Windows 8 and 10 Issues

Using the T.O.V.A. test on new Windows 8 and 10 systems requires an EAV hardware setup. With these additional hardware connections, you can run the T.O.V.A. test without rebooting to the PTE. You can even make these connections on most laptops or All-in-One PCs (where the screen is built into the computer), but they will require an external monitor and speakers. See the Installation Guide for details. For now, the T.O.V.A. PTE is not compatible with new Windows 8 or 10 systems.

We've also discovered at least two video card lines that are similarly incompatible with the T.O.V.A. PTE. Specifically, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and probably later lines of Intel processors do not support the BIOS video extensions that we use for precise timing. As a result, the vertical sync fails, and the current PTE will not boot on systems that have it, including Windows 7 systems. This includes, but is perhaps not limited to, the following models:

  • HD Graphics 510
  • HD Graphics 515
  • HD Graphics 520
  • HD Graphics 530
  • Iris Graphics 540
  • Iris Graphics 550
  • Iris Pro Graphics 580
  • HD Graphics 610
  • HD Graphics 615
  • HD Graphics 620
  • UHD Graphics 620
  • HD Graphics 630
  • Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Iris Plus Graphics 650

If you have a Windows 7 system that you upgraded to Windows 10, you can continue to use the T.O.V.A. PTE, so long as does not have the video hardware listed.

Why doesn't the PTE boot?

With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft established a new hardware requirement, called SecureBoot, that makes use of a technology called UEFI. The purpose of these improvements was to make your computer safer, by blocking viruses and other malware that infect how your system boots up. However, this also blocks any new Windows 8 or 10 system from booting any other existing operating system (such as Linux).

The T.O.V.A. Precision Test Environment (PTE) is an operating system, adapted from Linux, and so the PTE is blocked from booting on all new Windows 8 or 10 systems, whether from the hard drive, boot CD, or flash drive. For this reason, the EAV setup is necessary because it does not use the PTE.

A better solution would be making the T.O.V.A. PTE compatible with UEFI SecureBoot technology. Unfortunately, that has required almost a complete re-engineering of the PTE. That effort is in progress, and we expect it to be finished soon. Most systems upgraded from Windows 7 do not use SecureBoot or UEFI, so they do not have this problem. We believe that our upcoming UEFI PTE will also fix incompatibilities with the video cards listed above.

Workaround

If you are technically inclined, you may be able to modify your system to boot the T.O.V.A. PTE. (Note: This will not work if you have any of the video hardware listed above.) Boot to your system's BIOS, disable SecureBoot, and enable a Legacy-booting option called Compatibility Support Module (CSM). If CSM can be enabled, you can boot the PTE with your T.O.V.A. CD or a T.O.V.A. flash drive.

However, some Windows 8 systems don't have this option, and it can be difficult to find because BIOS settings vary greatly between different manufacturers and models. Additionally, booting legacy devices prevents UEFI devices from booting on some systems. On those systems, you can boot the PTE, but then you can't boot Windows anymore without changing the setting back.

T.O.V.A. technical support is happy to assist you in attempting this option--you can always switch back if it doesn't work--but it can be complicated. BIOS changes should always be made carefully. Finally, since this requires disabling SecureBoot, it does leave your PC somewhat less secure.

Windows 10 S

A new version of Windows 10 has recently been released on some new PCs, Windows 10 S. It is designed to only run applications downloaded from the Windows Store. It will not run the T.O.V.A. at all. Windows 10 S can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro, which will run the T.O.V.A. application only as detailed above.

Please contact T.O.V.A. tech support if you have additional questions or concerns.