Microsoft to force feature updates on near out of support Windows 10 installations

Microsoft announced this week that for Windows 10 devices that are at, or within several months of reaching end of service, Windows Update will automatically initiate a feature update…. The Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Windows 10, version 1803) will reach end of service on November 12, 2019 for Home and Pro editions.

Starting this June [2019], Microsoft will begin updating devices running the April 2018 Update and earlier versions of Windows 10.

[Ed’s comments: Expect a flood of complainers/whiners plus some butchered installations.]

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Windows 10 19H1 finally released

Very [almost] quietly, Microsoft finally has released Windows 10 19H1 [a.k.a. v1903]. It is based on build 18362.30 – although there are already up to 18362.116.

By the old title [“v1903”], this was to be released in March or early April. We are in the last full week of May. They were obviously some issues but they didn’t want the fiasco of v1809 which was released in November 2018.

v1809 release only managed to pick up around 30% of the Windows 10 users. Many holding out and hoping for a stable 19H1.

The next feature release is expected sometime in the second half of 2019 but is expected to be more like a traditional “service pack” – mostly fixes and corrections and less of new or updated features.

As usual, consumers will probably get notification with the best likely systems [newest usually] to be offered it first.

ISO images are available from the usual sources as well as the Media Tool creation tool is available from Microsoft.

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 13

Tip #1: Bring back the old Gmail web Inbox

Former Gmail leader design and Inbox co-creator Michael Leggett looked at the terrible Gmail web interface and said Go look at any desktop app and tell me how many have a huge f_cking logo in the top left. C’mon. It’s pure ego, pure bullsh_t. Drop the logo. Give me a break. Leggett decided to do something about Gmail: He created a Chrome extension called Simplify that makes Gmail on the web look and work more like, wait for it, Inbox. See https://simpl.fyi/gmail/

Tip #2: Encryption problems

If you work in a corporate environment, depending on what encryption [if any?] is used on portable media [i.e. USB keys and drives], you may find that the encryption may in fact cause problems.

For example, if you are the local support person, encryption may stop you from booting up a USB key to [say] fix a computer that got hit with malware.

Depending on your configuration, they may allow non-encryption but you have to tinker with some settings.

In Windows 10, for example, if you right click on a file, you can select File ownership -> Personal to not encrypt. [Once again if enabled.] But that’s nice fore one file but what about [say] hundreds of files in folders and sub-folders?

Fortunately, there is a command-line tool that can help you out, and it’s really simple. Assuming the E-drive is your USB key, to not-encrypt the drive, the command you is:

cipher.exe /d /s:D:\ .

Note than in most Windows command-line tools “/s” is include sub-folders. Here, the tool assumes sub-folders but specifying the folder to keep decrypted.

Tip #3: Panther in Windows

This actually isn’t a tip, but a FYI.

Why is there a folder called Panther in Windows since Windows Vista?
Panther was the code-name for the new setup/servicing engine that first introduced in our beloved Windows Vista. Some suggest that before Windows Vista was shipped [“RTM”] that the folder name would be changed to something more meaningful, but because the folder path was all over the place in the Windows code at the time, it was never changed.

Wonder if it will ever show up in Jeopardy.

Contestant: Alex. $1000 for Windows trivia.

Alex: It is the code name for the new setup/servicing engine that first shipped in Windows Vista.

Contestant: What is Panther?

Alex: Correct!

Check your Google account

Google’s Sensorvault database contains location data for hundreds of millions of devices all over the world. Law enforcement officials have been using warrants to obtain information from Sensorvault in an effort to identify suspects in crimes. Sensorvault holds data from a Google Location History, a function which is not enabled by default, though some services, like traffic alerts, prompt users to enable it.

Law enforcement officials have been seeking data from Sensorvault about devices in the vicinity at the time of a crime. While the initial data Google provides are anonymized, once law enforcement has analyzed movements patterns and reduced devices of interest to a smaller number, Google provides law enforcement with the information of the owners of those devices.

To check on thing, log into your Google account at https://myaccount.google.com

Check the following:

  • Review your privacy settings
  • We keep your account protected
  • Make Google yours

This is not just to stop law enforcement but also to secure your account.

Make sure you have an alternative way to recover your password and it is current.

Read the information. You may need to scroll down or click on a link to get further information. If unsure, don’t touch.

Note: If you have a Gmail Email address or an Android smartphone, then you have a Google account. Log in with the same credentials as your Gmail Email account. If you auto login, you won’t have to know your credentials.

New and updated features to the Spring 2019 Update of Window 10

As mentioned previously, the spring update has been rename May 2019 Update and is using the code “19H1” [2019, first half]. The delay is supposedly to test the final [or escrow] build extensively. It is now expected to be release on May 10th.

The following are among the features and options that have been updated and are expected to be in the 19H1 release:

  • Complete over hall of the Windows Update setup.
  • Less cluttered search box since Cortana has its own icon. Plus you can adjust the indexing of what to not to search.
  • Built in hypervisor [not in the Home version] that will run in a sandbox.
  • Microsoft accounts can be based on a phone number, with no email address required.
  • Security Center [formerly Windows Defender Security Center] adds a tamper protection setting and a unified protection history for suspicious events.
  • Can now install fonts by drag and dropping in a box.
  • After previously adding a dark theme, a light theme has also been added.
  • Use the Task Manager often? You can set the default tab to open up. Plus adds a DPI Awareness column that helps pinpoint offending apps.
  • Copy text, images and files between PCs is easier with the Cloud Clipboard.
  • Snip & Sketch, the heir apparent to Snipping Tool, adds further options such as capturing a window. Snipping Tool is still around for now.
  • Updated printer dialog box.
  • Updated network dialog box [if entering network information manually].

Windows 10 v1903 delayed and renamed

Microsoft has announced that the spring 2019 release [a.k.a. v1903] has been pushed back to May and will be called May 2019 Update or 19H1.

Microsoft said they have decided to delay the release so that they can extend the pre-release phase of testing to catch more last minute bugs.

The “19H1” designation gives them further leeway as they aren’t forced to release a final version by a specific month. For a “H1” name, they could release it any time between January [unlikely] until June [still possible].

This also delays the next release of the server equivalent.