I had an update on my system in a partially installed state. Our vulnerability scanner determined one file, MSO.dll, was still out of date. It recommended a patch to apply. Running it gave me an error message. Here’s what to do when Windows says the update is already installed on this system and refuses to let you do anything but click OK.
Because hey, from a security analyst’s point of view, this is anything but OK. I get questions about patches in a partially deployed state all the time, so I figured I’d write about it. Here’s what I do when security updates fail to apply with this error.
“Hello? My name is Max and I’m calling from CSA. We got a report saying that services are stopped on your computer.”
I hung up, for lack of energy to fight with “Max,” or even to try to convince him my name is Suchita. But if that phone call sounds familiar, feel free to hang up on Max, or whatever he says his name is. It’s a scam. If you want to know why, read on.
It’s important to check SSD alignment in Windows. If your SSD isn’t aligned, you reduce its performance and its life expectancy. Fortunately in many cases, your SSD will be properly aligned, but it only takes a minute to check.
On Monday, March 13 at approximately 10:30 AM CST, I will be appearing on KFUO Radio’s Faith and Family program to discuss home computer security with host Andy Bates. Here’s the scariest question he’s planning to ask: How easily can someone hack my home computer and steal personal information?
Someone asked me that question at work once, except it was about a work computer. I whipped out a copy of a book about Metasploit, flipped to page 137, and started reading. My point was that I could teach this guy how. He didn’t take it well, so I don’t recommend doing that.
My point that I could teach this guy how to do it still stands, though. And I think I could teach Andy how too.
I got an HP Elitebook 8440p because I wanted something a little newer and faster than my old Dell E1505. It was certainly newer and faster, but it had a problem. Every morning it greeted me with a BSOD. That E1505 was getting older and it had its own quirks, but I don’t remember it ever bluescreening on me. Here’s how I fixed the bluescreens I got with the HP Elitebook 8440p and Windows 10.
Not only did it bluescreen, but the behavior seemed pretty consistent. Two days in a row, I woke the laptop up from hibernation, and about nine minutes later, it bluescreened.
My wife’s computer was stuck in a Windows boot loop. We’d get the Windows 7 boot screen, and it would display a single pixel of the Windows 7 logo, then reboot itself endlessly. Booting in safe mode made it fail on classpnp.sys.
Any number of things can cause this, and it usually happens after you swap a motherboard. Enabling AHCI turned out to be the fix. Enabling AHCI also can be easier said than done, but I figured it out. She’s running Windows 7 (for now) but these same tricks should also work for Windows 10.
Sometimes you need to check your network speed in Windows 10. The information buried a bit but you can get there in about three clicks. When you need to know the raw specs of your network connection, here’s how to do it. Microsoft seems to have moved this recently, sometime in 2018, so I’ve updated this for the current builds of Windows 10.
Depending on your network driver, it was sometimes easier to get this in previous versions of Windows. Sometimes all you had to do was hover over your network connection icon. But this method also works in Windows 7, even if you have a featureless network driver.
Sometimes a Windows computer is so broken that you have to run system restore from the command prompt. If you’re reading this, I don’t have to elaborate. This works in Windows 7, Windows 10, and any other recent version.
And when a system is that broken, you can expect to run into a couple of snags. Maybe you can’t even get a command prompt. Or maybe you got a command prompt but the executable file is buried. Here’s how to solve those two problems. Read more