How To Fix Your Dell Venue 8 Pro

Buyers of the  Dell Venue 8 Pro will be happier when they update the 8&Prime Windows 8.1 tablet with all those Dell updates

I think Microsoft should dump Windows 8.1 and RT for small-sized tablets. Windows Phone 8 has a better user experience than the 8&Prime tablets.

I have been writing up the Dell Venue 8 Pro for a few months but when I got one it was a disappointment.

The tablet was more frustration than fun. I read people were returning them in droves. “Just too many bugs. Returned it.” wrote one of the many unhappy Amazon.com customers.

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But selling for as little as $99, I was willing to take the plunge for a real Windows 8.1 tablet. From Microsoft, that would cost at least $650.

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When the Dell arrived, the sweetness of low price turned into frustration. What is their piece of s** ran through my brain.  Within seconds of touching the screen, it would dim to less than half lit. Added to that insult are the tiny fonts you have to see to navigate the Desktop Windows 7 legacy code. At a loss for solutions,  I got an RMA or return authorization from Microsoft.

Who needs the grief when other tablets like my Nexus 7, Apple iPad Air and Kindle Fire HD worked flawlessly, or almost right out of the box?

Then it dawned on me – this is just another Dell Windows computer which needs BIOS, video and other driver updates. The Dell Venue 8 Pro does not have to be a pain if you upgrade all those crazy drivers Dell forgot to ship in the box.

It’s no wonder Apple is the most popular tablet maker. iPads work right out of the box without any prior technical skills. Unfortunately, the Dell is not an Apple but Dell and Microsoft need to learn from Apple. People like their tablets to be cool the first time you turn them on.

How to Fix Your Dell Venue 8 Pro

Dell does not give you a roadmap, desktop icon or live tile for this so I will map out the way to fix your Dell Venue 8 Pro.

Since the tablet was manufactured, Dell published a BIOS update, video driver and other updates for the tablet.  There is also an update for the Miracast TV connection but I will put that in a separate story.

If you hate this kind of technical work, hand your tablet to a friend or family member. There’s always someone around who loves to tinker. Personally, I think Dell should be sent to He** for subjecting customers to this process but that’s Dell and that’s why they are no longer #1 computer maker.

Plug the Venue 8 Pro into a power source. Step 1 did not work for me but I leave it here as the official method. I jumped to Driver

1. Go to the Dell Support page http://www.dell.com/support/my-support/us/en/19

Detect My  Product – accept the terms and let Dell check your tablet for the Service Tag. Write it down and save the number

Go To Dell Diagnostics – there are 5 choices, if this is your first time do a Complete system diagnostic. Read a book, get a coffee or watch TV – the process takes a few minutes.

Agreeing to the process takes a tiny tick box. Try expanding the box.  Don’t tap it twice or the system will need a re-boot. If the process seems to lock up, wait at least 60 minutes.

Have a paper and pen ready since there will be a list of updates and they are not self-installing. The first thing to write is your Service Tag #.

2. Get Drivers

The next screen is Drivers and Downloads. Don’t bother with ‘Analyze System for Updates” unless you have extra time. The feature has not worked on my Dell Venue 8 Pro.

 

The page has a list of 10 driver or firmware (BIOS) updates. I recommend installing all of them except data protection (encryption) which is optional. Tick “Add to my Download List” and they can be downloaded at one time at the top “My Download List / Download This List”

You should install them in reverse order from the screen, that is oldest driver update first. Since the automatic process does not work, that’s the order I used and my Venue 8 Pro is working. If you feel unsure, ask @DellCares on Twitter.

Some drivers will need a re-boot of your tablet. The process can take up to 2 hours so allow some time – have a book nearby. Follow all the screen instructions to avoid problems.

3. The List of Drivers (in my install order)

Venue 8 Pro Win 8.1 Driver Cab

Dell Wireless 1538 WiFi/BT Driver

Dell Wireless 1538 WAPI Application

Panel Touch Firmware for Dell Venue 8 Pro 5830

Intel TXEI Driver

Intel Platform Driver Installer

Dell Data Protection | Encryption (optional)

Dell Venue 8 Pro 5830 A04 BIOS

Dell Digital Delivery

Ambient Light Sensor Settings for Dell Venue 8 Pro 5830

There should be an automatic process to get a notice of new drivers but not from Dell. It doesn’t hurt to check the driver screen from time to time.  http://www.dell.com/support/my-support/us/en/19

If you find an automatic way to do this, let me know.

Dell Venue 8 Pro Outstanding Problems

At least the Dell Venue 8 Pro works now that all those updates are installed. It’s not perfect and hardly a finished product. But at $199 it is 1/3rd the price of an Apple iPad Air.

Some other issues:

1. Boots to blank screen – press Home and Start

2. Dims when you’re working – touch the screen and wait a few seconds

3. The onscreen keyboard covers the field you are trying to type into – turn the tablet to portrait mode

4. Fonts are too small – buy the stylus, keep your glasses on and pray Microsoft gets rid of the old menus in Windows 8.

10 Comments

  1. I got mine at the Microsoft store for $99 – and, yes, it was a pain to update. But I got a Bluetooth mouse, installed Photoshop, added a display-link adapter – extended desktop only – and I’m having the time of my life! It’s easily worth three hundred dollars. I love it!

  2. This is just blatant Apple fangirling.
    Comparing completely separate operating systems to each other. iPads, Nexus 7’s, etc. they’re for end users, the thing with windows 8; windows in general, is that it’s superior in customisation; you can put any software you want on it. You can emulate androcomment_ID using bluestacks, or emulate iOS..
    The fact that it’s not a locked-down p.o.s. is enough reason for me, apart from this, there’s not one valcomment_ID reason that wasn’t based off ignorance, or bias.

    Learn to review, you failure.

  3. And yet somehow with over 300 reviews this tablet gets 4 stars on Amazon. I own one myself.. Yes.. Its a PC.. needs updates (firmware, bios, etc) just like any PC! Reason its running full Windows 8.1 .. This tablet can run circles around an Androcomment_ID or iPad in functionality. (I own all of them)… (Nexus 7, iPad 3). while the Androcomment_ID and iPad devices might be similar to use.. they are substantially less capable. The “grief” you talked about is WAY over blown. That’s like saying why deal with all the things a BMW can do.. just get a Chevy.. its easier to drive.. less to worry about. Well for on average the $299 Dell Venue Pro can run outshine the Nexus 7 or newest iPad.. it just takes a bit more brains to use.

  4. What this review makes so bad is ignoring modern UI completely and the big advantage of more than basic multitasking.
    I own a Dell since two weeks and almost threw away my Androcomment_ID tablet as I can do so much more now – and even faster. And the best of it: I don’t need to buy many apps as nearly everything is available as freeware.

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  10. I am relieved to hear that others have had problems with this tablet. After 3 weeks using my Venue 8, one day the WiFi stopped working. I somehow discovered a key combination that took me to a “system” page where it sacomment_ID my WiFi was turned off. I called tech support and their answer was to “restore to factory”(I think that was the name of the option). I lost a few hours work I had created, but it wasn’t critical, so I went back to the factory settings and had a brand new tablet again. That was how it started. I lost the connection a few weeks later, but found a solution for the problem on the internet (using a different computer) and I dcomment_IDn’t lose my data again. Drivers seem to be the root of most of my problems. I think I have fixed things to the point where the tablet is stable, but I always back up work to an external device and one of these days it will fail again and I will skip it across a lake like a flat rock.

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