Archive for Microsoft

Windows 10 May 2019 Update Won’t Install On Your PC If You Use “External Storage”

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 24, 2019 by itnerd

As further proof that Microsoft really needs to up its quality assurance game, news has filtered out via a support article that if you use SD cards, external USB hard drives or USB sticks, you will be blocked from installing the Windows 10 May 2019 update. The reason as Microsoft puts it is “inappropriate drive reassignment”:

Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update. For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update. This generates the error message that is mentioned in the “Symptoms” section if the upgrade is tried again on an affected computer.

Example: An upgrade to the May 2019 Update is tried on a computer that has the October 2018 update installed and also has a thumb drive inserted into a USB port. Before the upgrade, the device would have been mounted in the system as drive G based on the existing drive configuration. However, after the upgrade, the device is reassigned a different drive letter. For example, the drive is reassigned as drive H.

Why does this matter? Apparently a whole lot of software is out there that is designed to look for specific drive letters. Thus this is not good. The problem will only really affect users who have booted Windows from external storage. Raspberry Pi users for example. Fortunately the workaround is pretty simple, eject your external storage drives first until this is fixed in a future update.

You have to wonder how many times Microsoft can serve stuff like this up that are complete head scratchers before Windows 10 users run to the Apple Store to buy Macs…. Again.

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Windows 10 Updates Bring Grief And Suffering For Users

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 22, 2019 by itnerd

The quality of Windows 10 updates for at least the last year if not longer has been…… Sub optimal to say the least. Now we have another example of this that you should be aware of. Actually, there are two of them:

Microsoft last week confirmed this for users of Sophos Endpoint Protection:

Microsoft and Sophos have identified an issue on devices with Sophos Endpoint Protection installed and managed by either Sophos Central or Sophos Enterprise Console (SEC) that may cause the system to become unresponsive upon restart after installing this update.

You can copy and paste Sophos for Avira, ArcaBit, Avast for Business, Avast CloudCare, and AVG Business Edition, McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) Threat Prevention 10.x or McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention (Host IPS) 8.0 as they are all affected by this.

This affects Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Embedded 8, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 10. The good news is that Microsoft has temporarily blocked devices from receiving these updates if the specific antivirus product installed until a solution is available. But as I type this, no solution exists. Though I have found reports of uninstalling the updates in question fixing the freezing issues.

Next up is KB4493509 where Microsoft has confirmed the update can freeze PCs both in operation and boot up. The software giant says that the freezes are caused by conflicts with antivirus software. Microsoft calls out ArcaBit specifically, but in TenForums a number of other antivirus brands seem to be affected too. Again, if you have ArcaBit installed, you will be blocked from getting this update. But if you have the issues described in this article, you may want to uninstall the update as that seems to get things sorted.

You have to wonder if Microsoft actually tests their software prior to releasing it as these sorts of bugs should never see the light of day.

 

Here’s A First….. Microsoft’s Next Feature Update Arrives In May…. But Only If You Want To Install It

Posted in Commentary with tags on April 5, 2019 by itnerd

This is something that I never saw coming. Windows 10, which has had its last two feature updates end up being major disasters for users of the platform has had a major change in terms of how the update will roll out. Check out what Microsoft is saying in this blog post about the latest feature update which is due in May:

In previous Windows 10 feature update rollouts, the update installation was automatically initiated on a device once our data gave us confidence that device would have a great update experience.  Beginning with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, users will be more in control of initiating the feature OS update.  We will provide notification that an update is available and recommended based on our data, but it will be largely up to the user to initiate when the update occurs.  When Windows 10 devices are at, or will soon reach, end of service, Windows update will continue to automatically initiate a feature update; keeping machines supported and receiving monthly updates is critical to device security and ecosystem health.  We are adding new features that will empower users with control and transparency around when updates are installed. In fact, all customers will now have the ability to explicitly choose if they want to update their device when they “check for updates” or to pause updates for up to 35 days.

In other words, for the first time with Microsoft’s OS as a service, you’ll be in some degree of control of what gets installed. That’s a massive departure for the company who wanted to be fully in control. I guess the backlash of the last two feature updates which bricked PCs and deleted data was too much for them to ignore. Sure you can’t entirely stop Microsoft from shoving this update onto your PC, but being able to delay it for up to 35 days is something significant because it will give you time to check the Interwebs to see if the update really screws something up so that you don’t kill your own computer by being forced to install it. While I would normally say kudos to Microsoft for doing this, I won’t be saying that this time around. This sort of control should have been present in the OS from day one. And Microsoft needs to go further and give all users full control over their computers so that their buggy feature updates don’t leave a bad taste in users mouths over and over again.

 

Have A Microsoft Band? You Might Be Able To Get Your Money Refunded…

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 4, 2019 by itnerd

According to The Verge, Microsoft is waving the white flag when it comes to their Microsoft Band fitness tracker and associated services. Everything related to the Microsoft Band will be gone as of May 31st. That means no back end services, and the apps being removed from their app stores. Keep in mind that Microsoft had already stopped selling the fitness tracker. Thus this isn’t exactly a shock. So some notes:

  1. Export your data before the May 31st deadline or it will be gone forever.
  2. You should still be able to record daily steps, heart rate, and workouts, alongside activity data, sleep tracking, and alarm functionality. But if you reset the band, you won’t be able to set it up again after that date.
  3. Microsoft is letting active users who have synced data from a Band to the Health Dashboard between December 1st 2018 and March 1st 2019 apply for a refund on their hardware. And the refund values are generous.

So, I do have one question. Did anyone actually buy one of these? I’d love to know.

Have A Windows 10 Phone? Microsoft Suggests You Switch To iOS Or Android ASAP

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2019 by itnerd

If you still have a Windows 10 phone which runs the Windows 10 Mobile OS, you should know that Microsoft is winding down support on December 10, 2019. And their official advice as to what you should do next can be found in a Windows 10 Mobile support document:

With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.

A big reason for that is that Microsoft will stop issuing security updates and patches for its now abandoned OS. Microsoft says that you could still use the device after December 10th. But seriously, why would you. If they’re saying switch to Team iPhone or Team Android, you should just do it.

#PSA: Windows 7 Extended Support Ends In Exactly One Year’s Time

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 14, 2019 by itnerd

If you still run Windows 7 because you have not made the jump to Windows 10…… Which if you have not made the jump I don’t blame you seeing as Microsoft’s QA in reference to the last two Windows 10 feature updates has been sub optimal….. Then consider this to be your two minute warning.

Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended back in January 2015, but extended support which requires Microsoft to continue to deliver updates and fixes any vulnerabilities in the OS, runs for a further five years. Those five years end one year from now. As in January 14, 2020. Therefore you have one year to get off Windows 7 and onto Windows 10. Or flip to another OS such as macOS. Not that Apple’s QA is any better at the moment. But consider yourself warned that your days on Windows 7 are numbered.

If I Were You, I Would NOT Install Any Of The Patch Tuesday Patches For Windows 7

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 11, 2019 by itnerd

Many Microsoft Windows 7 users are reporting a pair of issues after this week’s Patch Tuesday release. They are serious enough that I would recommend avoiding updating your system until they get sorted. The issues stem from KB4480970, and the security-only update, KB4480960, for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. The updates seem to cause serious network issues for some people. Network shares can no longer be used via SMBv2 in certain environments. That is a major #Fail as SMBv2 is used by a whole lot of people because SMBv1 is very insecure.

The second issue revolves around the fact that Windows 7 PCs all over Hell’s half acre are reporting themselves as being “Not Genuine”. As in you’re running pirated software when you actually aren’t. Microsoft has since confirmed that “some users are reporting the KMS Activation error.” The good news here is that Microsoft is working on a fix and will provide an update when it’s available. But until fixes for either issue are available, I would recommend avoiding Microsoft’s latest updates as clearly their software quality issues which I’ve talked about before extend beyond Windows 10.