Sunday, November 18, 2018

Snip and Sketch

Since at least Windows 7, Windows has had a Snipping Tool. I've always accessed it by pressing the Windows key and typing "snipping". Or you can press Windows key + Shift + S, then drag your cursor over a portion of the screen to capture it. The Snipping Tool had some simple mark-up tools.

In Windows 10 1809 the Snipping Tool is still there but there's a new Snip & Sketch UWP app. Pressing Windows key + Shift + S brings up a small toolbar with icons let you capture a rectangular portion of the screen, the entire screen, or a freehand-drawn portion of the screen.


If you click on the notification you'll see the UWP app with the editing tools.


These are much more capable than those in the pre-1809 Snipping Tool.


It's simple but certainly a nice improvement.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Windows 10 October 2018 Anyway

As I wrote back in October, I had hastily installed Windows 10 1809 just before Microsoft pulled it. I still haven't had any problems with it.

However I came across this post that pointed out that those PCs that had installed Windows 10 1809 hadn't gotten ANY updates since the October Cumulative Update.

This is significant as Microsoft has merrily been fixing the numerous problems discovered in Windows 10 1809 and pushing out new builds to Windows 10 19H1 through the Windows Insider Program.

So I wanted to get updated. But not jump into the fire with Windows 10 19H1.

In the above mentioned howtogeek.com post, a thread in the comments pointed me to a windowsupdate.com URL that contained the CAB file for Windows 10 1809 build 17763.107. Search the comment thread for KB4464455v2.

Microsoft has apparently had problems even with that as there are 2 versions of KB4464455.

To save you some trouble, here's the URL:
download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/updt/2018/11/windows10.0-kb4464455-x64_de985f6d38215b316470dbecabb453c762a217af.cab
Now, what to do with a CAB file?

As has become typical with Windows 10 1809, nothing is easy. You have to use Microsoft's DISM to install the CAB. Here are the instructions.


It took a while and then I had to reboot.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Windows Defender Sandbox

You're going to have to think about this one some.

Think about how any anti-virus program has to parse all the files on a system. A parser could inadvertently enable arbitrary code execution if that parser has any vulnerabilities.

So what to do?

Run the parser in a sandboxed environment where malicious actions are limited to the sandbox thereby protecting the rest of the system.

Microsoft's Windows Defender does this.
In other words, the Windows Defender antivirus process that analyzes downloaded files and other content will run with very few permissions.
How-To Geek
But it's not turned on by default.

To enable this feature click on the Start button, type "CMD", right click on "Command Prompt", and select "Run as administrator". Enter the following command:
setx /M MP_FORCE_USE_SANDBOX 1
Then restart your PC by holding SHIFT while you select Shutdown or Restart on the Start menu.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Anti-Virus Comparison

I'm a regular listener to TWiT's Security Now podcast with Steve Gibson. On a recent podcast Steve mentioned AV-Comparatives' anti-virus testing.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you also know I'm a fan of Windows Defender.

AV-Comparatives' September 2018 test (PDF) showed that Windows Defender was in the very top performers.


Steve's assessment was:
Given that Microsoft is one of the 6 AVs with a perfect score, maybe just using the system built into Windows is sufficient protection.
That's what I use.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Microsoft, Get Your Act Together

tl;dr What should you do?

First, I'm moderately aggressive in applying updates across a variety of systems and I've not had any problems.

Second, look at Woody Leonard's post on ComputerWorld. There's some hyperbole there but overall not bad advice.

So here's the background...

Microsoft has had a bad month with Windows 10. They've had problems with Display Audio issues (jpeg), file deletions (archive.is), HP keyboard (archive.is), and most recently audio problems (archive.is).

I'm not going to rehash all these problems but Microsoft has to step up to the situation that they have 700,000,000 Windows 10 users. That's a lot of zeroes!

One of the response to the above problems was that it only affected "one one-hundredth of one percent of version 1809 installs." If that had rolled out to the entire population that would have been 70,000 users.

When I was at FedEx, I heard Fred Smith speak a number of times. One time he talked about the "Golden Package." His point was that we (the FedEx employees) couldn't let the numbers mask the impact of every service failure.

Fred instituted a Service Quality Indicator (SQI) system where service failures were measured not by percentages but by the count of failures. It didn't matter that a given failure was a minuscule percent of service. Each service failure got reported, researched and counted against our performance objectives.

That made a difference as the number of nightly packages skyrocketed.

Maybe Microsoft needs to take a similar tact.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chrome 69 - Part III

This isn't specifically MY rant although I've stubbed my toe on it.

If you haven't already go back and read Part I and Part II.

Chrome 69 logs the user in to Google automatically when they sign in to any Google service.

Adrienne Porter Felt of Google's Chrome development team posted a series of tweets "clarifying" this.

They just made me more confused.

Her "/4" tweet is where I stubbed my toe.
Plus, you now only need to sign out in one place before you share your computer with someone else.
When my wife signed out of Gmail, it signed her out of Chrome and complained loudly about it (post) (archive.is).

For the time being you can go to chrome://flags//#account-consistency and change this behavior but these workarounds tend to not live long. The flag appears to be broken in Chrome 71 and above.

Here's a post (archive.is) from someone who's really upset with the change.

Here's a post (archive.is) that's a little bit more middle of the road.
Quietly inserting a forced browser sign-in into Chrome, even though possibly done for good reasons, doesn't add any trust points for Google in an increasingly privacy-driven environment. - engadget.com
Amen.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Windows 10 October 2018 NOT

Microsoft seems to have made a mess of their latest rollout of Windows 10.

Windows 10 October 2018 (1809) dropped on 10/02/18.

Here's a list of the new features in 1809:
  • File Explorer now features a dark theme when Dark Mode is enabled in Settings.
  • You can now name live folders in Start.
  • A new "safe removal" feature has been added that lists open applications that might be using an external GPU connected via Thunderbolt 3.
  • Notifications in the Action Center now feature a fade-in effect when the Action Center is opened.
  • A redesigned snipping experience is present and can be accessed via WIN + SHIFT + S.
  • Snips will now present a notification that will open up into Screen Sketch, which is now a dedicated app.
  • You can now configure pen peripherals to take a snip when pressing a button.
  • The Print Screen button can now be configured to open Screen Sketch.
  • A new "Screen snip" action has been added to quick actions in the Action Center.
  • Copied content can now be seen in a new clipboard experience, accessed with WIN+V, that can also sync to the cloud and across devices.
  • There are now three different modes you can select when wirelessly projecting your screen, and these modes are game, productivity, and video modes.
  • Users upgrading to this release for the first time will be welcomed with a post-OOBE UI that walks the user through setting up new features added in this release.
  • Game Bar has been redesigned with new features including an overview of system performance and more.
  • Search will now provide a download link for programs searched online.
  • You can now use Windows Mixed Reality without a monitor.
  • Storage Sense can now switch files to "online-only" if they haven't been accessed after a certain number of days, saving space on your local disk.
  • Pen users can now ink directly into text boxes by default.
  • Users can now view the real world when using Windows Mixed Reality using a headsets built-in camera.
  • Emoji 11 is now available.
  • Game bar is now accessible via the Apps List in Start.

While it's a long list, there's not really much new in there.

It turns out that many users are complaining that the upgrade process DELETED their personal files, Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, etc.

This problem with the 1809 upgrade had been reported by the Windows Insiders (testers) but Microsoft still released 1809 to the public.


Windows users who clicked "Check for updates" got it instantly.

On 10/05/18 Microsoft stopped the rollout.and advised:
We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating.
If you have manually checked for updates and believe you have an issue with missing files after an update, please minimize your use of the affected device and contact us directly at +1-800-MICROSOFT, or find a local number in your area .
If you have access to a different PC, please contact us at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/contactus/ (link will vary according to country of origin).
If you have manually downloaded the Windows 10 October 2018 Update installation media, please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.
We will provide an update when we resume rolling out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to customers.

Wow! "[P]ease minimize your use of the affected device" and "please don’t install it."

Take their advice.

And while you've got a little time, now is a good opportunity to practice your backup AND restore.

Incidentally, I've updated my sacrificial laptop to 1809 with no problems.