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Windows 10 - Deeper Impressions


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This sort of news makes me even more inclined to stay away from Windows 10. Probably forever.

Windows 7 was the last truly decent Windows OS I think, and I'm going to stay with it for the rest of all time.

Of course, when support ends for 7, it won't make any difference if I run it or XP or 2000, since they'd all be in the same boat, and they'd all be equally as unsafe due to lack of updates (save for any unofficial ones that come along).

c

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The Win 10 Anniversary story for me so far, on my test VM...

  • It was not delivered in a timely way by Windows Update, so I had to go get it with the Media Creation tool.
     
  • It has lost the ability (for now) to support Aero Glass.  An update would be required from Big Muscle to fix that.
     
  • After re-tweaking it to be more to my liking - lean, private, useful - with the monstrous script I developed, it's still running 6 more processes on an idle desktop than 10586 and there are clearly new things that need to be trimmed.
     
  • Now Application Frame Host tries from time to time to talk to msdl.microsoft.com.  It didn't before.
     
  • I've not found one thing improved in the parts I actually do use - e.g., the desktop, File Explorer, etc.

So in summary...  It's uglier, not one iota better than its predecessors in any meaningful way, yet more bloated and more likely to spill the beans online, and worst of all more likely to try to advertise to me.  Finally, let's not forget that there's a new, more restrictive Services Agreement coming up.

It's like everyone at Microsoft has decided that it's time to milk the customer base and that no one can be allowed to touch the important parts of the OS because it might jeopardize the stability of all the new garbage being hung all over it.

Honestly, why should I want to continue using anything made by Microsoft?

I've been getting a bit more familiar with OS X.  Man, it's dumbed down, quirkier than Windows (if you can believe it) - though there's always the fact that it's got a real Unix system underneath.  But Apple's not really any better than Microsoft about trying to monetize me.  I guess I'll look into Linux next, but somehow I imagine it'll just be a mess.

Seems like there's room for a new OS vendor to emerge.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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On Saturday, August 06, 2016 at 8:24 AM, cc333 said:

This sort of news makes me even more inclined to stay away from Windows 10. Probably forever.

Windows 7 was the last truly decent Windows OS I think, and I'm going to stay with it for the rest of all time.

Of course, when support ends for 7, it won't make any difference if I run it or XP or 2000, since they'd all be in the same boat, and they'd all be equally as unsafe due to lack of updates (save for any unofficial ones that come along).

c

For a while, it was said of Windows 98 that it had actually become safer to use online than more recent versions of Windows, the theory being that so few people were using it that it the bad guys didn't bother writing malware for it.

Assuming that that was true, maybe the same thing will happen eventually with XP, Vista, and 7.

--JorgeA

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It's possible that XP may be the last OS that truly could be used more or less indefinitely, though there are certainly already newer software packages that won't run on it now.  Need the latest Photoshop (e.g., to be able to open raw files from your new camera)?  You're out of luck with XP.

Trouble is, Windows 7 and 8+ are already cloud-oriented.  It's not just Windows 10 that needs to be online.

Even Windows 7 DOES need to regularly communicate with servers to do things.  Load a new software package or driver?  The certificate gets checked online.  Run Defender?  The database gets loaded from servers online.  Use Skype?  Everything's online.  The OS itself checks the network status by going online (dns.msftncsi.com, ipv6.msftncsi.com, www .msftncsi.com).  Windows checks in with mscrl.microsoft.com all the time for security info.  An updated Windows system that hasn't hidden a particular old update regularly checks with Microsoft to see if it's allowed to remain activated.  These are just the tip of the iceberg.

What happens if SOME of the communications are blocked but one tries to use the system online?  Very weird things sometimes, such as a 15 second delay before making an https: connection, or a flat refusal to allow software to run because a security server wasn't able to confirm a certificate.

You might be able to pull out the Ethernet cable and run Windows 7 and newer completely offline (for a while at least), not ever doing anything that needs the internet, but that's not what most of us need or want.  We want it to work the way it did in its heyday.  What we need/want is some kind of hybrid setup that shuns the cloud just enough to allow us to continue to work with the old OS, but stays current enough to allow us to do and run the things we want going forward.  There is nothing that says it has to be possible indefinitely to do this.  Think about what "end of support" means in this context.

It's unpleasant to think about but really not hard to imagine that it's going to get harder and harder to run older systems as the online support infrastructure moves on.  Just as a loosely related example, Microsoft instituted new SHA-2 signing requirements for Kernel mode drivers, yet there is no patch for Vista to load a driver signed using that encryption.  So...  Either a software publisher has to go out of his way to make a special Vista version, or just not make one.  From what I can see it won't be possible to get certificates to sign with SHA-1 encryption after a time.

And we haven't even touched legality...  For example, did you know that if you continue to run Skype on an older OS then you will have tacitly agreed to Microsoft's latest services agreement?  Looking into the future, Microsoft could adopt a more aggressive stance and just stop your older OS license from working because you've violated that agreement.  Ever hide an update?  Block telemetry?  Tweak something via a setting not overtly provided?

It's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but we do need external infrastructure support and we're only allowed to run the OS by the good graces of Microsoft.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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On 8/7/2016 at 1:02 PM, JorgeA said:

For a while, it was said of Windows 98 that it had actually become safer to use online than more recent versions of Windows, the theory being that so few people were using it that it the bad guys didn't bother writing malware for it.

Assuming that that was true, maybe the same thing will happen eventually with XP, Vista, and 7.

--JorgeA

It is possible that it would work out that way, but I find it extremely unlikely. XP, Vista, and 7 are built on Windows NT, which 8 and 10 are also built on, so the OSes share much of the same or similar core code. Once an exploit is found in windows 10 and is made known, it can be applied back to XP, hell even all the way to NT4, easily. There are issues being patched now that date all the way back to 1997, and in some cases, earlier. The difference with the situation with Windows 98 is that Win95/98/Me was built on the Windows 9x/DOS kernel, so when an exploit was found in XP, there was a greater chance that it didn't apply to Windows 98.

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22 minutes ago, rn10950 said:

It is possible that it would work out that way, but I find it extremely unlikely. XP, Vista, and 7 are built on Windows NT, which 8 and 10 are also built on, so the OSes share much of the same or similar core code. Once an exploit is found in windows 10 and is made known, it can be applied back to XP, hell even all the way to NT4, easily. There are issues being patched now that date all the way back to 1997, and in some cases, earlier. The difference with the situation with Windows 98 is that Win95/98/Me was built on the Windows 9x/DOS kernel, so when an exploit was found in XP, there was a greater chance that it didn't apply to Windows 98.

Yes, that makes sense... unfortunately. :(

Looks like, unless Microsoft fixes Windows 10 or its successor, the only viable choice will be to move to another OS.

And speaking of moving to another OS, see the next post...

---JorgeA

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More than 60 percent of Windows users would switch to Mac for more privacy
 

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Concerns over Windows 10 and the amount of data it collects via the Windows Store could prompt users to switch to Mac according to a new survey.

The study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of security and privacy advice and comparison website Comparitech.com finds that 61 percent of the US public who regularly use Windows would at least consider switching to Mac.

In the UK the figure is even higher at 67 percent, with 15 percent saying they would definitely consider swapping. Only 33 percent in the UK and 39 percent in the US say that they would not contemplate switching operating systems.

It's kind of ironic that people would switch to Apple over privacy concerns, of all things, but still the point is made.

--JorgeA

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update causing big problems for many users

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I’ve personally experienced a weird problem whereby after playing a video Windows becomes much less responsive, to the point where a reboot is the only solution, and users on Reddit are reporting various issues with their PCs freezing and Windows 10 failing to respond.

Given the new Windows Updates model, I wonder for how long Windows Home and Pro users will put up with serving as unpaid testers for Enterprise customers.

--JorgeA

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Ok, OT but still relevant, the good MS guys  made a mess of the managing of the (in itself already stupid enough) SecureBoot lock on RT devices:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/10/microsoft_secure_boot_ms16_100/

As expected (it had to happen before or later) the Secure Boot Debug Policy was leaked with the consequence that many Surface RT's (and similar Windwos RT devices) can  be finally made free to boot *whatever*.

This is actually good news for the (very few) morons gullible users microsoft trusting customers that bought for a rather steep price only a couple years ago a device that can ONLY run an OS that isn't developed anymore and will be not supported starting 2017 or 2018.

BUT it clearly shows (had it not be self-evident enough) that:

1) EFI/UEFI is confirmed to be a stupid way to boot a machine
2) provisions in it are - besides stupid and stupidly implemented - a theoretical only mish-mash that fails in practice, because people are humans and they do mistakes 
3) the theoretical idea of a "golden key" or "master key" for *whatever* is as secure as the mindset of the people possessing it, and since they are humans, it will leak (it is just a matter of time)
4) these are the same people you give your data to, believing they will keep it secure, when they cannot even manage properly their own stuff

jaclaz


 


 

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4 hours ago, jaclaz said:

the theoretical idea of a "golden key" or "master key" for *whatever* is as secure as the mindset of the people possessing it, and since they are humans, it will leak (it is just a matter of time)

very true! I have trouble talking with people that ask me computer questions and they tell me they are using solutions like last pass to secure there account I politely give them my thoughts being that if someone gets a hold of your last pass account they get everything "single point of failure"

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Has anyone figured out, in Version 1607 (Anniversary Update), why Application Frame Host tries to contact msdl.microsoft.com?  I see it do so not long after Win 10 bootup.  Could this be some form of advertising check?

I block it (firewall), and see no apparent side effects so far from blocking it, but if there's no good reason for doing so on a system that has absolutely no need for Metro/Modern/UWP/tiles/etc. (and has all those things removed), I'd rather configure whatever's necessary to not have it even try.  ANY attempt to contact Microsoft without good reason is a privacy invasion and frankly, unacceptable.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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    Haven't been paying that much attention, but I do notice that Windows 10 RS1 (1607 "Anniversary Update") now hits http://msftconnecttest.com/connecttest.txt instead of http://msncsi.com/ncsi.txt to test for Internet connectivity.  Windows has used NCSI since Vista days to test for Internet connectivity.  I wonder how many captive portals that change broke.  Why change something that was well established and was working fine?

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8 hours ago, NoelC said:

Has anyone figured out, in Version 1607 (Anniversary Update), why Application Frame Host tries to contact msdl.microsoft.com?  I see it do so not long after Win 10 bootup.  Could this be some form of advertising check?

I block it (firewall), and see no apparent side effects so far from blocking it, but if there's no good reason for doing so on a system that has absolutely no need for Metro/Modern/UWP/tiles/etc. (and has all those things removed), I'd rather configure whatever's necessary to not have it even try.  ANY attempt to contact Microsoft without good reason is a privacy invasion and frankly, unacceptable.

-Noel

Curiously, here we are a week out from the Anniversary Update, and my Win10 test system hasn't even found (let alone downloaded) the AU bits yet.

--JorgeA

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