Windows 10 to be released at the end of July

The AMD President & CEO let it slip that Windows 10 will go RTM at the end of July. I’m guessing July 28th as Tuesday is usually the traditional product release day for Microsoft.

This means, it will be in retail towards the end of August and most new systems released in time for the new school year could have it installed.

So this means that if your system qualifies, it can be upgraded for free until somewhere near the end of August or early September 2016.

[Microsoft uses the term RTM or “Released too Manufacturing” in reference to the good old days when a master CD image was sent to be duplicate millions of times. Now everything is on the Internet first. Even still it takes 6 to 9 weeks from RTM until you see it in stores or to buy online. OEMs such as Dell or HP are given enough time to create images for systems that will get it first.]

Problems in April’s Patch Tuesday

So far April’s patches aren’t causing too much harm. [But it is still early!] Here is a run-down.

KB2889923 update for Lync 2013 (Skype for Business) will do a number on users who are running Outlook 2010. While not a common combination it will cause some problems in larger companies. In April, a small batch of updates including this one will convert your Lync 2013 client to Skype for Business. There are already a batch of smaller issues for Skype for Business.

KB2990214 clobbers servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). The SSRS service fails to start after this update.

KB3013769, which is the December 2014 rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 has been re-release but optionally. The bug lies with [primarily] Windows 8.1 systems with Kaspersky security software installed. Some customers reported not being able to install the rollup, while others kept receiving error messages of SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED (kl1.sys). The latest update was only available via the Windows Catalog at this time.

KB2990214 has been re-re-released to fix the future option of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Of note the knowledge base says it won’t allow Windows Server 2008 R2 to upgrade to Windows Server 2016 when released. The latest update was only available via the Windows Catalog at this time.

When and if there are updates and further issues, they’ll be mentioned here or check the KB.

Oh ya. As of this month, if using Office 2013 and/or Exchange Server 2013, note that you will need service pack 1. Since Microsoft doesn’t seem to be releasing service packs anymore, dying editions won’t by much of an issue.

[Update: 2015/04/17:] Surprisingly no other issues reported. One little minor thing. When you install KB3035583, you will note that it says it improves Windows Update notifications. But what it also does is when Windows 10 is officially released, a pop-up box [or annoying box] will pop-up informing you that Windows 10 is available for you to upgrade. lets hope there is an option to turn off on delay reduce the number of pop-ups in a day.

The nature of Microsoft updates

Right away, for April 2015, there are a stack of updates for Office 2010 users and the usual larger stack of updates for Office 2013 [I’ll get to that reason why shortly].

One thing that has been uncovered by a research company is [would you believe] a decade plus old vulnerability. Yes. You read it right. It’s been around since the 1990s according to a research company. The vulnerability came out in 1997.

Microsoft has confirmed the vulnerability but said it could be only vulnerability under certain strict conditions. But since it is unknown if this months patches includes a fix, they didn’t go into detail. But at least a fix is promised.

Well, at least it doesn’t seem to be as nasty as March or as buggy as February. So far.

But the bug affects other software from Microsoft as well as at least 30 other software developers from Adobe to Symantec to Oracle. Ouch.

Back to the Office 2013 updates. Microsoft had decided some point after service pack 1 for Office 2013, that there would be no more service packs for Office 2013. Instead monthly updates.

Now if you looked at last months updates, Office 2013 accounted for about 1 GB of 1.2 GB to download [if you downloaded individually and not through Windows Update]. Can you imagine this every month? Microsoft releases the updates by components. So one for Word, another for Excel, another for filters/converters. You get the idea.

Some months an update for [say Excel] isn’t included because there was nothing fixed but will probably be around for a future update. at least they are generally accumulated.

Interesting to note that Office 2010 doesn’t seem to have as many. [Office 2010 is in extended support and as such rarely gets any non-security updates.]

Is it really a balanced budget or just a form of cheating?

Here’s some Canadian politics for you.

Way back in 2009, various government bailed out the North American automakers because of the declining sales and the recession that was brought on during the US government of George W. Bush. Instead of the standard Here is some cash to help you out even though we may not see it again, the government took shares in the automakers.

Fast forward to this past week. The Canada government was the last government to still have shares – in this case General Motors – and decided to cash in their shares.

It was a nice chunk of shares because it netted the government somewhere around $3.3 billion. Problem is that they spent $4 billion in 2009 for the shares. So the government actually lost around $700 million.

So you may be asking why the Canadian government cashed in those shares now.

Well, they needed the cash to have a balanced budget.

Sounds a bit odd but with the barrel of gas cut in half since this time last year, the government is losing money because it receives revenue from the sale of gas as well as the job losses that are happening in the gas industry in Canada. Since that revenue isn’t coming in, they can’t balance the budget [expected within two weeks] without selling their shares in GM.

To add to this, the government has announced that no future government can have a deficit in their budget.

Sounds a bit odd and will be hard to keep a promise considering the government was tens of billions in deficit in 2009 for trying to prop up the economy. [But I think there will be an exception for cases such as that.]

Even still, to sell off shares at a major loss to claim to have a balanced budget. All this coming just months before an election in mid-October.

Once the budget is read in a couple of weeks, the Harper government can proclaim though out the election campaign and the months prior during the “fake” election campaign that they had a balanced budget.

I think anyone who follows politics well will know that they only had their precious balanced budget because they sold off shares for a loss.

[And unlike a taxpayer, you can’t report it on your tax form as a capital loss if you are the government.]

When is checking for updates useless

Driver updates. Unsure why some people seem to want to check whether they are current.

When you buy a new computer, most manufacturers include software that check their servers for any update that apply to your system.

The same goes for a peripheral that you may have bought [although sometimes it is just a firmware check].

These updaters check your system probably at least once a day. Problem is that software updates and firmware updates aren’t release that often.

On top of that if your system is probably at least 2 years old or more don’t expect any updates [for the system – not peripherals that are attached or hardware that you added/upgraded].

If you have a printer, for example, they may release an update but in some cases it is just to add additional support for other printers that use the same drivers.

The ones I really don’t trust are these third-party applications – especially if they are installed when you installed something else for the primary reason [i.e. you download a free applications and install it and during the install it ask (or maybe not) to install some driver checking software]. Really wonder if they aren’t just checking for updates….

Usually after a couple of years, it is time to remove even the one that came from the manufacturer for your computer.

If you prefer to manually update, you have to watch what you update. For example, one manufacturer only supports drivers on their web site. So the last drivers for my video card was something like 13.5. I tried to install 14.4 a while back and it butchered my system. [Still not 100% back to normal.] For whatever reason 14.4 [and later] would not detect my video card. [I never had this issue with another video card “platform”, so I’m thinking of going back to that other “platform” if a change arises.]

Windows Updates causes team to lose basketball game

[And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.]

As the home team in a match against Chemnitz in the German league basketball game, the Paderborn Finke Baskets were responsible for the large score display. The laptop that was controlling the screen crashed before the start of the game. As it rebooted, it insisted on installing Windows updates. The game was supposed to start at 7.30 pm on March 13th , but after speaking to the referee, the manager for Paderborn decided to wait for the screen to come back before tip-off.

With the team badly needed to hold on to their spot in the league, it took 17 minutes for the Windows updates to be installed [why so many?] which turn out to be two minutes longer than the Paderborn could work with. In an official statement from the Basketball Bundesliga league officials, they confirmed that Paderborn has been relegated from the ProA because if a game is interrupted for more than 15 minutes, the responsible team is considered to have lost the game. This is part of the league rules.

Computer Tip: Fast way to do a fresh Windows 8.1 reinstall

Consider the following scenario: You need to re-install Windows 8 on your computer. Then you need to install the required updates to get it to Windows 8.1, and then install the big update released in 2014 and then quite a few months of updates.

Now if you ever upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 it isn’t the easiest upgrade. Quite often the upgrade fails before it even downloads the first MB.

Now if you have ever installed and updated Windows before, you can save probably at least 6 hours of work if you can get ahold of the media that has Windows 8.1 [and even better if it has that big update].

But if you try to use your Windows 8 serial number during the Windows 8.1 installation, the setup will reject it.

To trick Windows into allowing the installation, use the serial number GCRJD-8NW9H-F2CDX-CCM8D-9D6T9 during the installation.

Note: This serial number is a readily available serial number on the Microsoft web site used for Key Management Systems [KMS]. We are just using it temporarily.

After the installation, Windows will reject the KMS serial number above. At that point you can use the serial number from Windows 8.

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