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Posts Tagged ‘Windows 7’

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.

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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

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I saw KB978542 appear as an update on Tuesday, i.e., few days ago. Since I have Windows Updates TURNED OFF, I only see updates if I manually check for them — and knowing Microsoft’s schedule I usually check every Tuesday night and then again towards the end of the week.

I didn’t check the details on KB978542 until today. Noticed that all the reported problems had to do with it clobbering Windows Mail and Outlook. So dug a bit deeper.

KB978542 is SPECIFIC to Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail. Here is the Microsoft Security Bulletin <click>.

I haven’t used Outlook or Outlook Express in over 3 years. I think Outlook is the anti-christ! I try to convince as many people that I know to stop using Outlook.

I use Web mail … but not from Microsoft. The GoDaddy version. It isn’t the greatest but it plods along, and that is good enough.

So I opted to skip (and now HIDE) KB978542.

If you are not using any of the three mail packages, I suggest you skip this update too. Appears that Windows Mail is not supposed to work with Windows 7. Those that have managed to get hacked versions to work on Windows 7 are discovering that KB978542 disables Windows Mail altogether. So be aware.

I did, however, install, per rote, the May 2010, KB890830, Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. I do that just for the sport. I haven’t restarted the PC since … so I am keeping my ankles crossed.

That is it. Good luck.

Anura Guruge

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I took a few days off and took the kids to New York City.

When I got back, today, KB980408 was waiting along with two optional updates that were not applicable to this system. One was to do with BitLocker and I definitely stay clear of that.

KB980408 is SUPPOSED to be another stability and reliability update, and some of us remember what happened with one such other before Christmas. But, I went and read the detailed report. < here > As far as I could see there was nothing there that applied to me, but I decided to go ahead and install it.

I did.

It required a RESTART. That was around 10:30 this morning. Restart went fine. I have used it for about 3 hours since then — taking a break to go pick up our golden, Ulysses.

I haven’t bothered to check if others were having issues with KB980408. As I have mentioned, I can, now that “The Next Pope” book is done, afford to be more cavalier.

So, I am giving a thumbs up to KB980408.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Today, April 25, 2010, when I checked my updates, on a whim, I found an optional NVIDIA update for my GTX 260 Video Card.

Starting when I first started using PCs, in anger, in 1998 (me having till then being the most avowed of Mac bigots with 6 Macs ALL to myself in 1998) I discovered that updating Video Card microcode isn’t a bad thing. in those days each new update upped the ante. I still remember that I used to have issues with the ‘slide view’ display of my highly multi-media PowerPoint presentations. Then we updated the video card microcode. BINGO. Since then I try to keep up to-date with video card software updates.

So I agreed to the update. It was BIG, 147MB. Took a few minutes to download and install. Both my screens (yes, I have dual monitor set-up) went BLANK for a few minutes and when they came up again, the update Window had, magically (and kind of cutely), moved from my right-hand (axillary) monitor to my left-hand (primary) monitor.

It didn’t ask for a restart. But, to be on the safe side I did a restart. My PC HUNG! Sacre bloody bleu! But, to be fair, I am not sure what happened.

I forced another restart by jabbing on my Power button. System then came up. Since I am paranoid, I have tried restarting the system three times since then. No problems. So I can’t really pin the original restart quirk to NVIDIA. [Also to be fair, I very rarely restart this machine. This was probably the first time in months. So I can’t claim to be an expert on the restart behavior of this rig.]

Bottom line, however, is that all seems well.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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Four days after the last KB915597 Windows Defender Update (Definition set 1.79.1918.0) yet another one, this time for Definition set 1.81.0.0. It was sent out on April 19 but I only installed it on April 21.

Then another KB915597, dated April 22, today for Definition Set 1.81.149.0. This Definition Set is so new that it still hasn’t even made it to the ‘Change definition version’ drop down menu.

That is the sixth (6th) KB915597 Windows Defender Updates this month; i.e., April 1, April 5,  April 8, April 14, April 19 and April 22.

You can see the list of threats addressed by this update and others at this Microsoft site … click <here>.

It is sobering to realize that Microsoft, supposedly, created 9 definition sets between April 19 and April 22. They really should just move to daily updates, à la Avast.

I installed both updates. I have restarted and even run a full scan of Windows Defender. So far, so good. So, this is to say that I didn’t have any problems with these two updates.

Hope none of you got too burned by the McAfee goof-up yesterday. If I was mean spirited I could say “serves you right,” but I am not, so I won’t say that. McAfee is the pits. Why anybody would use McAfee, unless THEY are paying YOU to use it, baffles me. I have never used it. I bought my wife a Sony Vaio laptop a few years ago which had it installed. She persevered with it for awhile. She now uses free AVG and we all know that she is safer with that than she ever was with the bloated, out-of-control McAfee.

Good luck. I will try to keep you posted.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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I have been running FireFox 3.6.3 since April 3, 2010.

I had thought that 3.6.3 was slightly better on hangs than FireFox 3.6.2, and my Windows 7 Reliability History appears to confirm that. I have had one FireFox hang since I installed 3.6.3 — BUT I also recognize that I have not been banging FireFox as hard as I normally do, since I am going through a transition in my work.

Yesterday, or day before, I got an unsolicited ‘pop-up Windows’ from FireFox saying that it had, unilaterally, disabled my Java Deployment Toolkit plugin because it was known to cause instability! Wow.

This is kind of interesting because on March 23, 2010, I had suggested that you upgrade to the latest and greatest Java because I had the feeling that it was Java that was responsible for many of the crashes.

So if YOU are using FireFox 3.6.x … go to TOOLS and invoke ADD-ONS >> Plugins. See if FireFox will tell you to disable Java Deployment Tools. Even if it doesn’t try it.

Maybe it will help.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Anura Guruge

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