Perform Clean Install of Windows 10 on Dell Inspiron Gaming 7000 7577

Dell laptops are no where near as full of bloatware from the manufacturer as some others but they still do come with a lot of crap to get rid of. The cleanest and simplest thing to do if you buy one is to just format the machine and reinstall Windows 10.

The problem is there’s no install media provided.

First off, some things you should note:

  • Most models come with the M.2 SSD drive which requires drivers during windows install.
  • You won’t require your Windows 10 key from the old install. It is no longer on a label stuck to the machine unfortunately, it is stored in one of the chips on the motherboard. The installer will pick up the key automatically.

Steps

  1. Download and run the official Windows 10 tool https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 to create a bootable USB stick.
  2. The above tool will take some time but once it has finished you will need to download the Intel drivers for the SSD else you won’t be able to get that drive listed during the Windows 10 install. Get the SSD drivers named f6flpy-x64.zip (64-bit Operating System) here:  https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/27147/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-?v=t
  3. Unzip the intel drivers into a directory on your USB memory stick.
  4. Restart the laptop and press the F12 key during boot to get to the boot menu.
  5. Select your USB stick to boot from and follow the instructions.
  6. When it comes to selecting a hard drive to install windows to make sure to click the CD icon and navigate to your driver directory on the USB stick and install the SSD drivers.
  7. Delete all the partitions on both HDD and SSD.
  8. Create a new partition on the SSD and go ahead and install windows as normal.
  9. Once Windows is installed you’ll also want to use disk management to setup the HDD and then you’ll be good to go.

Camera into a mine Adit.

You may be wondering just why this short article is to be found within the TripsInTech web page, images shown were the result of a trip to an old mine and there was an amount of tech, in the control of the camera system, hence it may possibly be justified!

There are many old mines scattered across the Welsh hills, many are blocked to entry of persons ( quite sensibly so ) or collapsed but some have limited access.

Unless with fully qualified cavers, do not ever enter a mine.

Permission of the landowner / agent was obtained before accessing the land.

One such mine, Nant Y Mwyn lead mine, at approximately 300 mtrs altitude  in the Carmarthenshire hills,  has a number of closed off entrances. However, there is one adit ( entrance ) which although blocked by many tons of rock does have a small gap in the rock filling, which was judged to be just big enough to allow entry of a suitable camera. The small entry is way too small and probably unsafe for a person to enter and therefore after a little creativity, a modified digital camera was mounted on a Pan and Tilt ( P.T.) motor drive assembly which in turn was mounted at the business end of an eight meter telescopic pole. The pole when collapsed into itself became a manageable 1.5 m set of aluminium tubes to make walking up to the entrance easier.

During the making of the P.T. assembly it was a realised there was a risk of total loss of the camera and P.T. mechanism when it is placed into the adit. Therefore, instead of utilizing a more up to date camera type as may be seen on adventurer’s helmets and many similar situations, it was decided that a fully working but no longer used Olympus digital camera  was to be used, along with a small and relatively cheap high-brightness infrared domestic property surveillance video camera.

To make the P.T. a number of standard ” R.C. ” servo’s were used, the type often found in model making, one being modified to give 360 degree rotation. The servos were mounted so as to rotate the camera head in 360 degs horizontally and to move through about 170 degs vertically, with a ” directly ahead ” view being about half way in the vertical movement. Servo control pulses were generated from a PIC18F8723 processor, being part of a Microchip development board, a few pages of C code being written for the purpose. User control and interface was by a laptop running a terminal programme and a video application to view the scene as imaged by the infrared video camera. Between the laptop and the camera P.T. head was a simple serial port cable for control signals and a video cable.  Control of the digital still camera was by means of a directly wired interface from the PIC board directly to the camera controls, essentially in parallel with the manual press button controls. Yes, of course, the Olympus digital still-camera could have been controlled via USB with a suitable application but that route was not followed.  Images copyright J.W.C. G8GKU.

General view into adit, mid height camera position. Rocks on floor are part of backfill blocking the entrance.

 

General view, with high camera position, detailing ” roof ” near entrance. Note a lack of visible shot-holes, was this adit hand cut ?

Close image of right hand side wall and partial rock fill.

 

Remember to keep well clear of mine tunnels and unless with fully qualified explorers do not ever enter a mine.

XML to JSON python script (Also JSON to XML)

Here are 2 python scripts which convert XML to JSON and JSON to XML.

XML to JSON

Create the sample XML file, with the below contents.

sample.xml
<planets>
	<planet>
		<name>
			Earth
		</name>
		<radius>
			6,371km
		</radius>
	</planet>
	<planet>
		<name>
			Jupiter
		</name>
		<radius>
			69,911km
		</radius>
	</planet>
	<planet>
		<name>
			Mars
		</name>
		<radius>
			3,390km
		</radius>
	</planet>
</planets>

Run the below python script and and it will output the converted XML as a file named output.json.

import json
import xmltodict

with open("sample.xml", 'r') as f:
	xmlString = f.read()

print("XML input (sample.xml):")
print(xmlString)
	
jsonString = json.dumps(xmltodict.parse(xmlString), indent=4)

print("\nJSON output(output.json):")
print(jsonString)

with open("output.json", 'w') as f:
	f.write(jsonString)

JSON to XML

Create the sample JSON file, with the below contents.

sample.json
{
    "planets": {
        "planet": [
            {
                "name": "Earth",
                "radius": "6,371km"
            },
            {
                "name": "Jupiter",
                "radius": "69,911km"
            },
            {
                "name": "Mars",
                "radius": "3,390km"
            }
        ]
    }
}

Run the below python script and and it will output the converted JSON as a file named output.xml.

import json
import xmltodict

with open('sample.json', 'r') as f:
	jsonString = f.read()

print('JSON input (sample.json):')
print(jsonString)

xmlString = xmltodict.unparse(json.loads(jsonString), pretty=True)

print('\nXML output(output.xml):')
print(xmlString)

with open('output.xml', 'w') as f:
	f.write(xmlString)

You may need to install the xmltodict module:

pip install xmltodict

Minecraft won’t launch with error code 5

If you launch Minecraft and get an error as above, along the lines of cannot copy file error code 5 then you can potentially fix this by renaming a file as below.

 

Rename

C:\Program Files (x86)\Minecraft\tmpLauncher.tmp

to

C:\Program Files (x86)\Minecraft\minecraft.exe

Then just run the minecraft.exe file and it should start to download the runtime and then start up. Worked for me 🙂

Satellite image pager interference

Although many satellite images are captured with little or tolerable degradation, due to the effects of near band or in band pager interference, some images are more badly affected. This image received from Meteor M2, June 20 2017, orbit number 15301, 11:00 hours, 137.900 MHz, shows the effect of both in band and near band data transmissions from local, ( Oxford, UK )  high power pager style systems.

Meteor M2 UK, Europe, June 20. Orbit 15301