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  1. Depending on from what angle you look at it, Microsoft's Get Windows 10 (GWX) campaign to get Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices to upgrade to Windows 10 was either a colossal disaster, a great success, or something in between. Microsoft launched Windows 10, the last version of Windows ever, in 2015. Windows 10 was a new beginning for Microsoft; the company wanted customers to forget Windows 8 and move towards a Windows as a service model. Microsoft launched the Get Windows 10 campaign to push Windows 10 and the 1 billion Windows 10 PCs by 2018 target. What looked like a good deal on paper -- free upgrades to Windows 10 for devices running legitimate copies of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 -- turned into a nightmare for customers who did not want to upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft used near-malware like tactics to get users to upgrade, for instance by displaying upgrade prompts without opt-out option, sneaky prompts, or windows where the close button would not actually close the window anymore. Microsoft ended the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer a year after its launch. It is still possible to upgrade Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices to Windows 10 for free if a genuine product key is used. Microsoft rolled out an update to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices after the end of the offer designed to disable the Get Windows 10 functionality. The company continued to push compatibility updates KB2952664 and KB2976978 on the other hand but without the "Get Windows 10" functionality included. Get Windows 10 Traces screenshot by Michael Horowitz Get Windows 10 should not be on fully patched Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices anymore; Michael Horowitz published a report recently that claims otherwise. An event log check on a Windows 7 PC with November 2018 Patches revealed that attempts to upgrade to Windows 10. Further analysis revealed the following: A Task Time-5d in the Task Scheduler pointing to C:\Windows\system32\GWX in Microsoft > Windows > Setup > GWXTriggers. A task refreshgwxconfig-B in the Task Scheduler under the same folder. A task Logon-5d under the same folder. Horowitz discovered three additional tasks in the same folder. These tasks were never execute, however, unlike the three tasks mentioned above. The task were MachineUnlock-5d, OutOfIdle-5d, and OutOfSleep-5d. Two tassk, refreshgwxconfig and launchtrayprocess under Microsoft > Windows > Setup > gwx, had been disabled by Horowotz in the past. Horowitz could not disable these tasks. The folder C:\Windows\system32\GWX displayed that most files were from 2015 including GWX.exe. Renaming GWX.exe did not work either; what worked was renaming the GWX folder but it is too early to tell whether the renaming is enough to block GWX tasks from running on the system. What is puzzling about all this is that GWX should not be running anymore on the system. Microsoft ended the Get Windows 10 campaign in 2016 and there is no reason to keep scheduled tasks or files associated with it on the system. Is Microsoft preparing for another Get Windows 10 campaign? Is it a bug? Leftover files on a system that were never removed completely? It is unclear but it is probably a good idea to check the tasks and folders on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices to make sure that these tasks and files don't exist. Source: Better check your Windows 7 PC for Get Windows 10 (GWX) traces (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. Microsoft has released a new update for Windows 7 that comes to resolve an issue introduced earlier this week by Patch Tuesday monthly rollup KB4480970. Windows 7 update KB4487345 is now available for download with just one fix, resolving access to network shares that was previously broken down for the Administrators group. Microsoft explains in the official KB article of KB4487345 for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2: “This update resolves the issue where local users who are part of the local ‘Administrators’ group may not be able to remotely access shares on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machines after installing the January 8th, 2019 security updates. This does not affect domain accounts in the local ‘Administrators’ group.” The update isn’t pushed to devices on Windows Update, but is only offered through the Microsoft Update Catalog website. This means Windows 7 users need to get it manually to install it on their computers. Most likely, the next monthly rollup shipping in the February Patch Tuesday would also include this fix.Activation issue also resolvedEarlier this week, Microsoft also resolved an issue that many associated with the release of monthly rollup KB4480970 and causing activation failures on volume licensed Windows 7 KMS clients. Microsoft says this issue has nothing to do with the Windows 7 monthly rollup and it was just a coincidence that the activation error appeared after this update became available. “The timing of this issue coincides with the release of the January updates (KB4480960 and KB4480970) that were released on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. These events are not related. The issue has been corrected on the backend Microsoft Activation and Validation servers. If you are affected by this issue, please follow the guidance in the Knowledge Base Help article, KB4487266,” it says. The monthly rollup continues to be available for Windows 7 devices on Windows Update. Source
  3. Windows 7 will reach the end of support in January 2020, and with left than 12 months of updates left, Microsoft is already making plans for a world without this OS version. And while the transition will undoubtedly be a difficult moment for both Microsoft and its customers, the software giant has every reason to be optimistic, as it expects the death of Windows 7 to generate a significant boost in the number of upgrades to Windows 10. Speaking with TechRadar, Mark Linton, GM of OEM Portfolio and Product Management for Microsoft, said the company anticipates that the end of support for Windows 7 would help not only boost the adoption of Windows 10, but also increase PC shipments.The second Windows XPGartner earlier this week revealed that in the fourth quarter of 2018, PC shipments declined once again, blaming the CPU shortage as one of the reasons. “There are a few factors here. Innovation in silicon, innovation in graphics [and] Windows 10 momentum in terms of the install base. Windows 7 is going end of support in a year, and so customers are looking to move to make sure they get updated and so on,” Linton said. “Each silicon generation, things get thinner and better battery life. Again, I often compare it to that Windows 7 machine [that] is six or seven years old, compared to what you’re getting now, it blows your mind. Windows 7 support is a big one that we see customers thinking about, you know, ‘I want to upgrade to Windows 10, so I can get updates.’ And, just overall, excitement is back in the PC,” he continued. There’s no doubt that the demise of Windows 7 will translate to more upgrades to Windows 10, but as I explained recently, the 2009 operating system is very likely to become the second Windows XP. With more than 35% market share right now, Windows 7 is losing ground at a rather slow pace, so there’s a chance that by the time the January 2020 milestone is reached, only a few users would upgrade to Windows 10. Time will tell how Microsoft handles the retirement of Windows 7, but for now, the company seems very optimistic about it. No matter what happens, Windows 10 will be the first one to benefit from this milestone. Source
  4. I guess everybody agrees that Windows 7 is one of the most successful, if not the most successful version of Windows released so far. However, the clock is ticking for Windows 7, as Microsoft will retire this particular version in just two months, with the latest updates to be shipped in January 2020. This is something that Microsoft has reminded on several occasions, and expect the company to increase efforts on making people aware that Windows 7 is going dark in the coming months. The popularity of Windows 7 has been considered one of the reasons Windows 10’s adoption rate improved at a rather slow pace, as many people just wanted to stick with this OS version instead of moving to the more modern successor. The familiar desktop, the lack of a Microsoft Store and other new features, and the refined performance of Windows 7 made it one of the most popular OS versions in many years. But now with Microsoft preparing to pull the plug on it, Windows 7 is approaching its end, and just like it happened in April 2014 when Windows XP was pulled, users are recommended to prepare for an upgrade in order to avoid staying with an operating system that no longer gets security patches. But just like five years ago, retiring Windows 7 is going to be quite a challenge for Microsoft, especially because figures indicate that it’s very likely to become the second Windows XP. December 2018 desktop OS market share In other words, it won’t go dark without a fight, and certainly, lots of users would continue running it even after support comes to an end. Last month, Windows 7 was running on 36.90 percent, and it was the first time it dropped to the second place, with Windows 10 now the leading desktop platform worldwide. These figures look a lot like those of Windows XP one year before its demise. In April 2013, 12 months before Windows XP was scheduled to get the axe, it was the second most-used operating system on the desktop with a share of 38.73 percent. Windows 7 was at that time the leader with 44.73 percent. Windows 8, which was the newest OS version in 2013, failed to impress, and instead of convincing Windows XP users to upgrade, it actually produced no significant change in terms of market share. The same happens today, though it goes without saying that Windows 10 is by far more successful than Windows 8. Windows 10 is continuously improving and is right now the leading platform, but again, it’s unlikely it would help kill Windows 7 in the remaining time until January 2020. Desktop OS market share in April 2014 when Windows XP was retired For now, Windows 7 continues to be considered one familiar desktop operating system that many people just love, and despite the approaching end of support, it’s unlikely users would migrate en-masse to Windows 10. Because truth be told, there’s no other version that you can choose right now, other than Windows 10. Five years after its demise, Windows XP continues to be surprisingly popular. NetMarketShare claims Windows XP now has a share of 4.54 percent, which is quite impressive for an operating system launched 18 years ago. The same is very likely to happen with Windows 7 too, especially because it’s so widely-used these days. Nevertheless, expect the market share of Windows 7 to drop at a faster pace in the coming months, mostly as we get closer to end of support. As for the reasons you should upgrade before the time comes, there’s not much to say here. Without security updates, Windows 7 would remain exposed to hackers, and given that most Windows versions share the same vulnerabilities, it would be a lot easier for malicious actors to compromise a system running an unsupported operating system. Source
  5. Some Microsoft customers started to report activation issues that they experienced on Windows 7 devices on January 8, 2019, after installation of the latest security updates for the operating system. Microsoft updated the list of known issues quickly to highlight the issue but did not provide explanation other than that. Administrators had to find a way to work around the issue elsewhere, and the article that we published here on this site helped several administrators. Microsoft published a new support article, KB4487266, on January 10, 2019 that explains the activation issue and provides a solution to fix it. Microsoft confirmed the activation issue on Windows 7 KMS clients that have the update KB971033 installed. The issue started on January 8, 2019 at 10:00 UTC and lasted until January 9, 2019 when Microsoft "reverted a change" that it made to Microsoft Activation and Validation servers. Microsoft made a change to Microsoft Activation and Validation that caused the activation issue on Windows 7 KMS devices. Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise editions were affected by the issue (and probably any other edition using Key Management Service activation). Microsoft notes that the issue was not caused by the release of security updates for Windows 7 in January 2019. Systems displayed a "Windows is not genuine" error message after log on and enforced non-genuine changes to the system; in particular, a notification on the desktop that the copy of Windows is not genuine and the enforcing of a black desktop background. The command slmgr /dlv, a command to display detailed license information, displays the error code 0xC004F200 in the output when run. Similarly, attempts to activate using slmgr /ato fail with the error message "Windows is running within the non-genuine notification period. Run ‘slui.exe’ to go online and validate Windows". Administrators may find the following events in the Event log: ID 8196 -- License Activation Scheduler (sppuinotify.dll) was not able to automatically activate. Error code: 0xC004F200: ID 8208 -- Acquisition of genuine ticket failed ID 8209 -- Acquisition of genuine ticket failed ID 13 -- Genuine validation result: hrOffline = 0x00000000, hrOnline =0xC004C4A2 Microsoft published a resolution to fix the issue on devices that still show up as non genuine. The company recommends that administrators remove KB971033 from affected devices and run the following commands if that is the case: Open an elevated command prompt and run: wusa /uninstall /kb:971033 Restart the PC. Run the following commands from an elevated command prompt: net stop sppuinotify sc config sppuinotify start= disabled net stop sppsvc del %windir%\system32\7B296FB0-376B-497e-B012-9C450E1B7327-5P-0.C7483456-A289-439d-8115-601632D005A0 /ah del %windir%\system32\7B296FB0-376B-497e-B012-9C450E1B7327-5P-1.C7483456-A289-439d-8115-601632D005A0 /ah del %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\tokens.dat del %windir%\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SoftwareProtectionPlatform\cache\cache.dat net start sppsvc cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ipk <edition-specific KMS client key> cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs /ato sc config sppuinotify start= demand The edition specific KMS keys are: Operating system edition KMS Client Setup Key Windows 7 Professional FJ82H-XT6CR-J8D7P-XQJJ2-GPDD4 Windows 7 Professional N MRPKT-YTG23-K7D7T-X2JMM-QY7MG Windows 7 Professional E W82YF-2Q76Y-63HXB-FGJG9-GF7QX Windows 7 Enterprise 33PXH-7Y6KF-2VJC9-XBBR8-HVTHH Windows 7 Enterprise N YDRBP-3D83W-TY26F-D46B2-XCKRJ Windows 7 Enterprise E C29WB-22CC8-VJ326-GHFJW-H9DH4 Closing Words Administrators who have not resolved the issue until now can do so using Microsoft's fix. It is puzzling that something that major could remain undetected. (via Born) Source: Microsoft explains the Windows 7 KMS activation issue (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  6. Since the middle of December 2018, numerous complaints have been pouring in that state Windows 7 had started freezing after a component of Malwarebytes was upgraded to a new version. Once users, disabled the Malwarebytes, Windows 7 would not longer freeze. According to these reports, this problem appears to have started after users upgraded Malwarebytes to a new version and the component package version was upgraded to 1.0.508. This is the version that is currently being offered on Malwarebytes' site and was also being installed via program updates. Malwarebytes Component Package Version 1.0.508 Once installed, users were discovering that Windows 7 would experience a hard freeze where the mouse, keyboard, and screen became unresponsive. The only way that users could regain use of their computers again was to reset their computer by holding down the power button. Forum post about freezing Windows 7 PC While this problem was first reported in the middle of December, users are still experiencing the problem to this day. Unfortunately, it is an intermittent bug and not every one is affected, so tracking down the cause has been difficult. As of right now, Malwarebytes suspects that it may be a network adapter driver causing a conflict with Malwarebytes' Web Protection feature. This Sunday Malwarebytes created a support topic that contains two methods that users can choose in order to prevent the freezes. The first method is to disable the Web Protection module and the second method is to uninstall the current version of Malwarebytes and download an older version that does not contain the problematic component package. While there may be other bug fixes and possible improvements in detections with the newer version, we strongly do not suggest that you disable any protections that could prevent malicious attacks when using the web. Instead we suggest that you downgrade to the previous version as suggested so that you can use all of the protection modules available in Malwarebytes. At BleepingComputer, we host Malwarebytes version 3.6.1.2711-1.0.482-1.0.7915, which uses an version 1.0.482 of the component package. You can also download it from support topic linked to above. Once you downgrade to an earlier version of the component package, the Windows 7 freezes should no longer occur. Malwarebytes is looking for users to assist them If you are affected by this bug, Malwarebytes is looking for users to assist them in figuring out what is causing the problem. To help diagnose the Windows 7 freezing issue, Malwarebytes is asking those who are affected to: Download the Malwarebytes Support Tool (MBST) and use the Gather Logs feature. When done a file named mbst-grab-results.zip will be saved to the desktop. They also want you to generate a Windows system information report using msinfo32 and save the report to the desktop. When done, drag the resulting .nfo report into the mbst-grab-results.zip file. Finally, create a forum post in this topic and attach your mbst-grab-results.zip file so it can be diagnosed by their developers. Optionally, they are asking for a list of processes by using SysInternal's PSList program. To aid in this, Malwarebytes has created a package consisting of batch files that can be used to create a report of running processes. For 64-bit versions of Windows, use PSList64.bat and for 32-bit versions use PSList.bat. Finally, if you have two network adapters on your computer, trying disabling one and switching to the other to see if the issue persists. All of the resulting information should then be posted to the above topic where you posted the mbst-grab-results.zip file. Source
  7. All Activation Windows 7-8-10 v19.3 - 2018 All methods of activation in the hand tested after the "anti-piracy" KB971033 update DG Win & Soft offers you a complete collection of programs and ways to Activate Windows. All methods and programs personally verified by us many times and we can safely recommend them to you. NOTE: All programs must be Run as Administrator! Additional Information: - If you have a direct hand, you want to activate in the Off-line mode and no longer bother to search for keys every six months, then you are prepared activation via firmware BIOS. But be careful, because if your not the right things, you have a chance to bungle the operation and will have to contact the service center. And keep in mind that for every BIOS (AMI, Award, Phoenix) has its own specific program (AMI - amitool, etc.), what is your BIOS can see when you boot the computer. - If you do not want to make any changes either in your "iron", or in the Windows itself, and that your activation is not distinguished by anything from legal activation, your choice of KMS server. With the use of virtual machines, this method can also be called Off-line. But you should know that this method of activation for six months and 180 days, you again have to repeat it. Also, this method only and Professional version Enterprise - If you did not accept neither the first nor the second of our suggested methods you can use the activators. Without going into too much detail, we can say that activators emulate the BIOS with slicom 2.1. But no one gives a guarantee that Microsoft will not release a patch or update that will detect the presence of emulation and reset the activation. We recommend to start with Windows 7 Activator Loader eXtreme Edition (Napalum), because He has a huge number of settings and features and good will activate automatically What's new in the assembly: Updated KMS section All new marked as (New) Added build option in the form of installation executable file List of programs: Office 2013-2016 C2R (New) Office 2013-2016 C2R License v1.04 (New) Garbage Collector v1.3.4 (New) PIDKey v2.1.2.1017 MSActBackUp v1.2.3 Microsoft Product Keys 2.6.3 Re-Loader Activator 3.0 Beta 3 KMS Tools 08/07/2018 by Ratiborus (New) KMSAuto Lite 1.3.4 KMSAuto Net 2016 1.5.3 KMSmicro WO w7 v1.0.1 KMSpico 10.2.0 Final SuperMini_KMS AAct v3.8.4 (New) AAct Network 1.0.1 (New) Windows 7 Loader eXtremev3.503 Re-Loader Activator 2.6 Final Microsoft Toolkit 2.6.2 ODIN 1.3.7 by secr9tos GUI MBR SLIC Loader 0.621 v1.2 Windows Loader v2.2 WindSLIC-UEFI-SLIC-injector SLIC 2.1 BINS FAQ on creating firmware SLIC_ToolKit_V3.2 Programs for firmware Resetting the trial period (rearm) Three-component activation What's New in Build v19.3: • Added a new language to the shell • Now you can switch the language to English (US) and back to Russian (RU) (the switch is in the top panel) • A new kind of activator for the office + Garbage Collector • Updated other KMS • All marked with (New) Language: Russian, English OS: Windows (XP), Windows (Vista), Windows (7), Windows (8), Windows (10). Download - 326 MB: Site: https://sendit.cloud Sharecode[?]: /paezalxzmnzl Site: https://www.multiup.eu/ Sharecode[?]: download/bdd2bb77d29465432d86ac72a2b664c3/all-activation-windows-7-8-10-v19-3-20_-p2p.rar
  8. After a few days of rumors, Microsoft announced today that it's going to be using Chromium in its browser moving forward and that the new Edge will be coming to Windows 7, 8.1, and macOS. Now, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard has posted a response to the news, saying that it's bad for the internet. Mozilla says that Microsoft's decision to use Chromium and the Blink rendering engine basically gives Google a monopoly on what we see on the internet. Remember, Chromium is the open-source browser that Google Chrome is based on, and other third-party browsers use it too, like Opera, Vivaldi, and more. With Microsoft moving away from EdgeHTML, that's one less competitor in the browser space, growing Chromium's market share. Mozilla worries that when Chromium's usage share gets large enough, web developers won't test their apps against anything else, going so far as to compare this to when Microsoft had a monopoly in browsers in the early 2000s. Mozilla also said that this is why it exists. "We compete with Google not because it’s a good business opportunity," Beard said. "We compete with Google because the health of the internet and online life depend on competition and choice." Source: Neowin
  9. Microsoft today embraced Google’s Chromium open source project for Edge development on the desktop. The company also announced it is decoupling the browser updates from Windows 10 updates, and that Edge is coming to all supported versions of Windows and to macOS. Microsoft launched Edge in July 2015 as the default browser for, and exclusive to, Windows 10. But it never saw much adoption. Sure, Microsoft claimed Edge had 330 million active devices back in September 2017, but it never did reveal an active user figure beyond “hundreds of millions” (Google said Chrome passed 1 billion active users in May 2015). Edge has 4.34 percent market share today, according to the latest figures from Net Applications. So Microsoft wants to make some big changes, which it says will happen “over the next year or so.” The first preview builds of the Chromium-powered Edge will arrive in early 2019, according to Microsoft. Chromium-based Microsoft Edge Adopting the Chromium project means a lot more for Microsoft. The Edge rendering engine EdgeHTML will be swapped out for the Blink rendering engine. The Chakra JavaScript engine will be swapped out for V8. Microsoft will even take some of the UI stack, for use on non-Windows 10 platforms. Also worth noting: Microsoft is not forking Chromium. Microsoft hopes moving to Chromium will “create better web compatibility for our customers” and “less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.” The former is certainly true, as the Edge web platform will thus become aligned with web standards and other Chromium-based browsers. The latter is not true in the short term (plenty of testing will be needed to accommodate the switch) but it is likely in the long term, as developers will have one fewer browser to explicitly test against. No longer wasting resources on building Edge’s backend will likely turn out to be a big win for Microsoft. It is a lot of work to constantly update a browser engine to be standards-compliant and compatible with the actual web. Microsoft has decided to let the open source community do that instead, which it will participate in, so it can focus on improving the browser itself. Again, Edge isn’t changing significantly. This is an “under the hood” transformation, and most Edge users won’t notice anything significantly different — save for some sites working as expected. The future of EdgeHTML and Chakra Edge uses Blink/Chromium on Android and WebKit/WKWebView on iOS. Thus, when Edge on desktop moves to Blink and V8, the main use case for EdgeHTML and Chakra will disappear overnight. Windows 10 apps that use EdgeHTML and/or Chakra will be able to keep using them, according to Microsoft. But, Microsoft will also eventually let app developers leverage the Chromium-based solution that Edge will use. This will likely impact regular apps that render web content but also Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which are essentially mobile websites that mimic native apps. App developers will thus be able to choose to keep using the legacy option or switch to Chromium. Microsoft says it has no plans to stop maintaining EdgeHTML and Chakra, although if usage were to decline, developers could expect them to hit end of support eventually. Chrome extensions In addition to better web compatibility, Edge users stand to benefit from support for Chrome extensions. Microsoft expects that it will be very easy for developers to bring their Chrome extensions to Edge. It might even be the case that it requires no work at all in most cases, but it’s too early for the company to say so definitively. Microsoft’s intention is to support existing Chrome extensions in Edge, but how exactly this will work remains to be seen. Keep in mind that for years now, Google has been locking down the Chrome Web Store and Chrome extensions in general — Microsoft will have to be careful with its solution. All supported versions of Windows So far, all this largely makes sense, but Microsoft also wants to port Edge to all supported versions of Windows. Edge is no longer going to be a Windows 10-only affair. That means Edge is coming to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1. For Windows 10, this means the Chromium-based Edge and future updates is coming to Windows 10 version 1607, version 1703, version 1709, version 1803, and version 1809. Those are all supported versions of Windows, so they’ll be getting the latest version of Edge until Microsoft ends support. Microsoft also currently supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server version 1709, Windows Server version 1803, Windows Server version 1809, and Windows Server 2019. The company hasn’t yet said if the latest version of Edge is coming there too. This is a massive undertaking that one can only justify through a corporate lens. It’s about letting IT departments offer a heterogeneous browser environment. Microsoft wants everyone on the latest version of Windows, but for those that cannot, or refuse to, upgrade, it has decided to bring the latest Edge to them. That means bringing Edge to older versions of Windows, including older versions of Windows 10. Within major organizations, there are computers running all sorts of Windows versions, and right now only a single one can get the latest version of Edge. macOS If you thought supporting old Windows versions was nuts, your jaw will drop when you hear Microsoft also wants to bring Edge to macOS. This is bizarre for several reasons, not even including that Microsoft ceased development of Internet Explorer for Mac in June 2003 and Apple killed Safari for Windows in July 2012. But the same heterogenous environment thinking applies: Microsoft wants all devices in an organization using the latest Edge, and that requires getting Macs onboard. Indeed, Microsoft doesn’t expect to get a lot of Mac users switching to Edge, the company said. Instead, the company simply wants to make it easier for more developers, many of whom use Macs, to test against Edge. Bringing Edge to macOS is about developers, not market share. More frequent updates Edge is updated every six months. Chrome and Firefox, meanwhile, are updated every six weeks. Even if you do have the latest Windows 10 version, Edge updates today are tied to Windows 10 updates, and half a year is a long time on the web. It’s a long time to wait for compatibility fixes, performance improvements, and new features. Could Edge get more frequent updates than Chrome and Firefox? I’m not holding my breath. But Microsoft does say that agility will be a focus going forward and does expect “a more frequent cadence” than the current six-month wait. Chrome updates hit Windows, Mac, and Linux all on the same day, while Firefox updates hit Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android on the same day. Microsoft wants the version of Edge on Windows and Mac to be the same, but we’re hearing it’s too early to commit to same-day updates across all supported versions of Windows and macOS. Chromium contributions Microsoft says it intends to become a “significant contributor” to the Chromium project. The company will try to improve Chromium not just for Edge, but for other browsers as well, and not just for PCs, but for other devices too. The priority will, however, be web platform enhancements to make Chromium-based browsers better on Windows devices. Microsoft stands to benefit if the web works well on Windows, as the impact trickles down to its customers, partners, and the overall business. Last month, Microsoft was spotted making contributions to the Chromium project for ARM-based Windows devices. The thought at the time was that Chrome was being ported to Windows 10 on ARM, but now we know Microsoft was thinking bigger. (Chromium-based browsers are 32-bit only, meaning they run emulated and negatively impact battery life. Microsoft wants to fix for all Chromium-based browsers, including Chrome and Edge.) Microsoft intends to continue work on ARM64 support, but it also hopes to improve Chromium’s web accessibility and take advantage of other hardware features like touch support. Indeed, Edge is the only major browser with a 100 percent HTML5Accessbility score and is known for having solid touch scrolling performance. In fact, Microsoft doesn’t want to switch to Chromium until some of that functionality has been contributed to the project. That way, Edge won’t lose features when the switch happens next year. Source
  10. Still likely to end the year ahead THE GAP BETWEEN Windows 7 and Windows 10 use on traditional desktops and laptops continues to narrow, despite the fact that both operating systems lost a small amount of ground this month in the figures produced by Netmarketshare. Windows 7 drops to 38.89 per cent (-0.46) with Windows 10 continuing to snap at its heels at 38.14 (-0.14), meaning that the difference is now just 0.75 per cent, which suggests that Microsoft is still on target to finally overtake itself before the year is out. Just. Possibly. Windows 8.x is now 5.52 per cent (-0.29), with the vast majority on version 8.1. Windows XP has a slight bounce to 4.23 (+0.63). We've stopped mentioning Vista now, such is its rarity. Although the figures from Netmarketshare have a margin of error (or put another way, we take them with a slight pinch of salt) the fact that Windows 10 hasn't grown as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which both fell in this period is a bit of a curveball - in fact most of the movement has been on the Apple front in the wake of its new Macbook Air made of old tin cans and string. As you'd expect, the latest version, macOS 10.14 has seen the biggest gains of the month standing at 3.57 (+1.52), though the rate of upgrade has been slow by Mac user standards, macOS 10.13 has dropped to 3.2 (-1.43) but it hasn't been the usual swift handover. Even macOS 10.12 still has 1.36 (-0.22) and macOS 10.11 has 1.14 (0.23) which is actually a slight rise. The Linux-based systems continue to hover around the same point - Ubuntu on 0.57 (-0.05), Chrome OS on 0.32 (-0.01) and the rest on 1.47 (0.09). Worth noting there are more people using Mac OS X 10.10 and "Unknown" than Chrome OS right now - though it still has the lead in the browser market. When we remove the filter and look at market share amongst all device types - that is to say any device that has connected to the internet during November, the story changes. Window 7 (which, lest we forget is almost exclusively desktop/laptop machine anyway) is the most popular operating system in the world with 16.08 per cent. Windows 10 comes second with 15.77 and Android 8.0 has 8.62. Generically though, Android is in the lead - 39.34 per cent. Windows stands at 35.98. iOS has 18.51 per cent and Mac OS, 4.02. Linux has 0.88 and despite its popularity is schools, Chrome OS has 0.13. For completeness, below them is Series 40 (Symbian) at 0.04, Windows Phone OS at 0.03 and RIM OS (Blackberry) at just 0.01 per cent market share. Source
  11. You can download and install it manually, but in our tests the Win7 October Monthly Rollup is hard to find through Windows Update — and it won’t install automatically. Why? Ranjith Siji / IDG (CC0) This month’s Windows 7 Monthly Rollup, KB 4462923, has gone missing. I’ve seen complaints about the reticent Rollup — where, people wondered, did the October Monthly Rollup go? I thought that folks who were having problems finding the update were doing something wrong — perhaps they ran afoul of the bizarre requirement that you update the Windows Update program separately before it will correctly install updates. But many of the people who couldn’t find KB 4462923 confirm that, indeed, they had already installed the necessary precursor — the Servicing Stack Update, KB 3177467, either version 1 or version 2. What happened? @PKCano took a run down the Rollup rabbit hole. Here’s what she discovered: I was initially offered an Office 2010 security update, the .NET Monthly Rollup, and MSRT. Installed all four, rebooted. Then I was offered the v2 (“security”) version of KB 3177467, the Servicing Stack Update. I checked it, installed, no reboot required. No important updates offered — not even KB 4462923, the October Monthly Rollup. Where’s this month’s Monthly Rollup? After a great deal of finagling, I found that hiding the September Monthly Rollup Preview, KB 4462923, makes the 2018-10 Monthly Rollup appear, but it’s unchecked. Have you found any other way to make KB 4462923, the October Win7 Monthly Rollup, appear in Windows Update? Can you make it appear checked? None of our experiments have revealed a method. Why did Microsoft make it so deucedly hard to install this month’s Win7 security patches? I figure there are two possibilities: Somebody screwed up the Windows Update sequencing, or Microsoft’s holding back on delivering this month’s Win7 updates. I haven’t heard of any showstopping bugs in this month’s Monthly Rollup. But it makes you wonder… Join us in the intrepid search for Win7 enlightenment on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: What happened to KB 4462923, the October Win7 Monthly Rollup? (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  12. There’s no official announcement that I can find, much less an explanation, but it looks as if you can no longer get KB 4462923, the October Win7 Monthly Rollup, through Windows Update. Microsoft apparently yanked it from WU last Thursday. Thinkstock This month’s Windows 7 Monthly Rollup, KB 4462923, appears to be on the skids. The KB article itself doesn’t mention anything. The patch is still available for manual download from the Microsoft Update Catalog. But I’m seeing more and more reports like this one that KB 4462923 is no longer available from Windows Update. It’s possible that Microsoft is actually going to fix the chicken-and-egg problem with the Servicing Stack Update KB 3177467 that I talked about last week. Or maybe not. According to @abbodi86: KB 4462923 is not completely pulled, they just moved it behind the scenes. They have done that before with multiple rollups that have issues. It won’t show up normally. You need WUMT or a VBS script to ignore the download-priory attribute. Of you can hide/clear all other updates in Windows Update. Probably they are waiting or trying to figure a way to fix Windows Update metadata and solve the Servicing Stack Update dependency issue If you suddenly see KB 4462923 in Windows Update, please drop a line on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: It looks as if Microsoft has stopped pushing this month’s Win7 Monthly Rollup, KB 4462923
  13. Yes, it's another Microsoft screwup. Even though it reissued the Win7 Servicing Stack Update and marked it as 'security,' many people won't see it. The problem: Ancient installer update logic. Don't hold your breath waiting for a solution. Thinkstock There’s a well-known bug in the Win7 update installer that can throw error 0x8000FFF unless you pre-install an upgrade to the installer. I wrote about this Servicing Stack Update (SSU) requirement about a month ago. Three weeks ago, Microsoft promised to fix the problem. Superficially, the problem shouldn’t exist anymore. But because of sloppy implementation, the bug’s still there, and people are still hitting error 0x8000FFF when they try to install Win7 Monthly Rollups. Fellow columnist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols hit the same problem yesterday. To understand why the bug keeps appearing, you need to understand the concept of an “exclusive” Windows Update. In simplest terms, a Windows update that’s marked “exclusive” won’t appear in the Update list until the whole queue is cleared out, either by installing everything that’s backed up, or by hiding available updates. On Patch Tuesday, Microsoft improved upon the years-old SSU for Windows 7, KB 3177467 and, this being Microsoft, released a new version with the old version’s KB number. As John Wilcox promised three weeks ago, that update is marked as both “critical” and “security.” (Many folks didn’t install it years ago because it wasn’t marked as a “security” update.) Unfortunately, the new SSU is also marked “exclusive.” There’s a reason for that. Microsoft wants you to install the SSU separately from any other patches — you don’t want to fix the blender blades while they’re whirling, eh? Unfortunately, the installer logic isn’t robust enough to first scan for an update to itself, install only that update, reboot and continue. The antiquated alternative is to force Windows Update to wait until it doesn’t have any other updates listed, and to then offer the SSU. That’s “exclusive.” It’s also a very 1960s-style solution to an ongoing, and predictable, problem. I’m sure you can see the chicken-and-egg problem. The Win7 Monthly Rollup appears. If you haven’t installed the SSU, it’ll die on an error 0x8000FFF, and then the Monthly Rollup gets added back to the Windows Update queue, thus hiding the SSU. We have many posts on AskWoody describing the problem. Perhaps we’ll get an answer, other than, oh golly, you have to manually install KB 3177467 before you install the Monthly Rollups — and you should know that by osmosis. Thx, @abbodi86, @PKCano, @geekdom There’s life left in the old, battle scarred Win7. We prove it daily on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Still hitting Error 0x8000FFF when installing the Win7 Monthly Rollup? There's a reason. (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  14. Intel is in the process of releasing a souped-up Coffee Lake chipset that will actually work with Windows 7, according to Anandtech. The trick will be convincing Microsoft to allow updates to the new H310C. Getty Images / Microsoft Back in March 2017, Microsoft quietly started blocking Windows Update on newer generations of Intel and AMD hardware. Then, a month later, those running Windows 7 on Intel 7th generation or later chips, AMD 7th generation or later or Qualcomm 8996 or later, were greeted with a warning that they were trying to install an update on: Unsupported hardware Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows. Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version that you are currently using, your system will miss important security updates. Windows could not search for new updates An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer. Error(s) found: Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error. Mind you, the block had nothing to do with drivers. Many of the offending systems had perfectly usable Windows 7 drivers. The block was instituted by Microsoft, presumably in an attempt to limit their obligation to keep Win7 working with newer hardware. You can read into that motivation whatever you like. There have been many workarounds and hacks developed that allow people to install Win7 security patches on their newer hardware. Now it appears that Intel is planning to release a new Cofffee Lake-based chipset that will somehow coexist with Windows 7. Anton Shilov at Anandtech reports: Based on some recent hardware released from motherboard vendors, it would appear that Intel is prepping a new chipset and appropriate drivers to enable Coffee Lake processors to work with Microsoft’s nine-year-old Windows 7 OS…. To make the Coffee Lake/H310C viable for businesses, Intel will need to ensure that Microsoft supports such systems as well. Microsoft for their part has not announced anything on the matter yet, so either Intel is working on a rather one-sided plan here, or the two vendors have a bigger plan in motion to resume OS support for the new H310 revision. The H310C already appears in marketing material from Asus and Gigabyte. Both of those motherboard manufacturers have been providing Win7 drivers for years. The big open question is whether Microsoft plans to call off the patching dogs and let Win7 security patches go through on these updated chips. As @Ascaris puts it: We know why MS would refuse to support anything new on versions other than 10: they have no concern for CPU sales, but they have a huge interest in the adoption rate of Windows 10. It’s all upside and no downside for MS to only support new hardware on 10. Why the CPU makers would get on board with such a thing, though, is another question, since for them, cutting off the percentage of the customer base that refuses Windows 10 as potential customers is all downside. Surely Intel has worked out some sort of compromise with Microsoft. Surely. We aren’t talking about monster new features and killer performance on brand-spankin-new Win7 PCs. The H310C doesn’t leap tall buildings with a single bound. But it does provide a substantial boost to a long-langoring architecture, which may prove popular with bargain hunters who prefer a stable operating system. Like me. Want to run Win7 on an updated PC? Join the putsch on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Is Intel building a new version of its Coffee Lake chipset just for Win7? (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  15. Susan Bradley's open letter to Microsoft gets a non-response from Microsoft that shows that the company is not really interested in feedback. Susan Bradley, a well known Windows administrator and contributor on various forums and sites including Patch Management, wrote an open letter recently to Microsoft in which she summarized results of a Windows survey on update quality and releases in general. Users had to answer five simple questions using a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 meaning "very much not satisfied" and 5 meaning "very satisfied". The questions were: Satisfaction with Microsoft patching (overall Windows 7 to Windows 10). Satisfaction with the quality of Windows 10 updates. Windows 10 feature updates useful to business needs. The cadence of feature releases. Is Microsoft meeting business needs with Windows 10. Susan asked an open-ended question as well in which participants could provide their opinion on what needed to change to make Windows 10 better for business. Survey results indicate that many users who filled out the survey are not satisfied with the current quality of updates, patch releases and general update behavior. Almost 70% of respondents stated that they were not satisfied with the quality of update releases. Susan mentioned that 47 of the updates that Microsoft released in July 2018 had known issues associated with them, some of them very serious such as "stop issues". Windows patching issues She identified several underlying issues; first, that relying solely on Insiders to test releases before release to the stable population is not sufficient in regards to quality control as July 2018 and previous months have shown. When your own products break with these releases, it is clear that current testing processes are not good enough. We reported on this in the past as well, e.g.here and here. Second, that the two feature releases per year cause "patch fatigue". The operating system needs to do a better job of communicating to the end user and especially to the patching administrator when a machine will receive an update. The addition of the Windows Update for Business settings that often conflict with other group policy settings cause confusion, not clarity. See, too many Windows 10 feature updates for our take on this. Third, that patch communication needed a lot of work. Starting in January of this year with the release of Spectre/Meltdown patches, there have been numerous instances where patching communication has been wrong, registry entries detailed in Knowledge Base articles regarding registry key application was initially incorrect and later updated, or vendor updates had to be stopped and in general patching communication has been lacking. We mentioned a lack of communication as well previously, for instance, when Microsoft published support pages after releasing updates. Microsoft responded to Susan Bradley's open letter twice. The first response was just an acknowledgement that the letter has been received by the company. A Customer Relationship Manager stated in it that Microsoft was "working on finding the best venue to bring your concerns to our leadership team who would be better equipped in making any decisions that need to be made". The second letter, again sent by the same Customer Relationship Manager, is a non-saying letter that shows that Microsoft has no intention to follow-up on the described problems. Microsoft does not address any of the concerns brought forward. The paragraphs look like a copy and paste job that talk about Windows 10 updates in general and how it is different from previous versions. Microsoft then asks Susan Bradley to leave feedback using the Feedback Hub (which she did three months ago but with little success). Your letter clearly states the concerns that you have due to the quality and timing of Microsoft updates. I would like to add that with Windows 10 Microsoft decided to be more proactive. This has always been the way we keep commercial versions of Windows on the market current. There are also bug fixes. These updates can be vital. The Windows software environment and its associated hardware is incredibly complex. When these bugs are fixed, updates have to be issued to move them out to users. You want these updates to make sure everything works as expected. Windows 10 is very different from earlier versions of Windows. Earlier versions of Windows consisted of a single product which was updated over time. Windows 10 consists entirely of a base install and then fluid updates. The updates aren't add-ons from which to pick and choose but are part of the operating system. I have provided a link below to our Feedback Hub. In the future you could use the link to provide feedback and share your suggestions or comments on issues with Windows products. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/feedback-hub/9nblggh4r32n?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab Again, thank you for all the feedback. Is there anything else I can do to help? Did you have any other questions or concerns you wanted to discuss? If there are none I will go ahead and close out of your service request. The response is corporate-speak for "thanks, but no thanks". It is almost insulting and in my opinion worse than having not responded at all to the open letter. Now You: What's your take on this? Source PS: This is the reality of MS. I hope Win 10 users who upgraded would finally understand the Micro$h*t, Sh*tty Nudella its team & devs.
  16. WPD v1.2.855 Hi there! If you are here you have probably heard about rather tricky and complex Windows 10 privacy settings and how much data it can collect without user’s knowledge or consent. So, we have tried to resolve this problem and created WPD – a tweaker that contains all main settings in one place! You can customize Group Policy, Services and Tasks, responsible for data collection and sending, as you like. And furthermore, if you want, you can block a bunch of Microsoft's ip's to which data is sent. Disable Windows features and make various tweaks Wrapped in a clean and attractive interface, this program provides you with intuitive and practical options for tweaking your computer, whether you're running Windows 7 or 10. It doesn't require installation so you can copy the downloaded package to a USB flash drive to directly launch it on any PC without setup. Administrative rights are required, though. The main app menu is brought up to the screen at startup, allowing you to access the privacy-related features, firewall settings, apps to uninstall, or other tweaks to make. Configure privacy, firewall and app settings When it comes to privacy matters, you can deactivate the steps recorder, advertising ID, search companion, telemetry, Windows Error Reporting, handwriting auto learning, OneDrive (for file storage), and others. Some of the options displayed here might seem confusing. However, you don't have to look up definitions on the web since WPD shows descriptions in tooltips next to each option. Otherwise, you can disable everything listed here with the click of a button. As far as firewall settings are concerned, Windows Privacy Dashboard can be instructed to block Windows telemetry, third-party apps and Windows Updates from establishing Internet connections. If you change your mind and wish to reset these options to default, you can simply delete the newly created rules. Uninstall unwanted apps and perform tweaks Only Modern UI apps can be uninstalled with the aid of this utility, whether they came bundled with the operating system or got installed from other sources. Lastly, the tweaker gives you the possibility to hide sync provider notifications, allow the swap file to be cleared during restart, and prevent apps from using your camera, microphone and other devices. Taking everything into consideration, WPD turns out to be a straightforward and useful system tweaker. It enabled and disabled system settings without any issues on Windows 10 in our tests. WPD is free, totally portable, has a nice user-friendly interface, and doesn't contain any advertisement or malicious code. Currently we don't have a code signing certificate, so Widnows SmartScreen might be little nervous, just skip it. Privacy management Customize Group Policy, Services, Tasks and other settings responsible for data collection and transmission. Firewall rules Block telemetry IP's using firewall rules from the @crazy-max repository. Appx uninstaller Easy remove pre-installed Windows Store garbage or any other app. Supported OS: Windows 10 Enterprise 1803, 1709, 1703, 1607 Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2016, 2015 Windows 10 Education 1803, 1709 Windows 10 Pro 1803, 1709, 1703, 1607 Windows 10 Home 1803, 1709, 1703 Windows 8-8.1 Windows 7 Screenshots: Changelog: 1.2.855 7-18-2018 Fixed Windows 10 Home is being detected as unsupported edition. 1.2.853 7-16-2018 Added support for Windows 10 Education. Added unsupported OS warning. Fixed helper() startup error on some machines. Fixed unhandled exception in firewall tab, if third-party app prevents access to firewall. Updated build-in firewall rules. 1.2.777 5-1-2018 Added support for April 2018 Update. Added new privacy settings (depends on Windows version) Added ability to choose between Basic and Security Telemetry levels (Enterprise only) Added new command line arguments. For more info check a Readme file inside the archive. Added ability to see your name in the title bar (for Donators) Removed the Tweaker tab, all privacy related settings moved to Privacy tab. Updated build-in firewall rules. User interface enhancements and improvements. Bug fixes. Home: https://getwpd.com/ Download: https://getwpd.com/get/latest.zip Firewall rules: Jul 9, 2018 CRC32: 4036AF48 gHacks.net Review: Control Windows 10 Privacy with WPD
  17. Q: Is it true that Windows 10 is more secure than Windows 7? A: Microsoft has made a concerted effort to get users to upgrade to Windows 10 since it was released in 2015 and touting security and performance have been their primary tactics. Despite their best efforts, Windows 7 continues to be a very popular operating system, especially with businesses, but that will have to change in the near future. Mainstream support for Windows 7 actually expired in early 2015 with extended support slated to end in January of 2020. The primary difference in these support levels is that when mainstream support ends, performance improvements, new features and free support also end. Extended support means that Microsoft will only provide bug fixes and security updates. Essentially, anyone running Windows 7 should be planning to transition to another supported OS over the next year and a half. Security comparison Microsoft has attempted to use scare tactics in the past to convince users to upgrade, but they have been called out on some of their claims by many in the tech community. However, a third-party security company recently published data on their users supporting Microsoft’s claims that Windows 10 is more secure. Webroot reported that only 15% of the total known malware files in 2017 were found on Windows 10 systems while 63 percent of the known malicious files were found on Windows 7 systems. There are a number of reasons for this pronounced imbalance, but a major difference is that Windows 10 forces automatic updates while Windows 7 allows users to fully control when updates are installed. There’s no doubt that Microsoft attempted to ‘harden’ Windows 10 against many of the known exploit strategies used by malicious code writers, which is also a likely contributor. A great example of this was seen during the WannaCry ransomware attacks last year as the vast majority of victims were running Windows 7 and Windows 10 users were completely unaffected. Since Windows 7 was originally released in 2009, hackers have had a longer time to discover exploits and create clever tactics to compromise users. Knowing of these tactics, Microsoft created Windows 10 with completely new code, making many of the Windows 7 specific exploits harmless to it’s users. Performance improvements Windows 10 was designed to startup faster and recognize substantially more RAM, so you may notice a slight increase in performance over Windows 7 on the same hardware. We’ve seen Windows 10 work very well on lots of older computers as well, especially if you add a little extra RAM while upgrading. If you really want to bump up the performance on an older computer, swap out the old hard drive for a new Solid State Drive (SSD) because your hard drive is always the biggest bottleneck to overall performance. More like Windows 7 One of the biggest complaints from those upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the overall look and feel. While you can never get Windows 10 to look and feel exactly like Windows 7, there are lots of little tweaks that can help minimize the differences so that it’s little more comfortable during your transition. Source
  18. By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report Believe it or not, some hardy souls are still running Windows 7 on PCs equipped with turn-of-the-century Pentium III CPUs. But the latest round of Windows 7 security patches won't install on those devices. Here's the background. In August 2000, nearly 18 years ago, Intel proudly showed off its newest CPU family, the Pentium 4. ZDNet was there to cover the announcement and highlighted one of the signature features of the new chip: I'm old enough to remember that announcement, and yes, the addition of support for Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2) was a big deal at the time. It was a high-end feature in 2000, but by 2004 or so every mainstream processor supported this feature. The CPU in your more modern CPU almost certainly supports a later version; the latest and greatest release is SSE 4.2. The point is, if you're running a PC today, in mid-2018, that doesn't support SSE2, you should be charging admission to your computer museum. You probably upgraded it from Windows 98 to Windows XP and then to Windows 7, and you've been humming along for nearly two decades, which is impressive. SSE2 support became a big deal in 2012, when Microsoft announced that SSE2 support was one of three mandatory features for its new OS. Windows 10 has the same requirements. That was six years ago, an eternity in computing terms, so imagine my surprise when the subject came up again just last week, this time in the context of Windows 7. The problem began with the March 2018 monthly security update for Windows 7 (KB4088875), which included this warning under the "Known issues" heading: A Stop error occurs on computers that don't support Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Data (SIMD) Extensions 2 (SSE2). As my erstwhile coauthor and longtime friend Woody Leonhard noted in his wrap-up of the issue, the text alongside that issue, under the column labeled "Workaround," has changed over the past three months. Initially, it said, "Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release." But in the latest (June) update, the text now reads: "Upgrade your machines with a processor that supports SSE2 or virtualize those machines." Is this a violation of Microsoft's support commitment to its customers using Windows 7? Not under the terms of the Microsoft Business, Developer and Desktop Operating Systems Policy, which anticipates this very situation: And that's exactly what appears to have happened here. Beginning with the March update, those cumulative Windows 7 patches won't install on a Pentium III system. Microsoft hasn't disclosed the reason behind that incompatibility, but you don't need much of an imagination to figure that the problem is probably related to the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, which affect two decades' worth of Intel CPUs. I've asked Microsoft for comment, and I expect a vigorous "No comment." (On the off chance that they surprise me, I will update this post.) But even without their comment I can surmise that the massive changes required by the Meltdown/Spectre patches were too much for the Pentium III family to handle, and so those machines reached the end of the Windows 7 support cycle about 18 months earlier than their younger brethren. Does Microsoft have a responsibility to support ancient CPU architectures like this? I have a hard time summoning much sympathy for anyone who has managed to squeeze 18 years of life from a PC and can probably replace it with one that is 20 times more powerful at about 20 percent of the price. What's remarkable, in fact, is how rarely this has happened in the past. Last year, Microsoft cut off support for feature updates for a very small number of Windows 10 PCs but agreed to continue providing security updates until 2023. And, of course, the whole "Vista Capable" debacle will forever be a stain on Microsoft's reputation. But those incidents involved hardware that was either brand new or only a few years old. When you're demanding support for hardware that's nearly old enough to vote, you have a much weaker case. And in this set of circumstances, the bottom line is that the support window for an 18-year-old device is being shaved by roughly 18 months. Given the sudden and violent nature of the Spectre/Meltdown issues, that hardly seems unfair. If you're one of the very small number of people still running Pentium III hardware, you might do well to recall the words of the great George Burns, who turned growing old into a career. "I get up every morning and read the obituary column," he once famously said. "If my name's not there, I eat breakfast." For anyone trying to extend the life of a 1990s-era PC, check the obituaries. Then skip breakfast and go shopping for a modern computing device. Source
  19. Microsoft's shift to Windows-as-a-service (WaaS) for Windows 10 crafted a repetitive, predictable schedule of version release and support expiration dates for Windows 10. Although consumers can essentially ignore any schedule - Microsoft decides when their devices are upgraded - business customers and their IT personnel should be marking the calendar with the important upcoming events. To keep up with 10's WaaS schedule, pencil in these dates. July 31, 2018 By this date Microsoft will proclaim 1803, aka the "April 2018 Update," as suitable for broad deployment across the enterprise. The update, which began reaching consumer customers April 30, will start landing on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise PCs that use Windows Update for Business (WUfB) to download and install feature upgrades. Oct. 9, 2018 Microsoft retires Windows 10 1703, the early-2017 feature upgrade labeled Creators Update, for customers running Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro. For Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, today is the end of support for version 1607, aka the Anniversary Update from 2016. Those customers must migrate to a newer version – 1703, 1709 or 1803 – by this date to continue receiving security patches. Jan. 15, 2019 Around this date, Microsoft will declare 1809 as thoroughly tested by consumers, and thus, ready for wide deployment throughout the enterprise. The September update will start appearing on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise PCs that rely on Windows Update for Business (WUfB) March 12, 2019 Windows 10 1903 launches between this date and late April. April 9, 2019 Microsoft removes Windows 10 1709, aka 2017's Fall Creators Update, from the Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro support lists, halting security and non-security updates to devices running those editions. icrosoft's latest moves have established that the company starts counting the months of support from the actual launch of the feature upgrade, not from the supposed March and September release targets. Microsoft sets the end-of-support date on the first Patch Tuesday – the second Tuesday of the month – following the 18th or 24th month anniversary of release. For example, Microsoft started shipping 1803 on April 30, 2018, making the 18th-month anniversary Oct. 30, 2019. But the stop-support date for Windows 10 1803 has been penciled in as Nov. 12, 2019, the next Patch Tuesday. Clear? Good. July 15, 2019 Around this date, Microsoft will notify customers -- on a post to a company blog -- that Windows 10 1903 is stable enough to deploy to all corporate PCs and will simultaneously begin seeding Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise PCs with the upgrade via Windows Update for Business (WUfB). Sept. 10, 2019 Windows 10 1909 begins reaching users at some point between this date and the end of October. Nov. 12, 2019 Microsoft halts support for Windows 10 1803, putting an end to security and non-security updates to devices running the feature upgrade. All editions of Windows 10 – Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education – will exit support on this date, according to the definitive "Windows lifecycle fact sheet." As of the 1709 feature upgrade, Microsoft has dropped the extra six months of support for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers. Microsoft was cagey when it first announced the extra six months earlier this year; it specifically called out the feature upgrades issued up until then – 1511, 1607, 1703 and 1709 – but said nothing about an extension for, say, 1803. At the time, Computerworld expected that the support addendum would be made permanent for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education, in part because research analysts confirmed that many of their corporate clients hoped for a 24-month support lifecycle. Microsoft didn't agree. This is also the date when Microsoft retires Windows 10 Enterprise 1709 and Windows 10 Education 1709 from support. Customers running those must upgrade to version 1809, 1903 or 1909 by this date to continue receiving security patches and non-security bug fixes. Jan. 14, 2020 Microsoft will retire Windows 7 from support on this date, marking the general deadline for enterprises to replace that OS with Windows 10. There will undoubtedly be laggards, and some companies will probably pay to extend support, assuming Microsoft offers something for Windows 7 that resembles the "Premium Assurance" for Windows Server and SQL Server. What with Windows 7 expected to remain on huge numbers of PCs come the 2020 retirement – perhaps on as up to 42% of all Windows personal computers – Computerworld believes it's inevitable that Microsoft will dangle a more-money-for-more-support deal. How much time? Computerworld's bet is just 12 months, the same stretch Microsoft offers Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education volume licensees when they pay for what it calls "paid supplemental servicing," a new program the company kicked off in February. Jan. 15, 2020 Somewhere near this date, Microsoft will proclaim 1909 as sufficiently tested (by consumers) and ready for wide deployment (by commercial customers). The September update will begin appearing on Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise PCs that rely on Windows Update for Business (WUfB). March 10, 2020 Windows 10 2003 releases some time between this date and late April. April 14, 2020 Microsoft strikes Windows 10 1809 from the support list on this date or later, stopping security and non-security updates to devices running the edition. (The most likely alternate stop date would be May 12, 2020, which could come into play if Microsoft releases 1809 after Oct. 31, 2019.) Source
  20. The massive security hole introduced by Microsoft for 64-bit Win7 and Server 2008 R2 now has working proof-of-concept code — and it’s freely available on GitHub. While we haven’t seen exploits in the wild, it’s only a matter of days. Thinkstock/Microsoft Remember the Total Meltdown security hole? Microsoft spread the vulnerability in every 64-bit Win7 and Server 2008 R2 patch released this year, prior to March 29. Specifically, if you installed any of these patches: KB 4056894 Win7/Server 2008 R2 January Monthly Rollup KB 4056897 Win7/Server 2008 R2 January Security-only patch KB 4073578 Hotfix for “Unbootable state for AMD devices in Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1” bug installed in the January Monthly Rollup and Security-only patches KB 4057400 Win7/Server 2008 R2 Preview of the February Monthly Rollup KB 4074598 Win7/Server 2008 R2 February Monthly Rollup KB 4074587 Win7/Server 2008 R2 February Security-only patch KB 4075211 Win7/Server 2008 R2 Preview of the March Monthly Rollup KB 4091290 Hotfix for “smart card based operations fail with error with SCARD_E_NO_SERVICE” bug installed in the February Monthly Rollup KB 4088875 Win7/Server 2008 R2 March Monthly Rollup KB 4088878 Win7/Server 2008 R2 March Security-only patch KB 4088881 Win7/Server 2008 R2 Preview of April Monthly Rollup ... your machine was left in an exposed state. Microsoft made changes to your PC that makes it easy for a running to program to look at, or modify, any data on your computer. Security researcher Ulf Frisk posted details on March 27, giving the security hole the “Total Meltdown” moniker. That’s in reference to the well-publicized Meltdown and Spectre security holes, which initially started this year’s patching frenzy. All of these patches and repatches existed primarily to circumvent Meltdown and Spectre — two security vulnerabilities that, to this day, have never been spotted in the wild. Keep in mind that Total Meltdown only applies to 64-bit versions of Win7 and Server 2008 R2 — and that it doesn’t allow malicious programs to run on your machine, it “only” allows them to read or write data anywhere. Microsoft responded on March 29 with a patch, KB 4100480, which plugs the Total Meltdown security hole but introduces all sorts of additional problems. See threads started by MrBrian and Susan Bradley on AskWoody. According to the KB article, that patch has been superceded by the two April Win7 security patches, released on April 10: KB 4093118 Win7/Server 2008 R2 April Monthly Rollup KB 4093108 Win7/Server 2008 R2 April Security-only patch Both of those, in turn, were riddled with bugs. The Monthly Rollup, in particular, was so bad that Microsoft re-released it on April 12. But the new version kept installing and re-installing itself, even though Windows flagged it as already installed. If you get hit with that bug, the only solution at this point is to hide the update. In the past couple of days, self-described “Hacker and Infosec Researcher” XPN has posted details of a working exploit that takes advantage of Microsoft’s Total Meltdown security hole. The exploit code, updated yesterday, is available on GitHub. XPN also has a YouTube video showing how quickly it all goes by. Remember: This is code that can retrieve or change any data in memory from a running program. Before it kicks in, a would-be attacker has to get the program running on your machine. But once it's running, any program can get to any data on your machine. On AskWoody, GoneToPlaid lays it out: I looked at the proof of concept code posted on GitHub by XPN. No malware techniques whatsoever were required, except simply replacing tokens for EPROCESS with SYSTEM. Yet this is done after the code has already located all computer memory to read in less than a second. The code doesn’t go through the process of actually reading the memory since XPN was merely showing everyone how quickly the code was able to gain access to all computer memory, and then to change the access rights to all computer memory. As of this moment, I haven’t heard of any active exploits that take advantage of the Total Meltdown security hole, but with working code so easily available, it’s only a matter of time. A short amount of time, at that. How to tell if you’re exposed? Step 1. Look at your Update History and see if you have any patches installed this year. (See the list at the beginning of this article.) No patches from 2018? You’re off the hook for Total Meltdown, although you’re exposed for the (few) other real security holes plugged this year. Step 2. If you have any of the Windows patches listed above, look to see if you have KB 4100480, 4093108 or 4093118 installed. If any of those three are installed, you’re fine. Step 3. If you have one of the Total Meltdown-infected patches installed, and you haven’t yet installed KB 4100480, 4093108 or 4093118, you’re in for some interesting times. As best I can tell, you have three options: Take Susan Bradley’s advice and roll back your machine to its state before the patching insanity started in January. That’s a massive, thankless task, and it leaves you exposed to the (few) real security holes plugged this year. Download and manually install the KB 4093108 Security-only patch. Use Windows Update to install all of the checked April Windows patches, including the KB 4093118 Monthly Rollup. Be aware of the bugs in KB 4093108 and 4093118 (possible blue screen Session_has_valid_pool_on_Exit). In particular, note that Microsoft has removed the old requirement that your antivirus software give the go-ahead by modifying the QualityCompat registry key. It isn’t clear if that’s a move of desperation — designed to get this month’s security patches pushed onto every machine — or if antivirus manufacturers have cleaned up their products so the old restriction no longer applies (as is the case with Windows 10). By the way, there’s a silver lining to this dreck-drenched cloud. You Win7 folks won’t have any patches at all after Jan. 14, 2020 — a scant 21 months from now. Something to look forward to, amirite? Questions? Hit us on AskWoody. Source: Heads up: Total Meltdown exploit code now available on GitHub (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  21. Multiple, angry reports say the newly fixed Win7 Monthly Rollup for April installs successfully, then installs again, and again — on both 32- and 64-bit versions of Win7. The only known solution is to hide the update. Thinkstock/Microsoft Last week, Microsoft quietly re-released its buggy April Win7 Monthly Rollup patch, KB 4093118. You may recall the patch as a reaction to the Carnak the Magnificent situation we had with the original version of KB 4093118. With the re-release earlier this week of the original Carnak patch, KB 4099950, it’s not clear to me what the recommended installation sequence might be. But this much I know for sure. People all over the internet are complaining that this new version of KB 4093118 installs itself over and over again. An anonymous poster on AskWoody says: KB 4093118 has been installed 7 times on my computer and it still wants to install the same update again On the Microsoft Answers forum, JohnPaulson1 says: I keep downloading and installing this update 2018-04 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4093118) Installation date: ‎4/‎18/‎2018 15:16 Installation status: Successful And after i do it it keeps appearing when I check for updates On a different Microsoft Answers forum thread, Peter Vaško reports: I cannot install monthly rollup security update KB4093118 on computers with 32bit windows 7… Installation always ends up with computers restarting right after boot. PC starts till 'Wait Please' message is displayed and then after few seconds it reboots. Only help is 'Safe Mode', roll back changes, normal boot. There’s a slightly different take from Liane12345: once you log in and the desktop appears the Computer restarts within 30 seconds And A.D. has another observation: KB4093118 keeps on reappearing after successful install. Update History shows several instances of this KB. The first one was at 11 Apr, now I have several rows from today. And on Technet, Michael Stephen Bryant says: This update reinstalls itself 5 times in a row then keeps asking to be uploaded. There are well-meaning posts advising those afflicted to reset Windows Update with various incantations, but I see no indication that any of those approaches work. The only approach that seems to work is to find the patch in the Windows Update list, right-click on it and choose Hide. Join us in a rousing rendition of “Feed me, Seymour” on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: The gift that keeps on giving: Win7 Monthly Rollup KB 4093118 installs over and over (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  22. A report on Myce suggests that Windows 7 PCs without installed antivirus solutions can't receive new updates via Windows Update anymore unless a change is made to the Windows Registry. Microsoft identified a compatibility issue with "Windows security updates released in January [2018] and a small number of antivirus products". Some antivirus products "make unsupported calls into Windows kernel memory" which can lead to blue screen errors on systems these products are installed on. The company states that devices that run incompatible software may not boot properly anymore. Any antivirus solution for Windows needs to set a key in the Windows Registry to confirm to the operating system that it is compatible and does not use these banned methods anymore. Windows PCs that don't have the Registry key set won't receive security updates anymore according to Microsoft. Microsoft security products such as Windows Defender Antivirus, System Center Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Security Essentials are compatible with the new requirements and set the required Registry key if no third-party solution is installed. Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system is special as it only includes a security tool called Defender which is limited when compared to Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials. Defender won't set the Registry key which means that Windows 7 systems without installed antivirus solution won't have the key in the Registry set. This means ultimately that affected systems don't receive security updates despite the fact that they are still supported by Microsoft. Support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. Microsoft recommends that Microsoft Security Essentials or a compatible third-party antivirus application is installed on affected Windows 7 machines to resolve the issue. In a default installation of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, customers will not have an antivirus application installed by default. In these situations, Microsoft recommends installing a compatible and supported antivirus application such as Microsoft Security Essentials or a third-party anti-virus application. The anti-virus software must set a registry key as described below in order to receive the latest Windows security updates. Set the Registry key to enable updates again Windows 7 administrators can set the required Registry key manually on the other hand. This should not cause issues on the machine as no incompatible antivirus solution is installed (none is installed). Tap on the Windows-key and type regedit.exe to launch the built-in Registry Editor. Confirm the UAC prompt if it is displayed. Go to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\QualityCompat Right-click on QualityCompat and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Name it cadca5fe-87d3-4b96-b7fb-a231484277cc Give it the value 0 You can download the following Registry file instead and run it on machines to add the Registry key directly. Download it with a click on the following link: SetAntivirusRegistryKeyWindows.zip Ghacks.net
  23. A big shakeup last night rearranged the way the buggy March Win7 patches install and clean up after themselves, but added to the lengthy list of known bugs. The key looming bug — “Total Meltdown” — remains a patching enigma. Thinkstock Last night we were treated to new versions of the badly banged-up March Win7 patches. It looks like the new ones are the same as the old ones, but the internal handling instructions (the metadata) now force installation of a “Total Meltdown” fix-up patch prior to installing the old patch. Of course, none of this is documented anywhere. Starting with Günter Born’s report, and checking the Microsoft Update Catalog, I can see modified versions of: KB 4088875 – Win7 March Monthly Rollup (dated, in the Update Catalog, as April 4) KB 4088878 – Win7 March Security-only patch (also April 4) KB 4088881 – Preview of the Win7 April Monthly Rollup (also April 4) MrBrian analyzed the content of those patches and came to the conclusion: Literally nothing has changed in the Catalog for the x64 versions of these updates (the only ones that I checked). I assume the same is true for the other versions of these three updates. One can see this by downloading the given updates and checking their digital signature dates. The reason that the date changed in the Catalog for these three updates is because their metadata changed. … [It appears as if] Microsoft is now bundling the download and installation of KB4099950 when one installs any of these three updates in Windows Update. You may recall that KB 4099950 is the fix for the bug, introduced in the March Win7 patches, that knocks out Network Interface Cards and static IP addresses. I talked about KB 4099950 earlier this week. It looks like the metadata has been jiggered so any attempt to install the buggy Win7 patches KB 4088875, 4088878, or 4088881, automatically bundles the fix KB 4099950 and runs it before the original patches are installed. Which means that these new versions of KB 4088875, 4088878, or 4088881 still have the same bugs as the old ones, except the NIC/static IP bug is exterminated in advance because the KB 4099950 fix is automatically run before the original patch. Along with the horse-before-the-cart bundling, the KB articles for both of the Win7 March Monthly Rollup KB 4088875 and the Security-only patch KB 4088878 have yet another bug added to the officially acknowledged list: After you install this update, you may receive a Stop error message that resembles the following when you log off the computer: SESSION_HAS_VALID_POOL_ON_EXIT (ab) And they both now have this admonition: Important Please apply KB4100480 immediately after applying this update. KB4100480 resolves vulnerability in the Windows kernel for the 64-bit (x64) version of Windows. This vulnerability is documented in CVE-2018-1038 . KB 4100480 is the destructive fix for the Total Meltdown security hole — the one introduced by every Win7 patch this year — that I talked about earlier this week. For more details, see abbodi86’s description and MrBrian’s analysis. Remember: There are absolutely no known attacks for Meltdown or Spectre in the wild. But this Total Meltdown bug is a huge one, introduced while trying to fix Meltdown and Spectre. Several people are now reporting that Win7 March Monthly Rollup, KB 4088875, no longer appears in the Windows Update list, and the KB 4088881 Preview is no longer available. Of course there’s no documentation about any of this, but it looks as if Microsoft — which changed KB 4088875 to “important but not checked” a week after it was released — has now yanked the patch, at least for Windows Update users. Sometimes I wonder if things could get even more screwed up. Thx MrBrian, PKCano, abbodi86, gborn, and the AskWoody Street Irregulars. Join us for KB 4090450, 4088879, 2952664, 2976978 and more senseless things on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Microsoft jiggles — but doesn’t fix — buggy Win7 patches KB 4088875, KB 4088878 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard) Poster's note: Our old friends KB 2952664 (W7) and KB 2976978(W8.1) that make it easier to upgrade to Windows 10 are back, yet again. Hide 'em if you see 'em folks...
  24. Microsoft issued today an out-of-band security update for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The security update —KB4100480— addresses a security bug discovered by a Swedish security expert earlier this week. The bug was caused by a patch meant to fix the Meltdown vulnerability but accidentally opened the kernel memory wide open. According to Ulf Frisk, Microsoft's January 2018 Meltdown patch (for CVE-2017-5754) allowed any app to extract or write content from/to the kernel memory. This all happened because the Meltdown patch accidentally flipped a bit that controlled access permissions to kernel memory. Frisk said that the March Patch Tuesday appears to have "fixed" the issue, as he was not able to interact with kernel memory. But today, Microsoft released KB4100480 to make sure the vulnerability was closed for good. The accidental bit flip bug now has its own CVE identifier of CVE-2018-1038. The flaw is not remotely exploitable, and attackers need either physical access to a PC, or they need to infect the PC with malware beforehand. Besides KB4100480, Microsoft released another out-of-band security update last Friday, March 23. KB3203399 resolved a vulnerability (CVE-2017-8551) in Microsoft Office that could lead to remote code execution and was meant for Microsoft Project Server 2013 Service Pack 1 users only. Source
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