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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.
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.
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.”
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.
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/