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  1. NOTE: When attempting to switch from default KMS to KMS38™ (LongLife) activation, run the KMS38 process by selecting from the drop-down-menu, then; if no Office is installed repeat process in 'Clean' mode (same menu), if Office is installed use 'Rearm'. Make sure the Office KMS activation is excluding Windows KMS38™. INFO: For adapted KMS_VL_ALL (Manual only) see download section beneath. In Windows 10 all systems no matter how they were activated (be it via Upgrade from Windows 7/8.1 or by using a bought Retail or an embedded BIOS aka MSDM license) will be converted to a Digital License which is based on the Hard Ware ID (HWID) of the respective machine. This License is stored at MS Servers and will activate this machine every time it's freshly installed. Only hardware changes will cause the License being invalidated. By binding it to a Microsoft Account (MSA) you will be able to transfer it in latter case. The process only needs to be performed once per machine. In later installs just skip any key prompts (choose 'I have no product key' during setup) and at first online contact the MS Server will regocnize the HWID and grant activation automatically. NOTE: When a Volume License version is installed from VLSC or MVS Business ISO, the default Retail/OEM key needs to be inserted to regain acticvation. It's actually quite simple and doesn't mess with any system files and leaked (*errrm stolen) keys. The ticket creation has been appropriately refined for each MS SKU edition so that the Manual Method below is fully applicable to all of them. The Automated Method has been included as well for an easiest activation and works with all MS SKU editions and was specifically devised for the following ones: Supported Windows 10 editions (SKUs): Core (Home) (N) <HWID/ KMS38™> CoreSingleLanguage (N) <HWID/ KMS38™> Professional (N) <HWID/ KMS38™> ProfessionalEducation (N) <HWID/ KMS38™> ProfessionalWorkstation (N)<HWID/ KMS38™> Education (N)<HWID/ KMS38™> Enterprise (N)<HWID/ KMS38™> EnterpriseS (N) 2015 <HWID> EnterpriseS (N) 2016 <HWID/ KMS38™> EnterpriseS (N) <KMS38™> ServerStandard(Core) (N) <KMS38™> ServerDatacenterCore) (N) <KMS38™> ServerSolution(Core) (N) <KMS38™> MANUAL METHOD: 1. Get GatherOsState.exe from Windows 10 17134 ISO 2. Get latest version of slshim from https://github.com/vyvojar/slshim/releases 3. Extract slshim32.dll (for gatherosstate from x86 ISO) or slshim64.dll (for gatherosstate from x64 ISO) 4. Place gatherosstate and extracted slshim dll in the same directory 5. Rename slshim dll to slc.dll 6. Import this to registry: 6.1. Set the real value for %sku% from beneath list. edition=Cloud sku=178 edition=CloudN sku=179 edition=Core sku=101 edition=CoreCountrySpecific sku=99 edition=CoreN sku=98 edition=CoreSingleLanguage sku=100 edition=Education sku=121 edition=EducationN sku=122 edition=Enterprise sku=4 edition=EnterpriseN sku=27 edition=EnterpriseS sku=125 edition=EnterpriseSN sku=126 edition=Professional sku=48 edition=ProfessionalEducation sku=164 edition=ProfessionalEducationN sku=165 edition=ProfessionalN sku=49 edition=ProfessionalWorkstation sku=161 edition=ProfessionalWorkstationN sku=162 Replace the 'XXX' with the needed sku value. If using REG make sure the string is 7 digits long, the CMD will take the value from above. CMD: reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\Tokens" /v "Channel" /t REG_SZ /d "Retail" /f reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\Tokens\Kernel" /v "Kernel-ProductInfo" /t REG_DWORD /d XXX /f reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\Tokens\Kernel" /v "Security-SPP-GenuineLocalStatus" /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f reg add "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers" /v "C:\gatherosstate.exe" /d "^ WIN7RTM" /f Make shure the XXX are peplaced by shown ID from above SKUID list. Adapt the above path to gatherosstate.exe to the actual path. 7. Enter default Retail/OEM key from products ini Key list from 17134.1 products.ini: Site: https://pastebin.com ShareCode: /rYakstDc if you have Enterprise N or LTSB 2016 N use this in elevated Powershell: ::EnterpriseN ((Get-Content '.\gatherosstate.exe') -replace "`0" | Select-String -Pattern "(.....-){4}C372T" -AllMatches).Matches | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Value ::EnterpriseSN ((Get-Content '.\gatherosstate.exe') -replace "`0" | Select-String -Pattern "(.....-){4}VMJWR" -AllMatches).Matches | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Value this will gather the key from within gatherosstate.exe 8. Run gatherosstate. After a few seconds you should get GenuineTicket.xml 9. (optional) Remove HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Tokens from registry. CMD: reg delete "HKLM\SYSTEM\Tokens" /f reg delete "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers" /v "C:\gatherosstate.exe" /f 10. Place the created genuineticket at the root of c:\ and in admin CMD: clipup -v -o -altto c:\ 11. then force activation with: cscript /nologo %windir%\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato DONE. Congrats. AUTOMATED METHOD: In case any VPN is used, deactivate it for the process duration. NOTE: The tool performs several system checks and may need a moment to appear (depending on your system specs), no need to panic, just wait a moment. Thanks. v51.15 --fixed Server gVLK detection for 2016/2019 (no 2013 support) --tested KMS38 support for Server Standard/Datacenter 2016 and 2019 --added ServerRdsh[Core] (Ent for Virtual Desktops) HWID and KMS38 support --re-work to use the compress2txt method by AveYo --EXE files are decoded directly on demand --Update LIC.SWITCHER to v.0.11.15 ++changed ISOLABEL creation to use more informative naming scheme ++fixed some key confusion in FILE TOOLS (thanks to J05H) ++re-work to use the compress2txt method by AveYo ++EXE files are decoded directly on demand ++some love for abbodi1406 and ServerRdsh[Core] ++fixed Server gVLK detection for 2016/2019 (no 2013 support) ++added Any-Time-Upgrade and Up/Downgrade for Server Standard/Datacenter 2016 and 2019 --changed build delta nr detection to use UBR v50.04 --fixed bug in sys key detection (thanks to [email protected]) v50.01 --added reworked net adapter checks from lic.switcher --new ACTIVATION TOOLS tab: ==KMS activate by excluding KMS38 and other permanently activated Windows ==Create/Delete KMS task ==Get OA3 BIOS key (if any) ==set custom key ==Activate online (for custom key set) ==KeyCheck for Edition and Lic Channel --added latest lic.switch 10.04 v40.08 --made the CoreToPro In-place-Upgrade in License Switcher fully automatic v40.01 --added Info Splash Screen and made it default Mode at tool start-up --added Rearm Mode in case Office is installed, else better use Clean (Reboot is mandatory for Rearm!) --changed Grace to show days --changed appearence of warning for silent modes (now at first/next user login) --added Modes to enable/disable the network adapter --added LicenseSwitch Tool: ++In-Place-Upgrade Core(N) to Professional(N), copies needed Pro(N) key to clipboard and invokes the 'Change Product Key' GUI, just Right-Click 'Paste. ++License-Switch versions from 1803 up to wished edition, reboot required. --added adapted version of KMS_VL_ALL (Manual Only) with KMS38™ detection to OP v30.18 --fixed borked silent mode v30.11 --switched to the new naming hence a refresh v30.08 --added KMS Host setting to KMS38™ process to avoid DNS queries v30.01 --added dedicated Modes for HWID, KMS38™, HWID/gVLK install and a Clean Mode to break the 180 days KMS lock --HWID: all normal editions with LTSB 2015/16 --KMS19™: [!!!offline!!!] all normal editions, LTSB 2016, LTSC 2019 and some Servers (see list above) --added refreshed system check to all processes --new silent switches: hwid and kms19 v20.01 --added 1809 gatherosstate.exe, added LTSC/Server (2016/19) support for offline KMS activation (19 years grace) v10.24 --fixed incorrect reg delete (thanks to angelkyo for the hint) v10.21 --corrected the Win 7 compat entry (thanks to the alert source) v10.18 --fixed broken LTSB 2016 process v10.15 --added Enterprise LTSB 2015 (N) support (tested on non-N version) (thanks to hwidmod for the gatherosstate.exe needed) v10.08 --added Key-Install-Mode (Drop-Down-Menu) to allow fast switch to Retail/OEM on re-Installs with VL ISO, which already have HWID and don't need the whole process, tool will show this key in System Info if not installed v10.01 --changed process slightly to run gatherosstate.exe in Win 7 compatibility mode, so created ticket will have operation system info set to Windows 7, this better mimiks the original ticket from a Win 7 system --optimized the Splash screens v9.32 --added hyperlinks to nsane and aiowares forums threads for info and support v9.25 --changed the initial Msgbox to splash screen with no user intervention v9.18 --reworked system check v9.11 --added LTSB 2015 (only non-N and not tested so far) and native splash screen to silent mode v9.04 --fixed spelling error in splash pic v9.01 --fixed the KMS detection (will work on activated KMS systems now) amd added silent mode v8.13 --added Messagebox to inform user tool-start-up might need a moment, fixed tool not closing when done via the 'X' v8.06 --changed disabled WU handling to: set to auto, start service, activate, stop service and set back to disabled v7.99 --added last checks and some code cleanup v7.77 --implemented disabled WU handling. Silent Mode: hwid.kms38.gen.mk6 hwid hwid.kms38.gen.mk6 kms38 HWID.KMS38™GEN DOWNLOAD: MIRROR1: Site: https://www.upload.ee Sharecode: /files/9137775/hwid.kms38.gen.mk6.zip.html MIRROR 2: Site: http://rgho.st Sharecode: /84w6SNXJp Pass (both): 3Fs44Rv#tZ4u3UOij656NgF____ Exe hashes: BLAKE2sp: 6182694a17c6f920f8899a59f8d5337fa515b526418781acd354b1c861657c1c CRC64: fa6b968133fee8aa MD5: f02b19360ea30b2fc919251c1d5b34d3 SHA-1: 636ea1f22ad2c1c04816160089fb68781aedfd53 SHA-256: ab1329245f88d43eea5b0989a127ecd7aa19f9fb30afbea818c2c7cb2d42921d SHA-384: 2727bb5f42714352d611ed63e0f237599832b96a103e8cf4d12cabb396a4409a1b2b738bbcb782f55fe6575f48450f52 SHA-512: c0426cdcb0c64c5065aecea429d9466f8b6b3fa6320c7affddd3e6b0e2f06015483af17e3ba12ac3c6e378722053ad8eab875fa881452767eea10a018710a1fe SHA3-224: d3f8f67de3475a426280bbe0146a04553f642f37b26ac09ee37804a7 SHA3-256: bf524417b49f72bc5f66eeb688edd2311d8d8dd67ef4fa842c953c0cd1b3b6de
  2. Karlston

    FAQ: Windows 10 LTSB explained

    The 'Long-term Servicing Branch' of Windows 10 was initially aimed at enterprises that wanted to avoid Microsoft's Windows-as-a-service model and delay frequent feature updates. Here's how it's supposed to work. Windows 10 powered to its third anniversary this year, but one branch, identified by the initials L-T-S-B, remained an enigma to most corporate users. LTSB, which stands for "Long-term Servicing Branch," was among the pillars of Windows 10 in the months leading up to, and for months after, the mid-2015 roll-out of the operating system. For a time, it seemed that it had a shot at becoming the Windows 10 for enterprise because it was seen as a calm port in a storm of radical change. That hasn't happened, in part because Microsoft has steered customers away from LTSB. Just what is LTSB? And what has Microsoft done to make it an afterthought? We have answers. So what is Windows 10 LTSB? Officially, LTSB is a specialized edition of Windows 10 Enterprise that promises the longest intervals between feature upgrades of any version of the operating system. Where other Windows 10 servicing models push feature upgrades to customers every six months, LTSB does so only every two or three years. That means fewer changes during a set timeline, a less-involved upgrade effort, and fewer disruptions as well as fewer possibilities for applications breaking because of a modification of the OS. If LTSB stands for 'Long-term Servicing Branch,' what's this 'LTSC' acronym I've seen? When Microsoft dropped multiple labels for Windows 10's release tracks – those now retired included "Current Branch" and the unwieldy "Current Branch for Business" – for the single "Semi-Annual Channel" (SAC) it also debuted "Long-term Servicing Channel" (LTSC) to match. Although LTSC could be viewed as the mechanism that updated and upgraded the actual operating system, which went by the LTSB moniker, Microsoft has shifted to using the former exclusively and ditching the latter. Yes, it's confusing. But then, it is Microsoft we're talking about. (Note: Computerworld intends to continue using LTSB, at least in the short run, as it, not LTSC, is the better-known acronym.) How often does the LTSC update Windows 10 LTSB? That's a question so good it comes with more than one answer. Windows 10 LTSB does receive the usual monthly security updates. The twice-annual feature upgrades delivered to other channels will not be offered to LTSB systems. Microsoft upgrades the LTSB "build" every two to three years. Those upgrades, however, are optional, or at least optional to some degree (more on that later). Each LTSB build is supported with security updates for a decade, the same 10-year lifespan Microsoft has designated and maintained for ages. The decade is split into two equal halves: "Mainstream" support for the first five years, "Extended" for the second. For Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB, Mainstream support ends in October 2021 and Extended stops in October 2026. What's the current Windows 10 LTSB? When is the next one supposed to show up? This question's a tough one. The current LTSB should be Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019, which was introduced Oct. 2. But it's not. That's because just four days later, on Oct. 6, Microsoft pulled all versions of Windows 10 1809 – the moniker in Microsoft's yymm naming convention – and has not yet restored access to what it also calls "Windows 10 October 2018 Update." (Microsoft yanked 1809 due to a very nasty bug that deleted user files on some customers' PCs during the upgrade.) Microsoft bases LTSB on a specific Windows 10 build, in the case of LTSC 2019, the 1809 code. Essentially, Microsoft picks a feature upgrade and labels it LTSB. So when the Redmond, Wash. developer withdrew Windows 10 1809 from the Windows Update service and manual download websites, it also revoked access to LTSC 2019. The firm has given users no new information about progress in re-releasing 1809 in more than a month. For the time being, then, Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB, which was based on the mid-2016 Windows 10 1607, remains the latest available version. The even earlier Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB – based on the July 2015 debut version of the operating system – still receives security updates, of course. Note: Although Microsoft said in May 2017 that the next LTSB would ship sometime in 2019, it changed its mind in early 2018, saying in February that a LTSB would launch in the fall. What's missing from LTSB? A lot that makes Windows 10, well, Windows 10. Eschewing the regular feature upgrades means that LTSB does not include Edge nor any Microsoft Store (Universal Windows Platform, or UWP) apps, whether Redmond-made or third-part, because the browser and those apps constantly change and need updating. Also AWOL: the Cortana voice-activated digital assistant and access to the Microsoft Store. That said, LTSB looks and runs just like any other Windows 10 edition. No one will be fooled into thinking it's Windows 7. Can we defer security updates if we're on LTSB? Yes. Servicing tools such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) let administrators delay the monthly security updates - which Microsoft calls quality updates - just as they can postpone those same patches reaching machines running other versions of Window 10. Why does Microsoft make LTSB available to customers? Plainly put, it was a sop to the criticism very early on about Windows 10's accelerated development and release tempo. Customers had become accustomed to upgrading Windows every three or more years, with the emphasis on more in the enterprise. The announcement that that would change to multiple releases each year - initially, three annually - was a shock. Microsoft tried to soften the blow by offering a schedule very similar to the slower cadence familiar to IT: Upgrades that appeared every three years or so, with little or no feature changes in between, and an update model that provided only security fixes. In a nutshell, that's how Microsoft described Windows 10 LTSB at the start. Although Microsoft always opined that LTSB was suitable only as a minority choice - one for special situations, such as machines that simply should not be frequently touched, like those that control industrial systems or ATMs - early in Windows 10, there was significant talk among IT administrators about choosing LTSB for broad swaths of their PC inventory. Why? Because they weren't convinced they could, or even should, snap to and adapt to Microsoft's pitch of "Windows as a service" (WaaS). Okay, so which PCs should be running LTSB? Here's what Microsoft says on that: "Specialized systems - such as PCs that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs - often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose," the company's primary Windows-as-a-service documentation states. "These devices typically perform a single important task and ... t's more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than up to date with user interface changes." and... "As a general guideline, a PC with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the [non-LTSB servicing channels]." Has Microsoft changed the support rules for LTSB since Windows 10's debut? Yes, and in a way that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to widely deploy the edition. Over a year and a half ago, Microsoft added another law to the Windows 10 support scene, one that analysts contended invalidated LTSB's advantages over the shifting features that mark the other versions. Originally, Microsoft promised to support each LTSB edition for a full decade. But in early 2017, the company ruled that "LTSBs will support the currently released silicon at the time of release of the LTSB [emphasis added]," and that as new processors appeared from the likes of Intel and AMD, "support will be created through future Windows 10 LTSB releases that customers can deploy for those systems." The bland language disguised a huge change. Rather than be able to stick with a single LTSB edition for five, even 10, years, enterprises will need to adopt virtually every LTSB version as they buy new PCs powered by newser processors. What's one of the least-understood aspects of LTSB? We'd nominate this one: Unlike the Semi-Annual Channel upgrades, which have been shrunk by Microsoft, Windows 10 LTSB must be upgraded using a full OS. That may make upgrades from, say, 2016 LTSB to LTSC 2019, difficult or even impossible where only low-bandwidth Internet access is available. But since we can't stop at just one, we'd highlight two other points about LTSB. First, although IT admins can switch PCs from LTSB to plain Windows 10 Enterprise – so those machines can receive feature upgrades, for instance – such a change is only supported when moving to the same or later SAC. If an enterprise has been running Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB, for example, it can shift only to Windows 10 Enterprise 1607 or later (meaning 1703, 1709 or 1803). (And you'd better hurry if you plan to switch from 2016 LTSB to SAC 1607, since that version's support expires in April 2019.) Second, starting Jan. 14, 2020, the locally-installed applications included with an Office 365 subscription – they're called "Office 365 ProPlus" – will not be supported on any version of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. Instead, LTSB systems must run Office 2016 or 2019, the perpetual license counterparts to ProPlus. (Office 2019 is supported on Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 only, not earlier versions.) How long is LTSB supported? Ten years is usually the answer you see to that one. But it would be, if not wrong, then misleading. Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB is guaranteed only five years of support - from the time of its release, not its installation - if the underlying license does not have SA attached. With SA, a specific LTSB edition is supported for the full 10 years. We run Windows 10 Enterprise and pay for Software Assurance, but we may drop SA. Anything we should know? Yes, indeed. When a company drops SA at the end of a contract period, it is entitled to roll out only the current Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. It cannot later upgrade that version to a newer LTSB when one is released. Customers have a 90-day window to switch the current operating system from Windows 10 Enterprise to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. Note: To do that, Windows 10 Enterprise must be uninstalled before deploying LTSB. Source: FAQ: Windows 10 LTSB explained (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  3. November Patch Tuesday largely looks like other Patch Tuesdays, but there are troubling reports of server problems, WSUS stumbles, new SSUs lurking in the manual-install background, and (even more!) bugs in the toxic Win10 version 1809. Thinkstock Yesterday Microsoft released security patches for 63 separately identified vulnerabilities and three new Security Advisories. Microsoft rates 12 of the security holes as “critical,” and 8 of those are for the Edge scripting engine. Only one has an actively known exploit, discovered by Kaspersky, on 32-bit Win7 and Server 2008 systems in the Middle East. Martin Brinkmann has his monthly summary on ghacks.net for an overview of the numbers and links. Dustin Childs picks up all the nuances in his Zero Day Initiative post. Short version: As usual, if you avoid Internet Explorer and Edge, you should be fine for now. But, again as usual, you’ll have to patch eventually. Two new Security Advisories contain some worthwhile updates: ADV180002, Guidance to mitigate speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities, has been updated to include even more information about even more Spectre-like problems with Intel, AMD and ARM chips. ADV990001, Latest Servicing Stack Updates, finally (finally!) lists the latest SSU for every version of Windows. It’s a long, ugly list, but if you insist on installing updates manually (or if you got bit by error 0x8000FFF when installing a Win7 Monthly Rollup), you can now confirm if you have the latest version of the Windows Update updater. Remember, the updater isn’t smart enough to update itself, if you’re applying patches manually. The Servicing Stack Update spray @PKCano reports: There are new Servicing Stack Updates for Win10 that address the Bitlocker Device Encryption vulnerability CVE-2018-8566. If you install the November Cumulative Updates using other than Windows Update, you will need to install the Servicing Stack Update first. If you are using Windows Update, the SSU will be offered automatically. Win10 v1809 Build 17763.134 KB4465646 Win10 v1803 KB4465663 Win10 v1709 KB4465661 Win10 v1703 KB4465660 Win10 v1607 KB4465659 There’s a German-language report of a bug in the interaction between the latest Servicing Stack Update for Server 2016, KB 4465659 and this month’s Server 2016 cumulative update, KB 4467691. Poster Gaius Julius on the deskmodder.de forum reports (translated by deepl.com): One of the two updates tries to write into the UEFI of the server. This works for virtual machines as well. For physical machines of the brands DELL and HP this does not work, at least if CPUs of the series Xeon E5-26 ... of the versions v1 and v2 are still installed there. On Fujitsu machines it does not work with the above Xeon CPUs of versions E5-26 ... v3 and v4. The UEFI is totally shot up, hardware raids are torn apart etc. pp. Remotely you can't reach the boxes anymore, because the Intel management machine is also totally torn apart, if it wasn't switched off by the ADMIN for security reasons. No network adapter is detected anymore. No confirmation on that report, as yet. WSUS hiccups again There’s a report of a persistent failure by WSUS to download this month’s patches: We are seeing multiple independent WSUS servers failing to download content (patches) from Microsoft for this month’s batch. … WSUS servers have been established for years and no changes on them have been made recently nor have firewalls been touched. Content downloads started and were successful for a fraction of the patches, but then halted. This started afternoon hours EST. Eventlog error 364 is seen. 1809 under the microscope Of course, it’s much too early to install 1809, and Microsoft recommends that you wait until it gets pushed onto your machine rather than seeking it out, but if you’re feeling lucky (and don’t mind risking your machine for a paltry list of new features), installation from the Media Creation Tool will bring you to build 17763.107, and the first cumulative update (that is, the latest first cumulative update) will bring you to build 17763.134. EdTittel reports on Tenforums: I was able to transition from 17763.107 to 17763.134 by leaving the Insider Preview program (updates only flavor), restarting a couple of times, then updating to the KB that brings the PC up to 17763.134 level. All good now. All of my 1809 machines are now at 17763.134. What concerns me the most are the sporadic, but vocal, reports of problems with the just re-released Win10 version 1809, the September-October-November 2018 Update. We already know about the acknowledged bug with filename extensions not being assignable to specific programs, a bug first publicized last week by Chris Hoffman in HowToGeek. The same problem now appears as a known bug for Win10 version 1803, as well — going back all the way to the Sept. 26 re-release of the “Fourth Tuesday” patch for 1803. I’m also seeing reports of the Mapped Drive Connection to Network Share May Be Lost bug, but that one’s not unique to 1809. It’s been around a long time. @NetDef reports munged video with 1809 and AutoCad: I’m seeing some seriously nasty things with video (current drivers) and acceleration in the ’18 and ’19 versions in our test bed. Thinking we might be passing on this feature update entirely and stick with 1803 for the next year. Toolbar windows that leave ghosts behind when moved. Sudden dark screens in the drawings (but the application menu UI stays intact.) Odd flickering randomly. I haven’t yet heard any loud screams of pain stemming from this month’s Monthly Rollups and Cumulative Updates, but the day is still young. Thx to @PKCano, @NetDef Got a problem? Don’t we all. AskWoody Lounge. Source: Patch Tuesday problems include even more reported bugs with Win10 version 1809 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  4. I IN NO WAY TAKE ANY CREDIT FOR THIS IT WAS TAKEN FROM MDL FORUM AND SOME POSTS MY MEMBERS ON THIS FORUM! Manual: Tools: Windows 10 Lite v9 Blackbird v6 v1.0.3 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] O&O ShutUp10 v1.6.1399 WPD - Windows Privacy Dashboard v1.2.940 WindowsSpyBlocker v4.18.0 Spybot Anti-Beacon v3.1 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] W10Privacy v3.2.0.1 Destroy Windows Spying v1.0.1.0 [Works with Win 7/8/8/1/10] [NOT RECOMMENDED AS NOT UPDATED ANYMORE] Disable Windows 10 Tracking v3.2.1
  5. Microsoft has recently confirmed that the activation issue which hit Windows 10 earlier this week is now fixed, and the company explains that all systems that have been affected by the bug should be re-activated in the coming hours. A number of Windows 10 Pro systems were listed as not activated due to what appeared to be a server-side issue experienced by Microsoft. Reactivation did not work and running the built-in troubleshooter didn’t make any difference, with some users even complaining that their systems were upgraded from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Home. While Microsoft hasn’t released an official statement to confirm that the issue is fixed, a company engineer said in a discussion on the Community forums that reactivation should now happen automatically within the next 24 hours, while users can trigger it manually by launching the Troubleshoot option in Settings. “Any affected customer can continue to use Windows 10 Pro as usual, and the watermark will disappear within 24 hours as activation is automatically restored. To manually resolve the issue: Select the Start button, select Settings > Update & security > Activation, and then select Troubleshoot to run the Activation Troubleshooter. (If the device is already activated, the Troubleshoot option will not appear.)” the post reads. Use your system normally You can find more information on this workaround and how to fix the Windows 10 activation issue in our detailed tutorial here. User posts indicate that most systems which have previously been impacted by the activation issue are now working as normal, as the reactivation has either performed automatically or they launched the process manually. Microsoft says that even if the system is listed as not activated, users can continue working just like before, no matter the error showing in the activation screen. Oddly enough, some people who reached out to Microsoft Support were being told that no workaround exists, so an official statement from Microsoft in this regard would definitely be recommended. Source: https://news.softpedia.com/news/microsoft-finally-fixes-windows-10-activation-issue-523716.shtml
  6. By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report If Microsoft wants to treat Windows 10 as a service, it has a responsibility to its customers to provide accurate information about problems with that service. Over the last month, the company has failed miserably in that regard. "Windows as a service" sounded like a good idea in 2015, when Microsoft released Windows 10. But after a terrible October, Microsoft's Windows 10 problems continued in November. Yesterday, an unknown number of devices running Windows 10 suddenly lost their activation status; the owners of those devices were told that they no longer had a valid digital license and were running a "non-genuine copy of Windows." Those activation problems are now apparently resolved, but Microsoft hasn't offered an explanation or an apology. A company spokesperson declined to provide any additional details beyond a terse one-line statement: "We're working to restore product activations for the limited number of affected Windows 10 Pro customers," I was told. In the Windows-as-a-service era, it's perfectly understandable that problems will occasionally crop up. But customers have a right to expect prompt, accurate notification when those problems occur, and Microsoft is failing badly in that responsibility. For its enterprise customers, Microsoft long ago realized the need for timely and accurate status updates. If your organization is experiencing a problem with Office 365, there's a Service Status dashboard where you can find out what's wrong. Microsoft Azure customers have a similar Azure status dashboard and can even check the resolution of previous problems on the Azure status history page. Windows 10 customers have no similar resources. The closest equivalent for Windows 10 is the Windows 10 Update History page, which offers documentation concerning feature updates and cumulative reliability and security updates. That page shows that the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) was released on October 2, 2018. Over the next four days, an unknown number of Microsoft customers downloaded and installed that update. Several days later, Microsoft pulled that release from its update servers and took the unprecedented step of also removing the installation files from its download servers. At that time, the company revised the text on Update History page to include this note: "We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809)* for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating." That note included a link to an accompanying blog post that tried to explain the cause of the bug. That post ended with this note: "We are committed to learning from this experience and improving our processes and notification systems to help ensure our customers have a positive experience with our update process." Well, points for good intentions, but the company's behavior since then has exposed multiple flaws in the way it communicates with its Windows customers. For starters, that page hasn't been updated since October 9, exactly one month ago. Anyone who checks that official resource would, logically, assume that Microsoft is still investigating those reports. In fact, Windows engineers have identified additional bugs in the October 2018 Update. There's a second issue, involving extracting files from a ZIP file in File Explorer, that can result in data loss. Essential performance information on the Processes tab is being reported incorrectly. There are multiple compatibility issues with device drivers and third-party antivirus and virtualization products. None of those issues are acknowledged on the Windows 10 Update History page or on John Cable's blog post referenced there, which has also not been updated since October 9. Instead, those bugs were documented in a pair of updates to a September 18 blog post announcing the release of Windows Insider Preview build 17763, which eventually became the October 2018 Update. Microsoft says all of those issues were fixed in cumulative updates that were released on October 16 and October 20, respectively. But if you were one of the enthusiastic souls who downloaded and installed version 1809 in the first week that it was available, you have not received those updates. To get the fixes for what are undeniably serious bugs in a version of Windows 10 that was released through public channels, you have to add your device to the Windows Insider Program and choose the Slow or Release Preview Ring. That's not right. Customers who are running an officially released version of Windows should not have to sign up as beta testers to get critical fixes. And let's talk for a minute about the horrible communication around yesterday's activation issues. For hours after this issue began occurring, the only sources of information were a Reddit thread and a third-hand report from a volunteer moderator on Microsoft's Answers forum, quoting a report from "Microsoft Chat Support." That's not right, either. And don't get me started on the Microsoft Answers forum, where overwhelmed volunteer moderators routinely paste boilerplate replies to customers reporting genuine issues. Good luck finding actual help there. Mainstream customers running a released version of Windows shouldn't have to spend hours hunting down information about issues and updates. But in the absence of an official status dashboard for Windows 10, that seems to be the only option. Source
  7. NOTE: The preview image may belong to older versions ... This tool includes 4 different activation methods. KMS Inject, KMS WinDivert, Digital activation and Online KMS activation There is also a script for convert VOLUME verions from RETAIL version for Office 2016 and 2019 products. While this script is being created, abbodi1406’s (MDL) script is referenced. Thank him so much for being a source of inspiration and help. Some security programs will report infected files, that is false-positive due KMS emulating. Digital and Online KMS activations methods are requires internet connection. If use this tool remove any other KMS solutions and temporary turn off AV security protection. $OEM$ Activation About: 3 methods are also $OEM$ activation support. To preactivate the system during installation, copy $OEM$ folder to "sources" folder in the installation media (iso/usb). $OEM$ activation method also enable the KMS task scheduling system during installation. (digital activation method except) Thanks @ShiningDog for the kms server addresses. Download Links: (English interface) Site: https://mega.nz Sharecode: /#!gJZEjCAa!GbES0mvbnqZzXJIm73nidfKJgtDW-e46kCpugqxIdoY File : KMS-Digital-Online_Activation_Suite_v5.9_ENG.rar CRC-32 : 4a1251a2 MD4 : a3e5b8f048d71089f1e79a7afd1e814f MD5 : db3dcd572465acb8b574790d0cdf48b4 SHA-1 : ddf90cc3b1fa478028e2762e8a598ad79602a272 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Turkish interface) Site: https://mega.nz Sharecode: /#!cIB2TSYY!ZHFdCvq3DmApsMP726sTsfGRFFZ8ImtkYKXlK568BnM File : KMS-Dijital-Online_Aktivasyon_Suite_v5.9_TUR.rar CRC-32 : d1ab1f9c MD4 : a28631f986333232c0afe3fee2164a97 MD5 : f995fa30d58ebfad0dff71e9e8c8f004 SHA-1 : df65f130aee9586725ab47f195ecb62b3e2bf3c5 RAR Pass: 2018 Note: Use WinRar v5x for extract # Special Thanks TNCTR Family Nsane Family abbodi1406 CODYQX4 qewlpal s1ave77 cynecx qad Mouri_Naruto --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Changelog: v5.9 - Fixed the issue that the KMS Task Scheduling function did not work in the Injekt method. v5.8 - Added new registry values for Office 2016 and Office 2019 products. (KMS methods have been fully optimized for Office 2019.) - Injection KMS.dll files have been re-encoded for the addition of ePID support for Windows 10, Server, and Office 2019 versions. (thanks abbodi1406 [MDL]) x64 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode:/#/file/5d1e984c91d6b409b8f177e9c474aff1bd0e2b59cc12909c068bb281fac2eb9a/detection x86 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode:/#/file/bc381caf9882132a2be785d3d2f96378938db0754be50ae919061e22ee61e59e/detection v5.7 - Incorrect virus warning in 32bit KMSClient file in WinDivert method has been removed. - Minor changes were made to make it more usable in cmd scripts in all methods (NOTE: KMS application is currently considered clean by the most commonly used antivirus applications.) v5.6 - Resolved the issue of Office activation on 32bit systems by recoding KMS.dll files in Inject method. (thanks abbodi1406 [MDL]) x64 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode:/#/file/d82d14277b23902f4916c6985e59574a11cfb068cfc602fa24fe5f7d15cca1c3/detection x86 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode: /#/file/b668d2d49dfcaed0973cc47b11e4962e16fa008d11832910e65e2cb8e9ee95ea/detection - Added the script to convert VOLUME version from RETAIL version for Office 2016 and 2019 products. (Office versions require VOLUME version to be activated with KMS.) - The way the $OEM$ folder is moved to the desktop has been changed. (In previous versions the $OEM$ folder was in sfx / exe format, which caused antivirus applications to see the $OEM$ file as harmful) v5.5 - Added new GVLKs for Windows Server 2019. v5.4 - The dll files of the KMS Inject method have been re-coded and the fake virus alert has been removed. (thanks Mouri_Naruto [MDL]) x64 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode:/#/file/79d359dd20878b69480c571d27299a07ed675337483c898be836db1e08d4d2c6/detection x86 KMS.dll : Site: https://www.virustotal.com Sharecode: /#/file/fe1305308c0b791ca6f373ce7ee4c285a0ae9eed59bca1c875fd286df265b64f/detection v5.3 - Added new GVLKs for Office 2019 v5.2 - Added online activation method.
  8. WLinux is a $20 open-source, Debian-based distribution, designed to run on Windows 10's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The first paid-for Linux distro for Windows 10 is available from the Microsoft Store, the tech giant has announced. WLinux is a $20 open-source, Debian-based distribution, designed to run on Windows 10's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The WSL allows Windows 10 to run various GNU/Linux distros inside Windows as Microsoft Store apps, providing access to Ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, and others. The WSL has disadvantages over a running a dedicated GNU/Linux system. For example, there's no official support for desktop environments or graphical applications, and I/O performance bottlenecks, but it is being improved over time. Whitewater Foundry, the developers of WLinux, describe it as a "fast Linux terminal environment for developers", saying it is the first distribution to be "pre-configured and optimized to run specifically on Windows Subsystem for Linux". Announcing WLinux's availability, Microsoft program manager Tara Raj, called out the wlinux-setup tool, "which allows users to easily set up common developer toolchains, and removes unsupported features like systemd". WLinux's GitHub page goes into more detail, saying the tool allows users to choose between code editors such as emacs, neovim and Visual Studio Code; to select between the csh, zsh and fish shells; and to unpack development environments for Node.js JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and Go during installation. WLinux also includes a collection of utilities for WSL, "such as converting WSL path to Windows path or creating your favorite Linux GUI application shortcuts on Windows 10 Desktop". Other listed features include managing servers using OpenSSH and running basic graphical Linux apps, such as Gnome Builder, if a Windows X client like X410 is used. The team behind WLinux indicate a level of ongoing support, saying: "Purchases of WLinux in the Microsoft Store pay for a team of open-source indie developers to add new features, test and release builds, evaluate WSL-related CVEs, and provide user support. User support is provided on a best-effort basis". The idea of paying for an open-source operating system caused controversy in some quarters in 2015, when the developers of the open-source Elementary OS set up a site that encouraged users to pay. However, others online have pointed out that the free-software movement doesn't discourage developers from charging for their work, as the central point is that the code is free for others to inspect, modify, and redistribute, not that the software is free of charge. The big takeaways for tech leaders: WLinux is a $20 open-source, Debian-based distribution, designed to run on Windows 10's Windows Subsystem for Linux. The developers of WLinux claim it's the "first Linux distribution pre-configured and optimized to run specifically on Windows Subsystem for Linux". Source
  9. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft Earlier this year, Microsoft management split the Windows division in half, moving Windows engineering into the same group as Azure engineering. It was only a matter of time until Windows and Azure would start sharing the same codenaming scheme, right? The April 2019 release of Windows client, codenamed Windows 10 19H1, is not using the Azure naming convention. But the release after 19H1 -- due around October 2019 or so -- will, my sources say. The Azure team uses the elements for codenames. The current Azure codename for the 19H1 deliverables is "Titanium," (Ti) I hear, but the Windows client team didn't end up using that, as they'd already started employing internally and externally "19H1." The Windows 10 feature release that some of us were expecting to be called 19H2 will actually be called "Vanadium," (V) my contacts say, in keeping with the Azure naming scheme. If the team sticks with the order of the table of elements, the first Windows feature release in 2020 would be called "Chromium" (Cr). Obviously, that could create for more than a bit of confusion, given Google's use of that term. As a result, I'm hearing the team is likely going with a made-up element name for that release, likely "Vibranium." (Vibranium is what Captain America's shield is made out of, as I've been schooled.) I've asked Microsoft to confirm the Vanadium and Vibranium codenames for the coming releases of Windows, but no word back so far. (I'm not holding my breath.) Update: A spokesperson said Microsoft had no comment. A quick refresher on the Windows 10 feature update codenames to date: Threshold 1: Windows 10/1507 Threshold 2: Windows 10 November Update/1511 Redstone 1: Windows 10 Anniversary Update/1607 Redstone 2: Windows 10 Creators Update/1703 Redstone 3: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update/1709 Redstone 4: Windows 10 April 2018 Update/1803 Redstone 5: Windows 10 October 2018 Update/1809 19H1: Windows 10 April 2019 Update/1903 (?) The codename Threshold, for those wondering, derives from the planet around which the first halo ring orbited in the original Halo game launched back in 2001. The Redstone codename came from Minecraft, which Microsoft acquired when it bought Mojang. Even though "Redstone 5," a k a the Windows 10 October Update/1909 still has yet to re-materialize, planning and codenames don't stand still. Update: As The Walking Cat on Twitter reminded me, the Surface team also seems to have been using the elements, as well, as some of their codenames. Among the codenames for the latest Surface devices were "Caprock," "Croton" and "Forks," which correspond with the Ca, Cr and F chemical elements, The Cat pointed out. Source
  10. A new WinMagic study has found that organisations are largely unprepared for when support of older versions of Microsoft’s Windows OS will be withdrawn in January 2020. When questioned about their lack of readiness for the obligatory migration to Windows 10, respondents cited IT security and fears of being exposed to a cyber security vulnerability as two areas of concern. The study was carried out at IP Expo in London in October 2018. One hundred and fifty visitors were asked a series of questions to determine their awareness of the need to migrate to Windows 10, and to understand any concerns they might have regarding their organisation’s own migration plans. Key highlights Nearly a quarter of organisations (23 percent) are not ready to migrate to Windows 10 30 percent are not aware that support for older versions of Windows OS will cease Around one third (29 percent) are fairly or very concerned about the migration process Nearly two thirds (68 percent) fear exposure to a cyber security vulnerability during the migration process One third (33 percent) do not know if they have the right tools in place to deliver a secure migration. Lack of preparedness The study found overwhelmingly that not only are nearly a quarter of businesses yet to start preparations for the migration to Windows 10 (23 percent), 17 percent were ignorant to the topic all together and had no idea if preparations within their organisation are even in place. Furthermore, nearly one third of those questioned (30 percent) did not know that support for these older versions of Windows OS would stop in less than 18 months’ time. Respondents to the survey expressed varying levels of concern about the migration, with 29 percent being fairly or very concerned. Only around one third of respondents (34 percent) had no concerns about migrating to Windows 10. Of those who are worried about the migration, security and user data loss were amongst the biggest concerns (28 percent), and 68 percent of respondents feared the migration process could expose their organisation to a security vulnerability. Other concerns included one quarter (25 percent) who cited application management, software & hardware compatibility and around one fifth (18 percent) who stated user disruption or loss of productivity. Migration process When it came to the actual migration process, 36 percent had not considered migration technology as an option. Over one quarter (28 percent) did not know if their organisation was considering migration technology. And around one third (33 percent) did not know if they had the right tools in place to deliver a secure migration. Luke Brown, VP EMEA at WinMagic, said: “The clock is ticking and if organisations don’t move fast they could find themselves scrabbling last minute to deliver a seamless and secure migration to Windows 10. The results of our survey show that there is still limited knowledge around what will be a very significant IT transition for many organisations. IT teams need to act now. If they don’t, come January 2020 they could find themselves experiencing the worst ever New Year hangover.” Source
  11. Many developers want access to as much data as possible. This is part of the reason why so many apps request permission to access seemingly everything one could have on their device (with the other part being developers' need to sell ads). But what happens when the apps don't ask permission? According to .NET developer Sébastien Lachance, this is what happened with versions of Windows 10 released prior to the yet-to-be-relaunched Windows 10 October 2018 Update. The developer noticed that his enterprise app stopped working after Microsoft released version 1809 of Windows 10. It turns out that's because the app required access to specific folders, and this was the first version of Windows 10 that didn't grant that access by default. Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are supposed to be restricted to specific folders. They can request access to other folders, though, if they need to do so to function. This alone isn't a problem. Everything from iOS and Google Chrome to macOS and Android lets apps ask for greater permissions. Yet, a problem with the broadFileSystemAccess API that governed this process meant people weren't actually prompted by the apps. Instead, the API simply gave developers access to all local files without letting the affected Windows 10 user know. Lachance said a list of apps with access to these files can be found by going to Settings > Privacy > File system, but most people are unlikely to go digging through their settings when their information is supposed to be secure by default. The Windows 10 October 2018 Update is said to have addressed that problem. This breaks apps that relied on this API, like the one that prompted Lachance to investigate this issue, but it defends the privacy of many Windows 10 users whose information may have been up for grabs without their knowledge or consent. After the many problems the Windows 10 October 2018 Update has suffered—mainly revolving around two file system bugs—it's heartening to see that it contains some improvements as well. But this is still more evidence that companies have struggled to manage distribution platforms that are supposed to keep people safe. From the bad apps in the Mac App Store and Google Play Store, to these problems with the broadFileSystemAccess API affecting UWP apps distributed via the Microsoft Store, it's clear that many platforms are not as trustworthy as they're supposed to be. Source
  12. With the way features are currently skewed, and the lousy quality of recent patches, every new PC should be configured with Windows 10 Pro. If you’re going to buy a Win10 Home PC, spend an extra $100 for the upgrade to Pro. Mark Hachman / IDG Sometimes I despair for the PC industry. Microsoft has, somehow, convinced people – even arguably sane industry pundits – that Windows 10 Home is “good enough” for its latest PCs, which is to say the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2. As best I can tell, you can’t even order a new Surface Pro 6 or Laptop 2 with Win10 Pro – you have to get Win10 Home, and then upgrade to Pro. (If you already have a license for an earlier “Pro” version of Windows, you may be able to upgrade using that license. See Ed Bott’s primer on ZDNet.) The fact that Surface Pro now ships with Windows Home hasn’t escaped the notice of many. But the “nothing to see here, carry on” response in blogland drives me up a wall. Microsoft adds a few features to Win10 Pro, compared to Win10 Home – Join network domains, group policies, remote desktop, BitLocker – but all of those fade in comparison to the one feature that every Win10 user needs: The ability to block updates. Microsoft’s official comparison list doesn’t mention the fact that Pro includes update- and upgrade-blocking settings (which are occasionally “accidentally” ignored). Home doesn’t have any. With Win10 Pro, you stand a fighting chance of keeping Microsoft’s mitts off your machine until you’re good and ready to apply updates or upgrades. With Win10 Home, you only have three ways to fend off forced updates: Set your internet connection to metered; Disable the Windows Update service, wuauserv; Use a third-party update blocker. Each of those approaches has problems. The metered connection kludge isn’t documented anywhere. Microsoft has not committed to refraining from updating or upgrading metered machines. This approach is simply an observation of the way Windows 10 Update has worked in the past; there’s no guarantee it will continue to work that way in the future. Disabling wuauserv is a scorched-earth approach that may have unknown and unintended consequences. I know that many of you have disabled the update service, and I respect the decision, but wonder if you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. Third-party update blockers have mushroomed in recent years. With more than a dozen to choose from, many of them highly rated, they may be the best alternative for Win10 Home (and even Pro) users. I still hesitate to recommend them because they’re programs from a source other than Microsoft that, quite intentionally, sit between you and your security patches. The risks for screwing things up – both intentionally and unintentionally – are enormous. Windows 10 Home leaves you open to the vagaries of Microsoft’s forced patching algorithms – Windows gets updated according to Microsoft’s schedule, not yours. If you’ve been following along, you know very well how that’s turned out. July and October were particularly egregious. If the Windows patches were marginally competent, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Month after month, though, we’ve seen how premature patches mess things up. I routinely hear conversations among muggles about how Windows bit their butts. And I never, ever tell non-combatants that I watch Windows updates. Win10 Home occupies an important niche in the Windows ecosystem: Cannon fodder. If you want Microsoft to control your machine, stick with Home. It’s good enough for you. And your screams help us in the peanut gallery figure out where the bugs lie. Is Win10 Home “good enough” for Surface Pro 6? No! If you’re going to spend $1,000 on a new machine, set aside an extra $100 to upgrade to Win10 Pro. Better to pay the piper now. Watch the watchers on the AskWooody Lounge. Source: No, Windows 10 Home isn’t ‘good enough’ for the Surface Pro 6 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  13. Three urgent changes Redmond must make to stop the QA crisis Comment Windows isn't working – and Microsoft urgently needs to change how it develops the platform, and jettison three filthy practices it has acquired in recent years. In 2014 Microsoft decided it could do a better job if it discarded a lot of software testers. This bright new dawn was lauded at the time by Peter Bright at Ars Technica in a piece titled "How Microsoft dragged its development practices into the 21st century". Testers were soooo 20th century. The previous month, Microsoft had laid off many of its Windows testers. "Under the new structure, a number of Windows engineers, primarily dedicated testers, will no longer be needed," wrote Mary Jo Foley in her scoop for ZDNet. Crowdsourced testing would be the way forward – and we should be thankful for this, Ars advised. "The goal is to make the OS team work more like lean startups," we learned. Lean. Agile. Heard this one before? "QA still exists and is still important, but it performs end-user style 'real world' testing, not programmatic automated testing. This testing has been successful for Bing, improving the team's ability to ship changes without harming overall software quality," Bright wrote. The following year my piece voicing misgivings to the crowdsourcing part – the Windows Insider programme – got plenty of attention at Microsoft. The Insiders were not representative of the core Microsoft business customer, I argued. Zip it! 3 more reasons to be glad you didn't jump on Windows 10 1809 "Normal people don't sign up in large numbers to try out very rough alpha software, or at least not knowingly. This means only the most devoted fanbois and developers have been using early builds of Windows 10," I wrote. Interesting, we were told. The company carried on regardless. Well, here we are. Over the past three years Windows 10 has been released at six-month intervals, so someone was doing the QA, but it showed less and less each time. Development slowed to a glacial pace. I would leave my biannual NDA walkthrough scratching my head at some of the headline features. 3D Paint? A new toolbar for gamers? An acrylic calculator? These were not only trivial, but they didn't seem to be on any professional user's wish list. Perhaps concerned at this slow pace, Microsoft managers decided to take the foot off the brake. Caution was thrown to the wind. The result was catastrophic. October 2018 was the first major update to be recalled for quality reasons. It deleted your data. In particular, it deleted data that users had stored in the cloud, that apparently eternal data backup destination, where no data should ever be lost. Right? It was merely the worst in a series of serious bugs which continue to this day. And I'm focusing on the problems caused by the big update. The car-crash autumn update followed a poorly received spring update. The agony continued for weeks. The patches are a nightmare too, one recently caused HP PCs to BSOD. And although it received far less attention than the Windows 10 recall, the Windows 7 patch rollup vital to many businesses was also halted this month. Windows 10 is officially a shit show. How did this happen? Windows watchers see a company in a rush. Windows Insider builds migrate through three stages – Fast, Slow and Release – and each should be less risky than the last. Build 17758 sped from the bleeding-edge Fast Ring to the Slow Ring in just three days (breaking .NET). A few builds later, the RTM 17763 bypassed the Release stage entirely and leaped into the wild. "Microsoft closed that window in record time," noted Neowin's Rich Woods. "It's entirely possible that the absurd breakneck pace of change we're seeing masks a complete breakdown in Microsoft's ability to produce reliable software," wrote Woody Leonard. "All I know for sure is that Windows is on a vicious downward spiral." Enterprises are now wary, sticking with older versions, ensuring the PC hardware industry – which sees an uptick in sales from Windows 10 – remains in the doldrums. Then there's the problem of crowdsourcing. This crowd isn't worth much, and certainly isn't wise enough to spot the problems Microsoft's dysfunctional software processes are throwing up. "Microsoft has come to rely on Windows Insiders to act as canaries for the operating system. With reliability issues too severe to be fixed in an update, it may be that too much quality control work has been offloaded onto these helpful enthusiasts," my colleague Richard Speed noted earlier this year. So three urgent changes are required. Firstly, reintroduce dedicated testers. Don't rely on automation and the crowd – that clearly isn't working. Raise the prestige of testers in the company. Secondly, repurpose the Insider programme – reclassify it as a fan club. Anything, really. It's not a substitute for professional testers. And thirdly, slow down. The rush to bring immature software to market has clearly deteriorated software quality. Are annual releases such a bad thing? Or even delaying the software until it's actually ready? Once more with feeling: Windows 10 October 2018 Update inches closer to relaunch Elevating the prestige of Windows within the organisation is not a bad idea either, even though it goes against Satya Nadella's proselytising of the cloud as the primary Microsoft platform. Working on Azure is the cool thing to do at Microsoft, and in the Cloud and AI Platform group under Scott Guthrie. Windows is "legacy". Yer Dad's OS. But this is shortsighted. There's far more potential at the edge than contemporary fashion permits – all those untapped cores. Here's an example of that power being put to very innovative use – avoiding the cloud, and producing better results. In addition, if the perception of the Windows in front of you is flaky – and right now it is – why would we assume instances of Windows running somewhere else will be more reliable? Call it the anti-halo effect: dreadful Windows software takes the shine off the cloud too. Making these changes will take time – especially if hiring is involved. But QA is broken, and Windows is broken. Someone has to grasp the nettle. Source: Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait (The Register aka "El Reg")
  14. Why on earth would Microsoft give two entirely different functions the same name? It’s a baffling user-interface mistake: When Microsoft spliced some functions from the classic Disk Cleanup app into Win10’s “Storage sense,” they created silliness like this: There are now two separate on-demand disk-cleanup functions, both called Free up space now, both just one level apart within the Storage sense dialogs — but they’re not at all the same, and work very, very differently! Click one of the Free up space now options, and it hands control to you: A dialog shows you exactly what it proposes to delete, giving you useful feedback, options, choices, and confirmations. Storage sense’s internal file-deletion parameters aren’t involved: You’re in full control; and nothing gets deleted without your final say-so. But click the other Free up space now option, and Win10’s automated, black-box Storage sense immediately takes over, using its internal, hardwired, cleanup settings, which are by design mostly non-user adjustable: In fact, there’s no user feedback at all. The deletions simply take place, or not, according to Storage sense’s internal rules. Why on earth would Microsoft allow two very different functions, just one level apart and within the same Settings dialogs, to use the same Free up space now nomenclature? It’s confusing, to say the least — just plain bad UI design. How two “Free Up Space Now” options collided The problem seems to have occurred when Microsoft decided to kill off the classic, stand-alone, Disk Cleanup app (see “Say goodbye to Windows’ classic Disk Cleanup Tool“). The tool still exists, but won’t be updated, and will be dropped from future Windows versions. The replacement function works fine, and is accessed via the first “Free Up Space Now” menu in Win10’s Settings/System/Storage/Storage sense menu. (See Fig. 1.) Fig. 1: Click to Settings/System/Storage/Storage sense to see the first of Win10’s two very different “Free Up Space Now” options. This location makes sense on the face of it: The old, classic, Disk Cleanup tool was buried in a File Explorer submenu — you kind of had to know it was there to find and use it. Putting all OS-level tools in the same place — in Settings — should be less confusing and make all the tools more discoverable and accessible. But putting it here, under the “Storage sense” heading, and calling it Free up space now was a mistake. For one thing, despite its location under Storage sense, this Free up space now isn’t really part of the Storage sense subsystem; it operates just fine whether or not Storage sense is enabled. Worse, one level down, Storage sense already had an entirely separate “Free Up Space Now” option of its own — one that operates by different file-deletion rules! You can see it here: Starting from the same Settings/System/Storage/Storage sense dialog, click Change how we free up space automatically (Fig. 2.): Fig. 2: Storage sense’s “Change how we free up space automatically” dialog offers a second, “Free Up Space Now” option that works by completely different rules. The first Free Up Space Now option (Fig. 1) is the one that does not operate like a black box. Rather (like the classic Disk Cleanup tool it replaces), it gives you specific feedback and choices about what it proposes to delete, like this (Fig. 3): Fig. 3: The “Free up space now” option at Settings/System/Storage/Storage sense is the one that lets you control exactly what will and won’t get deleted. The second Free up space now (Fig. 2), actually is part of Storage sense. It runs immediately upon your click, using Storage sense’s own, mostly hardwired, non-user-adjustable internal settings and rules; there’s no pause for your input, adjustments, or approvals. This second Free up space now should have been called something like Run Storage sense cleanup now. That would make its function blindingly clear and obvious. Similarly, the Free up space now that’s the follow-on to the classic disk cleanup could have been called something like Run advanced disk cleanup now; and maybe moved out from under the Storage sense heading. That way, its function also would be clear and obvious. But as-is, with two radically different Free up space now options under Storage sense, it’s very confusing. And I know I’m not the only one who did some head-scratching over this. Take this note I got (via the CONTACT link): Hi Fred, I just read your article “Say goodbye to Windows’ classic Disk Cleanup Tool.” I was wondering: Can I use the new version without enabling Storage sense? I really hate black boxes that mess with my stuff (especially deleting) without telling me when and what it’s doing. Many thanks, Amber Yes, Amber; the Free up space now tool shown in Fig. 1 will run just fine whether or not Storage sense is enabled. But that leaves the “black box” portion of Amber’s concern unaddressed. Like her (and probably you, if you’re reading this), I’m also very wary of black box operations, especially when they’re deleting files! So, in an upcoming article, I’ll have more on what Storage sense is good for; what I think it’s not good for; and how to assert at least minimal control over its mostly black-box behavior. Stay tuned! Source: Sloppy UI design complicates Win10’s routine disk cleanups (Fred Langa)
  15. The Windows we know and love today owes much to Windows 95. Windows 95 transformed the series with the introduction of a taskbar, notification area, and the legendary Start menu. No longer was Windows just a subsidiary addition to DOS; for the first time, it was a full replacement for an increasingly antiquated command-line platform. Although there are numerous emulators that run DOS software, Windows 95 remains a copyrighted platform. Consequently, there are no emulators you can install on Windows 10 to run ’90s games. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any Windows 95 emulators at all. Check out the few websites that include emulators that restore the operating system in all its glory. Windows 95 in Your Browser Check out the Windows 95 in your browser with an emulator that can run Windows 95 in another tabThe programmer behind the site developed the emulator largely for the sake of nostalgia more than anything else. However, the developer still concedes that the emulator may or may not violate copyright law. Click here to open the Windows 95 in your browser website shown in the snapshot directly below. Then press the Start Windows 95 button on the page. Press the OK button on the pop-up window that opens to launch the emulator. It shouldn’t take any longer than 10 minutes for the emulator to open as in the snapshot below. When the emulator has loaded, close any background tabs open in your browser. This will reduce lag and ensure the emulator runs at its quickest. Then click on the emulator’s display box to move the mouse cursor within Windows 95. You can press Esc to restore the original cursor. The emulator also has a full-screen mode that you can open by pressing the Fullscreen button at the top right. Now you can have some fun in the emulator by clicking the Start button and selecting Programs > Accessories > Games to open the submenu in the snapshot below. Select to open Solitaire, Hearts (which isn’t included in Windows 10), Minesweeper or Freecell in Win 95. Check out the platform’s Media Player by clicking Start > Programs > Accessories > Multimedia > Media Player. That will open the default Media Player shown in the shot below. Click File > Open in the Media Player window. Then you can select a few audio clips to playback in the Media Player. You can customize the desktop by right-clicking it and selecting Properties. That opens the Display Properties window from which you can select alternative wallpapers. The Play DOS Games Online Emulator Play DOS Games Online primarily includes DOS games to play in browsers. However, the website also has its very own Windows 95 emulator that’s the same as the one on the Windows 95 in your browser site. Click here to open the emulator’s web page. Click within the emulator’s display to launch Windows 95. It doesn’t take long for this one to get going. Click inside its display to move the cursor in the Windows 95 emulator. You can also press a Fullscreen button to expand the emulator in the browser. These are two browser emulators that provide a fascinating glimpse at Windows 95. They include most of the accessories, system tools and customization settings from the original operating system, so have a great time going down memory lane. Article source
  16. Earlier this year at Build developer conference, Microsoft announced that it is working on releasing more stable and feature-rich builds to the Slow Ring Insiders. In a blog post, Microsoft revealed that the builds would be released to the Slow Ring after getting serviced on the basis of the feedback from the Fast Ring Insiders. The quality of the builds which Microsoft releases to the Fast Ring is now evaluated on daily basis based on the feedback from internal self-hosting and also Insiders. Microsoft would send bugs blocking a Slow Ring release to the feature teams. The features team would fix these issues and send the build back in 3-5 days. The company will bundle the fixes into a Latest Cumulative Update package for Insiders. Once checked and tested the Feature Update and service packages are together pushed to the Slow Ring Insiders. Result? The builds will be more stable. The whole process would mean that the Slow Ring Insiders will now get more stable builds at a faster pace. Microsoft says that Slow Ring Insiders will now be seeing more frequent builds earlier than ever before. The Windows Insider team will be delivering a new build every month to Slow Ring and those builds will have fewer issues. The company aspire to bring all the Fast Ring builds to the Slow Ring if they meet the specified quality. This would mean that Insiders can now get a more stable and less buggy build to test in the Slow Ring. “We continue to refine our servicing mechanisms for even greater speed and stability in the Slow Ring. We’re also making updates smaller and even easier to deploy,” Microsoft explains. Source
  17. There is a situation with Windows 10 RS5 Pro. I don't think there is any way to disable the Windows store or at least the updates. I have a game Installed using sideloading, it keeps checking for updates and won't let me play it without updating the game first. for some reasons I don't wanna Install the last update for it but I can't seem to get past the update notice. Here are the things I've tried: 1. In Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Store I set all the objects to "enabled", more info here: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/43118-allow-block-access-store-app-windows-10-a.html 2. I set the "RemoveWindowsStore DWORD" to 1 from 0 in this registry pass: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsStore 3. using O&O shutup10 (https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10) I disabled some option such as (prevent apps form sending URL to Windows Store - prohibit apps from running in background - automatic app updates) 4. disabled app auto updates in Windows Store settings. With all of them done still Windows store opens without any problems and also downloads and checks for app updates. I'm literally out of options. does anyone knows how to do this? I want to cut the Store's access to the Internet and prevent the apps from knowing if there is any new updates of them. I think maybe there is a small piece of file somewhere in the Windows installation drive that tells the app there is an update for it, so no matter when i uninstall and reinstall the app, the file will still tell the app that there is an update for it. anyone knows if such file exists?
  18. By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft Microsoft needs to step off the new feature train, at least temporarily, and get Windows 10's reliability and fundamentals back on track. Windows as a service, as it currently exists, isn't working. Microsoft's plan to release two feature updates to Windows 10 annually, as Microsoft has been doing since 2015, is not seen as a plus by many customers. After the debacle around the Windows 10 October Update/1809, the perception that Microsoft has lost control of its Windows 10 update strategy is even more apparent. A quick refresher as to what happened with 1809: Microsoft began rolling it out October 2. Some early adopters saw their photos, files, bookmarks and other data wiped out after installing the new bits. Microsoft pulled 1809 and is now retesting it with Insiders before starting to push it again to customers. I don't see any signs that Microsoft is ready to throw in the towel on its plan to do two feature updates to Windows 10 for the foreseeable future. The company did toss a bone to Enterprise and Education customers recently, basically enabling them to install just one feature update every other year. But Windows 10 Home and Pro customers didn't get that reprieve. My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott has suggested that Microsoft allow Windows 10 Home users to have a choice whether to apply both Windows 10 feature updates each year or defer and apply just one annually. I think Microsoft needs to go further: It's time for the company to release at least one -- and maybe more -- Windows 10 feature updates that focus exclusively on reliability/fundamentals and not on features. Go back to basics and figure out what's not working before continuing headlong down the "we have hundreds of new features" path. Figure out how to better test OneDrive and Windows 10 together. Work with OEMs to figure out how they can release updated drivers simultaneously with new feature updates, when required. I'm sure no one at Microsoft wants to do this. Who wants to admit a key company initiative isn't working? It's easier to keep on saying "a small subset" of customers are having this problem, so things are basically OK, instead of this approach is not sustainable. But even if it's just "one one hundredth of one percent" of customers hitting a particular issue, the optics around Windows 10 quality and reliability are not good. I'm frankly surprised that anyone (other than journalists who need to test products) knowingly "seek" out a new Windows 10 feature build as soon as it is released. (I am sure a number of users do this unknowingly by checking for updates once a new feature update rolls out.) Even after the first two or three or four cumulative updates roll out for a new feature update, I am still leery about putting it on my PC. I know these releases have gone through testing internally at Microsoft and externally through the Insider program, but they still inevitably cause various compatibility and other issues for users right out of the gate. And I just don't have the time, or in many/most cases, the knowledge, to fix what breaks. Speaking of testing, it's widely known that Microsoft let go a bunch of its Windows testers back in 2014, substituting flighting and new unit testing procedures in their stead. I don't think Microsoft will reverse this course and bring back testing as a separate discipline. But they could improve their testing procedures and supporting infrastructure as part of a return to a focus on fundamentals. In order to focus on reliability at this stage in the game, Microsoft would have to commit to making 19H1 or its September 2019 successor a reliability release. Not a Creators Update or an Anniversary Update. A boring, but immensely useful reliability update. And if this works, maybe Microsoft adds a regular reliability update to its Windows 10 servicing strategy, whether it be every other year or even once yearly. (Remember the old "major/minor" Windows release cadence back in the Windows 7 years? Maybe it's time for a comeback.) Earlier this year, Microsoft moved Windows engineering in with the Azure engineering organization, headed by Executive Vice President Jason Zander. Meanwhile, the other half of the Windows team, focused more on "experiences" moved under Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha. There are new Windows sheriffs in town who seem to care about reliability and fundamentals quite a bit. It could be the perfect time for a priority reset. Source
  19. Yesterday Microsoft explained in full detail all four conditions that led to catastrophic data loss when installing the first release of Win10 version 1809. Here’s what you can expect from the second wave of releases, builds 17763.17 and 17763.55. Thinkstock In one of the worst Windows rollouts in history — at least since Windows 3.1 — last week’s rollout of Win10 version 1809 left some PCs with empty Documents, Photos and other folders, and it managed to mangle user profiles for others. The net result was mayhem, with Microsoft yanking the 1809 upgrade three days later. Now, a week after the initial assault, we’re told that Microsoft has solved all the problems and has begun a test rollout of the new, improved, latest version of the last version of Windows. The new rollout is only going to the Windows Insider beta-testers who are enrolled in the Slow or Release Preview rings. (It can’t go out to the Insider Fast ring because that ring was pushed to 18252.1000, the first round of “version 19H1” betas, back on Oct. 3.) If you’re running Win10 version 1809 — bless your soul — or you’re contemplating moving to 1809, there are three builds that you need to be aware of: 17763.1 = the original release. Not available anymore. Upgrading to this build can zap all of the files in the indicated folders. 17763.17 = the version you get if you’re in the Slow or Release Preview rings. 17763.55 = the version you hit if you install Patch Tuesday’s Cumulative Update, KB 4464630. Here’s where we are, and how we got into this mess. Build 17763.1 — The Destroyer The problem with the original version of Win10 version 1809 lies in the installer. If you’re sitting on 17763.1 (type “About” in the search box), and you still have files in your Documents, Pictures, Music, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll and/or Desktop folders, you’re OK. (“OK” being a relative term. I continue to suggest that you roll back to your previous version of Win10 and wait for the major bugs to devour themselves. Version 1809 has very few improvements — none of which warrant sacrificing a real, working PC.) Microsoft claims it was a tiny problem: Last week we paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigated isolated reports of users missing files after updating. … In this case the update was only available to those who manually clicked on “check for updates” in Windows settings. At just two days into the rollout when we paused, the number of customers taking the October 2018 Update was limited. While the reports of actual data loss are few (one one-hundredth of one percent of version 1809 installs), any data loss is serious. You can judge the veracity of that claim as you wish, but I’d note in passing that the rollout wasn’t officially halted until Friday night, more than three days after the Tuesday launch, and either a) one whole heckuvalot of people clicked on “Check for Updates,” or b) every single one of the scorched 0.01% complained loudly — most of them directly to me. What happened? Microsoft says there were three bugs in the way the installer treated files that were installed in pre-defined folders that had been redirected — moved from one location to another. This “Known Folder Redirect” feature can kick in silently, notably if you installed an early version of OneDrive. You can try to slog through Microsoft’s explanation, or read Peter Bright’s much more accessible take on Ars Technica. In any case, if you got hit, it wasn’t your fault. Except that “Check for updates” part. I wonder how many people clicked “Check for updates” expecting that Windows would, you know, check for updates, only to discover that the contents of their Documents and Photos folders had been obliterated. Windows as a service. Build 17763.17 — A partial reprieve Yesterday, Patch Tuesday, Microsoft started rolling out a new build for version 1809. If you’re in the Windows Insider program and your machine is set on the Slow or Release Preview ring, you saw an update yesterday, taking your machine from 17763.1 to 17763.17. See the flaw in that logic? In almost all cases this move doesn’t test the (badly) broken installer, the one that zapped files when moving from 1803 to 1809. Unless you’re on 1803 (or 1709), and switch to Windows Insider builds on the Slow ring, all you’ll be testing is the upgrade from a non-existent 17763.1 to a now-obsolete 17763.17. Let's hear it for rigorous beta testing. Build 17763.55 — Only the usual bugs Yesterday, Patch Tuesday, saw the release of KB 4464330, which brings any build of Win10 version 1809 up to build 17763.55. The most important change in 17763.55? It gets rid of the user profile deletion bug. Per the KB article: Addresses an issue where an incorrect timing calculation may prematurely delete user profiles on devices subject to the "Delete user profiles older than a specified number of day” group policy. In addition to all the security holes that got fixed on Patch Tuesday. Thus it would appear that if you get all the way to 17763.55, you’ll be beyond the two devastating bugs, and can feast on the usual, garden variety bugs. Of which there are many. What to do next If you lost all the files in your Documents, Photos, or other folders, don’t do anything. Shut down the machine and follow this official advice: To help our customers that may be impacted by this issue, Microsoft Support is assisting customers and trying to recover data for users who may have experienced related data loss. Microsoft retail stores support services also offer this same level of support in-store. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any file recovery work, if you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT or find a local number in your area. For more information, please refer to our Windows 10 update history page (KB article), which we are updating with new information as it is available. Based on the discussions posted online, it’s apparent that Microsoft doesn’t have a magic wand, and probably can’t do any better than a run of Recuva or similar undelete package. If you lost the contents of your Documents or Photos folder and can’t pull it back yourself, you’re probably SOL. Nonetheless, the monkey’s on Microsoft’s back to restore your data. Microsoft has committed to improving the Windows Insider Feedback Hub, to “provide an indication of impact and severity when filing User Initiated Feedback.” I expect that to work just about as well as a home anemometer in a Cat 3 hurricane. More on which later. Most of all, you need to remain vigilant. Microsoft’s going to release 1809 to the masses once again, sooner or later, and you’d be well advised to avoid it, until the debacle that Gregg Keizer describes as “lab rat” beta testing is over. Say, in five or six months. Get your questions answered, and join me in analyzing that 0.01% figure, on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Win10 version 1809, take two: A guide to the builds and what they break (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  20. Today, Microsoft is releasing a fixed version of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to Windows Insiders for the critical deletion bug. In a blog post, Microsoft's John Cable, Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery confirmed that the bug that caused the removal of files on the certain system has been addressed and Windows 10 October 2018 Update is once again available to the Insiders. Microsoft says that they have analyzed all reports of data loss and conducted an internal investigation to find out the cause of the files removal. According to Microsoft, a very small number of users lost files after installing Windows 10 October 2018 Update and it occurred on systems that had Known Folder Redirection (KFR) enabled, but files remained in the original “old” folder location vs being moved to the new, redirected location. "Prior to re-releasing the October 2018 Update our engineering investigation determined that a very small number of users lost files during the October 2018 Update," stated the Microsoft announcement. "This occurred if Known Folder Redirection (KFR) had been previously enabled, but files remain in the original “old” folder location vs being moved to the new, redirected location. KFR is the process of redirecting the known folders of Windows including Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, Videos, Camera Roll, etc. from the default folder location, c:\users\username\, to a new folder location. In previous feedback from the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, users with KFR reported an extra, empty copy of Known Folders on their device," explains John Cable, Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, Microsoft. "Based on feedback from users, we introduced code in the October 2018 Update to remove these empty, duplicate known folders. That change, combined with another change to the update construction sequence, resulted in the deletion of the original “old” folder locations and their content, leaving only the new “active” folder intact". This fixed version of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is first being made available to Insiders for final testing and after analyzing the feedback and data from the Insider community, Windows 10 October 2018 Update will be re-released to the general public soon. "Once we have confirmation that there is no further impact we will move towards an official re-release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update," Microsoft explains. Workaround to recover the deleted files Microsoft has stated that they are using file recovery tools to recover user's deleted files. Therefore, they are suggesting that users use their PCs as little as possible so that deleted files are not overwritten with new data. For those who are affected, they should call Microsoft at +1-800-MICROSOFT or find a local number in your area. Improvements to Feedback app Microsoft is also updating the Feedback app in Windows 10 to enable a new feature that would allow Insiders to provide an indication of impact and severity when filing feedback. This would allow Microsoft to monitor both critical issues and features suggestions. "To help us better detect issues like this, today we have enabled a new feature in the Windows Insider Feedback Hub," stated the blog post. "We have added an ability for users to also provide an indication of impact and severity when filing User Initiated Feedback. We expect this will allow us to better monitor the most impactful issues even when feedback volume is low." Source
  21. A bug in Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) causes the complete removal of certain user files during the install of the new OS release. While at this point it’s not yet known how widespread this problem actually is, there are several discussions online dissecting an issue that leads to users losing files in Windows 10 libraries and in the public folder (some examples are here, here, and here). Judging from user reports, the glitch is encountered when upgrading from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to the October 2018 Update via Windows Update. Files like documents, pictures, music, and videos stored in Windows 10 libraries are deleted without any warning, and at this point, it looks like they can’t be recovered if a backup wasn’t created before the upgrade. No fix, no way to recover lost files Several users in the linked threads have already confirmed the problem both on their machines and on those belonging to other individuals or clients, and in most of the cases, it appears that Windows hasn’t automatically created a backup of the removed files. While a Windows.old folder does exist to allow users to return to the previous Windows version, backups for files stored in libraries aren’t included. “It did happen to one of my PCs. Took out the SSD and attached it to my main PC using SATA to USB 3 and the drive was almost empty. I had backups, so that wasn't a big issue for me. Only thing listed was a Windows.old and the regular Upgrade folder,” reddit user SonicHyuga explains in a post. There’s no word from Microsoft on this bug just yet, and a workaround does not exist, so we recommend Windows 10 users to create backups of their files before beginning the installation of Windows 10 October 2018 Update. The cause of the glitch hasn’t been discovered, and it’s pretty hard to tell which systems could be impacted. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for more information on this and we’ll update the article if we get an answer. An administrator who manages a PC affected by the issue suspects that the issue is caused by the Group Policy "Delete user profiles older than a specified number of days on system restart" in Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > User Profiles as it was set on the device and not on others where the issue was not experienced. Whether the policy is indeed responsible has not been confirmed yet. Source
  22. By Gregg Keizer The file-deletion flaw that plagued last week's rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update shows how Microsoft uses consumers to test out the OS so its important customers – businesses – are protected. Microsoft has barred access to the latest Windows 10 feature upgrade, told those who did run it to keep their hands off their PCs, and warned people who had manually downloaded the build - but not yet installed it - to discard the disk image. The primary problem, Microsoft conceded, was that the upgrade - designated 1809 in the firm's numeric format but also dubbed "October 2018 Update" - tended to erase all the files in the Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos folders. We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating," the company said in its usual understated fashion, in a support document. "If you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files after an update, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT." Reaction was swift. "If you were gullible enough to believe the breathless reviews about a product that's marginally better than what you have, and you trusted Microsoft enough to install it on your machine as quickly as you could, the joke's on you," said Woody Leonard, who runs the AskWoody Windows tip website and writes the "Woody on Windows" column for Computerworld. "With 700 million installs of Windows 10, Microsoft needs to be more careful with their updates because even a tiny percentage of users being affected can still be millions of people," argued How-To Geek after asserting, without more evidence than Microsoft's claims, that the bug, while "very unfortunate" was "unlikely (to have) affected a huge number of users." "It's quite troubling to see Microsoft being so lax about the quality of its generally-available builds," added Neowin, which had earlier pointed out that 1809 had not been shown to the final "Release Preview" ring of Windows Insider testers before its Oct. 2 release. But no one described the bigger picture. Because, for Microsoft, a mistake and resulting upgrade retraction like this is a feature, not a bug, of its Windows 10 release strategy. Key to Windows 10: consumers as lab rats One of the foundational characteristics of Windows 10 is Microsoft's two-tier classification of customers. The lower tier includes those who operate Windows 10 Home, the upper tier, all others. (One could argue that there are, in fact, three kinds of Windows 10 users, because those running Windows 10 Pro occupy the middle ground between Home's folk and the top-of-the-heap Windows 10 Enterprise customers.) Windows 10 Home users - predominantly consumers - are forced to accept every feature upgrade and are not meant to delay the installation of those upgrades, or the monthly waves of security and non-security updates. (Other customer classes can defer upgrades and updates.) Windows 10 Home receives each feature upgrade first, with an interval of weeks or months between that debut and when Microsoft announces that the refresh is suitable for business deployment. There's a reason why Microsoft made Home this way. wrote Jim Alkove in early 2015 (emphasis added). Alkove was then director of program management for Microsoft's enterprise group. "By the time Current branch for Business machines are updated, the changes will have been validated by millions of Insiders, consumers and customers' internal test processes for several months, allowing updates to be deployed with this increased assurance of validation." Although Alkove used a now-defunct label for a Windows 10 deployment channel ("Current branch for Business" morphed into "Semi-annual Channel"), his message to enterprises was clear: Consumers, the first to be handed a feature upgrade, may suffer, as guinea pigs, from flaws that escaped the notice of developers, but businesses would not. Before enterprises received an upgrade, the bugs would be identified and stamped out, and problems solved, because they would be experienced and reported by consumers, then fixed by Microsoft. In that way, consumers running Windows 10 became an essential part of Microsoft's testing regime in a way that people running previous Windows' editions, which at best offered limited-time betas prior to launch, never were. Along with participants in the Insider program - another Windows 10 innovation that delivered a never-ending series of previews to self-selected participants - consumers largely replaced Microsoft's own in-house software testing groups, decimated by layoffs in 2014, before Windows 10 debuted. Less visible, but no less important for Microsoft's purposes, the diagnostic data collected by Windows 10 Home, then transmitted to Microsoft for analysis, is permanently set at the highest, most intrusive level, meaning the most data is harvested and sent. Other SKUs (stock-keeping units) of Windows 10 are set by default to collect less data or can be modified using Group Policies to nullify most of the operating system's telemetric appetite. Microsoft uses this data for a range of purposes, including, it has contended, detecting when an upgrade or update has failed. (But apparently not, as in this instance, being able to see that files have been eradicated.) "We rely on diagnostic data at each stage of the (Windows-as-a-service) process to inform our decisions and prioritize our efforts," Microsoft said in the primary online documentation for the diagnostic effort. The important thing to remember is that, as with forced upgrades, consumers running Windows 10 Home are given no say when it comes to telemetry. Protecting the real customers By exposing consumers with Windows 10 Home to bugs, even fatal flaws that make Microsoft halt delivery, the company confirmed the second-class status of those customers and at the same time identified those benefiting from the scheme as the most valuable clientele. The trade-off is clear-cut: Any pain inflicted upon consumers by bugs, whether major or minor, is pain avoided by commercial customers, particularly enterprises, assuming Microsoft corrects the flaws before giving businesses an upgrade. That's acceptable only because consumers are less important to Microsoft than its business customers. No surprise, since the company records the vast bulk of its revenue from commercial software and services. New revenue streams are almost exclusively aimed at enterprise, as subscriptions such as Microsoft 365 illustrate. Meanwhile, efforts to monetize Windows 10 on the consumer front, whether from app sales or search-based advertising, have floundered on the failures of the Universal Windows Platform model and the Edge browser. Microsoft may still care about consumers-as-customers on Windows, but it clearly cares less about them than it does business users. (If it cared equally for the two categories, it would also let Windows 10 Home users defer or actually skip a feature upgrade. But it doesn't.) In fact, there are reasons to believe that Microsoft cares about consumers only as much as they contribute to the reliability of Windows for the important enterprise customers. Because Microsoft requires Windows 10 Home users to install and use each feature upgrade, it ensures that a large group "tests" every build. There's no straight-forward way to, say, skip a spring upgrade - 1803, perhaps - between two fall upgrades (1709 and 1809), so there will never be a smaller-than-average pool of testers for any one refresh. And the recent decision to extend support for each fall upgrade to 30 months has only reinforced the consumers-are-good-for-testing motif; the additional support is only for users of Windows 10 Enterprise. Yet Microsoft will continue to roll out two upgrades annually, even though experts expect most enterprises to deploy, at most, only one upgrade a year. Why does Microsoft plan to keep releasing two? One possible explanation: Since each upgrade is cumulative, continuing the twice-a-year cadence means that the spring upgrade's contents will be even more thoroughly vetted by consumers before its code is baked into what becomes the fall upgrade. Rather than two months between consumer and commercial availability, for instance, the spring upgrade's contents would be "tested" for eight months before approved for enterprises. Because Microsoft has said nothing about whether the spring and fall upgrades will differ significantly, it's impossible to know whether the company will purposefully favor one over the other with a greater number of new features, the more momentous features or the features most relevant to enterprises. But if it did package such in the spring upgrade, with the expectation that corporations would only deploy the fall's - again, because of the 30-month support promised for that refresh - testing would have that many more months to root out bugs on the higher-profile enhancements or additions. Working as Microsoft wants it to Microsoft will fix the file-deletion issue in Windows 10 1809 and restore the feature upgrade's distribution to what it calls the "Semi-annual Channel (targeted)" release ring. In plainer terms, that means Microsoft will restart delivery of the upgrade to Windows 10 Home and its - willing or not - consumer testers. And except for those business machines whose owners decided to jump into 1809 to get an early start on testing, the blunder will not impact Microsoft's important customers. Some consumers may have permanently lost files - it's unclear at this point whether there is a reliable way to restore what was deleted by 1809 - but it's very unlikely the problem will persist long enough to affect enterprises running Windows 10 Enterprise when they begin 1809 deployment in a month or two or three. Or 10. That's how Windows 10's release model is supposed to work. But Microsoft cannot afford to squander consumer confidence in Windows 10. They play too important a role in 10's quality assurance (QA). From the company's perspective, the worst case would be for the bulk of consumers to take the advice of authorities like Leonard. "Upgrading to a new version of Windows 10 as soon as it's out leads to madness," Leonard wrote in an Oct. 3 column where he showed how users could put off 1809's installation. Fortunately for Microsoft, advice like Leonard's reaches relatively few consumers. Enterprises should thank their lucky stars, too, for the assistance given by consumer lab rats. Without them, it could be corporate PCs going belly up, not Grandma's. Source
  23. Microsoft today announced that the free Windows 10 October 2018 Update is rolling out today. For those keeping track, this update is Windows 10 build 17763 and will bring Windows 10 to version 1809. Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released five major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, and April 2018 Update. The sixth one arrives this month. As you can see, Microsoft has stopped naming Windows 10 updates. The company is now simply sticking with the month and year of release (two free feature updates are expected every year). The Windows 10 October 2018 Update brings a dark theme for File Explorer, a new snipping experience, a cloud-powered clipboard, support for extended line endings in Notepad, integration with the Your Phone app, new web sign-in and fast sign-in features, a mixed reality flashlight feature, SwiftKey in the touch keyboard, and many other improvements. The highly anticipated Sets feature did not make the cut. Windows 10 adoption started out very strong, but naturally slowed as the months progressed. Microsoft was aiming for 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in two to three years but backpedaled on that goal. The operating system was installed on over 75 million PCs in its first four weeks and passed 110 million devices after 10 weeks, 200 million in under six months, 270 million after eight months, 300 million after nine months, 350 million after 11 months, 400 million after 14 months, 500 million after 21 months, and 600 million after 27 months. In September, after 37 months, it passed 700 million devices. Source
  24. Microsoft pulled the feature with the biggest “wow” factor from version 1809, but there are some hidden gems in this release. The big twice-a-year Windows 10 update is here ... except this time, it’s not so big. The Windows 10 October 2018 Update, a.k.a. version 1809, is perhaps the least impressive of the major updates since Windows 10 was introduced. It sports no big, new capabilities like Timeline, the flagship feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Still, it’s got some good sleeper features, a hidden gem or two, a few bombs, and a host of useful if not groundbreaking features. The release will be rolled out to Windows 10 users in phases, starting on October 9, so it might be some time before you see it arrive on your computer. If you want it sooner, you can try manually checking for updates. And if you want to delay the update, here's how to block it temporarily. Want to find out the good, the bad and the ugly of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update? Read on for details. *** Poster's note: This is a lengthy multi-page review, so use the link below for the complete article. *** Source: Review: Windows 10 October 2018 Update delivers modest but useful tweaks (Computerworld - Preston Gralla)
  25. Discussions about the status of Microsoft’s Office Mobile apps began populating the tech ether shortly after Neowin editor Rich Woods took to Twitter to declare them all but dead. In Woods’ defense, his information came straight from the source, he had a disussion with the Office team immediately after a session at the company’s tech conference, Ignite 2018, revealing that the company saw the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 as legacy software. Leading credence to Woods earlier discussion, a Microsoft spokesperson has given an official statement to The Verge about the fate of Office Mobile apps for the Windows 10 platform. Just like that, the Office Mobile experiement is on ice. Despite the relatively neweness of the Windows 10 Mobile apps, they were developed during a time when the company’s mobile strategy was in flux. With no new strategy for mobile, Microsoft has retretrenched itself in the desktop while looking toward a more browser based app strategy powered by the cloud. While the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 were arguably more touch friendly than the current Office 2019 or web versions, it seems telemetry is proving that people much prefer using the standard apps when on Windows 10. As web standards continue to evolve and produce more powerful API structures, developing PWA’s makes more sense for Microsoft’s longer-term strategy. Also, Office on the web is arguably more feature rich than its UWP-powered Office Mobile counterparts. The news about Microsoft prioritizing Office Mobile apps for iOS and Android over its best development example for UWP’s does call into question what the company plans to do about the bill of goods it sold on its UWP platform? Perhaps, with the release of HoloLens 2, a full featured software release of the Surface Hub 2’s systems, or an update to Windows Mixed Reality platform, we may seem some updates to the Windows 10 Mobile apps, or find out if it’s all PWA from here on out. Is Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) dead? Source
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