Someplace to stash my stuff
why does MS feel it necessary to sneak shit in during the middle of the night
Published on September 5, 2018 By starkers In Personal Computing

I was so pleased with myself once I had gotten my Cosmos II Big Beastie all set up with Win 10 and all of my most used programs.  It was a long time coming, what with mobo issues and the like, and it was fantastic to sit here in front of the 35" ultra wide screen connected to it....UNTIL MS decided to sneak in an update around 3.00 AM and borked quite a bit of stuff.

I know it was around 3.00AM cos I walked past the machine to go to the toilet at 3.06 AM and noticed it was on and downloading/installing updates.  Anyway, I went back to bed not thinking much more of it... until I couldn't connect to the internet at around 7.00 AM.  Yup, the update borked my wi-fi adapter, along with my sound card and related software.  Several of my programs just didn't work anymore.... and worse still, some were gone.  That's right, GONE.

My Wise Care 360 was gone; my Everything search program was gone; my RightClick Enhance was gone; as was my Winstep Xtreme and some of my ObjectDesktop apps, such as Start 10; WB and Iconpackager.  I've been able to reinstall all of them, but that's not the point.  Like what fechen right has MS to mess with my PC and the programs I want to install?

Some of the borked programs were uninstalled and reinstalled after a clean up with Wise Care 360 and most worked okay, but some didn't and I'm totally pissed.  A system restore to before the update didn't work... it failed twice, so I can't resolve the issues that way.   Worse still, my previously activated version of Windows was de-activated and I can't get my product key to work to activate it.

I have the option of doing a system reset, but I'm not too confident it will resolve all the issues.  Then there's the option of doing a clean install to completely remove any crap left behind.  Sadly, that would mean having to reload all my programs again becauses I didn't quite get around to installing Acronis to do a complete backup. 

My main concern, however, is what if I can't reactivate Windows with my current [and previously valid] product key because MS has somehow deemed it invalid  it.?  I've spent quite a few hours trying to resolve the everything, and I mostly have,  but I can't find a way to call MS like we used to be able to with licensing issues.  I need to speak with somebody at MS to find out what is going on with my copy of Windows and product key.

Anyhow, if anyone has any ideas as to how best to proceed, please let me know.  I can still run the OS without activation but I'd rather have things all shipshape and proper like.

TIA, Mark.


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 05, 2018

There's a saying which sometimes refers to Linux, but which fits Windows 10 as well:

"It's only free if your time has no value."

Anyway, with Winaero Tweaker you can disable both Windows Update AND Automatic Maintenance. It has been a couple of months since I last booted into Windows 10, but I had good luck using Windows 10 without updates (third party antivirus is more than enough I think - just a personal opinion).

So no updates or automatic maintenance tasks were run and scheduled tasks can be manually disabled. It's a locked down system that works pretty well. Then, when a new version becomes available after 6 months you can trigger it manually with MS own update utility or download the new version to a USB-stick and update.

The only times I got virus on a Windows machine were when I wasn't using antivirus. I have never been up to date with security patches (20 years time).

Security patches are more important for macOS and Linux users who don't have antivirus installed. Many Mac users are using OSX versions that haven't seen security updates for years and still no antivirus installed (not recommended). There aren't many viruses for OSX so Snow Leopard users can run 5-6 years without security patches and without antivirus and still be ok (not recommended – just putting things in perspective).

Anyway I think the security circus has to end because it borks too many systems.

 

on Sep 05, 2018


but I can't find a way to call MS like we used to be able to with licensing issues.  I need to speak with somebody at MS to find out what is going on with my copy of Windows and product key.

Anyhow, if anyone has any ideas as to how best to proceed, please let me know

Man, their support section is such a rabbit hole.  I found this - you can run an already-installed Activation Troubleshooter that might help, see the section about a third of a page down "Using the Activation Troubleshooter":

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10738/windows-10-get-help-with-activation-errors

 

There's a "Contact us" page here with an online support chatbox, the "Contact support in the browser instead" line.  I suppose you could give that a whirl (maybe ask them how to call them?).

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/contactus/

 

I never did find a phone numbers listing for Win10 activation issues.

Good luck.

on Sep 05, 2018
on Sep 05, 2018

anotherside

There's a saying which sometimes refers to Linux, but which fits Windows 10 as well:

"It's only free if your time has no value."

 In This case I paid for it, so not a freebie here.  That's the annoying thing, I paid for MS to fech with my system.  As for Winaero Tweaker, I shall look into it cos I'm sick n' tired of MS messing with my machine and removing programs I paid for.... from MS partners, no less.

hi DaveRI, thanks for your input.  I tried the inbuilt activation troubleshooter without success.  I even tried re-entering my product key and no luck.  It seems I may have to do one of those 'chat' things if I want to talk with a MS rep.  Don't like doing it that way cos my typing isn't that good, but oh well, if it has to be then I'll clench my teeth and bear it.  Maybe a request to do it by phone will help.

AzDude

This Poor Guy has it bad

Not as bad as me.  Not only did it give me a headache, I've got several more grey hairs.  

on Sep 05, 2018

One other thing occurs to me-

I think the Win10 keys are linked to your Microsoft account.  If you haven't already, you might try logging into your account while on the machine.  There's a section in your user profile for managing devices, you might look at that.

There's also a Win10 option to log in with your Microsoft account.  I have that turned off (and I'd guess you do too), but you might need to have that turned on to get the activation to work (?).

Clear as mud to me.

on Sep 05, 2018

My Wise Care 360 was gone; my Everything search program was gone; my RightClick Enhance was gone; as was my Winstep Xtreme and some of my ObjectDesktop apps, such as Start 10; WB and Iconpackager.  I've been able to reinstall all of them, but that's not the point.  Like what fechen right has MS to mess with my PC and the programs I want to install?

I've read before about Windows 10 uninstalling some specific software after an update, but I never actually saw it happening or had a single Winstep user complain of such. This is a first for me too.

I have a feeling this is not something done deliberately to targeted applications, but perhaps the result of a failed update trying to revert the system back to a prior state and this resulting in a bunch of applications getting wiped out from the system Registry (or even from the hard drive? e.g.; Restore Point)

Anyway, what Windows 10 update caused this?

on Sep 05, 2018

DaveRI

I think the Win10 keys are linked to your Microsoft account. If you haven't already, you might try logging into your account while on the machine.

I've already tried that and re-entered my product key... no go.  I'm going to have a chat with a MS rep to see if I can get this resolved.  If not I'm possibly up for a new license.

JcRabbit

I've read before about Windows 10 uninstalling some specific software after an update, but I never actually saw it happening or had a single Winstep user complain of such. This is a first for me too.

The thing is, so many of the apps I installed were gone.  It was like the update did a system restore to before I had installed them, thus removing everything thereafter.

JcRabbit

I have a feeling this is not something done deliberately to targeted applications, but perhaps the result of a failed update trying to revert the system back to a prior state and this resulting in a bunch of applications getting wiped out from the system Registry (or even from the hard drive? e.g.; Restore Point)

Yeah, it was likely a failed update rather than a deliberate act.  Still, that's no consolation to me.  I have programs that don't work anymore.  After getting my bank account getting scammed for a couple of grand a while back, I began using a VPN to cover my tracks.  It wasn't uninstalled by the update, but program no longer works.  I tried uninstalling and reinstalling it after a Wise Care 360 clean up, but the program is now useless to me.

I'm going to try a sfc scannow scan later to see if any Windows files are missing or damaged.  I'm hoping that will resolve my issues.  If not I'm looking at a reformat.

JcRabbit

Anyway, what Windows 10 update caused this?

It was KB4343902.  According to my update history it was a 'Quality Update'  Quality?  Given what it has done, I don't know how they can call it that.  The history also says it installed successfully.   Successfully???   It has buggered up my entire system.... and possibly will cost me some cash for a new license.

GRRRRRR with a capital GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

on Sep 06, 2018

On Windows 10 I have never successfully been able to rollback with system restore on any PC.  It always says the restore failed no matter which restore point I try to use.  And it always fails with "unspecified error".  Really?  The system restore software has no idea what it was doing when it failed?  Looking for a file, copying a file, restoring the registry?  I write software for a living.  The only way you don't know what happened is you haven't coded checks after important operations.  Shear laziness!

on Sep 06, 2018

gevansmd

On Windows 10 I have never successfully been able to rollback with system restore on any PC.  It always says the restore failed no matter which restore point I try to use.  And it always fails with "unspecified error".  Really?  The system restore software has no idea what it was doing when it failed?  Looking for a file, copying a file, restoring the registry?  I write software for a living.  The only way you don't know what happened is you haven't coded checks after important operations.  Shear laziness!

Funny you mention it, but now I think of it, I've never been able to do a system restore on Win 10, either.  It's almost as if MS doesn't want users to rollback prior to updates, even if it is necessary to correct stuff-ups they created.  This is why forced updates are so wrong... especially when they sneak in during the middle of the night and update your system without your knowledge or consent.

It may be that we only license the OS and must agree to the terms of use, but for mine that arrangement is patently wrong when MS comes in a fechs up other software that WE PAID for, then deactivates hardware by uninstalling or corrupting drivers and/or firmware. 

Last night I discovered that a PCIE card with 10 additional SATA ports now doesn't work, meaning that the HDDs connected to it cannot be seen by the system.  It was all good before the 'updates' but now is kaput.   I tried reinstalling the drivers but no go, it's a dead as a doornail.  I also discovered that a PCIE card with in and out HDMI ports to connect external media devices is now kaput as well.

Another thing, too!  I have a 6 bay caddy to accommodate SSDs that works sometimes but not others.... the drives appear in 'My Computer' one minute and are gone the next.  Again, I believe it is a driver issue.  Thing is, I never had such issues with it, or the PCIE cards, in Win 8.1.

It seems that I'm not going to be able to resolve the problems MS has created, so now I have to make a decision as to whether I reformat with Win 10 or just put in a fresh copy of Win 8.1 that I have.   I'm leaning towards Win 8.1 because I found it far less problematic than 10, and with my Stardock products installed it's just like Win 7 but a lot faster.  However, the problem with that is Win 8.1 will lose support in the coming future and I'll be forced to Win 10 if I want to continue getting security patches, etc.

If I decide on Win 8.1. I suppose that I'll have a couple of years yet to see how I will proceed going forward, and maybe by then MS will have gotten its act together and fixed all the issues that plague Win 10.  However, given its past regarding major cockups and treating users like crap, I won't be holding my breath.

Has Microsoft become the new Apple, disliked and hated by the majority of computer users?

For mine, an absolute 100% YES!!!!!

on Sep 06, 2018

I find your difficulties baffling. I don't have any issues with W10 on my new PC, including the last update. I also didn't have any problems with W10 on my last (ageing) PC.

on Sep 06, 2018

Fuzzy Logic

I find your difficulties baffling. I don't have any issues with W10 on my new PC, including the last update. I also didn't have any problems with W10 on my last (ageing) PC.

You are just one of a few lucky ones.  Lots of people have had issues with Win 10 and its forced updates, me included this time around.   I'd not had too many issues before on my other machines, but on this one I've had a few, including updates borking quite a few things.  I've been able to repair some things but not all, which prompts me to either reinstall or go back to Win 8.1. 

I don't like Win 10 so I'm thinking the latter as it never gave me any major issues and ALL my stuff worked on it, unlike on 10.  After running sfc /scannow to see if that helped, I had another program throw up saying it cannot run due to a system error.  I tried reinstalling it but no go, it is feched on this current Windows installation.

on Sep 07, 2018

Fuzzy Logic
I find your difficulties baffling. I don't have any issues with W10 on my new PC, including the last update. I also didn't have any problems with W10 on my last (ageing) PC.

You are one of a few lucky ones, as Starkers said lol

Just to give you an example: I have two Windows 10 VMs that I use to test Winstep software here on my production Windows 7 machine. They are cloned copies of each other (or, at least, started that way).

At some point something changed in one of them, I have no idea what, but as a result in one I was able to install the latest major Windows 10 update without problems, but on the other the update kept failing with some cryptic error message.

I wasted HOURS trying EVERYTHING to solve the problem, all of Microsoft's recommended solutions (restarting and resetting the update services, cleaning update caches, yada, yada, yada) and then some, to no avail. NOTHING solved the problem.

In the end I was forced to re-clone the VM.

I never understood what caused that specific problem, the VM's were initially identical and I don't keep installing stuff on them. Now, imagine that instead of being a VM, it was an actual production machine and that the only solution was a complete re-install of Windows 10, with all the work and time wasted that implies...

on Sep 07, 2018

JcRabbit

I never understood what caused that specific problem, the VM's were initially identical and I don't keep installing stuff on them. Now, imagine that instead of being a VM, it was an actual production machine and that the only solution was a complete re-install of Windows 10, with all the work and time wasted that implies...

Exactly!  The amount of time and effort it took me to resolve my issues [about 4 hours] 'without' reinstalling Windows was horrendous.  It would have taken twice that or more had I had to do a complete reformat and reload all of my programs, etc.  Luckily I have been able to resolve my issues after speaking with a MS rep, though I was not at all pleased with the final prognosis after more than an hour on the phone.

It turns out that my Product Key had been invalidated and thus blocked by MS for some reason, therefore not allowing me to reactivate my copy of Win 10.  Anyhow, the upshot of it all was that I got a new key and my copy is now activated. 

Moreover, those programs that were not working correctly now are, though two had to be reinstalled to create new registry keys.  Not only that, Windows is running faster since reactivation - got real sluggish when it wasn't - and I'm a lot happier than I was.  Still don't like Win 10 but I'll stick with it for now.

on Sep 07, 2018

Good job, glad you got it running, I do applaud your persistence and patience.  "I hate it when that [type of thing] happens."

on Sep 07, 2018

Thanks, Dave.  Yeah, it was a drawn out issue that surely tested my patience and resolve.  Luckily there is an activate by phone option these days, otherwise I doubt that I'd have it fixed as yet.  Fortunately, mostly everything is back to normal, though I still have a little housework to do in order to tidy things up and remove the remote assistance app.... don't want that on my machine, do I!