Windows patch tuesday and some side effects

Today is patch tuesday again, and it’s also release date for iOS 11.4.1, so here we go.

I received some odd results from the first upgrades, first of all an error message stating I need an adult in the family to approve my shell experience. Whatever this now is, it has started occurring every now and then on one of the PCs. But everything seems to be working and the error disappears after first login, so I’m sure it’s just another bug along with all the others that doesn’t seem to get fixed soon.

windows shell error 2018-07-10

On top of this, Office365 is also behaving oddly, both computers upgraded so far claim to have all the most recent software versions, but they’re running different versions. But as long as they work I’m sure it will sort itself out in a short while.

There was also an odd network problem today, completely unrelated to this, but the fiber cable to the whole town was cut this morning. Twice. So after some lengthy repairs by our ISP we’re back online again now in the evening.

 

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Upgrading to WordPress 4.9.4

When I initially started keeping track of my upgrades, of both WordPress but also mostly all other software updates as well, it was since there had been several bugs caused by updates, in turn causing me to spend a lot of time troubleshooting and resolving these. And I wanted to keep a log on when I upgraded, what I upgraded to easier find and resolve issues and how much time I spent on these rather meaningless tasks.

Over the last few years the updates on all platforms I use have both become so frequent it’s become quite impossible to write them all down, the steady trickle of updates have become a huge flood, but on the other hand updates have overall, with some quite notable exceptions, become much better in quality and have required less and less time and intervention from me.

Such as with WordPress, which has been silently and robustly updating itself across all my sites. With an exception today, where the 4.9.4 update just sat there waiting for my approval, for some reason. Maybe I was too fast, or just logged in precisely at the time it became available and the auto-update had not yet had time to react, I don’t know, but there it was, the surprise of having to manually initiate an update. But it worked flawlessly.

The danger of all these successful auto-updates is that I’ve been negligent with doing backups. Since they usually work. And usually update themselves overnight. And doing backups “just in case” is a really great example of wasting time which I don’t have.

Anyway, if only MediaWiki could advance to a state where updates could be performed with the same ease as WordPress. Since at the moment leaving MediaWiki is not an option.

And the cumulative updates of Windows 10 and Windows server are still a pain in size and time taken to install, even if they auto-update fairly well most of the time…

My cyber is now protected. But against what?

As much as I like Avast Antivirus, and after some getting used to I’m also starting to like Avast SafeZone browser (with a few horrid exceptions, like the handling of shortcuts and colors, and the annoying fact that when you launch one instance of the browser it launches 8 separate processes)

What I don’t like is not being informed in any way when new features affect the operating system. When SafeZone was added that was annoying, but it was “just” another browser, like so many other adware programs that tries to install their own plugins, addons, and whatnots.

But installing a Windows service is quite another thing, in my eyes. And when I’m not even sure why it’s being done, for what purpose, and when it’s actually protecting me (or what it’s protecting) then I get a bit more annoyed. And then I try to find out where the settings are, and how to deactivate the plugin.

avast-ids

So far I haven’t found its settings, and it’s not listed as an installed component within the Avast settings user interface, and neither is it listed among the Windows installed software, so it must be handled as a part of the main Avast installation itself, but I’ll get there in the end I hope.

And if I don’t I’ll just consider uninstalling Avast and go back to basic Windows Defender. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Why would I want Windows 10 Anniversary update?

I was reading up on the news posted about the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary update.

Judging from what IDG says, it seems there will be a Bash implementation allowing me to run Linux commands on Windows. I can’t see this as any major consumer usage, but it could be just me not using any Linux thingies, (yet).

And there’s some updates for Cortana, great, if Cortana was even available in the first place. Which it isn’t unless I’ve completely missed something on my PC.

And Stylus, biometric login and support for Xbox, neither of which I use on my rather standard PCs.

But hopefully there’s more, my wishlist would include things like

  • Better possibilities to force uninstallation of corrupt apps that list themselves as installed but don’t work and can’t be removed for some reason.
  • Some way to reset user profiles that won’t work (like when the user can’t launch the Store app you’re kind of stuck, especially when some of the apps save files locally, somewhere which can’t be located, and even more especially when those saves are your kids gavorite games highscore…). Or at least force reinstallation or “fixing” of apps, including the Store app itself.
  • Also, I’d really, really like to be able to clean out junk apps from the purchase history in Store. Or at least hide them, like in Apple’s AppStore, so that they don’t clutter up the list of apps not present on the device and so to prevent them from ever getting installed again.
  • And if Edge is ever going to become a usable browser for me, it would need to support Xmarks. Preferrably a number of other plugins as well, but top of the list is Xmarks.
  • And lastly, maybe a cleanup of the most frequent errors in the eventlog, like for example the one about RuntimeBroker which seems to happen to many users, judging from the number of postings about it.

 

 

Beyond that I can’t actually think of much else I’d need or want, since Windows 10 in itself is working pretty well. Though this is of course from a home user perspective rather than business.

 

First Major Update for Windows 10

While waiting for the Windows 10 November update to resolve my Xbox problems, I’ve tried to see what’s really in it for me, besides a lengthy time-wasting upgrade period and up to then a lot of non-working apps, like the Xbox app.

Microsoft says,

  • that the new update improves performance over Windows 7, which for me is irrelevant since I noted that already in the original upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. So, nothing new there.
  • that there are new features in Cortana, which to my knowledge still isn’t available in Sweden. So, nothing new there, either.
  • that there are new features in Edge, however Edge is still not on par with Firefox in areas such as syncing my favorites, offering addons and plugins. So any news in Edge is a waste of time for me.
  • there’s also said to be a lot of upgrades to
    • mail (don’t use it since I use Office365)
    • calendar (don’t use it either)
    • Groove (what’s that…?)
    • Xbox (hm, ok, it starts to work again, that’s nice)
    • Store (haven’t seen much news yet, still a lot of unuseful apps)
    • OneNote (nice, but I use the OneNote 2016 in Office365)
    • Solitaire (oh well, one for the kids, maybe)
    • Photos (not sure what’s new but that’s nice, sometimes I even open it and look, mostly though what I see of it is the icon on the start menu, but I guess it’s good anyway)
  • And then there’s supposed to be a lot of updates for office users, which I am not, (on these computers).

So, essentially it’s a major upgrade to resolve a login problem caused by another update, to offer me a new photo icon on the start menu, and maybe give the kids some news in playing solitaire.

I still like Windows 10, but I hope the next major update brings me something more useful.

I used to update because I needed to, now I update because I’m forced

Earlier versions of Windows gave me the opportunity to patch and install updates frequently, in order to keep the system stable and secure. And I did update as soon as possible.

With Windows 10 this has changed, now I update because I am forced to. Since I can’t block patches. Like a few weeks ago, in mid-october, when KB3097617 was released, and Explorer.exe started to hang on my Windows 10 Pro machine, (though luckily not on the ones running Windows 10 Home). Typically like this, if any dialogbox shows up at all.

Explorer.exe system hang 2015-11-28 2

Add to this now the latest upgrades of apps, which I can’t stop, which upgrades the Xbox app from version 9-something to 11-something, after which it won’t login any more. Instead just giving a green screen, and nothing else can be done, no buttons, no logout, nothing.

Xbox wont log in 2015-11-28

At first I thought I had a corrupt user profile. But then by coincidence one of the computers downloaded the Windows 10 November update, which oddly made the Xbox app start to work again.

Now if only I could force the other computers to download the November update instead of just waiting for it to happen magically at the time of Microsofts choosing.

This new enforced upgrade policy is starting to get slightly annoying, loosing me time not being able to run software I have paid for, loosing time troubleshooting things I shouldn’t have to, and loosing time waiting for updates I cannot force install. Time I could use for many other things.

 

Now uninstalling Java

I finally got a good reason to uninstall Java, rather than just accepting the security updates and installing a new version.

By accident I missed the fine print and didn’t remove that annoying checkbox that allowed Java to install some toolbar into my browsers, both IE and Firefox were quickly infected, and the antivirus program did not respond or think this worth taking action on.

So I had to spend half an hour cleaning out Yahoo-extensions from almost everywhere on the computer: in IE, in Firefox, in Windows Programs, on the disk itself, since uninstallation obviously wasn’t enough to get rid of everything completely.

That kind of did it, I’m not really sure if anything will break due to this, but I’m now removing Java permanently.