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Found 218 results

  1. Windows XP Has More Users than Windows Vista and Windows 8 Combined, Avast Says Avast provides Windows usage data in latest report While it’s important to note that these figures come from computers running Avast, they do align with the statistics provided by research firms whose main activity is monitoring operating system usage, so there’s a good chance these are accurate. First and foremost, there’s leader Windows 7. According to Avast, the operating system launched in 2009 is currently powering more than 56 million computers where its antivirus product is installed, and this means a share of no less than 48.35 percent. Windows 10 is growing, the security firm says, and it managed to reach a share of 30.46 percent, which accounts for a little over 35 million devices running Avast security software. Windows XP still a super-popular choice But what’s a little more worrying for everyone, including here Microsoft, users, and Avast itself, is that Windows XP, which was launched in 2001 and no longer receives security updates since April 2014, is still running on more than 6.5 million computers. This means that it has a share of 5.64 percent, more than Windows 8 (2.51 percent) and Windows Vista (2.08 percent) combined. Windows 8 was launched in 2012 as Microsoft’s new revolution, but its small market share is mostly the result of most people choosing the free upgrade to Windows 8.1. The OS launched one year later has a share of 10.96 percent, which represents 12.7 million PCs running Avast. For what it’s worth, Windows Vista is also reaching end of support next month, so users who are still running this OS, and there are at least 2 million according to Avast, should already start planning the upgrade. Windows 10 is the safest bet right now, as Windows 7 itself is also projected to reach EOL in January 2020. Source
  2. Mark your calendar: Microsoft's promise to cut off Win7 and 8.1 support for the latest PCs will cause howls of pain next month Credit: wezlo Events of the past week have drawn into sharp focus the likely result of next month's patching cycle. If you have a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC that you bought, built, or upgraded in the past year or so, it would behoove you to understand exactly what Microsoft plans. Many people -- I'll raise my hand here -- thought that Skylake-based computers would continue to receive Windows 7 and 8.1 patches until the respective end-of-life. We are wrong. Let's start with the basics. Intel introduced its so-called 6th Generation Skylake processor in August 2015. It slowly replaced the older Broadwell series, all of which will continue to work with Win7 and 8.1. Skylake now is slowly being replaced by 7th Generation Kaby Lake processors, which will not get Win7 or 8.1 support from Microsoft. To date, Intel has released 50 or so different Skylake processors. There are also dozens of Kaby Lake processors, which were introduced in August 2016. On the AMD side there's a distinction made between the older Opteron series, the APU series (which includes Kaveri, Carrizo, and Bristol Ridge processors, named Athlon, Sempron, A4, A6, and E4) and the brand-new Ryzen processors, which are only now appearing on store shelves. Most observers say that 7th Generation AMD chips start with the Bristol Ridge APUs, which appeared in May, 2016. There's no change at all between the core architecture of the Carrizo and Bristol Ridge chips. As I'll explain later, the distinction between 6th Generation Carrizo and 7th Generation Bristol Ridge is pivotal. To see if you have a Bristol Ridge chip, as opposed to a Carrizo chip, use Speccy to find your APU model number, then look up your APU model number for Bristol Ridge desktop processors or portable processors. Where the troubles began The whole Windows 7/8.1 support mess started in January of last year, when Windows honcho Terry Myerson declared that "as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support." At first, Myerson promised: Through July 17, 2017, Skylake devices on the supported list will also be supported with Windows 7 and 8.1. During the 18-month support period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. After July 2017, the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices. Screams from enterprise customers reached all the way to the hallowed halls of Redmond. The promised demise of Win7 on Skylake machines changed later in January, then in March 2016, and in August 2016 they changed again. As of August, Microsoft exec Shad Larsen promised: This policy change primarily applies to our commercial customers who are currently managing deployments with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, and does not apply to customers running Windows 10 ... future silicon platforms, including Intel's upcoming 7th Gen Intel Core (Kaby Lake) processor family and AMD's 7th generation processors (e.g. Bristol Ridge) will only be supported on Windows 10, and all future silicon releases will require the latest release of Windows 10.... 6th Gen Intel Core devices on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be supported with all applicable security updates until the end of support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.... This change is made possible through the strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel who will be performing security update validation testing and upgrade testing for 6th Gen Intel Core systems running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 through the end of support dates. On the same day, Microsoft updated a list of Skylake systems supported on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 that includes links to manufacturer's websites, listing specific model numbers that the manufacturer commits to support with Windows 7 and 8.1 updates. The 12 deputized manufacturers and the links provided by Microsoft are: Acer ASUS Dell Epson (in Japanese) Fujitsu HP Lenovo LG (a Korean-language site that doesn't contain any model numbers) MouseComputer (in Japanese) NEC (in Japanese) Panasonic Positivo (in Brazilian Portuguese) Samsung Toshiba Wortmann (in German) VAIO (in Japanese) Sites like Dell's are just as confused as I was. Dell says, "Microsoft originally indicated Skylake support would end in 2017. Microsoft has now extended Skylake support for Windows 7 through January 14, 2020 and for Windows 8.1 through January 10, 2023." That isn't quite true. Microsoft has said that Dell will extend support for its listed Skylake systems through end-of-life for Win7 and 8.1. Here are the conclusions that I draw from Microsoft's statements: If you have a custom built machine with a Skylake processor, you're out of luck. Since the machine doesn't appear on this list of anointed PCs, Microsoft won't support Win7 or 8.1 on your machine. If you upgraded a machine to a Skylake processor, you're out of luck. If you bought a machine from a different manufacturer, or your specific machine doesn't appear on the manufacturer's indicated website, you're out of luck. Most people -- most manufacturers -- don't understand this. I didn't. I don't know what Microsoft intends to do with AMD chips. The way the announcements stand, AMD Bristol Ridge PCs won't have Win7 or 8.1 support, and there's no magic list of manufacturers or machines that are exempt from the ruling. Where does that leave you? So if you're running a recent-vintage PC and using Windows 7 or 8.1, what happens if you run afoul of the patch police? It's all well and good if Win7 is "no longer supported" on your PC, but what does that mean in real terms? Will your PC halt and catch fire? Thanks to several reports that I talked about yesterday, including the tales of woe from folks who installed a Monthly Rollup Preview, I'm willing to bet that the blockade will unfold like this: Step 1: April 10 rolls around, and about noon, Microsoft pushes its usual Patch Tuesday updates out the automatic update chute. Step 2: Those gullible (or trusting) enough to have Win7 or 8.1 Automatic Update turned on will get the April Monthly Rollup (that is, the "April 2017 Security Monthly Quality Rollup"), which will install the next time the machine's rebooted. Step 3: The Monthly Rollup installs itself and makes changes to Windows Update Agent, effectively preventing Windows Update from running again on this machine. The installer displays this message: IDG The machine won't be destroyed, if this scenario plays out the way I think it will. Your PC will just have Windows Update disabled. (Which some people view as a feature, not a problem, but I digress.) We're still poking and prodding on the AskWoody Lounge to see what, exactly, gets disabled. None of this is documented anywhere, of course. It's important to note that machines connected to a corporate Update Server (WSUS, SCCM, or the like) will only get the Monthly Rollup if it's pushed out by the admin. Even if Windows Update gets clobbered, it's unlikely that domain-managed PCs will suffer any ill effect, as they don't use Windows Update the same way most of us do. I have no idea how Microsoft intends to block Win7 updates on recent PCs attached to an update-managed domain. This scenario brings up an obvious question: Will your machine get update-kneecapped? I don't know. There's no program I know of that you can run (short of a Monthly Rollup Preview, which I never recommend) that will definitively say, "If you install the Monthly Rollup in April, Windows Update will get disabled." At this point, there's no warning either. No "Click here to install the Monthly Rollup and disable Windows Update going forward" safety net. All you get is a loud thud and that Unsupported hardware notice. Will Microsoft go ahead with this latest push to get well-heeled customers, with the latest hardware, to change to Windows 10? Microsoft's under no obligation to support Windows 7 and 8.1 on any hardware that appears at a future date. I think. But this approach, if it unfolds in this manner, is sure to rankle more-advanced users who have paid for both Windows 7 and for a shiny new CPU. We should know a lot more on April 10. Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Microsoft will kill some Windows 7 and 8.1 support in April (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard)
  3. Windows 7 SP1 [Phone Activation, Download Links & Repository] Windows 7 All Online/Offline [Retail-MAK] Activation Keys =================================================================================== Download Links: Windows 7 Official Direct Download Links Via Java Scrip from Microsoft Tech Bench [All Editions/Languages] Windows 7 SP1 All Edition MSDN Eng Untouched FTP Direct Download Links >>> l Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate with Service Pack 1 (All Languages)MSDN Magnet Link >>> Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate & Enterprise with SP1 (All Languages) MSDN Direct Download Links >>> =================================================================================== Windows 7 Phone Activation: ======================================================================================================================= Windows Loader 2.2.2 by DAZ [OEM Activation] ======================================================================================================================= Backup/Restore Windows 7 Activation - Advanced Tokens Manager v3.3
  4. As threatened, Microsoft is actively blocking Windows 7 and 8.1 updates on newer hardware, but users report some success in getting around the ban Credit: cnythxi / iStock Microsoft is carrying through on its threat to actively block Windows 7 and 8.1 updates on the latest Kaby Lake and Ryzen processors. Some folks are looking for ways to get around the block, and they appear to have had some success. We knew this day was coming. A year-old threat from Microsoft that “Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform” on Kaby Lake and Ryzen processors re-emerged last week. A thread on Reddit reported that folks who had the nerve to use Windows 7 or 8.1 would be blocked from updates if their PCs had the latest Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen processors. The blogosphere understandably went wild, even though nobody at that point had actually seen the block in action. That has now changed. Yesterday poster dave1977nj on AskWoody submitted screenshots of his attempts to install the "March 2017 Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems" (KB4012218) on his Kaby Lake PC. InfoWorld InfoWorld Of course I’ve long railed against installing Previews, and you’d be well-advised to avoid them, but the deeper question is what actually happened? The Win7 update history page says this Preview: Enabled detection of processor generation and hardware support when PC tries to scan or download updates through Windows Update. This is all well and good, but how does the detection work? Has Microsoft effectively blocked all security updates on Kaby Lake and Ryzen processors, or is it making life difficult for those users of the new hardware who want to stick with Windows 7 or 8.1? Poster abbodi86 sheds some light: The Preview Rollup itself block future usage of Windows Update on these processors, not that WU blocked Preview Rollup 🙂. All future rollups will have this restriction, so i guess it’s a lost cause. Manual installation (through dism, not msu) seems to be working fine In other words, by installing this Preview Rollup (and presumably all future Monthly Rollups), Windows Update itself has been changed, so it won’t work on Kaby Lake and Ryzen systems. Once the Preview Rollup is installed, Windows Update turns belly up, with a “could not search for new updates” message. Abbodi86 also says that in the future, Kaby Lake and Ryzen customers won’t be able to install the regular monthly security-only patches by manually downloading the month’s MSU file from the Microsoft Catalog and running the MSU file (an approach I call “Group B”). It isn’t clear to me what will happen when you try to run an MSU file directly, after installing KB 4102218 (or 4102219, the analogous Preview for Win 8.1). We probably won’t know for sure until the security-only patch for April appears. Using the DISM command to install security patches would be a bit convoluted, but possible, if worse comes to worst. It also isn’t clear to me if the Windows Update MiniTool (see Martin Brinkmann on ghacks) will continue to work, or if it can be modified to work. Poster ch100 says: This is an excellent question and the implications are very subtle. WUMT uses the Windows Update agent already installed, but can use any agent, without forcing an upgrade, as WU would do for example with 7.6.7600.256 being upgraded to 7.6.7600.320. I do not endorse this approach of not allowing the normal WU mechanism to complete, but it is a very interesting path to investigate. 🙂 If you’re thinking about using WUMT, please note this caution. Finally, it also isn’t clear to me if uninstalling KB 4012218 (or KB 4012219) will restore Windows Update to its original functionality. For years I’ve resisted disabling Windows Update and the wuauserv service. Windows Update and Microsoft Update pick up patches that manual scans frequently overlook, including IE and .Net patches, and many more subtle fixes. Updating Office without Microsoft Update would take the patience of Job. Some folks disable Windows Update to shut off the flow of unpredictable patches. But if Microsoft itself is going to disable Windows Update, who am I to argue? Look for the latest test results and head-scratchings on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Search begins for workarounds to Microsoft's Win7/8.1 on Kaby Lake/Ryzen patch ban (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard)
  5. New chips only support Windows 10 Earlier this month, it has emerged that Microsoft would block Windows updates on Windows 7 and 8.1 systems with latest-generation processors, and now it turns out that the software giant is getting ready to enforce this restriction in the two operating systems. This month’s preview updates, which are supposed to allow IT managers to test updates before they are shipped via Windows Update, include two patches that enable what Microsoft calls “processor generation detection” in Windows 7 and 8.1. The two updates are KB4012218 and KB4012219, respectively, and are currently available via the Microsoft Update Catalog, as they’re still offered with a preview tag. As gHacks reports, the changelog is huge, but also includes a reference to Microsoft’s new policy. “Enabled detection of processor generation and hardware support when PC tries to scan or download updates through Windows Update,” one of the lines in the changelogs reads. Updates to ship to Windows 7 and 8.1 next month Microsoft has already confirmed that the latest-generation processors, including here AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s Kaby Lake, would only be supported by Windows 10, so these new updates do not come as a big surprise. Especially given the recent news that updates would be blocked for systems running the newer chips, that is. Redmond’s announcement was made by Terry Myerson in January 2016, who explained that Windows 10 was the only OS version coming with features to take full advantage of the technology bundled in the latest processors. “Going forward, as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon,” he said. These two updates are projected to be pushed to all Windows 7 and 8.1 systems next month as part of the Patch Tuesday cycle on April 11. Source
  6. March, 2017 Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4012218) This update killed my updates for Windows 7. I have a Kaby Lake Processor and now I can not get anymore Windows updates. Is there any work around for this? Thank you
  7. The Fall Leaves theme features 11 high quality images to decorate your Desktop. This beautiful themepack was initially created for Windows 7, but you can use it in Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8. The Fall Leaves themepack comes with the breath-taking pictures in the Full HD 1920x1080 resolution. The theme will bring Autumn colors and beautiful landscapes on your Desktop. Here are a few screenshots: To get this theme in Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7, click the download link below, and then click Open. This will apply the theme to your Desktop. Here is the download link: Download Fall Leaves theme for Windows 10, 8 and 7 Size: 22 MB In Windows 10 and Windows 8/8.1, you can enable the option to pick the window frame color automatically from the current wallpaper. Alternatively, you can Extract wallpapers from a themepack or a deskthemepack file. Credits for this theme: http://thetechnopath.com/ Article source
  8. Valve data shows Windows 10 is losing ground on Steam While overall adoption of Windows 10 slowed down worldwide, Microsoft’s latest operating system is losing ground on Steam, where users appear to be moving back to Windows 7. Valve data for the month of February shows that Windows 10 declined on Steam, while Windows 7 was the only version that actually increased its share last month. Specifically, Windows 10 64-bit dropped 0.78 percent to 47.71 percent, while the 32-bit version declined 0.12 percent to 1.06 percent. All the other Windows operating system lost users the past month, with one exception: Windows 7. According to Valve, the 64-bit version of Windows 7 posted a substantial increase of 1.67 percent in February to return to 31.41 percent share, while the 32-bit version also experienced a growth, this time smaller of just 0.03 percent, to achieve 5.40 percent. Downgrading to Windows 7 As for the reasons that might have pushed users from Windows 10 back to Windows 7, there’s no information in this regard, but there’s a chance that more gamers decided to stick with the 2009 operating system after previously performing the upgrade, thus making sure they can return at any given moment without paying for a license. Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer that was available in the first 12 months after the launch of OS allowed Windows 7 and 8.1 users to install the new operating system without paying. If the upgrade to Windows 10 was performed in these first 12 months, they could always downgrade and return to this OS version at any given moment without paying, as the license was already activated and associated with their computer. On Steam, Windows is now powering 95.96 percent, so Microsoft barely sees any competition from Mac and Linux. Apple’s platform dropped 0.14 percent the last month to 3.17 percent, while Linux declined 0.05 percent to settle at 0.75 percent. All the other Windows versions lost share points in February, and Windows 8 32-bit is currently the last one in the chart with just 0.08 percent. Source
  9. Statistics show that Windows 7 is back to growth New market share data provided by NetMarketShare show that Windows 7 returned to growth in February, while Windows 10, which is Microsoft’s most recent desktop operating system, started losing ground. Specifically, Windows 7 is the number one operating system on the desktop with a share of 48.41 percent, while Windows 10 is currently the runner-up with 25.19 percent. Windows XP is third with 8.45 percent, followed by Windows 8.1 with 6.87 percent. As far as Windows 7 and Windows 10 are concerned, it looks like the older version is improving its market share once again, while the newer sibling is actually going down, not in a significant way, but still declining in a time when everyone expected it to grow. Windows 7 improved from 47.20 percent to 48.41 percent, so it gained more than 1 percent market share in just a single month. At the opposite pole there’s Windows 10, which dropped from 25.30 percent to 25.19 percent. As you can see, this isn’t a substantial drop, but it’s still a drop, despite Microsoft’s rather aggressive push for Windows 10 and the free upgrade offer that was supposed to bring everyone on the new OS. Windows XP finally losing users On the Windows XP front, there’s some pretty exciting news: the nearly 16-year-old operating system is losing ground as well, so it declined from 9.17 percent to 8.45 percent last month, which makes perfect sense given the fact that it no longer receives updates and security updates since April 2014. Windows 10 is now Microsoft’s main focus, so it’s a little surprising to see it going down now when most enterprises are supposed to complete the piloting phase and start the deployment of the operating system in their networks. Microsoft, however, is well aware that adoption is slowing down, so the company admitted that it might miss its goal of bringing Windows 10 on 1 billion devices by the end of FY2017, especially because of upgrades that take place at a slower pace than initially predicted. Source
  10. MSDN

    Update : This Post is Less Active but no-more Monitored Now ! No doubt november_ra1n is Awesome and i am also a BIG FAN of HIM but sometimes, it feels that my download links should be directly from the Developer. So, here anyone can request MSDN's Original Downloads Links for almost all Microsoft Products (except some VL Editions) and anyone can provide Download Links only via PM [Private Message] directly to requester. Edit : Time for some more instructions as the thread is GROWING so the headache is. Please Visit the following link and find your desired content then make a request in the given example format only : MSDN Product Download Library Page Example Correct Request Format : ============================================================================= How to find desired M$ product in MSDN Download Library : ================================================================================================================== How to find desired M$ product's #FileID in MSDN Download Library : ========================================================================================================================================= Bonus Tip : Update 1 : Since anyone can Download Most of Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 & 10's editions from Microsoft's Official TechBench program Webpage with a Little Exercise, i ADDED the asf's Thread because this one is also providing Direct Download Links (identical to MSDN) from the Developer itself..Remember !! that was the MAIN PURPOSE behind this thread. It will help some requesters as well as me also (because of Lack of Time, i am unable to reply most of time). CREDITS : @asf Update 2 : There is a TOOL called *Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool* is available from http://www.heidoc.net/ which can provide Download Links of Most of Microsoft Office ISOs and Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 & 10's editions from Microsoft's Official server easily, i ADDED the Tool's Download Link below Thread Because this one is also providing Direct Download Links (identical to MSDN) from the Developer itself..Remember !! that was the MAIN PURPOSE behind this thread. It will help some requesters as well as me also (because of Lack of Time, i am unable to reply most of time). Download Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool PS :
  11. Microsoft Re-Releases Snooping Patches KB 2952664, KB 2976978 Earlier versions of the Win7 and 8.1 patches kicked off enhanced snooping routines, and there's no indication what's changed in these versions We don't know what KB 2952664 (for Windows 7) and KB 2976978 (for Windows 8.1) actually do. But both patches have been shown in the past to trigger a new Windows task called DoScheduledTelemetryRun. The patches appeared in the Automatic Update chute earlier todayas Optional, so they won't be installed unless you specifically check and install them. But in the past, the Optional versions have been converted rapidly to Recommended, and thus installed on most machines. The last release of KB 2952664 went from Optional to Recommend in a week. Microsoft's descriptions of the patches are quite bland: GWX, of course, is Microsoft's malware-like "Get Windows 10" campaign that plagued Windows 7 and 8.1 users last year. I last wrote about the patches on Oct. 5, 2016: The revision dates on the KB articles don't instill any confidence. When I wrote about KB 2952664 last October, I noted that the KB article was up to revision 25, dated Oct. 4, 2016. The current KB article, dated Feb. 9, 2017, is at revision 11. I have no idea what's up. Why is Microsoft releasing this CEIP diagnostic program on a Thursday? Why isn't it being held for next Tuesday's Monthly Rollup? Why does it fall outside the announced schedule of Security Only and Monthly Rollup patches? Why did the revision numbers change? But I do know that earlier versions of these patches triggered new snooping scans, whether the Customer Experience Improvement Program is enabled or not. And I do know that Microsoft hasn't documented much at all. Discussion continues on the AskWoody Lounge. AskWoody Lounge - Comments Source Alternate Source: Windows KB2652664 And KB2976978 Telemetry Updates Re-Released (Again)
  12. Windows 10 Had More Vulnerabilities than Windows 7 Last Year This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less secure though Specifically, the study shows that last year, Microsoft addressed a total of 729 vulnerabilities in its software, more than the 703 confirmed for 2015. What’s a bit worrying, however, is that this is nearly the double of the vulnerability count in 2014, when Microsoft found and fixed 383 security flaws. The research also indicates that Internet Explorer continues to be the Microsoft application with the biggest number of vulnerabilities, with an all-time chart indicating that the browser was affected by no less than 1,261 flaws. Surprisingly, however, Windows 10 is the runner-up, with Microsoft’s latest operating system getting the second spot with 705 vulnerabilities. Windows 10 was launched in July 2015 and 2016 was its first full year on the market. Windows Server 2012 is third with 660 vulnerabilities, while Windows 7 comes next with 647 flaws. Windows Vista is fifth with 621. Users not exposed despite the bigger number of vulnerabilities What’s essential to know is that although the number of vulnerabilities increased in Windows 10, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the latest operating system is less secure than its predecessors. Most of these vulnerabilities were privately reported to Microsoft and they were fixed before any exploits went public, so users weren’t exposed to any attacks. At the same time, Microsoft is also paying particular focus to making Windows 10 capable of mitigating zero-day vulnerabilities even when no patch is available. Recently, the company revealed that Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which was launched in August 2016, managed to cope with attacks aimed at exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system, keeping users secure until Microsoft actually delivered a fix. Furthermore, Microsoft has already started downplaying Windows 7, explaining that it’s less secure than Windows 10 and pointing to the security features that its latest operating system has and which are missing because of the obvious technical limitations on its predecessors. Source
  13. That’s not a typo, Lenovo does love Windows 7 Lenovo has just announced new laptops, but as compared to all the other Microsoft partners, the company isn’t going all-in on Windows 10 and is also offering alternatives such as Windows 7. As weird as it might sound, Windows 7 continues to be a choice for Lenovo customers, but when looking at the bigger picture, the Chinese firm only wants to give its buyers more options when purchasing new laptops, and not necessarily to force them to go for Windows 10. The new laptops There are three laptops refreshed by Lenovo, namely the P51, P51s, and P71, all of which come with several configuration options that you can choose from. First and foremost, it’s the P51, which comes with a choice of several processors, including an Intel Xeon E3-v6 processor and a seventh-generation Core chip. The top-of-the-line model comes with Nvidia Quadro M2200M graphics and 64 GB of RAM, which is not at all surprising given that Lenovo wanted this device to be a monster. And all these hardware adds to the weight of the device, which tips the scales at 5.6 pounds (2.5 kg). In this case, Lenovo offers the device with a choice of several operating systems, including not only Windows 10, but also Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. The P51 will be priced at $1,399, but it will obviously cost more as you add more powerful hardware. Sales will begin in April. Then, it’s the P51s which according to the source, was developed to be more portable, so it weighs only 4.3 pounds (1.9 kg), but it still features the more powerful Intel Core processors, 32 GB RAM, and Nvidia Quadro M520M graphics. This time, Lenovo offers either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 10 Pro, so once again you are allowed to choose the operating system that you want to power the device. Pricing for the P51s will start at $1,049 and sales will officially begin in March, with full technical specs to be unveiled closer to this date. The P71 will also go on sale in April and will come with a 17-inch screen, a 4K screen, and be available with Xeon E3-v6 processor and Nvidia Quadro P5000M graphics. Source
  14. No Kidding: Windows XP Has Just as Many Users as Windows 10 in China StatCounter shows Windows XP is shockingly popular in China China is one particular market where Windows XP continues to be one of the most popular desktop operating systems, despite the obvious security risks that increase every new day without patches. Statistics provided by third-party research firm StatCounter provide us with a worrying look at how widely-adopted Windows XP continues to be in China, even though users are strongly recommended to switch to a newer OS version, such as Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10, all of which are still supported. And what’s even worse is that despite the fact that Windows 10 was available free of charge for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, and Microsoft was so aggressive in moving users to its latest OS, Windows XP continues to be super-popular. And StatCounter claims that XP has almost as many users as Windows 10. Windows 7 still number one Specifically, Windows 7 is leading the pack (no surprise here) with 49.36 percent share, followed by the Windows 10 - Windows XP duo with 18.52 percent and 18.36 percent, respectively. Windows 8.1 is so far behind that it’s almost not even worth mentioning in these stats, as it’s powering only 3.35 percent of the desktop computers in the country. MacOS is very close with 3.16 percent, while Windows 8 is installed on only 1.02 percent of the PCs in China. It goes without saying that convincing users to migrate to the latest version of Windows is more difficult in China than anywhere else, and with Windows 7 still powering nearly 1 in 2 PCs in the country, there’s no doubt that in 2020 the software giant will once experience a Windows XP moment. There are voices who claim that old Windows remains particularly popular in China because of pirated versions, but at this point, it’s as easy to find a pirated copy of Windows 10 as it is for Windows XP. In other words, piracy can hardly be considered a reason for sticking with Windows XP, but rather outdated hardware that doesn’t meet the requirements of Windows 10. Source
  15. The fate of Windows 10 lies in the hands of users that are still deeply in love with Windows 7. Windows 7 This year's CES saw plenty of shiny new Windows 10 devices on display, from the acrobat Lenovo Yoga through to HP's all-in-one Sprout Pro. Hardware like this will certainly boost the fortunes of Windows 10. Sleek new designs and form factors, and the rise of two-in-one devices like the Surface Pro that can function both as a PC and a tablet, are giving consumers and businesses a reason to invest in Microsoft's latest operating system. And Windows 10 has made some decent inroads thus far: it now accounts for somewhere around a quarter of PCs accessing the internet as measured by NetMarketShare. All data like this needs to be looked at in terms of trends rather than details, of course, but in December 2016 - the most current data available, Windows 7 stood at 48 percent, Windows 10 had 24 percent, Windows 8.1 held seven percent, Windows XP nine percent, and Windows 8 had just two percent. Contrast that with June 2015, just before Windows 10 arrived. Windows 7 stood at 61 percent, Windows 8.1 at 13 percent, Windows XP had 12 percent and Windows 8 just three percent. A few obvious points leap out. First, Windows XP usage hasn't changed very much at all as a result of the arrival of Windows 10. That's hardly surprising: Windows XP wasn't part of the free consumer upgrade programme that Microsoft offered. Windows XP is long, long past its sell-by date, and most of the hardware running XP is probably so old that is can't be upgraded anyway. If users are happy running such an antique and insecure operating system they'll probably keep using it until the hardware gives up or the Sun expands to finally vapourise the Earth, whichever is sooner. Second, Microsoft did a good job encouraging people to move away from Windows 8. Perhaps they didn't need much encouraging, considering the reception that Windows 8 got, but it's all but vanished. For Windows 8.1 its (unsurprisingly) is a similar story and usage has fallen rapidly, which presumably means many users have been happy to take their (largely) free upgrade to Windows 10. But what about Windows 7? This is the big one, of course. Usage has decline according to the NetMarketShare data - from 61 percent to 48 percent over 18 months, which looks at first glance like a rapid decline. But the big question for Microsoft is whether that erosion of Windows 7 usage will continue. Looking at the numbers more carefully, most of the drop in Windows 7 usage came in the first year that Windows 10 was available: since April 2016 Windows 7 usage has stayed pretty stable. That's likely because most of the switchers were consumers. More cautious types and businesses in particular have held fire. In Windows 7, Microsoft built a good product that companies like. It's now tried and tested, works with their existing infrastructure and their users are confident using it. And they worry about how big a leap it is to Windows 10. More will no doubt consider the upgrade as Windows 7 heads towards the end of its lifecycle (Microsoft's extended support, which included security updates, ends in January 2020). Unless Microsoft finds a compelling set of reasons to encourage upgrades, Windows 7 is will go the same way as Windows XP and become an operating system that just won't die. That could become a realy headache for Microsoft if it happens. Microsoft of course would very much like as many users as possible of Windows 10, if only to help ignite the app ecosystem it is trying to build. Much hangs on the reception of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update which some think will be the final push that starts enterprise rollouts. And one Microsoft exec has already warned that Windows 7 "does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT department." Microsoft has big ambitions for Windows 10, even if it has admitted it won't now hit its target of one billion Windows 10 devices by 2018. Just when it does hit that target will depend greatly on persuading Windows 7 fans to upgrade sooner, rather than later - or not at all. Article source
  16. For the second month in a row, Win7 and 8.1 have no Preview of the Monthly Rollup. Here’s what that means and what it portends for Win7 'Service Pack 3' Credit: InfoWire.dk October's major overhaul of Windows 7 and 8.1 patching – I call it the patchocalypse – brought a new grouping of patches and a new cadence to patching. The methods have changed a bit since October, with the latest change announced a week ago. At this point, here's what you should expect: First Tuesday: All Office patches (typically there are many), both security and nonsecurity, appear on the first Tuesday of each month. The patches are for Office 2010, 2013, 2016, and their various components, plus the Office Viewers. Folks using Office Click-to-Run usually get updated on the first Tuesday as well, although the channels and build numbers can get confusing. Second Tuesday: All of the current versions of Windows 10 (right now that's "1507," 1511, and 1607) get cumulative updates, which include both security and nonsecurity patches. Windows 7 and 8.1 each get two patches: the Security-only update, and the Monthly Rollup. Those of you who want to stay current with all of Microsoft's patches (I call that Group A) should install the Monthly Rollup. Those of you who want to avoid everything except the security patches (Group B ) should install the Security-only update. The Monthly Rollup is cumulative through October 2016 and includes the Security-only patches. If you aren't confused, you aren't following along. In addition to the Security-only and Monthly Rollup patches for Win 7 and 8.1 (that's four different patches), the second Tuesday brings separate patches for the .Net Framework (supposedly with Security-only and Monthly Rollup flavors, but in practice that hasn't happened) for .Net Framework 3.5 SP1, 4.5.2, 4.6.1, and 4.6.2, as well as various odd patches for various odd versions of .Net, on Vista, Win7, Win8.1, and the Servers. You can guess how many different patches that might entail. In addition, there's always a new Malicious Software Removal Tool. Starting in February 2017, the Internet Explorer patch(es) will be pulled out of the Security-only Update and offered up separately. In other words, those who want to limit themselves to Security patches only (Group B ) will have to manually install both the Security-only Update and the Internet Explorer Cumulative Security update. Third Tuesday: Microsoft releases a preview of the next month's Monthly Rollup. This preview is an odd bird, and most people are well advised to avoid it. It contains two components: The current month's Monthly Rollup (which means it includes the current month's Security-only patch and the current month's Internet Explorer Cumulative Security update) A preview/test version of the nonsecurity portion of the next month's Monthly Rollup For example, on the third Tuesday of January 2017 – yesterday, Jan. 17 – we should've received a Preview of the February Monthly Rollup. But we didn't. Instead, the official release pages for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 say: There are no new quality improvements or fixes available to preview in January 2017. As such, there is no Preview of Monthly Rollup release for this month. This means, as best I can tell, that Microsoft has no new nonsecurity patches coming in February. The same thing happened last month. In December we saw: There are no new quality improvements or fixes available to preview in December 2016. As such, there is no Preview of Monthly Rollup release for this month. Sure enough, there were no new nonsecurity patches released in January. You can look at that one of two ways. On the one hand, it's proof positive that Microsoft isn't too interested in making nonsecurity changes to Win 7 and Win 8.1 – a fact that many will accept with a sigh of relief. On the other hand, it's likely that Microsoft is building toward a massive Monthly Rollup, which stretches back further than October 2016. We've been promised a Monthly Rollup that incorporates changes dating back to Service Pack 1 (released March 2011), but we'll likely see a series of Monthly Rollups, gradually stretching further back in time. That in itself is welcome news. It sounds like we'll finally get the "Service Pack 3" for Windows 7 that's been sorely needed. (Microsoft won't call it a "Service Pack" because Service Packs generally trigger longer end of support dates, and Microsoft's insistent on discontinuing Windows 7 support on Jan. 14, 2020.) Still, there's no reason to raise a glass to the ol' 7 and break out your party suit. There are at least four major, open questions about "Service Pack 3": Can Microsoft avoid the problems and bugs that showed up in "Service Pack 2," the so-called Convenience Rollup, KB 3125574? My Digital Life gurus Abbodi, PointZero and Komm posted a scathing report about the problems with "Service Pack 2" – and it took Microsoft many months to address the issues. Some of them persist to this day. Clearly, the quality level for "Service Pack 2" was nowhere near that of Service Pack 1. How much telemetry will we get? Microsoft has done a very poor job of documenting the telemetry it collects in Windows 10. How much worse will it be in Win7 "SP3"? Will "Service Pack 3" include .Net rollups? They're sorely needed, but they tend to stomp all over each other. Will "SP3" include patches for Internet Explorer 11? Microsoft has gone back and forth on the topic of bundling IE changes with other Win7 and 8.1 changes. Will the new cumulative update settle us all into IE11 bliss? There are twice as many Win7 users as Win10 users. It's time for Microsoft to get its older systems brought up to speed. The discussion continues on AskWoody.com. Source: Signs point to Microsoft's imminent release of Windows 7 'Service Pack 3' (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard)
  17. I think the patching world is totally bonkers. But you knew that already. Just got an email from JNP with this screenshot: and I don’t know what to make of it. That’s a Windows 10 driver – released in mid-May – for the Realtek USB card reader 2.0. According to Drivermax, the Windows 7 version of the driver, version 10.0.14393.31231, was released on Oct 27, 2016. [Important note: I do NOT recommend that you download or install drivers from third parties.] Why is a Win10 driver being pushed on a Win7 machine? JNP continues: When you click on the more info you get to this page: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/products/windows?os=windows-7 , which is the same page I got last week with those bogus updates. My fear here, is that, for some reason, WU is erroneously pushing Win 10 updates to lower OS machines. It may be true the machine could use an updated driver, that kind of makes sense regarding my post my notebook needed the USB driver, but the version numbers I wrote about in my post for the USB driver are really, really off. As I’ve written before, my profession was as an attorney, so all I can do is try to research something and apply logic. After that, your more experienced software guys, like ch100, have to figure out what’s going on. But right now, it seems as if WU may have gotten the video drivers right, or kind of right, but there may be problems with the other drivers, USB, touchpad, etc. that some people are experiencing because WU may be giving them Win 10 updates for drivers when their OS is not Win 10. Source: Windows 7 getting pushed a Windows 10 driver update (AskWoody)
  18. Not sold on Windows 10? We have the keys to keeping your Win7 system running the way you like it By Woody Leonhard Senior Contributing Editor, InfoWorld | Jan 2, 2017 Credit: Pixabay, Microsoft If Windows 7 represents peak Windows for you, you’re not alone. Twice as many people use Win7 as use Win10, even after 18 months of Microsoft pressure to get you to give up Win7 and jump to the shiny new version as your operating system of choice. Your reasons for staying with Win7 may range from mere convenience to mental inertia to an abject fear of the Win10 info borg. Whatever your reasons for remaining with Win7, there are steps you can take right now to ensure Win7 keeps working -- at least until Microsoft pulls the plug on security patches, on Jan. 14, 2020. (Yep, that’s a Patch Tuesday.) The key, as you might expect, is to stow away a solid “ground zero” full backup. From that point, you should patch judiciously, use incremental backups scrupulously, and tend to the maintenance jobs that you’ve no doubt neglected. If you go about it in an organized manner, your machine should last forever ... or at least until you throw it in the trash and buy a new one. Step 1. Pick a patching method Before you back up your machine, make sure it’s in top shape. If you’re concerned about Microsoft’s “telemetry,” the fact is that you agreed to a certain level of snooping when you consented to the license agreement for Windows 7: Microsoft may use the computer information, accelerator information, search suggestions information, error reports, and Malware reports to improve our software and services. We may also share it with others, such as hardware and software vendors. They may use the information to improve how their products run with Microsoft software. The method for bringing your Win7 up to speed and keeping it going for the duration depends on how much information you’re willing to share with Microsoft about your system, software, and activities. Starting in October 2016, Microsoft changed the way it distributes patches to accommodate individuals and organizations that only want security updates, and not other patches that may affect how much information is collected and sent to Microsoft. That gave rise to two patching strategies and a “no patch for me, please” option. I detail the three main patching choices in “How to prepare for the Windows 7/8.1 ‘patchocalypse.’” Long story short, Win7 patches align with three major groups: Group A: Those who are willing to take all of Microsoft’s new telemetry systems, along with potentially useful nonsecurity updates. Group B: Those who don’t want any more snooping than necessary and don’t care about improvements like daylight saving time zone changes, but do want to keep applying security patches. Group W: Those stalwarts who will take their chances and don’t want to install any new patches, whether they fix security holes or not. Group A (apply all of the offered patches) or Group W (don’t ever patch) are the easiest to join, but Group W is vulnerable to all sorts of problems. I don’t recommend Group W. Group A can use Windows Update to get everything they need. It’s harder to join Group B, because it requires manual download and installation of patches. It’s helpful to figure out whether you want to be in Group A or Group B (or Group W) before getting going. Step 2. Optionally reinstall Win7 from scratch Right off the bat, you need to make sure your Win7 system is fit to fly. There's no sense preserving a baseline system in stone (or at least in backup) until the baseline is working right. For many of you, Windows 7 works fine the way it is. If that describes your situation, skip to Step 3. For the rest of you, a fresh install of Windows 7 is vital to preserving a fully functional Win7. The best approach I know was published on AskWoody.com, based on a procedure developed by Canadian Tech. There are two significant sticking points: Obtaining “genuine” Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installation files can be difficult. Once you have Win7 SP1, which updates should you install? Obtaining the real ISOs is a significant concern because there are many pirate copies of Win7 floating around the internet. Until May 2014, you could download the retail bits from an Microsoft distributor known as Digital River. In an InfoWorld column, I talked about the way that source disappeared. Microsoft has this official download site, but it works only if you feed it a valid product key -- and there’s the rub. Microsoft defines the product key thusly: From an authorized retailer. The product key should be on a label or card inside the box that Windows came in. A new PC running Windows. The product key will be preinstalled on your PC, included with the packaging the PC came in, or included on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to the PC. But I’ve heard from many people that the keys they’ve retrieved (typically from ProduKey or Belarc Advisor) don’t work, even keys from a 100% genuine Win7 installation. I’ve also heard that retail keys -- the ones inside a box that you bought with Win7 inside -- work in all cases. I asked Microsoft how people with demonstrably genuine copies of Win7 can get fresh new Windows 7 SP1 installation files. The response: For customers who do not have a product key, they will need to contact Microsoft Customer Support Service, where we have alternative options for acquiring the Windows 7 product when they have lost their media. If you have trouble locating a clean copy of Win7 SP1, check out “The safest way to get a new copy of the Windows 7 bits.” A clean install isn’t for the faint of heart. No matter how hard you try, you will lose data, somehow, somewhere -- it always happens, even to us masochists who have been running clean Windows installs for decades. Start with a full set of program installation CDs, DVDs, or a list of locations where you can download what you’ll need. Make sure you have all the keys. Stick all your passwords in a repository like LastPass or RoboForm. You should send your data, and settings wherever possible, off to DVDs or an external or network drive using a product like Windows Easy Transfer (see Lance Whitney’s how-to on the TechNet site). Then, armed with a good copy of Win7 SP1, you’re ready to follow Canadian Tech’s steps to install a clean copy of Win7. Note: I don’t recommend installing the so-called Convenience Update, KB 3125574, which was created to roll up many outstanding patches. Although the Service Pack 2-like update may save you some time, in my experience if you follow Canadian Tech’s advice, the speedup is minimal. The all-star team of Abbodii, PointZero, and Komm has documented the shortcomings of the Convenience Update, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. Step 3. Bring Windows up to speed If you didn’t install a fresh copy of Windows 7 from scratch, you may have trouble with Windows Update taking forever. Start by following the two simple steps to eliminate unconscionably slow Windows 7 Update scans. Then selectively apply patches you need to get caught up. Starting in October (the “patchocalypse”), Windows 7 patches began arriving in two clumps: Security-only patches (for Group B), which you have to download and install manually; and Monthly Rollups (for Group A), which include nonsecurity patches and are available through Windows Update. Choose Group A or Group B, and bring your machine’s Windows up to date. Yes, if you’re in Group W, you can skip this step. When all seems correct, make one more run of Windows Update to make sure you have the latest patches for Office, .Net, and anything else that may need updating -- including non-Microsoft products. Step 4. Take control “Control” means different things to different people, but at a minimum I suggest you make these changes to Win7 before backing it up: IDG Turn off Automatic Updates. Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the "Turn automatic updating on or off" link. In the Important Updates box, choose “Never check for updates (not recommended).” Uncheck the box marked "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" and click OK. IDG Turn off the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Click Start. In the Search programs and files box type customer, then click on Change Customer Experience Improvement Program settings. Click “No, I don’t want to participate in the program,” then Save Changes. IDG Disable Tasks you don’t want. Go into the Task Scheduler by clicking Start and, in the Search program and files box type task. Click on Task Scheduler. You can find many recommendations on the web about which tasks to prune, but the best advice I’ve found comes from AskWoody’s ch100, who recommends disabling the Application Experience agent (AitAgent), Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser, and ProgramDataUpdaters, all three of which appear in the \Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience folder (screenshot). There are also scheduled tasks related to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) that may or may not be disabled when you opt out of CEIP. If you’re very cautious, see this post from JY on AskWoody. Update your browser. If you insist on using Internet Explorer, make sure you have IE11 installed. If you aren’t locked into IE, try Google Chrome or Firefox. Jettison the junk. You’re going to create a top-quality copy of your hard drive. Why burden it with junkware? With its newly found 64-bit capabilities, I like the free version of Revo Uninstaller. Note: Those with detailed knowledge may want to dive deeper into hardening their systems. We have ongoing discussions -- and knock-down debates -- about the details on AskWoody.com. MVP Noel Carboni specializes in keeping Win7 systems locked down. Step 5. Clean up your drive One last step before you freeze your system like Han Solo. Run a disk cleanup. IDG While there are many utilities that will help you zero in on duplicated files and ferret out grunge sitting in odd corners, Windows’ built-in Disk Cleanup will take a big swipe at the detritus. It has the added advantages of being both free and easy to use. To do so, click Start > Computer. Right-click your main drive and choose Properties (screenshot). Click Disk Cleanup. In the resulting Disk Cleanup dialog box, click “Clean up system files.” Follow the instructions and sweep out the old. When you’re done, if you have a spinning hard drive (as opposed to a solid-state drive), run a defrag: Click Start and in the box marked Search program and files box type defrag. Chose Disk defragmenter and click on the button to Defragment disk. Step 6. Back up -- now and forever You’re finally at the point where a full disk image backup makes sense. Yes, you should back up your data, too, as part of the system image. I recommend making a single backup at this point -- when your system’s working great -- and squirrel it away. Augment that with your usual backup regimen, if you have one. IDG Before you start the backup, make sure you have your system usernames and passwords written down, for every user on the system. You’ll also sleep better if you write down your Windows activation ID. If you can’t find an activation ID on a sticker attached to your PC, run NirSoft’s ProduKey (screenshot) to pull it out of your machine. That key probably won’t get you a clean copy of the Windows 7 files, but it should be a good starting point for arguing with Win7 activation phone support, if you can’t get a restored image of Win7 activated. Yes, it happens. To get serious about creating and maintaining backups, install and run a dedicated backup/restore package. Two of the best: Macrium Reflect (free for personal use; $70 or less per PC for businesses) and Acronis True Image (free 30-day trial, then $50). Follow the installation instructions, create a full disk image on an external drive or networked drive (or on DVDs, if you must), then disconnect the drive and store it someplace safe. Make sure you store a system repair disk along with the main backup. After you’ve gone through the first round, set up Macrium Reflect or Acronis to generate a second full disk image, followed by incremental backups. IDG If you really want to use the Win7 backup routines -- they are free and work reasonably well -- buy an external hard drive and plug it in. Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore. You see the “Back up or restore your files” dialog (screenshot). On the left, click “Create system image.” You may create the system image on a hard drive, DVDs, or a network location. To go out to the network and look for a suitable location, assuming you have one, click Select. IDG From the Create a system image dialog (screenshot), you can put your system backup on any accessible drive attached to your network. Once you’ve create a full system image you can tuck away, tell Windows Backup that you want to keep incremental backups. Back on the “Back up or restore your files” dialog, click “Set up backup,” follow the directions to choose a backup drive, select which data should be backed up, and when the backups should run (daily or monthly incremental backups). Depending on the size and speed of your drives, the first backup can take hours. Before you forget about backups forever, click the link on the left in the “Back up or restore your files” dialog to “Create a system repair disk.” Follow the instructions to create a bootable disk that you can use to recover your hard drive if everything heads south in a hurry. Microsoft has full instructions in Help article 17127. Step 7. Don’t forget the maintenance It’s easy to make a full image backup, get started with incremental backups, and apply updates mindfully, but that’s only part of the battle. The rest plays out day after day. The high points: Periodically make sure your antimalware program is working. I use Microsoft Security Essentials (free), and it’s pretty noisy when it hasn’t been fed. Augment your antimalware program with weekly runs of Malwarebytes (free for personal use; $50 per PC for business), or some other second-opinion software. Check your backups at least once a month. Details vary depending on which product you use, but checking on the integrity of backups is as simple as using Windows Explorer to look at the files. IDG Your hard drive is going to fail sooner or later -- accept it. Solid-state drives last longer than spinning platters, but they’re all doomed to failure at some point. It’s a good idea to check your drive every month or so, to make sure it’s working well enough. Run a defrag if you like (click Start and in the “Search programs and files” box type defrag). Also consider running a S.M.A.R.T. drive status detector like CrystalDiskInfo (open source). While S.M.A.R.T. technology won’t tell you if a drive’s about to die, it can help pinpoint recurring problems. If you’re in Group A or Group B, run Windows Update from time to time, but don’t be in a big hurry to install patches as soon as they’re available. We have ongoing notices in the Woody on Windows columns, tracking problems and letting you know when the coast looks clear. If something goes wrong with a peripheral, realize that replacing it is almost always cheaper than fixing it. Mouse doesn’t work? Try a different one. Keyboard on your laptop singing the blues? $20 will buy a new USB keyboard (or $100 will buy a great one). Need more drive space? External drives are amazingly cheap. Wi-Fi card doesn’t work? Get one that plugs into a USB port. DVD drive? Pshaw. If you need a new driver, don’t get it from Windows Update. Instead, go to the manufacturer’s site and install it manually. Don’t do anything stupid. If you see an announcement that your computer has 379 unpatched vulnerabilities or you need to install some whiz-bang software to keep your system clean and green, ignore it. Your most destructive Win7 weapon is your clicking finger. Source: How to hang on to Windows 7 for the long run (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Keep Win7 running for the long haul (AskWoody)
  19. Windows 7 (Not Windows 10) Wins 2016 Stats show Windows 7 dominated the past year And while Microsoft itself also admitted that it was wrong to become so pushy on Windows 10 upgrades, statistics show that despite all of these, it’s still Windows 7 the desktop operating system that was number one last year. NetMarketShare data for 2016 shows that Windows 7 clearly dominated the year despite Microsoft’s push for Windows 10, despite the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and despite the so many new devices launched with Windows 10. Windows 7 clearly survived the Windows 10 offensive and according to this data, it achieved a market share in 2016 of no less than 49.10 percent, which means that it was running on 1 in 2 PCs across the world. Windows 7 has long powered 50 percent of the world’s PCs, but everyone expected it to collapse following the release of Windows 10. Small impact following free Windows 10 upgrades Windows 7’s performance throughout the year was full of ups and downs, but the lowest market share it dropped to was 47.01 percent in July, so it didn’t actually collapse as so many people projected to happen. The biggest market share was in February when it was at 52.34 percent. Without a doubt, Windows 10 did have an impact on Windows 7’s market share, but its effects were pretty limited. Windows 10 benefitted from the huge adoption boost generated by the free upgrade, but as this promo ended, Windows 7 also started recovering. For example, in July 2016 when Microsoft ended the free upgrade campaign for Windows 10, Windows 7 was running on 47.01 percent of desktop computers across the world, but next month it started increasing by achieving 47.25 percent. The biggest market share post-free Windows 10 upgrades was recorded in October - 48.38 percent. Support for Windows 7 comes to an end in January 2020, and it goes without saying that Microsoft will have a super-difficult job to convince users to upgrade. The next few OS upgrades, such as the Creators Update and the Redstone 3, will be essential for Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy, as they have the impossible mission of moving users from Windows 7 to the latest OS. Source
  20. Windows 7 Now Growing Faster than Windows 10 Windows 7 once again heading back to 50 percent market share NetMarketShare data for the month of December 2016 shows that Windows 7 not only that remains the leading operating system for PCs, but it’s also increasing its market share. And what’s worse for Microsoft is that it grows at a faster pace than Windows 10. Last month, Windows7 remained the leading desktop operating system with a market share of 48.34 percent, followed by Windows 10 with 24.36 percent. Windows XP was third with 9.07 percent, while Windows 8.1 was next with 6.90 percent. Specifically, Windows 10 improved its share from 23.72 percent in November to 24.36 percent in December, which means that it posted a growth of 0.64 percent. Windows 7, on the other hand, recorded an increase of 1.17 percent from 47.17 percent to 48.34 percent. Slower upgrade pace The results are particularly worrying for Microsoft especially because these stats were collected in December, a month when new device activations typically increase during Christmas. If Microsoft wants to see the glass half full, then Windows 10 clearly keeps growing, although it’s very obvious that it does it at a slower pace than before. Windows 10 was launched in July 2015 and it experienced a huge boost in adoption trends from the very beginning thanks to the free upgrade offer aimed at Windows 7 and 8.1 users, but also due to what many described as a too aggressive upgrade campaign. Now that Windows 10 is no longer offered free of charge, the pace at which users upgrade to the new OS has clearly slowed down, but the worst news for Microsoft comes from the Windows 7 front. At this point, Windows 7 should become Microsoft’s main concern, as the operating system will reach end of support in 2020 and there’s a good chance that millions of users will still be running it at that point. Source
  21. Here are the details on the undocumented patch that mysteriously appeared yesterday Credit: NARA Yesterday, I started receiving reports of a recommended update that suddenly appeared in the Windows Update listing for some Windows 7 and 8.1 machines. (As "recommended," it may appear in your Windows Update Optional list, or in your Important list.) There's no KB number, which means you can't uninstall it via the "Uninstall an update" dialog, and links from Windows Update turned up nonexistent pages. Running a search for "8/19/2016" through the Windows Update Catalog results in 55 different downloads, all of which appear to be identical. They all have the same filename, and a random hex file comparison came up with no differences (thx to td and DougCuk). The description in the Update Catalog says it's an "INTEL USB driver update released in August 2016," and individual files are for a wide variety of processors and USB Enhanced Host Controller types. The closest driver update I could find on the Intel site is the "Intel(R) Server Chipset Driver for Windows" version, dated Aug. 29. The dates don't line up, the version numbers don't jibe ( on the Intel site, in Windows Update), and the size is wrong (the Intel download is 2.71 MB, where the Windows Update download is 67 KB). AskWoody poster John Hillig, referencing the Viper site, says: Intel Chipset INF -- 08/03/16 Is Not WHQL and has the chipset type CAT/INF files packaged into Intels SetupChipset.exe stand alone installer. Intel Chipset INF -- 08/19/16 via Windows Update Is WHQL and is packaged as separate chipset type CAT/INF files for install by Windows INF installer. Which explains the differences in version numbers, dates, and file sizes. Overnight, Windows guru Günter Born took apart the download and came to some interesting conclusions. Writing on his blog Born's Tech and Windows World, he describes how the patch appears to be destined for Broadwell and Haswell chips and for "some hardware components." Tearing into an .inf file he found this description: ; ** Filename: AvotonUSB.inf ** ; ** Abstract: Assigns the null driver to devices ** ; ** for yellow-bang removal and ** ; ** brands Intel(R) devices ** Born examined many of the files and concludes, "The .inf files for new CPU chip sets contains a list of device ids for drivers, needed to support the CPU chipset." He concludes that the drivers -- null drivers, which don't do anything -- are placeholders that define device IDs for various motherboard components, getting rid of the yellow "!" in Device Manager. That seems innocuous enough, but it looks like the installer wipes out whatever device drivers may already exist. Born cites two examples: I found a case here, where the optional update replaced an already installed and needed SMBus driver -- so the user was no more able to read its DIMM temperature, using Intel Desktop Utilities. A 2nd incident has been reported as a user comment within my German blog post. The user reported, that his Wi-Fi adapter stalled after installing this optional update. Bottom line: At best, installing this patch will remove some of the yellow bangs in Device Manager. At worst it'll break an already-good driver. Avoid it. Source: Don't install this patch: Intel System 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) Bottom line: Don’t install the ‘INTEL – System – 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM –’ patch (AskWoody)
  22. It’s still too early to install the latest patches for Win7, 8.1, and Office, but next month things will get less complicated Credit: Thinkstock This is the last month we’ll see security bulletins from Microsoft—and I can’t wait. Patch numbers are currently interlocked, with security bulletins referencing KB numbers that aren’t available in the Windows 10 cumulative updates or in the Windows 7 or 8.1 security-only or monthly rollup patches. But hang in there, it will get less complicated next month. I hope. This month there were 12 security bulletins from Microsoft, six rated critical, six important, the obligatory Flash Player patch, updates for the Excel Viewer and the Office Compatibility Pack, and a bewildering array of previews, which you don’t want unless you’re testing software. There was also a welcome revamp in the way Win7 and 8.1 security-only and monthly rollup patches overlap/supersede each other. The Win10 1607 cumulative update KB 3206632, as explained yesterday, fixed a major internet connection bug. Here’s what you need to know about the other Patch Tuesday updates. There’s the usual massive list of Office 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016 patches in KB 3208595, which combines the Dec. 6 non-security updates with the Dec. 13 security updates. Almost a hundred patches appear on the list. I haven’t heard of any problems with them, but the month is yet young. The SANS Internet Storm Center says that there are known exploits for four of this month’s patches – that’s the zero-day count. Two of the already-exploited patches are for Internet Explorer and Edge, which you probably aren’t using. One of them is for the .Net Framework patch KB 3205640 (more on that later). Leaving one “real” zero-day that most folks need to be concerned about: MS16-146 / KB 3204066, the security update for Microsoft Graphics Component. Tyler Reguly at Tripwire describes the issue this way: Two code execution vulnerabilities in the Windows Graphic component and an information disclosure in GDI. In addition to the vulnerability fixes, this update provides defense-in-depth changes that are not fully documented in the bulletin. It looks like the already-exploited hole is CVE-2016-7272, a remote code-execution vulnerability that we have very little published information about. If you see any in-the-real-world reports of exploits, let me know on AskWoody.com. Which brings me to the morass known as .Net Framework updates. In October we had separate patches for .Net 3.5.1 security-only, and for .Net 4.x security-only. This month, we have a security-only update for .Net 4.6.2, and a monthly rollup for all versions of .Net (including 4.6.2). If you’re running Win7, you can find the security-only patch for .Net 4.6.2, KB 3205394, in the Microsoft Update Catalog. Or you can find the monthly rollup via Windows Update. There’s a raging debate on AskWoody.com about the intrusive nature of .Net Framework Monthly Rollups. The general consensus is that most Windows users are OK installing the whole monthly rollup, instead of trying to pluck out the security-only portions. Finally, for those of you still running Vista, I have this advice from AskWoody contributor ER about speeding up your Windows Update scans: It looks like the KB3204723 security updates from MS security bulletin MS16-151 are the new Windows Update win32k.sys “speed-up” fixes for Windows Vista & Server 2008. Once again, KB3204723 is a new temporary “speedup” patch that will work from Dec. 13, 2016 to Jan. 9, 2017. As usual, I recommend you hold off on applying any of these patches until the initial carnage has run its course. When it’s safe to patch, I’ll post full details, including download links for those of you who wish to stay in the “Group B” security-only camp. The discussion continues on AskWoody.com. Source: Say goodbye to Microsoft security bulletins (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard)
  23. Tests Reveal the Best Antivirus to Clean Up an Infected Windows PC AV-TEST reveals most effective security products in case of a malware infection on a Windows 7 computer Security institute AV-TEST has posted the preliminary results of an endurance test that’s supposed to help determine the most efficient security products that can repair an infected system and remove malware. The tests were performed on Windows 7 and they will continue for another six months, so these are just preliminary figures collected from the first part of the research. Two security solutions managed to remove all samples of malware and achieve a total system repair score of 100 percent: Avira Antivirus Pro and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Kaspersky Internet Security 2016 and Symantec’s Norton Security were next with a clean-up rate of 99.2 percent, as they removed 39 samples of malware from the infected systems. Microsoft’s Security Essentials got the worst score Unfortunately for those who rely on Microsoft’s freeware Security Essential antivirus tool, the score it got puts it at the bottom of the pack with a system repair rate of 86.7 percent. Security Essentials was capable of removing only 32 of the 40 samples of malware. AV-TEST has also conducted tests on some special malware removal tools and while they were also efficient, the preliminary data shows that fully featured antivirus apps are at least as good. “It is already striking that security solutions are finishing ahead of the special tools. This is the case, regardless of whether the security packages were installed after the systems were infected or were already installed and only deactivated for the infection,” the testing institute notes. “The latter scenario simulates the case where the attacker was previously unknown to the security package. This also underscores the quality of a security solution. Even if it did not know the latest attacker, it retroactively corrected this error.” Source
  24. Microsoft Fixes problems With Win7/8.1 “Group B” Security-Only Patching Method Yes, MS has acknowledged the problem with fixing security-only bugs in non-security monthly rollup patches. And, yes, they say they’re going to fix it. Big news. Tell your Win7 friends. InfoWorld Woody on Windows UPDATE: It pains me to say that my interpretation of Microsoft’s post may be overly optimistic. See the comments here for details. It’s possible that the fix will only be made to the supersedence chain – not to the underlying patches. Sigh. Source - AskWoody Microsoft fixes Windows 7 'Group B' security-only patching method Great news: TechNet blog eschews fixing Win7/8.1 security-only bugs with monthly rollup patches In what may be the most important news for ongoing Windows 7 customers since the patchocalypse, Microsoft field engineer Scott Breen has both analyzed the key problem with "Group B" security-only patching in Windows 7, and has promised a solution. Don't be put off by the title -- Update to Supersedence Behaviour for Security Only and Security Monthly Quality Rollup Updates. The underlying message is crucial for Win7 and 8.1 users who aren't connected to a corporate update manager. The crux of the matter lies in the way Win7 (and 8.1) users update their machines, starting last October. I divide the patching universe into two hemispheres: Group A is willing to take all of Microsoft's new telemetry systems, along with potentially useful nonsecurity updates. It installs the Monthly rollup (in Microsoft parlance the "Security Monthly Quality Rollup" patch). Group B doesn't want any more snooping than absolutely necessary and doesn't care about improvements like daylight saving time zone changes. But it does want to keep applying security patches. It installs Security-only patches (Microsoft-speak "Security Only Quality Update"). The key problem arises when Microsoft introduces a bug in a Security-only patch and then fixes that bug in a Monthly Rollup patch. By forcing Security-only updaters to install a non-security rollup, Microsoft effectively bars customers from only installing security patches. Breen illustrates the problem with this graphic. A bug in an October Security-only patch was fixed in a November monthly rollup. (I believe he's referring to the MS16-087 print spooler bug.) Says Breen: It also threw the Win7 (and 8.1, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, and Server 2012 R2) patching community into a black hole. Although few people realized it, the integrity of the security-only patching method was at stake. Many knowledgeable Win7 patchers simply threw in the towel: If Microsoft was going to force them to install the non-security (read: telemetry) patches, they didn't want any of it. They didn't sign up for Windows 7 snooping, so they stopped patching entirely. I'm very happy to report that Microsoft has acknowledged the error of its ways. Starting this month, Breen says, bugs in Monthly Rollup patches will be fixed in Monthly Rollup patches, and bugs in Security-only patches will be fixed by changing the metadata in those patches. Those of you who deal with WSUS or SCCM can read his article and see how that key change will ripple into the WSUS listing. For those of you who just worry about patching Windows 7 (or 8.1, Server, etc.), you can stick to your guns. If there's a bug in a Security-only patch, it'll get fixed in a Security-only patch -- possibly the same Security-only patch will be re-issued, perhaps a subsequent patch will just roll over the bad one. It's a great day for Windows 7 and 8.1 customers. Source - InfoWorld Woody on Windows Alternate Source - gHacks - Changes to Windows Update supersedence
  25. Microsoft Pulls MS 3197868, The Win7 Security Rollup That Blew Apart Malwarebytes Thanks to Abbodi… Microsoft has pulled KB 3197868. You can search for it in the Update Catalog: https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=3197868 That’s right. The November Monthly Rollup for Win7 ain’t there any more. I guess that settles the question of whether Malwarebytes or Microsoft made a mistake. Malwarebytes stated a week ago: and they haven’t changed their tune. Malwarebytes fixed the problem very quickly. If you’ve updated Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in the past week, you’re fine. Those of you in Group A who haven’t yet applied the November patches can go ahead. Remarkably, the Preview of next month’s Monthly Rollup is still in the Update Catalog. Sounds like Microsoft forgot to sign 500 files in the November Monthly Rollup, but remembered to sign them in the preview of next month’s Monthly Rollup. No idea if we’ll get KB 3197868 back before the turkeys gobble. UPDATE: On Wednesday evening, both November Monthly Rollups, KB3197874 and KB3197868, came back online. They’re marked “Last modified: 11/23/2016”. No idea why they were pulled – and Microsoft isn’t saying. Source FYI: November 2016 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 - (KB3197874) too pulled off. You'd now see only October 2016 Rollup in Windows Update. Hence, it is better to install Security Only Quality Rollups - Group B or Don't install any updates - Group W(C). Update: Win 7/8.1 November Monthly Rollups - Patched 23 November 2016 are up. Group A Update now using Windows Update! Note: Microsoft Update Catalog isn't updated with patched rollup, still signed 3 November 2016.