Settings/Easy Settings - what you need to know

Discussion in 'Samsung' started by Dannemand, Aug 18, 2013.

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  1. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    I couldn't sleep last night, got up on the computer, and discovered a new Settings version 2.1.0.20 which is now offered in SW Update under NP940X3G (the first Samsung Haswell model). Maybe you guys had already seen that version, in which case this qualifies as a Jerry McGuire bad pizza post. But it was new to me. And I had salmon last night, which seemed to taste all right :p

    The new Settings has some surprises!

    Instead of creating a new thread just about that, or posting about it in various individual threads, I decided to create a general Settings/Easy Settings thread where I hope to gather more information on this important topic.

    My ambition is to turn this opening post into Everything you always wanted to know about [Easy] Settings but were afraid to ask. For now it will be just the quick lowdown, including pointers to various other posts. I'll update later, including screenshots.

    Features

    Easy Settings (for Win7) and Settings (for Win8) is the most important Samsung software for your laptop. In fact, it is the only Samsung software (beyond basic hardware drivers) required for normal operation. All other Samsung utilities (pre-installed and offered through SW Update) are optional or even outright bloat (depending on whether you want them).

    [Easy] Settings provide the following features (that I am aware of):

    - Fn-Keys: A few Fn-keys (such as Volume up/down) are supported directly by Windows, but others (such as Brightness and Keyboard Backlight) require [Easy] Settings in order to work. For Win7 users who want ONLY the Fn-keys, and none of the other features, the Easy Settings keyboard module can be "sideloaded" as described in this thread. That is NOT possible with Settings (Win8) but it has a smaller footprint than Easy Settings anyway.

    - Power Management: Samsung provides special power modes (Silent Mode and Eco Mode) supported by firmware features as well as different Windows Power Profiles. See the posts here and here for more details. Settings v2.1.x (Win8) seems to no longer use the Samsung Optimized power profile, but instead relies on the good old Balanced profile. The Power Saver profile is still used for Silent Mode and Eco Mode.

    - Keyboard Backlight: Whereas Screen Brightness can be controlled directly in Windows Power settings, Keyboard Backlight can ONLY be controlled if [Easy] Settings is installed. Both Fn-keys and a control center tab is provided.

    - Adaptive Brightness: This feature (which many users would rather get rid of and control brightness manually) is configured in a number of different places, depending on model and Windows version, as described in the posts here and here. One of the central places is the [Easy] Settings control center (Settings v2.0.0.49 and newer).

    - Display Color: Provides a choice of various color profiles -- as an alternative to manually creating and loading an ICC profile using the Windows Color management control panel.

    - Airplane Mode / toggling WiFi & Bluetooth: Most Samsung laptops can toggle WiFi & Bluetooth radios using Fn-12 and/or using the [Easy] Settings control center. Easy Settings (Win7) allows the Bluetooth adapter to be enabled/disabled (and to save this setting between reboots) causing the BT module to completely power off (disappear from the Windows Device tree). Settings (Win8) does NOT provide this feature, but instead relies on Charms - Settings - PC Settings - Wireless to enable/disable Bluetooth. (This feature is only available if Samsung's Bluetooth driver is installed. I personally prefer Win8's slimmer built-in BT driver, although it doesn't provide this toggle). However, disabling BT in Win8 merely disables it in Device Manager, it does not appear to fully power off the BT module.

    - ExpressCache: On models with ExpressCache, [Easy] Settings control center provides a switch to enable/disable it. Easy Settings (Win7) also provides cache statistics and a cache Reset option. Statistics and Reset are NOT available in Settings (Win8). Also, the latest Settings 2.1.x no longer has the ExpressCache tab at all.

    - BIOS settings for USB charging, Fast Boot, BLE: [Easy] Settings provides tabs to control those BIOS settings directly from inside Windows. Only BIOS features actually available on each model show up in [Easy] Settings. For example, models that do NOT have Battery Life Extender in BIOS, will NOT have a BLE tab in [Easy] Settings. Similarly for models that do NOT have Fast Boot in BIOS.

    - Boot Optimization / Samsung Fast Boot Mode: A nefarious feature (in my opinion) only available in Easy Settings (Win7) which delays loading of various Windows and 3rd party startup tasks until after user login, in order to create the appearance of a faster boot time. It can cause problems with some apps. See this post for description of this and other similarly named (but different) features.

    - Samsung Fast Start Mode: A firmware level feature which causes the PC to wake up from Sleep whenever the lid is opened (not otherwise standard Windows behavior). On some models, it also turns off the power LED during sleep (as opposed to blinking slowly). Easy Settings (Win7) allows this feature to be enabled/disabled. Settings versions prior to 2.1.x (Win8) enable this feature, whereas Settings version 2.1.0.20 seems to keep it disabled. (I like the blinking LED that indicates Sleep.) No Settings versions seem to have a tab to enable/disable Fast Start. Again, see this post for descriptions of the various "fast this and rapid that" features.

    - Network controls: Allow rudimentary LAN configuration and creating a WiFi hotspot.

    - SoundAlive: Provides a choice of various equalizer and room environment profiles -- as an alternative to the Realtek control panel.

    - Voice Recording: Provides microphone configuration -- as an alternative to the Sound control panel. This feature seems to be new in Settings v2.1.x.

    - Touchpad: Allows enabling/disabling the touchpad (same as Fn-F5). The Touchpad control panel in Windows can automatically disable the touchpad when a USB mouse is connected.

    Win7 vs Win8 packages

    Easy Settings is the package for Win7 and Settings is the package for Win8.

    I generally do NOT recommend installing Easy Settings in Win8, as some have tried. It can probably work to some extent, but Easy Settings is a very hacky implementation, with some of its modules barely even compatible with Win7 -- for which it was designed. The Samsung Fast Startup Mode feature, for example, would never pass any Microsoft compliance tests.

    Settings is generally a much cleaner implementation, specifically designed for Win8, and tying into the new menus and startup architecture. Whether you like Win8 or not (there are reasons for both) its startup is different from Win7 and pretty smooth. Installing Easy Settings would simply load a ton of baggage that even Win7 would be better off without.

    How to get the latest version

    The way to get Settings, Easy Settings -- and ANY Samsung drivers and software -- is by using SW Update to pull them from Samsung's drivers database. Samsung stopped posting driver updates on their web site quite some time ago, and all updates must be pulled this way. Whatever is still on the website is almost certainly outdated.

    If you don't have SW Update already, you can download it from the link below:

    http://orcaservice.samsungmobile.com/SWUpdate.aspx

    SW Update can automatically install drivers and software for the machine and Windows version on which it is installed. I generally recommend this approach for most (though not ALL) drivers, as described in this Win7 install guide or this (more rudimentary) Win8 install guide.

    Unfortunately, Samsung stopped updating older Win7 models with new Easy Settings versions in SW Update. It's as if they left Win7 behind altogether.

    However, SW Update also provides the excellent Find Model feature, which allows you to look up any Samsung model (including your own) and download Win7 or Win8 drivers for that model using the Export feature, which saves the installation package locally.

    For a long time, the only way to get ANY Easy Settings newer than v1.x was to look up a new laptop model and save the Settings package (for Win8). Oddly enough, that package would include a Win7 folder containing the latest version of Easy Settings. That is why you will see many posts like this one which describe how to get the latest Easy Settings (for Win7) by downloading the Settings v2.0.0.55 package (for Win8).

    It seems there is a simpler way now.

    Following is the easiest way to get the latest v2.0.0.48 of Easy Settings for Win7 (if SW Update does not automatically offer it for you): Use Find Model to look up model NP880Z5E-X03CA, select Windows 7, uncheck all the listed files except Easy Settings, and click Export.

    SW Update Easy Settings 2.0.0.48.png

    Following is the easiest way to get the latest "verified" v2.0.0.55 of Settings for Win8 (if SW Update does not automatically offer it for you): Use Find Model to look up model NP880Z5E-X03CA, select Windows 8, uncheck all the listed files except Settings, and click Export.

    SW Update Settings 2.0.0.55.png

    New Settings v2.1.x

    The newer Settings version 2.1.0.20 which is now offered under NP940X3G (which prompted me to write this post) improves certain things (such as footprint and latency spikes), but it also loses some features (such as ExpressCache and BLE). Other than that, the most important difference is that the Samsung Optimized power profile is no longer installed, and the good old Balanced profile is used by default. The Power Saver profile is still used in Silent and Eco Mode.

    I am still testing it myself, and not yet ready to recommend it. However, of course feel free to try it out -- I assume that's what everybody will be doing anyway :D

    If you do install this version, note that any power profile tweaks you have made (such as the ones for WiFi described here, or the general ones described here and here) must be made again.

    Also note that Settings v2.1.0.20 does NOT contain a Win7 folder with Easy Settings like previous Settings packages did.

    Again, this is just my first iteration of this post. Any suggested additions or changes are highly welcome!
     
    droyder and apa64 like this.
  2. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  3. timepolice

    timepolice Guest

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    I still have 2.1.14.1 version of SW Update installed on my laptop since the 2.1.17 one doesn't seem to detect my laptop model (It always asks me to find my model from the list). Does the 2.1.0.20 version detect the laptop model immediately?

    EDIT: Nevermind. Even after reading through all your post, I still managed to confuse SW Update with Settings. I think I need to sleep now >.<
     
  4. tomraider

    tomraider Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've got the same problem with the latest SW Update, it only lets you manually select a model then export all the latest drivers to disk.

    I'm using a Series 7 Chronos 17.3 (NP700Z7C-S01UK).
     
  5. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    As timepolice realized, and added in his post, this thread is about Settings and Easy Settings, not about SW Update. But I am not going to hold that against you ;)

    The issue you both mention about SW Update is one that we've heard a few times, and I am afraid I don't know what the cause or the solution is. It seems as if on some machines, SW Update is not able to properly detect the model number. I assume it pulls that number from the BIOS.

    Questions that may help shed some light on this:

    1) Are you running the original (factory) installation or did you perform a clean Windows installation?

    2) Did you change the UEFI settings in BIOS?

    3) Do you still have the Recovery partition(s) on the main disk?

    4) If you DID perform a clean Windows installation, which drivers did you install? From SW Update or from OEM websites?

    Note that I am not suggesting that doing any of these things are wrong. I am just trying to understand what might cause this phenomenon, whether it is tied to the Recovery partition, or maybe affected by a change in BIOS settings.
     
  6. ilyuha1108

    ilyuha1108 Newbie

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    I have a problem: when I activate and Eco-Mode in Settings my energy value is higher than when I don't activate it. What can be the problem?
     
  7. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Does your Eco Mode turn off the WiFi? That could leave various programs continuously searching for the internet which has disappeared (unless you use the wired network connection).

    You might be able to trouble-shoot this by using Task Manager to view the CPU utilisation or set Eco Mode to not turn off the WiFi.

    John
     
  8. ilyuha1108

    ilyuha1108 Newbie

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    No, my Wi-Fi is always on. Even when Eco-Mode is activated.
     
  9. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    So I'll try another theory: Eco Mode and Silent Mode both use the Power Saver power plan which, by default, locks the CPU down to its lowest speed so, if there is moderate to high CPU utilisation then the CPU spends a greater proportion of its time running and less in the low power sleep states. The net result being increased power consumption.

    I recall the relative merits of making the CPU run slowly (lower instantaneous power consumption) vs running faster, finishing the job and going to sleep being debated some years ago. Perhaps this discussion is still relevant. Personally, I have opted for the latter approach.

    John
     
  10. Dannemand

    Dannemand Decidedly Moderate Super Moderator

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    My first thought was along the (embarrassingly simple) line of whether your Brightness is set the same for both power profiles? Windows remembers the brightness setting with each profile, which sometimes can cause higher Brightness when switching to Power Saver -- and seems counter-intuitive until you realize why it happens.

    I even remember professional reviews that described bewilderment that Samsung chose to increase Brightness in Silent and Eco Modes, while this is just standard Windows behavior.

    In other words: If you reduce Brightness in Eco Mode does it still use more power?

    You can also compare other settings in the two power profiles: If (for instance) you have beefed up WiFi performance (as is generally recommended) but only got to do so in the Power Saver profile, you may also see higher power consumption in Eco Mode.

    As John mentioned, in addition to switching profile, Eco and Silent Modes also lock the CPU down to a low speed. This is implemented on the firmware level, not through the power profiles. In other words, you could set your Power Saver profile to run the CPU faster than Samsung Optimized, and it would still run slower in Eco and Silent Modes. I tried it, because I wasn't sure if Eco/Silent Mode was implemented ONLY through the power profiles.

    These power management features are discussed in more detail in this post.
     
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