ShadeTreePC LLC Group

What’s in my rack this week?

We have some major changes coming to the lab this month.
With Windows 7 being retired, and a need to be more involved in Mac support,
we are:

  • adding an iMac
  • changing main workstation to LinuxMint MATE 18.2
  • Gaming system being upgraded to Windows 10
  • R&D area will be building Hackin—sh machines
  • All other machines will be a mix of Windows 10 and Linux systems
    (LXLE, elementaryOS & Fedora)

In the “Rack” will be:

  • AD File server
  • Media Server
  • KororaProject kiosk
  • LinuxMint MATE 18.2 HP chassis for diags and testing

This change will give us a broader scope and range of support.

 

With Windows 7 coming near it’s end of life (approx 2 years), Windows 10 has finally became a contender for our office.

We will be upgrading most of our Windows systems to W10CE (Creative Edition) in the coming months.
W10 still has a lot of privacy issues that are not acceptable in a business environment.
Luckily those can be addressed with 3rd party tools or Enterprise level management.

If you have an older machine and are looking to upgrade to Windows 10,
or need to secure your existing Windows 10 systems for business and privacy concers,
we would be happy to discuss the different solutions we have.

Contact Us

It’s February 20th, 2017 and I’m taking this day to focus on making ShadeTree PC (and it’s parts)
work better.  I’ll be creating a support ticket system for clients and myself to use so fewer tasks get
left behind.

Other items of interest is PaddockGameServers.com,
where we will soon see dedicated game servers being offered.

More info will be coming as we get closer to opening day.

I hope everyone reading this has a great Presidents Day!
-Tom

Well, it’s been a year of W10.  Where are we at with Microsoft’s OS?

From my observations, it works quite well, if you bought a new machine, or
have only approved hardware (HCL).  If you are using older programs,
they might disappear on you, or just stop working.  Drivers? Same there as well.

Again, if you bought a W10 pc pre-built, and running fairly current software,
W10 will run along just fine, doing what it does.  Just be smart and get excellent
Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware utilities (BitDefender, Avira, MaywareBytes).

How about the Cortana Search tool and data mining?

Cortana is the built-in search tool for W10.  By default, Cortana still records
everything you type and say (if you have a mike installed), “for telemetry” data.
Or, to include targeted advertising to just about every part of your OS,
including the start menu.  There has not been a known, public breach of the data
that we know of.

In conclusion, if you are like me and still using an older OS (W7, 8, 8.1) and are looking at W10
soon:

  • be prepared to upgrade or replace your software.
  • Shop around for cloud storage (including in home)

If you are not “married” to windows based programs,
value your privacy, independence and security,
I strongly suggest:

  • MintLinux
  • CentOS
  • RedHat
  • LXLE
  • Scientific

That’s my 2 cents worth.

-Tom

Ok, you’ve gotten yourself Windows 10. Either by choice or by force, you got it.  Now, how do you live with it?

There are a few changes to your computing habits you might consider:
* you don’t have to use a Microsoft Account to login, you can use a local account,
forgoing saving anything on their cloud servers. (This reduces MS and their partners from
accessing and using your files).

* Forget Cortana. There is a great program from SpyBot called Anti-Beacon.
This gives you some of the control of your privacy back.
However, it must be run at every restart to make sure MS didn’t turn something back on.

* What about my programs? Did MS remove a program you just installed? yup.

Time to go portable. I create a folder (on the desktop) and put the portable versions of the programs I want to use and keep in there.
ie: CCleaner, 7Zip etc.  Since they are not in the system registry, MS can’t uninstall them.

* want to go one further?  Create a separate folder and put VeraCrypt Portable in it. Create an
encrypted volume to store your portable programs in, including your favorite browser.

* Don’t rely on MS for your security.  No matter how secure they say they are, their new Edge browser has the same issues as IE. It’s part of the OS itself, therefore any vulnerability that comes through Edge gets directly through to the OS.  Use a different (portable) browser, Use TOP rated Anti-Virus/Malware programs (tested at independent labs ie: AV-Comparatives & AVTest).

I will be making a list of recommended W10 programs soon.

References:
SpyBot Anti Beacon:
https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/

BitDefender AV:
http://www.bitdefender.com/

BitDefender Anti-CryptoWall:
http://labs.bitdefender.com/bitdefender-offers-cryptowall-vaccine/

BitDefender USB Immunizer:
http://labs.bitdefender.com/projects/usb-immunizer/overview/

CCleaner:
https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

VeraCrypt:
https://veracrypt.codeplex.com/

AV-Comparatives:
http://www.av-comparatives.org/

AV-Test:
http://www.av-test.org/en/home/

Portable Apps:
http://portableapps.com/suite

Here are just a few reasons not to trust what MS is telling us.

The truth is Win 10 is not free. It is a “privacy” supported OS.
You trade your privacy (what you say (voice, type etc), do,
and where you go is all monitored my MS to do with as they please,
including selling that information to advertisers (demographic information)
and governments.

Keep in mind, that this “free” upgrade has a time limit. What happens after that time limit has expired?
It will become a subscription service, where you will have to pay annually, per device.

Make no mistake, Microsoft is a for-proffit business.  Their shareholders want to see profits every quarter.
The higher the profits, the more likely the CEO and the other staff will keep their jobs.
MS would not give anything away if they didn’t have a (financial) reason for it.

Don’t get my attitude wrong either. i like Windows. I like a lot of MS products.
I think the idea of having one OS for the entire MS ecosystem is a great idea.
It would cut my time down a lot (as a technician) if all my clients were on one OS.

My beef with MS is with their constant deception and lies about what they are doing,
all in the name of “it for your own good” or “just in case”.

That’s why I’m switching most of my systems over to Linux.
Linux development has come a LONG way in the last 10 years.
I do have to keep one or 2 windows systems around because I use
Windows only software that I can’t get away from.  (but those machines won’t get Win10).

My Linux OS’s of prefer depend on the purpose and the machine’s hardware.
Porteus Kiosk for low end systems.
LXLE is a great OS for older, low resource systems.
LinuxMint is a more robust OS and has more drivers for hardware support.
Robolinux for “workstation” level or better hardware.
Take a look at the Linux options here:

Distro Watch

 

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine ‘just in case’

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2425381/microsoft-is-downloading-windows-10-to-your-machine-just-in-case

Microsoft is forcing data collection into Win7, 8 & 8.1 systems:

http://www.ghacks.net/2015/08/28/microsoft-intensifies-data-collection-on-windows-7-and-8-systems/

How to stop Windows 10 downloading automatically

http://betanews.com/2015/09/11/how-to-stop-windows-10-downloading-automatically/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed+-+bn+-+Betanews+Full+Content+Feed+-+BN

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