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Found 206 results

  1. 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] Supported operating systems Windows 7 Ultimate Windows 7 Ultimate E Windows 7 Professional Windows 7 Professional E Windows 7 Home Premium Windows 7 Home Premium E Windows 7 Home Basic Windows 7 Starter Windows 7 Starter E Windows Vista Ultimate Windows Vista Business Windows Vista Business N Windows Vista Home Premium Windows Vista Home Basic Windows Vista Home Basic N Windows Vista Starter Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Without Hyper-V) Windows Server 2008 Foundation Windows Server 2008 Standard Windows Small Business Server 2008 Windows Storage Server 2008 Standard Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Windows Home Server 2011 Windows Server 2012 Standard Windows Server 2012 Essentials Windows Server 2012 Foundation Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard Windows Storage Server 2012 Workgroup Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 Standard Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 Premium Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard What is new: Version 2.2.2 (04/02/2014) * Added support for Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems * Added a valid OEM SLP key for Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard (it was taken from a Dell server) * Added a warning for virtual machines created in VirtualBox that are using Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2 (use ICH9 for the loader to work) * Allowed the loader to be installed onto Xen again (if it doesn't work for you then it can't be fixed) * Added lots of new keys, SLIC's and certificates * Cleaned up the UI * Other minor tweaks and fixes * Other minor tweaks and fixes EXE MD5: 323c0fd51071400b51eedb1be90a8188EXE SHA-1: 0efc35935957c25193bbe9a83ab6caa25a487ada http://www.mirrorcreator.com/files/1RTQXFOX/Windows_Loader_v2.2.2-Daz.rar_links ======================================================================================================================= Backup/Restore Windows 7 Activation - Advanced Tokens Manager v3.3 Using This Program: Advanced Tokens Manager, is very simple to use, you simply have a folder with the program, run it, press Backup button, wait for the return of success After the procedure, save the folder, and make sure that the following files Executable Backup Folder It's necessary to restore activation at a future installation * For silent restore, put /S argument and check the following files are saved in the Backup folder, the silent backup is working only with windows activation config.ini tokens.dat "BBBBB" Product Key is shown, What ? This is return, is an MAK Key, or other key hidden in the Registry, and not has been decoded by application No problems, the application will shown an window for you enter the correct product key for an trusted backup Please have sure of input product key If received key is wrong, the restore can't work Is shown the last 5 characters of real product key for you input Error extracting product key at the kernel ? - You can receive this return when backup any activation, probably 2 problems: You not have any product key installed on the product Your install is corrupted and impossible to extract the product key - How can I solve ? Try restart the system Repair your installs Latest Release Changelog: v3.3 [2011/10/29] - Solid Hybrid Core Code, really, all is worked without any system file dependency [ Before, it needs of the Slmgr.vbs and Ospp.vbs, not needed more ] - Hard worked all application, Fixed all detected bugs, tested with many OS Versions and Licenses - By improvements, the estimated time for Windows Restore is ~ 5min and ~ 1min for Office - If detected key match with decoded found key, you not need to enter the real pkey - Using advanced Config.ini file detection, and return code for invalid file - Improved the compatibility with Office 2010 family [ Project / Visio ] - Full-Written based in WMI Console, not depends of any script - Added backup checks for the sure of the backed-up files - Added Pkey check after install, for better return code - Now refresh directly with kernel all activation system - Solved the problems with missing script file - Added return codes for Registry Restore - Improved GUI with 120 DPI Display mode - Reworked backup / restore modules - Optimized thread calls structure - Clean the memory after restore - Optimized new code-structure - Improved restore timeload - Improved Backup detection - Optimized backup time - Corrected UI Errors - Improved APP-Load - Fixed core code Name: Advanced Tokens Manager v3.3.exeSize: 3.17 MBCRC32: 573B78D5MD5: 20ACC86957A0DE7C9BBD66116F4F27FFSHA-1: AE76D74879F5BC87CDF7D9906CA0F8E750F2BBF9 Download Link http://www.mirrorcreator.com/files/CISZFWBJ/Advanced_Tokens_Manager_v3.3.rar_links Detail Instruction Of Advanced Tokens Manager
  2. MSDN

    Update : This Post is Active 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-3 : 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 : 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 PS :
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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)
  10. 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)
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. When I wrote in InfoWorld about the Windows 7 and 8.1 “patchocalypse” – last month’s abrupt change in the way Microsoft patches Win7 and 8.1 – I described two groups. I called them “Group A” and “Group B” (imaginative, eh?). In broad terms: Those in Group A are willing to take all of Microsoft’s new telemetry systems, along with potentially useful nonsecurity updates. Those in Group B don’t want any more snooping than absolutely necessary, and they don’t care about improvements like daylight saving time zone changes, but want to keep applying security patches. I also described the hold-outs: A third group, Group W, doesn’t want anything from Microsoft — no patches, no security updates, nada. I don’t recommend that you sit on the Group W bench, but it can be understood given changes Microsoft has made to Win7 and 8.1 machines, without our permission, in the past. Since that time, I’ve written a lot of words about Group A and Group B. There are procedures, and nuances, for both. But I’ve generally avoided writing about Group W (named in homage to Arlo Guthrie; some people call it Group C). There’s a reason why. I have a recurring nightmare – no, really – where somebody comes up with a really pernicious piece of malware that knocks out unpatched Win 7 and 8.1 machines, even when the owners of those machines are super-cautious. I’m talking about responsible Group W benchers who use alternative browsers (Firefox, Chrome), never click on anything that looks remotely dicey, and religiously run both antivirus programs and periodic antimalware scans. I would never forgive myself for recommending a course of action that puts a big swath of Windows 7 users in harm’s way. After all, Windows 7 still accounts for about half of all PC use world-wide, and it’s likely to continue to be the dominant desktop operating system for years to come. Source: NetMarketShare I’m convinced that Group A (Monthly rollup) and Group B (Security-only updates) are viable alternatives, but there’s a lurking demon in the Group B closet. If we ever get a bad bug in a Security-only update, and that bug is fixed in a non-security Monthly rollup, all bets are off. If Microsoft breaks something in a Security-only patch, they need to fix it in a Security-only patch. Otherwise, those who only install Security-only patches are going to end up with bug-infested systems. I’ve fretted over this problem in many of my InfoWorld blogs these past two months. In fact, we’ve already seen a minor example, where a Security-only update bug in MS16-087 was fixed in a non-security part of a Monthly rollup. Microsoft documents it here: As best I can tell, that bug hasn’t been fixed in a Group B Security-only update. It may never be fixed in a Security-only update. That means someone who sticks to Group B and only installs Security-only updates will have the flaw in MS16-087 forever. That’s simply inexcusable, even if the bug only affects a small number people in an esoteric way, even if Microsoft has documented complex manual fix instructions. So we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Group B seems like an excellent approach for those who don’t want Microsoft’s Windows 7 snooping enhancements. On the other hand, if Microsoft can’t fix its own mistakes in Group B, there’s nothing you or I can do about it. With that as background, I’ve asked Canadian Tech – who slogs through these problems with hundreds of users – to repeat a recommendation he’s made many times: It now appears that B is an impractical strategy for 99% of users. And, here is the reason why: When an error is made in a security-only update, if the error turns out not to have a security affect, it may be corrected in a non-security update. In that case if you were following B strategy, you would be left with an un-corrected defective update installed on your computer. If you were extremely diligent and knew about it, you may be able to get the correction in specific cases. This would entail an extreme amount of diligence that few would be willing or able to provide. The new rollup style of updates that Microsoft is now providing to what we would call Group A, which include all kinds of updates (security and non-security), are cumulative. That means if you miss a month or even more, it will not matter because by installing the latest month’s rollup, you would be up to date. NOTE well, that Security-only updates are NOT cumulative. Which means if you miss a month, you may never get the missed updates. So one strategy that you may wish to consider is following Group C, but still updating .net and Microsoft Office through Windows Update, but installing no Windows updates at all. It would be advisable in this case that you stop using Internet Explorer because you would not be getting those updates, but instead use an alternative browser. Then, after following this strategy for some time, if things take a turn for the worse, and you decide you made the wrong choice (Group C with .net an Office updates), you can easily shift to A by simply using the latest offered Rollup offered in Windows Update. So, as things have evolved, it looks like the vast majority have really only two choices: A as described above or C (modified as described above). The good news is that if you follow the modified C strategy, you have a way back to the Microsoft way, that is easy to implement. There’s been an extensive discussion of Canadian Tech’s advice on the “Malwarebytes stumbles with false positive on KB 3197868, the Win7 November Monthly Rollup” post. Unfortunately, WordPress makes it very difficult to move comments from that post to this post, so I would ask those of you with strong opinions to please restate them (or copy and paste them) into the comments here. Source: The case for not updating Windows 7. Ever. (AskWoody.com)
  15. Malwarebytes Stumbles With False Positive On KB 3197868, The Win7 November Monthly Rollup Thanks to SC for the heads up. Looks like those of you running Malwarebytes on a Win7 system using Group A updating are in for a rocky ride. Symptoms of the kernel32.dll false positive include locked up systems, and machines that take five minutes or more to shut down. On Thursday, Malwarebytes narrowed down the problem and posted this solution: Malwarebytes’ solutions are to uninstall KB 3197868 if you haven’t rebooted after installing it, use System Restore, or manually replace some system files (which is a bear!). Source UPDATE:
  16. MS-DEFCON 4: Time To Get November Windows And Office Patches Applied If you have Win7 or 8.1, follow How to cautiously update Windows 7 and 8.1 machines. For those in Group B, the update you want from the Microsoft Catalog is here: Win7 64-bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2016/11/windows6.1-kb3197867-x64_6f8f45a5706eeee8ac05aa16fa91c984a9edb929.msu Win7 32-bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2016/11/windows6.1-kb3197867-x86_2313232edda5cca08115455d91120ab3790896ba.msu [NOTE: My earlier link was incorrect!] Win 8.1 64-bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/d/msdownload/update/software/secu/2016/11/windows8.1-kb3197873-x64_cd0325f40c0d25960e462946f6b736aa7c0ed674.msu [NOTE AGAIN: My earlier link was wrong. Thanks, everybody.] Win 8.1 32-bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2016/11/windows8.1-kb3197873-x86_b906109f30b735290a431fdc8397249cfcc3e84b.msu If you have Win10, follow my new Win10Tip Apply updates carefully As usual, if you have any problems, tell me all about it! Windows Patches/Security November 2016 Black Tuesday Source
  17. I’m seeing reports all over the web that KB 3185330, the “October 2016 security monthly quality rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1,” is messing up search history, possibly in Internet Explorer, Google Toolbar in IE, and Chrome. Poster Mike on Krebs on Security says: I had to use system restore to remove the security rollup update KB3185330 for Windows 7. Applying the update caused a massive slow down in performance and affected functions for some IE11 add-ons (most notably-blocking the Google toolbar history from appearing and not allowing suggestions while typing in searches). I’m seeing similar reports about KB 3185331, the analogous “October 2016 security monthly quality rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.” KB 3197954, the Oct. 27 Win10 cumulative update that brings version 1607 up to 14393.351. I haven’t seen any definitive word about the November Monthly Rollups (KB 3197868 for Win7 and KB 3197874 for Win 8.1). Nor have I seen any discussion of KB 3198586, the Nov. 8 cumulative update for Win10 version 1511 that brings it up to 10586.679. There are many posts in the Microsoft Answers forum, although it’s still fuzzy to me if the disappearing search history problem applies to Internet Explorer 11, Google Toolbar (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome), and/or Firefox or Chrome itself. Uninstalling the patch restores the browser history — so it looks like the bug doesn’t delete the history, it just hides the history. Article source
  18. Microsoft recently rolled out two updates for Windows 7: security-only update KB3197867 and Monthly Rollup KB3197868. Windows 7 users tried to download these updates as soon as they became available, only to find out that installing KB3197868 is much more difficult than expected. Monthly Rollup KB3197868 doesn’t bring new system features, but includes many security updates and quality improvements. Unfortunately, many Windows 7 users still can’t install KB3197868. They manage to download the update, but the install process fails and reverts. I am having the same problem that someone else reported but regarding which there has not yet been a reply: Security Update KB3197868 fails to install and reverts. This has happened with a few other updates in the past and I have never been able to find a solution on this site. I really want the protection afforded by the update and would very much appreciate knowing what I can do to have its installation continue to a successful conclusion. Microsoft’s support team hasn’t been able to offer a proper solution for this bug, and indicated some obscure troubleshooting steps that have nothing to do with the issue described by users. The problem is that irrespective of the update channel used, Windows Update or Microsoft’s Update Catalog, the result is the same. Windows 7 users can download KB3197868, but at a given moment, the install process freezes and reverts without any error message. As a quick reminder, Monthly Rollup KB3197868 enhances security for the following Windows components: Microsoft Graphics Component, kernel-mode drivers, Microsoft Video Control, Common Log File System driver, Windows authentication methods, Windows operating system, Windows File Manager, Windows registry, OpenType, and Internet Explorer 11. Article source
  19. Early results look promising: the many-hours-long Win7 waits may be behind us For the past five months, there has been a crescendo of complaints about slow Windows 7 scans. The check for Windows updates -- a simple process that should take a few minutes -- has ballooned to two, three, four, eight, or more hours for many (I'm tempted to say most) Win7 customers. Microsoft claims to have finally solved the problem with speedup patch KB 3161647, but there are a couple of gotchas. The monthly Win7 patch whack-a-mole has been reaching Keystone Kops proportions. In April, poster EP on AskWoody.com discovered that installing two completely unrelated patches -- KB 3138612 and KB 3145739 -- could reduce Win7 update scan times from hours down to minutes. In May, EP found that installing a totally different patch, KB 3153199, also did the trick. In June, the magic bullet came from KB 3161664. All of these solutions had one thing in common: they involved replacing win32k.sys. Apart from that, they seemed to be completely random. A German site, wu.krelay.de, issued new speed-up advisories for March, April, May, and June, all with intricate tables of the downloads that could shave hours off Win7 update tasks. Every month there were different patches. But what really got my goat: Those hours-long waits generally involved the computer just sitting there. There was little activity over the internet, almost no activity on the PC, while "check for updates" kept checking and checking and checking. Millions of people were sitting, hour upon hour, waiting for Microsoft's servers in the sky to get their act together. Of course, conspiracy theorists took this as one more sign that Microsoft doesn't give a rat's patootie about Windows 7 users. There aren't many companies that would treat half their installed user base to such an experience. Here are the two gotchas with Microsoft's official fix: First, you have to install last year's servicing stack update, KB 3020369, before you can install the speedup patch. Microsoft doesn't document that anywhere, but various reports indicate that you need it installed. Note that there were problems with KB 3020369 triggering a "Stage 3 of 3" hang. There's a description and a workaround in my post from a year ago. Second, Microsoft doesn't have a download for the Win7 scan fix by itself. The only way you can get KB 3161647 is by installing the update rollup KB 3161608. KB 3161647 contains the "fix for a Windows Update error 0x8007000E on some computers while they are updating" as well as "some reliability improvements." The update rollup KB 3161608 includes four fixes that are completely unrelated. Confused yet? This means Windows 7 users must install six unrelated patches in order to get Microsoft's Win7 updating mess untangled -- seven unrelated patches, if you include KB 3020369. If one of those seven patches isn't to your liking, sorry bucko, you're relegated to the eight-hour-wait list. KB 3161608 is only starting to roll out to Win7 users, so if you haven't seen it yet, be patient. As best I can tell, there's no analogous patch for Vista customers. It's still too early to tell if this is a permanent fix, and won't really know if Microsoft actually fixed the problem until July. Do the math. Half a billion PCs times two or three or four lost hours per machine -- and this from your favorite productivity company. Is it any wonder people are turning off automatic updates? Many thanks to EP, NC, ch100, and other sleuths on the AskWoody.com fora. Source: Microsoft releases KB 3161647, KB 3161608 to fix slow Windows 7 update scans (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) InfoWorld - Woody on Windows AskWoody.com - Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
  20. Microsoft’s Updating Terminology Is Atrocious The article looks at Microsoft's new naming system for Windows updates for monthly patches for Windows 8 and 7.1 operating systems. Microsoft revealed some time ago that it wanted to bring the cumulative update scheme from its Windows 10 operating system to Windows 8.1 and 7. The new scheme started in October 2016 and brought along with it massive changes in regards to the downloading and deployment of updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems. The move removed control from admins and home users alike, as it introduced an all or nothing approach to updating. Previously, you could install or block individual updates, for instance if they caused issues on the system. With the new scheme, you cannot do that anymore as all updates are deployed as a single update. This means that you need to remove the whole update -- all good ones and the ones causing issues -- if you run into issues. The new updating scheme raises another question: how are bugs caused by security updates handled? If they are patched by non-security updates, then security-only systems won't get them. Microsoft's updating terminology is atrocious But there is another issue, one that has not been talked about that much. Microsoft publishes two update packages for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 each month. One includes only security updates released in that month, the other includes those security updates and non-security updates. The second may furthermore include patches from previous months on top of that. The designated names for these updates are: [month] Security Only Quality Update for [operating systems]. Example: November, 2016 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 8 and Server 2008 R2 [month] Security Monthly Quality Rollup for [operating systems]. Example: November, 2016 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 The naming scheme is confusing in my opinion even though there are indicators that tell you which is which. Here are the pointers: The security-only update package for a given month has "security only" in the title. The all updates package for a given month as "rollup" in the title. This is the only way to distinguish between those two update packages. It is important for Windows users and administrators who only want to install the security updates but not the regular updates. It is unclear why Microsoft made them sound this similar. While I can understand the company's desire to reflect that both include security updates, it would have been better if it would have picked a slightly different terminology for the updates: Security Only Update for Rollup Update for This would make things a lot clearer and prevent much of the confusion surrounding the current terminology for update packages for Windows. Now you: What's your take on the new updating terminology? Source
  21. Hi, I have recently installed a fresh Windows 7. Now there is a strange file opening behavior. Please see the image for more understanding. http://imgur.com/gaJPdFF In above image, Cursor is on F Drive (F Drive is selected to be opened and clicked) but DVD drive (D drive) is also selected simultaneously and instead of F drive, DVD drive opens. So general behavior is: "Bottom most file is automatically selected", and opens no matter what file I click to open. This problem removes if I press Tab key once, and issue do not reappear until I start Windows again, and then again I have to press Tab key once. This has never happened before and Windows installation ISO is clean. Please help.
  22. To analyze the current state of device security, Duo Security analyzed more than two million devices, 63 percent of which were running Microsoft operating systems. Seriously outdated Windows versions Researchers found that 65 percent of all Windows devices are running Windows 7, affected by approximately 600 security vulnerabilities. To make things even more dangerous, tens of thousand of devices are still running Windows XP 15 years after its release. This represents more than 700 vulnerabilities, 200 of which are rated as high-to-critical. “There are numerous reasons why companies continue to stick with older operating systems like Windows 7,” said Ajay Arora, CEO of Vera. “Reasons can range from the cost it takes to update every computer, or the software they are currently using might not translate to newer operating system and environments.” “If companies chose to continue to use Windows 7 and operating systems that lack features such as, no default disk encryption to protect data on lost devices and no file-level encryption to protect data as it leaves the corporate network, they need to consider using security software that do. It comes down to, spending the money to address the underlying issue of using an operating system with weaker security, spending money to update the operating systems, or spending the money to secure the thing you are trying to protect in the first place; the data itself,” concluded Arora. Microsoft browsers Twenty percent of devices running Internet Explorer are running unsupported versions 8, 9 and 10. IE versions 8 through 10 have reached end-of-life status without the ability to receive security patches, leaving them susceptible to old exploits. Of all devices running Microsoft browsers, only 3% are using the latest, Edge. Additional findings Nearly 62 percent of devices running IE have an old version of Flash installed potentially making them susceptible to compromise by an exploit kit containing code for Flash vulnerabilities. Ninety-eight percent of devices running IE have Java installed. Businesses have legacy and custom applications that rely on Java. Java remains a top target of attackers. Forty-two percent of all devices analyzed used Microsoft services, including Remote Desktop Protocol, Outlook Web Access, and Remote Desktop Gateway. “Malicious actors rely on out-dated and up-patched software, including operating systems, so they can automate malware distribution because they can save time and money – thereby increasing their profits,” said Stephen Singam, Managing Director, Security Research at Distil Networks, told Help Net Security. “Reports like this are alarming because there is clearly a dangerously high number of devices that are worth targeting. The likelihood of one of these devices being compromised and subsequently added to a botnet are high and the likelihood of the owner of the device knowing their device has been compromised is low,” Singam added. Protection tips To protect against the vulnerabilities discussed here, Duo recommends: Switch to modern browser platforms that are more secure such as Edge or those that update more frequently and automatically Run regular security updates as well as emergency patches Use device encryption, passwords and fingerprint ID Implement a two-factor authentication solution to protect systems and data Enable automatic updates for as much software as possible to make it easier for your users Disable Java and prevent Flash from running automatically on corporate devices, and enforce this on user-owned devices through endpoint access policies and controls. Article source
  23. You may have noticed that update checks on Windows 7 machines may take a long, long, long time to complete before any updates are displayed for download and installation. Some users have reported that it took them days to get the initial list of updates displayed to them. That's unacceptable on several levels, but more importantly leaves the operating system open to attacks and issues for that period of time. We talked about speeding up the Windows 7 update rollup already. While it may have resolved the issue for some, or at least dropped the time "checking for updates" is displayed to you when you run checks, it did not resolve the issue completely for many users. Fix for slow "checking for updates" on Windows 7 The fix should not take longer than a couple of minutes. It involves downloading and installing an update for Windows 7. Once installed, update checks should not take longer than a couple of minutes tops. I verified this on two PCs running Windows 7 which took ages to check for updates before installing the patch. Here is what you need to do: Download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of KB3172605 to your Windows 7 machine, and install it. If you get a "not applicable to your computer" error, download and install KB3020369 instead: 32-bit version, 64-bit version. Note that you need to download the 32-bit version if you run a 32-bit version of Windows 7, and the 64-bit version of the update if you run Windows 7 64-bit. KB3172605 is the July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. KB3020369 the April 2015 servicing stack update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You are asked to restart the PC after installing the patch on the system. Run a check for updates after the PC comes back on. You can do so by tapping on the Windows-key, typing windows update, and hitting enter. You will notice that the check completes in record time on the system. While there is no guarantee that this will remain the case for future update checks, it is refreshing to know that update checks won't take hours or even days to find updates any more on Windows 7 machines. This was discovered by Woody Leonhard. I suggest you check out his website Ask Woody if you have not done so already, as it is a treasure trove for all things Windows. Guide source
  24. Credit: Michael Theis With the new update regime now in full force, you need to change your patching ways For those of you who've been waiting to apply Microsoft's October patches, the coast looks reasonably clear. We have a few outstanding problems with bugs in the latest round of patches -- Office 365 Click-to-Run customers need to take special note -- but by and large, the October updates are now ready for prime time. The patching landscape now is quite different from how it appeared last month, thanks to the patchocalypse -- Microsoft's way of combining patches into indivisible groups. If you're not yet familiar with the approach, take a look at my overview of the new approach. In essence, you need to take a stand. Your two patching choices are the following: Group A: Those willing to take all of Microsoft's new telemetry systems, along with potentially useful nonsecurity updates. Group B: Those who don't want more snooping than absolutely necessary and don't care about improvements like daylight saving time zone changes, but want to keep applying security patches. If you fall into Group A and you've set Automatic Update to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" or "Never check for updates (not recommended)," it's time to release the Kraken. Here's how to proceed. Group A, Step 1: In Windows 8.1's desktop mode, hold down the Windows key and press X, then choose Control Panel. In Windows 7, using an administrator-level account, click Start, Control Panel. In both cases, click System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the "Turn automatic updating on or off" link. Group A, Step 2: Check the box marked "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" and click OK. Group A, Step 3: Back in the System and Security part of Control Panel, click Check for updates. If you get some sort of nonsense about "Check for updates for your computer," once again, click Check for updates. Group A, Step 4: Wait. If you have the latest Win7 update scan speedup applied, it'll take a few minutes. If you don't, it may take hours. (Detailed instructions coming on InfoWorld.) Group A, Step 5: Don't go looking for trouble. If you see a notice that optional updates are available, ignore the notice. All of the updates you need will be preselected. If there aren't any important updates that you need, nothing will be selected. In particular, if you go poking around, you'll probably see something called a "Preview of Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7"or Win 8.1. You don't want it. The "Preview" is, in fact, a beta version of the rollup you can expect next month -- and it isn't baked yet. That's why Microsoft calls it a "Preview." I have no idea why the company put it in the Windows Update collection. Normal people should never go near the "Previews." No, you don't want to check any unchecked patches. Group A, Step 6: If you see a button that says "Install updates," click it. You may need to reboot; Windows Update will step you through it. Group A, Step 7: Get Automatic updating turned off, and wait for next month: Click the "Change Settings" link on the left. (If you're back on the desktop, click Start, Control Panel, System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the "Turn automatic updating on or off" link.) Verify that you have Important Updates set to "Never check for updates (not recommended)" and click OK. Those steps should get your Windows 7 machine fully patched, with all that Microsoft has to offer, without installing anything weird. You'll be left ready for next month's batch -- and set up to wait until the unwashed masses have finished beta testing the release. Group B is an entirely different kettle of fish. Performing a Group B update is a tad more difficult than a Group A update, because you want to go straight for the security patches (plus Office patches, .Net patches, and anything odd that gets tossed into the mix) while avoiding the Monthly rollups (now called Security Monthly Quality Rollups), which include both security and nonsecurity patches. If you choose to go the Group B route, here's how to get patched: Group B, Step 1: Find this month's Security-only patch (now called a Security Only Quality Update) for your computer. The easiest way I know to locate the file ignores the Microsoft Update Catalog and instead goes through the associated KB article. For Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, go to the Win7 update history page. For Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2, go to the Win 8.1 update history page. In either case, you see a list of updates like that shown in this screenshot: You're looking for the latest "Security only update" -- in the screenshot, that's KB 3192391, released on Oct. 11. Once you've found it, click on the down arrow next to the date, then click on the link to the KB article, in this case, the link to KB 3192391. Group B, Step 2: Once you're in the KB article, scroll down to the section marked "How to obtain and install the update." Choose the correct package -- note that the "Security Only Quality Update for Windows 7" is for 32-bit systems and "Security Only Quality Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems" is for 64-bit systems. Click the "Download the package now" link below the correct version of Windows. Group B, Step 3: Scroll below the advertising and click on the red Download Now box. Run the downloaded MSU file. Windows will take a while to install the update, then prompt you to reboot the computer. Click Restart Now. That installs the month's security patches. But there's more -- .Net, Office, and likely some miscellaneous. Group B, Step 4: You need to run Windows Update to catch any patches that you need other than the patches for Win7 itself. My recommendation is that you avoid Microsoft's "recommended" patches -- all too frequently they include changes you may not want (for example, KB 2952664). To make sure you don't get recommended updates preselected, click Start, Control Panel, System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the "Turn automatic updating on or off" link. Uncheck the box marked "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" and click OK. Group A B (Typo edited by poster), Step 5: Back in the System and Security part of Control Panel, click Check for updates. If you get some sort of nonsense about "Check for updates for your computer," once again, click Check for updates. Group B, Step 6: Here's where you need to burn a few gray cells. Chances are good you'll have one or more "important" updates listed and several "optional." Start by clicking the link to the important updates. Group B, Step 7. Under "important" updates, you'll likely find "Security and Quality Rollup for .Net Framework" -- which you probably want, as well as security patches for Office. Keep those checked. Most important: You shouldn't see an update for Security Monthly Quality Rollup, but if you do, uncheck the box next to the patch. I haven't seen that patch appear after installing the Security-only update, but ya never know. If you install the Security Monthly Quality Rollup, it will propel you into Group A. Look through the Optional updates if you like, but remember that those are the patches you're largely rejecting because you're in Group B. Group B, Step 8: Click OK, then click Install Updates. Reboot, and you're done -- although it wouldn't hurt to make sure that Automatic update remains set at "Never check for updates (not recommended)." With that, you're all updated and ready to go. Or, more accurately, you're ready to wait for next month's updates. We'll keep you posted. Source: How to cautiously update Windows 7 and 8.1 machines InfoWorld - Woody on Windows AskWoody.com - Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
  25. Based on a technique created by a German blogger, here's how to stop wasting hours checking for Windows 7 updates I’ve been complaining about slow Windows 7 updates since April. Running “check for updates” in Win7 shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, even on a very slow line. Instead, we’ve seen checks that take hours -- sometimes many hours. Your machine bogs down to the point where it’s unusable, and it may stay that way for the better part of a day. Fortunately, thanks to German language site wu.krelay.de, we now appear to have a simple solution. Microsoft has released a series of speed-up patches, but all of them come with significant baggage -- if they even work. In April, AskWoody poster EP discovered that the unlikely combination of two unrelated patches, KB 3138612 and KB 3145739 -- a Windows Update patch paired with a graphics security patch -- sped up the scans significantly. As of May 10, that patch combination stopped working and Windows Update scans turned from tolerable to infuriating. Later in May, Microsoft issued KB 3153199, another security patch that, when combined with KB 3138612, put Windows Update back in the “tolerable” category. It didn’t work for long, either. Continuing the whack-a-mole approach, in June Microsoft released a weird optional (unchecked) amalgamated patch called KB 3161608, which worked, but in order to get the speedup part going you had to install six completely unrelated patches. Then in July, Microsoft pulled KB 3161608 and replaced it with optional patch KB 3172605. It, too, was optional and unchecked -- if you wanted it, you had to specifically check the box in Windows Update to install it. Documentation’s sketchy, but it looks like the July patch also comes adorned with six completely unrelated patches, and it has a “known issue” in blowing away Intel Bluetooth connections. As I kvetched last month: I don't know about you, but I'm getting very sick of Microsoft's repeated bungling in this Windows 7 Update debacle. If the company put one-thousandth the effort into fixing Win7 Update as it has into enticing users to install Windows 10, the problem would've been fixed months ago. One billion machines running two or four or six hours a month, doing nothing. Now, with August Patch Tuesday upon us, it looks like the ol’ mole is back. I say enough. It’s time to cut the monthly encumbered official update out of the equation. German blogger Dalai, posting on wu.krelay.de/en, has been pointing the way since March. I promised Dalai that I would boil his procedure down to a series of “For Dummies”-worthy steps. With the help of AskWoody poster ch100 and drawing on EP’s early efforts, here’s the result. I have included download links for Windows 7. If you want to try this on Vista or Windows 8.1, consult wu.krelay.de/en for details. Step 1. Make sure you have KB 3078601, 3109094, 3138612, 3145739, and 3164033 installed You only have to do this once. To see if you're missing any of them, you can check the Windows Updates installed updates list (Start, Control Panel, under Windows Update click View installed updates). But it’s probably easier to download all of them and try to install them. If one is already installed, the installer will tell you -- no harm done. Step 1a. Make sure you know if you have a 32-bit (so-called “x86”) or 64-bit (“x64”) version of Windows 7. If you’re not sure, click Start, right-click Computer, choose Properties, and look under System type. Step 1b. Use any browser to go to each patch download site: KB 3078601 x64 x32 KB 3109094 x64 x32 KB 3138612 x64 x32 KB 3145739 x64 x32 KB 3164033 x64 x32 Step 1c. On each of those sites, Click Download. You’ll get an MSU file. In Chrome and IE, by default, you see an offer to either Open or Save the file. Save it. In Firefox, by default, the file downloads. These Microsoft servers are notorious for freezing -- sometimes the download won’t start, sometimes it won’t finish. If that happens to you, try reloading the page (click the circle-arrow near the address bar). You can also switch browsers. In any case, if you experience oddities while trying to download you aren’t the only one. Step 1d. Turn off Windows Update. The least confusing way to do that is to click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools. Double-click on Services. Scroll down the list of Services and click once on Windows Update. Then, in the upper-left corner, click the link marked Stop. Step 1e. Double-click to run each of the five downloaded files. If the installer says you already have the patch, smile and go on to the next. Running those five updates will get you set up for the one significant update you need to run each month. Unless something weird changes (hey, this is Windows), you never need to go through Step 1 again. Step 2. Find this month’s favored patch and install it Unfortunately, the patch itself changes from month to month -- or at least, it has changed in every month since March. Here’s how to finish the job: Step 2a. Go to wu.krelay.de/en and find the latest magical patch. It’s listed at the top of the first table on the wu.krelay.de/en site. In July, the magic patch was KB 3168965. No doubt there will be a new one in August and another in September -- for however long we have to struggle with slow Win7 updates. Step 2b. Armed with the knowledge about whether your Windows 7 installation is 32- or 64-bit, use the links in that first table with any browser to download the correct patch. Step 2c. Save the patch but don’t install it. Step 2d. Make sure the Windows Update service is stopped. See Step 1d above. Step 2e. Double-click to run the downloaded patch. Step 2f. Reboot, as instructed after the patch is installed. (The Windows Update service will restart itself.) Then click on Start, Control Panel, and under Windows Update click Check for updates. If all went well, the check should take a few short minutes. My thanks -- and deep admiration -- to Dalai, ch100, and EP. Source: 2 easy steps to speed up Windows 7 Update scans (InfoWorld - Woody Leonhard) InfoWorld - Woody on Windows AskWoody.com - Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office