• AWRon



    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)
    • in reply to: Microsoft Backup triggers help-desk calls and confusion #2590901

      On a machine that I have deliberately frozen at W10 1809 Professional and never accept any updates of any kind, last week all my desktop icons suddenly showed check marks inside little circles.

      Apparently this is somehow related to OneDrive backups, which I have never consciously initiated or sanctioned.

      As noted in Susan’s article, no services were running.  I got rid of the check marks by uninstalling OneDrive from within Programs and Features — which was a one-click instantaneous operation, without any intermediate dialog boxes or progress bars

      A couple of questions:

      1.  Did the Uninstall actually delete OneDrive from my computer, or only remove it from Programs and Features?
      2.  How did OneDrive get on that computer in the first place?
      3.  Has anything from that computer actually been migrated to Microsoft’s cloud?  If so, where would it be?  I don’t think I consciously ever created a Microsoft account.

      If my attitude expressed herein indicates a deep distrust of Microsoft, that would be correct.  And these kinds of shenanigans by Microsoft only confirms and deepens that attitude.

      — AWRon


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    • in reply to: Configuring RAID 1 for Opal #2555745

      There seems to be one case in which RAID, in the original Intel RST you showed for Onyx in Figure 2 of your article, CAN theoretically be used for backup purposes.

      That is the “Recovery Volume Options,” No. 4 in the Figure.

      To my understanding, it is possible to configure those so that a clone (mirror) copy of the primary drive can be created ON DEMAND, rather than continuously, thus avoiding the “mirroring of an already infected drive” problem associated with RAID 1.

      This would be no different than just initiating a backup manually to a second drive when one is sure it’s not infected, other than it uses the built-in RAID technology to accomplish it to an internal drive.  If the main drive fails, and the backup is recent enough, operations can be restored from the BIOS.

      Haven’t seen this option discussed much, but any comments from experience would be welcome.

      — AWRon

    • in reply to: Saving history #2524694

      Thanks to Will Fastie for creating this topic, which has clearly generated a lot if interest.

      So far, no one seems to have mentioned a very simple alternative to the purported deterioration of SSDs with age: the old, dearly beloved HDD — a spinning platter hard drive, especially a laptop drive.  You’ve probably got some lying around from when you cloned up to an SSD for the better speed.

      Such drives made by Hitachi back in the late aughts and early teens, prior to  its being absorbed by Seagate (or Western Digital, I forget which), were superbly made and highly reliable. They are widely available on eBay at very modest prices, and in many cases advertised as “new.”  Their data lifetime certainly exceeds the 5 years mentioned for SSDs.

      Most often, in my experience the only thing that ever went wrong with a carefully handled laptop drive was that the platter bearing would dry up without use so it wouldn’t spin.  Fire them up occasionally to prevent that, and clone them at the slightest hint of any unexpected noise.  I never had a head crash, nor have I ever experienced “bit loss due to cosmic rays,” or any of those other old canards.

      A couple of HDD clone backups of everything until the much vaunted “glass” solution above becomes widely available is inexpensive insurance.

      PS: the archiving question is far more important and urgent in the movie industry.  I read recently that the state of the art solution there has become, of all things, magnetic tape!

      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: Defibrillate your “dead” laptop #2511681

      Hi RC:

      I do not know your sources of information, but I take issue with your arguments above.

      1.    Hibernate has been a hidden feature in Windows as far back as Windows 95.  It has not been hidden just in Windows 10 and 11.  You have always had to go to power options to enable it.  Nothing new here.

      2.    Today’s laptops have vastly more storage than just a few years ago, not less.  500 GB to 2 TB SSDs have been around for several years, and you almost cannot order a laptop today with less than 500 GB storage.  (Of course, if you’re using your laptop for video work, you will size your hard drive accordingly.)

      3.     The traditional hibernate Hiberfile is only as big as the installed system RAM.  Few laptops ship with more than 32 GB RAM, so at most a 32 GB Hiberfile, most often 16,  in a 500 GB SSD, is not “huge.”

      4.    Hybrid Sleep is clearly an improvement, but I agree with you it does still drain battery.  A solution in search of a problem in my view, when Hibernate works perfectly well.

      5.     Likewise System Restore is not disabled just on Windows 10 and 11, it has (in my experience) always been shipped turned off by default.  And it does not take up a lot of storage space — just a few hundred MB per Restore Point, as it saves only the system settings.

      6.    Why Microsoft builds these useful tools, then ships Windows with them turned off, is beyond my pay grade (but not beyond my expectations for Microsoft).

      So I maintain my original position:  enable full Hibernate, and use it to suspend your machine with zero battery drain and avoid the entire problem addressed by Ben’s article.  And I’ll add, enable System Restore, and use it, and do not worry about storage space.  Storage today is cheaper and more plentiful than it has ever been, and is no longer an issue, either for the system or programs.

      — AWRon


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    • in reply to: Defibrillate your “dead” laptop #2509865

      Ben, I find it unbelievable that a person as sophisticated as you could write this whole article without once referring to the word “hibernate,” or pointing out the difference between Sleep mode and Hibernation.

      I’m not sure where your break point about Windows 7 came from, but all the way back to Windows XP and perhaps even to Windows 95, there has been this distinction between Sleep and Hibernate.  In Sleep mode, the computer is STILL RUNNING and consuming power, with critical information held in volatile RAM, and thus subject to loss if power is lost.  In Hibernate, the computer is completely shut off, with the entire contents of memory saved to disk.  No dependence whatsoever on power.

      So in Hibernate, even if the battery, and the CMOS battery, goes flat, reconnection to power will always and immediately restart the computer, with a useful stop in Setup to set the date and time if the CMOS battery went dead, and then cheerfully resume to where you left off when you hibernated.

      Yes, blame Microsoft, because by default Windows has always been shipped with Hibernate disabled, so only Sleep happens — with the potential consequences you enumerate.  You have to enable Hibernate in Power Settings, and then you have to look at the power plan and RESET every power condition (on-off button, close laptop lid, etc) from Sleep to Hibernate, so you NEVER use Sleep.  In this way, the problem you describe NEVER ARISES.

      Hibernate used to be a bit flaky up through Windows Millennium, but ever since Windows XP, it has been virtually bulletproof.  That’s 20 years ago.  I still remember a comment by the late, great Bill Machrone, former editor of PC Magazine, to the effect that since the introduction of Windows XP he had seen machines that were hibernated for weeks at a time without ever being rebooted.  (I have run Windows 10 machines for months using hibernation and never being rebooted, provided I have cleaned out all Windows Telemetry and all other useless background software using O&O’s ShutUp10 and SpyBot’s AntiBeacon.)

      All this is to say that hibernation is very reliable and is the way to go if you ever want to do anything other than completely shut off a machine every time you end a session.

      In 35 years of laptop use ever since the original Toshiba T1000, I have never found a worthwhile reason to ever leave a mchine in Sleep mode, where it continues to use battery and exposes the user to the problem you describe, versus setting it to Hibernate.

      Thank you for your article, but I think it should have addressed some of this, at least in passing.


      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: Real-life SSD reliability must be managed #2485096

      Thanks for the interesting article, and the tips to prolong SSD life, no matter whatever else might be going on.

      To your tips I would add:

      1. You can restrict browser caching by specifying the maximum size of the cache.  In the old days, there was a setting to do that, today there is probably a utility that will let you do it if the OS doesn’t.
      2. Likewise with the paging file size.  If you’re running 32 GB (OK, not less than 16 GB), you can limit the paging file size to something quite small (or turn it off altogether) , so the OS just can’t page stuff out to the SSD.

      But the best advice overall is to monitor your SSD at least a couple of times a year (e.g. each time the clocks change), using perhaps CrystalDiskInfo, as somebody recommended above.

      — AWRon


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    • Dear Deanna:

      It sounds like CleanSweep2 is named after the original CleanSweep which was a third party Windows 95 product bought by Microsoft and built into Windows as the current Disk Cleanup.  Bravo to the author for his or her hat-tip to Windows history!

      But it has always seemed to me that this is an obsoleted problem.  Hard disk space today is no longer an issue of any consequence, unless the stuff taking up the space slows Windows down.     That does not seem to be the case with any of the items listed, and many of them contain information that might be unexpectedly useful at some future time.

      The reason I say this is an obsoleted problem (and has been for many years) is because you can now buy a Samsung 500 GB 870 EVO laptop replacement hard drive for just $64, with corresponding higher capacities equally inexpensive.   Relative to this, 8 GB of hard drive space saved is hardly worth the time to think about.

      To me,  a preferred solution is to simply clone the current hard drive to a suitably large SSD and keep moving along.


      — AWRon


    • in reply to: CopyQ — I’m about to make your work way easier! #2463377

      Great article about a potentially invaluable tool — many’s the time I needed to re-paste something I copied to the clipboard three copies ago, only to have something else paste in that I had clipboarded later.

      Just one tweak to the article, for both you and the Editor: in the line near the top that reads

      ” that lets you store everything you copy (right-click and Copy, or Ctrl+V) ”

      I think you mean Ctrl+C.   🙂

      — AWRon


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    • in reply to: Choosing the right email program #2459615

      For pure email handling, the best I ever found was Outlook Express (which was Microsoft’s implementation of the original Lotus Express for MCI Mail).  Ending at Version 6 in Windows XP, it had superb search capabilities allowing for very granular searches through locally saved email, and was beautifully programmed to avoid modal limitations.

      OEClassic, https://www.oeclassic.com/ is an outstanding updated implementation of this classic and timeless UI, incorporating virtually all of its features and continuously under development by a small and dedicated team.  Technical support is nearly instantaneous via email.

      Among the best you can get!

      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: Our world is not very S.M.A.R.T. about SSDs #2425526

      Here’s a link to the Markoff article referred to above:


      I’m always amused when I see a reference to the “cosmic rays caused it” line, which is the oldest excuse in the book given by tech support call center reps when they’ve run out of ideas to explain some problem with their software.

      But I think the analogy of finding a leaking faucet in one unit of an apartment building that covers the entire land mass of the United Sates is fabulous.

      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: Our world is not very S.M.A.R.T. about SSDs #2425481

      Thanks for your several informative posts in this thread.

      Could you please provide specific software information for “Partition Wizard” and “CONTIG”?

      Also, is your reference to the CHANGES file something inside one of the programs, or a separate piece of software?

      Thank you,

      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: Our world is not very S.M.A.R.T. about SSDs #2423712

      Thanks for a great article!

      If I switch a Windows 7 computer with 16 GB of RAM to an SSD, can I help extend the life of the SSD by turning off the paging file?

      For a “typical” office machine (email, MS Office, web browsing, moderate YouTube videos, etc), will that result in a performance hit?  And if so, how much more RAM might be needed to compensate?

      And does RAM wear out the same way an SSD does?  🙂

      — AWRon


    • in reply to: CMOS Battery Wiring Question #2422718

      Amazing!  I have exactly the same problem on the identical machine.

      Thank you to the OP and all subsequent posters.

      Why would you make (and specify) two batteries with identical 3-wire connectors, but opposite polarities at the connector end???  (What could possibly go wrong?)

      At least the designers were clever enough to incorporate protection against incorrect polarity — after resetting the CMOS with the correct connections, the computer seems unharmed.

      — AWRon


    • in reply to: MS-DEFCON color scheme sends no message #2377289

      As a person who is red-green colorblind (and there are many of us), neither the new nor the old color scheme made any sense.

      I agree with the idea behind poster who suggested a range of colors from bright, dark red at 1 to something like the green of a Go traffic light at 5.

      Apart from color, for me a 1 in a signaling system has always meant a low level of importance, where a higher number would mean greater importance.  This is reinforced by the countless surveys with which the generation that never knew anything about nuclear war danger signaling has been inundated.

      So I find DEFCON 1 being the most severe anomalous and confusing.  (I don’t know whether or not I am an outlier in this regard)   But I do understand the desire to mimic the nuclear war danger alert system, given the real danger of disruptive updates.

      But the ultimate solution to all of this would be to just add two words on the logo: NO to the left of the 1, and YES to the right of the 5.  Then you can use whatever color scheme your heart desires, while the message is unambiguous.


      — AWRon

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    • in reply to: SPECIAL EDITION: OneDrive #2375809

      Well, good luck with all of that.  Technology transitions can often be tedious.

      But for sure you have enough talent available to you, both on the team and within the audience, to make it all work!

      — AWRon

    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)