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About NoelC

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    Software Engineer

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    Windows 8.1 x64
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  1. There is a workable long-term "user-in-control of when" strategy for Win 10. 1. You can disable the automatic updating initiated by Windows via group policy or my simple tweaker. 2. If you're wanting to be especially careful, you can reconfigure the Windows Update service to Disabled, and only Enable it when you want to do updates. However, I should mention that Windows Update is becoming more and more integrated with other things, so just disabling the service could result in unexpected faults. It doesn't cause any problems, based on my experience, but I don't use Apps so my experience is necessarily limited. 3. You can use the KB3073930 "WUShowHide" tool to check for updates without actually requesting that they be installed. 4. You can press the button in the Settings App to initiate an actual update, after delaying or doing research on what you've seen in item 3. The important part here is that you can do with the OS what you need until it's convenient for you to put in the latest cumulative update. -Noel
  2. They probably sense that they accidentally got 14393 a little more right than expected, and don't want to mess it up before the big day. -Noel
  3. It's good to hear reports like that. Thank you for posting it. I don't doubt that the fun stuff works fairly well. It's pretty clear Microsoft wants to win the hearts and minds of frivolous users. Supporting the other stuff is probably too stressful. With Win 8 the "support serious computing" parts started to unravel. With 10 they're all but gone. That in itself would be no problem, as people (especially around here) have gotten pretty good at bringing them back. The trouble with that is that it takes more than a few months. -Noel
  4. Yeah, sorry, I forgot to post it before... -Noel
  5. That was from before the time of .layout files, so I don't have one. Plus, I'm not sure anyone has all the numbers yet needed for the .layout for the newest Windows 10 release. Normally Big Muscle does some magic to extract those numbers from the system, and I'll bet he's waiting for the actual release. -Noel
  6. Key wording in the latest communication from Microsoft, being received in eMail by many people: Wait, what? Doesn't "agreement" in the very definition of the word imply, well, that both parties actually agree? What's the alternative? If you don't happen to agree, you can't continue to use any Microsoft product for which you've PURCHASED a license, past September 15? Did someone just change the way the business world works? -Noel
  7. Of course it's for the hundreds of millions of people who don't know yet that they can get an upgrade to Windows 10 for free! Stupid, basic observation, but am I the only one to imagine that if Microsoft had implemented one or two "killer features" in the Win 10 14400 release that it would have gotten a LOT more folks to upgrade than this nagware BS? I mean, a few things for the high-end users... Stuff like an iteration to the various controls (e.g., Device Manager) that would bring more actual functionality (or even restore some that was lost) to we geeks. It's like the stupid jocks running Microsoft can't acknowledge that geeks could have even one iota of power or influence... -Noel
  8. The last week? The next new version of Win 10 is about to release. Are you saying there's something worse than crap? More like spent nuclear fuel maybe? -Noel
  9. Name-based site blocking is certainly the way to gain control in today's complex world, where the same server name could resolve to different addresses even from minute to minute. And yes, I agree that wildcarding is important. I'd be a little wary, though, and make sure to test thoroughly... The one and only review was obviously written by the author/marketing people themselves. It sounds like it would need to install a driver on each system, and that will need to be solid and reliable. -Noel
  10. You've gotta love virtualization for providing a "have cake and eat it too" solution. I personally prefer VMware Workstation. On your hardware run the OS that makes the most sense for your needs, AND run all the others for evaluation, testing, learning to tweak, keeping up with tech, etc. in virtual machines. Networking can be used to easily transfer data - and possibly best of all - you can make snapshots and within seconds revert a system that's been hosed back to a known state. -Noel
  11. Bear in mind that a developer, using the most current tools today (e.g., Visual Studio 2015) has to make a conscious decision to support XP, as the environment one has to choose to build with is different. As I recall, it's even a separate option you have to choose during tool installation now. Developers are thus being confronted with a really basic binary question: Develop for the future (Vista and above) or develop for the past (XP). Even the definition of "future" is changing, as now there are Apps (Windows 8 and above). So far, I personally see very little merit in Apps, but that will probably change. Given this, we can be quite sure that we will see fewer and fewer XP-compatible software releases moving forward. Probably just the inertia of having XP-specific support in the source code is keeping existing projects (especially big, mature ones like Adobe Reader) from instantly taking the latter choice. But it's not terribly hard to carve out code, so that's not going to be true for long. And face it, the number of XP users is now not all that high. What's the current statistic? 6.something percent? Users numbering in the tens of millions now in a market of a billion? While tens of millions is still a lot of users, it's hard to spend money developing new software for that small a slice of the pie. What all this means is that, no matter how crafty we get, there will come a time that those of us holding back on older systems will face the fact that we will not be able to continue to run all the new software we'd like. I'm already facing it even with Win 8.1... I've already had to stop taking display driver updates, and I'm strongly considering never running Windows Update again (on purpose anyway). The pain of running an older OS will grow little by little - and at some point the reduction of pain in running a new system will become sufficiently attractive. In a connected world it will always be so, even when the absolute value from the newest system is actually lower than that of the older system. Put another way, sooner or later deprecation will reach a feature you care deeply about. Some things that can help mitigate the pain in the meantime... Get a system powerful enough to run virtualization software, so you can run a newer OS in a VM if you really want/need to. Be aware of (and take charge of) all your system integration and maintenance. Get control of updates! Continue reading and posting here; as bphlpt points out, this is one of this site's real strengths. -Noel
  12. I suppose there's a tiny chance I caused it, but I don't recall doing so. I certainly didn't actually start Windows Update 2 days later. I've been testing some beta software on virtual machines, and I did enable Windows Update briefly for testing on Win 7, 8.1, and 10 VMs. Is it possible I ran Services.msc on my host workstation by accident instead of in my Win 8.1 VM as part of one of the tests? I suppose the chance could never be said to be zero, though I'm pretty careful. Thing is, I always change the service back to Disabled right after starting it. So the chance it remained enabled for two days, inviting Windows to start it and try to do an update, is doubly tiny. Every night I run commands that log the state of the system. From recent logs... -Noel
  13. Not really a surprise. I lost the ability to transfer files via Skype some months ago. They appear to go, but they never arrive. Before that, file transfer speeds went from reasonable given communications links to 1990s modem-slow. Sounds like Microsoft to me. They're quite adept at acquiring technology then killing it off, aren't they? "Our 5 year mission, to seek out new tech... To boldly go where no company has gone before... And destroy the future of computing." -Noel
  14. 8.1 seems fine... As long as you remove all the version 8 stuff and reduce it to essentially 7.1. Honestly, I believe that's because Microsoft simply didn't have time to carve out all the good parts yet for the Windows 8 releases. But don't worry, they kept at it, and now we have... -Noel
  15. Speaking of multiple lines of defense... Yesterday evening my firewall caught and blocked my Win 8.1 workstation from contacting update servers. Yes, it appears something, almost 2 full days before, had changed the Windows Update service from "Disabled" to "Manual", then later something started the Windows Update service, which tried to contact,, and (it says Windows 10 Firewall Control, but it runs on all systems) It did the above enable/check despite: The Windows Update service being left Disabled. The Windows Update settings being set to "Never Download". The firewall being set to block attempts to update unless I reconfigure it. Various tweakers having been run to inform the system I don't want a Win 10 upgrade. All GWX-related optional updates having been hidden (though they reappear every time I check). Last time I reconfigured and actually checked for updates was on July 4. I don't know whether it would have tried to install Win 10, but I can't think of any other reason in modern times that Microsoft would be pushing Windows Update back on after it had been specifically turned off, can you? -Noel