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  • Group B to Group A for Windows 7 & 8.1

    Home » Forums » AskWoody support » Windows » Group B to Group A for Windows 7 & 8.1

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    #127008

    Having chosen (wisely or not) to be in group B way back in 2015, due to telemetry, lack of microsoft patching QA and general mistrust after the GWX campaign, we are now at a stage where this group B is becoming a problem. Is it possible to do an official AskWoody write up on the procedure in the AKB section for both MS Windows 7 & 8.1?

    I’ve searched and found lots of fragmented threads some of which, go off on tangents and it gets confusing. I’m pretty sure there will be others out there that are thinking along the same lines who would also appreciate a walkthrough for the members and anons.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    one redmond way, it's THAT obvious!
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    • #127017

      AKB2000004 is the guidelines for Group A. You should jus follow those guidelines

      Checking the boxes for “Give me recommended” and “give me other products” under “change settings” (as in the instructions) should add all the “uninstalled” older updates to the “important updates” list. Then you install everything from there.

      The Monthly Cumulative Rollup should then bring you up to date.

      Any specific other questions?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #127031

      Thank you both PKCano & MrBrian, naming conventions of thread titles threw me a bit.

      We have two systems on W8.1 and I’m going to do one system with a view to doing the second system, (with an image pre-Group A just in case) and see how I get on over the weekend.

      With regards to telemetry blocks, these are already in place in the system CEIP etc..along with firewall rules.

       

      one redmond way, it's THAT obvious!
    • #127034

      I have added the information about turning off CEIP to AKB2000004.
      BTW, I have done this on a test basis to one of my VMs without any problems. I am thinking about converting all my systems. The only thing different is that I am hiding (and will continue to do so) KB2952664/KB3150513 and KB2976978/KB3150513.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #127097

        I think this is the right balance.
        Install all updates, turn CEIP off (why was this not common practice since the release of Windows 7?) and allow KB2952664/KB31501513 as Optional, even if they are Recommended. I routinely install them, but I am not asking anyone else to do so. I have my reasons and they are good reasons. In the past, I broke major applications by turning compatibility settings off in Group Policy and I am currently not in favour of this approach. KB2952664 may be useful or even mandatory moving forward in relation to new patches and their functionality, but this is unknown and it will remain largely unknown to the public. Don’t expect this functionality to be documented if it will ever be implemented.
        Do not install/Remove KB971033 and as an exception, this one can be hidden – the only one which should be allowed and recommended to be hidden, for reasons which I presented in another post, largely unnoticed.
        I would add something that goes under the radar often, but it is good practice and avoids filling the disk with sometimes tens of GB of not so useful data.
        Windows Error Reporting should be turned off FOR ALL USERS. This is important, as if it is turned off only per user, the system will still do logging in the background.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
        • #127121

          Windows Error Reporting should be turned off FOR ALL USERS. This is important, as if it is turned off only per user, the system will still do logging in the background.

          And how to do this in W8.1 is as follows:

          Control Panel>Action Center> Change Action Center Settings> Problem Reporting Settings> Change Report Settings for ALL users

          then press the ‘Never Check for Solutions (not recommended)’ radio button.

          Accept the UAC pop up and reporting is now off on the entire system.

          one redmond way, it's THAT obvious!
          2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #127054

      Thanks for the AKB2000004 update PKCano, it’s alot easier to follow in one AKB

      Well, 1.9Gb of patches to install and download..including things I don’t need aarrghhh!

      Still in group B for now

      one redmond way, it's THAT obvious!
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #127066

      Changed from group “don’t install updates” to group “install updates (with great care after a delay, disabling the new tracking stuff)”

      Could someone tell me which letters those are?

      • #127074

        “Don’t install anything” is Group C/W
        Install the “security only quality update” and the Cumulative IE11 update (manual download and install) is Group B
        Install the “Security Monthly Quality Rollup” from Windows Update is Group A

        • #127710

          So that’s near but not exactly group A.

          Group A.5?

          • #127717

            The Groups detremines WHAT you install, not WHEN you install. The DEFCON system determines WHEN.

    • #127216

      Technically speaking, just turning Windows Update on with Recommended as Important should do the job and fill the gaps from incorrect patching, if any has been happening before.
      Optional patches are as the title says, I tend to install all those true Optional patches (not the preview or those floating between Optional and Recommended like KB2952664). I install KB2952664 though when it is offered as Recommended.
      The only patch to avoid and hide is KB971033.
      No other patches should be hidden ever and if this was done in the past, it is highly recommended to reset the Windows Update database.

      • #127218

        How do you hide an update that’s not being offered (KB971033)?

        • #127224

          The answer is one of the following:

          – You may have installed it in the past. Search for it in the list of installed updates.

          – It has already been hidden before

          – You do not use Windows Update. WSUS does not offer it and it is likely that other tools do not offer it. Use Windows Update only. Any other updating tools are outside the scope of this discussion. However you can use Windows Update MiniTool as very good or better replacement for Windows Update, as it is an enhanced GUI for the same Windows Update, using the same APIs and some more, documented by Microsoft on MSDN.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #127226

            What if none of these options applies? What if KB971033 cannot be found on the Catalog?

    • #127229

      What if none of these options applies? What if KB971033 cannot be found on the Catalog?

      KB971033 is not and has never been in the Catalog.

      • #127230

        Basically I’m trying to tell you I’m having a hard time having trouble with KB971033. I’d be interested in learning who has been offered it lately.

    • #127232

      KB971033 is the genuine activation verification tool.
      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/971033/description-of-the-update-for-windows-activation-technologies
      It has always been offered on Windows Update and never to the enterprise tools. Microsoft Catalog and WSUS are enterprise tools and as such they do not provide KB971033. There are known conflicts between KB971033 and volume activation, but in the wider sense, it is known that KB971033 is a problematic update.
      I cannot provide you more information now, but this subject has been addressed on a number of web sites. I think you have enough information to do further research about this update and its side effects.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #127523

        It has always been offered on Windows Update

        To the same extent I understand KB971033 has been offered to somebody sometimes, I know it does not get offered to everybody every time. Would an Update History of Windows 7 Home Premium reaching back to December 2010 be evidence enough to make you consider KB971033 has never occurred to that installation?

    • #127266

      It finally dawned on me that if the online Windows Update always wants to push you to do things you don’t want to do, you can be done with it and just download .msu files from the catalog. You have to start the Windows Update service briefly to install them, but it can then be stopped and disabled again.

      So if you want control and to make absolutely minimal changes to a perfectly working system, you can pick the security-only update for Windows and the cumulative security-quality update for IE, and double-click the .msu files when downloaded.

      This is a good link for getting the numbers: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/2000003-ongoing-list-of-group-b-monthly-updates-for-win7-and-8-1/

      I guess I would call this a “minimal manual group B” strategy, and I’m still following it for a stable Win 7 system that’s not used interactively (essentially it performs as a small server 24/7).

      Or you can go all the way to Group A and take/retain control of what your system is allowed to run as Services and via the Task Scheduler, whom it is allowed to communicate with, and monitor the setup for unexpected changes. This is doable and working nicely for me for my Win 8.1 system which I use interactively all the time. It’s also perfectly stable.

      -Noel

      • #127268

        The Security-only Update and the Cumulative IE11 Update direct downloads are available on this site each month in the Knowledge Base section from AKB2000003

        In this case, the user was interested in going from Group B to Group A, ie, installing the Security Monthly Quality Rollup from Windows Update, instead of the manual security-only patches.

    • #128075

      Does Group A need more hard disk space than Group B? Is the minimum requirement for Windows 7 still 16 GB and 20 GB for x86 and x64, respectively? What is the minimum requirement if I do not disable stuff like GWX, CEIP, DiagTrack and Windows Error Reporting?

      Windows 7 system requirements

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #128085

        I would not think there is a significant difference in minimum disk space between Group A and Group B. And disabling the functions you mentioned should no make a significant difference in the hard drive space required. The difference between Group A and Group B is more about how much of your information you want to permit Microsoft to harvest, ie, telemetry.

        The minimum disk space quoted by Microsoft seems to me to be the minimum space taken by a clean install. It doesn’t take into account any usage of the computer – installation of other programs, User data, caches and temporary storage, updates over the years, or inefficiencies caused by usage.

        What I’m trying to say is, I don’t believe a Windows 7 computer with a 20GB HDD is practical.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #128091

        Does Group A need more hard disk space than Group B?

        Not necessarily. See my test results at https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/patch-tuesday-for-win7-and-8-1-brings-order-but-its-still-too-early-to-install/#post-18529.

        P.S. The used space on my Windows 7 x64 partition (Group A updating) is 33.7 GB (reported as 31.4 GB in user interface). I ran Disk Cleanup of Windows updates within the past few months.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #128087

        @ morat

        Yes, Group A needs more hard disk space than Group B.
        Group A = security and non-security updates rolled-up into a Patch. They are cumulative. Normally auto-installed through Windows Update.
        Group B = security-only updates rolled up into a Patch. They are non-cumulative. Can only be manually installed through Update Catalog.

        Group C/W = did not install any Patch Rollups, since Oct 2016.

        The minimum disk space requirement for Win 7 is still the same, eg 16GB for 32bit. GWX, CEIP, DiagTrack and Windows Error Reporting services do not take up much disk space.
        … A viable Win 7 system normally requires security updates. After installation, Win 7 SP1 takes up about 8GB of disk space for a 32bit system with 1GB of RAM. Since release of Win 7 SP1 in 2011, the following 6 years of security updates have totalled about 1GB = about 250 individual updates and 10 months of Patch Rollups.
        … Installation of programs/apps and their updates will also take up some disk space.

        P S – A computer with 16GB of RAM will take up about 40GB of disk space after installation of Win 7 SP1 32bit because the sizes of the hiberfil.sys file(for Hibernate) and pagefile.sys file(for virtual memory) follow after the size of the RAM.

      • #128090

        @ PKCano

        What I’m trying to say is, I don’t believe a Windows 7 computer with a 20GB HDD is practical.

        Yes, agree.

        Unfortunately, a few years ago, M$ and the OEMs themselves have foisted on some Dummies very-cheap Win 8/8.1 Intel Atom 2-in-1 touchscreen tablets with only 16GB of eMMC Flash-drive storage.

      • #128122

        I recently moved to Group A from Group B. I’m currently using 23 GB of 40 GB partition with Windows 7 SP1 x86.



        @PKCano
        @anonymous

        I read that GWX stores 6 GB and Windows Error Reporting can use 10 GB or more… that’s why I was worried.



        @MrBrian

        Thanks the posting the results.

        @anonymous

        I’m only using 2 GB of RAM. I thought Windows 7 x86 could only use 3.12 GB of RAM at most.

        Usable memory may be less than the installed memory

        • #128126

          You don’t have to worry about GWX anymore. Microsoft has not been pushing the Win10 operating system down unasked to computers for the last year.

          32-bit computers can use 3.3-3.5 GB RAM, but how much can be accessed depends on how much of that is used by the graphics card.

          • #128139

            32-bit computers can use 3.3-3.5 GB RAM, but how much can be accessed depends on how much of that is used by the graphics card.

            This was a subject debated a lot in the past, but a less interesting now, because most new installations are 64-bit. The end result is as you presented it, but there is a bit more to the story.
            The memory can be consumed by GPU but there are also reserved addresses by the PCI and the exact amount depends on the hardware and firmware (BIOS) design.
            Microsoft claimed back in XP times that the GPU drivers for consumer hardware are not correctly designed and can cause BSOD if used with PAE and to mitigate the side effects, Windows XP is hardcoded to use only 3 GB of RAM which is a safe value, although in practice, it is more like what you say 3.3-3.5 GB. To have an idea, even virtual machines had limitations within that range and while I know the exact values for many versions, this is outside of the scope of the discussion. The most I have seen is 3.75 GB (3840 MB) for ESX/VSphere, which is still under 4 GB, the maximum theoretic without PAE.
            The PAE feature of the Intel CPUs which introduces 36-bit memory addressing vs 32-bit without PAE allows RAM addressing values much larger than 4 GB, which is exactly what happens with the 32-bit versions of the servers. For those systems, the PCI addressing done in the space under 4 GB is switched upwards above 4 GB. There is no need for that amount of RAM to be installed, as it is only virtual addressing space.
            The artificial limitation of 3 GB for 32-bit is done for marketing purpose for Desktop OS to promote the use of the 64-bit OS. For this purpose, the use of 64-bit Windows 7 does not cost extra (same registration key) and is highly recommended for everyone with at least 4 GB of RAM installed. RAM is cheap today and there is little reason to have less that 6-8 GB of RAM in a system built in the last 5 years. I have a system built in 2011 with 16 GB RAM and another one built in 2010 with 8 GB RAM. Both are running Windows 10 Pro.

        • #128137

          I read that GWX stores 6 GB and Windows Error Reporting can use 10 GB or more… that’s why I was worried.



          @mrbrian

          I have seen 33 GB in one instance.

          You have to go to Action Center under Control Panel and Disable Error reporting for All Users – comes up as Not Recommended.
          Install ALL updates available, including Recommended.
          Run Disk Cleanup and Reboot. This will take a long time, even hours depending primarily on the performance of the CPU.
          Install every month what is offered and run Disk Cleanup afterwards. This cleanup should not take as long as the first time if done regularly.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #128159

          @morat,

          I’m only using 2 GB of RAM. I thought Windows 7 x86 could only use 3.12 GB of RAM at most.

          Oops! Sorry. It should be 16GB RAM for Win 7 SP1 64bit.

          Win 7 users should do regular Disk Cleanup to clear Windows Error Reports, as per …
          http://www.admin-enclave.com/en/articles/windows/133-taming-the-wer-windows-error-reporting-on-windows-7-2008.html
          Besides Disk Cleanup, they should also do regular Disk Defragmenting. The default Disk Defrag setting is “Scheduled Task once fortnightly at 3am, Wed”. This default setting should be disabled and Manual setting chosen instead. If not, the default setting may brick the computer since the users may unwittingly be using the disk for web-browsing while it is being defragmented as scheduled.

          The sneaky and aggressive GWX campaign against Win 7/8.1 which you referred to, should have been ended by M$ on 29 July 2016. If not, please refer to the fix at …
          http://www.computerworld.com/article/2983777/microsoft-windows/how-to-clean-the-windows-10-crapware-off-your-windows-7-or-81-pc.html

        • #128160

          @morat,

          There is a program or Registry hack which allows Win 7 32bit system to use more than 4GB of RAM, …
          https://www.raymond.cc/blog/make-windows-7-and-vista-32-bit-x86-support-more-than-4gb-memory/

          Problem is, Windows Update may cause problems = may need to uninstall and reinstall the RAM Patch tool.

    • #128142

      @ anonymous: I believe that Windows 7 with SP1 was released in October 2009. That’s the date on my original install.

      • #128147

        SP1 was released in 2011.
        2009 is rather the year of Windows 7 RTM release.

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