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Posts Tagged #Windows

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

In a blog post last week, Microsoft announced an interesting new feature for Windows 7 business users. With Windows 7 reaching end-of-life on January 14, 2020, many companies have already migrated to Windows 10, but it’s likely that not everyone is going to meet the 2020 deadline. With this in mind, Microsoft is going to provide a new paid service called “Windows 7 Extended Security Updates” to help ease the last few business customers onto Windows 10.

Only For Businesses, Not Home Users

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available exclusively for Volume Licensing customers, which means only the Professional and Enterprise flavors of Windows 7 will be supported. However, that didn’t stop Gordon Kelly from Forbes from writing a confusing article about the new feature. Instead, in his post titled “Microsoft ‘Confirms’ Windows 7 New Monthly Charge”, Kelly insinuates that Microsoft is about to start charging individual Windows 7 users a monthly fee as a penalty for not upgrading to Windows 10.

That isn’t the case at all. In fact, home users will not be able to pay for Extended Security Updates even if they want to since the feature is only available for Volume Licensing customers. In reality, this feature is specifically targeted at enterprises with specialized requirements that need assistance or just a bit more time to migrate their critical systems off of Windows 7. Extended Security Updates does not impose any additional penalties over the already well-established end-of-life date for the aging OS.

A Smoother Transition

The enterprise world works very differently than the usual home/small office Windows environment. There are a lot of factors that hold back major OS upgrades, and, as we saw with Windows XP, these delays can cause major businesses to run past the end-of-life date of software and become vulnerable to newly discovered security flaws. When Windows XP left extended support, Microsoft was forced to continue supporting select customers (for a fee) who were unable or unwilling to migrate to Windows 7 in time.

At any rate, Microsoft will only provide the Windows 7 Extended Security Updates option until January 2023, so Windows 7 is certainly not going to be around forever.

Oh, and Microsoft is not planning to force Windows 10 home users to pay a monthly fee either, no matter what clickbait nonsense Kelly writes.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

Rufus, the lightweight and portable program for creating bootable USB drives on Windows, has reached version 3.0. Rufus, primarily developed by Pete Batard of Akeo Consulting, remains one of the easiest and most powerful ways to create bootable USB drives on Windows. Its simple user interface is easy to navigate, and Rufus is able to create bootable USB drives from a wide variety of Windows and Linux ISO files. It supports MBR and GPT partitioning and can even be used to create bootable DOS disks.

Released on May 29th, the version 3.0 of Rufus brings a new user interface and many other changes (pulled directly from the changelog):

  • UI redesign to follow the flow of user operations (with thanks to Fahad Al-Riyami for the concept)
  • Drop Windows XP and Windows Vista platform support
  • Switch all downloads to SSL and use https://rufus.ie as the new base URL
  • Add ARM64 support for UEFI:NTFS
  • Fix delays when querying floppy drives during device enumeration
  • Improve support of efi.img files on Linux ISOs
  • Improve support for non-ISO9660 compliant openSUSE Leap ISOs
  • Improve translation support and remove manual positioning
  • Internal fixes and improvements

You can grab a copy of Rufus at its new website, https://rufus.ie/. Rufus can be run directly from the downloaded .exe file — no installation is necessary.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

If you want to enable or disable the inverted colors feature in Windows 8 or 8.1, here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, press WinKey+F to open the search tool and then type in “Magnifier”. Then, select “Magnifier” in the search list (not “install magnifier” or something).

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Once Magnifier opens, the screen may, as you might expect, magnify. Ignore this (or hit the minus button until the screen goes back to 100%) and locate the gear icon in the Magnifier window.

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Check or uncheck “Turn on color inversion” and click “OK”.

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If everything worked, your screen will now be inverted (or back to normal).

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

Ever wished you could stare at a different background image while logging into Windows 7? With a bit of photo editing and registry modification, you can.

The first step is to get an image that matches your computer screen’s native resolution. This is important, because the image will not be scaled and will appear stretched or distorted if it is the wrong size. Once you’ve found the image, save it as backgroundDefault.jpg (note the capitalization) and make sure that it’s under 245 KB in size. Then, put it aside for a second as we modify the registry.

Type regedit in the Start menu and press Enter to open the registry editor. Then, browse to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Authentication/LogonUI/Background

and change the OEMBackground DWORD value to 1. To change the value, double-click on OEMBackground, type in a 1 under Value data, and click OK. If the value OEMBackground does not exist, right-click in the folder, select New DWORD (32-bit) Value, and create a DWORD entry called OEMBackground with value 1.

Now you can close Registry Editor and open Windows Explorer. Browse to the C:\Windows\system32\oobe folder and check if a folder named “info” exists. If it does, open it and proceed to the next step. If it doesn’t, create it, accept the User Account Control warning, and proceed.

Now, create an empty folder called backgrounds inside the info folder. If the “backgrounds” folder already exists as well and contains images, rename it to something like “backgrounds_old” and create a new one. Then, move your backgroundDefault.jpg image into the empty backgrounds folder and lock or log off your account to see the new welcome screen.

Keep in mind that if you switch back to the default Windows 7 theme in Control Panel>Personalization, Windows will reset the value of OEMBackground to 0 and the default welcome screen wallpaper will display. Just change the value back to 1 to display your custom wallpaper again.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

If you have a Windows computer with multiple user accounts, you can make any one of them automatically log in even if it is password protected. Here’s how:

Go to Start, enter netplwiz, and press Enter to open Advanced User Accounts.

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Uncheck the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” box and click Apply.

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In the Automatically Log On dialog box that opens, enter the user name and password combination you would like to use to automatically log in with. If the user account has no password, simply leave the password field blank.

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Click OK to save changes, reboot, and watch as your computer automatically logs in to the selected user account.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

As of today, no more patches, hotfixes, security updates, or technical support will be provided for Windows XP. Time to upgrade to a new version of Windows, buy a new computer, switch to Linux or Mac, or take any Windows XP computers offline.

Image courtesy of the official Microsoft Windows XP support website.