• Speccy



    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 76 total)
    • in reply to: Here come the May updates #2446957

      No, we’re just talking about the predefined (Windows) system folders and shortcuts (see above).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • in reply to: Here come the May updates #2446955

      The whole point of moving the shortcuts merely reflected my own, personal preference – one way to keep things “clean” (like you, I too prefer to have shortcuts organized into multiple sub-folders, having no shortcuts at all at the “root” level) but I hear you: you have a very good point there – and yes, it is actually a much better suggestion than my (somewhat clumsy) approach.

      Indeed, it is probably better to leave the original system sub-folders and shortcuts quiet and alone at their default, predefined locations and just hide them (with an attrib +H <folder> or attrib +H <shortcut> command, from an elevated prompt) so that they won’t appear (be visible) in your customized toolbar – and make copies of those items you want to use into your customized toolbar. Something (roughly) like this:

      cd %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
      mkdir Windows
      xcopy /E /I Accessibility Windows\Accessibility
      xcopy /E /I Accessories Windows\Accessories
      xcopy /E /I “Administrative Tools” “Windows\Administrative Tools”
      xcopy /E /I “System Tools” “Windows\System Tools”
      xcopy /E /I “Windows PowerShell” “Windows\Windows PowerShell”
      attrib +H Accessibility
      attrib +H Accessories
      attrib +H “Administrative Tools”
      attrib +H “System Tools”
      attrib +H “Windows PowerShell”
      attrib -H *.lnk
      xcopy *.lnk Windows
      attrib +H *.lnk

      Visually, it works like a charm… Next month I’ll let you know if it also works out well and allows the monthly updates to install flawlessly in those few Windows 8.1 legacy systems I’m maintaining. Thanks for the tip! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • in reply to: Here come the May updates #2446364

      Help for Windows 8.1 x64 folks out there – updated, no issues so far:

      1. Keep in mind there’s a new SSU this month, thus manually download KB5014025 first, install it and reboot (for good measure).
      2. Let Windows Update install KB5014011 (or manually download it from the MS Catalog and install).

      Now here’s an additional tip for Windows 8.1 (eventually applicable to Windows Server 2012 R2) folks: if the monthly update fails to install with cryptic errors such as 0x80070002 (WIN32: ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND) there might be a good, but less-known reason for that. Keep reading.

      You see, some people choose to “customize” their %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder by moving some of the system shortcuts from their default locations (for e.g. grouping them all into a ‘Windows’ sub-folder) and create a ‘Programs’ toolbar on the taskbar: it might look weird to do that but it is, in fact, a very simple, but handy way to have your shortcuts at hand, similarly to having the Windows 7 “Start” button, just by using the system resources (without any need for additional software).

      Problem is, the setup installers “expect” some, if not most system shortcuts to be present in their default locations: if they aren’t, installation might fail and throw those cryptic errors. This is a rather common cause of installation failures for Windows 10 (therefore, a quick and dirty way of preventing those “errors” from happening, if you knew that in advance, would simply be to move back the system shortcuts to their default locations, install the update and restore the system shortcuts back to your customized locations) – one that didn’t affect or manifest itself on Windows 7/8.x until very recently and something that people typically “fix” (blindly and unaware exactly of “why” it works) by “restoring the system health” with a dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command (or, in Windows 7, with a sfc /scannow command).

      Thus, to sum things up: if you happen to experience trouble updating your Windows 8.1 (and, eventually Server 2012 R2) systems, the fail-safe approach is usually to manually update:

      1. Confirm that your system shortcuts at %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs are all there, at their default locations (if they aren’t, move them back there or restore them with a dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command);
      2. Download KB5014025 (the latest SSU) and KB5014011 (2022-05 monthly update) from MS Catalog.
      3. Install KB5014025 (the latest SSU) first. Reboot afterwards (you don’t have to, but just in case – for good measure).
      4. Install KB5014011 (2022-05 monthly update) and reboot.

      Additionally (depending on your system configuration, preferences and needs) you might also let Windows Update install (and/or manually download and install yourself) the KB890830 (MSRT) and KB5013870 (.NET Rollup) updates.

      Hope it helps. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • @abbodi86, you’re absolutely right. Thank you!
      Last week was a busy one and I didn’t pay enough attention… my bad. I went back to that system over this weekend to figure out what happened and the culprit seem to have been (might have been?) a hardware driver update (indeed, uninstalling KB5009624 and KB5009721 was not the same as restoring back the Dec 31, 2021 image: they were both installed on Jan 6, 2022 but that driver had been automatically installed on patch Tuesday [Jan 4, 2022] but went unnoticed and that’s probably what caused the unexpected interaction that lead to the missing runtime library situation).
      Updating the C++ runtime libraries “fixed” the situation, yes, but the situation itself wasn’t caused neither by the KB5009624 or the KB5009721 roll-up updates. My bad, sorry.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • in reply to: AV strategies for Win 7 Afterlife-MSE or 3rd Party? #2419860

      @NTDBD, the definitions for Microsoft antimalware products are available for download at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/wdsi/defenderupdates (for Windows 7, you’ll probably want to bookmark the Microsoft Security Essentials 64-bit link).

      I’ve posted a few more useful details about getting the latest engine (point 2) and the latest definitions (point 3) here and here (update on point 3).

      Hope it helps. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks for sharing, @Intrepid. Just out of curiosity, may I ask if any of your ten workstations also had that exact same version (v14.0.24212) of the Visual C++ 2015 runtime libraries installed?

    • While managing a fully patched and fully functioning (as of Dec 31, 2021) Win8.1 Pro x64 system, after the January 2022 updates (KB5009624 monthly roll-up, KB5009721 .NET Framework roll-up) suddenly “something” got broken: pieces of software and core parts of the O.S. itself (e.g. Computer Management) began throwing an error complaining about the (now) missing ‘vcruntime140_1.dll’ library.

      Rolling back to a previous backup image (as of Dec 31, 2021) restored the system stability (got the missing library back and everything else working normally, again). Can’t tell for sure if the culprit is either KB5009624, KB5009721 or an unexpected interaction between the two (haven’t had time to try uninstalling only one of them in turns, to be sure) but uninstalling both updates also worked (same as restoring back the system to the Dec 31, 2021 backup image).

      I am guessing here that Redmond messed up (again) while packaging the updates and used the wrong versions of the Visual C++ Runtime libraries, because another option that also worked out well was to keep both updates (KB5009624 and KB5009721) installed and simply update the Visual C++ 2015 runtime libraries (as of Dec 31, 2021 that Win8.1 system had v14.0.24212 installed) to v14.30.30704, which were the latest available redistributable packages (signed October 5, 2021) here (“Visual Studio 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022” section):


      For now I am not installing the optional KB5010794 update yet (I’ll just wait for the February updates) but I am assuming that this optional update will do exactly that (update the Visual C++ 2015 runtime libraries) because as I am writing this (Jan 20, 2022) the above webpage is now offering v14.30.30708 (signed January 6, 2022) of the Visual C++ 2015 runtime libraries… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Just my 2 cents,

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Speccy. Reason: The site doesn't like UNDERLINED text anymore? And editing and submitting back the post will also DELETE IT? What the heck?
      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • Minor update to point 3 in the above, previous post… meanwhile, the direct links were updated to also include the engine version:


      For e.g. the direct link to the current 1.353.736.0 64-bit definitions (and the current 1.1.18700.4 engine) is:

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Speccy. Reason: Fixed bold tags
    • in reply to: The Next Windows #2370640

      It was. But because AI and ML were already being developed for a few years and coming in full-mode, despite some cautionary tales on the road Redmond took Cortana to the next level and that’s the whole point of what Windows turned out to be nowadays: a nurturing environment for the rise of an AI aiming to “function in an open-ended continuous learning process, being able to ethically apply common sense and infer causal reasoning”.

      We’re not there yet but that’s really the big picture here (a promising or scary one, in many ways, depending on how you look at and think about it) and something to be aware of that we’ll all have to deal with, one way or the other, in the upcoming years.

      P.S. – To the forum moderators’ censoring fast fingers out there, sorry for the apparently off-topic reply (?) but it really is an honest attempt to contribute to the thread, in finding an answer to the initial question [The Next windows: What is it? We don’t really know].

    • in reply to: The Next Windows #2369878

      Maybe unrelated, but the official teaser (at 11 a.m. Eastern Time) refers to a live stream event and, accordingly to the Microsoft Reactor website at that very same moment, on a different time zone (4 p.m. Central European) a live stream about AI and Accessibility is scheduled for Stockholm.


      What is this session about?
      Microsoft has infused AI into Office 365 applications to support accessibility. Whether it’s Speech and Language AI providing live subtitles in PowerPoint, or Vision AI generating alt text for images, everyone can benefit from accessible features.

      Who is it aimed at?
      All developers who are interested in building in accessibility to their apps using Azure Cognitive Services.

      Why should I attend?
      To learn how to design, develop, debug, and deploy an app on Azure to demonstrate the power of AI for Accessibility. For more on this series, visit https://aka.ms/HigherEdSeriesPg

      Speaker info:
      Stephen Howell | Academic Program Manager
      Stephen has 22 years’ experience in software engineering, lecturing, program management, and the education industry. He is currently the Academic Program Manager for Microsoft Ireland.
      In this role he advocates for STEM skills at K12, computer science skills to higher and further education customers, and digital transformation to government educational agencies.

      Stephen is an advocate for STE(A)M, Autism & ADHD awareness, Gender Diversity in Tech, and increasing accessibility in technology for all. He is the Diversity and Inclusion Council Accessibility Pillar Lead for Microsoft Ireland (from July 2019).

      He is in final year of a PhD in SMARTLab, University College Dublin on Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation, where his research focuses on Computational Thinking and Kinesthetic Learning.

    • Meanwhile, a few things happened since 2018…

      This article (published today) is a useful insight to put things in perspective and sums it up nicely: the so-called “cloud protection” feature may be turned off without adversely affecting or impacting the overall performance, protection and disinfection capabilities of the product. Privacy concerned users might want to consider that aspect because similar cloud-based protection features do exist, too on the reputable and US friendly, sanctioned and approved security products from most other vendors.

      Recent posts from Kaspersky (admittedly biased) might also help to draw a clearer picture of how the legitimate, but unproven claims are being dealt with.


      Disclaimer: I’ve no affiliation whatsoever with Kaspersky and I’m not trying here to “advertise” their product (moderators, feel free to edit my post and remove the above links if you consider they don’t add any value to the post and/or by posting them I’m unwillingly breaking in any way the current rules, norms and guidelines of what can or cannot be posted on the website and the forums – I don’t think so and I certainly hope not as it’s not my intention, at all, to do that). Like Alex I just don’t buy that things are as black and white as we’ve been told: there are many shades of grey and things to consider (context, political an economic interests, product settings and use cases, etc).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • in reply to: Privacy warning – O&O FileDirect #2345455

      Cool. Glad to know it worked well for you, Rick. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • in reply to: Privacy warning – O&O FileDirect #2297493

      You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚

      TeamViewer’s File Transfer works well and is perfectly fine (encrypted, peer-to-peer secure communication) as long as you have a stable UDP connection to support transfer speeds of up to 200 MBps. Otherwise, it will fallback to TCP and can only reach 120 Kb/s (on slow network connections even SFTP might be considered a better alternative).

      I must say I haven’t used Send Anywhere thoroughly (only once, briefly) but it sure looked interesting and worth mentioning here as an alternative to try: if you do, please report back and let us know how that went. For the sake of transparency (in case anyone has a problem with that) it might be worth mentioning it comes from a South Korean start-up based in Seoul:


    • in reply to: Privacy warning – O&O FileDirect #2297255

      Interesting tool (and the concept loosely “right”) but for now it seems a bit half-baked at the moment and, more importantly, poorly documented (security through obscurity is definitely not on the wish list of privacy-minded folks).

      On an isolated VM I allowed the stub to download the 9.56Mb setup and then did a few quick, straightforward and simple offline experiments:


      oofd ?
      oofd /add C:Temptest.txt
      oofd /delete C:Temptest.txt
      oofd /settings


      Looking at the (hidden?) settings, both the default connection server address ( wss://signal.file.direct ) and the API server address ( https://api.file.direct, redirecting to https://www.oo-software.com/en/filedirect ) appear to confirm the assumption that the tool might be using WSS on HTTPS and standard secure encryption protocols (AES, Camellia, etc) to communicate with the O&O servers and support its core functionality (establish a securely encrypted point to point connection). The other setting suggests the (optional?) use of a STUN/TURN Server and WebRTC communication.

      Proper documentation, further analysis of the tool and closer inspection on its behavior and the network traffic it generates would be useful and enlightening. IMHO the response “tone” (short, abrupt) of the support email you received, added to the fact that this is a proprietary, closed (not opensource) software doesn’t help to build user trust on it, either.

      In regards to possible alternatives to O&O FileDirect, although also proprietary consider taking a look at Send Anywhere:


      The current version (product/file version 20.8.200955/20.8.4347, build 1253, digitally signed Aug 20, 2020)) is less lightweight both on size and memory usage but on the plus side it seems a more mature product (cross-platform, uses the Electron framework) with a few more, interesting options (check the settings), a User Guide and some available online documentation:

      Support (KB):


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    • Windows Defender Antimalware platform 4.18.2008.9 is available for manual download from the catalog (KB4052623). Additional help (KB) here.

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    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 76 total)