Tag: upgrade

Windows 10 now schedules its own update

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesSoftware King of the World Microsoft’s malware-like upgrade system is becoming even more intrusive by auto scheduling upgrades to Windows 10.

Over the weekend my wife’s Windows 8.1 machine started to get a note that it has already scheduled an update for May 24. Looking at the screen it is difficult to cancel the scheduled upgrade or to change the upgrade date.

It is not impossible, so Vole is not forcing you to upgrade on that date, but it is still annoying. However it is also possible that she might forget to stop it in time and it will upgrade when we least expect it.  The Goddesses’ computer runs fairly slowly at the best of times, and even an ordinary update takes hours.

To be fair it is better to upgrade now anyway. The free upgrade officially expires on July 29. However there is an element of “I don’t want to be told what to do”.  Besides the Goddess reacts badly to things changing on her PC and it may involve raising eyebrows or the tapping of feet.  Someone will pay, particularly if her Firefox shopping tabs are deleted.

Hopefully after July 29, Microsoft will deactivate its system upgrade system as it is a PR disaster of biblical proportions.


Microsoft defames system admins

Windows 10System administrators are miffed that Microsoft is trying to shame them into upgrading machines to the new version of the OS.

Domain-joined devices that were blocked from upgrading to Windows 10 have now begun to display the familiar Get Windows 10 icon in the taskbar. If a user clicks the icon, he or she is presented with the screen which says that the System Admin has blocked upgrades to this machine.

The displayed message not only generalises by telling users that “upgrades”, implying all upgrades, have been blocked by the system administrator but also tries to put pressure on admins to upgrade machines to Windows 10.  It basically makes the poor Sys Admin look like they are not doing their job.

This would appear to be a change of heart from Microsoft too. When the company first announced this new push in the business market, it said that domain-joined PCs would only see these type of messages if updates on said devices weren’t managed by WSUS or System Center Configuration Manager. It appears that the messages come up regardless.

Microsoft will not support Skylake in Windows 7 and 8

Windows 10Software Giant Microsoft has come up with a cunning plan to get those people who want to run Intel’s Skylake to upgrade to Windows 10.  It says that it is only supporting the new CPU for another 18 months.

Vole has announced that it will cease official support for devices running Intel’s 6th generation Skylake on Windows versions from 7, all the way to 8.1. It all seems to us to be part of a cunning plan to get users to upgrade to Windows 10.

Chipzilla probably does not mind because if they upgrade they are more likely to buy Intel chips, although if they have just splashed out on Skylake chips they are not going to want a new one for a while

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said said that Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SOCs existed.

“For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states- which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security, and more,” he claimed.

“As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing.”

Myerson said that Windows 10 works rather well with Skylake chips, though it’s mostly geared towards mobile and laptops, flaunting battery life savings and graphical performance increases.

To be fair the chances of someone running an Intel Skylake chip and using Windows 7,8, or 8.1 are slim but it is possible that corporate PCs/notebooks are only supported on Windows 7 because that is what the company runs.

Microsoft said it will publish a list of devices running Skylake and Windows 7/8/8.1 that will be exempted from this rule and will instead remain supported through July 2017.

What we do not really understand is why Microsoft is so obessed with getting people to upgrade. With its nagware and other strategies it is really hacking people off and does not seem to care.

Microsoft gets pushy with Windows 10

windows-10-start-menu-customised-live-tilesThe cheeky chap in charge of Microsoft Windows 10 has revealed plans the company has to push an upgrade to your machine – seemingly whether you like it or not.

Terry Myerson wrote in a Microsoft blog that at the beginning of next year the firm will call Windows 10 a “recommended update”.

And that means, whether you like it or not, the upgrade process will start on your PC, Microsoft is auto downloading the software needed to run Windows 10 to million of peoples’ PCs.

Myserson said before the upgrade changes your operating system, you’ll be prompted to choose whether or not to carry on.

The problem is that it’s hard to turn off automatic updates in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Myserson said that over 110 million devices have upgraded to Windows 10.

If you accidentally install Windows 10 you’ll have a chance to roll back to your previous Windows version “if you don’t love it,” said Myerson.

Windows 10 downloaded just in case

Windows 10Software giant Microsoft has been downloading Windows 10 onto peoples’  machines even if they have not asked for it.

The spare copy has been downloaded onto a spare folder onto user’s drives. It registers on the WU history as failed ‘Upgrade to Windows 10’ in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled ‘$Windows.~BT’.

This causes a few people who have low data caps and slow I\internet connections a bit of bother.

Microsoft has confirmed that individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, have been downloading the files they will need if they decide to upgrade.

It might explain why Microsoft has had such a high rate of downloads for Windows 10. After all people are technically downloading the software whether they use it or not.

If you have already downloaded the update you can get rid of it by opening the command prompt as admin and running: WUSA /UNINSTALL /KB:3035583. You also have to block updates and install them manually until Microsoft sees common sense.

Microsoft says no to fixing ancient IE

It appears that the software king of the world Microsoft has had a gutsful of fixing ancient versions of its software because businesses cannot be bothered upgrading.

Microsoft has decided not to fix an IE 8 zero-day first identified seven months ago, instead telling users to upgrade their browers and stop messing about.

The vulnerability meant that attackers could execute arbitrary code on computers running the older Internet Explorer version 8.

It was discovered through HP’s Zero Day Initiative vulnerability clearing house and Vole was told about it two weeks ago.

The vulnerability exists in Internet Explorers’ handling of CMarkup objects.

“This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Microsoft Internet Explorer. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file,” the disclosure read.

“An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user.”

It is not as grim as it appears. The apps open emails in the script-blocking ‘restricted sites zone’ so people are not likely to fall for it.

Redmond released work-arounds suggesting users harden IE 8 security by changing settings to block and alert use of ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting, and install its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

But, hell, anyone who finds it too difficult to upgrade a browser should really consider going back to a slide rule and a piece of paper. 

Microsoft releases Windows 8.1

Software giant Microsoft said it has now made Windows 8.1 available to download.

It showed off the upgrade to Windows 8 at Computex earlier this year, following widespread lack of enthusiasm at the “innovations” the operating system made.

It has restored the Smart button to the opening screen, has better apps and services, and a redesigned Windows Store.

The free update to owners of Windows 8 can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store now.  It is also making the upgrade available on new devices and boxed software.

China to conduct security audits on US tech companies

Xenophobic US senators are aching to ban Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE because they think their gear could be used to spy on US citizens. Now, China is auditing American goods for the same reasons.

US lawmakers believe that, since Huawei’s CEO worked for the Chinese military 20 years ago, spying is a sure thing.

Critics think this is not so much about spying, but instead an attempt to protect American companies from Chinese goods, which are often more affordable, especially in crucial emerging markets.

According to Reuters, China’s Ministry of Public Security is planning a tit-for-tat investigation against top US companies over “security issues”.

The ministry names IBM, Oracle and EMC. While the list lacks names like Microsoft and Apple, it seems that China is using revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as the pretext.

Those three companies were involved in a National Security Agency hack into critical network infrastructure at universities in China and in Hong Kong, according to Snowden leaks.

Speaking to Reuters, a spokesperson from the ministry said that many of the country’s core IT systems are dominated by foreign hardware and software firms, but the Prism scandal implies security problems.

If any trade war does erupt then both sides will feel the hurt. Most US manufacturing is carried out in China and China currently needs to buy a lot of western technology, although there are attempts to curb this.

China has a big Windows XP problem

As Microsoft prepares to pull the life-support plug on Windows XP, China is scratching its head and wondering what it should do.

China has eight months before Windows XP gets its last last security update and in that time it has to work out what to do with millions of XP installs.

Net Applications said that 37.2 percent of the globe’s personal computers ran Windows XP last month which means that there must be about 570 million machines.

But according to Network World, some countries are going to suffer more than others. Only 16.4 percent of US computers run the aged software.

But in China 72.1 percent of the country’s computers rely on it and will be sitting ducks for any exploits that come along.

China has been slowly shedding its dependence on Windows XP, but if it continues at its current rate XP will still be on between 65.2 percent and 65.7 percent of its personal computers. 

Windows 8 upgrade to cost $40

Microsoft has announced a promotion that, later this year, will let users of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 PCs upgrade to the new Windows 8 Pro for $39.99.

It means that the Vole is dead keen to get people to upgrade to its new software, particularly as it is asking them to sign up to some fairly radical style changes.

This version will take some getting used to, particularly with the Metro user interface .

The deal will kick off on the day Windows 8 comes out and offers the most advanced retail version of the new OS, Windows 8 Pro, as the upgrade.

Most analysts expect the company to debut its newest Windows in Autumn. The company should be getting around to making its release to manufacturing, or RTM, milestone later this month.

Four weeks ago  Microsoft said it would sell a $14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to buyers of new PCs equipped with Windows 7.

For $39.99 you will have a download of Windows 8 Pro. If you want the upgrade on a DVD in a nice box it will be on sale for $69.99.

This is $10 less than Microsoft charged for a Windows 7 upgrade three years ago. It is still more expensive than the Apple OS, but that is because Microsoft sells software, whereas Apple sells a hardware and software package.

Microsoft is in the position that it has to encourage people to buy new PCs so it can make more money, but if is too cheap the company will find itself out of pocket.