Improve Your Chuwi Tablet With a Clean and Secure Windows 10 Installation

In this article I will describe how an Android+W10 tablet, in my case a Chuwi Hibook Pro, can be turned into a pure Windows 10 S machine. I will show how the device can be wiped and reinstalled with Windows 10 without any additional software or driver downloads from unknown sources. I will also show how to enable Windows 10 S-Mode and give some reasons why.

The HiBook and other hybrid-tablets from China

If you visit your electronics store of choice here in Germany you will only find tablets with either Windows or Android. Devices with both operating systems installed are practically not found. A reason might be, that Android is optimized for ARM processors, while Windows is for Intel and AMD PC processors. In other markets, like in China, you will be more likely to find hybrids like the Chuwi HiBook Pro, which I am referring to in this article. These devices have Android (x86) and Windows installed on the same internal storage, which is partitioned and equipped with a bootloader to select what you want to start at boot time.

Here are the technical details of the device I possess:

  • Manufacturer: Chuwi
  • Model: CWI526
  • Processor: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 with 1.44 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Memory: 64 GB eMMC (Samsung CWBD3R)
  • Display: 10” Touchscreen with 10 touch points and a resolution of 2560x1600px
  • Windows License: Windows 10 Home

Unfortunately though, this combination is flawed in many ways. The Android for example, that came with my tablet, was outdated and no update was available. The Windows 10 was outdated as well but had to be updated in an hours long process. After updating Windows to its current edition, lots of the internal memory is still taken by the non-updateable Android X86.

Be safe, install your own Windows

From the security perspective, manufacturers cannot be blindly trusted. In recent years, Chinese manufacturers released phones with preinstalled spyware (cf. The Verge . Other PC manufacturers had delivered unsafe software and bloatware with their computers as well (cf. Make Use Of May 13,2016). As a computer professional with lots of experience I strongly recommend installing every personal computer with a clean and current Windows. Never use outdated software. If your device came with Windows 8, upgrade to Windows 10. Do not use outdated Android systems or custom builds from untrusted sources.

Besides the security aspect, reinstalling your Windows gives you the opportunity to

  • skip the lengthy upgrade process,
  • install Windows in the language you prefer,
  • get rid of the android partitions and free storage.

Be safer, consider Windows 10 S

Device and OS Details

Ask yourself honestly what you will do with your Windows 10 tablet. Is it surfing the Internet? Word processing? Watching Netflix maybe? If you can live with the Edge browser, you might find all your needed apps in the app store. If this is the case for you, consider switching to Windows 10 S, its safer and performs well on Atom processor powered tablets. If your granny will be using this computer, Windows 10 S will safe you lots of time cleaning up, because viruses, ad- and spyware have no chance on this system. It’s a little bit like with the Apple IOS devices: a golden cage. If you do this step, be sure you export your Windows Key to have to option to switch back to the full featured Windows 10 Home or Pro.

Check out this great Video from TechAltar to learn what Windows 10 S (or Windows 10 in S-Mode) is:

Step by step: How to wipe and reinstall

Preparations

First you need some hardware equipment:

  1. USB OTG Adaptor + USB Hub or alternatively a USB Type C Hub
  2. A good USB Stick with 8GB or higher capacity (this stick will be deleted in the process!)
  3. A USB Keyboard
  4. A USB Mouse
  5. Your Tablet
  6. Power supply

Prepare Windows Installation and save the original drivers from your tablet.

  1. Create a Windows 10 USB installation medium with the Microsoft Media Creation Utility
  2. Save your current drivers from the tablet’s original Windows installation.
  3. Write down or save your Windows 10 Key. To read it from the System, you need third party apps (read: How to find your Windows 10 product key). Before reinstalling Windows is a good time to do this, even though you most likely will not be asked by Windows Setup for it.

Why saving the drivers? Chuwi does not provide drivers for download on their website. But without drivers, you cannot use your Windows after installation. You will not be able to use the touchscreen, wifi, sensors and other features, before you installed all the drivers again. Fortunately, saving and reinstalling the drivers can be done with 3 lines of code from the powershell.

How to save the drivers with Powershell:

  • Insert your USB Stick and note the drive letter, for example D:
  • Create a new folder on D: called “Drivers”
  • Open an elevated (with administrator privileges) Powershell
  • Run this command:

Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination D:\Drivers

Note: After pressing Enter, there will be no visual progress in powershell. But it will start copying your files. Just be patient.

Install Windows 10 from USB

After you have created your installation medium and stored the system drivers onto it as well, consider if there is anything left on your tablet that needs to be backed up. Remember: Repartitioning your flash memory of your tablet and reinstalling Windows on it means that all your data will be deleted.

Warning: This process is not for the faint of heart and carries significant risk of getting into problems. You should only perform it if you understand what you are doing. I will not be responsible if you are stuck with a bricked tablet, loose your data, get a heart attack or what so ever. I will also not provide any support.

Tablet connected to USB Hub showing BIOS Boot Menu

  • Connect your power supply, USB Hub, Keyboard, Mouse and USB stick to your tablet and restart it.
  • Start tapping the F7 Key until the boot menu shows up
  • Select your USB stick and press enter
  • Select your Windows Version (64 Bit) and make sure you are running the Advanced Setup
  • Delete all partitions and continue. Windows 10 setup will then use all available space for its main and recovery partitions.

Note: The Chuwi bootloader seems to be part of the devices EFI. It will still pop up after wiping all partitions. I just ignore it but if you find out how to get rid of it, please let me know.

Reinstall all Drivers in Windows 10

Open an elevated Powershell and type in these commands:

Get-ChildItem "D:\Drivers\" -Recurse -Filter "*.inf" |
ForEach-Object { PNPUtil.exe /add-driver $_.FullName /install }

After a reboot, all devices should be working again. You made it! Congratulations.

Switch to S-Mode

If you later want to disable S-Mode, you might need your Windows 10 Installation Key. Make sure you have it!

  • Open Registry Editor (regedit)
  • Open this path:
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\CI\Policy
  • Add a new DWORD (32 Bit) with the Name “WindowsLockdownTrialMode” and the value of “1”
  • Restart your tablet

 

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