Vol. 21, #38 - September 19, 2016 - Issue #1098

Windows 7 updating pain

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Editor's Corner

This week's newsletter is all about how painful it's become for some users running Windows 7 to keep their machines up to date with the latest software patches made available on Windows Update. If you're still running Windows 7 on some or all of your machines then you probably want to read my observations and recommendations below.

Apart from that we also have lots of other cool stuff in this issue so make sure you read it everything!
Change is painful. Technology constantly changes. IT pros work with technology. Ergo, IT pros frequently experience pain.

If things get REALLY painful then you might want to do what Alice did in this Dilbert comic strip:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0n4nbesn/

Yes, there's people pain too - which is another source of pain that we IT pros often have to put up with!

Ask Our Readers - Redirected search page hijack (new question)

The following question was sent to us this week by Dave, an IT veteran in Perth, Australia:

I am seeing a number of client machines with browser hijacks. Many of these respond quite well to the usual adware or malware removal tools but there are equal number that seem to have no way to remove them. For example, tech-connect.biz redirected search page hijack is a real problem. I have run dozens of programs, Reg edits, to remove but it is stubborn and persistent. If I run IE (11) with no addins or in safe mode the hijack does not load. This should be a clue but nowhere in addins list or registry can I find this entry. Just wondering if any readers have found a method for manual removal or via some tool?

Do any of our readers have any suggestions for Dave? Email us at [email protected]

Ask Our Readers: WServerNews has almost 100,000 subscribers worldwide. That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some issue or need advice on something IT-related? Got a question you'd like us to toss out to our readers to try and answer? Email us at [email protected]

Windows 7 updating pain

We still have a couple of PCs running Windows 7 in our offices, mainly because they're old equipment and upgrading them to Windows 10 would be a bit of a pain for us. What I've noticed on these Win7 machines lately however is how LONG it takes for them to determine whether Windows Update (WU) has any updates ready to be downloaded for them and how LONG it takes for the machines to finish downloading those updates. And while the machines are querying WU their CPUs get pegged to 100%, so they're basically unusable for work purposes until the new updates are detected and downloaded to them.

How long does this painful updating process take? Sometimes half a day or more. I've actually had to stop and disable the WU service several times on one of them so the machine could continue to be used for an important business task. And when it happened on an old laptop I had to disable sleep mode on the machine and leave it plugged in and turned on so it could update--and when I came into the office in the morning it was STILL trying to download updates. It eventually took TWO DAYS for the laptop to update itself--argh!!

Have any other readers noticed anything like this? I know the Microsoft Answers community forums are full of posts complaining about this happening. In the end I tried several things and also checked with a few Microsoft MVPs to see if anyone might have a solution, because it sure seems that Microsoft has broken how WU works on Windows 7. And of course the tin foil hat crowd (of which I confess I am occasionally a participant) speculates loudly that this is just one more example of Microsoft relentlessly pushing users towards upgrading their Win7 machines to Win10. 

Solution attempt #1

If you hit the Windows key and type "troubleshoot" and press Enter you can open the Troubleshoot Computer Problems page from Control Panel. On this page under System And Security there's a link called Fix Problems With Windows Update that you can use to launch the Windows Update Troubleshooter. 

I tried that but unfortunately it didn't fix the problem.

Solution attempt #2

An MVP then told me to make sure that KB3020369 is installed on the system:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1yba0d43/

I opened a PowerShell prompt and typed Get-HotFix -id KB3020369 and confirmed that the update had been installed previously.

Solution attempt #3

The same MVP then told me to check whether KB3125574 had been installed on the system:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/f9eoecco/

Get-Hotfix threw an error when I tried checking for this update (bad cmdlet design) so to confirm it wasn't installed I used WMIC by opening a CMD prompt and typing wmic qfe | find "KB3125574" and the null result returned indicated this hotfix wasn't installed. So I read through the doc for the KB and thought, "Hmm" and decided to ask some others whether it was really necessary. 

Solution attempt #4

A different MVP suggested I check whether KB3161608 had been installed on my system:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tion95m3/

It wasn't installed, but when I read the KB doc it said the update had been superseded by KB3172605:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/5483whjm/

So I checked for that one and it turned out that hadn't been installed either. I opened Windows Update and clicked where it said I had "63 optional updates to install" and sure enough on the next WU screen there was KB3172605. So I selected it and returned to the previous WU screen. But then before installing the update I did something the MVP suggested and clicked Change Settings and temporarily changed it to Never Check For Updates as he told me if I didn't do that I might end up waiting for hours or even days for the machine to download and install the optional update I was requesting. I also opened Services.msc and stopped the Windows Update Service, but this being a demand start service it will restart automatically the next time I manually run WU on the system. 

Anyways, I finished installing KB3172605 and rebooted my machine. At this point the MVP said I should install another update KB3102810 which he said had been released by Microsoft to fix the problem of high CPU usage causing slow updating when updating Windows 7:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r687x58p/

So I ran the Get-HotFix cmdlet to check whether this hotfix had already been installed or not on my system and to my surprise it was already installed! I had been told by the MVP that this was an optional update, but my guess is that Microsoft recently decided to make it a required update so WU would install it as part of the previous Patch Tuesday. 

Where things are at present

I'm waiting for the next round of updates to be published on WU to see whether installing KB3172605 will make any difference. If I still have the problem then I may consider installing KB3125574 but I'll need to review the release notes carefully for this update before doing this.

This whole experience has left a bad taste in the mouths of many users who are still running Windows 7 on their home machines. Users who aren't very tech-savvy are pretty much left high and dry by Microsoft if their machines get their CPU pegged for several days each month while they try to check for updates. If Windows 7 extended support is supposed to last until 2020 then Microsoft should ensure that the basic functionality of the platform remains unchanged until then. If this was an intentional action to force more users into upgrading to Windows 10 then it's shameful on their part. And if it's a mistake caused by poor testing methodology on Microsoft's part then it's equally shameful they aren't allocating sufficient internal resources to testing and maintaining a platform they've committed to supporting for another four years.

Get a grip on yourself, Microsoft!!  

Send us your feedback

Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at [email protected]

Recommended for Learning

New training courses from Microsoft

In this blog post, Ingrid Henkel, learning evangelist for Microsoft Learning Experiences spotlights brand-new courses from MVA and edX.  Here’s There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re prepping for a Microsoft certification exam, interested in Azure Security Center, Data Science, DevOps, and much more.  Check out what Ingrid has to say!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/n12rvwog/

Microsoft Virtual Academy 

Mastering Microsoft Certification Exam Prep

Are you interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)? Getting ready for a Microsoft Certification exam? Then you already know that having the requisite content knowledge is only part of the complete picture. You also need practical, hands-on technology skills and strong test-taking strategies.

 In this on-demand Microsoft Certification exam prep session, IT Pro and Microsoft Certified Trainer Timothy Warner and Microsoft Learning Senior Content Developer Christopher Chapman help you quickly ramp up on what you need to know to conquer Microsoft Certifications. Find out what they are, who they’re for, and how to become a better test-taker. Take a look at different kinds of questions and how to be prepared for them. Plus, get details on special deals, pricing, and registration, along with next steps in your Microsoft Certification journey.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/h8exqkxc/

 Quote of the Week

"Three failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice." -- Minna Thomas Antrim 


Until next week,
Mitch Tulloch

Note to subscribers: If for some reason you don't receive your weekly issue of this newsletter, please notify us at [email protected] and we'll try to troubleshoot things from our end.

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

Protect your Hyper-V & VMware Virtual Machines for Free with Altaro VM Backup. Start backing up your VMs in a matter of minutes. Plus, it’s free for 2 VMs, forever.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fhga0a6s/

With PRTG Network Monitor you only need one solution to monitor your entire network including applications, software, hardware, cloud & virtual environments. Simplify your monitoring now with PRTG. 

http://www.wservernews.com/go/xxf1653r/

Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE 1.5 includes: CryptoLocker protection for USB storage, email notifications and standalone full backup. It comes with support and isolate your PC and laptop backups from malware attacks.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/s0rz7yl0/

Sysmon is a Windows service and driver which records process creations, attempts to change a file creation date, and, optionally, network connections:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/u756ysqz/

BandwidthD tracks usage of TCP/IP network subnets and builds html files with graphs to display utilization:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3zken034/

CSVFileView is a simple CSV file viewer/converter utility that allows you to easily view the content of CSV or tab-delimited file created by NirSoft utilities or by any other software, in a simple table viewer:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/eb208fgw/

This Week's Tips

GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]

Windows 10 - Temporarily prevent updating

A colleague has told me that Windows Update effectively gets turned off on Windows 10 when Battery Saver mode is enabled on the system. This might be a good thing to do on a laptop when you're working so you make sure WU doesn't start downloading and installing updates in the background as Win10 has been known to restart itself after installing updates without first notifying the logged on user. How-To Geek has a good article on configuring Battery Saver mode:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/pm17vcus/

Just push the slider all the way to the right to turn Battery Saver mode on regardless of how much charge remains in your battery. Note that the screen may dim when you do this.

ConfigMgr - Listing drivers in a boot image

Henrik Hoe Nielsen has tweeted a great tip as follows:

What drivers are in my boot image, and where are the files?
Select * from BootImgPkg_References where PkgID = 'PS101234'

You can follow Henrik on Twitter here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gxjjvwm1/

Windows - Machine UUID and other info

If you open a command prompt in Windows and type wmic csproduct you can display lots of useful information about your machine including its UUID, IdentifyingNumber, Vendor, Version, and more. Try it!

Events Calendar

North America

Microsoft Ignite Australia on February 14-17, 2017 at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD

http://www.wservernews.com/go/zzb8ckyb/

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) on July 9-13. 2017 in Washington, D.C.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8819wfmp/

Add Your Event

PLANNING A CONFERENCE OR OTHER EVENT you'd like to tell our 100,000 subscribers about? Contact [email protected]

New on TechGenix.com

8 tips to optimize your industrial wireless network

Let’s look at eight ways in which industrial wireless network users can identify and even fix problems in their infrastructure.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ulb8aint/

Datacenter management: How IT pros can avoid a Delta disaster
Rats in the datacenter? No, maybe that wasn’t the actual cause of the recent disastrous outage that Delta Airlines experienced with its datacenter.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/x1c8gz8o/

‘Operation Ghoul’ cyber attack hits industrial, engineering sectors
Kaspersky Lab has identified a new spear phishing and malware campaign. Dubbed “Operation Ghoul” by researchers, the campaign has led to industrial and engineering organizations in 30 countries having their networks penetrated by hackers.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/bbiew9y4/

7 best remote login tools
Remote login tools allow you to use your computer to log on to the console of another computer that may be located hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/p4dj1eae/

Cisco launches new server that integrates with Skype
Cisco Systems, Inc. announced the launch of its Cisco Meeting Server which aims to make connecting with others painless and smooth.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gwgud875/

Tech Briefing

Azure

Microsoft Azure Internal Load Balancer (IT Pro Central)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/faqsw0j8/

What is Serverless Computing? Exploring Azure Functions (Scott Hanselman)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/j9u29phl/

Enterprise IT

Performing Backup on your DHCP Server (IT Pro Central)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/pi2nv6sd/

Product Review: Parallels Remote Application Server (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hljqxpz3/

Office 365

Deep Dive Into Office 365 PowerShell Cmdlets (Part 5) (VirtualizationAdmin.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/o8hmynd4/

Managing accepted domains in Office365 (IT Pro Central)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gwmsro6p/

Security

Application security redux: It’s All about the Apps (Part 7) (WindowsSecurity.com)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ymc26rso/

France, Germany Call for European Decryption Law (ThreatPost)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/46xjs0yg/

System Center

VMs not available in Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) (IT Pro Central)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0p9bxxdp/

ConfigMgr Current Branch - native integration with Windows Store for Business (Gerry Hampson)

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qk1e7e14/

Other Articles of Interest

How to set up an IT disaster recovery plan for VDI
VDI shops should keep a few key considerations in mind when planning for virtual desktop disaster recovery, such as which applications are most important to business operations. Discover how you can set up an effective IT disaster recovery plan within budget.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wumjescs/

Implement a virtual DR plan to protect your infrastructure
By understanding the evolution of and advantages involved with DR technologies, you will be better equipped to develop a strong, cost-effective virtual DR plan. Click the link below and discover key tips aid in the process.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/pda6yxnb/

Microsoft delays Azure Stack, will sell it only through OEMs
Waiting another six months for Microsoft's Azure Stack will be a hiccup to some IT shops, but narrowing their hardware choices for it will be far less welcomed. Why? Because Microsoft is also changing the way they distribute the software. Find out more:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/hgxvmvid/

Breaking down VMware Workstation 12 Pro
VMware Workstation 12 Pro offers a number of intriguing features, including the option to integrate with vCloud Air and vSphere. But some of its other features are even more noteworthy. Click the link below to learn more:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/2dqaex7f/

WServerNews FAVE Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]

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Rocket Powered Bicycle World Record: 0 - 207 mph In 4.7 Seconds

Swiss Rocket Man Francois Gissy straps a rocket to a bicycle and reaches 333 km/h (207 mph) in 4.7 seconds, breaking his own previous world record:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/s106217y/

Amateur Rocket Reaches 121,000 ft (37 000 m)

The 'Qu8q' amateur rocket reaches an altitude of 121,000 ft (37 000 m) - three times above the typical cruising altitude of an airliner (39,000 feet).

http://www.wservernews.com/go/psmkax09/

R/C B-29 with X-1 Rocket Airplane

The first supersonic flight re-lived with radio controlled planes. This B-29 may be the coolest R/C plane ever made:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/abk0hre2/

Old Spice - Rocket Car  

'Limits, do they even exist? Or is it just a made up word to destroy our dreams?'

http://www.wservernews.com/go/8h55i3yu/

WServerNews - Product of the Week

 

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.