And a few useful 'how tos'
Saturday, February 15, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
The external link is a really useful explanation of how to add some power to the W10 context (right click) menu by Brady Gavin at How to Geek.
I won't waste your time with copying exactly how to do a registry edit, but I will reproduce the universal warning about editing the Windows registry:
"The Registry Editor is a powerful tool and, if it’s misused, it can render your system unstable or even inoperable."
and three more:
1. How to backup your registry: https://www.howtogeek.com/197785/how-to-backup-and-restore-the-windows-registry/
2. How to backup your computer: https://www.howtogeek.com/242428/whats-the-best-way-to-back-up-my-computer/
3. How to create a system restore point: https://www.howtogeek.com/237230/how-to-enable-system-restore-and-repair-system-problems-on-windows-10/
If you're afraid to do this by yourself, Brady Gavin has supplied two registry hack scripts to do all that editing...
"If you’d rather not edit the registry yourself, you can download our Add Move to/Copy to registry hack. Just open the ZIP file, double-click either “AddMoveTo.reg” or “AddCopyTo.reg,” and then click “Yes” to add the information to your registry." - Brady Gavin
However, do your backups and create a restore point before using the scripts (REG files).
And, have a great weekend!
More than 200 tweaks in more than 10 sections
Sunday, February 2, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
Razvan Serea wrote a good review of Windows Ultimate Tweaker 4.7
over at Neowin, including the change log. There are more than two hundred new tweaks, and most pertinently new ones in the privacy and security sections...nice for the folks who are new to W10 from W7 and who are (rightfully) concerned about the former.
The full list of the tweaks are here: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/list-of-tweaks-available-in-uwt4 .
Here's a screenie showing privacy tweaks. The red arrow simulates my cursor. Note the explanation the app shows for "Disable telemetry".
As with any app, and especially one like this one, I'd advise creating a restore point before tweaking away. It's very convenient the app reminds you to do so, as well.
It's a great app...one many of us had and probably forgotten all about, and well worth downloading, here: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/your-download-of-uwt4-will-start-in-5-seconds and as the link mentions, download commences 5 seconds after landing there.
It is freeware, without ads or other software with it.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by Tatiora | Discussion: Personal Computing
Earlier this month at CES, AMD declared that 2020 was the year for “gamers and creators.” Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lisa Su took to the stage during a press conference and announced that AMD’s 3rd generation processors for laptops have officially arrived.
According to Dr. Su, the new Ryzen 4000 series of chips based on the company’s 7nm Zen 2 architecture are the “best laptop processor(s) ever built.” By incorporating the right technology elements, AMD will fit tremendous amounts of power within a laptop form factor. These chips are AMD’s first laptop chips to make the move to Zen 2; the Ryzen 3000 series has already brought the tech to desktops, but laptops have been using an older process.
The new processor, which can fit into ultra-thin laptops, contains 8 cores and 16 threads. The new CPUs will come in both 15-watt “U-class” ultra-low power versions (for thin and light laptops), and “H-class” 45-watt laptops (for gaming and content creation). AMD promises desktop-class performance on laptop hardware with the top of the line U-series chip (Ryzen 7 4800U), which offers an 8 core, 16-thread design.
In addition to the new Ryzen 4000 series, Dr. Su also announced the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Processor during her CES presentation. The performance comparison graphic covered three screens and showed nearly 5x the power of leading competitors’ products. During an interview on AMD’s “The Bring Up,” Dr. Su discussed the process behind developing the Threadripper.
“When you think about what you can do with computing -- I mean, if you think just a few years ago, 16 cores seemed like more than you ever needed, but then we did Threadripper and we went up to 34 cores,” Su said. “And we said with third gen, ‘why not? Why not go up to 64 cores,’ and it’s not just about technology for technology’s sake. It’s really about how do we put technology into the hands of power users so that they can do new and important and creative things.”
According to AMD, the first Ryzen 4000 series laptops will arrive from Acer, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Dell, and other companies starting in the first quarter of 2020. The Threadripper 3990X will release on February 7, 2020.
AMD is a registered trademark of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All rights reserved.
A new one on me, but there's a fix (not 100% foolproof) for it you should do.
Thursday, January 23, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
Jafo made the remark on a post of mine recently that he does no banking on his phone. There's an excellent reason not to. I'd heard it wasn't wise because of the vulnerability of phones, and public networks (man in the middle attacks), though not because of SIM swap fraud!
So, I have to admit, this one's a new one for me. SIM swap fraud. Turns out they’re easy pickings for hackers. So, what’s SIM swap fraud?
"SIM swapping occurs when someone contacts your wireless carrier and is able to convince the call center employee that they are, in fact, you, using your personal data. They do this by using data that's often exposed in hacks, data breaches, or information you publicly share on social networks to trick the call center employ into switching the SIM card linked to your phone number, and replace it with a SIM card in their possession."
Once that's accomplished you're the victim of identity theft. Think about what's in your email, bank info, etc. So, they're in your phone and first thing, they change your emails' passwords, your social media passwords, if you have cryptocurrency passwords, they're now in the hacker's possession, as well as any codes sent to your phone as two factor identification, etc. Getting the picture?
"You can decrease your chances of someone gaining access to and taking over your phone number by adding a PIN code or password to your wireless account. T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T all offer the ability to add a PIN code.
Some companies, like Sprint, require you to set up a PIN code when you sign up for service. However, if you're unsure if you have a PIN code or need to set one up, here's what you need to do for each of the four major US carriers.
- Sprint customers: Log in to your account on Sprint.com then go to My Sprint > Profile and security > Security information and update the PIN or security questions then click Save.
- AT&T subscribers: Go to your account profile, sign in, and then click Sign-in info. Select your wireless account if you have multiple AT&T accounts, then go to Manage extra security under the Wireless passcode section. Make your changes, then enter your password when prompted to save.
- T-Mobile users: Set up a PIN or passcode the first time you sign in to your My T-Mobile account. Pick Text messages or Security question and follow the prompts.
- Verizon Wireless customers: Call *611 and ask for a Port Freeze on your account, and visit this webpage to learn more about enabling Enhanced Authentication on your account."
If you have service through a different carrier, call their customer service number to ask how you can protect your account.
Most likely, you'll be asked to create a PIN or passcode.
When creating a PIN or passcode, keep in mind that if someone has enough information to fake that they're actually you, using a birthday, anniversary, or address as the PIN code isn't going to cut it. Instead, create a unique passcode for your carrier and then store it in your."
Short of having empty accounts, how can you tell if you're a victim? A very quiet phone and the inability to make calls. That includes customer service at your carrier, but store the number in your phone to call from someone else's phone:
"Here are the customer service numbers for each major carrier. Put your carrier's number in your phone as a contact:
- Sprint: 1-888-211-4727
- AT&T: 1-800-331-0500
- T-Mobile: 1-800-937-8997
- Verizon: 1-800-922-0204"
Remember to get a good password manager (we'll talk about them in a subsequent post)...and, good luck!
Or, you can wait a bit longer
Monday, January 20, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
The new Edge is here, promising more extensions and a far better search engine, based on Chromium, the same engine powering Google's Chrome browser. This makes it more compatible with websites other, less popular browsers have problems with.
This also means that after granting Edge permission, it can use Chrome extensions from the Google Playstore, which has far more than Microsoft's.
Downloading and installing are explained in the linked article, above. You don't have to uninstall the old Edge which is based on MS's engine.
Over the next weeks and months, MS will be pushing the new Edge. You can wait, and it might even be better to do so as just now it probably still has bugs, but if you like being on the bleeding edge, so to speak, go for it!
New Chromium based Edge download link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge
You can still update to W10 for free
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
W7 ran its course from 2009 to 2020.
MS has notified that there will be no more support for W7, meaning its kernel will become vulnerable to attack:
"Security updates are essential to staying safe online, and Windows 10 is getting them while Windows 7 isn’t. Many flaws found in Windows 10 will also apply to Windows 7. Attackers will hear about them and can start attacking those vulnerable Windows 7 systems. As more time goes by, more unpatched, known flaws will exist in Windows 7 for exploiting. Hardware manufacturers are also supporting Windows 10 instead of Windows 7. This will only get truer after the end-of-support date. Even software companies will one day stop releasing new versions of their web browsers and other software for Windows 7." - How to Geek
Needless to say, drivers compatible to W7 will also not be updated by the various hardware and software companies.
Many aren't updating because their machines might be old. This is another error. W10 will run faster than W7 if the W10 requirements are met, and which aren't so different than the demands of W7.
True, the huge updates are a minus, but, they go hand in hand with security updates as well. Also, the updates have been getting smaller, perhaps because they involve enabling features present in prior downloads which sit quietly on your system until enough testing (supposedly) allows MS to "unmask" them.
The security, or lack thereof in W7, is well explained here: https://www.neowin.net/news/gchq-its-time-to-ditch-windows-7-if-you-want-to-stay-safe-online. GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), is an intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom.
There's still a way to update to W10 for free: https://www.howtogeek.com/266072/you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/
All in all, W7 is now an OS with a major liability, and you should migrate.
gHacks has a good take on W7's end of life: https://www.ghacks.net/2020/01/14/windows-7-support-ends-today-here-are-your-options/?_m=3n%2e0038%2e2414%2ehj0ao01hy5%2e2iur
Very useful old trick
Monday, January 6, 2020 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
Remember how useful God mode was?
I haven't seen how to create it in W10...until good old Tech Republic (link above) mentioned it in a simple "how to".
Just make sure you're the Administrator, right click on your desktop and create a new file. Name it:
and press "Enter".
This is what you should see when you double click on the blue file:
Mine is dark mode enabled from my prior article (https://forums.wincustomize.com/498171/page/1/#3767484)
Happy administrating, and if the name of the file bothers any sensibilities, you can rename it anything you wish.
Thursday, October 24, 2019 by DrJBHL | Discussion: WinCustomize News
TouchTasks, Stardock's newest productivity app was reviewed by Martin Brinkmann at gHacks yesterday.
In his closing comments, he wrote:
"TouchTasks is a handy software for Windows 10 touch devices like the Surface Pro to improve productivity. It is quite flexible when it comes to the actions that you can assign to zones; the default actions are handy for the most part and the ability to launch any application from a zone is great as well especially when using fullscreen applications.
TouchTasks is available for €11.99 regularly and for an introductory price of €5.99 currently. A free 30-day trial is provided. Note that your email verification is required before the program can be used."
If you have a touchscreen device running Windows, you can improve your efficiency by adding this app.
- Quick access to frequently used tasks and apps
- Zones are conveniently located on the edge of the screen
- Customizable application launcher panel
- Functional in both portrait and landscape modes
- Task display panel customization
- Compatible with Windows 10 touch screens and devices
- Touch screen monitor or touch screen device.
- Windows 10
You can read more about TouchTasks here: https://www.stardock.com/products/touchtasks/
and Frogboy's forum post here: https://forums.wincustomize.com/497327/page/1/#3762664
A free 30-day trial is provided. Your email verification is required before the program can be used.
You can download here: https://www.stardock.com/products/touchtasks/download
Windows Defender and Advanced Threat Protection
Saturday, October 19, 2019 by DrJBHL | Discussion: Personal Computing
Windows Defender is an excellent antivirus and antispyware. On my machine, I use it and Malwarebytes Premium. I also try to use common sense as to where I visit, and what I open.
Advanced Threat Detection was added to Defender (MS) as a voluntary service. It was originally part of Enterprise solutions. I opted to add it to my system. I've had to remove it, since I didn't want to roll back the update and wait hopefully for a bug fix which would break something else.
"Microsoft Defender ATP uses the following combination of technology built into Windows 10 and Microsoft's robust cloud service:
Endpoint behavioral sensors: Embedded in Windows 10, these sensors collect and process behavioral signals from the operating system and sends this sensor data to your private, isolated, cloud instance of Microsoft Defender ATP.
Cloud security analytics: Leveraging big-data, machine-learning, and unique Microsoft optics across the Windows ecosystem, enterprise cloud products (such as Office 365), and online assets, behavioral signals are translated into insights, detections, and recommended responses to advanced threats.
Threat intelligence: Generated by Microsoft hunters, security teams, and augmented by threat intelligence provided by partners, threat intelligence enables Microsoft Defender ATP to identify attacker tools, techniques, and procedures, and generate alerts when these are observed in collected sensor data." - MS.
On 10/15/19, KB450062 was issued. It has, unfortunately, a new bug. This bug disables ATP, hence the title of this article. Also, this comes as an update for you in the seemingly unending series of MS's buggy updates.
"Microsoft added the issue to the list of known issues on the support page of the update:
After installing this update, the Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service might stop running and might fail to send reporting data. You might also receive a 0xc0000409 error in Event Viewer in MsSense.exe.
The company suggests that the update should not be installed on devices which rely on Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection functionality.
At this time, we suggest that devices in an affected environment do not install this update.
Microsoft hopes that it will have a solution for the issue ready in mid-November, likely in time for the November 2019 Patch Day on November 12, 2019. Microsoft releases security updates for all supported versions of Windows on the second Tuesday of any month." - gHacks
Anyway, it was a nice five, threat free days.
You might want to review the list of bugs with 1809 and its updates which you can find here.
If you have a request for a specific topic, or one which I haven't covered recently such as software, please let me know by pm.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by Frogboy | Discussion: OS Customization
Lots of exciting things happening this year.
Stardock is actively hiring software developers to begin revamping all of Object Desktop. You will begin to see the changes starting in mid November as new and old things alike start being added.
A few things on our plate include:
- Updating SoundPackager. The sounds in Windows 10 are a bit annoying. Stardock has a lot of audio talent here that we plan to use to revamp the sound packages that it includes as well as put dev resources into updating it.
- Updating Keyboard LaunchPad. This is mostly about updating the UX and feature set to support modern apps as well as changing the defaults short-cuts. Sorry WinAmp fans!
- DeskScapes 10.1. We are going to be integrating in-app Dream creation (not just DreamMaker but a full on mini app for creating really cool effects and dreams!).
- NEW APP. I can't talk about this yet but it should show up within the next month or so. It's the biggest new customization app we've put out in years.
And that's just by end of this year!