Blocking Windows 10 From PCs

windNOws-10-logoSo there are a lot of ways to block the Windows 10 utility (GWX) from installing through Windows Update. Microsoft is getting more persistent with their update and it’s starting to make a lot of people angry. They want the world on Windows 10 but sometimes you don’t want or can’t upgrade. This is a simple fix to block GWX from installing – even if Microsoft tries to slipstream it into other updates like Internet Explorer (which they’ve recently done).

Open Explorer and go to C:\Windows\System32 and find or create a folder called GWX. Right click on the folder and go to Properties. Click on the Security tab and then click on Advanced to access special permissions and advanced settings.

Remove all inherited permissions. Deny all permissions to SYSTEM and Deny all permissions to Administrators group. Click Apply and OK. Windows will pop a warning about changing permissions on system files and directories. Yes, you want to do this. And that’s it. No registry settings, no firewall rules – just good old NTFS permissions. Since no one can access this folder, it will prevent GWX from installing, even if it’s slipstreamed in a IE update.

Setting up GnuPG Encryption For Email

gpg2Let’s be perfectly real here: email in it’s vanilla form sucks. It’s insecure, it’s unreliable, and yet it’s our preferred communication method. What can we do? A good bit, actually. While we can’t fix the problems like including encryption from the get-go, we can add it to our emails now. We can also sign our emails so people will actually know it’s us. This is one of the reasons why spam is so wild – because it’s just so darn easy to send email. Unfortunately, this does require a bit of “classic” computing using a good old email client and a plugin. This tutorial is designed for Windows users and will work on any OS Windows XP or newer. However, the software being used is cross-platform so it will work on Mac OS X and Linux.

Requirements:

For this to work, we’re going to need the following

  • Thick email client such as Thunderbird (preferred) or Outlook
  • Gpg4win
    • If you’re using Outlook, Gpg4win has an Outlook plugin

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Tracmor Update

tracmor_littleUpdate: Just to deliver on my promise to deliver updates to old posts, I’d like to provide a little update to my post, Inventory Control Systems. I reviewed this product called Tracmor and I just wanted to see if it still exists. Turns out, they still do exist, however on their main website (tracmor.com), they don’t really mention that it’s an open source product anymore and you think your only option is SaaS – not true! Simply head over to tracmor.org and you’ll be able to download the source from GitHub (moved from Google Projects).  Enjoy!

Windows Server 2016/Windows 10 Unable to open Edge

windows-server-2016With Server 2016 on the horizon, you may have started to test some of the builds out. As of right now, Technical Preview 4 (TP4) is available which is build 10586. In previous versions of Windows Server, you may have been used to Microsoft locking down Internet Explorer with Enhanced Security Configuration. However, on Server 2016 (and sometimes Windows 10), when you try to install programs that launch the default browser or you try to launch the default browser (Edge), you’ll be greeted with:

2016-01-15 10_28_38-Trac [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox

So annoying, right? So here’s how to fix that:

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Firefox removing sponsored tile

firefoxFirefox users will be happy to hear that Mozilla has decided to remove the sponsored tile from the new tab page. I previously blogged about this last year, actually. So it’s evident that the “feature” only lasted a year. Mozilla has been using the “Tiles” (as they call them) to promote Mozilla issues, publisher content, and sponsored ads. Mozilla has decided to end the advertising feature and focus the tile on content discovery.

Mozilla said:

Advertising in Firefox could be a great business, but it isn’t the right business for us at this time because we want to focus on core experiences for our users. We want to reimagine content experiences and content discovery in our products. We will do this work as a fully integrated part of the Firefox team.

We believe that the advertising ecosystem needs to do better – we believe that our work in our advertising experiments has shown that it can be done better. Mozilla will continue to explore ways to bring a better balance to the advertising ecosystem for everyone’s benefit, and to build successful products that respect user privacy and deliver experiences based upon transparency, choice and control.

We think that this is a great idea and we’re happy they’re discontinuing the sponsored ads.

Adobe starting to kill off Flash

an_appicon_192Meet Adobe Animate CC. It’s the new name of Adobe Flash Professional CC. In a blog post, Adobe outlines that in 2016 Flash Professional will be called “Animate” as they finally bow down to HTML5.  This is a much welcomed move, especially in corporate environments where trying to manage Adobe Flash can be a nightmare.

The downside to this is that Flash is still going to be around. But with browsers disabling it by default, older versions no longer being supported, there’s ever increasingly more pressure on developers to move from Flash over to HTML5 (or even native Windows applications would be welcome). But this is a great move as Flash begins the depreciation process.

Remote access without headache

gI_84401_googleplusRemote access tools – there are quite a number of them: TeamViewer, LogMeIn, Bomgar, ScreenConnect… and the list goes on and on but which one do you use? I was researching remote access tools the other day as I needed a new solution to use for work. At work, we use LogMeIn. The problem? LogMeIn has a terrible display driver that actually locks my remote workstation! I might be able to use it for a few seconds – just enough time to login – and then, I see a balloon saying that my display driver crashed and shortly after, that’s it. LMI complains it can’t connect and my computer shows offline. I tried fixing the issue without any success so my option was to find another product to use. But what?

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The Road-Warrior Admin

hotspot-wi-fi-Today’s admin needs to be versatile, ready to to hit the road at a moments notice. Maybe the office down the road is having issues, or maybe the office across the country. The point is, you are an admin and your office needs to literally be anywhere. However, in my adventures in being an admin the worst thing is when you absolutely need internet on your laptop but the only internet available is on your phone. Not very useful if you need to VPN into work and get some information off the network. Or if you have to download software as a fix, good luck! Here’s a quick and easy way to get internet on your computer from your phone.

Warning! Mobile carriers hate this because they’re not sucking more money out of you, like data caps, to enable the hotspot feature on your phone. And, speaking of data caps, if you do have a data cap this will count against your cap. If you have a carrier with true unlimited or “unlimited” (lookin’ at you, T-Mobile), this is great emergency internet to download larger files such as an IOS image, drivers, or what have you. As of course, your mileage may vary. This is also for fairly technical people so if you’re not a techie, best to skip out. And, please, FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE FCC ABOUT DATA CAPS!

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Upgrading to Windows 10

Windows-10-wallpaper-New-LogoBelieve it or not, there are some people out there that do not want to upgrade to Windows 10. I’m currently attending online classes to work on my BA degree and one of the Facebook groups seems to have a lot of hatred towards Windows 10. But before we dive into the fear, let’s look at all the different things Microsoft has improved on in this version over Windows 8 and 8.1.

This is the first version of Windows truly designed for all devices. Phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, media devices, Windows 10 is designed to be the one OS. Windows 8 and 8.1 were also designed this way, but they just were not executed well. We all remember that with Windows 8, Microsoft killed the start button.

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