Archive for Microsoft

Windows 10 PowerShell Flaws Fixed

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 5, 2016 by itnerd

Microsoft has issued a fix for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition which fixes the issues that PowerShell, and another that caused machines to freeze at the account log-in screen on boot. The fix is found in the form of update KB3176938.

I would download this update if you use PowerShell to any great degree. If you can log in that is. Microsoft’s official advice for installing the patch on an afflicted machine is to use the Recovery Console by holding Shift when selecting Restart at the log-in screen, and then selecting ‘Go back to the previous build’ (thus rolling back and having to patch all over again with the new update). Another way is to log-in in via Safe Mode.

Now one wonders when the other issues with Windows 10 Anniversary Edition will get fixed.

Windows 10 Woes Continue As Kindle Paperwhite eReaders Cause BSODs

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 25, 2016 by itnerd

There’s now a fourth issue affecting Windows 10 Anniversary Update users. Complaints on Microsoft’s support forum are appearing that detail people plugging in Kindle Paperwhite eReaders into Windows 10 computers that have the Anniversary Update on them, and the computers instantly doing a blue screen of death. This comes after freezing issues, hosed webcams, and broken Desired State Configuration functionality.

It’s becoming clear that the Anniversary Update is a gong show. I posted the latest issue with that update at 7AM EST and it wasn’t more than three hours later that a new issue appeared. That’s just crazy. One has to wonder if Microsoft really QA’ed this update before releasing it to the planet. One also has to wonder what else will people trip over.

Latest Windows 10 Update Breaks More Stuff And Fixes Nothing

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 25, 2016 by itnerd

The Anniversary Update for Windows 10 continues to be an #EpicFail for Microsoft. On top of breaking webcams and having freezing issues, a new update to this update breaks PowerShell. According to a report via InfoWorld, the latest Windows 10 update which is KB 3176934 shockingly breaks Desired State Configuration (DSC) functionality in PowerShell. Now Desired State Configuration is a set of language extensions and commands that gives admins control over networked computers. That’s kind of important to big companies who run Windows in their environments. In fact, in big organiztions, it’s really important. Some things that were broken in the prior update, such as support of many webcams and a freeze issue, don’t appear to have been fixed in this update.

So let’s get this straight. Nothing gets fixed, but more stuff gets broken. Excuse me Microsoft, but if you do stuff like this, how precisely do you expect people to want to use Windows 10? One wonders how bad this Anniversary Update for Windows 10 can get.

I am sure we are about to find out.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Hoses Webcams

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2016 by itnerd

If the fact that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update introduced performance issues to some users isn’t enough of a reason to avoid it for now, here’s another one. It apparently has removed support for MJPEG and H264 stream encoding. That in turn has made webcams which worked perfectly fine before the update completely unusable. Brad Sams who works with famous Windows blogger Paul Thurrott discovered the flaw:

In the support thread, customers are stating how Skype is freezing but more concerning are comments such as this: “We have a working product running for years and millions of unhappy users that are unable to use it at all after this update” and another user states “We have millions of users and we are in situation now where we have to tell them not to update the Windows anymore or switch to Mac OS.” These are clearly enterprise customers who have customer machines running the Anniversary update that has broken their product who are now scrambling to resolve these issues.

Mike M, an engineer on the Windows Camera team has been commenting in the support thread where the complaints are stacking up and says that a fix is in the pipeline for hopefully a September release. That’s the good news, the bad news is that there is not a temporary fix to hold everyone over until the patch is released and since you now only have 10 days to rollback your update, for most users, they are stuck on the Anniversary build.

#Fail

Now a workaround has appeared, but this latest screw up by Microsoft underscores the fact that the software giant is woefully out of touch with its user base. Apple stores may want to prepare for the onslaught of pissed off Windows users as that’s exactly where Microsoft is driving them.

Microsoft To Do Windows 10 Style Roll Up Updates With Windows 8.1/7

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 18, 2016 by itnerd

The Internet is abuzz because of the fact that Microsoft is planning to bring Windows 10 style roll up patches to Windows 7 and 8.1. That means instead of getting a bunch of patches that fixes a bunch of issues, you get a single huge patch.

Now Apple does this when they do updates to the OS X so this isn’t a new idea. But I think the Internet is talking about this is because of the fact that Microsoft has been accused of not being transparent in terms of what’s in Windows 10 roll up updates. Which means they may not be transparent with Windows 7/8.1 updates either. It also means that Microsoft can slip stuff in under the covers as well. For example, nagware to get you to upgrade to Windows 10.

This could go two ways. Nobody will care, or it will upset a lot of users. This will start in October and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Causes Freezing Issues For Some

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 16, 2016 by itnerd

If you downloaded the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you may be experiencing issues as I type this. Specifically, you might be seeing short term freezing of the PC that has the update on this. That is you’ll be doing something and then the PC will freeze for a few minutes before return to “normal.”

This apparently is a bug as Microsoft has confirmed the bug in a blog post which can be found here

“Microsoft has received a small number of reports of Windows 10 freezing after installing the Anniversary Update on systems with the operating system stored on a solid-state drive (SSD) and apps and data stored on a separate drive. This issue does not occur when starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode. If you are experiencing this issue, we will be providing updates to this thread… We ask for your patience while we continue our investigation and please check back on this thread for an update.”

Until Microsoft gets around to fixing this, here’s what you can do to not be the next victim:

  • Don’t update: The best solutions are the easiest ones. If this update hasn’t hit your PC yet, don’t let it do so. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Defer Upgrades to avoid the update for now.
  • Roll things back to a known working state: There’s a little known feature of Windows 10 that allows you to roll things back to a known working state that can get you up and running if the update already hit your PC and caused it to be wonky. Navigate to Update & Security, click to view Update History followed by Recovery Options, then follow the prompt to Get Started. From here you are given the option to keep all of your files, or remove absolutely everything. Note that keeping your files removes all apps and settings too, but it’s a small price to pay when compared against the Anniversary Update causing issues.
  • Go back to an earlier build: Similar to the roll back, this puts you back to an earlier working build of Windows 10. Go to Update & Security > Update History > Recovery Options > Go back to an earlier build > Get Started. Here’s the catch, you have a 10 day window to do this. So this may not be an option for all. But it is worth trying.

Beyond these three suggestions, users who are affected by this bug may simply have to wait for the folks in Redmond to fix this. Pity.

Review: Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 3, 2016 by itnerd

It’s been one year since Windows 10 came out. It hasn’t hit the billion devices in the first year that Microsoft said it would (Microsoft’s own numbers say that Windows 10 is on roughly 300 million devices). Not to mention that Microsoft force fed this OS down the throats of users. In short, it’s been a bit of a mess for Microsoft. This Microsoft is hoping that the so called Anniversary Update will help to change things.

Now if you want to get it, you have two choices. You can either wait for it to show up on your computer if you have auto update turned on, or you can follow these instructions from the Windows Blog to get it onto your computer. Installation is largely automatic and took about 60 minutes when I did it.

So, what do you get after you update? Here’s a list of key improvements:

  • Microsoft Edge: It was a browser that was a #fail because it made you want to use something else. Now it might be useful. Microsoft says the battery drain on Edge is now “70 per cent less”. I could not prove that. But I did note that Microsoft Edge now supports browser extensions. There’s actually some useful ones kicking around on the Windows Store. There’s only 13 of them at the moment, but that’s 13 more than this time last year. And they include plug ins such as Amazon, Evenote, and AdBlock Plus.
  • Windows Hello: Microsoft has doubled down on biometric security using your face of fingerprints. Not my thing, but I am sure it appeals to some out there.
  • Windows Update Is Under Your Control: Finally, you can finally stop Windows Update doing updates whenever it likes, or simply having to tell it to do whatever it wants to do later. #win
  • Windows Ink Workspace Is All New: If you have a Surface tablet or a convertible laptop, you’ll see Windows Ink Workspace. This takes the existing pen support in the OS and kicks it up several notches with the tools that Microsoft thinks you need to have a great experience using a pen on a Windows tablet. I don’t think these changes go far enough, but users of Windows Ink Workspace may disagree.
  • Cortana: This is a #fail as you now cannot turn it off. What’s worse, it’s part of your search experience whether you want it to be or not.
  • The Start Menu Has Changed: And I do not see why they bothered. It is a bit more busy as it now includes Live Tiles, Programs, and commonly used functions like Settings and File Manager. Some people might be put off by the change. I am seeing lots of consulting calls in my future because of this. It also occupies way too much space.
  • A New Skype Preview Is Included: And it includes bots that are fun for five minutes, and then are not all that fun. This is another area where Microsoft shouldn’t have bothered.
  • You can assign messages with levels of importance, and get Cortana-driven device notifications from Android or iOS, which is quite useful.

Overall, there’s no reason not to download the Anniversary Update. But there’s no overwhelming reason to do so. But you’ll do it anyway, or more accurately, Microsoft will shove it down your throat given their track record. Don’t get me wrong, that are some incremental improvements here. But it’s not a must download by any means.