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  1. Microsoft releases KB4512478 and KB4512514 previews Microsoft released the monthly rollup previews KB4512478 and KB4512514 for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 this weekend. The release on a Saturday is a deviation from the Tuesday or Thursday release schedule for the preview updates. Whether that is a one-time deviation or something that could happen more often in the future remains to be seen. KB4512478 and KB4512514 are preview updates of the monthly rollup patch that Microsoft will release on September 10, 2019. Designed to give organizations time to test changes made in these updates, the previews are available on all devices running one of the supported operating systems. A check on Windows Update will return these as optional updates and they may also be downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog. The previews are not available on WSUS but they can be imported to WSUS manually. KB4512514 for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Support page Microsoft Update Catalog KB4512514 is a non-security update that fixes two issues on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems: Fixed an issue affecting svchost.exe hosting WSMan Service (WsmSvc) that caused it to stop working and to stop other services in the same host process. Fixed the long-standing Preboot Execution Environment issue that could prevent devices from starting. Microsoft lists three known issues that affected previous updates as well: IA64 or x64 devices provisioned after the July 9th updates may fail to start with error" File: \Windows\system32\winload.efi Status: 0xc0000428 Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file." Certain Symantec or Norton security applications may block or delete Windows updates. VBScript should be disabled by default in Internet Explorer 11 but this is apparently not the case all the time. The release notes list only one known issue that Microsoft fixed in the new update; what about the fifth known issue that is no longer listed as a known issue in KB4512514 but also not listed as fixed? It is unclear if the Visual Basic issue is fixed in the preview update; Microsoft makes no mention of it. If you check the August 2019 Monthly Rollup update KB4512506 you find it listed there under known issues and the reference that the optional update KB4517297 fixes it. A quick check of the package details on the Microsoft Update Catalog website shows that KB4517297 is not replaced by this update. KB4512478 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Support page Microsoft Update Catalog KB4512478 is a preview of the monthly rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 that Microsoft will release on the September 2019 Patch Day. The update fixes the following three issues: Fixed a memory leak issue in LSASS that caused it to grow until it became necessary to restart the device. Fixed an issue that caused rdpdr.sys to stop responding or working. Fixed the Preboot Execution Environment issue. Microsoft lists a single known issue: Operations such as rename may fail on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume. The August 2019 Monthly Rollup log lists three known issues; the Visual Basic issue is not listed as fixed but it is not listed as a known issue either. Source: Microsoft releases KB4512478 and KB4512514 previews (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. Installing Windows 7 from a backup? You need a BitLocker patch right away Whether you’re installing Win7 from backup on bare metal or on a VM, watch out for a missing patch. On Friday, Microsoft issued a hidden advisory saying you need to run bcdboot.exe and get the SHA-2 patch KB 3133977 – a BitLocker fix – before you do anything else. Getty Images / Microsoft No doubt you recall the warning back in February that Windows 7, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 patches starting in July would use the SHA-2 encryption protocol. If you want to install Win7 patches issued after July, you have to get the SHA-2 translator installed. A few days ago, Microsoft tossed a zinger into the FAQs down at the bottom of its SHA-2 post, 2019 SHA-2 Code Signing Support requirement for Windows and WSUS. That post now says that you have to install a seemingly unrelated patch, KB 3133977, entitled, BitLocker can't encrypt drives because of service crashes in svchost.exe process in Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. That should immediately raise your eyebrows. It’s a BitLocker fix, fer heaven’s sake, and Microsoft now says you better install that fix before you try to run a new instance of Win7 – whether you have BitLocker or not. Specifically, the SHA-2 post was updated on Aug. 16 to say you can run into trouble in any of these scenarios: You’re using setup to perform a clean install of Win7 using an image (perhaps created by DISM) that’s been customized with updates. You’re burning an image of Win7 directly to disk without running setup. You install an image with SHA-2 support, but the system won’t boot, tossing error 0xc0000428, “Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source.” The remedies in each of those situations is a little bit different, but in general it includes installing the BitLocker fix KB 3133977 (even if you’ve hidden it!) and running the bcdboot.exe program to refresh your boot files. This, buried at the bottom of a FAQ in an old KB article. And you thought Win10 users got all the new bizarre bugs. Thx @abbodi86, @PKCano Stay up on the latest -- Win7, too -- on AskWoody.com. Source: Installing Windows 7 from a backup? You need a BitLocker patch right away (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  3. If you get Windows Update error 0x80092004 on Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 do this Microsoft released updates for all supported versions of Windows -- client and server -- on the August 2019 Patch Day. You can check out our overview of the updates if you have not done so already. Reports suggest that some administrators and home users face issues with the released updates on machines running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. Attempts to install the updates KB4512506 (monthly rollup update) or KB4512486 (security-only update) fail with the error 0x80092004. The error associated with the error code, CRYPT_E_NOT_FOUND, suggests that Windows Update rejects the updates because cryptographic values that the update packages contain are not found. Microsoft changed the signing of update packages for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 devices on the August 2019 Patch Day for the first time. The company signs packages only with SHA-2 since August 2019; it signed them with SHA-1 and SHA-2 previously but decided to drop SHA-1 because of known weaknesses. We published an article in 2018 about the change stating that Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 systems needed certain patches to continue receiving updates. It appears that affected Windows systems are looking for SHA-1 in the update package and ignore SHA-2. SHA-1 is not included anymore and that appears to be the reason why error 0x80092004 is thrown on those systems. Tip: it is always good to research Windows updates before installing updates. Microsoft revealed that certain Symantec and Norton software installed on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 systems does not play nice with the change and Microsoft made the decision to block updates on machines running Symantec and Norton software until the issue is resolved. The security solutions may block or delete Windows Updates. While it is possible that the issue is related, e.g. that other antivirus solutions are causing issues with Windows Updates as well, it is more likely that a required update is missing. Two updates need to be installed on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems so that SHA-2 signed updates are installed correctly: KB4474419 -- SHA-2 code signing support update for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008: August 13, 2019 KB4490628 -- Servicing stack update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: March 12, 2019 If one of these is not installed, SHA-2 signed updates won't be accepted and the error is thrown instead. Microsoft confirms that KB4474419 is a prerequisite on the support website. The company lists KB4490628 on the page as well stating that it strongly recommends that it is updated. SSU updates are installed automatically if Windows Updates is used but need to be installed manually if updates are installed manually. It is unclear why Microsoft does not list the SSU as a prerequisite more clearly. You can verify that these updates are installed by checking the "Installed Updates" listing in the Control Panel or by running third-party software such as Nirsoft's WinUpdatesList. If at least one of the updates is not installed, install it on the device and run a new check for updates after installation; the August 2019 update should install just fine this time. Source: If you get Windows Update error 0x80092004 on Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2 do this (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  4. Just over one million computers in the NHS are still using Windows 7. With less than half a year to go before support ends for Windows 7, about three-quarters of computers in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) are still running the OS. Just over one million computers in the NHS are still using Windows 7, according to a written answer from the Department of Health and Social Care. Having so many machines still running Windows 7 is a problem, according to Jo Platt MP, shadow cabinet office minister, as the end of extended support in January 2020 will mean no more fixes and patches without a costly custom-support deal. "With less than six months before Windows 7 support expires, it is deeply concerning that over a million NHS computers, over three quarters of the total NHS IT estate, are still using this operating system," she says. Platt drew attention to the WannaCry attacks on unpatched computers in 2017, which disrupted NHS systems and led to almost 20,000 appointments being cancelled, with the total cost to the NHS estimated to be around £92m. "The WannaCry cyber attack two years ago starkly proved the dangers of operating outdated software. Unless the government swiftly acts and learns from their past mistakes they are risking a repeat of WannaCry," she says. Answering Platt's parliamentary question, Jackie Doyle-Price, then parliamentary under secretary of state for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention, said that while 1.05 million NHS computers were still running Windows 7, the migration process to Windows 10 was underway. "All NHS organisations, with the exception of one which had already upgraded to Windows 10, have signed up to receive Windows 10 licences and Advanced Threat Protection," she wrote. "Deployment of Windows 10 is going well and in line with target to make sure the NHS is operating on supported software when Windows 7 goes out of support in 2020." However, while Doyle-Price suggests the NHS will stop using Windows 7 before the 2020 deadline, the government chose not to answer a separate question from Platt about whether it was in talks with Microsoft about a custom support deal for Windows 7 post-2020. The government also faced further criticism for a minority of NHS machines still running Windows XP, Microsoft's 2001 operating system that went out of support five years ago. Despite the risk of running these Windows XP machines, Doyle-Price said it was not "not possible to set a timeframe for complete removal of Windows XP from all NHS machines". "This is because removal is not always possible, particularly where Windows XP is embedded in medical devices," she wrote. "All NHS organisations have been given guidance on how to mitigate the risks if they cannot completely remove Windows XP from their estate, for example, they can segregate the affected machines from the network. They can also contact NHS Digital for further bespoke advice and support to mitigate risks." She says additional management, monitoring, and risk mitigation was provided via the NHS's Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT). Last year the Cabinet Office confirmed that government does not centrally track the number of Windows XP computers operating across the public sector. While Microsoft ended extended support for Windows XP in 2014, the UK government paid £5.5m for a year's extension to April 2015. The problem of public bodies using operating systems long after support ends is not limited to the UK, in 2015 the US Navy agreed to pay Microsoft millions to keep supporting Windows XP post-2014. Source
  5. Microsoft has acknowledged that the brisk sales it recently reported for Windows would continue past the support retirement date for Windows 7 as some customers will be late to get off the older OS. In a July 18 earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Microsoft's chief financial officer said revenue from sales to computer manufacturers of Windows 10 Pro was up 18% over the June quarter of 2018. "OEM Pro revenue grew 18 per cent, ahead of the commercial PC market, driven by healthy Windows 10 demand [and] strong momentum in advance of the Windows 7 end of support," said Amy Hood. She also attributed four percentage points of that increase to computer builders boosting inventory in the fear that tariffs might be applied, raising their costs and forcing them to choose between higher prices and lower profits. OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer," the Lenovos, HPs and Dells of the world. Microsoft sells OEMs Windows 10 to pre-install on new systems. The OEMs place Windows 10 Home on PCs aimed at consumers and Windows 10 Pro on machines designed for businesses. Microsoft dubs the latter "OEM Pro" and the former "OEM non-Pro." Meanwhile, revenue from sales of OEM non-Pro Windows was down eight per cent from the same period the year prior, Hood said. Consumer PC sales have slumped for years as buyers abandoned the format for phones and tablets. Business PC sales, including those due to companies replacing aging Windows 7 systems with new machines running Windows 10, have saved the business from complete ruin. According to research firm IDC, the impending end-of-life for Windows 7 provided a "significant boost for the commercial segment" during the June quarter, especially in desktops. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, desktop shipments experienced the first solid increase since the end of support for Windows XP in 2014. "This shows that OS upgrades are always the peak of demand for stationary device renewals," Daniel Goncalves, an IDC senior research analyst, said in a statement. Rival research company Gartner concurred. "Worldwide PC shipments growth was driven by demand from the Windows 10 refresh in the business market," said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst, also in a statement. But while IDC said that the commercial Windows 7-to-Windows 10 migration is in its "last leg," Microsoft's Hood thought that leg could stretch as long as a year. "What we've seen in prior releases is, [the impact of end of support] does extend a bit past the deadline, especially in our small and mid-sized business customers," Hood told investment analysts. "We will see some extension pass the line." Windows 7 exits support on Jan. 14, 2020. After that, Microsoft will provide patches for the security vulnerabilities only to companies and organisations that pay extra for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates. The post-retirement support will cost $25 (Windows 7 Enterprise) or $50 per (Windows 7 Professional) PC for the first year, with fees doubling each of the next two years. A majority of companies has made the transition to Windows 10, according to a survey of IT decision makers conducted for Kollective, an Oregon-based company that sells content delivery solutions to corporations. With just six months left before the Windows 7 deadline, 96 per cent of the businesses polled had started migrations to Windows 10, but a smaller number - 77 per cent - had completed the job. Of the large enterprises surveyed, 18 per cent, or more than one in six, had yet to wrap up. "While the migration process has been streamlined by Microsoft for the move to Windows 10 [compared to 2014's XP-to-7 move], there is still a significant risk of larger enterprises missing the January 2020 deadline," Kollective wrote in a white paper outlining the survey results. Other measurements argue that Windows 7 is even more entrenched. At the end of June, for example, U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications estimated that Windows 7 powered 40 per cent of the globe's Windows devices, a significantly larger share than Windows XP controlled half a year before its retirement. Net Applications' data over the last 12 months signalled that Windows 7 would still be on 36 per cent of all Windows PCs when it loses support. However, Net Applications does not report business and consumer data separately, making it unclear how big a problem Windows 7 remains in the working world. Gartner analyst Stephen Kleynhans said enterprise migrations had slowed of late, a not-unusual problem at this point. "Enterprises are moving along, but at a slower pace," Kleynhans said in an interview. "We're in the wave of, I don't like the word 'laggards' because it's not that they're laggards because they're lazy, but they have unusual issues that are holding them back [from migrating]. Sometimes it's budget, sometimes it's technical." Kleynhans estimated that between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of organisations will have what he called "significant numbers" of Windows 7 systems still in place at the mid-January retirement deadline. "But Microsoft really took the pressure off, in a good way," Kleynhans continued, referring to Extended Security Updates, or ESU. The after-retirement support, he said, will allow enterprises to "focus on getting [the migration) done right." Every organisation he had talked to that had or would pony up for ESU was planning on using it for just one year. Whether those enterprises will finish by January 2021, however, remains uncertain. "My gut feel is that we're ahead of where we were with EOL [end-of-lifecycle] of Windows XP," Kleynhans concluded. "The actual process for most has been a lot smoother." Source
  6. Time is running out for those who haven't already moved on from Windows 7 -- but are they really ready for the jump to Windows 10? It's been some time since Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 to become the most used PC operating system, but with the final end of Windows 7 support looming, there's still much work to do. With six months until Windows 7 goes out of extended support, there's quite a lot of data around to provide at least a rough picture of the current state of play. According to a survey by IT company Kollective of 200 UK and US decision makers, just under one in five large enterprises hasn't migrated to Windows 10. Even though that's a significant number, it's still down from the 43% the company found when it ran similar research at the start of the year. The research found that the vast majority of organisations have started to migrate to Windows 10, and estimated that three-quarters have already completed the project. However, for the quarter still working, six months may not be enough time to get everything finished. Separate research from authentication company Duo found that Windows 10 now accounts for 66% of PCs its software interacts with, compared with 29% for Windows 7. In some sectors, the situation is more worrying -- Duo points to healthcare as a sector that is particularly wedded to Windows 7. Finding the time to do an upgrade in a busy hospital is always going to be hard, and some medical hardware just can't be upgraded. It's probably worth noting that there also remains a worrying amount of Windows XP still in use -- the UK's health service still has about 2,300 PCs running the 18-year-old operating system, although the OS only accounts for 0.16% of the NHS's 1.4 million PCs. Data from NetMarketShare shows the gradual decline of the use of Windows 7, which now accounts for somewhere around 38% of PCs connecting to the internet; Windows 10 overtook it at the back end of last year and has around 41% market share. It's always wise to be aware of the caveats around figures like these, but the broad trends are clear. Whatever the precise figure for Windows 7 versus Windows 10 right now, what's clear is that -- with less that six months before Windows 7 goes out of extended support on 14 January 2020 -- there's still a lot of PCs out there using it. There are options for companies that don't get everything moved off Windows 7 before the middle of January, or who want to stick with the old OS for whatever reason, in the form of extended support packages from Microsoft, although there is a significant cost attached. But, even if they get the move to Windows 10 completed in time, these companies then have to adjust to the new(ish) world of Windows as a service. That means regular upgrades for new features and security fixes, not the giant lift-and-shift every few years that was the model previously. There's plenty to admire in that model, and not just for Microsoft; companies can get access to new features and bug fixes almost as soon as they are ready, without waiting for them to be bundled up into in mega-releases. The problem is that, as my colleague Ed Bott points out, even after four years of Windows as a service, Microsoft is still struggling to get the upgrade process right, and he has some advice for companies on how to manage that process. The large businesses that have spent the time and effort to get to understand Windows 10 will be fine -- but the issue could well be with those late adopters who are only now looking at Windows 10 as that Windows 7 deadline looms. They must prepare for more testing and more regular rollouts -- not easy when many companies are already well behind with software updates and patching. For many of these companies, their next Windows migration is the beginning, not the end, of the changes. Source
  7. Best Linux Distro for Windows 7 Refugees: Manjaro KDE With the impending destruction of Windows 7 (read: loss of official support) looming in the horizon, many users may find themselves in the debate of moving to Windows 10 or jumping ship to an alternative such as MacOS or Linux. There are hundreds of Linux distributions to choose from, but I’d like to personally throw my two-copper in and suggest Manjaro KDE. What is Manjaro? And KDE? Manjaro is based off of Arch Linux, but I like to describe it to people as the “Ubuntu of Arch” for its user-friendly design choices and its particular attention to helping new Linux users to learn what they are doing. Another great perk of the Arch foundation underneath Manjaro is the use of the Arch Linux Wiki. The Arch wiki is easily one of the largest resources of help, information, and know-how for all Linux users— regardless of distribution, many of the articles found can be applied. Back in the spring of 2017 I wrote a series of articles discussing various Desktop Environments for Linux systems, such as Cinnamon and KDE just to name a couple, and overall for Windows users who have decided to take the plunge, I’m recommending KDE. Regardless of distribution, KDE is filled with eye candy, is highly-customizable, one of the most powerful file-browsers available (Dolphin), and is deeply documented with a long-standing history (KDE was created in 1996). However, KDE is not without its downsides too: Arguably the most resource-intensive desktop environment Very in-your-face customization access can be jarring to Windows users not used to having such broad customization in their UI setup. Arguably more geared towards power-users than some other environments Some feel that KDE is too cluttered Looking at this list, with the exception of the increased resource usage compared to most of the other Desktop Environments, I personally find the other downsides to really be ‘benefits’, but that’s to each their own. Looking back at Manjaro as the choice of environment, I want to note that I really looked at: Ubuntu Linux Mint Debian Fedora OpenSUSE In the end, I felt that Manjaro held the best combination of user-friendliness with raw-power. Yes, any of the above-listed systems will work and run pretty much the same software; but Manjaro makes everything simple, easy, organized, and smooth, as well as featuring some great built-in tools such as Pamac/Octopi depending on environment chosen (though I always uninstall Octopi and install Pamac), the Settings Manager Kernel changing option is simply spectacular, and I’ve enjoyed many of the software choices by the Manjaro team (including Steam by default, Firefox, Thunderbird, Yakuake). Source: Best Linux Distro for Windows 7 Refugees: Manjaro KDE (gHacks)
  8. Users have such fond memories of XP, they seem to be replicating its death This is bald Sooty. This is a bunny MICROSOFT IS sitting on a Windows timebomb, and the fuse is lit. In six months' time, on 14 January 2020, Windows 7 will reach its natural End of Life (EoL), meaning no more security updates and the whole circus of panic that goes with it. It'll have had a damn good innings, nine-and-a-half years in fact, but the tiresome truth is that a lot of customers still aren't confident enough in Windows 10 for an upgrade, or their machine isn't capable of running it, thanks to Microsoft's draconian rules about what chipsets it supports. The free upgrade offer that let Windows 7 and 8.1 users update to Windows 10 for nowt was supposed to stop this exact thing happening, but uptake was finite, and even now, three years on, a whopping 35.38 per cent of users are still running Windows 7 (Windows 8.x is another 5.2 per cent). In fact, totting up all versions of Windows, there are almost as many users not running Windows 10 as running it. More worrying is that figure has hardly shifted from last month - Windows 7 has lost 0.06 per cent market share. Year on year, it's only dropped about six per cent. At that rate, we'd still be faffing about with this issue in the mid-2020s. The bulk will be organisations who haven't yet made the leap with their networks. This could be because of money, the need to run bespoke apps that don't play nicely on Windows 7, and yes, in some cases it could be ignorance. The fact remains, though; that's a lot of machines that aren't on a version of Windows with a future. The last remaining version to be supported beyond January 2020 will be Windows 8.1 (if you're running Windows 8 you can, nay should update to Windows 8.1 for free, from the Microsoft Store, as soon as possible - that's been EoL for ages). Organisations who really can't be ready in time can apply for extended support for up to three years, but its charged per seat, which, in a big organisation could be thousands of machines. Oh yeah, and that price per seat doubles every year. If you're an individual using Windows 7, you've got no options - this date has, after all, been in the calendar for years and Microsoft won't make any money out of your complaining - buy a copy of Windows 10 by 14 January, or you're screwed. The fact that it's only a few years ago that there was all the kerfuffle with Windows XP's EoL, which, lest we forget carried on for years including a spectacular fail during the Wannacry ransomware incident, you'd hope that Microsoft would be better arming its users for what is to come. Alas, however, it seems that if you're not running a network of Windows 7 machine, Microsoft isn't that fussed about telling you what you need to do. That said - it's all fun and games ‘till the nag screens start. And they will. On the plus side, we'll get to say 'we told you so' and we know you know how much we love doing that. Source
  9. Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7. After the support ends, you can continue to use Windows 7, but your PC will become vulnerable to security risks as you will not receive security and feature updates. Microsoft has advised everyone to upgrade to Windows 10 to avoid potential security risks. Kollective, an enterprise software company, conducted a survey related to Windows 7 adoption on more than 200 US and UK IT employees and the survey results were surprising. Almost a fifth of large enterprises are still on Windows 7. Even though many organizations have started the migration process, Kollective feels that migration will take several years and they won’t be able to complete the migration process before Jan 14th 2020. To support such customers, Microsoft last year announced that it will offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023. Windows 7 ESU will be sold on a per-device basis and the price will double each year. “When it came to migrating away from Windows XP it took some large enterprises as long as three years to transfer their entire systems to the new operating system, now, many firms will have to make the transition in less than 12 months. Those that fail to do so will have to pay for extended support, with the largest organizations paying more than a million dollars a year in order to remain on Windows 7,” said Dan Vetras, CEO of Kollective. More at: [Fudzilla] Source
  10. Microsoft surreptitiously adds telemetry functionality to July 2019 Win7 Security-only patch Unannounced, Microsoft has added telemetry functionality to the July 2019 Security-only Update for Windows 7 KB4507456. Alerted on Patch Tuesday by an anonymous poster: Warning for group B Windows 7 users! The “July 9, 2019—KB4507456 (Security-only update)” is NOT “security-only” update. It replaces infamous KB2952664 and contains telemetry. Some details can be found in file information for update 4507456 (keywords: “telemetry”, “diagtrack” and “appraiser”) and under http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/ScopedViewInline.aspx?updateid=7cdee6a8-6f30-423e-b02c-3453e14e3a6e (in “Package details”->”This update replaces the following updates” and there is KB2952664 listed). It doesn’t apply for IA-64-based systems, but applies both x64 and x86-based systems. Microsoft included the KB2952664 functionality (known as the “Compatibility Appraiser”) in the Security Quality Monthly Rollups for Windows 7 back in September 2018. The move was announced by Microsoft ahead of time. With the July 2019-07 Security Only Quality Update KB4507456, Microsoft has slipped this functionality into a security-only patch without any warning, thus adding the “Compatibility Appraiser” and its scheduled tasks (telemetry) to the update. The package details for KB4507456 say it replaces KB2952664 (among other updates). Come on Microsoft. This is not a security-only update. How do you justify this sneaky behavior? Where is the transparency now. Susan, we need your Pinocchio with a loooooong nose. Source: Microsoft surreptitiously adds telemetry functionality to July 2019 Win7 Security-only patch (AskWoody)
  11. How to download and install Microsoft Edge on Windows 7 In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft has recreated Edge browser on Chromium for Windows 10, macOS and now Windows 7. Microsoft has just released the first preview build of Edge browser for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 Microsoft Edge for Windows 7 offers experience and features like its Windows 10 counterpart, including Internet Explorer mode, rounded corners, and more. The company has published the Microsoft Edge Canary Builds for Windows 7 and the more stable Edge Dev builds will be released soon. In this article, we walk you through the steps to download and install Microsoft Edge on Windows 7. Install Chromium-Based Microsoft Edge on Windows 7 Visit the Microsoft Edge Insider page from here. Click on ‘More platforms and channels’. Scroll down. Click on ‘Download’ located below Windows 7. Click on ‘Download for Windows 7’ under Canary. Run the installer and allow it to install. That’s it, you can now use Microsoft Edge on your Windows 7 machine like any other web browser. You can import your bookmarks, history, and more from Google Chrome or you can start from scratch. Unlike Chrome, Edge offers you to choose the look of the new page tabs and you can also try experimental features from the flags menu. The dark mode is not available as Windows 7 does not support it natively. You can also sign-in to your Microsoft account and sync your browsing history across Windows 10, macOS, Android and even iOS devices.
  12. KB4503277 and KB4503283 for Windows 7 and 8.1 released Microsoft released two update previews for the company's Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems on June 20, 2019. The updates are also available for Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 and can either be downloaded directly from the Microsoft Update Catalog website or as an optional update through Windows Update. Please note that the updates are considered previews; in other words, they should be considered beta releases. It is advised to stay clear of them until a device is affected by one of the fixed issues or if you want to take the updates for a test drive. Both updates are non-security updates. KB4503277 for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Support link: KB4503277 Microsoft Update Catalog Link: link Servicing Stack Update: link KB4503277 "includes improvements and fixes that were part of KB4503292" according to Microsoft's update description. The release notes list the following changes: Fixed an issue that prevented the Calculator application from following Gannen settings when enabled. Addressed an issue with the evaluation of the compatibility status of the Windows operating system. Fixed an issue that caused Internet Explorer 11 to stop working when Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) markers are opened or interacted with. Fixed the Event Viewer issue that caused custom views to throw an error message on Start. The only known issue listed is the incompatibility with certain McAfee Enterprise products that may slow down the system start or make the system unresponsive altogether. KB4503283 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Support link: KB4503283 Microsoft Update Catalog Link: link KB4503283 "includes improvements and fixes that were part of KB4503283" according to Microsoft's update description. The release notes list the following changes: All changes fixed by the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 update. Fixed an issue that caused the user interface to appear frozen during scroll operations (in windows with many child windows). Addressed a reliability issue in Windows (which Microsoft did not reveal anything about other than that it is a reliability issue) Microsoft confirms two known issues, both of which not new. The systems are affected by the same McAfee software issue as the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 systems are. The second issue is the longstanding issue on Cluster Shared Volumes that makes certain operations fail with the error "STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)". New Internet Explorer cumulative update as well Woody Leonhard notes that Microsoft released a new cumulative Internet Explorer update for the client operating systems Windows 7 and 8.1, and the Server operating systems Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 as well recently. Addressed an issue that caused Internet Explorer 11 to stop working when it opened or interacted with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) markers, including Power BI line charts with markers. The cumulative update is available on Microsoft's Update Catalog website. Source: KB4503277 and KB4503283 for Windows 7 and 8.1 released (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  13. 1 Million Computers Still Vulnerable to Major Windows Security Exploit Microsoft advises all affected systems to update to the latest software. HIGHLIGHTS Microsoft recently discovered "wormable" vulnerability on Windows It affects all machines except the ones running Windows 8 and Windows 10 The vulnerability is believed to be remotely exploitable Microsoft has warned nearly one million computers globally are still at risk of a malware attack Microsoft has warned that nearly one million computers globally are still at risk of malware attack similar to WannaCry that spread worldwide in 2017 causing billions of dollars in damage. The software giant recently discovered "wormable" vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services for Windows that can automatically spread. The company has issued its second advisory, urging users to update their systems to prevent the "BlueKeep" malware attack, TechCrunch reported on Friday. "Microsoft is confident that an exploit exists for this vulnerability. It's been only two weeks since the fix was released and there has been no sign of a worm yet. This does not mean that we're out of the woods," warned Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft's Security Response Center (MSRC). "Our recommendation remains the same. We strongly advise that all affected systems should be updated as soon as possible," said Microsoft. The bug is a "critical" vulnerability that affects computers running Windows XP, Windows 7 and server operating systems. These operating systems are widely being used especially in corporate environments. "The vulnerability can be used to run code at the system level, allowing full access to the computer -- including its data. "Worse, it is remotely exploitable, allowing anyone to attack a computer connected to the internet," reports TechCrunch. Only Windows 8 and Windows 10 are not vulnerable to the new bug. Source
  14. After the debacle last month, you’d think that McAfee and Sophos would’ve figured out a way to work with Microsoft’s monthly patches. Not so. Microsoft says that its May 14 Monthly Rollup, KB 4499164 and Security-only patch KB 4499175, are triggering problems anew: Microsoft and McAfee have identified an issue on devices with McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) Threat Prevention 10.x or McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention (Host IPS) 8.0 or McAfee VirusScan Enterprise (VSE) 8.8 installed. It may cause the system to have slow startup or become unresponsive at restart after installing this update. We are presently investigating this issue with McAfee. Guidance for McAfee customers can be found in the following McAfee support articles: McAfee Security (ENS) Threat Prevention 10.x McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention (Host IPS) 8.0 McAfee VirusScan Enterprise (VSE) 8.8 To be clear, this is in addition to the problems we all felt last month. The official Release Information status page says that this particular problem originated on April 9 and has been mitigated. McAfee disagrees: “May 16, 2019 Updated that this issue applies to Windows April 2019 update KBs or later Windows monthly updates.” You can choose which one you believe. Microsoft hasn’t yet admitted to the problems with Sophos, but I assure you they will. Here’s what Sophos says: We have had an increase in customers reporting that following on from the Microsoft Windows 14th May patches they are experiencing a hang on boot where the machines appear to get stuck on “Configuring 30%” Initial findings suggest that this relates to the below Microsoft Patches: May 14, 2019—KB4499164 (Monthly Rollup) May 14, 2019—KB4499165 KB4499175 (Security-only update) * We have currently only identified the issue on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s) Sophos Endpoint Security and Control Sophos Central Endpoint Standard/Advanced Why does this feel like deja vu all over again? Thx Kevin Beaumont @GossiTheDog. Source: For the second month in a row, McAfee and Sophos are having problems with the Win7/Server 2008 R2 Monthly Rollup and Security-only patches (AskWoody) * Poster's note: Sophos mentions KB4499165 above, but that's the security-only update for 8.1 and Server 2012 R2, not 7. They mean KB4499175 , the security-only update for 7 SP1 and Server 2008 SP1.
  15. Windows 7 users are now receiving the end of support reminder notifications Image Courtesy: Microsoft Some users are reporting that Microsoft has begun sending notifications to Windows 7 machines to remind users when support for the OS ends. The users are supposed to upgrade to Windows 10 before support ends for the older OS in January 2020. By the looks of things, the notification first popped up in the morning of April 18, 2019. A Reddit thread also confirms that some Windows 7 users received the notification on April 18. In another Reddit discussion, users confirmed that the notification showed up when they booted the computer. The notification titled “After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing an end” reveals the date when support for Windows 7 ends. The notification popup features the ‘Learn more’ button on the right. If you click on the button, it opens Microsoft’s webpage in the browser to detail the end of support deadline and options available to the customers. As promised, there’s also a box ‘Do not remind me again’, which if clicked, is supposed to stop displaying this notification again. If you simply close the window, the notification would show up again in the near future. Microsoft says users can continue to use Windows 7, but the operating system will stop receiving software and security updates in 2020 and this will put the system at a greater risk for viruses and malware. “While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10. And the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. While it is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended,” Microsoft explains. Source
  16. While most of Patch Tuesday seems to be going relatively smoothly, Win7, Win8.1, Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 machines are seeing multiple problems with this month’s patches, both Security-only updates and Monthly Rollups. Sophos has acknowledged that its products may be at the core of the reports. detsang (CC BY 2.0) Patch Tuesday seemed uneventful until loads of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 machines, as well as Win8.1 and Server 2012 R2 machines, rebooted overnight. Looks like we have another throat-clutching bad round of patches to contend with. Sophos Anti-Virus appears to be at the core of many reported bugs, but it’s still too early to tell if other software will get stung by the same changes. Yesterday, as is its wont, Microsoft released a big bunch of patches: 74 separately identified security holes; two of them actively exploited; with every version of Windows, Office, IE and Edge plugged. As of early this morning, the big news is the astounding gaggle of bugs being reported for the Win7 and Server 2008 R2 Monthly Rollup, KB 4493472, and the Win8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Monthly Rollup, KB 4493446. We’re still at the first-survivor’s round of complaints, but so far there have been reports on Spiceworks of: Login screen stuck on Welcome and taking up to an hour to logon. And then even if they can login they freeze up completely. Some of our 2008R2 servers were hanging at "applying computer settings". Including the domain controller. After booting into safe mode and removing the update, the problem was gone. All of our Windows 7 machines auto installed this update so we've spent since 8AM this morning going to each machine and removing it (having to boot into Safe mode). However the update simply will not remove from our HP ProDesk 400 G2 MINI's we've had to take them out of service as they continue to get stuck even after the removal. Over on the Sophos site: Sophos AntiVirus service was logging lots of error messages in event log. Event IDs : 7022 (service hang), 80, 81, 83, 85, 82, 566, 608, 592. The server became unresponsive, no rdp, no file share access, Ctrl Alt Delete not working. The people at Sophos just acknowledged the problem: After installing the following Microsoft Windows updates Sophos has received reports of computers failing to boot: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4493467/windows-8-1-update-kb4493467 https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4493472/windows-7-update-kb4493472 Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s) Sophos Endpoint Security and Control Sophos Central Endpoint Standard/Advanced There’s no apparent solution, other than uninstalling the Windows patch — and that’s pretty complicated because you have to bypass the Sophos Anti-Virus service. Details in the post. It’s not clear from Sophos’s mea culpa precisely which patches are implicated. They list two: KB 4493467 - the April Win8.1 Security-only patch KB 4493472 - the April Win7 Monthly Rollup From that, I would infer (but can’t yet confirm) that two additional patches are involved: KB 4493446 - the April Win8.1 Monthly Rollup KB 4493448 - the April Win7 Security-only patch Microsoft has yet to report on any of this. In particular, we don’t know if the patches only clobber Sophos Anti-Virus, or if there’s more collateral damage. We’re keeping a close eye on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Widespread reports of freezing with yesterday’s Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups, KB 4493472 and KB 4493446 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  17. Want to try Edge Insider on Windows 7 now? Here’s how to get it working Microsoft finally made its new Chromium-based Edge browser available for Windows 10 usersyesterday, and it’s currently possible to choose between two different channels, Dev and Canary. The company said that preview builds for the new browser would be coming soon for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and macOS, but it’s actually already possible to install the new browser on older version of Windows. As a matter of fact, the leaked Microsoft Edge build that was discovered last month already worked on Windows 7, and it looked pretty good with the Aero interface and built-in support for PWAs. As reported by Bleeping Computertoday, the Edge Dev and Canary installers do work on Windows 7, it’s just that the .exe files are hidden when you visit the new Microsoft Edge Insider website with a non-Windows 10 PC. Fortunately, you should be able to find the installers on this download page, even when you visit it on a non-Windows 10 PC. Bleeping Computer had no issue running the Edge Insider Dev build on a Windows 7 PC, though the report notes that watching videos on Netflix didn’t work, probably because of missing DRMs on the OS. We don’t have a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 PC around to test the new Edge browser on these versions of Windows, but it would be surprising if it didn’t work. If you have yet to try Microsoft’s Edge Insider web browser, we remind you that you can install the Dev and Canary versions side by side: The Dev version will get new builds every week, while the Canary version will be updated daily. There’s already a lot to like in these Insider builds, even though Microsoft is still in the process of removing or replacing some features available in the Chromium open source project. Source
  18. Windows 10 Increases Its Lead as Windows 7 Begins Going Down The rapidly approaching end of support for Windows 7 is just what Windows 10 needed to become a more widely-adopted operating system, as new data shows Microsoft’s latest OS version is finally improving its market share at a more aggressive pace. According to numbers provided by NetMarketShare for the month of March, Windows 10 increased its lead to 43.62%, up from no less than 40.30% in February. This means Windows 10 improved its market share by 3.32% in just a single month. At the same time, Windows 7, which has long been the number one desktop operating system, dropped from 38.41% to 36.52% during the same month. In other words, the gap between Windows 10 and Windows 7 has now reached 7.1%, and it’s very likely to continue increasing in the coming months.The Windows 7 EOLThis new data can only be good news for Microsoft, especially as the company struggles to convince users to give up on Windows 7 and upgrade to Windows 10. Launched in 2009, Windows 7 is projected to reach the end of support in January 2020, which means no security patches would be shipped after this date. With this milestone approaching fast, Microsoft is trying to make people aware of the risks of running outdated Windows by sending notifications to their devices, a tactic which the company hopes would also boost the adoption of Windows 10. Despite Windows 8.1 still getting updates as well, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s recommended choice for users looking to upgrade from Windows 7. Meanwhile, Microsoft is also giving the finishing touches to a new Windows 10 feature update (version 1903 and possibly called April 2019 Update), which itself could help boost the adoption of the operating system worldwide. Windows 10 version 1903 will introduce several significant improvements, including a new light theme on the desktop, Windows Sandbox for running apps in a secure environment, and further Windows Update refinements. Source
  19. One Small Detail Windows 7 Users Won’t Like As you probably know already if you’re still on Windows 7, Microsoft has started its Windows 10 upgrade offensive earlier this week as the 2009 operating system is approaching the end of support. While a lot has been said about the notifications that Microsoft now shows on the desktop in order to make people aware of the January 2020 Windows 7 end of life, few people actually noticed a smaller detail that Microsoft included in its upgrade brochure. The warning displayed on the desktop of Windows 7 devices includes a link that points users to this page whose purpose is to provide information for those who may decide to upgrade to Windows 10. Without a doubt, Microsoft recommending Windows 10 and not Windows 8.1, which is still supported, isn’t surprising by any means, but what’s a little bit unexpected is how the company says this upgrade should be performed. Basically, while the software giant says users should move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as soon as possible before the January 2020 deadline, how they should do that is by purchasing a new computer. Microsoft says the following on the page linked above: “The best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. While it is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended.” Without a doubt, this sounds odd for many users, especially because back in 2015 when Microsoft launched Windows 10, the new OS was offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 users. In other words, Windows 10 was supposed to run on the same hardware as Windows 7. And while the new features that Microsoft added to Windows 10 in the meantime may require new hardware, labeling the upgrade on the existing configuration as “not recommended” is certainly unexpected. Microsoft goes on to explain why you should purchase a new computer: “PCs originally built with Windows 7 are running 10-year-old technology. Windows 10 has many of the same features and capabilities from Windows 7 built into the experience. Once you move to a new PC, there will be many aspects of the experience that you will find familiar, but also with important innovations and capabilities that were not available ten years ago.” The company then highlights a series of Windows 10 features requiring new hardware, like touchscreen and pen support, the Photos app (?!), and security improvements. Oddly enough, the system requirements for Windows 10 are very similar to the ones for Windows 7: Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or System on a Chip (SoC) RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit Hard drive space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 32 GB for 64-bit OS Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver Convincing users to give up on Windows 7 and switch to Windows 10 will definitely be a difficult thing to do, and turning to recommendations like this one makes the whole mission even harder. And what’s worse is that it also causes more frustration among Windows 7 users, who have already criticized Microsoft’s approach several times already. Some don’t think Windows 10 is worth installing because of all the modern features like the Microsoft Store, while others blasted the company for its Windows 10 offensive, including the notifications that show up on the desktop. Right now, Microsoft’s biggest problem is that Windows 7 is so widely used all over the world. Windows 7 is still running on more than 35 percent of the desktop computers available globally, and Windows 10 needed around 4 years to finally take over the leading place. Source
  20. Unlike the infamous GWX debacle from when Win10 first arrived, this kinder, gentler nag can, in theory, be reliably disabled. It’s rolling out just now in an optional Windows 7 update, KB 4493132. Microsoft / IDG Those of you who discovered a new optional patch, KB 4493132, on your Windows 7 machines this morning can breathe a sigh of relief. Although Microsoft’s official documentation says the nagware “patch” (if you can call it that) should come through automatic update, in fact every report I’ve seen so far says that KB 4493132 is playing nice, sitting in the “Optional” list in Windows Update. The KB article itself has almost no information: After 10 years of servicing, January 14, 2020, is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates for computers running Windows 7 SP1. This update enables reminders about Windows 7 end of support. More information about Windows 7 end of support can be found here. This update is available through Windows Update. If automatic updates are enabled, this update will be downloaded and installed automatically. For more information about how to turn on automatic updating, see Windows Update: FAQ. That last paragraph seems to be, mercifully, incorrect — at least at this point. We’ve been promised that you can turn off the nag, and keep it off permanently. Given the experiences with the GWX program — which found a way to not only reappear, but to install Win10 without provocation — I find that very hard to believe. But I'd be very glad to be wrong. Of course you should make sure that automatic update is turned off. Thx, PKCano. We're following intently on the AskWoody Lounge. Seven Semper Fi! Source: The new 'Get Windows 10' announcement arrives for Win7 in KB 4493132 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  21. Some Windows 7, 8.1 users reporting Security Essentials and Windows Defender problems Some Windows 7 and 8.1 users are noticing that their automatic anti-malware protection has been turned off and are seeing out-of-date virus definitions. A definition update fix may be coming shortly. A number of Windows 7 and 8.1 users are encountering problems with Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Users are seeing their automatic anti-malware protection turned off without their knowledge and are seeing out-of-date virus definitions. The problem is happening with some, but not all, users for the past several hours. Windows 10 users don't seem to be affected. I just tried running a manual Security Essentials scan on my Windows 7 SP1 desktop machine and got error message 0x800106ba. I, like others reporting the issue, received a warning that my PC couldn't be scanned and my ant-malware service had stopped. Microsoft Security Essentials provides a fuller range of protection against malicious software than Windows Defender. MSE is meant to protect against viruses, worms, Trojans, rootkits, spyware and more. I have no idea how many users are affected, but saw early reports of this on AskWoody.com. There are more reports of the same issue on the Microsoft.com Answers site. Some System Center Endpoint Protection users also are reporting problems and have been guessing that a faulty virus definition could be the culprit. I'm hearing from sources that an definition update that will fix the issue should be out in the next hour or so (by 3 pm ET or so). And that the problem, introduced in signatures 1.289.1521.0 could be mitigated in signatures 1.289.1587 or newer. I've asked Microsoft for official comment. No word back so far. Yesterday, March 18, a number of IT administrators were reporting sync issues with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). That issue also may have had something to do with virus definitions. (Thanks to @d_vickery on Twitter for that reminder.) Source
  22. AMD Radeon Drivers Updated with DirectX 12 Support on Windows 7 AMD has just released new Radeon drivers that include support for DirectX 12 games on Windows 7. Version 19.3.2 comes with several improvements, like support for new games, including here Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. But the top highlight in this release is the support for DirectX 12 on Windows 7. “AMD is thrilled to help expand DirectX 12 adoption across a broader range of Windows operating systems with Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2 and onward, which enables consumers to experience exceptional levels of detail and performance in their games,” AMD explains in the release notes of this new driver. Microsoft announced earlier this month that it’d bring DirectX 12 support on Windows 7 in an attempt to provide gamers here with the same benefits as Windows 10. And while DirectX 12 can be considered just another reason to hold back from upgrading to Windows 10, the support for Windows 7 will end in January 2020, so switching to a newer release should be on the agenda for every user.Known issues in this releaseNeedless to say, the new Radeon drivers also include plenty of fixes and several known issues, and you can check out the full changelog in the box after the jump One particular bug, however, is worth highlighting because it causes the mouse cursor to disappear from the screen under certain circumstances. “Mouse cursors may disappear or move out of the boundary of the top of a display on AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics,” AMD explains. You can download the new drivers for Windows 7 and Windows 10 from Softpedia using this link. Please refer to the changelog in the box after the jump to check out all the known issues before installing the new software on your device. Source
  23. Why the Windows 10 Upgrade Notifications on Windows 7 Are a Necessary Evil Windows 7 is rapidly approaching its end of support, so now that we’re in the last 12 months of updates, Microsoft needs to begin its typical struggle to make everyone aware of the risks of staying with an operating system that no longer receives patches. While in the case of Windows Vista, the latest operating system that reached the end of life, the efforts in this regard were more or less minimal, Microsoft needs to do better this time because of a simple reason. Windows 7 is currently the second most used desktop operating and until not a long time ago, it was the top choice for PC users. At this point, Windows 7 still has some 36 percent market share, while Windows 10, the new leader of the industry, is pretty close with approximately 39 percent. So Windows 7 remains an incredibly popular choice even almost ten years after its launch. So now that the Windows 7 support is coming to an end, Microsoft apparently has a more aggressive plan in mind in order to get people off this operating system. One of the ideas that are part of this strategy is a notification-based system that will be used for Windows 7 users. Basically, what Microsoft will start doing is displaying warnings on Windows 7 devices in order to let users know that the support is coming to an end. The same notifications will also include learn more links to help users find out more information about what’s happening in January 2020, but also a recommendation to upgrade to Windows 10, which is currently the operating system that Microsoft says offers the best available performance and security. This means that Microsoft would more or less display Windows 10 upgrade notifications on Windows 7 once again, and although the company says users would be able to block them, many are outraged that the software giant comes down to this approach once again. These notifications are more or less similar to the ones pushed as part of a company known as “Get Windows 10,” which included messages showing up on Windows 7 users an encouraging them to upgrade to Windows 10 in the first 12 months after its launch. However, while so many people don’t think this is the right approach for Microsoft, it actually is. And there’s a very good reason for this. A worrying number of users have no idea that Windows 7 is projected to reach the end of life in January 2020, so this is pretty much the easiest and most efficient way to let them know this is happening. And what’s worse, I met users that didn’t even know which version of Windows they were running, while others believed Windows 7 was the newest Microsoft operating system. While most people reading technology news are typically power or tech-savvy users, there are way too many other users out there who know little about computers, the end of support, Windows in general, and Windows 7 in particular. For all these, notifications displayed on their desktops is the most efficient way to ensure that once the end of life is reached, they just don’t become sitting bucks for hackers online. There’s no doubt that once these notifications start showing up on users’ devices, Microsoft would once again come under fire for its aggressive Windows 10 push, but this time, the company really has a good reason to highlight the benefits of an upgrade to its latest operating system. And despite all of these, not everyone would migrate off Windows 7 before the January 2020 deadline is reached. So what Microsoft must do is reduce this number as much as possible. Source
  24. How to replace Windows 7 with Linux Mint Windows 7 has less than a year of supported life left. If you really, really don't like Windows 10, it's time to consider running Linux Mint instead. Many of you are Windows 7 users. I get it. Windows 7 just works. But the clock is ticking for Windows 7. In less than a year, Windows 7's free support ends. Come that day, you'll have a choice: You can either run it without being certain you'll get vital security patches (that would be really stupid), or you can pay for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) on a per-device basis, with the price increasing each year. We don't know how much that will be, but I think we can safely assume it won't be cheap. Or, you can migrate to Windows 10. And, yes, for now, you can still update to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7. But Windows 10 came out in July 2015. If you haven't upgraded by now, I'm sure you don't want any part of Windows 10. I actually sort of, kind of like Windows 10. Yes. Really. Well, I did when it first came out. My affection for it waned with every Windows 10 failed update. Take the infamous Windows 10 October 2018 Update, aka version 1809. When it first came out it deleted user files, would sometime fail at unzipping compressed files, and could fail while opening files on networked drives. Quality assurance? What's that? It's only now, three months later, that Windows 10 October 2018 is finally being automatically rolled out to users. So, maybe Windows 10 isn't really what you want to "upgrade" to right now. In that case, I have another suggestion: Linux Mint. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A LINUX DESKTOP But, wait, say you need Microsoft Office. Fine. Run Office Online. There you go. Welcome to 2019, when you don't have to be running Windows to run "Windows" programs. For all your other desktop software needs, there's usually a free open-source program that can do just as good a job. Gimp, for example, instead of Photoshop. Evolution instead of Outlook. Or LibreOffice for full-featured Microsoft Office. That said, there are some programs you can't replace on Linux. If I were making videos, for example, I'd be using Corel's Pinnacle Studio, which only runs on Windows. If you're locked into such a program, you'll need to move to Windows 10. On the other hand, desktop Linux tends to be far more secure than Windows. Oh, you can run into trouble, but it's not like Windows where having an antivirus program is a must. GETTING READY TO INSTALL MINT ON YOUR WINDOWS PC There are many good Linux desktops, and I've used many of them. I recommend Mint, but there are numerous others you can consider such as openSUSE, Manjaro, Debian, and Fedora. I have one big reason to think Mint is a good fit for Windows 7 users. Mint's default Cinnamon interface looks and works a lot like Windows 7's Aero interface. Yes, there's a learning curve, but it's nothing like the one you'll face if you move to Windows 10 or macOS. Another advantage, which Mint share with other Linux distros, is it is rests lightly on your system. Mint can run on any of your Windows 7 PCs. All Linux Mint needs to run is an x86 processor, 1GB of RAM (albeit, you'll be happier with 2GB), 15GB of disk space, a graphics card that can handle 1024x768 resolution, and a CD/DVD drive or USB port. That's it. Mint, like the other Linux desktops, won't cost you a red penny. You also don't have to commit to it. You can try it first, and if you don't like it, just reboot back to Windows, and you're done. No fuss. No muss. Ready? Let's go. After downloading the ISO file, which takes up about 2GB, you must burn it to a USB stick or DVD. I recommend using a USB stick -- since that's makes it easier to give a trial run. Running it from a DVD can be quite slow. If you don't have an ISO burner program, download one. I recommend freeware programs ImgBurn (for optical drives) and Yumi for Windows (for USB sticks). Other good choices are LinuxLive USB Creator and UNetbootin. These are all free programs. Once you've installed the burner program and have the latest Linux Mint ISO file in hand, burn the ISO image to your disc or USB stick. If you're using a DVD -- Mint is too big to fit on a CD -- check your newly burned disc for errors. Over the years, I've had more problems with running Linux and installing Linux from bad discs than all other causes combined. It's better to use a USB stick with persistent storage. With this, you can store your programs and files on the stick. This way, you can carry Mint with you and use it as a walk-around operating system at a hotel, conference, and library PC. I've found this to be very handy, and there's always at least one Linux stick in my laptop bag. Next, reboot your system, but stop the boot-up process before Windows comes up, and get to your PC's UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this varies according to your system. You should look for a message as the machine starts up that tells which key or keys you'll need to press in order to get to the BIOS or UEFI. You can also do a Google search for your specific PC or PC brand and "UEFI." Or, with older PCs, your computer brand and "BIOS." For example, with Dell PCs, you tap the F2 key to enter system setup; with HP, you tap on the escape key once a second; and on Lenovo systems, you tap (Fn+) F2 or (Fn+) F1 key 5 to 10 times after the power-on button is pressed to get to system setup. Once you get to the BIOS or UEFI, look for a menu choice labeled "Boot," "Boot Options," or "Boot Order." If you don't see anything with the word "boot" in it, check other menu choices, such as "Advanced Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Other Options." Once you find it, set the boot order so that, instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the CD/DVD drive or from a USB drive. Once your PC is set to boot first from the alternative drive, insert your DVD or USB stick and reboot, then select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu, and, in a minute or so, you'll be running Linux Mint. Now play with it for a while. Take a few days if you like. Windows is still there. Anytime you reboot without the drive or stick in, it will go right back to it. Like what you see of Mint? Then let's install Mint on your PC. HOW TO INSTALL LINUX MINT Like any serious upgrade, you'll start with making a complete backup of your Windows system. Installing Linux in the way I'm going to describe shouldn't hurt your Windows setup at all, but why take chances? It used to be that installing Linux on Windows PCs with UEFI and Secure Boot was a major pain. It can still be annoying, but Ubuntu and Mint have made booting and installing with Secure Boot system a non-issue. All pre-built binaries intended to be loaded as part of the boot process, with the exception of the initrd image, are signed by Canonical's UEFI certificate, which is implicitly trusted by being embedded in the Microsoft signed shim loader. If, for some reason, you can't install Mint with Secure Boot running on your PC, you can always turn off Secure Boot. There are many ways to switch Secure Boot off. All involve going to the UEFI control panel during the boot process and switching it off. Now, let's get on with the actual installation. Make sure your PC is plugged in. The last thing you want is to run out of battery power during an operating system install! You'll also need an internet connection and about 8GB of free drive space. That done, reboot into Linux again. Once you have the Mint display up, one of your icon choices on the left will be to install Mint. Double-click it and you'll be on your way. Next, you must walk your way through several menu choices. Most of these decisions will be easy. For example, the language you want Mint to use and your time zone. The one critical choice will be how to partition your hard drive. Partitioning a hard drive can be a real pain, but it doesn't have to be for our purposes. We're going to set your PC up so you can dual-boot both Windows and Mint. To do this with the partition command, just pick the first option on the Installation Type menu: "Install Linux Mint alongside them." This procedure will install Linux Mint next to your existing Windows system and leave it totally untouched. When I do this, I usually give half my PC's remaining drive space to Mint. You'll be asked to choose which operating system you want to boot by default. No matter which one you pick, you'll get a few seconds to switch to the other operating system. You'll also be required to give your system a name; pick out a username for yourself, and come up with a password. You can also choose to encrypt your home directory to keep files relatively safe from prying eyes. However, an encrypted home directory slows systems down. It's faster, albeit counterintuitive, to encrypt the entire drive after you have Mint up and running. Mint 19.1's setup menu enables you to automatically run several processes. These are to set up a system snapshot with Timeshift. This way, if something goes wrong later, you can restore your system files and get back to a working system. I highly recommend. While you're at this, set up a regular Timeshift schedule. Next, you can have it check to see if your computer needs any additional drivers. You should do this, and after, you can install proprietary multimedia codecs such as drivers to watch DVDs. That's a good idea, as well. You should also set it to update your system to the latest software. Unlike Windows, when you update Mint, you're updating not just your operating system but all your other programs such as the web browser, office-suite, and any other programs you installed afterward from Mint's Software Manager. To do this manually, click on the shield icon in the menu bar. By default, you'll find this on the menu bar on the bottom part of the screen, and the icon will be on the right. Once clicked, it will prompt for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Say yes, and you'll be ready to give your new Mint system a real try. The setup routine also offers to let you look at system settings and find new programs with the Software Manager, but since you're probably a new user, you can skip those for now. That's all there is to it. I've installed Linux hundreds of time, and it usually takes me about an hour from starting my download -- the blessings of a 400Mbps internet connection -- to moving from booting up to customizing my new Mint PC. If you've never done it before, allow yourself an afternoon or morning for the job. I think you may just find that, while you'll still miss Windows 7 at first, you'll appreciate how much Mint can do for you. Source
  25. Google: Abandon Windows 7 and Upgrade to Windows 10 Right Now Google recommends Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 if possible, as a kernel vulnerability allows for local privilege escalation on the operating system. Clement Lecigne, Threat Analysis Group, explains that in late February, Google discovered two different security vulnerabilities, one in Google Chrome browser and another one in Windows. The Chrome bug has already been patched with the release of update 72.0.3626.121, but the Windows 7 security flaw is yet to be fixed. Microsoft says the vulnerability resides in the Windows win32k.sys kernel driver and it can be used as a security sandbox escape. Windows 10 doesn’t seem to be affected, Google says, as this operating system version comes with additional mitigations that make it possible to block exploits. “We strongly believe this vulnerability may only be exploitable on Windows 7 due to recent exploit mitigations added in newer versions of Windows. To date, we have only observed active exploitation against Windows 7 32-bit systems,” Lecigne notes.Upgrade to Windows 10 ASAPThe Google security researcher says the bug was reported to Microsoft and the software giant is working on a fix already. “In compliance with our policy, we are publicly disclosing its existence, because it is a serious vulnerability in Windows that we know was being actively exploited in targeted attacks. The unpatched Windows vulnerability can still be used to elevate privileges or combined with another browser vulnerability to evade security sandboxes,” the advisory notes. Until Microsoft delivers a fix, the only way to stay secure is to upgrade to Windows 10, Google says. When patches become available, users should install them as soon as possible on Windows 7. Launched in 2009, Windows 7 is projected to reach the end of support in January 2020, so home users and enterprises alike are now urged to upgrade to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates. Source
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