Windows 10 Update – file deletion bug fixed

Microsoft claim to have identified the cause of the deletion of users’ files by the later update to Windows 10 (1809) and have released a fixed version to ‘Insiders’ before making it an automatic update:

October 9, 2018 2:00 pm

Updated version of Windows 10 October 2018 Update released to Windows Insiders

By / Director of Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery

Last week we paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigated isolated reports of users missing files after updating. Given the serious nature of any data loss, we took the added precaution of pulling all 1809 media across all channels, including Windows Server 2019 and IoT equivalents.  We intentionally start each feature update rollout slowly, closely monitoring feedback before offering the update more broadly.  In this case the update was only available to those who manually clicked on “check for updates” in Windows settings.  At just two days into the rollout when we paused, the number of customers taking the October 2018 Update was limited.  While the reports of actual data loss are few (one one-hundredth of one percent of version 1809 installs), any data loss is serious.

We have fully investigated all reports of data loss, identified and fixed all known issues in the update, and conducted internal validation.  Also, Microsoft Support and our retail stores customer service personnel are available at no charge to help customers. More details are available below.

Today we take the next step towards the re-release of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update by providing the updated version to our Windows Insider community.  We will carefully study the results, feedback, and diagnostic data from our Insiders before taking additional steps towards re-releasing more broadly.

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2018/10/09/updated-version-of-windows-10-october-2018-update-released-to-windows-insiders/#1Dgmm4V1CyqifUPv.97

 

Beware of Windows 10 Update deleting your files

The latest Windows 10 Update (1809) due for automatic download next Tuesday has been reportedly deleting users Documents, Photos, Music etc for early adopters of the update.

Microsoft has since pulled the automatic update:

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.

– but regardless of that I strongly advise that Windows 10 users take pre-emptive action before Tuesday and make sure they have a precautionary discrete backup of their User files at least.

You will need an external disk drive (PC World / Amazon/ John Lewis/ etc) with enough space. Portable ones just connect and power themselves via the USB socket. These are very useful anyway for backups of your PC etc so just bite the bullet and buy one! They don’t cost too much, you don’t need a more costly one with bundled software or security for this process.

If you are familiar with using programs such as CCleaner to reduce the space used by temporary files etc then run that first. But if you’re unsure then proceed as below; it might take longer but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

First determine how much space your User profile (which includes Documents etc) is using:

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. Choose This PC in the left pane
  3. OR enter This PC in the Search Box
  4. Scroll down the list of folders in the right pane to show the Users folder
  5. Right click on the Users folder and choose Properties from the context menu
  6. This will show the disk space used in Gigabytes as Size / Size on Disk.
Windows 10 Users Disk Space Used

Windows 10 Users Disk Space Used

Get an external disk drive with more than enough space (make sure it’s connected to the PC) then use File Explorer to  Copy the Users folders to the external disk dive or somewhere else on your C: drive by:

  1. If still showing, Cancel the Properties display.
  2. Right click on the Users folder, choose Send To and then choose your external disk drive.
Windows 10 Copy Users folders

Windows 10 Copy Users folders

You may have to enter your Windows password to allow access to the Users folders:

Windows 10 Permission to Access Users folders

Windows 10 Permission to Access Users folders

It will ‘discover’ the files to copy:

Windows 10 discover files to copy

Windows 10 discover files to copy

And then start copying them:

Copy files

Copy files

Click More Details to see detailed progress:

More Details

More Details

This may take minute or hours, depending on home many files thee are in your Users folders. It will copy all files in their profiles, including hidden folders such as AppData (Roaming, Local …) where some apps and programs store important user data such as emails etc.

You’ll need to keep and eye on progress as Windows will ask for response to errors or interrupts during the copy for files in use by the system, transient files that are ‘not found’, items with un-copyable properties or special folders such as Dropbox etc, if these are for files stored elsewhere, e.g. in the Cloud, or files in use by the system you can skip and choose to do that for all current items:

Skip Errors

Skip Errors

In Use By System

In Use By System

When it’s finished you can confirm that the files have been copied by exploring the external drive’s folders:

Check copied folders and files

Check copied folders and files

Then make sure you safely eject/remove the external drive by clicking the ‘remove devices’ icon in the right side of the task bar and choosing the external drive:

Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media

Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media

Eject Drive

Eject Drive

Windows will complete any outstanding writes and updates to the drive’s file system and tell you when it’s safe to remove it after a few seconds.

Now you can put it aside and recover your files from it if necessary.

 

 

Beware Dodgy Links

How to Check If a Link Is Safe to Click When Browsing the Web or Reading Email

There’s a good, informative article about this on the TeamViewer blog:

On the internet you will barely find a place without any kind of reference in the form of hyperlinks – or links in short. They will lead you to another page and you’ll not always be able to reliably tell its destination.

This can sometimes even be dangerous in regard to data security and identity theft.

But how can we find out if a link is safe to click on or not?

Check The Domain Name Carefully

As a first step, you should take a close look at the domain name in the link.

Altered spelling of a domain name is an almost certain sign of a scamming attempt. For example, phishers may use something like http://www.1egitimatebank.com instead of http://www.legitimatebank.com

Did you spot the difference?

The first one uses the number 1 instead of the letter l. Easy to miss if you don’t look carefully.

Another common ploy is to substitute the letter O with the number 0 (zero).

Get in The Habit of Hovering!

Have you noticed this useful function before, when resting the cursor on certain items?

Get in the habit of first hovering over the link with your mouse cursor before clicking on it. This will show you the actual address that the link represents.

To read more you can safely click on this link: https://blog.teamviewer.com/how-to-check-if-a-link-is-safe/

online service passwords Yahoo etc

After the latest admissions from yet another online service, Yahoo, that account logins, passwords etc have been compromised, it is timely to  consider the implications – especially as a lot of UK BT Internet users use Yahoo for their email.

The most important piece of advice is to login and change your password ASAP, and don’t re-use the same passwords for any other online services.

It is worth using 2-factor security, where any attempt to login in on a different new device has to be authenticated with something like a one-off code sent to your nominated mobile phone number. Google, among others, offers other off-line options as well.

There is a good article about the considerations and how passwords should be safeguarded by on-line services here: www.howtogeek.com/171236/why-you-should-worry-whenever-a-services-password-database-is-leaked.

A very good way to handle logins, passwords etc is to use a Password and Form Manager. This can automatically generate unique, strong passwords for all your logins etc and fill them in automatically once you’ve logged into the Password Manager with a single, memorable but strong password. I use RoboForm – as well as managing logins and passwords in this way it can also securely fill-in on-line forms. It has versions for Windows, Mac OS, Android and iPhone. The RoboForm EveryWhere feature will securely synchronise your logins etc on-line, so that changes and new logins added on, say, your phone are updated on your computer.

If you use a password manager don’t forget to delete saved passwords in your web browser, here’s how to do it.

Update Fri 16th’Dec:

A colleague has reminded me that you can check to see if your email address or login has been compromised at haveibeenpwned.com it can also alert you to future compromises.

Straightforward Web, Email, Documents for your PC or laptop

Forget Windows – get a free Mint

If you don’t want the hassle of Windows licensing, wondering what the next update will bring (or break) – then look no further than Linux Mint. Even better it’s free, predictably straightforward and doesn’t need a cutting edge spec system to perform well.

Mint’s user interface is not too dissimilar from the familiar Windows 7 look and feel.

Linux Mint - Cinnamon edition

Linux Mint – Cinnamon edition

Linux Mint - desktop widgets

Linux Mint – desktop widgets

The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.

Linux Mint is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions and used by millions of people.

Some of the reasons for the success of Linux Mint are:

  • It works out of the box, with full multimedia support and is extremely easy to use.
  • It’s both free of cost and open source.
  • It’s community-driven. Users are encouraged to send feedback to the project so that their ideas can be used to improve Linux Mint.
  • Based on Debian and Ubuntu, it provides about 30,000 packages and one of the best software managers.
  • It’s safe and reliable. Thanks to a conservative approach to software updates, a unique Update Manager and the robustness of its Linux architecture, Linux Mint requires very little maintenance (no regressions, no antivirus, no anti-spyware…etc).

For more information, go to the Linux Mint site – www.linuxmint.com.

You can try it out by downloading and making a bootable CD – or installing on a separate partition on your Windows PC.

The downloads are here: www.linuxmint.com/download  and a pdf user guide here: www.linuxmint.com/documentation.

If you want help trying it out and getting started – just contact me.

Only One Week Left to Get Windows 10 Free.

The free Windows 10 upgrade offer ends on July 29, 2016. After that, you’ll have to pay for a new license if you ever want to upgrade to Windows 10 on your computer. You should seriously consider upgrading to Windows 10 before Friday 29th July, if you haven’t already done so.

For more detail the guys at How To Geek have written a guide: http://www.howtogeek.com/263413/you-only-have-a-week-left-to-get-windows-10-free.-heres-why-you-should-update/

If that’s all a bit too technical I can help, just get in touch.

Skype Not Responding

Oh dear, after recent updates to Skype for Windows, it stops working and shows “Not Responding” in its window title bar. This seems to be happening since version 7 updates of Skype.

I’ve seen this on several, otherwise stable, Windows 7 systems – and, despite re-installing, cleaning up etc, it is either intermittently flaky or just stops working.

It seems to be bound up with Skype’s Home Page, and possibly its adverts, which used Internet Explorer components to serve it up.

My current solution to this is to un-install Skype, reboot and then install version 6. This can be found in several places on-line, but some of the sites might carry some unwanted cargo – so I’ve put a clean, tested instance of Skype 6.18.0.106 here: Dropbox – Skype 6.

Watch out for the tick boxes that will install Bing etc. While it might perpetually search for the home page it doesn’t seem to go into “Not Responding” mode, I just get it to show the call phone or group contacts pane instead.

Once installed go to Tools,Options,Advanced settings,Automatic updates and disable automatic updates:

Skype Disable Auto Updates

You will also need to keep a close eye on Windows Update. An update to Skype version 7.0 will probably be automatically selected as an Important update – I wonder why! You can de-select the update (un-tick it) and stop it returning by right-clicking on it and selecting Hide update:

While it might perpetually search for the home page it doesn't seem to go into "Not Responding" mode, I just get it to show the group contacts pane instead. Skype Disable Update In Windows Update Hide Update

Windows Update Pushes Windows 10 Upgrade

In Windows 7 recent instances of Windows Update appear to be heavily biased towards forcing the “optional” Upgrade to Windows 10:
Windows 7 Update Pushes Windows 10

But, if you want to stay on Windows 7 for now, how do you just get the updates for Windows 7 and put the Upgrade to Windows 10 on the back burner?

Just look a little closer and you’ll see a link to “Show all available updates” below the Upgrade to Windows 10 graphic, click on it to reveal all updates:

Windows 7 Update Pushes Windows 10 Show All Updates

You’ll notice that the “Optional” Upgrade to Windows 10 is ticked, that’s a bit presumptuous! All you need to do is un-tick it and, to stop it re-appearing, right-click and select “Hide update”.

Windows Update will now show updates for your current version of Windows:

Windows 7 Update Pushes Windows10 Back To Normal Updates

If you wand to get the Upgrade to Windows 10 update back, just choose “Restore Hidden Updates” from the left pane and tick it in the window shown:

Windows 7 Update Pushes Windows 10 Restore Hidden Update

 

 

Windows 10 pre-upgrade check list

There is a good summary and links to more detailed discussion of how to make the upgrade to Windows 10 as trouble free as possible on www.howtogeek.com:

Update to Windows 10 Headache Free With A Pre-Upgrade Checklist
Update to Windows 10 Headache Free With A Pre-Upgrade Checklist
Although millions of people have already jumped on the Windows 10 wagon, there are still millions of upgraders waiting in the wings. If you want your upgrade to be as painless as possible read on as we highlight the best practices for upgrading your PC to Windows 10.

Read more here: www.howtogeek.com/225241/update-to-windows-10-headache-free-with-a-pre-upgrade-checklist.