Dell Venue 8 pro - some tips after several weeks of use

Discussion in 'Dell' started by JayByrd, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. JayByrd

    JayByrd Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I have purchased two of the Venue 8 Pro 64 units with stylus. Each was ordered separately. I liked the first so well (for my wife), I ordered one for myself.

    I have found the quad core Atom processor to be extremely quick, with the help of Windows 8.1. The Atom runs cool and sips battery.

    One of the key selling points for me was that Office Home and Student is included (over $150 separately). This includes the full version of OneNote, which has apps for the iPhone, Metro and Skydrive. It is stylus compatible, which allows for an infinite hand writing pad that has notebooks, sections and pages organized the way you like. I've been using OneNote and a stylus since my first Toshiba convertible I purchased around 2003.

    The main reason we purchased these was for running legacy Windows applications.

    Windows 8.1: We came from a Window 7 background, and like the whole world before us, became very frustrated with the Windows 8.1 and the touch screen. I was able to find a few video tutorials on YouTube, and viewed them alongside my wife. Just Google Youtube for Windows 8.1 Tutorial. Even if they are teaching on a desktop or Windows 8, it will help a lot. My wife was ready to send the unit back, if I had not found the videos.

    These videos answered many of the simple questions. I am surprised that Dell has not put together a tutorial for their tablets. The concept of charms, and no Start menu, is quite confusing. It is just a new learning experience, but frustrating until you get the hang of it. I was personally grumpy about not being able to find the "restart" option. Once I found it, I am feeling much better. ;)

    Swiping: Make sure you find all the new swipe directions and their functions in a tutorial. Important ones: swipe down to close the current application. Swipe up for options. Swipe right to left to get settings. Swipe left to right to toggle apps (like alt-tab). To Swipe, put your finger in the BLACK unlit edge of the screen and move it onto the lit portion of the screen in a continuous movement, without lifting.

    Right click: If you are able to "right click" on the Windows Key while in Desktop mode, you will find most of the admin functions that I personally have always found under the Start button, which includes "restart" and the Control Panel. To right click on a touch screen, hold your stylus or finger on the icon (or spot) for 1.5 seconds and then release. The right click options will then appear.

    Initial password: If you are like us, we got tired of entering a password when the Venue woke up. In the Control Panel, Under Power Options, I disabled the "require password when computer wakes."

    USB Port: Like many of you, I tried to plug my USB charging cable from my Venue, into my laptop - nothing. The included cable is designed only for charging. I thought it would be more like my iPhone. It is not.

    The first thing I purchased was a USB OTG dongle so I could connect flash drives, external DVD, HDD, Cell Phone, Mouse, etc. Here is a link to the one I purchased at Amazon: C&E CNE16187 Micro USB OTG to USB 2.0 Adapter: Electronics

    For less than $2 I was able to open up the USB port to data. With the dongle, I can connect a DVD or HDD device that has an AC power adaptor. Laptop drives in an external enclosure will not work. USB Flash drives WILL work.

    My old Nokia cell phone (e-72 OVI) also connects via the USB OTG. With the Nokia Suite software, I am able to create a USB modem on my cell that the Venue can use. I also have a personal hotspot app on the Nokia for WiFi connection. I have also been successful at creating a Bluetooth modem connection with the Nokia.

    Once I got the dongle, I connected a DVD burner and burned a backup of the factory software, using the built in Dell Backup and Recovery.

    Network: There is an old saying made by Sun Systems, back in the 90's, "the network is the system." With WiFi, the cloud (SkyDrive), your local area network, shared devices on your local network, Blue Tooth, your cellphone as a personal hotspot - the system is infinite.

    Because it runs standard Windows (not RT), I was able to install printer drivers for my old WiFi Brother laser and Lexmark all-in-one device.

    Updates are important: This is a BRAND NEW device. I have made sure to keep the Dell drivers up to date. Use the Dell Update app. Also see Dell Support . The firmware and BIOS updates are most important.

    Enable the Windows Update feature. I had a problem with the first batch of updates, which killed my WiFi, but have been fine since. I had to find how to set and restore "restore points".

    Online Forums: Keep up to date at this forum and others like Home - Dell Community . These will give you an outlet for frustrations as well as solutions to try.

    Screen size tips: For non-Metro apps (desktop), I tried "magnify", but found something else that I think works better. In the control panel, go to "Appearance and Personalization". Under "Display" click the "check" for "Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays." This will open the options for "change the size of all items." This is easier than using the magnifier utility. I have found the 125% is good. My wife likes 150%. You will have to log off and back on each time the size is changed.

    Browser: If you use a browser for much of your work, I hate to say it, IE is better suited to the Venue 8 Pro, because it supports resizing gestures. Chrome does not allow for screen gestures that will zoom in on the window. I understand that they are working on a version called "Canary" that supports this, but it is still in development. Changing the size to 150% (see paragraph above) helps with Chrome being able to click on links with the finger.

    Stylus: I use a stylus now more for clicking the small touch points in legacy Windows apps, than I do as a writing instrument. It is extremely handy when selecting drop downs and the tiny down arrows that open options. Right clicking can also be a pain without the stylus.

    The battery in my wife's stylus had already gone out, after a month. I will be monitoring the situation. I think she may have had the elastic restraint on the case pressing on top of the stylus button. It is also possible that storing the stylus in the proximity of the screen, will keep the stylus awake. Just speculating at this point.

    For me, I plan on using the stylus extensively for OneNote, once my Targus case comes in next week.

    Mouse pad: A mouse pad emulator will help those who do not have a stylus and do not want to, or cannot, connect a mouse. Here is the link to a free one. TouchMousePointer - virtual touchpad (on-screen mouse) I have a mouse pad on all my other devices and wireless keyboards, so I found this to be a personal favorite. I will be using this for times when I do not have a stylus with me.
    Wireless keyboard: My wife is a touch typist and could not handle the thumb typing required by the on-screen keyboard. I selected a Bluetooth keyboard from Addesso. It is my third keyboard from them, but my first Bluetooth. Once I got it synced with the Venue, it has stayed synced. I found that the Bluetooth control on the task bar worked better than the one in the control panel. Not sure why.

    On-screen keyboard: I was frustrated with the default keyboard because I could not find the ALT key, and had to keep switching back and forth for numbers and special characters. The default keyboard does not have up or down arrows either.

    How to change to a standard keyboard layout: From the main Metro screen, swipe from right to left to open the options. Select Change PC Settings in the lower right corner. Select PC and Devices, Select Typing. At the bottom you will find the only option that is OFF - "Add the standard keyboard layout..." Turn it on. Next time you use the touch screen keyboard, click the little keyboard icon in the lower right corner of the keyboard - there will be an additional keyboard style from which you can select.

    Handwriting recognition: When using the on-screen keyboard, click the little keyboard icon in the lower right corner of the keyboard - there will be an additional keyboard styles from which you can select, including one that looks like a pen on paper. Give it a try. It WILL work with a finger.

    Metro Apps: I like the Windows Mail for its ability to sync with my two Gmail accounts. It also syncs with the People app, which syncs contacts with Twitter and Facebook. Gmail does not do this by itself.

    The facebook app is weak because it is an abridged version of the browser version. When IE is used instead, the resize gestures allow for zooming in on the fine print. See tips on screen sizing above. I made a shortcut to IE Facebook and pinned it to Metro.

    I have the Kindle app, which synced directly to my Amazon account to give immediate access to my library.

    Netflix works very well.

    Amazon Streaming works from IE and Chrome. The app does not stream. The shopping portion is limited. When you click some features, like Your Orders, it takes you to the browser to view the results.

    Legacy Windows Apps: This is the main reason to purchase this tablet over an IOS or Android tablet. Every Windows app I have installed works. Avast Anti-Virus (kill the McAffee app first), KMPlayer (I prefer version 3.6 not 3.7), Printer drivers (Brother & Lexmark), Daemon Tools, old and new Bible programs,

    Internal flash memory: Ours are 64GB units. With the restore partitions and others space taken by the way the drive was partitioned, it shows a total of 50.3 GB - BEFORE apps and data. After a few weeks of use, and loading apps (one of which is 8GB with data) and such, I have used about 30GB. Advantage of this over an IOS device, is that it has a microSD slot for up to and additional 64GB - removable.

    Keep your photos and videos on a shared drive on the network or cloud to save space.

    Still working on:

    USB Charge and Data: One day the battery on this will die, and I will need to have simultaneous power and data on the USB port.

    HD Homerun: (HDTV streaming) driver installed. channels show in Windows Media Player, but no video or audio.
    I can get audio only using Quick TV

    Nokia WiFi Personal Hotspot: The Nokia does not show as a live access point under the WiFi connect options on the Venue.

    And one last "D'uh" tip: Don't use a sleeve with a magnetic latch. It will drive the tablet crazy - BSOD
    Mi An, leaftye and fatxander like this.
  2. bugelrex

    bugelrex Scribbler - Standard Member

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  3. Dc5e

    Dc5e Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The only way you can do this right now is DIY cable or USB hub modification. Check out this thread for more.

    Make sure you have the correct codecs installed. I installed ffdshow-tryouts and had to enable mpeg2 in the video decoder -> codecs section, and the mixer filter (for stereo sound) in the audio configuration.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  4. fatxander

    fatxander Scribbler - Standard Member

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    This is really great stuff, thank you a bunch!
  5. bazanime

    bazanime Scribbler - Standard Member

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    A respectable and honest roundup which I'm sure will be useful.

    I was one of the few not frustrated by windows 8, I just learnt it and got used to it. Nice to know there are learning videos out there.
    IE works great.

    As everything matures, I'm sure a lot of wishes will be fulfilled.
    gammite likes this.
  6. BartManDude

    BartManDude Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I had the same problem. pretty easy fix for that.

    REASON: windows 8/8.1 removed a bunch of codecs (mpeg2)

    SOLUTION 1 - upgrade to the media center addon pack which will restore the mpeg2 codec. (I think you have to upgrade win8.1 core to win8.1 pro as well)

    SOLUTION 2 - download VLC and use that for the quick view app (method I'm currently using) VLC has it's own codecs and includes MPEG2

    I had to post this question on the HDhomerun forums to get a resolution, thanks goes to Mediaman for providing the answer.

  7. jadesse

    jadesse Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Great tip about the on screen keyboard, that is exactly what I was looking for. The best thing is, I didn't have to install anything.:thumbsup:
  8. AustinEnigmatic

    AustinEnigmatic Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hey guys,

    How do I make the stylus act like a mouse. So I can click the screen, use the button as left click/right click. Has anyone figured this out?

    Thank you in advance. I have burned several hours trying to figure it out... :(
  9. xanadu

    xanadu Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Installed w10 on my Venue (64 GB) but built-in DW 5570 wwan does not work: drivers are installed, device seems to be working "only" issue is: no internet connection
    With windows 8.1 was not possible to share internet connection, on windows 10 no internet. :)
    The cheapest tablet or android phone could share internet, I don't know Microsoft or Dell is so impotent (or both). :)

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