Everytime you try to copy a file to your USB stick you get this error:
You'll need to provide administrator permission to copy to this folder
The ironic thing is that you are the administrator of your computer yet Windows keeps pestering you about getting permission from the administrator to complete the action.
Furthermore, it’s farcical, almost absurd, that Windows provides three equally useless buttons.
I don’t want to Cancel the action nor do I want to Skip the file I’m trying to copy but if I click Continue I get a new error:
You need permission to perform this action
If I click Try Again that immutable error remains and haunts me like a specter.
There’s nothing I can do to get around this access denied message.
I mean, as the Administrator, who exactly do I need permission from to access this folder?
Is there a hidden super Administrator account out there?
Microsoft? Do I need to call Microsoft for permission?
Do I need to ask God for access?
Among the multifaceted idiosyncrasies of Windows this has got to be the most annoying.
You could try disabling User Account Control (UAC) but that has it’s own issues. Disabling UAC has other ramifications which will weaken the security profile of the OS and prevent some ModernUI (Metro) apps from running. In addition, it may not even fix the problem.
Alternatively, you could try using Unlocker or even manually take ownership of the destination folder but these actions might be equally futile.
The first thing I would do is disable your Antivirus Software.
Some programs such as AVG Free and Quick Heal have peculiar features which have good intentions but can get in the way. I know Avast calls its version of data protection File System Shield. Different vendors have different names for it but the easiest thing is to:
Disable AV protection
Copy your files
Enable AV protection again
In Quick Heal you can disable Data Theft Protection under the External Drives & Devices section.
You’re AV software should have something comparable.
If that doesn’t do the trick please let me know in the comments because I’ve discovered that AV software is the culprit 90% of the time.
Which of these scenarios is worse? A computer that takes an inordinate amount of time to:
Start up or
Okay, I guess that’s like asking which is worse: a slow computer or a capricious computer? In other words, both equally suck and one isn’t really any less annoying than the other.
But this is the thing: When my computer takes ages to shutdown it tempts me to my hold in the power button to force off the power.
I don’t want to wait for the computer to turn off – when I’m done with my PC for the day it shouldn’t merely acquiesce to my shutdown request; no on the contrary it should execute my commands with alacrity and turn itself off in a matter of seconds.
If your PC chronically founders when you tell it to power down then we need to find out why it founders. Is there an easy way to identify the programs or processes that are making a speedy shutdown futile?
Identifying the culprit
One of the most reliable means of identifying aberrant processes is using a free toolkit from Microsoft called the Windows Performance Toolkit which is part of a large software package known as the Windows Software Developer’s Kit (SDK).
I know “Software Developer’s Kit” may sound grandiloquent or even daunting, especially if you’re not a software developer; however, we’re not going to touch a single bit of code.
While it’s true that Windows developers use the SDK to compile and test code; today we’re only going to analyze some data values so we can figure out what’s bothering your hapless computer.
Since I’m running Windows 8.1, I’ll demonstration how I got this thing going my OS. Click open the executable named sdksetup.exe and keep the default installation location.
You might notice the setup wizard requires a glut of space; at one and a half gigs this thing looks like a beast.
Fortunately on the third setup screen you’ll have the option to disable superfluous items. I’ll show you that a little later.
On the next screen, opt out of the Customer Experience Improvement Program.
Microsoft has enough information about me, anonymous or not, thus I don’t feel compelled to give up anything else.
Accept the license agreement…
The Software Development Kit comes chock full with a bunch of software libraries that aren’t really germane to what we’re trying to do; therefore, go ahead and un-check everything except the Windows Performance Toolkit.
In the right pane you’ll see it includes:
Windows Performance Recorder
Windows Performance Analyzer
That second guy there, Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA), is our ticket to shutdown speediness. I’m going to show you how to use WPA, and his cousin Xbootmgr, to get to the bottom of the problem.
Click Install and you’ll be finished in 60 seconds.
Alright, now we’re done with the boring stuff.
Press Windows Key + x + a to open a Command prompt with Administrative privileges and navigate to the Windows Performance Toolkit folder.
Type this in:
cd "Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Windows Performance Toolkit"
Alright now save the changes from any documents, spreadsheets or projects you were working on and paste in the following cryptic command:
This tells Windows to trace the shutdown process and to do it immediately after you press the Enter key.
You should see a starting trace dialog box flash on the screen for an instant before your computer reboots itself.
When it returns you’ll see something like this:
The trace you are capturing "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.1\Windows Performance Toolkit\shutdown_BASE+DIAG+LATENCY_1.etl" may contain personally identifiable information
That’s good as it denotes the trace completed successfully.
Go ahead and open the Windows Performance Toolkit folder and then drag the trace file, which should be named shutdown_BASE+DIAG+LATENCY_1.etl, over the Windows Performance Analyzer file named wpa.exe.
This slick move forces the Windows Performance Analyzer to load all the trace data from the .ETL capture.
When it loads you should see a few items in the Graph Explorer sitting in the left pane:
Power data points
I know this sounds crazy but you don’t need a Masters in Statistics to analyze the data here.
Let me walk you through how easy it is to find the processes that could be slowing down your shutdowns…
In the Graph Explorer, click open Storage, expand Disk Usage and double-click Service Time by Process, Path Name, Stack.
A bunch of data will take over your screen. Let me break it down a little:
We can divide the right pane into two sections:
The top half lists your system processes and displays a graph that lists each process by how long it took to close (the horizontal axis) and how much memory was consumed at each time interval (the vertical axis).
The bottom half shows all your processes, the file path to the process file and the all important Disk Service Time column.
I want you to focus on this bottom pane.
The Disk Service Time column shows time values in millionths of a second, Microseconds.
So to see how long a particular process took to terminate just divide it by 1 million… just kick over the decimal point 6 places to the left to get seconds.
Since the column is Disk Service Time column is sorted with the longest close times listed first, I can start marching down the list to see the slowest processes.
In my example, I can see something called MsMpEng.exe took 257,250 microseconds to close. That comes out to .2 seconds, which is paltry I know – but that’s besides the point. I just wanted you to see where to go when you need to hunt down those slow processes.
If you click the little drop down arrow under the process name you’ll see even more data such as the human friendly name of the process in the file path. Here, it looks like Windows Defender was nibbling on 56,254 microseconds of close time.
When you locate the offending process you can Google around to see if you need it and can then disable or uninstall it.
The Bottom Line
If your computer takes forever to shutdown then we use a broad stroke and start indiscriminately removing software or we can try a focused approach using the Windows Performance Analyzer.
It takes a little more work than uninstalling rando files you think are responsible for the problem but it’ll give you value insights and empirical data to support your assumptions and justify your actions.
The Windows Performance Analyzer isn’t perfect and can be hard to decipher; however, if you give it a chance and it’ll reward you by helping you identify processes which are slowing down your shutdowns.
If you have any questions please share in the comments!
Given how egregious the error was and the concomitant stinky press directed toward Apple, you would think Samsung would make its version of the fingerprint reader – indomitable.
But – oh my friend, you’re way too optimistic.
The fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S5 is beset with problems.
With relatively little effort, a motivated attacker can spoof a valid fingerprint by brushing magnesium powder on paper, door knobs, or smartphone screens. The prints, known as latent prints, are invisible to the naked eye but easily emerge when dusted with fine powders.
Since every human being on the planet has a unique fingerprint (even identical twins who share the same DNA), using fingerprints to unlock smartphones and make online payments might seem like a good idea. As far as biometrics are concerned fingerprint readers are a good thing; however, they must never be used in isolation.
I think fingerprint readers are a prudent addition to authentication systems but only when coupled with something you know such as a PIN or password. The innate immutability of fingerprints is what makes them both a blessing and a curse.
The fact that they never change means if someone successfully forges your fingerprint there’s no way to change it.
Think about it: how would you change your fingerprint? Get a finger transplant? Burn your fingertips? Seriously, this is one of the biggest issues but still it’s not the biggest. In my mind the biggest problem is that people constantly leave copies of print evidence everywhere.
Smartphones, deskphones, and keyboards are obvious places where we unwittingly leave behind print evidence. Here’s my question: how easy is it to lift prints from these common places?
Well, if you have a chemical called Cyanoacrylate, which is ubiquitous in Krazy Glue and other strong adhesives, you can use the vapors to display the print. This works because Cyanoacrylate is a catalyst that reacts to the oils and salts of a human fingerprint. You can then take a high-resolution photo of the print and use it to make a mold slab which you can use to gain unauthorized access to the victims phone.
Most criminals may not go through the effort of doing this; however, if you’re a high-profile individual like a politician or president then you could be the target of such machinations.
I’m getting the notion that big brands such as Apple and Samsung are more concerned about selling products than they are about securing them. Security is invariably an afterthought. Instead of implementing a software and hardware development life cycle that bakes security into every phase of development, it gets slapped on the end and then touted as a cogent reason for buying the product.
I’m actually disappointed in both Samsung and Apple but mainly Samsung. I wouldn’t go so far as to indict Samsung as being duplicitous but the fingerprint reader should not be marketed under the rubric of security.
Admittedly, biometric systems aren’t perfect and there are advantages and disadvantages to each system; however, the onus is on Samsung to get it right.
In summary, I exhort you NOT to trust the fingerprint reader alone as the singular key for unlocking your smartphone. If you’re going to use the fingerprint reader always use it in tandem with something else like a secure password.
Another issue is that businesses are eager to flaunt app integration with fingerprint readers and yet forgo the rigorous testing required before selling the product. Paypal is a case in point.
On the Galaxy S5, Paypal authenticates money transactions with that notorious fingerprint scanner. The ramifications are obvious: now there’s even more reason to steal and mold fingerprints.
PayPal never stores or even has access to your actual fingerprint with authentication on the Galaxy S5. The scan unlocks a secure cryptographic key that serves as a password replacement for the phone. We can simply deactivate the key from a lost or stolen device, and you can create a new one
That’s fine but still doesn’t obviate the phone manufacturers responsibility for securing the biometric devices on their phones. The bottom line is that Samsung abdicated its responsibilities by mass producing something that isn’t ready to market.
I love Samsung but it really missed the ball this time.
Some people have a fervor for knowing all the details of their system hardware.
In Windows 8 you can easily view the juicy specs about your CPU speed, RAM usage and OS bit version.
Just press Windows Key + x + y to get the summary… but what if you want to see how many cores you have?
First let me explain what I mean by core.
CPUs do a lot
I’m going to figuratively say that the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is analogous to your central nervous system: your brain.
That is, every click, keystroke, and action is processed through the CPU just as every sensory input as a human being is governed by your brain.
The CPU has the laborious task of synthesizing billions of electrical impulses per second. Technically speaking, the CPU comprises foundational technologies such as:
Arithmetic Logic Unit
Let’s briefly walk through the trio
Arithmetic Logic Unit
The ALU is a fancy name for the digital circuit that works out all the basic math and logic functions on your computer.
I suppose if we extend our brain analogy, the ALU would be your brain’s cortex. We’re getting philosophical here, but your stream of consciousness is the closest comparison I can think of to the ALU because it’s where activity is the busiest.
You’re assiduously banging out an email when your boss suddenly stomps in your office and breaks your concentration.
He drops a heavy UPS box on your desk and the sheer weight of the fall almost topples your desk lamp.
After the dust clears he barks: “Hey, I need you to expedite this package to New York. The CEO is expecting it tonight.”
Interruptions suck but they are great way to illustrate the daily life of a CPU.
CPU’s are constantly receiving interruption signals from software and hardware which means its attention is always being pulled from the current task (known as a thread).
CPU’s manage all these interruption and ensure that the active thread still gets reliably executed.
When you think of I/O control think of a traffic cop.
In addition to managing interruptions and executing math operations the CPU coordinates the flow of data to and from itself with the help of a specialized controller called a Channel Processor.
Usually the CPU offloads chunks of the I/O functions to this Channel Processor which then independently deals with data exchange.
Cores Cores Cores
So what’s the deal with CPU cores?
Just think of one CPU core as one CPU
Thus, a dual core processor means you have two cores; that is – two CPU’s inside of one physical CPU socket.
This pattern continues for quad-core processors and so on.
So a dual core processor is a single CPU with two cores which is roughly equivalent to having two physical CPUs.
Having multiple cores means you can process multiple instructions in parallel. In addition you actually get a performance surge by squeezing multiple cores on to a single slab of silicon because the signal has less distance to travel and therefore doesn’t a attenuate as easily and allows chip designers to push more data for each clock cycle.
Alright, enough of the pedantic details, here’s how to see how many cores your computer has.
Viewing your cores
Open a command prompt by pressing Windows Key + x + a and paste in the following command:
WMIC CPU Get /Format:List
Scroll down and look for NumberOfCores and NumberOfLogicalProcessors. From the graphic above you can see I have a quad core processor.
A maverick is an unorthodox, unconventional person… and guess what? your intrepid operating system claims to fit the bill.
Usually Mavericks lives a happy life opening apps with felicity and running Safari with alacrity – but sometimes the story isn’t so sanguine. In fact, there are a faction of users who’ve seen its darker side and if you’re one of them read on.
When your Mac has you lamenting the day you switched from a PC, it could be time for a complete re-install.
There are two ways to kick off the show. The first is infinitely cooler than the second but I’ll tell you both anyway:
From a USB Drive
From a Recovery Drive
Before I explain I should mention a few things:
You can’t buy a Mavericks DVD
Mavericks is diskless so you can’t just march into an Apple store and demand that a Genius sell you a Mavericks DVD.
If she’s a snob, she’ll regard your request as farcical and will shoo you away but that probably won’t happen. When I visited the Apple Store at Grand Central Station about a month ago, the Genius cordially told me to download it from the App store.
Mavericks is available as a 5.3GB download from the App store… I’ll show you how to get it in a bit.
The USB install is convenient
Let’s say your a Mac man (or Mac girl) and your home looks like a Macbook Pro got frisky with a Mac Mini and gave birth to a dozen Apple devices.
You know what I’m talking about: you’ve got:
a Mac mini in the office
a Macbook pro in the living room
a Macbook Air in the kitchen
and a clamshell iBook G3 from the late 90′s sitting in your garage.
One day you want to upgrade all your Macs (except that iBook because it’s an artifact) to Mavericks; it’s a lot easier to install the OS directly from the USB drive rather than launching the App store and downloading Mavericks on each Mac. The convenience of the USB boot option compelled me to share this method first.
I’m going to show you that you truely have the finesse to install a bootable version of Mavericks on your USB drive
It’s super easy and compared to the old-hat way of burning the OS to a DVD, a USB drive is more flexible. For example, whenever a newer version of Mac OS X arrives, let’s say Apple calls it Mac OS X Killer Lion, you can simply erase the old image and copy Killer Lion like any other file.
With a DVD you’re fettered to limited rewrites and glacial write speeds; however, a USB stick is faster, more portable and more useful especially since many Macs no longer include DVD drives anyway.
Getting Mavericks on the USB stick
Alright let’s do this. Make sure:
The USB drive has at least 8GB of space
You don’t care about losing everything on the USB drive.
Our materialistic society is absolutely enamored with useless stuff.
Why do I need a 41MP camera on my smartphone?
Why do I have 3 dozen apps when I only use 4 or 5 daily?
Why the hell does my phone record videos in 4K UHD?
Why do smartphone keep losing weight? The smartphone industry is in a perilous race toward anorexia.
When news breaks of some new gadget a melee breaks on the web as everyone rushes to be the first to own it.
Most people just want the latest mode; they want to be at the vanguard of what’s hip, vogue, and unique. With technology this is evidenced by the mobile mania that sweeps our country every Spring and Fall.
But this is the thing: Our acquisitive desire to amass the slickest accouterments has both impoverished and enslaved us at the same time.
By glutting our tech appetites on shiny, tiny computers such as phablets, tablets and phones we unwittingly increasing our dissatisfaction in what we already have. Furthermore, our avarice leads to poverty as our discontent categorically refuses to be satiated.
Touch on a PC is absurd
One of the things that really really pisses me off are the stupid touch displays on desktops and laptops.
Why the fuck does my desktop computer have a touch screen panel? It’s one thing for a smartphone to have a touch display and it’s another for your tablet to be touch-ready – but why does my Desktop and Laptop PC have touch screen displays standard?
This is tantamount to buying a minivan with a tachometer. What soccer mom out there is actually checking the RPM’s of her Dodge Caravan while she hauls little Jennifer to the game? Tachometers are stupid in family cars for the same reason that touch screens are stupid on PCs.
First of all, no sane person is going to use the touch screen display on a desktop to tap out an email, compose a novel or browse the web. Even if your keyboard failed you would simply buy a new keyboard.
Secondly, touch screen displays condone bad posture. The human wrist wasn’t meant to twist and writhe in the absurd positions necessary for touching a monitor while sitting.
Third, touch screen displays are like bacon lard, it adds “financial fat” that you don’t need. Why spend the premium for a touch computer? You work hard for your money and you’re a scrupulous spender so don’t accede to the hype.
Conversely, proponents of touch might say that everything is moving toward touch so you might as well get used to it now. Others might add that it works well with the Windows 8.1 Start Screen and looks really neat when your friends come by and see how hip you are.
My rejoinder is simply that touch certainly has its place but it doesn’t belong on a PC. Touch screen displays are better suited for tablets and smartphones because the smaller size makes it easier to use.
How to disable the touch screen
Today I finally mustered up the strength to disable the touch screen on a friends Desktop computer; however, I quickly lamented the hour I volunteered to help.
The process actually wasn’t straightforward and depending on the PC manufacturer and the software installed on your computer, there are a motley of possibilities for pulling this off.
When it comes to PC’s, I’m no neophyte – so I reasoned I’d disable this touch screen display in a few seconds.
I nonchalantly clicked open the Control Panel and opened Pen and Touch but then stalled.
I couldn’t find anything even remotely resembling a disable button or checkbox. I clicked the Touch actions items, the Settings button and toggled options but the touch screen adamantly refused to die.
Now I’m exasperated.
I thought to myself:
What the..? I am not googling this. I am not googling this. This is stupid I can figure this out.
Then it caught my eye…
With lightning precision I noticed something called Tablet PC Settings.
Eureka! I’m about to disable that odious option…
My eyes narrowed and the corner of my lip curled as I clicked through tabs and drop down boxes like a madman.
My odyssey to find that stupid setting comes to an end NOW
But alas! My joy was quickly curtailed when I realized this was about as useful as a car exhaust grill.
If you haven’t seen a car exhaust grill, google it, it’s hilarious.
Anyway, speaking of Google I finally capitulated, swallowed my pride and googled the solution.
This is how I fixed it:
As an Administrator, open the Device Manager by pressing the Windows icon key + x + m.
Expand the Human Interface Devices section.
If your face turns to a ghostly pallor because of all those HID thingies don’t worry – it’s just a list of all the drivers requisite for running various peripherals such as USB devices.
Skip over the consumer control devices and focus on all those HID-compliant device icons.
We’re going to systematically right-click each HID icon, disable it and touch the screen to see if it’s disabled.
If it’s not disabled, right click the HID icon again, enable it and move down the list to repeat the previous step.
Keep doing this for all your HID’s until you find the right one. It’s usually either the second or third HID-compliant device; however, it varies depending on the system.
I was elated when I found mine but I was also indignant because I wish the process was more intuitive.
I hope this little article saved someone the vexation I experienced.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that a touchscreen on a PC is absurd.
Whenever I hear benighted touch screen advocates breaking into panegyric for how cool their touch desktops are I think to myself: you’re not cool, you’re a fool for wasting money on something that has no functional value.
And so I’ll end this article in the same way I started it…
Instead of a 41MP smartphone give me a battery that stays charged for days
Instead of 3 dozen apps give me 5 that can replace the rest
Instead of recording ultra-high definition videos on my phone give me a phone that doesn’t freeze when I try to call someone
Instead of an emaciated, ultra-thin phablet give me one that feels good in my hand and is durable enough to obviate the need for a case.
Oh and of course I can’t leave this one out:
Instead of a touch screen PC just give me one that’s fast and reliable.
As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began working to fix it. Our team has successfully made the appropriate corrections across the main Yahoo properties (Yahoo Homepage, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Food, Yahoo Tech, Flickr, and Tumblr) and we are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now. We’re focused on providing the most secure experience possible for our users worldwide and are continuously working to protect our users’ data.
Shortly after 3PM EST Yahoo plugged the hole; however, the point is that not even big sites with big budgets are hermetically sealed from the implications.
Imgur, OKCupid, and LastPass were all running affected versions of the OpenSSL cryptographic libraries but thankfully all three companies have mitigated the threat.
What’s the big deal?
The Heartbleed bug enables an attacker to covertly retrieve data in 64KB chunks from random memory locations on the server.
Admittedly, the culprit has no idea what he’ll get from that 64KB memory block (it’s like blind fishing); however, when the attack is iterative it becomes extremely dangerous because all sorts of sensitive stuff sits in memory…
Credit Card Numbers
For nearly two thirds of the webservers out there, the integrity and confidentiality of data is at risk.
An attacker could discretely eavesdrop on “encrypted” conversations or even masquerade as the server fooling unsuspecting users into divulging sensitive data.
When the servers private keys are compromised encryption because futile. In Public Key cryptography, only the private key can decrypt an encrypted message; but when the private key is exposed – encryption is rendered useless.
In short, the HeartBleed bug gives an attacker carte blanche access to anything sitting in the servers memory.
Clearly the ramifications of exploitation are abysmal.
The root issue
The root of the problem is what coders refer to as a buffer overrun or “missing bounds check”.
Let me explain:
OpenSSL is an open-sourced library that provides cryptographic functions to millions of web applications.
In OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.f, there was a new addition called the TLS Heartbeat Extension. You can read the pedantic RFC on the IEFT’s website; but I’ll spare you the boredom.
Just think of it like this:
Just as your physical heartbeat keeps you alive with each beat, so the TLS heartbeat tells the client and server that the encrypted session is still active. This is especially important when no data is being exchanged because both computers need a way to make sure the other one is “still there”.
When the server received a HeartBeatRequest message it has to send a corresponding response carrying an exact copy of the payload it received in that request.
But here’s the vulnerability:
If the attacker sets the length of the payload to a value greater than the actual payload size any data sitting in memory after the payload will automatically get copied in the HeartBeatResponse packet.
So in vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL stack, an attacker can craft a benign heartbeat request of a relatively small size but then surreptitiously set the length of the payload in the data packet to something like 0xFFFFF.
Well 0xFFFFF is hexadecimal for 65,535 bytes.
When the server receives this jumbo heartbeat packet is indiscriminately copies the heartbeat request to memory but also any other bits of memory sitting next to it get dumped in the response.
In other words, any sensitive information sitting in the difference between the payload length value and the actual payload itself is returned to the attacker as a 64KB memory chunk in the next heartbeat.
That’s why this is called the HeartBleeder attack because the bug makes the server bleed it’s sensitive guts to malicious hackers.
Jamie Blasco, Director at research firm AlienVault Labs says that this bug has “epic repercussions”.
It’s epic because changing your passwords – although a necessary next step isn’t sufficient.
Affected providers such as Yahoo, OkCupid and millions of others, need to not only patch the security flaw but also replace the compromised keys and certs. This entails revoking those adulterated certificates and reissuing new ones.
The enormity of this breach cannot be overstated. And the nature of this threat is such that it leaves no evidence of exploitation. In other words, when an attacker executes the attack there’s no indication in the logs that the server was even victimized.
Certificate owners and service providers need to check with their Certificate Authorities (CA) to see how to revoke and reissue their keys.
What should I do?
Change your passwords
Delay logging into sites that have your personal information for a few days
Test the site for vulnerabilities
This is obvious and onerous but it’s imperative.
Facebook, Tumblr, Yahoo, Google – everything needs to get a password refresh.
But don’t just change it… you also need to make sure your passwords are both strong and unique. And don’t share the same password across multiple sites.
That’s why I use LastPass for this kind of thing because it’s a secure means of storing and protecting your passwords… and it’s free.
Abstain from the web
In addition, I suggest abstaining from any sites that hold personal information. We need to wait a few days for the major sites to revoke and reissue their vitiated certificates before we login again.
There’s no point in changing your password and then logging into a comprised server only to have it stolen again.
Given the ubiquity of OpenSSL, with that kind of exposure for such a long time at least one of your accounts has a high likelihood of being compromised.
The Heartbleed bug is a sweeping problem that was either a programming mistake or a volitional act of malice.
I want to believe the former; however, I have no evidence to support my belief. Apparently, I’m not the only one who shares this sentiment.
On his blog, the preeminent security expert Bruce Schneier muses that we’re all asking the wrong question. He ruminates:
The real question is whether or not someone deliberately [emphasis mine] inserted this bug into OpenSSL, and has had two years of unfettered access to everything. My guess is accident, but I have no proof
This obviously veers in the realm of speculation but it’s an intriguing thought…
Discerning Windows 8.1 users may notice a new update in the Update and Recovery center today.
Microsoft conventionally releases updates on Tuesdays.
IT administrators and computer gurus colloquially refer to this monumental day as “Super Tuesday” or “Patch Tuesday”.
Today is reason to exultant because a valuable update was just unleashed.
Keyboard and Mouse users rejoice!
Keyboard and mouse aficionados once disparaged Microsoft for supplanting their needs for pompous touch-users who flouted keyboards and thought mice were obsolete.
Dogmatic users asserted that touch screens would eventually replace keyboards therefore everyone might as well accede to this nascent touch movement. But millions of customers dissented (including me) because we think there are still people with an inseparable affinity for keyboards and mice.
If you’re not as elated as I am about the interface changes you still need to install the Update chiefly because Microsoft has made this update the prerequisite for receiving future updates. In other words, you won’t be able to download new features and security patches unless you have this Update.
In a statement on the Microsoft blog, Michael Hildebrand said:
Failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014 (get busy!)
The Windows 8.1 Update will become the touchstone on which all future updates will lean on so it’s pretty important.
What you get
Here’s what your computer is getting:
Boot to desktop by default
Power and Search buttons on Start Screen
Context menus via right click on Start Screen Tiles
New App installed notifications on bottom of Start Screen
Pin Apps to Taskbar
Modern Apps get Minimize and Close buttons
Skydrive becomes OneDrive
Internet Explorer gets Enterprise Mode for backwards compatibility with older version of IE
View app sizes in a new Disk Space setting in PC and devices. You can easily see which apps are consuming the most space.
Show estimated data and Forget this network returns when you right click on your WiFi network.
If you install the update on your tablet it’ll magically divine that there’s no need to boot to the desktop so it boots to the Start Screen instead.
One more thing: the update purportedly included a new Start Menu; however, this was a false rumor proliferated on the interwebs because of statement taken out of context at the 2014 Build Conference.
An image of the Start Menu was shown during a presentation to denote a feature in a future update; unfortunately we’ll have to wait indefinitely for that one.
Impetuous users who can’t wait for Microsoft to revive the Start Menu should check out Start Menu Reviver and Classic Shell. Both of these are the best Start Menu replacements I’ve seen for Windows 8 and both are free and customizable.
How to install the update
Alright enough talk: here’s how you can get the update.
The update (singular) actually comprises several updates. In other words, this is a big boy.
The first update you need is KB2919442. You can download it manually but the easiest thing to do is just run Windows Update.
Press the Windows Key + w and enter this this:
windows update settings
Click the gray Check Now button in the right pane and wait for Windows to work its alchemy…
You can hunt and peck for the updates you need but I recommend just checking Select all important updates and choosing Install to get started.
The product is living. There are some times when you have to take a bet, and there are times when you have to adjust what you’re doing.
He went on to compare working with Windows like “ordering pizza for 1.5 billion people.”
I’m not going to empathize with Microsoft here but given the prodigious amount of users who depend on the product and who incessantly want a voice in development, I can see how making software for everyone can become a herculean chore.
Ultimately I’m happy with this update and I hope Microsoft continues to listen to its customers.
Let’s see if they deliver on that Start Menu thing…
cacls let’s you modify the access control on specific files.
Here we’re telling Windows that we want to give the Administrators group carte-blanche access over everything inside the C:\Windows.old folder.
We’re basically hijacking the folder.
Now paste in this final command:
rmdir /S /Q C:\Windows.old\
This powerful command essentially drops an Atom bomb on the folder.
rmdir /S removes all directories and subfolders and the /Q zaps everything without bothering you for confirmation.
After running these commands you’ll undoubtedly see a prodigious sum of text scroll up the screen at a lightening speed.
That’s fine – Windows outputs the result of each file modification so you’re just seeing the results of each modified file.
The Bottom Line
If you ignore the Windows.old folder, Microsoft automatically purges it after 28 days; however, if you’re pressed for space and need it immediately you can easily delete the folder by using the Clean up systems files button in Disk Cleanup or taking ownership of the folder and removing it via the command line.