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  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Sticking with Windows 7? You aren’t alone.

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 02:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you plan on keeping Windows 7 beyond its expiry date, January of next year, you aren’t alone. Hundreds of millions of PCs will continue to use Win7, in spite of Microsoft’s exhortations to the contrary.

    Here’s a look at how the Win10 upgrade effort is proceeding – and what I’m doing with the Seven Semper Fi machine to keep the wolves at bay.

    In AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.17.0 — mailed out this morning to all AskWoody Plus members.

  • You know that Windows 7 End-of-Life nag screen?

    Posted on May 1st, 2019 at 07:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The scare isn’t working.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    Seven Semper Fi.

    UPDATE: I’m looking for the “patch” that activates that nag screen – KB 4493132. Can’t find it. It isn’t in the Microsoft Update Catalog. But the KB article is still around. It says:

    This update is available through Windows Update. If automatic updates are enabled, this update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

    But it isn’t showing up on any of my Win7 machines, most notably not on the super-clean Seven Semper Fi test machine I’m maintaining. Apparently the patch was released “for real” about April 18, but it may have been pulled.

    Günter Born notes that it was re-released on April 26. But I don’t see it now.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: As @zero2dash notes (and I forgot!), the nag screen patch is only intended for Win7 Home and Ultimate. I’m using Pro, and so missed all the fun.

  • Windows 10 nag for Windows 7 makes an appearance

    Posted on March 21st, 2019 at 08:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Lawrence Abrams at BleepingComputer has the full story.

    As I warned in Computerworld yesterday, the currently optional (but soon to be pushed) patch KB 4493132 carries with it the lovely retro payload shown above.

    Per Abrams, KB 4493132 “installs an executable that will be run daily on Windows.” The executable is sipnotify.exe and it’ll show the notifications starting on April 18.  sipnotify.exe is triggered by two new scheduled tasks. There’s a hook so Microsoft can “modify the message and templates shown at a later date.”

    See the BleepingComputer report for full details.

    Will the “Do not remind me again” checkbox work? My guess is that MS will come up with some mealy-mouthed way to override it, probably by altering the notification at some point…. “You said don’t remind you with that notification, but this is an all new, improved notification and our new machine learning routines said that you would really want it…”

    Somebody remind me of the definition of a Potentially Unwanted Program.

    UPDATE: I’m getting notes from various people — including JR Raphael, via Gregg Keizer (Hi, JR, Gregg!) — that KB 4493132 now appears as checked and Important in Windows Update, at least on some machines. @abbodi86 now notes that the nagware payload won’t be offered to Professional, Enterprise and Embedded editions of Win7.

  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Seven Semper Fi – How to ride Win7 into the sunset

    Posted on March 18th, 2019 at 05:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Humbug. The Windows “experts” who say that you should throw away your Win7 machine because it’s too old are just out of touch. Ain’t broke, don’t fix. Yes, there are security reasons for moving to Win10, but if you’re careful, you may be able to beat the Grim Redmond Reaper.

    I’m going with you on the ride to Win7 not-so-planned obsolescence. Here’s the machine I’ve set up — my Seven Semper Fi — to weather the ride. Let’s see what slings and arrows Microsoft may cast.

    Details in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.10.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • Seven Semper Fi: Win7 to get SHA-2 encryption for patches, DirectX 12 for games

    Posted on March 13th, 2019 at 05:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    In addition to the “Get Windows 10” nag screens I described yesterday, and a Servicing Stack Update that implements SHA-2 level encryption for future Win7 patches,  Tom Warren at The Verge says MS is allowing some game developers to use DirectX 12 technology in their Win7 games:

    the company is allowing some game developers to implement DirectX 12. The first game to appear with DirectX 12 support on Windows 7 is Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.

    Microsoft heard feedback from Blizzard that features like multi-threading in DirectX 12 were bringing substantial framerate improvements to World of Warcraft on Windows 10. Blizzard wanted these same features on Windows 7, presumably because it still has a large base of players on this older OS. Microsoft originally launched DirectX 12 as part of Windows 10, and has not made it available for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 users.

    As if you didn’t know, Microsoft will stop delivering security patches for Win7 in 10 months – end of life for the PC’s second-most-popular operating system.

    Martin Brinkmann has a summary of the official announcement on ghacks.net.

    Life’s a bit bizarre, wouldn’t you say?

  • They’ll have to pry Win7 from my cold, clutched claws – Seven Semper Fi

    Posted on March 8th, 2019 at 08:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I think it’s kismet.

    On the day that Microsoft announced it had installed Win10 on 800 million devices (yep, even refrigerators!), I went the other way.

    I’ve kept several Windows 7 virtual machines running for many years. But I finally decided to plunk down some hard cash ($125, to be precise) and bought a refurbished Lenovo ThinkCentre M82 small form factor PC, with a genuine, crisp copy of Windows 7 Pro. I figured it’d be better experiencing the demise of my old friend first-hand, rather than vicariously through a virtual machine.

    So I’m busy setting up the new/old/off-lease Seven Semper Fi.

    A couple of things struck me during the from-scratch installation…. aside from having to clear away the junk (why would they install AVG Free and Adobe Reader on a refurb? no, don’t answer, I know, I know) the install brought back fond memories — remember how you had to actually CHOOSE to activate automatic update, and how the “Check for updates” button actually, you know, checked for updates, instead of installing everything in the swamp?

    Anyway, I’m forging ahead with a minimalist machine, to commiserate with you folks as the inevitable approaches. I got it updated (took about 30 minutes, starting with the updates installed by the refurb company). Restarted three times to finish the process. Installed Firefox (still debating about Chrome). Got rid of AVG Free and installed Microsoft Security Essentials (knowing that it’ll die early next year, too). Added VLC Media Player, 7 Zip, speccy (all from oldergeeks.com, of course) and I’ll install Office 2013 shortly.

    What else would you like me to try?

    The machine works great, by the way. Intel i5-3470, onboard graphics card, 4 GB memory, 250 GB hard drive. It can be leisurely at times, but I don’t mind. Five years ago it would’ve been a contendah.