DoctorLaptop’s Tips #45 and January Special

DoctorLaptop‘s Tips #45 and January Special
Windows 10 is now stable enough to trust for your primary computer. As always, do a full backup onto an external storage device of any data you value first. Anyone who loses data, for any reason, has no one to blame but themselves in today’s computer environment! Everyone must do backups or risk data loss, that’s just the way it is.
A few of the early Win 7 computers are never going to run Win 10 properly due to hardware issues. There are now ways to test for this. But considering computers have an expected 6 year lifespan, it may be time to retire those old ones if you want to keep up with the rest of the world. Computers that shipped with Win 8.1 pre-installed should upgrade fine. Units less than 7 years old that originally had Win 7 or Win 8 installed will also upgrade ok but a few of the new Win 10 features will be unavailable, like Cortana personal assistant. The free upgrade to Windows 10 expires July 29 this year. So unless you are dedicated to running Win 7 until it becomes obsolete in early 2020 (and many are) now is the time to upgrade without paying for it. There are certain procedures that need to be done to prepare a computer for a successful upgrade to Win 10. If you are doing it yourself check Google search or my blog site for these procedures. Then visit your computer manufacturer’s website for their Win 10 upgrade info. There may be warnings there you need to read concerning your specific model.
SPECIAL DEAL for January 2016: Want to upgrade to Windows 10 but not confident you can do it yourself? Let me do it for you, only 70 euros. I will test your unit first with my plug-in version of Win 10. You are welcome to watch me do the test (it only takes 15 minutes) to be sure it will work, so there is no risk involved. Thus you can try Win 10 on your unit before it is installed! If your unit fails then there is no charge! But again, always backup your data before any major changes, including this upgrade.
Mobile: 689 721 916, no calls before 11am please.
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20Oct15 – Win 10, VPNs and BBC iPlayer– Good and Bad News

Win 10, VPNs and BBC iPlayer– Good and Bad News

First the bad.

If you haven’t already updated your computer to Windows 10 and it is eligible for a free upgrade, then prepare yourself for more aggressive update notifications that no longer give you the ability to opt-out.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users are reporting popups that inform them their Windows 10 upgrade will be installed in one hour. Users have the option to start the process immediately or reschedule it, but there is no longer an option to opt-out of upgrading altogether, ZDNet reports.

Read more here: http://www.technobuffalo.com/2015/10/15/microsoft-no-longer-lets-you-opt-out-of-a-windows-10-upgrade/

Many people are still having problems trying to upgrade from Win 7/8 to Win 10. First backup your system, data and drivers to an external memory device in case things go wrong. Then run your Manufacturer’s built in System Updater if you have one. Repeat this until you get a message that no more updates are available. Now run Windows Update, and do all available updates, even the optional ones except the language packs. Repeat this until you get a message that no more updates are available. Yes, it seems like a lot of work, but it will maximize your chance of success.

A different way of protecting yourself from a failed Win 10 Upgrade is to create a separate partition on your hard disk to install Win 10 onto, creating a dual boot setup, where you choose which system to boot to when you power up the computer. Check Youtube for tutorial vids before attempting this.

Beware, some companies like HP and Toshiba are deceptively showing Win 7 drivers for new computers on their support sites. This would lead you to believe that if you have one of their computers with Win 8, that down-grading to Win 7 is possible. Some Support sites put a disclaimer on their Win 7 drivers download page saying that some users doing a downgrade will need to get additional drivers from their OEM (original equipment mfg.). What they don’t tell you is that some of the “bundled drivers”, ex. Chipset, that actually contain many functions in one package, may be missing key components necessary for your computer’s hardware to work. Worse yet, some of these missing drivers are simply unavailable for Win 7. Thus I did a full Win 8 to 7 downgrade on a brand new laptop only to discover that the Device Manager did not even list the webcam or USB devices at all! I couldn’t get the laptop to discover the devices and could not manually Legacy install them as there were no drivers available anywhere. So be aware, some new computers are not down-gradable to Win 7 any longer.

The BBC is taking measures against the unauthorized use of its iPlayer service by actively blocking UK VPN services. The measures aim to prevent foreigners from accessing iPlayer without permission, but they’re also blocking many legitimate UK citizens from surfing the Internet securely. Read more here: https://torrentfreak.com/bbc-iplayer-blocks-uk-vpn-servers-over-piracy-concerns-151016/

Now the good news. I just received my free copy of Win 10 Enterprise Business x64 from MS as a reward for having been the first to report a bad Win 8 update that was breaking display drivers. I used the DISKPART tool and using the “Clean” command totally wiped the hard disk on a brand new HP Pavillion without touchscreen that came with Win 8.1. Then I did a clean install from the Win 10 dvd onto the now unpartitioned hard disk (Important: don’t create a formatted partition with DISKPART or the Windows Installer, let Windows do it automatically as part of the install onto “unpartitioned space”) . The install was quick and painless, restarting several times in the process. All but 4 minor drivers (Bluetooth related) were already installed, and with proper drivers too, not MS generic drivers, nice. Got the missing ones from the HP site and the install was complete. The driver for my USB Hi-Gain external wifi was even auto installed when I plugged it in. The system is fast and more Win 7 in appearance and feel than was Win 8.1. No Metro screen, Windows opens to the familiar Desktop. Next came the setup. In this Enterprise Business version there are more settings available than the Consumer version. This allowed me to turn off most of the auto updating and data sharing features that are on by default. Some of these are security risks, others just use up your bandwidth constantly sending data back and forth. I suggest that unless you have a blazing fast 4G internet connection you opt to do Windows Updates manually. Once a week before going to bed run Windows Updates. Let it check for new updates, select all, and then let them download and install. The next morning when you get up they will be done. One of the nicest results of doing the Clean Install is there are no “bloatware” programs that they pack into all new computers. I choose to set this one up as a desktop, using programs, just as in Win 7. However, if you are smartphone/tablet friendly you can load apps from the App Store and use them instead.

27Sep15 Windows 10 Info Update

Microsoft thinks you’ll love Windows 10 so much, it downloads it for you — without asking!

Microsoft has never rolled out an operating system the way it has pushed 10 to the mass market, so some mistakes were inevitable. The company’s latest blunder? Downloading Windows 10 without asking.

According to the Inquirer, a user who had never “reserved” a copy of Windows 10 in the first place found a large 6GB download sitting in the $Windows.~BT hidden directory, and a series of failed “Upgrade to Windows 10″ tasks in Windows Update’s history. In several cases, the new OS has been downloaded over metered connections, forcing people over their bandwidth caps in the process. When the Inquirer reached out to Microsoft, the company said the following: “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.

“When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”

Read full article here: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/213979-microsoft-thinks-youll-love-windows-10-so-much-it-downloads-it-for-you-without-asking

How to delete Microsoft’s unwanted Windows 10 download files AND PREVENT THEM FROM RETURNING

Microsoft now downloads Windows 10 to local devices whether users have chosen to do so or not. Here, we’ll walk you through the process of reclaiming that space. The surest way to tell if you’ve been affected by the stealth download is to navigate to your C:\Windows directory. Once there, you’ll want to configure Explorer to show hidden files and folders.

In Windows 7, you do this by clicking on “Tools,” then “Folder Options,” and finally “Show Hidden Files and Folders,” as shown below. In Windows 8/8.1, click on the View tab and then select the “Hidden items” check box.

FolderOptions

Once this is done, check your Windows directory for a directory named $WINDOWS.~BT. The icon may be translucent, since the folder is normally hidden, so check carefully. You can delete this folder if you wish, but doing so won’t actually prevent Microsoft from downloading the setup program again. Be very careful when opening these hidden systems folders, 1 slip on the keyboard could render Windows unbootable!

Once the OS has decided that you’re going to install Windows 10, it’s downright pushy about inserting the Win 10 install files into your system uninvited. The only solution to block it from returning after removal, according to various sources, is to actually remove a specific Windows Updates.

Read the full article here: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/214070-how-to-delete-microsofts-unwanted-windows-10-download-files

A more detailed set of instructions for removing the Win 10 downloaded files and removing the specific Windows Updates to block it from returning is here: http://betanews.com/2015/09/11/remove-unwanted-windows-10-upgrade-files-from-windows-7-and-windows-8-x/

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