Experience a black screen in Windows 10 v1703?

If you are experience a black screen after every reboot for anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes after installing an application from the Windows Store and you are using a computer that came with Windows 10 v1703 [i.e. a computer made by Dell, HP, Acer, ASUS, etc.], there is an update to correct this here.

It seems that there are some registry keys in Windows 10 v1703 “…that conflict with the app readiness service”.

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You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free

So we are roughly 28 months away from the end of support for Windows 7. If you didn’t upgrade to Windows 10, you still can.

As you probably remember [maybe unfortunately], Microsoft tried to shove Windows 10 down our throats initially with the “GWX” tool. Plenty of backlash there. But after the year was up, that tool disappeared and those with Windows 7 [or Windows 8.1] weren’t asked anymore.

Some refused Windows 10 for various reasons [I wonder how many actually used/tested it for decent amount of time or just took everyone’s negative opinions and that was it]. Some didn’t want to switch or had applications that wouldn’t work with Windows 10 [that I can understand].

So now, it has been a couple of years and time is ticking.

You can still “upgrade” [note the quotes] if you have a valid Windows 7 [or Windows 8.1] license.

To do this you will need to wipe your current Windows installation complete.

Verify you have access to your system’s serial number.

Download the Windows 10 installation ISO and transfer to a DVD or USB key and the media matches the version of your serial number. For example, if Windows 7 is a “Home Premium”, you need a copy of the “Home” media. If Windows 7 is “Pro” or “Ultimate” you will need the “Pro” media.

All license applications will need to be uninstalled [so you can use the same license in Windows 10].

You must back up all of your data.

Ideally if you had a second hard disk, you could install Windows 10 there and then transfer the data from the old hard disk to the new/spare hard disk [keeping the old hard disk as a backup for a while].

Once data is backed up and nothing else is needed on the old hard disk, boot off the USB key or DVD. When asked, do not keep anything. Wipe out the partitions [optionally wipe the OEM partition].

It will ask you if you want it to check for updates, that is questionable. See my notes below.

If asked for the version, match the Windows 7 version with the Windows 10 equivalent [see above]. When asked for a serial number, enter your Windows 7 license number.
Let the installation go through.

When done, clean up what you don’t need and modify whatever settings.

Restore your applications and data.

If not already done, check for updates.

Notes:

  • Unsure if this free upgrade option will continue on indefinitely.
  • Once you upgrade, the Windows 7 license is marked as invalid.
  • If you previously upgraded to Windows 10 and then downgraded to Windows 7, when asked to enter a license, don’t enter anything. Once you finish the installation, it should pull the Windows 10 license from a Microsoft server [assumed you didn’t make too many hardware changes]. But it is still good to jot down that serial number.
  • I always pause when it asks to check for updates before the installation. I find that it sometimes takes forever to find any updates. On the other hand, the latest update may correct any issues since Windows 10 release that could cause the installation to fail if the update isn’t installed.
  • I have done this once and it worked like a charm. Others on the internet have also done it. There is always that weird chance it won’t work. Don’t know what to tell you. Everything has a risk level. Every situation is different. I can’t be responsible for a failed upgrade.

 

First RTM of Windows 10 Fall Creator Update released

The RTM [“Release to Manufacturing”] of the first Fall Creator Update is out. Build 16288.

But make no mistake. There will be other builds coming after. This build is the first in a series of final builds. Each build will go through some more testing and eventually one of them with no [hopefully] issues will be picked as the actual final release.

The final release should be available before the end of the month as Microsoft has its Ignite conference at the end of the month and will showcase the release.

As previously mentioned, October 17th seems like the actual release date for the Fall Creator Update and most likely the Server 2016 equivalent.

In the mean time, work has been going on fir a bit of time for the following release due in March 2018.

Windows 10 Fall Creator will be out on…..

…. October 17th.

As usual, the most compatible Windows 10 systems will be the first to get it. Those with possible issues will get it [by default] later.

 

 

Upgrading to Windows 10 Creator Update? My thoughts

So this past weekend I upgraded Windows 10 from v1607 to v1703.

Everything was straight forward. Within 30 minutes I was at v1703. Nothing looked odd or anything. So far so good. [Yes, just 30 minutes. I have a Core i7 with a SSD but the system itself is 3.5 years old.]

That wouldn’t last.

Unsure why Microsoft does this. Why can’t they leave our settings alone. For example:

  • I like my Caps Lock disabled. It’s back to enabled. [Note that this isn’t surprising. A while ago with Windows 7 installed, I couldn’t install a security update until I enabled the Caps Lock!]
  • I added some settings to enable the command prompt and an elevated command prompt if I right click on a folder. Those disappeared.
  • Setting in File Explorer such as Details Pane was disabled.
  • I had to disable again a bunch of telemetry settings that I enabled.
  • Audio dropped from 5.1 to 2.1.
  • Internet Explorer history is gone.
  • There is a “fix” in v1607 that enabled the “classic” User Access Control you saw in Windows 7. Now the fix does nothing. It’s gone.

There always seems to be stuff like this. Why can’t Microsoft just leave it, if it has been set.

 

Kaspersky versus Microsoft on security

Kaspersky Lab complained recently that Microsoft uses “underhand tactics” to remove third-party antivirus where in June took its complaints over Windows 10’s handling of third-party antivirus to the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.

One of the key complaints is that Windows 10 uninstalls Kaspersky antivirus without the consent of users and enables the built-in Windows Defender, which could happen during major Windows updates if a third-party security product is incompatible with the latest version of Windows.

Microsoft replied that with the Windows 10 Creators Update, the customer will be advised to install a new version of their security application right after the update completed. To do this, the software upgrade first temporarily disabled some parts of the security software when the update began. Microsoft claims they worked with anti-virus partners. Maybe Kaspersky wasn’t included.

Kaspersky founder Eugene Kaspersky has accused Microsoft of using shady methods to “fiercely promote its own inferior” product, Windows Defender, over third-party antivirus already installed on Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft claims its Windows Defender is a strong security product. {Security testers say not really.]

Kaspersky also complained that security vendors have little time to make their product compatible, compared with previous versions of Windows [since Windows 10 gets upgraded every 6 months]. ESET is cited with similar compatibility problems with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

But with the number of security vendors, two [the known vendors that have complained] is very small. In addition, there is a few weeks before the “RTM” and the actual release date. How come others security vendors aren’t having compatibility problems? Not McAfee, not Symantec, not Avast, not AVG, …. [As far as I know.]

If an security subscription expires, only then will Windows Defender begin providing protection.

Kaspersky complained that Windows users don’t need to pay for third-party antivirus because of Windows Defender. As well, they claim that Microsoft’s tech support staff have advised users to uninstall Kaspersky.

You can put a big chunk of the blame on Kaspersky themselves. Has any other security vendor complained? So why just them? Maybe Kaspersky has a grudge going on with Microsoft.

Does Kaspersky bother to tell those with Kaspersky software installed that if they have a valid subscription they can upgrade to the latest version? I guess not. This alone makes their clients less secure.

The only alternative is for Microsoft to have a pop-up window with something like:
“Your crappy security software is unsupported. Please upgrade to the latest version. Alternatively, with your approval, Windows 10 will be upgraded and your crappy security software will be removed and replaced by Windows Defender. You can then upgrade your crappy security software following the upgrade.”

In a virtual machine of mine, my Panda Free-AV was upgraded for me automatically yesterday. Shouldn’t be too hard for Kaspersky to do this.

Someone I know has a 3 years subscription to Kaspersky Total Security. Something went wonky and the computer wouldn’t update anymore. Chatted online and was told it would be escalated. Didn’t hear from them and they closed the incident after a week. Contacted them again and was told an email was sent out with a new activation code. Never got it. It was resent. Damn thing expires in 3 months when the old key had 16 months left. Really crappy support.

 

How to restore an uninstalled an app that came with Windows 10

It comes the time where you have uninstalled an app that came with Windows 10 but now you want it back. The following procedure usually works.

Note: Sorry. I am not a PowerShell expert. If you get an error or doesn’t restore, I can’t help you.

Open Notepad or your favorite text editor. You will use this to build your restore line.

Add the following line at the top:

Add-AppxPackage -register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\XXX\AppxManifest.xml" –DisableDevelopmentMode

Find “PowerShell” in the Start Menu.

Note: Not the ones with “ISE” or “(x86)” in it unless you are using the 32-bit version of Windows.

Right click on it, and run as Administrator.

You will need to approve the User Account Control.

First thing to do is get a list of apps by issuing the following command which will list all available apps:

Get-Appxpackage –Allusers

Say you uninstalled Windows Store and want it back, you need to scroll and find the group of lines that include WindowsStore in it [no space in it]. Across from PackageFullName in that group of lines will be a semi cryptic text.

You need to copy that line [unless you want to type it!]. To do so, highlight the first character in “Microsoft” and keep on left clicking until you reach the end of the line. Press Ctrl-C to copy what you highlighted. The highlighting disappears.

Go into Notepad [or equivalent]. Replace the XXX in the line that you added in there with text you copied.

With v1607 on a 64-bit system, it should look something like [may not be exactly]:

Add-AppxPackage -register "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsStore_11610.1001.23.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml" –DisableDevelopmentMode

Copy the full line in the text editor. Go back into the PowerShell window and paste what you copied by right clicking on a blank line. It should paste. Hit the Enter key. If you get no red text, it should be restored.

Note: Don’t ask me why but you never see a “Command completed successfully” or equivalent. You have to assume it was successful if no red text.

Note: In the case of Windows Store it is listed in the Start Menu as “Store”.