Another senseless mass shooting in the US

Here we go again. Another mass shooting in the US, this time in the town of Roseburg, Oregon.

Again the shooter [who was later killed by Police] came in with at least six guns and brought body armor, ready to kill people.

This looks like religious related shootings as the killer asked students’ and teachers’ religion. If they said Christian, they were shot in the head. If no answer or said otherwise, they were shot in the leg.

Again, President Obama was upset with what has happened. But there is nothing he can do as the Republicans control Congress.

The gun culture is enshrined in the US – especially with the Republican Party where they are backed by the powerful National Rifle Association.

The Constitution in the US says American citizens can own at least one gun but this was included as an amendment to the Constitution.

It was added. So theoretically it can be removed. Good luck to that. Some of the hard core Republicans would proclaim the equivalent of a civil war if the federal government removed or limited their access to their guns.

This is the 41st mass shooting this year. Many have occurred at schools.

There is a killing every 16 minutes in the US.

The killer proclaimed his manifesto. He flunked out of army boot camp in 2008 because he was discharged for failing to meet the minimum standards. He studied mass shooters before becoming one himself.

The good, the bad and the whatever in Windows 10

There were 75 million upgrades and/or installations in the first month of Windows 10’s release and the majority were upgrades. This is a significant increase over the first month of release for either Windows 8 or Windows 7 [the latter actually started very slow when released]. A major update is expected probably within the next 6 weeks. I am hoping that one big update will be released instead of the huge mess when Windows 8.1 came out and you needed to install this 2.5+ GB update through the Microsoft Store. Expect 2 major updates that are expected in the summer and fall of next year as well.

One issue that came up is the upgrade issue. By now you know that the free upgrade is within the first month of release [ending around July 28, 2016]. If you are in a smaller organization, this could be painful to deploy on a bunch of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems but removing the “junk” that comes in Windows 10.

Privacy has been another issue in Windows 10. When windows 8 [and 8.1] were released, there were concerns with some information that was included. In windows 10 there seems to be even more questions regarding privacy. The Windows 10 privacy is overblown, but Microsoft was caught flat-footed by the first wave of criticism and still hasn’t figured out a reassuring explanation for what is, at its core, a perfectly reasonable design. There has been some inovative people that have released scripts and applications to try and block some or most of the issues. Try googling “Windows 10 Privacy”.

Problem is that recently Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 also received some of these privacy related updates.

Microsoft Edge kills out a lot of the crud that internet Explorer has but at least initially there are no options like extensions. So Edge does have some limitations.

Mandatory updates are issues because it forces consumers to get updated right away. Businesses [and “Pro”] users have the option to delay updates. Problem is that Microsoft hasn’t had the greatest track record of late. There have been multiple re-releases and out-of-band updates to fix problem updates. One problem is that Microsoft is now releasing most updates through a “cumulative update” which weighs in at 300+ MB [64-bit edition]. So if there is an issue, either they release a small fix or fix the 300+ MB update again.

There was also an issue with how Windows 10 became available. There was no warning when after installing the required updates needed to check if Windows 10 was compatible with your system, your system started to download the installation plus a bunch of updates plus the latest cumulative update plus other updates. Someone with a slow Internet connection or a data quota may have received a nice surprise.

The different interfaces – some are unique to Windows 10 [example Settings] and others remind us of Windows 7 [example Control Panel] can be a bit confusing.

The menu system that includes the tiles from Windows 8.x is better although the way you have to scroll through the Start menu is a bit painful.

The notification setup is a nice touch.

Finally creating a PDF is possible from within Windows. It should have been in there 5 years ago.

Disabling Windows 10 upgrade option

Whether you are a home user or at work, there are a couple of Microsoft options to stop Windows from upgrading to Windows 10. Even if you are on a domain or using an enterprise version of Windows, it isn’t a bad idea to use the options below.

The first option, tells Windows not to upgrade using Windows Update. Of course this doesn’t stop someone from manually updating.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



The second option hides the Get Windows 10 icon in the system tray. Once again this doesn’t stop someone from manually updating. This options is good for those novices that link to poke around and say “What is this?” and end up installing malware on their system.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



As usual, use the information above at your own risk and remember that there must be at lease one blank line at the end of a registry file [.REG].

MS Office 2016 to be released on September 22

Microsoft announced today that Office 2016 will be available beginning September 22 [with volume license customers beginning October 1st].

Office 2016 will follow a similar update cycle as Windows10 with the Current Branch and Current Branch for Business structure. Beyond the new deployment and management options, the new Office also adds support for data loss prevention across the Office 2016 applications, multi-factor authentication and other mission critical control capabilities.

Also added are deployment support for Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to help control network traffic when deploying updates and new reports on Office activation and usage available in the Office 365 administration portal.

Now Microsoft privacy issues are aimed at Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

It seems Microsoft’s privacy invasion has now continued to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Recently these “telemetry” updates are added to those versions of Windows.

The mandatory update KB3068708 (titled “Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry”) as well as the option updates KB3075249 (titled “Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7”) and KB3080149 (titled “Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry”) are the culprits.

Depending on your operating system you can silently uninstall them in an elevated command prompt:

  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3068708 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3022345 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3075249 /quiet /norestart
  • wusa /uninstall /kb:3080149 /quiet /norestart

Note that KB3022345 is replaced by KB3068708. So if you remove the latter, it will still be sending out information.

You can also add the following to your host file or firewall to block:                      #                    #


Testing for Windows 10 compatibility

If you are unsure if your system is compatible with Windows 10 or why you haven’t seen the Get Windows 10 icon in the system try, the following may give you a hint.

Prerequisite: You will need the full installation media on your hard disk, a DVD or a USB key.

Start the test by using the full installation media. If you don’t have it, use the Windows Media Creation Tool and be sure not to upgrade but to create an ISO or USB key.

Locate SETUP.EXE and run the following in an elevated command prompt:

SETUP.EXE /Auto Upgrade /Quiet /NoReboot /Compat ScanOnly

What this will do is check your system for compatibility with Windows 10 without installing or upgrading. It will return one of the message following:

  • No issues found: 0xC1900210
  • Does not meet system requirements for Windows 10: 0xC1900200
  • Migration choice (auto upgrade) not available (probably the wrong SKU or architecture)· 0xC1900204
  • Compatibility issues found (hard block): 0xC1900208
  • Insufficient free disk space: 0xC190020E

[The return codes are actually large negative numbers but these look more readable. Don’t ask me why they are like this instead of 0, 1, 2, …]

If unsure of the error or you need more information, look at SETUPACT.LOG or SETUPERR.LOG generated by SETUP.EXE to see what the specific error that could stop the upgrade.


Uninstalling Windows 10 applications that have no uninstall option

There are a number of the Windows 10 applications (the so-called Universal applications) that have no uninstall option. Luckily they can be removed using PowerShell.

Launch an elevated PowerShell box and then run the following command to remove it:

Get-AppxPackage ** | Remove-AppxPackage

As an example, to remove the built-in Camera applications you would use:

Get-AppxPackage *camera* | Remove-AppxPackage

If you want to view all the packages, use the following command:

Get-AppxPackage | ft Name, PackageFullName -AutoSize

Here are a list of some of the common ones you may want to uninstall. They are listed below with the part of package name to use:

  • Camera – *camera*
  • Groove Music and Movies & TV – *zune*
  • Mail and Calendar – *communi*
  • People – *people*
  • Xbox – *xbox*
  • Solitare – *solit*
  • 3D Builder – *3d*
  • Money, Sports, News, Travel, Health, Food and Weather – *bing* [removes all 7 applications]

For the last one, you can remove all or to just remove certain ones use *bingmoney*, *bingsports*, etc. You can use the following command to view the names:

Get-AppxPackage *bing* | ft Name, PackageFullName -AutoSize

Note that other applications may be uninstallable by right clicking on the link in the Start menu or via the System settings and looking under Apps & features.


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