Top Story

Stealth Windows update prevents XP repair

A silent update that Microsoft deployed widely in July and August is preventing the “repair” feature of Windows XP from completing successfully.

Ever since the Redmond company’s recent download of new support files for Windows Update, users of XP’s repair function have been unable to install the latest 80 patches from Microsoft.

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Protect yourself from silent Windows updates

Microsoft has confirmed Windows Secrets’
Sept. 13
story that Windows Update periodically installs certain files even if you’ve selected a “do not install” option.

Many companies and individuals require prior notification before any files are changed, so I explain today how you can completely prevent silent installs, if you wish.

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Microsoft updates Windows without users’ consent

Microsoft has begun patching files on Windows XP and Vista without users’ knowledge, even when the users have turned off auto-updates.

Many companies require testing of patches before they are widely installed, and businesses in this situation are objecting to the stealth patching.

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Unpatched software abounds on user systems

Readers of the Aug. 16
issue of Windows Secrets took our advice and used the Secunia Software
Inspector service in droves.

The results show that — even though our readers are more tech-savvy
than the average computer user — thousands of you apparently still
use computers with unpatched software.

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Media players more dangerous than Windows

Windows users face the greatest security risks today
not from flaws in Windows itself but from unpatched media players.

That’s because many Windows Secrets readers, according to an online
test we sponsored, are running versions of Flash, Java, and QuickTime
that are unpatched against the latest security
threats.

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Google, Live, Yahoo run dubious scanner ads

You’ve heard of “adware” and “spyware” and the antispyware products
that are designed to eliminate them.

A third category of software — “rogue antispyware” — promotes
itself deceptively and yet is allowed to advertise on such major search
engines as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s Live.com.

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How to simulate User Account Control in XP

Vista users love to complain about the intrusiveness of User Account Control, but
it does provide a degree of security.

If you’re using Windows XP, I’ll show you what steps you can take to give
yourself a similar level of safety.

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Vista ‘resume’ bug plagues laptop users

A Microsoft engineer slammed Vista’s ReadyBoost feature as the source
of a maddening bug, only to withdraw his charge the next day.

Whether or not ReadyBoost is to blame for the bug — which brings laptops to a crawl when resuming
from sleep or hibernation mode — the problem remains a mystery for many who use Vista.

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Add Premium/Enterprise features to XP or Vista

In the
last issue,
I explained how to add Vista Business features to either
Windows XP or Vista Home Premium.

But you can also add features that are unique to Vista Home Premium and
Vista Ultimate if you have Windows XP or Vista Business.

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Add ‘business’ features to XP or Vista

Do you want the features of Windows Vista Business, Enterprise,

or Ultimate — even though you’re running Windows XP or

Vista Home Premium?

I’ll show you how to use free or inexpensive add-ons to get virtually the same

high-end features without paying Microsoft’s upgrade fees.

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