WinToGo 10 with a thunderbolt drive on MBP 2018

There is a good article for WinToGo setup on MBP2018, along with this article and my old post for MBP2012, but just good for USB drive only. If you want to do that with a thunderbolt3 drive, several days of rebooting is ahead.

WinToGo on External Drive
Bru-nO / Pixabay

First, WinToUsb won’t list thunderbolt drives, therefore the old ways of imagex/dism and bcdboot to make the bootable install drive is your friend. But Win10 boot setup always fails with mysterious error “Windows setup could not configure to run on this computer’s hardware” during setup spinning interface. Nothing googled directly helps, including the popular “msoobe” command hack. After hours of trials, this post gives the correct steps for disk partitions setup. Actually the first article above mentioned the hack to format with “EFI System Partition”, which will do the same trick to create msr partition automatically, but new windows 10 seems not to create the correct partitions, causing the preparation setup error.

Second, the Windows 1803 version won’t install on thunderbolt3 drive with MBP 2018. It always fails with DMA Access Violation crash blue screen, which is related to storage driver. Since MBP 2018 came out in later half of the year, Windows 1809 version will have the correct thunderbolt3 drivers included.

Third, Windows 10 will finally boot, install, and freeze if boot camp drivers are added into the install media previously. It might be related to the AMD Radeon drivers and ReLive settings app. The answer is to boot setup without add-driver step, which will force to use external mouse and keyboard to continue the setup process, as the built-in keyboard with touch bar and trackpad won’t work without boot camp drivers.

Finally, WinToGo 10 can install and run successfully now. Afterwards, boot camp drivers install might take quite a long time and hang for the USB XHCI controller. Anyway, it doesn’t matter for an unrecognized mass storage device after a forced restart. Everything works with super fast speed including AMD display card, thunderbolt drive and USB devices!

Several Updates:

The unrecognized devices listed in Win10 Device Manager should be T2 related, which are unaccessible in Windows. Since ACPI power management is also controlled by T2, Win10 currently uses standard Microsoft driver for power management, which sometime shows strange battery behaviors like discharging even if power is plugged-in. The only hope is new BootCamp drivers.

Latest Raedon 18.40 bootcamp drivers are here, which seems to fix the power discharging issue when GPU is on.

Fix Office365 Activation 0xD000FFFE error

Laptop Activate Home Office

Just migrate my old rMBP 2012 to new MBP 2018 with Migration Assistant. Everything seems as good as old one, but Office365 is not activated. When activating Office apps, it always fails, reporting unknown error 0xD0000FFFE.

Apparently, it is related to some migrated existing license. After Googling, some solutions like deleting folders under ~/Library/Group Container will also remove your Outlook inbox folders, which is surely unacceptable. This post has the correct official software to remove existing license and then re-activate Office365 will succeed happily.

Fix WordPress 5 Live Preview Hijacked to Some Domain Ad Website

Just upgraded to WordPress 5.0 and found a strange problem of theme customize live preview showing some domain Ad website instead of my own site. 

Googling around shows nothing useful but quite a few sites have similar domain advertising site description listed in the Google search results, which means they got hijacked too.

By disabling the plugins one-by-one, it turns out that Akismet3 is the culprit which shows version 3.9.9 from without “view details” link. Don’t know how it got installed. The official one should be Akismet Anti-Spam, version 4.1, from Automattic, and with “view details” prompting the plugin introduction. 

Switch to VSCode from Atom

Atom as a code editor just becomes slower and slower with the burden of massive plugins, requiring near 15s on my MBP to initially display file contents. In comparison, VSCode with similar extensions just takes 5s to show file text upon launch. There must be some architectural issues in the Atom startup process, as both are based on Electron. The memory/cpu footprint also has huge differences as this old post shows. Atom sometime even stops responding and asks to wait for editor window to run.

VSCode Editor
yatsusimnetcojp / Pixabay

While speed performance is an important factor, all kinds of mysterious long pending bugs are really killing it. In my scenario, the vertical scrollbar sometime just turns into a white bar. Some issues are reported, analyzed, but just doesn’t reach a fix. And the git interface cannot stage lines for files with unicode filename, but is only able to stage the whole file. The nuclide file tree is unusable as constantly steals text editor focus! All of such problems are long existed nuisances to bear with.

Fortunately, VSCode now also enjoys the affluence of extensions. Almost all of my Atom plugins find their counterparts in VSC. The only advantage of Atom is the beautifulness in contrast to the VSCode default theme’s coarseness (the blue status bar is horrible), but hopefully the Atom One Dark theme and keymap extensions are the cure.

Just after Microsoft successfully bought Github, it seems the right time to switch from Atom to VSCode finally.

Disable BTT accessibility popup

Just updated BetterTouchTool to V2.645 and found that the accessibility permission warning popup cannot be dismissed as the close icon of the popup panel is now missing. Actually BTT can work well for touch/click functions without accessibility permissions.

After some searching around, one github issue has some useful hint:

defaults write com.hegenberg.BetterTouchTool BTTDisableAcccessibilityCheck YES


Only valid for High Sierra and previous OS X versions, Mojave will force to enable the accessibility for BTT.

Workaround MX Master pairing with High Sierra

Apparently High Sierra has well complained issues with bluetooth. My Logitech MX Master mouse also suffers from random disconnection. Today when I tried to disable bluetooth and reconnect, the mouse just won’t connect.

So I deleted it from MBP’s bluetooth devices, and found out that MX Master cannot pair any more again. Just like some other guys’ video shows, it keeps connecting and disconnecting when pairing.

My old tricks in Yosemite did not work again,  resetting the bluetooth module and remove all devices got no help after restarting the machine. Finally a glimpse of some words in some forum threads googled just saved my morning: complete shutdown, not restart.

Oddly enough, after a shutdown and fresh booting, my 10.13.6 High Sierra successfully pairs with MX Master!

Workaround PyDrive in Google DataLab

Encounter a strange problem to load PyDrive in Google DataLab:

--> 141 @_helpers.positional(3)
    142 def run_flow(flow, storage, flags=None, http=None):
    143     """Core code for a command-line application.

AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute 'positional'

Of course, no apparent results and solutions in google. But after a few trying, there is a workaround to load it properly: change the kernel type and change it back. What a weird problem!

Fix to delete time machine backups for no-responding finder

Just compelled to upgrade to OSX High Sierra, because XCode 9.3 is only available for 10.13 to support development over iOS 11.3!  The system seems quite the same except for the new ridiculous Chinese Translation of UI.

As usual, a Time Machine backup was made before the upgrade. But since NAS disk is quite full, some history backups need to be deleted after everything runs OK. Well, the new finder is frozen during the Time Machine deleting process and un-escapable from that UI. After a hard reboot and some googling, the following steps might help:

  1. connect to target Time Machine Sparse Bundle
  2. ensure that /Volumes/Time Machine Backup/Backups.backupdb shows
  3. sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/Time Machine Backup/Backups.backupdb/YOUR-MAC/SOME-DATES
  4. eject Sparse Bundle
  5. sudo hdiutil compact TARGET-SPARSE-BUNDLE

Fix MBP High Kernel_Task CPU in Sierra

Just encounter strange high cpu problem of kernel_task in Sierra on my rMBP. At first, it seems like some software problem, especially when opening atom editor, which causes long opening time. After closing atom, it does lower the cpu for a period, but running other task heavy software afterwards will also boost the kernel_task cpu percentage to 80%. It may suggest some underlying hardware problem there.

Comments in this post give the reason: temperature and fan control. Since it’s summer and super hot, the osx on my mbp is reducing cpu speed for temperature compensation, causing kernel task to take more cpu to consume. Resetting SMC in this article brings the fan control back and fixes the kernel_task cpu problem.

Fix MX Master Mouse Lag and Freeze Problem

First thought is some bluetooth problem, tried everything related but not working at all. After a few trial and inspection, it seems that the thumb button is stuck in between causing the mouse pointer not able to move smoothly.

Disabling the thumb side button in Logitech Options won’t help. It sounds like a hardware interference not a software driver setting.

This Inkandescent’s post and this operation guide will help fixing it. The pull-up workaround in the previous thread doesn’t work very well, so buying the T5 screw driver and loosing the thumb button board screws is the final solution.