Fixing Windows 7’s Windows Update from doing nothing

If you have tried to install Windows 7 from scratch, I don’t know about you but I’ve seen reports [plus a few times in person] where when trying to check for updates, Windows Updates just constantly searches. Could even last for hours.

Here is a way to fix the problem:

  1. Download and run the “FixIt” from Microsoft here for Windows 7 [works with Windows 8.x as well].
  2. Use the default settings. Elevated access required.
  3. Open the Services applet from the Administrative Tools which is in the Control Panel.
  4. Stop Windows Update. Keep the Services applet open.
  5. Go to c:\windows\system32. Find the SoftwareDistribution folder and rename it [I usually add a letter at the end.
  6. Create a new folder called SoftwareDistribution. [You can optionally delete the SoftwareDistribution folder that you renamed.]
  7. Start up the Windows Update service.
  8. Download the appropriate platform version of July 2016 Cumulative Update (3172605). [Note that this update works. The cumulative updates that came out after may or may not correct the problem.]
  9. Run the July 2016 Cumulative Update.
  10. Reboot.

From this point on, Windows Update should properly work. You can download all the missing updates that you need.


  • The July 2016 Cumulative Update seems to have something in the update that fixes Windows Update but isn’t listed in what was updated.
  • Once you have renamed the SoftwareDistribution folder, this will effectively reset Windows Update settings.


Warning about Google’s Allo app

Google’s Allo is new chat app launched today for the iOS and Android platforms. It inserts AI into your conversations and is the equivalent of state surveillance. According to whistleblower/hero/traitor Edward Snowden, it should be avoided.

“Free for download today: Google Mail, Google Maps, and Google Surveillance” is how Snowden tweeted it.

Earlier this summer, the app was unveiled by Google, Eric Kay, Google’s director of engineering of communications products, said that all messages would only be stored on Google’s servers briefly and not stored permanently. But this will only be true for the “incognito mode”. The default of normal messages will see them stored. On Googles’ servers.

Theoretically the messages can be opened by the police with a warrant or maybe a simple request made to Google for the messages.

Google is claiming that storing conversations helps its servers’ algorithms learn how to be more helpful in conversations [but knowing Google they also may be used for advertisements like when they admit they read your Email electronically to aim relevant ads at you]. Google says that all the participants in the chat will see Google search results in the chat.

“And our [Google’s] approach is simple — your chat history [all or part] is saved for you until you choose to delete it.”


Trump now says Obama is born in the US (plus other news)

Finally Donald Trump has said – after over 5 years – that Barrack Obama was actually born in the US after saying for those 5+ years that he was born in Kenya. He didn’t admit he was wrong or even an apology. Was racism involved?

Trump did claim at one point that Hillary Clinton in 2008 said that Obama wasn’t born in the US when in fact some Democrats [trying to cause issues during the primaries] said that he wasn’t born in the US. But these Democrats weren’t from the party and the GOP pounced on the thought.

In a federal lawsuit filed, an anonymous “Jane Doe” alleges that Trump raped her in 1994 when she was 13, while she was being held as a sex slave in an apartment belonging to Jeffrey Epstein, a well-known American financier and convicted sex offender. Epstein is a backer of Trump. Trump has commented previously that Epstein “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” The alleged victim states that Trump had a “savage sexual attack” on her after which he threatened that she and her family would be “physically harmed if not killed.” Trump camp denies – of course – but there is actually a witness who can corroborate the then 13 year old’s story.

Donald Trump and his ex-wife Ivana are battling attempts at unsealing records of their 1990 divorce, according to a new report. The Trumps filed separate legal briefs urging a judge in Manhattan to stop The New York Times and the Gannett media companies from scrutinizing the end of their marriage. Donald and Ivana Trump were granted a divorce due to “cruel and inhuman treatment” before ultimately reaching a settlement later on.

Ivanka Trump discussed the future of the Trump business empire if her father wins the presidency during an interview on CBS. Asked what the family would do to prevent potential conflicts of interest, she said that “as a private business, we can make decisions that are not in our best interest.” Sure. They intend on possibly losing money? Shareholders won’t be happy.

Ivanka said the “would put it into a blind trust and it would be run by us [his family including her].” But she has already been advising her father on various issues including child care. In essence, she could be working for the government as well.

A report came out outlines a series of potential conflicts of interests, from Trump’s dealings with businessmen who have been the subject of government investigations in India and Turkey to his ties to powerful Russian oligarchs.

Trump, who has floated the idea of Japan and South Korea obtaining nuclear weapons, maintains an ongoing business relationship with Daewoo Engineering and Construction which build nuclear power plants. Trump also tried to license the name to an organization with very well connected ties to Vladimir Poutine. The deal fell through as Trump wanted too much money.

Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns. After making statements such as “I’ve done great” [in making money] , he has given more than $100 million in recent years [ well his campaign claimed that], and “I fight like hell to pay as little as possible” [in taxes], what happens if he hasn’t donated much to charities as he has claimed and he has paid very little or whether and where Trump has foreign accounts or trusts.

Since this quasi tradition of candidates releasing their taxes, Mitt Romney [in 2012] suffered a bit because of the low amount of taxes paid. Trump’s running mate, Mike pence, is expected to release his shortly.

Exactly how long will Trump’s tax audit last? Indefinitely? Usually the longer it is the worse it will be.

“Nobody cares about it [taxes] except some of the folks in the media. Nobody cares about it,” Trump said in a Fox News interview earlier this month. “Nobody” is one of his signature false messages like “Many people are says….”

Trump claims millions of jobs will be created with a 4% economic growth. Experts says that is way more than any economy [good or not] can handle.

“I will sever my connections and I’ll have my children and executives run the company, and I wouldn’t discuss it with them,” Trump said in reference to a Newsweek magazine article about the potential conflicts of interest caused by Trump’s business holdings in India, South Korea, Russia and elsewhere. Ya. Good luck with him not asking or them not telling him about his businesses. As president, would be in a position to make decisions on the economy and foreign policy that could benefit his family’s fortunes. Foreign countries might see Trump business ventures in their country as a way to exert pressure or curry favor.

Another problem will be the way banks and regulatory agencies in the US deal with Trump family members managing his properties. I don’t think a bank would turn down a family member for a loan if he was President. Trump has holdings such as hotels and golf courses in at least 22 countries, including Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Panama, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. caused a firestorm when, during an interview with a radio station, he raised the specter of the Holocaust by saying if Republicans acted like Hillary Clinton, the media would be “warming up the gas chamber.”

Donald Trump Jr. has a new reason to explain why his father won’t release his tax returns: They’ll steal from his political message. “Because he’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from (his father’s) main message.” And in a week before the elections they’ll come up with another excuse. I guess the audit excuse has died.

“With a $10 billion business if Donald Trump dumped his taxes out today, there would be all kinds of misinterpretations of that and maybe some real interpretations of that between now and November,” said Rep. Steve Kings [a Trump supported]. Well, if it was released at the beginning of the campaign there would be less “misinterpretations”. Is this the next excuse being tested?

Trump opened the doors after he was whining about the Clinton Foundation’s conflict of interest when Clinton becomes President. It is easier to move away from something if it is not your money.

Trump’s campaign released an attack add to go after Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark at a fundraising event while “speaking to wealthy donors” over the weekend accusing her of “viciously demonizing hard-working people.” So is this why Trump’s donations are low? No wealthy donors?

In a speech to the National Guard Association conference in Baltimore, Trump said Clinton’s “deplorable” comments were aimed at those in uniform, whether in the military or in law enforcement. How does he equate that?

Trump criticized voters in Iowa by retweeting a supporter’s jab that the Midwestern state’s number one commodity export — Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn – “creates issues in the brain.” Trump has also suggested that those who vote for Clinton would try to “rig” the election away from his supporters. So while Clinton may aimed at 50% of Trump voters with her “deplorable” comment, Trump aimed at all Clinton voters with his “rigged” comment. She didn’t call him unfit for the presidency then.

After Clinton had a bad weekend when he was described as having pneumonia, Trump said that he had a medical exam the previous week and will release the results “when the numbers come in, I’ll be releasing very specific numbers” What a coincidence. And maybe his health results will come in faster than his tax returns. What specific numbers? Will he release only the good results and maybe ignore areas where he has issues [such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.]

Trump’s own health was questioned following media reports into his physician Dr. Harold Bornstein and a note he wrote in 2015 vouching for Trump’s health, which other doctors have said includes medically incorrect terms and an unprofessional conclusion. Clinton’s physician did issue a health statement last year certifying that she was fit to serve as President. Trump has offered no such information.

Trump first provided a summary of a recent physical to Dr. Mehmet Oz while taping an episode of Oz’s TV show. He said on the show that he gets exercise during the campaign by delivering speeches at rallies, calling them “a lot of work” and requiring “a lot of motion.” Exercise by talking and gesturing?

Clinton is within weight range and has normal cholesterol and blood pressure. Trump is considered overweight, a slightly higher blood pressure than Clinton but surprisingly lower cholesterol numbers. Seems to me Clinton is in better health.

“When Donald Trump and I said that the small and bullying president of Russia was a strong leader on the world stage, that wasn’t an endorsement of Putin,” Mike Pence said. Well, that’s what most think it means – they’re endorsing Vladimir Poutine.

Misconfiguration of Donald Trump’s campaign website left the personal information of interns – and perhaps more – accessible to casual snooping. Staffers of the real estate mogul-turned-US presidential candidate “bungled the settings on their Amazon S3 server”. The practical upshot of the snafu was that anyone who correctly guessed folder and file names would have been able to download sensitive information without getting prompted for a password. [Trump will blame Clinton for this.]

“This [Email server] is a far bigger scandal than Watergate ever was, but with Watergate we had justice, we had the Justice Department that went after the people. We’ve never, ever seen anything like this,” Trump said. Uh huh. I guess he wants the Department of Justice fight his battles, not the country’s battles. And I guess he doesn’t know what happened with Watergate.

Trump going after the Clinton Foundation may have backfired. The New York Attorney General has opened an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation to ensure the Republican presidential nominee’s charity was complying with state laws governing nonprofits. The New York Attorney General sued the real estate mogul and his now defunct Trump University for fraud in 2013, seeking $40 million in restitution plus penalties and other costs. Not surprising, a Trump campaign spokesman dismissed the assertions as entirely motivated by presidential politics.

At a recent Trump rally, as several protesters were being escorted out by security, a man in the crowd grabbed a male protester around the neck and then punched him. He then slapped at a woman being led out. The Trump supporter was not ejected by security. [That’s two counts of assault right there. Seems security was useless.]

Trump was at a [primarily] black church in Flint, Michigan where they have had some clean water issues for the past couple of years or so. He was cut off by the pastor when he tried to go political. At the same time the pastor stopped hecklers from going after him. He cut off the visit shortly after – with a speech totaling 6 minutes. This after he was accused by a woman of discriminatory housing practices in his buildings which he denied but has known to happen.

Ivanka Trump cut short an interview with Cosmopolitan published after being asked about some of Donald Trump’s past comments about childcare and maternity leave. Trump criticized the interviewer for having “a lot of negativity” in her questions. Like father like daughter – they can’t take any criticisms or negative comments and questions.

For as guy who wants to reduce taxes and cut the size of the government, he’s going the opposite way. The military budget is already at $600 billion and he wants to increase that as he claims Obama hasn’t given the military enough. The current military budget [for example] is about 40 times the military budget for Canada. In addition he wants to make child care more affordable, guaranteeing new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave [whose employers don’t offer leave already] and of course fix infrastructure that he says has been neglected by Obama. Lower-income earners would receive child-care spending rebates through expanding the existing Earned Income Tax Credit.

Added to that is a pledge that no business should pay more than 15 per cent of its income in taxes – currently tops at 35%. That should help the Trump Organization. But he flip flopped again a in December he said the after deduction tax rates would be from 0% to 25%. Now it’s 12% to 33%. I guess he wants the people to pay more than companies.

Trump previously proposed reducing child care costs by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care from their taxes. He recently expanded that proposal to allow families with a stay-at-home parent to qualify for the deduction and to include costs associated with caring for elderly dependent relatives. The deduction would apply only to individuals earning $250,000 or less, or $500,000 or less if filing jointly. But because Trump’s proposal is a tax deduction rather than credit, its greatest benefits would go to affluent households such as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who suggested the changes to him.

Trump did not lay out how much the proposals would cost, but insisted the extra spending would be offset by economic growth and other cuts. None of the proposals would push economic growth – so he has to assume the economy will do even better than it is now.

Uber versus taxis

I have absolutely no sympathy for the taxi drivers in Quebec. Too long they had what could be considered a monopoly.

Unlike most other jurisdictions [in the world] where there are both taxi and Uber driver, most seem to get along with each other. The taxi drivers seem to live with the fact that Uber is around to stay.

A number of years ago, the city of Montreal bought out a bunch of taxi permits because there were too many of them and they supposedly couldn’t make a living. So by reducing the number of taxis on the island, there should be more revenue coming in for the taxi drivers. But what also did was increase the wait time to get a taxi if not at a taxi stand.

Fast forward to the last couple of year. Uber moves into Montreal and the taxi drivers are upset. Boo hoo.

Some taxi drivers resorted to harassment of the Uber drivers and clients which included [light] damage to vehicles, physical and verbal assaults, etc. Sounds a bit like a mafia like attitude.

Taxi drivers were told to clean up their act. Proper clothing [white shirts, black pants], clean their cars, etc. They complained.

The provincial government struck a deal with the Uber drivers within the past couple of weeks where the new requirements for Uber drivers won’t be easy for them to complete.

The requirements include permits, taking customer service courses, basic vehicle repair knowledge, restrictions in the number of hours [anything over 50,000 hours a year and Uber will have to pay fees that will benefit the taxi industry], charge a minimum fee, etc.

And yet the taxi drivers are still complaining and contemplating an injunction or go on strike. If they do, I won’t be affected or care. Also more work for Uber drivers and less for them. So who are they kidding?

The taxi industry accused the provincial government of betraying them by negotiating with a company they say operates outside the law. Ummm. Uber will be paying back taxes as part of the deal in addition to taxes and licenses.

The taxi drivers are just acting like a bunch of crybabies who’ve had it so good over the years.

Taxi drivers in my area don’t seem to respect the rules of the road. Going through stop signs, no signals when turning, double parking [with no flashers]. I’ve even seen them make U-turns on a busy main street.


Apple’s latest iGadget updates

So Apple had their big day on the 7th with the release of the iPhone 7. Nope. The rumors of a different name wasn’t to be true.

Apple probably made enough changes between this series and the previous series to warrant a new series.

Aside from an updated iOS which include an automatic “wake” feature that kicks in whenever you pick up your device, Uber integration, etc.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus toss out the wired 3.5 mm headphone jack. So you will need either a lightning headphones [included] or a Bluetooth headphones. Also included in the box is a 3.5-mm-to-lightning connector jack.

The Plus version of the phone will include two 12-megapixel, rear-facing cameras, with the second camera’s 56-mm, telephoto lens designed to improve the phone’s magnification capabilities.

The regular phone model will still have only one 12-megapixel camera. Both models will have an optical stabilizer and a wide aperture included with their cameras. The front-facing camera will capture seven megapixels.

Apple claims the iPhone 7 series’ processors operates 40 per cent faster than the ones in the iPhone 6s.

Of course they made some changes such as a smooth finish, a new home “button”, and water and dust resistant.

The phone will come with either 32, 128 or 256 gigabytes of storage, and will retail for the same prices as the current 6S model.

Something new is the AirPod headphones which are Bluetooth enabled ear pods They have a battery life of 5 hours [which isn’t much] and will charge when inserting in the case. This will be considered a basic edition. Beats by Dre [owned by Apple] will release its own line of premium wireless headphones using the AirPod technology [somewhere in excess of $300 each].

Expect people to be losing one of their ear pods quite easily as they are small. In addition, they could be something that would be attracted by a small child or a pet to swallow.

Question whether you can purchase one [instead of a pair] to replace a lost ear pod. A pair will sell for $160US [$220CDN]. Maybe Apple will add it to AppleCare.

Speaking of which, Canadians won’t be happy as Apple says the iPhone 7 will be priced the same as the iPhone 6S [with equivalent configuration] but all iGadgets [iPhone, AirPod, Watch, etc.] will be higher in Canada – more than just the exchange rate between the Canadian & NUS dollar. Anywhere between 5% and 10% more expensive. The AirPod should of been about $205CDN but are $15 more.

I wouldn’t put it pass Apple to tweak the headphones so they only work with Apple products.

People are taking to Twitter to already comment on the AirPods with the comments like “FindMyEarPods app coming soon” and “I don’t have AirPods yet but somehow I’ve already lost them.”

Apple CEO Cook called the iPhone “the best-selling product of its kind in the history of the world” with over 1 billion products sold. [Sound a bit like what Donald Trump would say.]


And still more about Trump

Donald Trump will outline plans to “add substantially” to the nation’s arsenal of submarines, ships and combat troops. “I’m going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody — absolutely nobody — is gonna mess with us.” If he is proposing less taxes, how will he pay for more military spending? Maybe curb some tax loopholes [but that will hurt him!]. Or may have all other countries pay for it! The United States already spends more than US$600 billion a year on the military, more than the next seven countries combined. Canada spends US$14.42 billion a year.

It is not surprising that current and former military leaders would back Trump. Going by history, the GOP tend to prefer to start wars. Dwight Eisenhower for the Vietnam War, George H.W. Bush in the 1990 Iraq war, and George W. Bush in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars last decade. Most of the names on the list are Navy admirals who were not on the ground during the war against terror.

Trump would rely on the generals to make up for his own lack of national security inexperience to take on the Islamic State group. He vowed to give military leaders a “simple instruction” soon after taking office: “They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling basically called it ridiculous stating “it shows a complete lack of understanding of the threat and the ways to fight it.” And remember Trump’s statement in November 2015: “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.”

Donald Trump’s campaign released a letter signed by 88 retired military leaders endorsing his presidential candidacy, including four four-star generals and 14 three-star flag officers, according to the campaign. Trump’s campaign shouldn’t be too happy. Sen. John McCain, a former Naval Aviator, was endorsed by 300 generals and admirals in his 2008 contest with Barack Obama. Even more backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 in a full-page ad in the Washington Times.

In the latest in Trump’s flip-flopping, Trump has said now that any immigrants who want full citizenship must return to their countries of origin and get in line, he told reporters – but he would not rule out a pathway to legal status for the millions living in the U.S. illegally.

In a Phoenix speech, Trump said that “Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation”. So I guess that means any illegal – whether good or bad. “We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. There will be no amnesty.”

Praying for a cabinet post in a Trump administration [good luck there!], Rudy Giuliani says [just days after the Phoenix immigration speech that] mass deportation by a Trump administration has been removed from the table. Didn’t he hear Trump’s message? Giuliani claims it applies “largely directed toward criminal illegal immigrants.” Did Trump say that? No. If so, more flip flopping.

After his trip to Mexico, Trump said the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto violated some “ground rules” by admitting that the two did actually discuss payment of his proposed border wall between the two countries but acknowledged “that’s ok.” It is probably one of the biggest items the two can discuss. Why would Trump leave it out of the discussions? What is he hiding? What other “ground rules”? Maybe it is his way of lying again.

“She [Hillary Clinton] doesn’t have the energy to bring ’em [jobs] back. You need energy, man,” Trump told reporters. I think you need more that stamina. A good economy and someone who knows economics – something he lacks.

“She [Clinton] didn’t have the energy to go to Louisiana. And she didn’t have the energy to go to Mexico.” What’s in Louisiana that she had to attend? As for Mexico, it seems he should of not gone to Mexico because it didn’t help him. He said things in Mexico and then flip-flopped them back in the US later that day.

Trump joking said that only a “hurricane” or “natural disaster” would prevent him from attending all three presidential debates. Expect him to use an excuse like that soon.

The Dallas Morning News editorial board said they would not give their blessing to Donald Trump in 2016, ending a streak of endorsing every Republican presidential nominee since 1968 saying Trump is “not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.”. Not a good sign from GOP country. Another major newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, endorsed Clinton in July.

Trump insisted on repeating a claim that has been previously debunked — that he was “totally against the war in Iraq.” There is no evidence to date that shows Trump came out against the Iraq War early on, and in fact, he initially said he supported the conflict. On Howard Stern in September 2002, “Yeah, I guess so” was his response whether or not he supported the invasion of Iraq.

“On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall,” said Trump in a speech recently. “Powerful”? “Beautiful”?

Trump still can’t figure what to do with the [left wing] media. He says “CNN is so disgusting in their bias….” and The New York Times “has not reported properly on Crooked’s FBI release. They are at the back of the pack – no longer a credible source.” But days later he offered this assessment of the journalists picked to moderate the fall presidential debates: “I like them. I respect the moderators. I do respect them. It’s interesting.”

“The man [Vladimir Poutine] has very strong control over a country,” says Trump because Putin has a 82% approval rating. But whether or not the source of the rating is [how should I say] legitimate and unbiased. Barack Obama’s rating is at 54% – quite good for a country that is divided mostly by party lines. Trump even went as far as to say Poutine was a better leader than Barack Obama.

Trump opened the door to granting legal status to people living in the U.S. illegally who join the military. I wonder what happens when someone who is/was in the military and became a citizen uses his/her military expertise to harm fellow Americans.

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen joined the list of GOP officials supporting Clinton.

Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake has already stated he will not vote for either Trump or Clinton. He dislikes Trump’s “rhetoric” and policies.

Another Arizona senator, John McCain, came out with a television ad stating that with a Clinton presidency he will keep her in check. There was nothing negative there. Interestingly in the ad, he mentioned nothing but Trump. Maybe not expecting a Trump win. Arizona has sided with the Republicans for the last 230 years but the current polls have Trump leading by 5%.

Trump visited a largely black neighborhood in Philadelphia recently, doing a speech at a black church but he was using a “script” and wanted to know the questions that will be asked before he did his speech. I am guessing he did it so he wouldn’t make one of his famous dumb that would further alienate the minorities. The pastor of the church said that the Trump campaign would not have a role editing the final cut of the interview, disputing an assertion in The New York Times report that said they did.

“Donald Trump should have gone to the Olympics as a gymnast, because there’s a lot of contortionism there,” said Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

A Trump supporter claims that a Clinton administration will result in a taco stand in every corner of America.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized the FBI’s handling of the matter, accusing the bureau of playing politics with the release. And what is he doing? Being impartial?

“You don’t want me to defend a group [the KKK] that I know nothing about.” Said Trump once. How can you not know about the KKK.

Trump did file a ridiculous $500 million lawsuit against Univision, claiming that political interference from one of Univision’s owners, prominent Democratic fundraiser Haim Saban, drove Univision’s decision to back out of the contract. According to the court filing, Univision’s five-year rights deal was valued at $13.5 million. Settlement was not disclosed when finished this past February. Univision has the Spanish language rights.

According to a 2006 investigation by the New York Daily News, 40 Wall Street LLC, a Trump-owned business, collected a $150,000 grant to cover losses from 9/11 but days after the attack Trump said his properties were not affected.

In the one smart thing Trump did say recently is that the other countries in the NATO alliance should be contributing what they are required to. The US and a few countries are contributing more than the 2% of their country’s GDP but most aren’t.



Another set of computer tips

Tip #1: Other was to restart Windows 10

In addition to my shutdown tips there are two ways where you can go into the diagnostics section of Windows [i.e. reset the computer, safe mode, etc.]:

  • From the login screen, hold down the shift key and power button. Then select Restart.
  • While logged into Windows, from the original Windows menu [may not work with a replacement one], hold down the shift key and power button. Then select Restart.

Tip #2: Accessing Safe Mode in Windows 10

You can no longer press F8 during the Windows startup sequence to access the black-and-white Advanced Boot Options menu system to select Safe Mode. Microsoft’s justification for disabling the F8 key is essentially that the UEFI-based computers boot up so fast that people would never be able to press F8 before Windows starts.

To compensate for this, Microsoft configured the operating system such that if there is a persistent boot problem, Windows 10 will automatically boot into the Startup Settings menu. From there, you can access all the available Safe Mode options. In addition, you can always boot your system with a Recovery Drive and have access to a host of recovery tools, as I’ve described in my recent series of articles.

Select Settings from the Start Menu/Screen. When the Settings screen appears, select the Update And Security tile and select the Recovery tab. Then, click the Restart Now button in the Advanced Startup section.

Once your system restarts, you’ll see the Choose An Option screen, which is similar to the one you see on the Recovery Drive. To continue, click the Troubleshoot tile.

When you see the Troubleshoot screen select the Advanced Options tile.

Select the Startup Settings tile. The Startup Settings window will open, showing you which options you will be able to change when you boot into the Safe Mode environment. To continue, click the Restart button and the system will reboot into the Safe Mode Environment.

When your system restarts, you’ll see the Startup Settings menu. There are nine options on this menu, which you can access by pressing the corresponding number keys or function keys.

If you press F10, you’ll see another menu with a single item that allows you to launch the Recovery Environment, which is what you access when you boot from a Recovery Drive.

Tip #3: Upgrading Windows 10 Home to Professional

Note: The following has not been proven. Use at your own risk.

If you have a system running Windows 10 Home, you can currently upgrade to Professional using a product key from Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate or Windows 8/8.1 Professional. [Note that the option to upgrade using product keys from earlier editions might stop working at some future point, so I recommend that you do so sooner rather than later.]

To “upgrade”, go to Settings. Then go to Update & Security, followed by Activation. Click Change Product Key, and type or paste the key. The upgrade takes only a few minutes.