Using Windows 7? You MUST Ensure That Updates Are Enabled.

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Windows7The fallout from last week's ransomware incident continues. Computers in more than 150 countries were affected by the WannaCry worm, which encrypted victims' files and then used their network to spread itself to other devices in the same area.

It was originally reported that only Windows XP and 8.0 were vulnerable, because Microsoft had previously released patches for all other versions. Although this remains true, it has now emerged that many Windows 7 machines were hit by the rogue software because they hadn't had the patch installed.

It's very important that you always ensure that automatic updating is enabled on your computer. You should also check occasionally in your control panel to ensure that updates are being installed without error. It's not uncommon for the Windows automatic update system to stop working, which means that your computer could be unprotected.

If you still use Windows 7, you can rest assured that you are safe from the WannaCry ransomware. But you should check that you have automatic updating enabled, and that it has been working successfully. You can find out more at https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/306525/how-to-configure-and-use...

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Oh my, all those late comment about GWX and OSes spying om us; aren't these all old hats, old and stinky hays?
ALL operating systems for consumer electronics created after IOS spy at us. We, the consumers, don't want to pay fair prices, they'd be too high. So the software companies see to it that they can make revenue...

But back to the Windows world: Whether you are a Win 7 stalwart or use Win 8.1 or 10 and you don't want to be "spied at" just install Spybot Anti Beacon from
https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/

As usual it's NOT done with that, you have to run it after every update you receive or see being installed. Why? You'll see that MS turns eventually beacons back on via WU.

MS's communications about the "inner" workings of Windoze should be welcome since they help making it better. IMHO it's none of MS's business whether I use for example CCleaner and/or Libre Office
.

Spybot Anti Beacon has the option to re-immunize every time you boot the computer right in the setup procedure. Just reboot your computer regularly,

As far as MS not needing to know what software you have running isn't totally accurate. That information can help them a great deal to determine who specific programs, or groups of programs affect how the OS runs. It also helps them to make sure that an update won't bork the system or a specific program. Considering how often that happens with all of the telemetry (and remembering how it was even worse in the old days before said telemetry) I'll take the telemetry every time.

@Rev_Don:
Your words "the option to re-immunize every time you boot the computer right in the setup procedure" tell me that you have not used Spybot Anti-Beacon for any reasonable amount of time.

I have seen many times that immunizations got turned off and NOT turned on by a restart.

And for those who don't know SAB: An immunization turned off means that the corresponding beacon (communication to Microsoft) is turned ON.

I started using Anti Beacon about a week after it was released and the only time I ran into an incident where immunizations have been turned off by a restart was just before a new version was released.. That only happened a couple of times that I ever noticed, and normally right after a major feature update like the Anniversary Update, I don't check every system every day (normally once a week or so) as I have it running on at least 30 computers that I regularly work with or administer. I do check my main system daily though and check for an updated version at least once a week. But I'm not that concerned if some of it gets turned back on for a few days. The telemetry isn't nearly as bad as some people try to make it out to be and no worse than Google, IOS, Android, or any number of other sites, services, and programs have that you have absolutely no way to turn off..

I run it on Windows 7 and 8.1 as well as on 10.

You did remember to install using the Run As Administrator option didn't you? I've noticed that not doing that can cause erratic operation.

I turned off auto updates because I'm afraid of that horrific virus called Windows 10.

I think people have to recognise that Windows 10 was released in 2015.
The latest update, Creators Update, is actually a new operating system, unofficially called Windows 11.

I feel sorry for programmers, who try to keep legacy users happy (those that still use Windows 7, 8, 10), but realising that the operating system updates can completely disrupt existing installed hardware drivers and software

Why? That ended a year ago. It won't even try to upgrade to Win 10 automatically any longer. You would have to manually initiate that now.

My Ex got it about that time and she never agreed to it. I'll have to look into that. I really don't want MS to spy on me.

Microsoft stopped the automatic upgrades from 7 and 8.1 on July 29, 2016. They used GWX (Get Windows X (Roman numeral for 10)) to do that and it was easily blocked and nuetrilized. MS removed GWX from computers on July 30, 2016 so it won;t be present on you system now. You can download and run GWX Control Panel to check to see if it's still there (I can assure you with 99.99999999% certainty that it won't be) and disable it if it is (it won't be). http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/

Well, thanks. Yeah, it says GWX isn't there.

See. You're Golden.

One other thought though. Unless you run something like Spybot Anti Beacon you still have a lot of the Windows 10 Spyware on 7 and 8.1. Not all of it, but a LOT more than most people think. Do some research on that.

I have. That's why I bought a fresh WIN7 machine with NO updates a while back.. And I still haven't updated it.

Sorry, but that is about the dumbest thing a person can do. That is just as bad as running Windows XP. Update your system immediately and run something like Spybot Anti Beacon to mitigate the spying. The negative effects of the spyware is considerably less than the negative effects of an unpatched system. If you aren't willing to do that your only viable option is to run a Linux system. Sure you will be limited in what you can do on it compared to a Windows system, but at least no one but your ISP will be spying on you.

And to a large extent, a lot of the spying from MS isn't that bad as long as you use a local login. The e-mail based accounts allow them to do more and tie it to a specific individual, and that is mostly for targeting ads and maintenance.

Also, if you are so concerned with spying you need to make sure and not use ANY smart phones. They all do more spying on you than any desktop OS does. Stop using any e-mail services as well as ALL of them scan you e-mails. Don't use any social media at all as all of it is data mined. Only use Duck Duck Go as a search engine as it is the least data mined. Heck, your account on Gizmo is probably being data mined. And don't use any of the free Anti Virus programs as they data mine the crap out of you just as much as Windows 10 does. In fact, just disconnect from the internet altogether. That's the only really safe answer

All of the reports of spying is overblown to be quite honest. Win 10, along with Android and IOS go a little overboard, but quite a bit of it is actually essential. Not doing updates is essentially burying your head in the sand and hoping nothing happens when you see a Tornado coming right at you instead of taking shelter of some king. Taking shelter won't guarantee you will come out completely unscathed, but your chances are infinitely better than just standing there.

It's not just the spying. It's the principle. And I'm pissed at what they did to Gabs. I have lost all trust in MS. I plan to get linux eventually. In fact, if this one blows up, I may just put it here. I have my essential data backed up in a couple of places, including a fire safe, and my brother's house. I can always reinstall Win7 here too.

Gabs?

My ex. gf.

Okay.

If only MS would have updates that are related to the system only, that's why so many are no longer on auto update IMHO.............aside from that - fully agree with holding updates off for a couple of days, too many flaky updates that knock off random PC's (NB that doesn't imply MS is always at fault, there are so so many variants in PC hardware & software in the world, how could you cover every possibility every time?)

I have windows 7 32bit can I upgrade to 64bit?

Not directly. You would either need a different drive to install it on or back up all of your data (documents, pictures, videos, etc.) to another drive, gather all of your product keys for Windows and other apps, download 64bit drivers, wipe the drive, perform a clean install of the 64bit version, install all of your apps/programs, configure Windows to your liking, and restore all of your data. Unless you have more than 4 gigs of ram (or intend to upgrade your ram) or have a specific program that requires 64bit Windows it probably isn't worth it. Your 32bit Product Key would work for 64bit as long as it's the same version (64bit Home for 32bit Home, etc).

Australia: Thanks but it does not tell you if a machine is infected but yet yet activated which is where most infected machines are now at. Recently we have discovered a worm or virus that is so sophisicated we are stunned, the antivirus program is running and fully updated and unless you investigate it fully you would never know that the machine is infected.

 

We are wondering whether it is WannaCry?

I run Win7 32bit. Does this also apply to optional updates.

No. Optional are just that, optional. Just install the Recommended ones (those are the security updates) and you'll be fine. The majority of the optional ones are feature updates/addons or beta tests they try to trick you into installing.

Thanks Rev_Don your definitely on the ball.

Enabling automatic update is not the ONLY answer. MS has screwed up an update way too often for that to be a legitimate option. Plus if you have multiple computers and a slow internet connection you can easily have no access to your computer for several hours on Patch Tuesday. I always set it to check but not download the updates. I wait until 2 days after an update notification pops up before downloading and installing updates. That way I can control when it happens (when I don't need to actually use the computer like at the end of the day) and the net will be blowing up with reports of the bad or botched patch. This is a MUCH better approach for anyone who is at least a little bit computer literate and has served me well since Windows Update first launched.

I will also manually check for updates anytime something like WannaCry rears it's ugly head just to make sure that sort of emerency patch isn't missed.

And for the record, legitimate and reliable sources have stated that between 90 and 98% of the affected computers were running Windows 7.

I use Windows 7 and there were two updates just this week, both on updating the protection.
Thank you for the heads up, though!
Su

If you let Windows 7 do it by itself you "open" a time window of up to four weeks during which your computer is not protected against exploits that may have been patched but the according update has not been downloaded and installed yet.

My many thousands of (in their own words computer illiterate!) customers have done very well with checking once every week.

I give them a shortcut to Windows Update on the desktop and written instructions to run WU and 'Check for updates' ONCE EVERY WEEK. They are instructed to always install ALL updates.

They all have not modified machines from known manufacturers and there were over 16 years only one hand full of problems with WU, mostly after virus infections from EBKAC errors.

Re. Desktop shortcut to WU: So far NOT POSSIBLE in Windows 10 version 1703 (creators update). Grrr.

make a shortcut to:
ms-settings:windowsupdate

Takes you right to it.

Thanks for the reminder Rob
I found an excellent Microsoft article covering everything about this WannaCrypt ransomware, including the potential way it spreads

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mmpc/2017/05/12/wannacrypt-ransomware-worm-targets-out-of-date-systems/

"The threat arrives as a dropper Trojan that has the following two components:
A component that attempts to exploit the SMB CVE-2017-0145 vulnerability in other computers
1)The ransomware known as WannaCrypt"
The worm functionality attempts to infect unpatched Windows machines in the local network.
2)At the same time, it also executes massive scanning on Internet IP addresses to find and infect other vulnerable computers"

This second Microsoft article details what to do if you have been infected with WannaCrypt ransomware:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx