Author Topic: Computer help (breakout from Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3)  (Read 623 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
I keep getting warnings of a hard disk error.

I assume you've run chkdsk?  It may help you resolve any errors and, at least, identify what they are. Thanks to TPM, Windows 11 turns your PC into a Microsoft terminal, and privacy nightmare... ;)

https://www.howtogeek.com/1033/how-to-use-chkdsk-on-windows/          (it says Win 10 and 11, but actually goes back as far as Win7).

Online Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 2490
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #1: June 02, 2024, 07:20:13 PM »
Thanks to TPM, Windows 11 turns your PC into a Microsoft terminal, and privacy nightmare... ;)
I have no idea what this means.

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #2: June 02, 2024, 07:34:17 PM »
I have no idea what this means.

Trusted Platform Module - lets Microsoft decide what software / apps will be allowed to download and/or install and run on the PC. It's been in the software since Win 10, although you can disable it in Settings. However, in Win 11 not only must TPM be activated in the software, but the PC must also have a TPM chip hard-wired on the motherboard, so there's no way around it. It also makes retro-fitting Win 11 very difficult onto pre-Win 11 PC's (most older PC's either don't have a TPM chip, or have an earlier specification chip which doesn't work with Win 11).

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 17768
  • babble on
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #3: June 02, 2024, 07:50:58 PM »
Having to "upgrade" to Windows 11 was about as warmly welcomed at work as an outbreak of smallpox.

Online Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 2490
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #4: June 02, 2024, 08:39:28 PM »
I am going to have to buy a new computer, so I would assume Windows 11 will come preloaded, unless I go cheap and buy one of the "value" laptops. In any event, I imagine Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 10 at some point soon, as they did with earlier versions.

For me, the big dilemma now is figuring out whether and how to turn off or opt out of Windows 11's various "conveniences" (not for you, of course, but for their actual customers, since you and your data are actually the product).

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #5: June 03, 2024, 06:11:49 AM »
Win 10 support ends Oct '25 - that's for free support; it is possible that Microsoft will offer a subscription service (per-month) to keep it going.

Are you running Home or Pro? If you would like, I can PM you with details of services you can stop / disable to improve performance and privacy. More limited in Home - Pro grants access to Group Policy Editor. Don't be fooled by the 'access GPE in Home' weblinks - they'll let you read the GPE, but not make any changes (any changes made aren't applied in Home).

Getting a bit more radical, have you considered Linux? Modern distros, such as LInux MInt, let you 'try before you install' by creating a bootable USB stick which grants what they call a 'live session', without having to install on the PC. Only drawback is that any settings changes won't be retained once you unmount the USB. Mint Cinnamon is designed for ease of transition from The Dark SIde - why not give it a go? Don't worry about creating the USB - the MInt Guide will hold your hand every step of the way. And don't be taken in by the 'you have to be a computer science major to use Linux' twaddle - that's just Microsoft / Apple propaganda to put people off changing. It can be as straightforward, or as technical, as you want (from MInt (pretty easy) to Qubes (fiendishly complicated, so don't start with that!!!).

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #6: June 03, 2024, 06:14:45 AM »
Having to "upgrade" to Windows 11 was about as warmly welcomed at work as an outbreak of smallpox.

 :hysterical:

Online Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 2490
Re: Re: Nationals @ Guardians, Game 3
« Reply #7: June 03, 2024, 12:05:37 PM »
Win 10 support ends Oct '25 - that's for free support; it is possible that Microsoft will offer a subscription service (per-month) to keep it going.

Are you running Home or Pro? If you would like, I can PM you with details of services you can stop / disable to improve performance and privacy. More limited in Home - Pro grants access to Group Policy Editor. Don't be fooled by the 'access GPE in Home' weblinks - they'll let you read the GPE, but not make any changes (any changes made aren't applied in Home).

Getting a bit more radical, have you considered Linux? Modern distros, such as LInux MInt, let you 'try before you install' by creating a bootable USB stick which grants what they call a 'live session', without having to install on the PC. Only drawback is that any settings changes won't be retained once you unmount the USB. Mint Cinnamon is designed for ease of transition from The Dark SIde - why not give it a go? Don't worry about creating the USB - the MInt Guide will hold your hand every step of the way. And don't be taken in by the 'you have to be a computer science major to use Linux' twaddle - that's just Microsoft / Apple propaganda to put people off changing. It can be as straightforward, or as technical, as you want (from MInt (pretty easy) to Qubes (fiendishly complicated, so don't start with that!!!).
I still have not broken down and bought a new computer, so I don't know what I will end up with. Presumably Home, since that's what's likely to feature on whatever is available at Best Buy or the like. A buddy of mine is supposed to be delivering a truck to Largo tomorrow, after which I will pick him up and we will hang out for a few days before he flies home. He's a bit more tech-savvy, so I might enlist his help.

My computer needs are actually pretty basic. Mostly Internet access and research/document work which requires Open Office, Excel, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Notepad more than anything else. Other than that, it's just playing Solitaire and Mahjong and doodling with Paint.


Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Sounds pretty sensible - getting extra knowledge, in support, is always a good idea, if only to avoid tech oversell by salespeople. Even with your relatvely basic requirements, could I suggest considering upgrading to Pro? No risk, as it's Microsoft themselves, and improved performance - Pro doesn't just provide extra features, it's faster software. If you buy a PC which can handle it, go for the 64 bit rather than the 32 bit version (Home or Pro) - again, gives better performance without risk.

I would invite all WNFF'ers to remember that TPM grants MIcrosoft and 'Trusted Partners' remote access to your PC at any time, without your permission (of course) - they can have a good look around, at all you've been doing, and reverse and/or block any changes you've made that they don't like, again without your knowledge or permission. The first you'll probably know is when you start wondering why that download, or stream, isn't working... ;)

Any WNFF'ers who'd like details of the changes in Services, please just give me a shout.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 17768
  • babble on
I still have the box that this bad boy came in...Osborne 1, a 25 pound "portable" computer with no onboard battery and a screen the size of a vole's jerk:


Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Over here we were relatively late - it was all Compac for business, and Sinclair at home (I still have my ZX-81 and Spectrum - both now worth a few-bob as 'collectables'...)

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 17768
  • babble on
 :shock:

Do they work??
Over here we were relatively late - it was all Compac for business, and Sinclair at home (I still have my ZX-81 and Spectrum - both now worth a few-bob as 'collectables'...)

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
The Spectrum does (remember those hours learning BASIC coding just for simple tasks?...) - I looked after it, and kept all of the peripherals, such as the tape software loader. Haven't touched the 81 for ages - I'll dig it out of the loft... ;)

Online Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 2490
I went to the Fort Belvoir PX to comparison-shop and it seems not much different from Best Buy and the like. There seems to be a big divide between $500-800 laptops with what might be sufficient specs and $1300 and up models with the top-line processors, 16 gb RAM, terabyte memory, etc. designed more for gamers. I don't need all that, but I worry that the lower-priced models have hidden downsides, like older processors that might shorten the life of the computer. But again I find myself out of my element.

I am the opposite of tech-savvy. I grew up poor and never had a computer until after I was commissioned. I am currently on my fourth computer in three decades and my fourth cell phone in a little over two and a half. And I still can't figure out how to do much with my phone beyond, y'know, make phone calls.

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Nothing wrong with that - perhaps you could run a general search for something like 'best Windows laptop 2024' and read the reviews. They generally cover models at all price points. PC Mag and Tom's Hardware are generally reliable. You're right to be CPU cautious - back in the day budget models got landed with the Celeron processor, Intel's slowest ever chipset.. People tend to think 'does it matter', until they're banging the desk in frustration - 'why is this taking so long?...'

Here's Tom's current - https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/the-best-windows-laptops

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

  • Posts: 17768
  • babble on
FWIW I'm typing on a downmarket HP I bought on Amazon 4 or 5 years ago that is still happily chugging along.

Online dracnal

  • Posts: 1699
Nothing wrong with that - perhaps you could run a general search for something like 'best Windows laptop 2024' and read the reviews. They generally cover models at all price points. PC Mag and Tom's Hardware are generally reliable. You're right to be CPU cautious - back in the day budget models got landed with the Celeron processor, Intel's slowest ever chipset.. People tend to think 'does it matter', until they're banging the desk in frustration - 'why is this taking so long?...'

Here's Tom's current - https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/the-best-windows-laptops

When they rebranded their processor lines back around 2010ish and switched to the i3, i5, and i7 designation, the Celeron essentially became the i3. I tend to think an i5 is the reasonable trade off for value vs performance and given the way applications are programmed these days, I would say you want 16Gb of RAM and 512Gb of drive space. Below that will have performance pinches and above that will include graphics power you don't need. No modern machine sold at a big box store is likely to have a 32 bit OS installed out the gate. It was definitely a concern in the past, but given the RAM limitations of 32 bit compared to how cheap RAM has become, it's been a niche thing for specific purpose custom built systems for a decade or so.

Given my profession I don't dislike TPMs the same way English Natsie does - they provide a MUCH stronger encryption platform. I have to deal with DOD compliance reqs so the lack of one means an unusable machine. Not trying to discount EN's concerns that they give quite a bit of power to companies to ensure that their applications are run the way the company wants (ie in a way that's best for their own bottom line, not for the consumer), but they're mandatory for corporate and government use nowadays.

English Natsie, these days I think instead of avoiding TPMs or switching to Linux, I'd suggest telling people to swap to a browser that isn't Chrome. Google has been getting rapidly and dramatically worse across the board in the name of profit and the new v3 extension set is beyond atrocious. They're purposefully crippling adblockers in the name of corporate profits. Firefox will add v3 compatibility but is keeping the v2 function so it's one option at least. Not sure how Edge will be handling it as I don't generally use it for much aside from another incognito session for M365 tenants.

Offline imref

  • Posts: 44528
  • Re-contending in 202...5?
Zoho's Ulaa browser has some nice security / privacy features, and it's built on chromium so it works well with most every site. And it's free.

https://ulaa.com

Online dracnal

  • Posts: 1699
Zoho's Ulaa browser has some nice security / privacy features, and it's built on chromium so it works well with most every site. And it's free.

https://ulaa.com

Actually hadn't heard of this browser. Will check it out. Gave it a test spin on a site that's usually advert hell and it stopped the spam at the default installed settings.

Edit: Also just checked cnn.com - that place is normally Paid Content hell of poorly identified links to 3rd party junk adverts. It basically chewed them up and spat them out. Every link I found was to an actual article from CNN. Thanks, imref - this looks like a really good suggestion

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...


English Natsie, these days I think instead of avoiding TPMs or switching to Linux, I'd suggest telling people to swap to a browser that isn't Chrome. Google has been getting rapidly and dramatically worse across the board in the name of profit and the new v3 extension set is beyond atrocious. They're purposefully crippling adblockers in the name of corporate profits. Firefox will add v3 compatibility but is keeping the v2 function so it's one option at least. Not sure how Edge will be handling it as I don't generally use it for much aside from another incognito session for M365 tenants.

Fair comment (I'd always assumed, from your username, that you must be a pro...). I know TPM offers good cryptokey validation, but...I already tire of having to constantly re-do settings (in Edge, for example) on Mrs Natsie's Win laptop that Microsoft have turned back on again, even sometimes overriding GPE.

If WNFF'ers are comfortable using the about:config function, then Firefox is good, although it has its privacy limitations if you use it straight out-of-the-box. If you want a good performing, privacy settings sorted, browser then I recommend Libre Wolf - Firefox fork, but things like telemetry already disabled in toolkit.

Don't mind me - I always recommend everyone to use Linux; I confess to being something of a LInux Evangelist... :D   ;) (for what it's worth, I run xfce on a bespoke build desktop, overclocked to 4.5GHz across all cores). And you should see the looks I get, in tech shops, when I tell them that my phone runs Ubuntu Touch... :lol:

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Oh yes - one obvious thing, whilst we're at it. One quick, easy, free, risk-free performance and privacy change everyone can make is to make sure your Search Engine is Duck Duck Go or Brave - definitely not the loathsome Google or unmentionable Bing... ;)

Online dracnal

  • Posts: 1699
Fair comment (I'd always assumed, from your username, that you must be a pro...). I know TPM offers good cryptokey validation, but...I already tire of having to constantly re-do settings (in Edge, for example) on Mrs Natsie's Win laptop that Microsoft have turned back on again, even sometimes overriding GPE.

If WNFF'ers are comfortable using the about:config function, then Firefox is good, although it has its privacy limitations if you use it straight out-of-the-box. If you want a good performing, privacy settings sorted, browser then I recommend Libre Wolf - Firefox fork, but things like telemetry already disabled in toolkit.

Don't mind me - I always recommend everyone to use Linux; I confess to being something of a LInux Evangelist... :D   ;) (for what it's worth, I run xfce on a bespoke build desktop, overclocked to 4.5GHz across all cores). And you should see the looks I get, in tech shops, when I tell them that my phone runs Ubuntu Touch... :lol:

I definitely won't argue with you on MS reverting to bad privacy options and it just keeps getting worse. It's incredibly frustrating to have to deal with it regularly. That said, I will also admit that I just stopped trying nearly as hard once I understood how the companies use fingerprinting to get around tracking and privacy issues. Essentially, the data they are allowed to collect gives them 90% of the picture and over time you'll end up accidentally giving away enough context that while they may not know your name, they'll know your location, your habits, how often you visit certain physical locations, what you like and don't like, what makes you angry, etc., etc. Meta pushed the tech to insane heights and the other major players decided that there was so little resistance and pushback from users that they might as well do the same.

The reason I'm souring on Chrome is because of Manifest v3 and what they're doing to their own extension system. Google is basically neutering Chrome's ability to protect privacy and cripple adblockers while calling it a move to protect security and privacy. They have really quite handily surpassed Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft as the sleaziest major company, hands down.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/12/chrome-users-beware-manifest-v3-deceitful-and-threatening

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
There is, of course, the useful EFF fingerprinting tool. To maximize privacy and performance, my current list of Firefox config changes currently prints out at 20 pages of A4 - it's a never ending struggle. We're helped, in Europe, by having the GDPR - WNFF'ers who are VPN users may have noticed that, when using a European server, websites start asking for cookie / tracker preference settings; that's GDPR in effect. The EU (UK has equivalent legislation, post Brexit) rightly took the view that it shouldn't be down to users having to have the tech knowledge to block cookies / trackers - the tech companies should have to do it as a matter of course.  And the European Court / regulators have taken action against Big Tech for doing things that are currently quite acceptable in the US, particularly around who has access to customer data.

Might also be worthwhile to remind SSD (Solid State Drive) users to continually back-up all data. Unlike with a conventional SATA drive, if an SSD fails all data will be unrecoverable...

Offline English Natsie

  • Posts: 549
  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...
Even if you make no further changes, all Windows users who value data protection, and privacy, should do the following:

1. - in 'Services', disable 'Connected User Experiences & Telemetry'. This is Microsoft's main snooping tool.

2. - completely uninstall Microsoft CoPilot. This app continually takes screenshots of everything you do, and sends them to Microsoft (without your knowledge and permission, of course). The screenshots are completely unredacted, so any sensitive information (passwords, medical, financial, etc) will be captured and forwarded. The only way to stop it is to completely uninstall the app.

Online Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 2490
Everything I read and hear makes me more paranoid and depressed about having to get a new computer.