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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 'Extended Security Updates' will give enterprise customers more time to move off Windows 7 by providing security fixes for OS vulnerabilities after support ends in January 2020. Getty Images / Microsoft Microsoft plans to start selling its Windows 7 add-on support beginning April 1. Labeled "Extended Security Updates" (ESU), the post-retirement support will give enterprise customers more time to purge their environments of Windows 7. From Windows 7's Jan. 14, 2020 end of support, ESU will provide security fixes for uncovered or reported vulnerabilities in the OS. Patches will be issued only for bugs rated "Critical" or "Important" by Microsoft, the top two rankings in a four-step scoring system. ESU will be dealt out in one-year increments for up to three years and support will be sold on a per-device basis, rather than the per-user approach Microsoft has pushed for Windows 10 licensing. Costs for ESU will start out low - $25 or $50 per year per device - but will double each year, ending at $100 or $200 per device for the third and final year. (The less expensive prices will be for subscribers to Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365 Enterprise.) Windows 7 ESU also lets covered PCs run Office 365 ProPlus, the locally-installed applications - Outlook, Word, Excel and the like - bundled with Office 365. Microsoft had previously said that support for Windows 7 running Office 365 ProPlus would dry up when the former reached retirement in January. Another benefit to ESU is that Microsoft will keep patching Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on eligible Windows 7 machines. In a March 1 post to a company blog, Bernardo Caldas, general manager of Windows commercial marketing, advised customers interested in ESU to contact their Microsoft account team or reselling partner for purchasing details. Source: Microsoft to start selling Windows 7 add-on support April 1 (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  5. 1. The only version that you can successfully install at first launch is .NET Framework 4.5.2 - this will work for you, guaranteed! 2. All other .NET Framework 4.x will fail in first attempt. On any next attempt you will have success, but don't hurry to enjoy, you still be unlucky (read at point 5 below). 3. If you want to install all other versions at first launch, you must install manually this certificate first. 4. If you are trying to install certificate from third part apps, for example from Inno Setup, you will be unlucky. (Already tried these two methods) 5. If you have already installed .NET Framework 4.7.2 which officially include all previous versions (4.0–4.7) you are not be able to install SDK (Software Development Kit) for Windows 7. You will get report that you are using Pre-Release of the required .NET Framework 4.0 and you must install at least RTM version. Otherwise you are not able to install all features and they will stay as inactive gray components unchecked without ability to check. 6. If you install .NET Framework 4.0 or .NET Framework 4.5.2 you are able to fully install SDK for Windows 7, it will be recognized now. In short - do not use any other version .NET Framework 4 except version 4.5.2 for Windows 7 OS. They are not optimized for using on any device, for example on Virtual Machines.
  6. Killing Off Windows 7 Won’t Be Easy, New Data Shows Windows 7 is projected to be retired in January 2020, but all the data seems to indicate that doing this won’t be easy for Microsoft. Last month, for example, instead of going down, Windows 7 actually increased its market share, getting closer to leader Windows 10, which still struggles nearly four years after launch. January 2019 numbers provided by NetMarketShare indicate that Windows 10 remained the number one desktop operating system last month with a share of 40.30%, while Windows 7 was the runner-up with 38.41%. While at first glance this is good news for Windows 10, it actually isn’t, as it dropped from 40.90% in January, while Windows 7 improved from 37.19%.The Windows 10 struggleBy the looks of things, customers aren’t very keen on leaving Windows 7 behind, and the next 12 months will be critical for Microsoft. The bigger problem for the software giant isn’t necessarily the fact that people refuse to upgrade from Windows 7, but that the latest Windows 10 updates do little to convince them to switch sides. The October 2018 Update, also known as version 1809, became Microsoft’s buggiest release in a long time, with the company itself pulling the update shortly after the original release due to a bug potentially causing the removal of user files. With such buggy releases, it’s pretty clear that some users, including here both consumers and enterprise, delay the migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as much as possible in order to avoid having to deal with any critical issues. Microsoft, however, has already started the offensive, and the company claims that enterprises should have little to worry about when it comes to the transition to Windows 10. Most apps on Windows 7 should run without any issue on Windows 10 as well, and Microsoft is offering tech assistance to companies that might come across compatibility struggles when upgrading their devices. Source
  7. Large businesses not ready to migrate off Windows 7 as of January 2020 and which opt for paid security updates should expect Microsoft's update pricing to double each year. Microsoft said last Fall that it would offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates on a per-device basis for big customers willing to pay for them after the company ends Windows 7 support on January 14, 2020. Microsoft officials wouldn't talk about how much those updates would cost, beyond saying they'd get more expensive over time. However, Microsoft has briefed some of its partners and salespeople about the cost of these Extended Support Updates (ESUs). And, as you'd expect, they're not cheap, especially for customers who may want to apply them on multiple PCs. They're even more expensive for customers using the Pro version of Windows than the Enterprise one. Last Fall, Microsoft officials said they would provide Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for three years, meaning through January 2023. These will be security patches/fixes like the ones Microsoft is currently providing for free for Windows 7 users, as Windows 7 is still in "Extended" Support through January 14, 2020. For Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 customers, Microsoft will provide Windows 7 ESUs as an "add-on," according to information Microsoft seemingly shared with partners and its field sales people. Year one (January 2020 to 2021), that add-on will cost $25 per device for that set of users. Year two (January 2021 to 2022) that price goes up to $50 per device. And Year three (January 2022 to January 2023) it goes up to $100 per device. To qualify for this pricing tier, customers can be running Pro as long as they are considered "active customers" of Windows Enterprise in volume licensing. For users who decide to stick with Windows 10 Pro rather than Windows 10 Enterprise, those ESU prices are significantly higher. Year one, Windows 7 ESUs will cost those Windows 7 Pro customers $50 per device; Year 2, $100 per device; and Year 3, $200 per device, according to information Microsoft seemingly shared with its partners and field sales people. I asked Microsoft officials if they'd verify this pricing information. I also asked if there would be volume discounts on these prices available to customers with a large volume of Windows 7 devices needed ESUs, which I'm thinking could be the case. No word back so far. These prices ensure customers they will receive cumulative security updates for Windows 7 over the course of a year. If customers decide to purchase ESUs in Year 2 or 3, they will need to pay for prior years. There's no minimum purchase required, according to the documentation I've seen (and a piece of which I've embedded in this post, above). As Microsoft officials said previously, the ESUs are for larger business and education customers only. They will be available to any Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users with volume-licensing agreements. Office 365 ProPlus will continue to work on devices with Windows 7 Extended Security Updates through January 2023. Microsoft has offered extended security updates in the past for no-longer-supported versions of Windows via Custom Support Agreements costing millions of dollars. A Microsoft spokesperson would only point back to the original Microsoft September blog about the ESU plans, and not comment further. That person added: "Customers would need to work with their Microsoft account team for details on pricing," which, again, makes me think that these listed ESU prices are possibly negotiable based on volume. Source: How much will staying patched on Windows 7 cost you? Here's the price list (ZDNet - Mary Jo Foley)
  8. Windows 7: What is your company's exit strategy? If your business is still running on Windows 7, it's time to get serious about how you're going to handle the January 14, 2020 end of support. Here are your four options. If your business is still running on Windows 7, you have some important decisions to make, and not a lot of time remaining. Windows 7 support officially ends in less than a year, on January 14, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will stop delivering security updates automatically, and by then most third-party vendors will have dropped support as well. Most businesses completed their planning for migration to Windows 10 long ago and are in the final stages of implementing that plan. If you're still procrastinating, it's time to get serious. You have, by my calculation, four options. Which one you choose depends on why your organization is still clinging to Windows 7. If the main reason is inertia, you'll need to find something to motivate yourself. You could, for example, calculate the costs of cleaning up after a successful ransomware attack that spreads over your network, including the loss of business while you scramble to recover. If you're in a regulated industry, you might want to find out whether running an unsupported operating system puts you at compliance risks, which can result in hefty fines and a loss of business when customers find out. The other possible deployment blocker is a compatibility problem. For most Windows 7 apps, compatibility shouldn't be an issue. If your business depends on specialized hardware or line-of-business software that absolutely will not run on Windows 10, you might be able to make a case for paying to extend the support deadline. But that just delays the inevitable by a year or two, or at most three. Your search for a replacement should be well under way by now. So, what are your options? Because I know that at least a dozen people will offer one particular suggestion in the comments to this post, let me bring it up right at the top of the list. OPTION 1: SWITCH TO LINUX. Something tells me that most businesses that have stuck with Windows 7 until nearly the bitter end have already considered and rejected this option. That's especially the case for those businesses that are constrained by compatibility issues related to a mission-critical Windows app. How to replace Windows 7 with Linux Mint But sure, if you're willing to completely replace your desktop infrastructure and switch out every productivity app you use, that's a preferable alternative to the next option on the list. OPTION 2: DO NOTHING. On January 25, 2020, Windows 7 won't stop working. In fact, you're unlikely to notice any changes. If you feel lucky, this is certainly an option. You might even consider the lack of monthly updates a welcome feature. Spoiler alert: This is a very bad idea, one that exposes you to all manner of possible bad outcomes. If you absolutely must keep one or more Windows 7 PCs in operation, perhaps because they're running a critical app or controlling a piece of old but essential hardware, the best advice I can offer is to completely disconnect that machine from the network and lock it down so that it only runs that one irreplaceable app. OPTION 3: PAY FOR EXTENDED SUPPORT. When Windows XP support ended in April 2014, Microsoft offered to continue delivering patches for XP devices owned by large organizations that paid for Custom Support Agreements. But those contracts didn't come cheap. Only very large enterprise customers could even qualify for one, and then the cost was literally millions of dollars, as my colleague Mary Jo Foley discovered. For Windows 7, the extended support option is far more democratic. In September 2018, Microsoft announced its plan to offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs). You won't need megabucks, either: Although Microsoft has yet to publish a price list, an insider tells me that the annual cost for an ESU contract will be $50 per device, with that price tag going up to $100 in year two and $200 in year three. That escalating price schedule is intended to serve as a disincentive to Windows 7 users who might otherwise be tempted to kick the can a little further down the road. Customers who have paid for Windows Software Assurance contracts or who have Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions will get a discount but will still be subject to significant price hikes in years 2 and 3. You can eliminate the extra cost of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates completely if you move your workloads to virtual machines in Microsoft's Azure cloud. That option will be available using the new Windows Virtual Desktop option, which should be available as a preview soon. For businesses that only need to virtualize individual line-of-business applications, this could be a cost-effective option. OPTION 4: BITE THE BULLET AND UPGRADE. If you don't have any compatibility issues that need to be addressed first, the simplest and most straightforward route is to put together a deployment plan and begin executing it. But the details of tha plan matter, especially if you want to avoid the headaches of the "Windows as a service" model. As always, of course, the easiest upgrade path is via hardware replacement. Any device that's five years old or more is an obvious candidate for recycling. Devices that were designed for Windows 10 and then downgraded to Windows 7 should be excellent candidates for in-place upgrades, after first making sure that the systems have the most recent BIOS/UEFI firmware updates. One not-so-obvious factor to consider is which Windows 10 edition to deploy. The obvious choice for most businesses is Windows 10 Pro, but I strongly suggest considering an additional upgrade to the Enterprise (or Education) edition. Yes, machines running Windows 10 Pro allow your admins to defer feature updates, but the support schedule for Enterprise/Education is significantly longer: a full 30 months, as opposed to 18 months for Pro (For a description of the new support schedule, including a chart that explains how the new schedule works, see "Windows 10 Enterprise customers will now get Linux-like support.") The other advantage of moving to the Enterprise/Education editions is the availability of a new support offering called Desktop App Assure. If you encounter a compatibility issue during the upgrade, you file a support ticket and get engineering support to resolve the issue. For most businesses, the Windows Enterprise E3 and E5 subscription options are probably the easiest and most cost-effective here. Whichever option you choose, though, now's the time to get to work. That ticking sound is only going to get louder as January 2020 approaches. Source
  9. Microsoft is making changes to Windows Media Player on Windows 7 Windows Media Player is no longer an essential addition to Windows and there are quality third-party alternatives, such as VLC Media Player. Microsoft’s offers the Films & TV app in Windows 10 as an alternative to Windows Media Player, but the legacy player remains the default player on Windows 7 devices. Today, we spotted a new support documentwhich was quietly published yesterday and it has revealed that Microsoft is retiring a feature that is being used in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. According to the support document dated January 26, 2019, Microsoft is retiring the ability to view information (metadata) in Windows Media Player on Windows 7 PCs and Windows Media Center on Windows 7, 8.1 and 8 PCs. Windows Media Player remains unaffected from this changes on Windows 10 devices. Microsoft says that you can no longer view information (metadata) such as the title, genre, and artist for songs for movies in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. Microsoft is discontinuing this service after analyzing the feedback from consumers and the usage data. “This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device,” Microsoft explains. However, for some reasons, the feature appears to be still available on PCs running Windows 10. It’s important to note that any information that has already been download won’t be removed and this change apparently doesn’t affect any key features such as playback, media streaming. Source
  10. Windows 10 ALERT: Millions at risk by not following this very simple advice MICROSOFT Windows 10 and Windows 7 users are being warned that not updating their PCs to the latest software could put them at risk from vulnerabilities and other significant security issues. Windows users who are using older versions of the software could be putting themselves at risk. That's the news from the latest report from security firm Avast, who say that more than half of PC applications installed worldwide are out-of-date. In fact, Avast’s PC Trends Report 2019 found that users are making themselves vulnerable to hackers by not implementing security patches and keeping outdated versions of popular applications on their PCs. Along with applications being not being kept updated, the report also found that many Microsoft users aren't keeping on top of upgrades to their Windows operating systems. According to Avast, almost one in six of all Windows 7 users and one in ten of all Windows 10 users worldwide are running older and no longer supported versions of their product. Speaking about the report, Ondrej Vlcek, President, Avast said: “Most of us replace our smartphone regularly, but the same cannot be said for our PCs. "With the average age of a PC now reaching six years old, we need to be doing more to ensure our devices are not putting us at unnecessary risk. “With the right amount of care, such as cleaning our hardware’s insides using cleaners, optimisation and security products, PCs will be safe and reliable for even longer. The applications where updates are most frequently neglected include Adobe Shockwave (96%), VLC Media Player (94%) and Skype (94%). The report, which uses anonymised and aggregated data from 163 million devices across the globe, also found that Windows 10 is now installed on 40 per cent of all PCs globally, which is fast approaching the 43 per cent share held by Windows 7. This news comes as Microsoft has just announced an update on its Windows Phone products. The US company has just confirmed that it won't be supporting the platform from the end of the year meaning those owning a Windows-powered phone will no longer receive security updates or new features. In post on its blog, Microsoft confirmed: "As of December 10, 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free. "Third parties or paid support programs may provide ongoing support, but it is important to recognise that Microsoft support will not publicly provide updates or patches for Windows 10 Mobile." With Microsoft now ditching all updates for good there's good news for Android and Apple as the Redmond firm is recommending users switch to these platforms. "With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device," Microsoft said. Source
  11. It's now less than a year until Windows 7 goes out of mainstream support; after January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7 -- unless you want to pay extra, of course. This is a big issue for many companies: while Windows 7 is long in the tooth (it went on sale back in October 2009), it's much loved -- at least, as much as a PC operating system can be loved -- and is still widely used. Indeed, even though Windows 10 has been around since late 2015, it's only in the last month or so that general usage of Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows 7. According to Microsoft there are 1.5 billion devices running Windows, with more than 700 million running Windows 10. But that means there are hundreds of millions of devices running Windows 7, with that support deadline looming. Microsoft is certainly keen for businesses to upgrade, touting the security of Windows 10 over Windows 7 as a good reason to make the move. It's also keen to get as many users onto Windows 10 as possible because that will help it build momentum behind Windows-as-a-Service, which means regular feature updates rather than massive upgrade projects every few years. But enterprises, which are often cautious about new technology, will have noted Microsoft's buggy recent Windows 10 upgrades and will worry about the impact on their infrastructure. So what happens now? Andrew Hewitt, a tech analyst at Forrester Research, says the past two years has already seen a massive migration and push towards Windows 10. According to Forrester's survey of infrastructure decision-makers, 56 percent of company-issued PCs are currently running Windows 10 -- up eight percent from last year, and 18 percent from the year before. "This shift is happening at a quick rate, but as you can see, there's still quite a ways to go before everyone is shifted over to Windows 10," says Hewitt. So why hasn't everyone updated yet? One reason is that businesses have legacy apps that aren't compatible with Windows 10 and they don't know what to do about it, or they have not yet done their application compatibility testing -- a key migration milestone. Some are concerned about the frequency of Windows updates and don't have the processes in place to adequately respond, and some are concerned about cost. "All these things work together to keep organizations on Windows 7," Hewitt says. Hewitt predicts that even by the 2020 date, we won't be seeing full Windows 10 adoption, as some organisations are comfortable waiting longer before they make these changes. There are also some non-standard devices, like ruggedized devices, that will run Windows 7 for quite some time, he says. "I'm optimistic about the vast majority of organizations making the move by 2020, but it certainly won't be 100 percent. Some will consider other alternatives -- like ChromeOS, for example -- which we've seen increasingly adopted in enterprise use cases," says Hewitt. A few years ago, getting customers to shift to the newest version of Windows might have been a make-or-break project for Microsoft, but it's no longer just the Windows company these days. In its quarterly company results, Windows is now unceremoniously lumped in with Surface, gaming and search revenue under More Personal Computing. For Microsoft, the priority is its other two revenue baskets -- Productivity and Business Processes (which includes Dynamics and Office 365) and Intelligent Cloud -- both of which, while slightly smaller by revenue, are growing faster than the group that includes Windows. That's probably just as well; PC shipments have been in decline for seven -- yes, seven -- years now. Consumers are buying fewer PCs (40 percent of them, down from 49 percent just five years ago), which means that PCs -- and Windows -- are increasingly mainly a business tool. As Microsoft largely missed the boat on smartphones, tablets and wearables, aiming at productivity and the cloud is a wise choice. That's not to say the PC isn't still important: it's the gateway to many other products like Office 365, and to a lesser extent to Microsoft's cloud offerings. And despite claims that Windows would give way to Chromebooks (or, even further into the distant past, Linux on the desktop), Microsoft's OS has proved remarkably resilient. Deciding what to do about the demise of Windows 7 will be a headache and create plenty of work for IT, but the reality is that Windows is not as vital as it once was, thanks to the rise of the browser, the cloud and new device types, all of which mean that the desktop is no longer the only option for productivity. SOURCE
  12. The delayed delivery of Windows 10 October 2018 Update could put the pinch on companies looking to upgrade from Windows 7 before support for the aging OS ends next January. pan xiaozhen modified by IDG Comm. / Microsoft (CC0) Microsoft's months-long delay in getting the latest Windows 10 feature upgrade to customers could not have come at a worse time. The slow delivery of Windows 10 October 2018 Update, also known as 1809 in Microsoft's nicknaming yymm nomenclature, may pinch enterprises' migration from Windows 7, impact the expected shift to longer-supported versions of Windows 10 and temporarily stymie businesses from skipping multiple upgrades. Windows 10 1809 only began a phased roll-out to customers - almost entirely consumers at the start - a week ago, even though the upgrade was initially released Oct. 2, 2018. The roll-out should have started to show up on eligible PCs no later than the middle of October. But a bug that deleted users' files - a flaw reported prior to release by some participants of the Windows Insider beta program - forced Microsoft to withdraw the upgrade from all release channels, apply a fix to the flaw and then return 1809 to Insider for additional testing. Because of the three-month delay, customers running unmanaged PCs - all those powered by Windows 10 Home and many of the Windows 10 Pro devices - will probably run 1809 for just half as long as normal, three months rather than six, before they're required to upgrade to this year's 1903. But the delay could also disrupt migration and upgrade plans for enterprises, which not only are allowed to defer the twice-a-year refreshes but are allotted 30 months of support for each version, a full year longer than what is given to Home and Pro users. Hamper Windows 7 to Windows 10 migrations Due to a confluence of various deadlines, the three-month delay of 1809 may go down as an unforced error that punishes enterprises trying to oust Windows 7 from their networks. The most important of those deadlines is Jan. 14, 2020, when Microsoft ends free security support for Windows 7, making the OS a risk to run after that date. Businesses with Windows 7-powered systems, then, have until Jan. 14 - 356 days from today - to upgrade those PCs to Windows 10. The problem is that 1809 is not yet ready for enterprise deployment, so each day of delay is another day companies cannot migrate machines. There are older versions of Windows 10 that have been approved for business, but each has unwanted characteristics that make them poor alternatives. The problem with the older Windows 10 feature upgrades is that they will exit support either before Windows 7's retirement or within a few months after its expiration, forcing enterprises to upgrade again. (Contrary to Microsoft, which at least publicly believes many customers will continue to upgrade twice annually, Computerworld assumes that the goal of enterprise IT will be to do the fewest possible upgrades by running each Windows 10 refresh for the longest possible period.) Windows 10 Enterprise 1703's support will dry up in October, three months before Windows 7's retirement. Windows 10 Enterprise 1709 and Windows 10 Enterprise 1803 drop out of support April 14, 2020, and Nov. 10, 2020, respectively, or three and 10 months after Windows 7 support goes dark. That means, if a company decided to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10 now and took eight months to complete the upgrade - four for piloting the build, another four for deployment: Windows 10 1703 is out, because its support dries up before the end of this year, forcing the firm to upgrade from 1703 as soon as it wrapped up the job. (And the company could only do an upgrade to 1703 if it simultaneously worked two upgrades on separate testing/piloting/deploying tracks. While it deployed 1703 on one track, for instance, it would have to pilot its successor on another.) Windows 10 1709 is little better; its support runs out in 15 months, giving the company only seven months on this version after the upgrade. The two upgrades - from Windows 7 to Windows 10 1709, then from 1709 to a successor - would have to overlap to some degree. But as Figure 1 shows, as soon as the organization finished installing 1709 it would have to begin installing a follow-up, such as 1803 or as shown, 1809. Even then, 1709 would make it onto the business's machines just four months before Windows 7 hit its sold-by date (Windows 7's retirement is marked by the blue vertical bar). Figure 1 Gregg Keizer/IDG Windows 10 1803 is immediately available and tested, but its end-of-support date presents a problem. That date - Nov. 10, 2020 - is far enough in the future and the migration could be wrapped up before Windows 7's support lapses. But as Figure 2 illustrates, the natural successor, this year's 1903, would be a mistake because even for Windows 10 Enterprise customers, it will get only 18 months of support. That means holding out for 1909, which will receive 30 months of support. Trouble is, the company won't have much of an upgrade cushion from 1803 to 1909; the upgrade will have to begin as soon as the latter is declared enterprise-ready and even then, the cushion will be a short four months. Figure 2 Gregg Keizer/IDG Windows 10 1809 should have been the perfect upgrade from Windows 7. It's almost certain that Microsoft intended it to be, what with some of the steps it took before it was to launch (prime example: the 30-month extension of support for the feature upgrades designated xx09. But it didn't work out, as Figure 3 shows. Figure 3 Gregg Keizer/IDG If Microsoft had not had to yank 1809 and push back its roll-out by three months, enterprises would have spent October through January piloting and testing the build. Then, when Microsoft certified 1809 as corporate-ready - by the end of January at the latest (more likely in the first half of December) - enterprises could start deploying Windows 10 as Windows 7's replacement. Deployment would presumably finish in May, giving organizations a seven-month-and-more cushion before Windows 7 slid out of support. Instead, the file deletion bug pushed the schedule back by four months. Microsoft will probably use extreme caution and not certify 1809 as enterprise-ready until May. Deployment, then, would occupy the company's IT through October; assuming the migration encounters no showstoppers, it should be completed with three months to spare. That's cutting it close. Source: Windows 10 1809 fiasco may hinder enterprise migrations from Windows 7 (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  13. The last twelve months of official unpaid support for Windows 7 have started; Microsoft's, still very popular, operating system will receive the last batch of updates in early January 2020. Extended support ends in January 2020 and while organizations may pay Microsoft to get an additional three years of security updates, no such option exists for Home customers. It won't be possible, likely, to extend the end of support, like on Windows XP or Vista systems, by installing compatible Server patches as Windows Server 2008 R2 support ends in January 2020 as well. Tip: check out our overview of Windows versions and support end here. Microsoft wants that Windows 7 customers and organizations upgrade their devices to the company's Windows 10 operating system. While it is theoretically possible to upgrade to Windows 8.1, it would extend the end of support issue by just three years. Microsoft guaranteed to support Windows 10, the last version of Windows according to Microsoft officials, until at least 2025. It is unclear what is going to happen in 2025 though. Microsoft broke with the "a new operating system every three years" rule when it released Windows 10. The company did not release Windows 11 in 2018 which it would support until 2028. While there is a chance for a major refresh in 2025, all of that is pure speculation at this point in time. Windows 10 software compatibility Software compatibility should not keep companies and users from making the switch according to Microsoft. The company created a special program, called Desktop App Assure, in which it analyzed 41,000 applications for Windows 10 compatibility. 7000 out of those 41,000 applications had the potential for compatibility concerns according to the Desktop App Assure team; only 49 of those, however, had compatibility issues. Microsoft fixed compatibility issues for "many" of these applications. The company failed to provide the list of programs that are not compatible with Windows 10. Organizations may contact Microsoft's Desktop App Assure team to resolve compatibility issues with software on Windows 10. Details on how to contact the team have been published on the Microsoft 365 blog. The company published a video in October 2018 entitled "What is Desktop App Assure and Manage Win32 apps with Intune". Source: Windows 10 can run all your Windows 7 apps, says Microsoft (except a few) (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  14. Malwarebytes has finally managed to resolve a bug leading to Windows 7 devices freezing. The issue was discovered earlier this month, and the Malwarebytes team said it only happened on devices running Malwarebytes for Windows version 3.6.1 CU 1.0.508 with Premium activated. In an announcement on last Friday, the company said the update of the component package 3.6.1 to version 1.0.527 resolves the problem, and users are now recommended to update their devices as soon as possible. As it turns out, the issue was related to the multi-processor synchronization, and Malwarebytes said last week that it was already testing a potential fix internally. “We’ve now been able to consistently reproduce the freeze in house on more systems and we believe we have narrowed the problem to multi-processor synchronization issues with our Web Protection code on Windows 7. We have an updated version of Malwarebytes that we’re currently testing, so far with encouraging results,” a post that went live on Friday explained. Update to latest version ASAP All users, but those running Windows 7 in particular, are recommended to update to this latest version as soon as possible. Previously, users were encouraged to disable Malwarebytes for Windows Web Protection or revert to an older Malwarebytes for Windows components package. If any of these workarounds were used to restore the security solution on a Windows 7 device, you can return to the original configuration and install the latest version of the application. Windows 7 continues to be one of the most popular Windows versions on the market despite being in the last 12 months of support. Microsoft will stop providing updates for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, and users who are still running it are recommended to at least prepare for the transition to a newer version of Windows. Microsoft’s preferred choice is Windows 10, but Windows 8.1 keeps getting updates as well, as its end-of-support date is January 10, 2023. Source
  15. 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)
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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)
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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)
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