Category Archives: windows
Windows 10 build numbers are now very important. Previously Microsoft has always used build numbers, as they represented significant updates to Windows. You may know Windows as Windows Vista, 7,8 etc which also included service packs i.e. Windows 7 Service Pack 1. With Windows 10, this has changed.
Microsoft claim there will be no more versions (and service packs) of Windows, so Windows 10 is what it will be known as for the foreseeable. They are now only releasing two major builds per year. So, how do you find out what build version of Windows 10 you have? This can be found in the Settings App with either of the following options:
- Hit Windows+I to open Settings > then go to > System > About (scroll down). You will see the Edition, Version, OS Build and System Type.
- You can also use the Winver Dialog tool – From Start, type “winver” press Enter into the Run dialog. Note: This version does not show whether you are using a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows 10. Personally, I prefer option 1.
Useful tip: The version number is in the form YYMM – so if your Windows 10 version number is 1607 this means the 7th month of 2016.
Windows Anniversary Update for Windows 10 v1607 and later allows offline scanning, without the need for being connected to the Internet. The Offline Scan actually scans while Windows isn’t running. So it’s more like an antivirus boot disc. This is very useful as most malware runs inside Windows, while rootkits that hide from Windows during the boot up process, should be detected when running a scan outside Windows.
IMPORTANT: Before you use Windows Defender Offline, make sure to save any open files and close apps and programs.
How to Offline Scan using Windows Defender
- Make sure you have Windows Defender enabled
- Next – open the Start menu > Settings > Update & security then select Windows Defender, to open Settings
- You should see Windows Defender Offline. Click > Scan Offline button
- You will be signed out and your PC will shutdown and be restarted
- On restart, you may see a command prompt window briefly and then you will see “Windows Defender Offline” message
- After a short while the above message disappears and you will then see the Windows Defender offline scanning progress
- The scan will take about 15 minutes before Windows is booted to your desktop
Over the past week or so, users were installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update without issues. However, when they restarted their computer, Windows 10 would not boot up. At this current time, there is no official response from Microsoft on the freezing issue after updating.
Rolling back to a previous version of Windows has worked in some instances, but not all. If you did a clean install of Windows 10, rather than upgrade from either Windows 7 or Windows 8, your problems will most likely still persist. You might want to look at disabling Secure Boot, reinstalling device drivers and or editing the Registry (but only if you are technically minded).
Reddit posters (see link below) have helped provide clarity on the issues they are experiencing. It does appear there is no definite solution for the freezing issue. I suggest you visit the Reddit link below to check out the latest information, currently standing at 32 updates. You should read all the updates and poster comments before starting to diagnose the issue.
https://goo.gl/6qypTb – this link will open a new tab to Reddit.com
As with most operating system updates, you should always save regular backups, so in the event of issues, you can rollback to a previous version.
Startup processes are responsible for loading your Windows software. In some instances your Windows PC may fail to load or performance starts to degrade. Startup process can sometimes remain when you have uninstalled a program. Malware inhibits this type of behaviour, so it’s a good idea to be vigilant with startup processes. So how can you manage your startup processes?
I’d suggest using a free tool called Autoruns developed by SysInternals, but now owned by Microsoft. Once downloaded and installed, you should run it as administrator. It will open on the ‘Everything’ tab and will take some time to populate the listing. Once the list is populated I’d suggest you do the following:
- Click > Options > Check Hide Microsoft Entries – this will reduce the list and only present third-party startup items
- Next Click > Options > Hide VirusTotal Clean Entries > Click the OK prompt – this will allow you to see items that are listed as suspicious or malicious from the VirusTotal database
- Scroll through each item and untick any item you don’t want to run at startup. Not allowing an app to run at startup, will stop an app from running in the background, which should improve the performance of your Windows PC
Browser extensions are very useful tools that provide various options for an improved browsing experience. Some extensions however, can be unsafe due to persistent tracking; ability to remote control your PC; trigger Java/Flash; and enabling botnet attacks. This only happens in a small number of cases, but they do happen and some extensions have been pulled from Chrome Extensions and Firefox Add-ons.
Some extensions (not publicly highlighting specifics here), will trigger Flash functions and other content which can put your PC at risk of being hacked (and as above) and slowing down your productivity. Something called “Click-to-Play” can be enabled from your browser settings which forces you to manually Click-to-Play a plugin on any given Web page in order to load the content. Click-to- Pay can also lower memory and bandwidth consumption.
Google Chrome is the safest browser to use Flash-plug-ins due to running inside a sandbox, with updates being handled directly by Google. For added security you might want to consider enabling Click-to-Play in Chrome for Windows and disabling Flash-plugins altogether in Chrome for Mac OSX: