back to article Windows 7 back in black as holdouts report wallpaper-stripping shenanigans

Microsoft has given Windows 7 users a parting gift with its last update as some holdouts are reporting existing desktop wallpaper being replaced by a sombre black screen – presumably in mourning for the veteran OS. Others have also called out problems on Windows 10, but it is the venerable (and potentially vulnerable) 7 that …

  1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Micro$oft have only set it as the wallpaper until they invent a darker colour!

    1. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Disaster Area mat black, with matter black icons....

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      How much more black could it be?

      The answer is none. None more black.

      1. Juan Inamillion

        Spinal Tap...

      2. IGotOut Silver badge

        How much more black could it be?

        Vantablack?

        1. Zarno Bronze badge

          That would be a Kapoor colour choice mate.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Ooh, pigment war! Death to VANTAblack! Black 3.0 forever! (Or, I guess, until Black 4.0?)

          Though the last I looked they're both proprietary. When will we have a true open-source really-very-black paint?

          1. Zarno Bronze badge

            There's a video in my "to watch" list that details a home-lab black coating method similar to these.

            I don't think it's a paint though?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Blacker than a priest's socks:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wx8-mysJG2s

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Ah, how could I forget the Father Ted reference. Upvoted.

          "Never buy priests' socks in a normal shop. They'll shaft you every time!"

  2. Saruman the White

    I've noticed that you cannot change the wallpaper through the Control Panel - it ignores any changes you make and applies something random which it makes up. Suspected when I first saw this that this is Microsoft's attempt to make Windows 7 so unpleasant that everyone is forced on to 10. Really PITA, but as expected.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More of MS's...

      do it our way or not at all.

      The Borg is alive and well in Windows 10.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: More of MS's...

        Get your hands off borg, it is running backup of my Linux machine as I write this.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: More of MS's...

          Veeam backup (agent) free for Linux will do an image backup natively from within Linux.

          1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: More of MS's...

            ... and the reason why I would want to use proprietary backup solution is ...

    2. Saruman the White

      I would be really interested to know what was so offensive to those people who down-voted my original message.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Probably the unfounded assertion that Microsoft does these thing deliberately, when simple incompetence suffices as an explanation.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          >Probably the unfounded assertion that Microsoft does these thing deliberately, when simple incompetence suffices as an explanation.

          Those of us who've been in this game for some time know that Microsoft 'have got form' when it comes to deliberately degrading performance or intimidating generic users in order to push more of their product. We all rather hope that this stuff faded over the years because of all the $$$$$ they were making but the suspicion still lingers.

      2. Blitheringeejit
        Holmes

        @Saruman the White

        If you want to be loved by the good guys, maybe you should consider a change of handle..? I'd downvote your every post just for what you did to Fangorn Forest.

      3. Simon Harris Silver badge

        An el Reg comments factoid:

        The surest way to accumulate more down votes is to ask why your previous post was down voted.

      4. IGotOut Silver badge

        "I would be really interested to know what was so offensive to those people who down-voted my original message."

        Simple, because you didn't say Linux.

        In here that is the answer to everything. If your software doesn't work on Linux, it's you're fault and you should use some sub par software instead.

      5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Saruman the White,

        Simple answer, is that you broke the Zeroth Commandment .....

        "Thou shalt not take the name of Microsoft in vain"

        :) ;)

      7. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        I would be really interested to know what was so offensive to those people who down-voted my original message.

        I'd be really interested to know why your second message attracted far more!

    3. JulieM Silver badge

      Just because you've been forced off Windows 7, does not mean you have been forced onto Windows 10.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    yes, yes...

    Deploying Win10 as we speak... only 1 to go.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: yes, yes...

      Same here. Everything was going great until a Dell motherboard SSD caching XPS went TITSUP, but (no thanks to both Intel and Microsoft) I managed to get it back online without any data loss (there's both an interesting AND stupid/scary story involving that).

    2. Avatar of They
      Thumb Up

      Re: yes, yes...

      Er, Great. thanks for that.

      Is this in response to a black screen? The EOL of windows 7 or you just happy to be finally allowed access to the internet?

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: yes, yes...

        No, but worse: it turns out that, without notice but by connecting the dots, you find that, if your Win7-converted-to Win10 box gets a corrupted partition table, the Microsoft-preferred USB recovery won't work.

        Why?

        Because you updated from Win7, which most likely used MBR. Win10's USB install/recovery drive uses UEFI for boot support and can't switch over to MBR-based partition tables (firmware limitation, causing a software issue). So BOOTREC can't rebuild the boot records because it can't access the HDD/SSD, locking you out.

        You need to boot from DVD. A hidden gotcha, modern laptops who converted and lose their partition table, yet have no optical drive, may be royally screwed.

        1. KITT44

          Re: yes, yes...

          You could plug in a USB optical drive.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: yes, yes...

            "You could plug in a USB optical drive."

            It depends upon the USB firmware support in the motherboard. If USB support is provided by UEFI extensions, the USB optical drive still appears through the UEFI firmware device drivers and, therefore, still an fundamentally an UEFI device simply with a 'USB-to-optical' bridge.

            It will most likely still fail, as the Win10 install drivers only seem to stay within their bootup configuration (and UEFI requires matched-size bootloaders anyway). It's a combination of an Intel problem (restricted UEFI configurations) coupled with Microsoft's complete failure of mentioning "Oh, BTW, if you retain MBR disks our repair USB devices [probably] won't be able to access it from a failed status on many motherboards".

            A fresh Win10 install probably won't see this, as either (with a new build) the BIOS will be in UEFI mode and therefore using GPT disks, or your fresh wipe-install will (often) be set the same way. With UEFI, the Win10 UEFI-enabled bootloader will see the GPT disk, and everything seems as normal.

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: yes, yes...

            You could plug in a USB optical drive

            Or - and bear with me here, because I know it's a bit left of field - how about if someone invented some sort of boxlike structure with some, well, let's call them "bays" at the front, big enough to take, say an optical drive, maybe a couple of additional storage devices, and some ports on the motherboard next to the rear panel, so you could, say, buy a graphics card, or a soundcard, or even something like a MIDI interface card, and the interface sockets could poke out of the back panel for easy connection?

            How cool would that be?

            And then, on the train to work, you could just read a book or watch a video on your tablet or phone, without balancing an underpowered notebook PC precariously on your knee while you did unpaid work for your employer.

            Ah, if only ...

        2. bdg2

          Re: yes, yes...

          I'm pretty sure I've updated successfully from a MBR Windows 7 install. I used a USB thumb drive created with the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: "I've updated from a MBR Windows 7"

            As have I. That's not the problem, the problem is if your Win10 partition gets corrupt - no guarantee that booting from the Win10 USB thumb drive will give you access to repair the partition.

          2. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: yes, yes...

            On a general note Windows 10 file system seems more fragile than Windows 7. Sometimes on Windows 7 you get warned to repair the system but skipping it is file, on Windows 10 it just goes ahead and spends ages repairing before either success or failure. Very often failure that needs a lot more effort to recover. For many people this will be the end of their PC usage as they switch to using their phone for everything.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: yes, yes...

              "On a general note Windows 10 file system seems more fragile than Windows 7."

              And that's why I'm raising the alarm. Not to cry "Wolf!", or some-such, but to make everyone aware of this little "gotcha!" and prepare for it, by burning a recovery DVD *now*, and keep it handy just in case, if this Win10 usage mode (MBR on UEFI-capable computers) applies to you.

            2. Mike 137 Silver badge

              "as they switch to using their phone for everything"

              Try PCB design, graphic arts or audio engineering on a phone!

              MS (and others) seem to have forgotten that some folks do real creative work on computers. We're not all just instagram junkies.

              1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

                Re: "as they switch to using their phone for everything"

                Fortunately more and more CAD programs have a Linux version available. Which usually run faster.

        3. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: yes, yes...

          "Because you updated from Win7, which most likely used MBR."

          XP used MBR, but from Vista onwards GPT has been preferred, if only to allow use of disks bigger than 2TB.

          If the machine was first installed in the last ten years or so, then someone must have made an active choice to use MBR. Although now I think about it, I suppose that's the exact sort of person who would have put off upgrading from Win7 until now..

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: yes, yes...

            XP used MBR, but from Vista onwards GPT has been preferred, if only to allow use of disks bigger than 2TB

            I have to disagree. I did dozens if not hundreds of installs for 7. Unless I had a special reason to my preferred method was to use a 'raw' disk and let the installer figure it out itself. The 7 installer always used MBR to install.

            In a few cases I had disks that were already formatted GPT. 7's installer could not see the existing partitions at all and we had to use another disk (sometimes as an intermediary - we could clone a partition to the existing HDD after doing the install and it'd work OK with some changes to the boot loader).

            The installers used were the bog-standard images downloaded from MS's own site. I do recall being quite shocked at how the 7 installer couldn't manage GPT, at least on "Home" installs (did 'Pro" a few times, "Ultimate" once or twice).

            1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

              Re: yes, yes...

              In my experience it's down to how you're accessing the installer. My UEFI (Asus) motherboards have always let me choose to boot USB drives either way and if I selected the legacy option (for Win7 at least) I always got an MBR install.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge

                Re: yes, yes...

                In my experience it's down to how you're accessing the installer.

                That may actually be it. The vast majority were pre UEFI boards, others had it turned off for ease of use (some of the pre-UEFI tool boot disks didn't play well with it). And out of habit I've tended to turn it off.

                If I a) remember, b) find a spare disk and c) can be bothered I'll actually turn UEFI on and do a test install when I'm giving my better machine a good clean out this weekend. But, a & b will probably kill that long before c gets a look in :)

        4. illiad

          Re: UEFI boot... DO NOT!!

          to make sure of easy maintenance etc, ALWAYS look for 'legacy boot'...

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: UEFI boot... DO NOT!!

            to make sure of easy maintenance etc, ALWAYS look for 'legacy boot'...

            ...and disable it.

            UEFI is simpler and easier if you understand it. You can have multiple bootloaders installed at the same time and pick which one you want to use by name from the boot override menu or from the UEFI settings themselves. On GPT disks, there's no faffing about with extended and logical partitions, and GPT is more robust, with several copies of the partition table "just in case."

            And, of course, you can use secure boot if you wish. If you don't want to, turn it off. I know it's popular to think it is some grand conspiracy to keep non-MS OSes off of people's PCs, but I run Linux with secure boot on with no issue at all. You can even set it to use your unsigned bootloader by marking it as trusted in the UEFI settings, and it will generate a hash of the bootloader, store that in NVRAM, and compare that to the generated hash at each boot-- the same thing that happens with a signed bootloader, but in effect, you're signing it. UEFI doesn't care if it is a Linux, Windows, or any other kind of bootloader... it works with all of them.

            I loathe MS as much as the next Linux user, but if this is a conspiracy to keep Linux off, they did a damned poor job of it. It's no more of a hassle installing and using Linux with secure boot enabled than it is to use Windows. But if you're still not convinced, you can turn it off. And on any device that is so locked down that you can't turn secure boot off, you're not going to be doing any legacy booting anyway. If you encounter such a thing, just avoid it!

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: UEFI boot... DO NOT!!

              There has been computers sold to the public, which only have Microsoft keys in the EFI, so they can only boot a Microsoft operating system. They were Surface tablets.

              As far as I've heard, the newer ones allow the end user to add their own keys (so you can boot linux).

          2. Snake Silver badge

            Re: UEFI boot... DO NOT!!

            "to make sure of easy maintenance etc, ALWAYS look for 'legacy boot'...

            And therein lies the problem. The machine that had this problem / lost its partition table was a Dell XPS 8700, and Dell did indeed decide to keep the BIOS in "Legacy" mode and use MBR. On a 2TB Win7 partition.

            If they would have gone UEFI, and GPT, then compatibility with both (the then-current) Win8 and the future (the then-unknown Win10) would have been assured. Dell would have been using the most up-to-date, 'MS-approved-for-the-future' choice. But Dell didn't.

            So now, unless I completely rebuild the drive or risk a GPT conversion via Mini Tools Partition Wizard (they claim risk-free but is anything truly thus?), the computer is staying MBR. Which means no Win10 USB-based tool recovery option for corrupted partition tables, now or in the future (as has been already proven).

            I'd best keep that Win10 DVD handy... :-/

        5. Rockets

          Re: yes, yes...

          You don't need to boot from DVD but that is an option. I use the media creation tool Rufus. When you create a bootable USB for Windows 10 you get the option of using GPT or MBR. If the GPT one doesn't work use the MBR option. From my experience if you need to repair the install it's better to just get the data off and do a clean install unless it's just repairing bootmgr. I've always done the Win 7 upgrade to Win 10 to get the license key upgraded. I recover the new key using a tool and then reload the PC clean with Windows 10. Longer but in the long run is a better.

      2. chivo243 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: yes, yes...

        Just happy to get your comment... No, no black screens for us, just doing the rinse repeat of when XP was EOL'd beating the deadline, kinda monotonous...

    3. myhandler

      Re: yes, yes...

      My screen is ok but it's a default blue MS thing. Got 10 on a dual boot SSD but can't bring myself to make that jump yet. Maybe tomorrow. Fuck tiles.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: yes, yes...

        tactile

        adjective:

        - of or connected with the sense of touch.

        labile

        adjective:

        - liable to change; easily altered.

        fucktile

        adjective:

        - description of any Microsoft operating system released after 2009.

      2. Neil 44

        Re: yes, yes...

        Try Open-Shell / Open-Shell-Menu (Was ClassicShell) for a start interface without tiles...

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: yes, yes...

          Or just 'unpin' the tiles and collapse that side of the menu.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: yes, yes...

            Don't use logic! And especially don't expect people to want to do any configuration themselves, that's for linux users!

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: yes, yes...

      "Deploying Win-10-nic LINUX as we speak..."

      heh, fixed it for ya! Linux, a *TRUE* UP-grade!!!

    5. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: yes, yes...

      I dunno, Windows 7 black wall paper, Windows 10 that stupid blue window. I think Windows 7 actually received a feature update over Windows 10.

  4. CJatCTi
    WTF?

    XP compatablity

    I have a customer that has a key program that only runs on XP, (yes I know) she was running a couple of XP desktops virtulised on Windows 7, and a 100% XP on another machine.

    Up until Monday 20th Jan 2020, the XP desktops could access shared drives on Windows 7 & Windows 10 machines, now they can only see other XP shares.

    Do you think this could be a parting, lock down sharing gift?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: XP compatablity

      Check the security policy for files and printers. I think MS recently changed the default on Win 10 to be to require passwords. That's all well and good except that it doesn't give a meaningful error message nor the opportunity to enter alternate credentials. Users just get some generic error thrown back at them.

      https://windowsreport.com/windows-10-turn-off-password-protected-sharing/

      Just a thought - I was chasing my tail over that for a week thinking it was a credentials problem of some kind.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: XP compatablity

      >Do you think this could be a parting, lock down sharing gift?

      Definitely.

      I suspect that MS have simply upgraded the default security settings for W10 on the basis that they don't need to out of the box support (out-of-the-box) settings that were appropriate when W7 was launched.

      Having had to look at Office 2016 - which goes off mainstream support Oct 13th 2020 (same day as 2010 goes EoL), it is clear MS are using 2020 to further tighten things up and pushes everyone on to its cloud offerings. Additionally, from things happening in January and October 2020 they also want people to updated their standalone client installs of Office 365 software to versions that will be supported beyond October 13th.

      In going through the details, I expect there will be many cries as people fall foul of MS's end of service support dates and discover things unexpectedly stop working.

      Interestingly, W10 builds 1709, 1807, 1809 & 1903 also go EoL.

      1. ForthIsNotDead
        Coat

        Re: XP compatablity

        Well, there's always Linux.

        Yes, yes. I'll get my coat!

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: XP compatablity

          Well, there's always Linux.

          That may be a way around this. A Pi (or something gruntier if there is sufficient data throughput) that accesses all the other shares then maps them to something XP can see? Of course if you have a lot of machines to reconfigure manually..

          (Though a niggle in the back of the mind says that something in W10 makes it not play nice with NAS boxes and other file shares not on W10 boxes)

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: XP compatablity

          It would be easy enough to run those XP machines inside Linux Mint using VirtualBox. Linux can share the files just as well as Windows 7. Can even install MS Office using Wine, just not MS Access.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            Re: XP compatablity

            > run those XP machines inside Linux Mint using VirtualBox

            Why not use a bare-metal hypervisor to run your XP VMs? Using Linux (or whatever else) doesn't bring any advantage if your goal is to keep a bunch of legacy WinXP machines running.

      2. Blitheringeejit
        WTF?

        Office 2016

        When I install Office365 from MS's cloud, the Mail icon in the Control Panel reports as Outlook 2016. But I guess that's because the Control Panel isn't really supposed to be the Win10 Way. Shame, as it's the only place I can find most of the Win stuff I need to deal with.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP compatablity

      SMB Version 1 has been disabled on your Windows 10 computers. Windows 10 has a "Feature" that will automatically uninstall SMB v1 when the system determines it is no longer needed. It doesn't specify what that criteria is. You should be able to to turn SMB v1 back on with "Turn Windows features on or off" app on Windows 10.

      Disclaimer: There are gaping security holes in SMB v1 that will never be patched, use it at your own risk.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: XP compatablity

      looks like something disabled the older "lan manager" share method, the SMB protocol version 1 I think it was. It was insecure, but not *THAT* insecure. If you're only doing local shares, between XP VMs and 7, shouldn't be a problem I'd think, to re-enable it. Might have to hack the registry though. Some "UP"date probably turned it off.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: XP compatablity

        "not *THAT* insecure"

        Well, anyone on the same network can access all of your files, and run arbitrary code on the machines hosting. I'm not sure how much more insecure it could get.

        The flaws are the protocol level, so Samba was affected as well.

        Basically running SMB1 is the equivalent of enabling remote desktop with no password, you should only do it on a completely air-gapped network, and you should think twice before you do even that.

    5. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: XP compatablity

      There is the SMB V1 V2 and V3 thing. Generally they've been stopping people use SMB V1 file sharing. Either get XP to use the newer one or downgrade Win 7 to SMB 1. Instructions on the Internet.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: XP compatablity

        XP can only use SMB1, but SMB 1 is so dangerously insecure, you just shouldn't use it. (see above comment)

  5. Elledan Bronze badge

    Just MSFT things

    Rather fits the pattern of Windows 10 patches b0rking that OS on a regular basis as well.

    Anyone remember when MSFT fired the QA department? Something about 'darn developers testing their own darn code', or something.

    Now you don't know what features will break with the next update. Will network share mounting break again? Network printer support go down? Maybe it'll randomly delete every file in your Documents folder (again). Almost getting that 'MacOS major update' feeling with Windows these days.

    Was it ever anywhere near this bad with Windows 7 and previous versions, or is this nostalgia colouring our memories?

    1. Starace
      Devil

      Re: Just MSFT things

      QA? They've heard of it but they can't spell it.

    2. jason_derp Bronze badge

      Re: Just MSFT things

      "Now you don't know what features will break with the next update."

      HA! You don't even know what will continue to STAY broken! USB hubs in the USB 3.0 slot? Still don't work. Multiple hubs, multiple years. Hardware incompatibilty they say. Funny, Linux seems to have been non-incompatible with every hub in every port I've ever tried, but whatevs. OSes must be hard when you're one of the richest most resource-flush companies in the world.

    3. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Just MSFT things

      Was it ever anywhere near this bad with Windows 7 and previous versions, or is this nostalgia colouring our memories?

      I do recall the odd borked W7 update etc, but that was usually the exception and with a small subset of computers. I've had some machines with years of stable operation (with regular and fully automatic updates (pre GWX). Even swap out bits of hardware with no issue. One install has eventually had every bit of HW replaced including the case and PSU.

      With W10 it certainly seems to be the norm that things will change, and break, and data you rely on or software you use will suddenly not be there.

  6. TRT Silver badge

    I went to the bank on Saturday...

    To see if there was enough money in the account to upgrade.

    The young lady there told me there wasn't... reading the balances off an Internet Explorer page on her Windows 7 desktop.d

    1. myhandler

      Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

      You can still do it for free though... it accepts W7 keys

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

        >You can still do it for free though... it accepts W7 keys

        Just ensure you do an "update this PC and keep my files".

        Bearing in mind a comment above about recovery media and boot issues, I'm tempted once having done this update to then do a full "reinstall" to clear out any undesired residues from the W7 system.

        1. John Arthur

          Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

          No, I have done a free upgrade to W10 using a clean install. Two actually. All you need is the CoA from the original W7

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

            > I have done a free upgrade to W10 using a clean install. Two actually. All you need is the CoA from the original W7

            Thanks - my sources were specific that it had to be the upgrade and keep option and not the full repartition the disk clean install option.

            They were also specific that you shouldn't zap that newly minted W7 upgrade install until you had 'registered' W10 by logging on to your MS account.

            Perhaps having discovered a path that worked, people were just sticking to it.

          2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

            Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

            "CoA" ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

              Are you serious? You don't know what a CoA is? What a LUSR! It stands for "Certificate of Airworthiness," and you have to have your original one for Windows 7 in order to upgrade to Windows 10, so you can be certain your computer will follow a safe, predictable trajectory onto the pavement when you throw it out the window after upgrading.

              (What's that? It actually stands for "Certificate of Authenticity?" You mean, like that hologram thingy with the serial number and license key? Hunh. Well, then never mind, I guess. But you're still a LUSR!)

              --- Melllvar (with three Ls ;-)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

              It's a name and item which no one uses to represent a sticker on pre-windows 8 OEM computer device.

              For the rest of us who bought windows license(s) separately or read the details on the sticker, we call it product key.

            3. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

              That's the other benefit of the "update this system" approach, it uses the pre-installed OEM COA, not the one on the sticker...

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I went to the bank on Saturday...

        I should have added "to upgrade the high end transparency scanner that doesn't have a Windows 10 driver, or a companion application that works on Windows 10."

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I had the black screen issue; the only image it would allow me to set was the default blue+squares windows one.

    Company machine, so got the boys on it, to watch them scratch their heads. Looks like a permissions issue; eventually they got the right thing back.

    But it seems I'm getting a W10 machine shortly anyway, company policy. I'm retiring in a month or two, but hey ho...

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      You poor sod

      Windows 10 is a heap of pain, frustration and crap... best ask them for a linux machine, or to be honest a CPM machine will give you less heartache and workfaster.... even a 1970s original

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: You poor sod

        I know... I've been avoiding it for years. Linux at home, of course.

      2. jason_derp Bronze badge

        Re: You poor sod

        I remember the good old days of CPM. And I wasn't even born then. Windows 10 breaks time its so awful. Speaking of which, have to remember to put out the garbage yesterday of last year...

        1. John_3_16

          Re: You poor sod

          I hear ya. Playing with Linux myself now & virtual Win 7. I still have 3 machines with XP running on them. They work fine. None are connected to the WWW. I also have an older machine running Apple DOS &/or CPM. All the original floppies & games still work.

          In my programming days I learned to code on CPM with cassette serial tape drives. Next were the first Apple machines. Talk about caveman days! Advanced to Cobol & Fourth code on a Burroughs mini main frame. Each line was punched on a card. Computer read the code from the cards. Talk about ancient. Aluminum disks weighing about 25 lbs each stored the data. Had about 6 of these monsters that took up an entire room. Still have a lot of my MS DOS disks from the old days & a laptop that uses them.

          I STOP with Win 7 & use Linux rather than spend my declining years frustrated with each new M$ Win 10 screw up. I am loving the Linux future. God bless us all! :D

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    11. Thou shall not trust

    MS parting gifts

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 11. Thou shall not trust

      The last Windows 7 update that tried to install itself about a week ago ended up failing and putting Windows into a continual reboot loop. I did wonder whether as a parting gift, Microsoft were deliberately disabling Windows 7. Managed to unwind the update in safe mode.

  9. tim 13

    There's far worse things than black wallpaper, in fact thats what I set for my personal machines. I recently had to push this out https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQIz52EKon9CsaCexSMQFLeue3iMzHb6_feBxwnGeXH2Xclfuq2cQ&s

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      I'd rather not follow that mystery link if it's all the same to you.

      1. tim 13

        Its just a google cache of an image. It can be seen as the cover photo on this page https://www.facebook.com/sytravelmaster/

        1. thebightonion

          In Calucian Tim13 is an anagram of 'The Borg' ...

        2. Criggie

          Dunno which link I trust less - random mystery link or facebook link....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Register has contacted Microsoft to find out if this is a known issue

    given the W7 support has been withdrawn, you can expect, presumably, NOTHING in response?

  11. HKmk23

    What did you expect from microsh#te?

    Happily running windows 7 pro offline and off grid....no problems.....

    just keep this one expendable laptop connected to the web with no data or programs on it of any import.....and standalone with its own printer scanner.

    I just wish Huawei or even Google would bring out an opsys that would run the half dozen windows programs I love to use. Tried Linux and it does not play nice and Crapple are even worse.....there is an absolute fortune waiting out there for the writer/vendor of a working alternative.

    1. Soruk

      Re: What did you expect from microsh#te?

      ReactOS?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What did you expect from microsh#te?

      With no more updates to W7 it should now be a non-moving target for Wine devs.

    3. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: What did you expect from microsh#te?

      Happily running windows 7 pro offline and off grid....no problems.....

      I used to run an air-gapped Windows 7 system - after a few months it decided that not being able to phone home was a sure sign than it must be a pirated version and would foist black wallpaper on me with a message to the effect that my perfectly legal Windows 7 installation was a counterfeit copy.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: What did you expect from microsh#te?

        > it decided that not being able to phone home was a sure sign

        I know somebody who has been running an airgapped Win7 Pro computer for many years now (5 years IIRC), and he never had any similar problems. (By airgapped I mean isolated in a VLan without Internet access. Never got any updates since 2015, on purpose.)

        So it might be that something changed in your computer's hardware, or for some reason Windows thought so (something you plugged in was considered as new internal hardware, or some driver changed or stopped working)? Just guessing.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: What did you expect from microsh#te?

          It turns out that it depends upon which type of licencing set-up you have. If it was OEM or retail I think it never expires (barring hardware changes), if it's a corporate volume licence (which this was) it can need renewing at intervals.

  12. silks

    The only way I know if Windows10 has updated is if it has turned itself off or rebooted overnight with fresh wallpaper ready for the morning!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 may leave you vulnerable to a virus. Windows 10 IS a virus. It steals your data, corrupts files on updates and installs apps without your permission !

    1. davidp231

      "Windows 7 may leave you vulnerable to a virus. Windows 10 IS a virus. It steals your data, corrupts files on updates and installs apps without your permission !"

      A virus is small and efficient in what it was designed to do. Windows 10 is neither.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mine has

    I thought it was my company doing it. It's a great improvement on the corporate wallpaper from last week and my preferred wallpaper for my personal devices.

  15. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    And I thought strippers at funerals was only a Chinese things?

    1. Cheshire Cat
      Go

      Actually, funeral strippers are a Taiwanese custom, not (mainland) China. They also have funeral processions containing flatbed trucks with pole-dancers on them, and "Professional Mourners" who can spend hours "crying" into a PA system about how sad they are that Uncle Wu has kicked the bucket, so that you don't have to.

      When I was in Taiwan, one of the neighbours had one of these funerals. In the afternoon, there were puppet shows for the kids. After 9pm, the kids were sent home and the strippers came on. I wanted to go and experience the authentic local customs but the wife wouldn't let me ;)

    2. Spencer Tomlinson

      Depends

      Depends who died, street parties are by order of the day when the mother in law croaks.

      1. thebightonion

        Re: Depends

        Les Dawson is still in the building?

  16. Kerisun

    do it our way or not at all.

  17. Simon Harris Silver badge

    My Windows desktop is black...

    Has been for ages - I like it that way and it's easier to find icons than on a cluttered background.

    Mind you, it's not entirely black - it does have a photograph of the moon at the centre taking up about 1/3 of the height - taken with a 200mm lens on a 24MPixel camera.

    1. eswan

      Re: My Windows desktop is black...

      Same here, but has the sun directly behind it.

  18. BGatez Bronze badge

    MS conspiracy

    Author is correct, MS too effing stupid to pull this off on purpose, just usual putzing around

    1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Re: MS conspiracy

      Occam's razor - The simplest solution (incompetence) is usually the correct one.

      1. John Arthur
        Happy

        Re: MS conspiracy

        Of which Hanlon's Razor is just a special case

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: MS conspiracy

          Never give the benefit of the doubt to your enemy.

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Will they replace the start-up sound as well?

    "I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed"

    seems appropriate now.

    I'll be going. The one with the HHGTTG radio play cassette tapes in the pocket please

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Will they replace the start-up sound as well?

      Oh look: I appear to be lying at the bottom of a very deep, dark hole.

      That seems a familiar concept, what does it remind me of?

      Ahhh. I remember: life.

      Perhaps if I lie here and ignore it, it’ll go away again.

      Or then again, perhaps not.

    2. el_oscuro

      Re: Will they replace the start-up sound as well?

      I think Microsoft bought out Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to obtain their Genuine People Personalities technology. We should see Marvin's remaining diodes installed in an office assistant soon.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Will they replace the start-up sound as well?

        I thought they did that many years ago. Evidence: Clippy.

  20. ForthIsNotDead
    Thumb Up

    I only need windows for ONE program...

    ...Siemens S7 TIA (PLC programming system). Other than that, I've moved over to Linux entirely. I booted my Windows box just last night (it's an old Toshiba Tecra 32 bit laptop). I partioned the SSD in half, and installed Lubuntu next to Windows 7. It's like a new machine.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: I only need windows for ONE program...

      Just run Windows (whatever version suits you) in a virtual machine.

      1. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: I only need windows for ONE program...

        I suspect that if his machine is hooked up to a PLC programmer then the OS needs hardware access. Have you ever tried using Rufus to burn a USB stick in Windows 7 on a VM under Linux?

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: I only need windows for ONE program...

          Have you ever tried using Rufus to burn a USB stick in Windows 7 on a VM under Linux?

          I did, just now, as a test. Worked perfectly well in Windows 7 running as guest in Virtualbox 6.1, on a KDE Neon host, using the newest portable version of Rufus (3.8.1580). One of my PCs is is now running a Mint 19.3 live session using the stick I just wrote in the VM.

    2. Spencer Tomlinson

      Re: I only need windows for ONE program...

      Schnieder Twido Suite

  21. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Start Me Up...

    Launched the first Start Button-oriented MS OS, so it is rather fitting that Paint It Black should put in an appearance somewhere along the timeline.

  22. Howard Hanek
    Childcatcher

    Redmond's New Name

    Fukushima

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Redmond's New Name

      Fukucustomers, shirley?

  23. arctic_haze

    Nothing has changed this January for me

    I gave up on Windows 7 updates when the Meltdown/Spectre patches created more harm than the threat itself. I see I have been 100% correct about their quality.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What not even a

    BSOD wallpaper?

    That would be appropriate methinks.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was hoping for a quick let's finish off Windows 7 updates forever, ...

    The last two updates are failing to install my Windows 7. There's one about 314.4MB KB4534310 that keeps reverting changes upon reboot(about 11% or 12% installed then reverts), and another one about 19.2MB KB2310138 that disappears soon after it shows up as an available update and reappears again later(the next day?)

    Event Viewer Log:

    "Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070490: 2020-01 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4534310)."

    "Installation Failure: Windows failed to install the following update with error 0x80070490: Security Update for Windows (KB4534310)."

    cmd

    "Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]

    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:\Windows\system32>SFC /scannow

    Beginning system scan. This process will take some time.

    Beginning verification phase of system scan.

    Verification 100% complete.

    Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.

    Details are included in the CBS.Log windir\Logs\CBS\CBS.log. For example

    C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\CBS.log

    C:\Windows\system32>"

    The end of the log looks like it found stuff that the checksum don't match expected.

    (what to do about this if anything?)

    Tried all the common Windows Update fixes I could find on the internet, but nothing seams to fix this.

    1. MarkSitkowski

      Re: Was hoping for a quick let's finish off Windows 7 updates forever, ...

      Those are the same updates that trash my boot track. See my comment for the solution.

    2. MarkSitkowski

      Re: Was hoping for a quick let's finish off Windows 7 updates forever, ...

      Just to add insult to injury, when I checked Update History, both of those updates are shown as having been installed three times.

      Go figure...

  26. MarkSitkowski

    That's not all...

    Consider yourself lucky, if that's the only parting shot.

    On January 15th, despite autoupdate being turned off, the update kindly downloaded itself then, on the next boot, ran to 30% and shutdown the machine. Restarting gave the message "Windows is loading files..." followed by a popup claiming to "repair the startsystem'. Of course, it failed, rebooted, and did the same performance three times before coming up with "Configuring updates etc" and this sequence repeats endlessly.

    (It looks like one of the "updates" trashes the thing which calls the loader.)

    Solution is, to hit the power switch when you get the "Do not turn off your computer" message, which brings it up in safe mode. You then need to clear the update cache, like this:

    net stop wuauserv

    rmdir %windir%\softwaredistribution /s /q

    net start wuauserv

    The machine then works perfectly, until you get the message 'Updates are available etc', and you find that autoupdate has been turned back on, and you can go back to the endless loop described above.

    I've put those instructions into a .bat file, which I run every time I shutdown.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's not all...

      "I've put those instructions into a .bat file, which I run every time I shutdown."

      I tried something like this, it appears that this deletes Window's Update cache, and it'll redownloads the updates after reboot, even if it doesn't install them.*?

      A better workaround may to 'Hide' the update(s), and/or disable checking for updates.

      One way to 'hide' the update:

      from Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Update

      click on N update(s) is available

      right click on the update and choose 'Hide update'

      One way to stop updates:

      Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Update

      click on 'Change Settings'

      in the drop down box choose 'Never check for updates'

      uncheck boxes, etc...

      click [OK]

      *?(Note: I didn't read technical details behind what this does and this is just the impression I got from my attempt, so I may be wrong on things, feel free to correct/improve)

      1. MarkSitkowski

        Re: That's not all...

        I tried to hide the updates initially, but that didn't stop it. It would download identical updates, and still try to install them, (ignoring the 'don't check for updates' box) which ended in the endless loop again. My fond hope is that MS will stop sending out this crap eventually, so I don't need to run my script.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "How much do updates cost?

    Updates and software from Microsoft for Microsoft products are free as part of maintenance and support services. For other products, check with each program publisher and device manufacturer to see if updates are free of charge. Depending on your Internet connection, standard local and long-distance phone charges and/or Internet service charges might apply while you download and install updates from any publisher or manufacturer."

    Quote from Windows 7 > "Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Update" > "Updates: Frequently asked questions"

  28. DiViDeD Silver badge

    Ah, Aero

    Others have suggested not ... firing up the good old Aero theme.

    Ah, remember aero? Is that coming back at any stage? Or are we doomed to running Fisher Price apps in full screen (on a 40 inch 4K monitor, FFS!) forever?

    1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

      Re: Ah, Aero

      "Fisher-Price" is how I would describe XP. Windows 10's theme isn't anywhere near that good.

  29. rtb61

    Avoid the Last Update

    The lesson is and it is not the first time, never ever install the last M$ Windows update, it will never ever go well.

  30. RLWatkins

    Pain is the great motivator.

    This is a principle to which Microsoft has adhered since the 1990s. Surely it is no surprise.

    We learned this back in the Windows 3 days, when many a patch diskette would break Word Perfect and Quattro. (Yes, Windows "updates" once were distributed on diskette.) I had several customers switch over to Office, which at the time was utter crap, just to avoid that problem.

    They learned that it worked, and that they could get away with it. Every time someone sued them for it they'd just switch tactics.

    Of course the last few patches are going to bork Microsoft products which they want you to replace. It happens a often, and has for years.

  31. RobHib
    Windows

    Win 7 - No problems here....

    No problems here with Win 7....

    But then I've had Automatic Updates turned off for years!

    Mightn't catch viruses with updates on but catching 'diseases' from Microsoft is worse.

  32. Spencer Tomlinson

    Nag screen defeated

    I get a strange feeling the roll out may have been aimed at restricting or preventing a widespread abuse of “nag screen muting”. After all, if you went into work on Monday and the M$ nag screen wasn’t there you may wrongly assume your bosses had switched to Xubuntu or some other Windoze 10 and you were safe..... there I managed to squeeze Linux in to a message and make it look like it was intentional.

  33. Usermane

    Time to upgrade to Windows 3.1

  34. herman Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Paint it Black

    I see a red door and I want it painted black.

    No colours anymore, I want them to turn black.

  35. MarkSitkowski

    Just one more thing...

    Hey! I just noticed that my Win7 DVD drive has vanished, and I don't know which of the recent flood of updates did it.

    It appears in Win Explorer until you put a DVD in, then it vanishes. An external USB DVD drive makes it reappear, but only the external drive works.

    Time to go Linux..?

    1. AlbertH
      Linux

      Re: Just one more thing...

      It was time to go Linux about 15 years ago!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Braveheart, Windows 7, same struggle!

    Microsoft may release diagnostics packages that melt away our thermal compound and burn out our fans. They may release Outlook updates that bork our system drives and make them unbootable. And they may sneak telemetry into security-only updates. But they'll never take our wallpapers!*

    *Well, to be more accurate, they'll never take my wallpapers. You know -- because I copied my wallpapers over to Linux. Actually, this article was an important wake-up call: I really need to get more wallpapers with kittens. And you know what? I'll stretch 'em if I damn well feel like it! Because ... something about freedom!

  37. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Others have donned the tinfoil conspiracy hats, muttering that the borkage is part of a dastardly Redmondian scheme to rip the beloved OS from their hands. Right.

    Would that be controversial if it was true? They're doing all sorts of other stuff to nudge people to lash out a couple of hundred quid to upgrade, or £400+ for a whole new machine (that's what the pages you click thru from the nag screen say, Media Creation pages not mentioned... )

  38. Rajmaj

    System restore!

    Just do a system restore to a previous date and cancel windows update, simple!

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: System restore!

      Just do a system restore to a previous date and cancel windows update, simple!

      That hasn't always been possible. IIRC the GWX (or a related) update either removed previous restore points or left something on the disk that wasn't touched by restore to make it install itself again as part of the "restore" process.

      I can't clearly recall the details (or even if it was XP, Vista or 7) but there was some shenanigans with one of the updates that couldn't be undone with SR.

      (I still think SR is perhaps the best thing MS has put into Windows)

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