Network drives? You don't need no steenking network drives!

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2018 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, idiots

The latest update for Windows 10 is the gift that just keeps on giving; for those for whom snark is a joy to express.  The October 2018 Update, aka Build 1809, was pulled after users expressed a surprising dislike of having their files deleted without their consent and from the results of those testing the new build, that feature is still present.  That hasn't stopped Microsoft's innovations however as the new build also expresses an extreme dislike of mapped network drives.  As you should obviously be using SharePoint Online, which doesn't function well as a mapped folder or drive by design, this should obviously not be a problem.

Strangely, The Inquirer and various Microsoft users do not appreciate this new feature for some reason and have expressed some disappointment.  There is no fix as of yet, nor will there be for quite some time, apart from avoiding the update like you would a homeopath's office.

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"This borkage isn't quite so bad - but it's enough to be a huge problem for sysadmins, SMBs and in fact, anyone with a NAS drive, because mapping of network drives is still not working properly."

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Source: The Inquirer

Deactivate! Deactivate! Windows 10 will be deactivated!

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2018 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

If you were greeted by a message today indicating that your Win10 Pro is no longer activated or needs to be reactivated as Win10 Home, you are not aloneMicrosoft have acknowledged an issue with their licensing servers which is having a rather noticeable effect on machines in several countries.  The issue seems to arise most often on machines which were upgraded from a previous version of Windows, or installed fresh using a key from a previous version, which Microsoft has supported from the get go.  The problem is unlikely to last for long, so do not start downgrading or reinstalling until we have an update from Microsoft, unless you really get off on reinstalling OSes.

It is a toss up between the link to Slashdot and the one to Microsoft Answers as to which provides the most amusment; the comments in both are everything you would expect and more!

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"If you're having trouble activating your Windows 10 Pro computer today, you're not alone. Forums and social media networks are getting flooded with complaints from users who say their machines have automatically become deactivated. Users say they are having trouble connecting with Microsoft's activation servers, with some saying they are being prompted to downgrade to Windows 10 Home."

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Source: Slashdot

You shall not patch! Microsoft has blocked the new Windows 10 update.

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2018 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, oops

It's hard to find users who upgraded to the new Win10 update that enjoyed the experience; so much so that Microsoft has actually pulled it and it is no longer available to install automatically or manually.  They also warn anyone who downloaded it to hold off on installing the update for now.  If you have upgraded and are missing files, stop using the machine and give Microsoft support a ring as they should be able to recover your files; something much harder to do if you have been writing new data to the drive.  If you have a Microsoft store in your neighbourhood you can visit it for a fix as well; perhaps you will be their first actual customer! 

You can see a glorious tweet and more info over at The Inquirer.

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"Microsoft has taken the unprecedented step of pulling a Windows 10 release a mere four days after its arrival amid a clamour of users complaining about files not being where they had left them."

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Source: The Register

Microsoft Responds to October 2018 File Deletion Concerns: Please Don't Install the Update and Wait!

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2018 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, fail

As Jeremy briefly noted in his news roundup, yesterday, there was some concern that the latest Windows 10 update could be causing some users to lose files. These concerns have not been confirmed by Microsoft. They have started to investigate it, however.

Until they know that there is an issue (and, if so, have developed a fix for it) they are suspending the rollout of the Windows 10 version 1809 update. They are also recommending the users who have acquired the installation media (because ISOs can be used to in-place upgrade a machine) do not install it until the patch exists.

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At this point, there seems to be enough noise to suggest that there is a problem somewhere. Some speculation, as Jeremy mentioned, is that the drive clean-up (“Storage Sense”) process runs if the install process doesn’t have enough free space, versus simply failing the install. Storage Sense has been in Windows 10 for a while now, but the latest update adds the ability to remove local files if they are backed up in the cloud. Knowing the types of mistakes that programmers tend to make, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Storage Sense didn’t have local files flagged properly, because the Windows 10 update hasn’t installed yet to state whether they were correctly migrated to OneDrive or not, so it got rid of them thinking that they were online.

This is complete speculation on my part, though!

You can then go into how sketchy it is to have files automatically removed from a device’s storage given that online storage services do occasionally lose files. The feature can be turned off in the Settings app, however, under the System -> Storage category. I don’t know if that will fix the upgrade problem, however.

For now, stick on the April 2018 update until Microsoft says anything. Personally, I'll install the new version on my new PC anyway (because it will have empty drives and it looks like this bug only affects the update process) but that's a bit of a risk.

Source: Microsoft

NVIDIA Control Panel's in the Windows Store

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2018 - 07:44 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, windows 10

My opinions about curated app stores has not really changed. Do not give up platforms, such as Win32, that allow you to publish without the approval of one or more organized bodies. Even if the company doesn’t use it to suppress content that they don’t like now, they might in the future and governments might even force them to.

That aside…

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I’m not exactly sure when this happened, but NVIDIA has a version of their Control Panel software on the Windows Store. The screenshots show that they are running the 397.64 Game Ready drivers on a pair of 1080 Tis, which would suggest sometime after May 9th. It is the typical control panel that we’ve known and used for probably around fifteen-plus years now. The app does not include GeForce Experience or anything like that. Beyond helping devices that cannot run Win32 software, needing to rely upon Windows Store and Windows Update, it demonstrates two things. First, it is another example of a Win32 app that was packaged into a Windows Store app. Second, it shows that apps can still have access to drivers and other low-level things.

One last funny note: the system requirements do not specify that your GPU needs to be from NVIDIA.

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2018 - 08:13 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

While the April 2018 update barely made it out before May, Microsoft has published the Windows 10 October 2018 update on just October 2nd. From an aesthetics standpoint, this release looks quite like the last one, although Dark Mode has expanded a little further and now overtakes the file explorer. That’s one of the last places that I can think of.

In terms of actual features, however, the big one will probably be improved support for NVIDIA RTX and DirectX 12 Raytracing. It’s not clear to me what exactly the new OS brings to the table in that regard. I know that it was hidden behind an experimental flag in the April 2018 update, but the actual difference is a bit muddled. I heard one developer claim that NVIDIA RTX could not be toggled on and off until the October 2018 update, but I’ve also heard people claim to do that on the April 2018 update. So… I dunno.

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Regardless, it’s here now, and that’s probably sooner than your 2080 Ti.

One area that Microsoft is focusing on is their new Game Bar update. Apparently, at least if you use the Game Bar, Windows Update will delay updating and rebooting during your play sessions. It would be nice to have more direct control, rather than giving us an app that can indirectly influence how our PC receives updates, but it’s still a good tip none-the-less. I can also see where they are coming from, regarding how infrequently people updated previous versions of Windows.

Another benefit of the Game Bar update is that the audio controls can now be accessed in game. This was one area that kind-of annoyed me in the past, which is finally being addressed. There has been a few times (not many but a few) that I wanted to change output cards but I physically couldn’t reach the control because a game is fullscreen atop it. It’s extra annoying if that game is one of those games that hates to be minimized under the penalty of crash-to-desktop. I’ve needed to shutdown and restart games before just to change the sound device. Now? It’s in the Game Bar, as well as per-application volume controls and so forth.

So if you want the Windows 10 October 2018 update, and you’re on Windows 10 of course, then you can go to Windows Update and check for updates. If not? Well, it’ll come to you soon enough anyway.

Source: Microsoft

An utter lack of availability and an impending deadline may see Win10 match it's predecessor this year

Subject: General Tech | October 1, 2018 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

It wasn't easy, but finally after three years, Windows 10 might see adoption rates as high as Windows 7!  It merely took removing the ability to purchase a machine with Windows 7 installed, or installation media to start the trend.  The lack of non-security updates for the past three years, along with the announced end of any support for Win7 at the beginning of 2020 also seems to have helped.  Like it or not, Microsoft have finally found a way to get people to adopt Win10, with 37.44% of machines using it, a mere 3.44% less than Win7; at least according to the numbers The Inquirer sourced

Also worth noting is Android and its wild array of difference personalities has the top spot globally, running a hair over 40% of all connected devices globally.

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"The monthly numbers from Netmarketshare show 40.88 per cent of desktop users on Windows 7, with Windows 10 at 37.44 per cent, just 3.44 behind as we head into the busy period of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Santa's subsequent annual giveaway."

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Source: The Inquirer

A glimpse through the new Windows; Edge goes full Clippy

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2018 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, onedrive, edge, Storage Sense

Ars Technica posted a look into some of the new features offered in the upcoming Windows October update.  The first feature Microsoft will offer you is a nag screen when you try to install another browser for the first time, reminding you of the existence of the Edge browser and what Microsoft would like you to think about the program. 

The second feature is every bit as useful as the previous one and will help you with those pesky storage space problems you have been experiencing.  Storage Sense is a feature which will automatically remove various files, from your temp directories, downloads folder and even OneDrive files you haven't recently used, thus ensuring that 1TB drive you have will have a few extra megabytes of free space.   This will replace the current Disk Cleanup tool, though hopefully cleanmgr.exe will still be available for those who would rater choose what files are removed.  They have more details as well as a way to keep your OneDrive files handy and modify your cleaning schedule in this post.

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"Because, of course these users know Edge exists; they're explicitly choosing not to use it. Why is Microsoft being so invasive and telling them something that they already know and don't care about?"

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Source: Ars Technica

Vive la différence! Threadripper 2 on Linux and Windows 10

Subject: Processors | August 21, 2018 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: 2990wx, threadripper 2, linux, windows 10, amd

Windows 10 is much better at dealing with multithreaded tasks but Linux has been optimized for both high core counts and NUMA for quite a while, so looking at the performance difference is quite interesting.  Phoronix tested a variety of Linux flavours as well as Windows 10 Pro and the performance differences are striking, in some cases we see results twice as fast on Linux as Win10.  That does not hold true for all tests as there are some benchmarks which Windows excels at.  Take a look at this full review as well as those under the fold for a fuller picture.

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"Complementing the extensive Linux benchmarks done earlier today of the AMD Threadripper 2990WX in our review (as well as on the Threadripper 2950X), in this article are our first Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks of this 32-core / 64-thread $1799 USD processor. Tests were done from Microsoft Windows 10 against Clear Linux, Ubuntu 18.04, the Arch-based Antergos 18.7-Rolling, and openSUSE Tumbleweed."

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Source: Phoronix

Have a curated Windows 10 experience for only $10 a month

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2018 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, Microsoft Managed Desktop, DAAS

Redmond is hiring people to work at selling, and in theory supporting, the Microsoft Managed Desktop.  For this fee you can be confident that your device will be set up exactly the way Microsoft intended and perhaps even have someone to talk other than Cortana if things go belly up.  It seems to be part of the Desktop As A Service business model, with this being a monthly lease to keep your hardware, as well as ensuring Bing remains as your main search engine.  It is unclear from The Inquirer or the sites they linked to if you need to bring your own device or if your monthly bill includes a device; though at $10 a month it seems unlikely hardware is included.

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"INQ predicts that "correctly" will involve all analytics possible being sent to Microsoft, Cortana made to interrupt everything to offer an opinion like some Blade Runner-esque version of Clippy, and worst of all, Bing being constantly reset as the default search engine."

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Source: The Inquirer