Tag Archives: Windows 8

Bluetooth Problems Galore with the Logitech H800 Headset

A month or so ago, I decided to pick up a new headset for gaming and Skype. I wanted to Bluetooth headset that I could use while charging so that I wouldn’t be bound by cords or batteries–at least not at the same time. I’ve had good luck with Logitech products, so I did a bit of research and went with the H800.

Out of the box, everything worked great. I paired it to my PC and–voila–I had sound. Great, right? Not so fast, my friend. I’ve had problems with this thing from day one.

Once I get it to work, I don’t usually have issues. The problem is getting it to work. The thing doesn’t reliably reconnect after being disconnected. Sometimes, I’d turn on the headset, and it would connect right away and work. This would happen, say, 15% of the time. Sometimes it would connect, but it would have unbearably poor audio quality. Sometimes it would connect, but it would have no audio. And sometimes it would simply not connect at all.

Ugh.

I found that my best bet when it didn’t connect and work properly would be to turn the headset off, disable the Bluetooth adapter through Device Manager, enable the Bluetooth adapter, and then turn the headset back on. This lil’ song and dance would get me a successful, high-quality connection pretty regularly. If that didn’t work, a reboot would usually do the trick.

The headset also comes with a USB nano receiver, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever using that. I don’t want to use the USB receiver, though, because it takes up one of three precious USB ports. I didn’t buy the headset to use as a USB device, and I’d be disappointed if I had to use the USB receiver instead of Bluetooth.

I was stumped on this issue. I didn’t think it was my computer because I have a different pair of Bluetooth headphones that I’ve no problems with. I didn’t think it was the headset because I’ve used it with my Surface RT with no problems. Everything that I could find online seemed to indicate that it was a problem with my Broadcom Bluetooth adapter driver, but I couldn’t find any updates anywhere. I’d tried reinstalling drivers for the headset and the Bluetooth adapter and anything else that seemed relevant, but nothing seemed to help.

And so I went on, using my headset by disabling and re-enabling devices in Device Manager until one day last week when I could no longer get the headset to work at all through Bluetooth. So annoying!

Since nothing I had tried up to that point had done anything, I thought I’d try upgrading to Windows 8. This is something that I’ve been putting off doing on this computer, anyway, and maybe the OS refresh is just what I needed. I felt encouraged when Windows 8 Setup told me that Broadcome Bluetooth Software was an incompatible program that needed to be removed before I could upgrade.

I did what needed to be done and upgraded to Windows 8, but I was no better off than I was with Windows 7. I could pair the device, but I could not get it to connect. It worked fine with its USB receiver. GAH!

Finally, I stumbled upon this forum post: Bluetooth headset is not working in Windows 8. The accepted answer said that the problem was solved by copying the Broadcom Bluetooth 4.0 driver from a working computer. I headed over to Google and searched for “Broadcom Bluetooth 4.0.” I found the Lenovo download page for it and installed it on my computer even though my ThinkPad W510 was not listed as a “Supported ThinkPad System.” When the install finished, I turned on my headset and guess what? It connected!

Despite my success, I’m not convinced that I’m in the clear. I turned off the headset and turned it back on. I had the same poor quality problem that I’ve had before. I turned it off and back on again. This time it connected, but I had no audio. I went to Windows 8’s wireless devices control panel, and turned the adapter off and back on. Now my headset connected and had good quality audio.

I love the headset when it’s working, but I’m really disappointed with the number of connection problems I’ve had. At the end of the day, I’m content to get them working by disabling and enabling the Bluetooth adapter, but it’s a step that I wish I didn’t shouldn’t have to do. I’m going to pretend that everything works how I think it should by disabling my Bluetooth adapter when I’m not using the headset.

This article was meant to be more of a, “Hey, here’s what got me past the issue!” for other folks troubleshooting similar issues. It has somewhat of a gadget review feel to it, though, doesn’t it? So I’ll wrap up by giving you my opinion of the H800 headset from Logitech. It’s a nice headset. The audio quality is good, and it connects quickly and reliably through the included USB receiver. However, because of the problems I’ve had with the headset on my Lenovo ThinkPad W510, I would not recommend this as a Bluetooth headset, although it works flawlessly with my Surface RT. Based on my experience, you’ve only got a 50/50 shot for satisfaction with the headset as an exclusively Bluetooth peripheral.

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Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging App Update

When I hopped on my Surface this morning, I noticed there was an update available to the Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging app. I love getting updates, particularly to core system apps that I use every day. I wanted to know what actually changed, though!

I headed to the internet and found this post from on the Windows Experience Blog. It’s got the information I was looking for, but it wasn’t in the format I wanted. I just wanted a bulleted list, not a narrative about how apps can be used that I need to read through to pick out changes. So, I’ve done the legwork for you—here’s what’s new.

  • Filter mail to see only unread emails
  • Create and delete mail folders
  • Select all mail items in a folder and move or delete them
  • Flag emails
  • “Smart contact suggestions” in the To line when composing emails
  • Draft messages show at the top of inbox
  • Add, edit, and delete hyperlinks and edit numbered or bulleted lists in emails
  • Search server email messages
  • View Exchange details for contacts
  • Solid blocks of color removed from calendar; now colored bar is used to determine which calendar
  • “Work week” view added to calendar
  • Forward invitations and email all attendees from calendar
  • Improved navigation in people app by swiping from the top
  • Filter “What’s New” by source (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)

The article makes it sound like there may be more than this, but these were the changes that I’m now aware of. Let me know if there’s more that I missed.

Pin Presentation Settings to Start in Win RT

PresentationSettingsPinned

One of the problems I’ve run into with my Surface RT is that the screen timeout interferes with a number of common tasks. I use my Surface to run my team’s morning standup meetings, and I have to keep touching the screen every 30 seconds to keep it active. Or, if I want to listen to music using Pandora or Google Music, the jams stop when the screen turns off. (I believe the music will continue to stream with the screen off if you’re plugged in, but I’m not usually plugged in.) I ran into a similar issue while watching a football game on Espn3.com.

No problem–there’s an application to control your computer’s presentation settings that’s built right into Windows. It’s trickier than you’d expect to create a shortcut to it, though.

Presentation Settings

I found the setting by going to the Start screen and typing Presentation. At first, it looks like you get no results, but that’s because the default search bucket is Applications and Presentation Settings is under Settings. Checking the setting I am currently giving a presentation will disable the system timers, allowing you to keep your Surface active for an extended period of time for an actual presentation or streaming music and video from the web. I need to access this pretty frequently, so I wanted to pin it to my Start screen, but, since it’s under Settings, Windows doesn’t let you select it for pinning. Blurg.

There is a way to do it, but it’s not very intuitive. When you launch the application from Settings, it fires up in desktop mode. With the application running in desktop mode, you can right-click it in the taskbar, then right-click Microsoft Mobile PC Presentation Adaptability Client, and choose Properties. It will open a dialog where you can then click a button to open the file location. You’ll be whisked off to C:\Windows\System32, and the executable–PresentationSettings.exe–will be selected. Voila! You can right-click the file and pin it to the Start screen.

PresentationSettings.exe

The ultra-abbreviated version of this post is to simply browse to C:\Windows\System32 and right-click PresentationSettings.exe. Note that the screen will still turn off if you flip the keyboard up to cover the screen while in presentation mode, so you won’t kill your battery if you forget to re-enable the timers before closing your Surface and chucking it in your backpack. If you leave it open on a desk, you probably will, though. To maximize your battery life, you’ll definitely want to re-enable timers if you don’t need to keep the computer awake for a specific reason.

Sync Android Photos to SkyDrive

One of the features I really liked (and miss) on my Windows Phone 7 was the pictures live tile. Any pictures I took on my phone would rotate on my home screen. It was a great way to see and view my pictures without actually opening and browsing through my gallery—something that I’m unlikely to do just because I’m bored.

Windows8_StartScreen_Pictures

So, I was happy to see that this same pictures-live-tile functionality included in Windows 8. By default, the Windows 8 tile goes out to SkyDrive—where all my Windows Phone pictures were synced to—and uses those pictures in its rotation. One problem, though: I’m no longer using Windows Phone. So my Windows 8 live tile only rotates through 300 or so pictures that I took a year ago and doesn’t include anything recent. Bummer.

No problem, I figured, I’ll just sync my Android photos to SkyDrive and problem solved. I headed to the Play Store and found an app called FolderSync—which comes in both free and paid versions. FolderSync lets me do exactly what I want: pick a folder on my phone (my camera/pictures directory) and sync it to cloud storage (SkyDrive camera roll). Setup is easy, too. You just configure the application with your account, create a folder pairing, and you’re done.

FolderSync_Settings

Now, any pictures I take will upload to SkyDrive. And then, in Windows 8, they’ll be in rotation in the pictures live tile. The only thing that’s less than ideal about this is that the application won’t upload pictures on a scheduled interval. I’m not sure why. It allows automatic syncing to a local folder but not to a remote one. No big deal; I just have to remember to open the app and sync manually from time to time. Other than that, it’s perfect!