ShadeTreePC

Changes current and upcoming.

I have been using Windows 10 as my primary OS for several months, and still wouldn’t recommend the “off the shelf” version.
I do a lot of tweaking to lock it down before I start using it daily.

What’s in my rack? update

  • Main data server is now Neth server in bay 1
  • MX 17 desktop and storage area for videos in bay 2
  • Bay 3 is reserverd for re-imaging different pcs
  • Bay 4 is a Dell Poweredge Proxmox server

Web Servers in Mississippi are being shut down at the end of this month.  All account have been, or are in process, of moving to more stable locations.

Infrastructural updates  for ShadeTree:

I’ve added a CMS system for better tracking of tasks for each client.  Hopefully less forgetfulness and more completed tasks.

Mod development:

Alexi Rhaan is dusting off the old GTR2 mods he made over the past decade and rebuilding them for AMS.

 

So, what does this mean? If you aare running Win10, you got a BIG download and update coming your way.
Good news is if you have several PCs that need updated, they can updated with a usb drive (to save on bandwith).

It has a bunch of new features and gadgets and stuff, that you can find posted all over the inet.
However, using any of it means more of your private data is Microsoft’s business.

So how to secure your Win10 boxes with v1803?  O&OShutUp 16.1396

 

March is coming to a close and I’m in need of changing up my lab.

I have a Toshiba NAS that’s 5 years old and although it doesn’t show signs of failure, I want to get it replaced before it does.
I also have a SAMBA file server, Dell T310 for Proxmox lab, and 2 desktops systems in the rack.

For my workstations, I have 2 Win7, 1 Win10 & 1 iMac.

The plan for April is to:

  • move 1 desktop (used for drive wiping) to the workbench.
  • create a new file & media server to replace the Toshiba and current file server
  • put my W10 workstation in the rack

My linux desktop for the time being is SparkyLinux.

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