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Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> My main PC blew up! — May 31, 2013.
>> Newegg rather than TigerDirect for PC components — May 31, 2012.


The deceased 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro.

The deceased 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro. Though it is a modular it appears that the original person that built my PC didn’t remove the unused cables. No great harm. There was room in the case.


12 days after it blew up [10 full days in reality] I finally had my main workhorse PC finally repaired – having to wait for a new power supply (which did come very quickly) and making time to get to Concord Radio Shack to get some momentary ON switches just in case it was the switch. I made it to Concord Friday. So Dave Nix came this morning. It turned out to be the power supply. I have never had a power supply go bad on me. Plus, this was no ‘cheapo’ unit. It was a $90 power supply in November 2009, albeit with a $10 rebate (though I am not sure whether I ever got that)

The original order in November 2009 for the 700 W power supply that blew up.

The original order in November 2009 for the 700 W power supply that blew up.


Per Dave’s advice I got an even BIGGER power supply — PC folks, without exception, always swearing, when it comes to power supplies that bigger is always better. So now I got a 750 Watt. I did a fair amount of checking. Found that a good ‘single rail’ is better than a mediocre ‘dual rail’ — and the older one was dual rail. Fols tell me that this PC really soaks up power given the i7, the fairly decent video card and the 7 fans.

I have to say that the new Rosewill HIVE-750 looks like a work of art. Though most hardware does nothing for me, just looking and feeling this unit makes you realize that it is a cut above the rest. Furthermore, all the cables came inside a nifty, reusable zippered case! I was impressed. So I notice that price wise both supplies,  50 Watts and 3.5 years apart, were the same price — and Newegg gave me FREE shipping on this unit. Thank YOU, Newegg, especially since the unit was here within 2 business days! Newegg certainly has my attention again. Having an extended warranty would not have helped. The old unit, to be fair, lasted 3.5 years and this PC is on at least 355 days a year, typically for 16 hours a day, so that is 355 x 16 x 7. Yes, the quoted MTBF, as ever, is far greater, but I guess I cannot complain. That said I still feel a bit ‘uneasy’. Given the two fans that died plus the power supply I now realize that I have spent just over $500 on repairs for this PC in 2013 — not counting the 25″ monitor that died. My eldest daughter points out correctly that I could have bought a new PC for that — albeit nowhere close to the specs on this one. But, I am going to start cutting my losses on this PC. 

NewPowerSupply2013

by Anura Guruge

General availability (GA) for Windows 7 was October 22, 2009. So today is indeed the 2nd anniversary of Windows 7 as the replacement for Vista and XP.

I had pre-ordered a Windows Professional DVD from Newegg.com and if I recall right the DVD arrived on the 22nd — as promised. I started using Windows 7, in anger, a couple of days later — having to wait until I had a new PC built just to run Windows 7.

My early day saga with Windows 7 is accurately chronicled, sometimes in painful detail, in this blog — which I started a few days after I began using Windows 7 Professional just so I could share my experiences with others.

Windows 7 has lived up to expectations.

It is stable, forgiving and fast.

Yes, there are still problems, e.g., automatic backup has never worked. But, indubitably, this is the BEST OS from Microsoft — and that coming from somebody who used to be an expert on IBM’s mainframe OSs.

I got my wife an ASUS laptop (from Amazon) with Windows 7 Home Premium last Christmas. It supplanted a Dell with XP SP2. She, as I expected, loves Windows 7.

So, I am sold.

I have published 4 books using Windows 7 — and by publishing I mean all the writing, the extensive graphics, backups, uploads etc. I can’t complain.

I haven’t even looked at Windows 8, as yet. Not sure I will migrate any time soon. Haven’t heard anything that compelling about Windows 8. I tend to be a very slow and reluctant adopter of new technology! I totally bypassed Vista.

For today I just want to celebrate 2 years of Windows 7 SANS too much drama. That is all I ask from my PC OS. Keep the dramatics to a minimum.

All the best. Cheers.

Two glasses of red wine awarded by Anura Guruge

Cheers Auslogics. Way to go! Thanks.

by Anura Guruge

As has been documented here I started using the free Auslogics tools, Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag and Disk Defrag, in January 2010, when I finally had enough of System Mechanic, trying on a daily basis, to hijack my PC from underneath me.

In general, I always liked the Auslogics tools. They appeared to do what they were supposed to do, were very stable, untemperamental and unintrusive. Yes, I did not like that Registry Defrag does not allow me to insist on a Defrag — it [i.e., the software] always determining whether I need a Defrag or not.

But, over the last 18 months I have really got to trust and love the Auslogics tools. I got to know that I could run them and they would do their thing without fuss or bother.

The last time I had downloaded the tools from Auslogics was around June 2010. Around that time they started to aggressively push their top-of-the-line, ‘BootSpeed.’ BootSpeed never appealed to me. It looked like a System Mechanic ‘wannabe’ — and I was not looking for a product that was going to take control away from me. But, I fully appreciate that there is a market for BootSpeed and that Auslogics needs to make money — so that they can also provide the FREE tools that I love.

I use all three of the tools at least once a month — usually at the start of each month. I have found that Windows 7 is not as susceptible to registry clutter as was XP. Plus the raw horsepower of this PC overcomes any small degradation in performance. Of late, each time I used the tools, I used to wonder: ‘Wow, I wonder if they have a newer version.’ But, I never even bothered to look. [Oh, I also got my wife using Auslogics on her new Windows 7 ASUS laptop.]

Then two days ago, I got another of the regular e-mails I get from Auslogics. This one actually talked about DOWNLOADING the Free Tools. This felt like an omen.

So, yesterday, I downloaded all three of the FREE Auslogics tools, viz. Registry Cleaner, Registry Defrag and Disk Defrag.


I had to download each through CNET and I HATED and RESENTED that!

I do not trust CNET. It also tried to con me into downloading stuff I did NOT want. It even tries to trick YOU!

I wish Auslogics would STOP using CNET — though I think they get some financial benefits from using CNET. I discovered, to my joy, that you can bail out of the CNET installer as soon as the software is downloaded.

Yes, all three of the Auslogics’ installers also try to get you to install a whole bunch of stuff you don’t want like the ASK toolbar, twitter account for Australian girls gone wild, Facebook page for the Australian Rugby team etc. etc. At least, if you are paying attention, you can spot all ‘thirty’ of the check boxes and uncheck them. To be honest, I can live with this. I know they have to make money. Now, if they gave me even more compelling options … other than Australian girls gone wild, I may consider keeping some of those boxes checked.

All this said, either CNET or Auslogics still installed the STARTNOW toolbar on FireFox. I was livid. Thankfully uninstalling it, permanently, is trial using the FireFox Add-On manager. But, this is SO STUPID. Don’t try and rape me. Be nice. I know it is free software but that doesn’t mean you have to always try and see how you can screw me. But, I will forgive that too … because it was easy enough to fix.


I ran all 3 of the tools. The interfaces have changed. But, they seemed to work well.

Also NOW there is a CHECK FOR UPDATES option in the HELP menu. Bravo. Thank you.

So all said, I am still a big fan. I like the CHECK UPDATES. I hate the installation process. But, overall, it is worth the hassle.

Hence, my award of the coveted ‘Two Glasses of Red’ — and that can even be Australian Shiraz, Yellow Tail.

Cheers.

KB2286198, released (out-of-cycle so to speak) on Monday, August 2, 2010, has to do with the possibility of maliciously crafted Windows SHORTCUTS being potentially used as a means of gaining access to a PC. I don’t have many shortcuts and I am very leery about installing them in the first place. If a shortcut is installed, I, invariably, delete it.

Here is Microsoft’s Security Bulletin, i.e., MS 10-046, about this vulnerability.

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a marked slowdown in Windows 7 updates and even the Windows Defender Updates.

KB2286198 is the first non-Windows Defender update since July 16 — when we received KB2032276.

Well I uneventfully installed KB2286198 this morning … and did the requsite RESTART … and that was 4 hours ago. So far, so good. Obviously, as is my wont, I didn’t install this until I did some checking on the Internet to see if anybody had run into any problems with it. I didn’t see anything.

I also installed two outstanding Windows Defender Updates, i.e., KB915597s. These were for Definition Sets 1.87.1293.0 and 1.87.362.0

I did a FULL Windows Defender Scan after I restarted. That took some time. But, it found nothing.

Hope this helps. All the best.

Anura

Yes, I will confess I am not as diligent as I used to be when it comes to the timely installation of Windows 7 Updates — in particular the recurrent KB915597 updates for Windows Defender. [Rightly or wrongly I tend to believe that my fully paid for Avast 4.8 Professional protects me better than Windows Defender.]  For a week or more I had seen that there was a new KB915597 but I didn’t install it till just a few minutes ago.

[In case you are wondering, I do have Windows Update TURNED OFF and have had it turned off since earlier this year. If I am so inclined, couple of times a week, before I turn off this PC around midnight, to go to bed, I will do a manual check to see what updates are pending. That is how I know what is awaiting.]

Today, I had some free time so I decided to install the latest KB915597 but discovered that there were also 5 other updates. 4 were optional. Of these one was a cumulative update for Media Center (KB981078), while the other was a .NET Framework 4 Client Profile (KB982670). I opted to install both of these — just in case.

Two of the optional updates were to do with LEGACY application compatibility. I read the detailed info. I had never even heard of the applications let alone use them so I hid those two.

Then the one important update, not counting the latest KB915597, was for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. I installed it, because I am never sure what applications rely on .NET Framework.

************

Something is up with Windows Defender updates. I did some checking. The frequency of the updates, i.e., KBKB915597, has slowed dramatically. The last update, for Definition Set 1.83.1268.0 was three weeks ago.

Check the Microsoft Malware Protection Center log << here >>. Something doesn’t feel right. I will TRY and keep an eye.

So that is it. I did a RESTART. So far, so good. Did a QUICK SCAN with Windows Defender because Action Center was pleading with me. That was fine too — but I expect that.

All the best. Don’t install the optional legacy compatibility updates IF you do not use those legacy applications. Best to hid them.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

To be honest, the last time I had FireFox 3.6.3 crash was on May 12, 2010. So nearly a month ago. But, I will also readily concede that of late I have NOT been hammering on FireFox either — given that I am not doing as much concentrated research.

The other night, I got curious and went looking to see when I might get FireFox 4. Well that is still a ways out … FireFox 4 in essence being 3.6.7 … renamed as 4.

But, I saw that the 3.6.4 beta was on its final days. Pretty close to being released. Well, I had used the beat of 3.6.2. So, I was game. Not working on a book … at least, on in anger. So a bit of instability wouldn’t druve me totally nuts.

On Monday, June 7, I downloaded and installed FireFox 3.6.4 on my XP box. I was amazed how smoothly it went. It was treated as a straight upgrade and my theme and plug-ins all seem to work.

So yesterday, Tuesday, June 8, after I installed all the Windows updates and checked out this PC … I went for broke. I upgraded to FireFox 3.6.4. beta. (I think it was rc6). Again, the upgrade was smooth and everything just came up. No messages that I had incompatible plug-ins.

So far, so good. I will keep you posted.

Thanks.

Anura Guruge

by: Anura Guruge

I knew today, June 08, 2010, was a ‘Patch Tuesday’ for Windows.

I still have Windows Update turned off after the debacles in December-February. So I have to manually check. I had been remiss about installing updates over the last week. I knew there was a new Windows Defender, KB915597 update … this time for Definition Set 1.83.1268.0. But, I let it sit there for a week.

But, today, I downloaded and installed a total of 15, yes fifteen updates … with 5 of these being for Office 2007, one a cumulative security update for IE 8 (K982381), the Windows Defender Update, Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830) and one for Microsoft Silverlight (KB982926). It was 67.2MB of downsloads.

All appears to be well. I had to restart. It restarted ‘OK’ after a short, heart-stopping hiatus to say that it was ‘reconfiguring Windows after the updates.’

That restart was a few hours ago. Since then I have run Auslogics Registry Cleaner (88 errors), Registry Defrag (and yes, it defragged … saying it could improve performance by 1.7%) and a Disk Optimize. I also just tried Excel 2007. So far, so good.

So here are the Windows 7-related updates I appear to have successfully installed today:

1/ KB980195 — Cumulative Security Update for ActiveX Killbits

2/ KB979482, KB980218, KB979559 — Security Updates for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems

3/ KB890830 — Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

4/ KB91559 — Windows Defender update, this time for Definition Set 1.83.1268.0.

5/ KB982926 — Update for Microsoft Silverlight

6/ K982381 — Cumulative Security Update for IE 8 << can’t vouch for this, I haven’t used IE in months! >>

So that is where we are. So far, so good.

Good luck. All the best. Safe Updating.

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