I've been having some trouble with my Dell XPS 13 laptop, which I've had for a while but only recently started using daily. For posterity, its currently installed system is Windows 10 Anniversary Update, 1607.

Touchpad

When I bought the laptop back in 2015, scrolling using the 2-finger gesture on the Precision touchpad was a terrible experience in most applications, i.e. Win32 apps. Only UWP/modern apps featured smooth Precision touchpad scrolling.

Nowadays however, this situation is resolved, and I think the fix came with the arrival of the Windows Anniversary Update. Was it a driver update, or did Win32 apps start supporting Precision touchpads? I don't know. I'm still curious about that.

Sculpt Ergo Mouse

A few months ago, I bought a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse, a wireless mouse that is now getting used a lot more with my laptop. It's a good enough mouse, but I've encountered a few issues with it.

Windows button

Along with the standard ones, the mouse features two additional buttons within thumb's reach. One of those buttons I'll call the Windows button since it's wearing the Windows icon. Clicking it opens the Start menu by default, but it is possible to remap its action with the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center application.

In my case, I set it up to trigger the 'Next Desktop' command, and this usually works well enough. However, I've encountered a pretty annoying issue with this mapping: after waking the system up from sleep, the button will consistently ignore any custom command it's set to, and will instead invoke the Start menu. In this state, there are two ways to make the button work as intended again:

  • restart IPoint.exe, or,
  • reconnect the mouse's USB dongle.

Update: I noticed that I had the option USB Wake Support disabled in my BIOS settings. Enabling it seemed to fix this problem only temporarily, however, as it started doing it again after a while.

One last note: it would've been cool to talk about this with the Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse Center guys, but there's no way to contact them directly. The Microsoft Accessories division seems to be part of the Microsoft Black Box Experience™, which is a total bummer.

Some more notes for posterity:

  • MS Mouse and Keyboard Center v2.8.106.0
  • MS USB Dual Receiver Wireless Mouse v9.9.114.0

Horizontal Scrolling

The mouse wheel right/left tilt should be able to scroll horizontally in most apps, but it doesn't in File Explorer. I wonder what's the deal here.

Bluetooth driver

I bought a pair of Bose AE2 SoundLink headphones which can connect to other devices via BlueTooth. Connecting them to my Nexus 5 Android phone is quick and painless, but for some reason, my laptop has a lot of trouble connecting to them. Here's some notes I gathered on that.

  • Dell is still listing the same Bluetooth driver that I had installed by default, version 12.0.1.653, on its support page for the XPS 9343.
  • It is possible to find a newer version of the driver on catalog.update.microsoft.com1 2, version 12.0.1.1011 (when I checked). Search for the terms Broadcom Bluetooth.
    • I recommend installing it, since bluetooth pairing seems to function a bit better with it.
  • I recommend disabling Headphones (AE2 SoundLink Hands-Free), while letting Headphones (AE2 SoundLink Stereo) enabled in the Playback devices tab of the sound app.
    • When these headphones connect to the laptop on boot, Windows will often select the Hands-Free device as the active Playback device. When that happens, it consistently messes with playback. Examples below.
      • Groove Music seems to freeze, followed by Explorer crashing moments after.
      • On Play Music (in Chrome), the music seems to load but the music player freezes until I disconnect the headphones.
    • The Hands-Free device also seems to ouput sounds of lower quality.
  • There's a "LE-Bose AE2 SoundLink" device constantly appearing and disappearing in the list of Bluetooth Devices in Windows Settings. What's that about?
  • Microsoft issued a blog post indicating the Windows Creator Update will contain various BlueTooth improvements. Looking forward to it.
  1. Notice the "Previous" and "Next" button at the upper right corner of the list, I missed them completely the first time I searched there.

  2. You'll have to unpack the .cab file to be able to install it via Device Manager. With Explorer, right-click the cab file and select "Open", then copy the files to another folder.

Fan noise

If you're a developer, or simply a user watching videos in 720p+ on youtube, you might get annoyed by the integrated fan that will run often and make the most horrible noise as if something inside were broken. I recommend using around-the-hears headphones to counter that.

References