP scanjet 4470c. I’m using the 64 bits version of Windows 8; and there are no drivers for my little scanner. So I came up with an idea. I used my VirtualBox Windows XP (x86) installation, and installed the drivers on there.

I shared the device with my VirtualBox, which did not work at first. It seems that VirtualBox does not completely work yet with my USB 3.0 ports. So I used my other ports, and the sharing went perfect.

Then I used the software included in the installer from HP. The results were pretty good for a 10 year old scanner:

Mentos Label Back
Click to zoom – Can you read the text?
Mentos Label
The front label.

The standard software was pretty good, simple, but outdated.

But it’s working, so that is not a problem. Also, the quality is way better than my build-in phone camera:

Scanner
Look at the dust! At least it has AF.

The VirtualBox was obviously pretty easy to set up. Installed Windows, shared a folder and the USB device, and actually, all is set-up. This method should work with 90% of all hardware that works with Windows XP, inside the VirtualBox.

Look at the pixels!
Look at the pixels!

Well, this is a new add-on for my 2 printers, one LaserJet from HP, and a Canon PIXMA printer, seen below.

Printers
But these are still supported by the software!

My current hardware is all donated by people who couldn’t get the drivers to work, didn’t need it, or simply because it was broken and they simply said: “Well, if you repair it, keep it.”.

Thanks to all who donated me this stuff, I use it all the time. But well, I’m a geek, so nothing less to expect!