Stan Schultz

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Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
11
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Anywhere in North American where 6 wheels can take
I'm sure this issue as been discussed a million times already, but at age 77 I don't have the time to waste to search through nearly a hundred pages of posting titles and maybe get nothing for it. And I'm sure this is the wrong forum to post this, but it IS about updates.

I reinstalled Windows 8.1, formatting the system partition in the process (thus destroying any pre-existing restore points). After spending a few days reconfiguring the OS, and reinstalling and reconfiguring my programs, I noticed a message on the login screen that there were 150 +/- (2775 MB!), outstanding, important updates pending. On one convenient evening I set my laptop to downloading those updates. By the next morning it had finished. I rebooted, and was greeted with a full screen, sales pitch urging me in no uncertain terms to click the button and install Microsoft Edge, MS' newest, greatest, most marvelous gift to the ignorant, unwashed masses.

I clicked the little "x" in the upper right corner instead, to close the advertising clutter. (I don't need no stinkin' Edge. And besides, I don't trust Microsoft and their give-aways.) That's when I found that all the icons that I'd pinned to the Taskbar were gone, as well as all the links on my desktop. As I progressed I found a half dozen key programs that either were not working properly, or wouldn't load at all.

It occurred to me at that point that Windows automagically creates a restore point before updating, so I looked for it and Voila! There it was. Restoring the OS to its condition immediately before the update session was easy, and now I know better than to trust Big Brother. (Well, I knew that beforehand, but I hadn't expected MS to pull a stunt of this magnitude!)

So now I have a problem. At least one of those 150 +/- update files waiting to be installed is "the skunk in the woodpile." The question is, "Which one(s)?" So, in order to avoid another "really bad day" at the hands of Microsoft...

*Do any of you know which knowledge base article(s) might be responsible (i.e., have been reported by others) for trashing my machine? (Presumably, but not necessarily, the MS Edge sales pitch. I say this because most of the older updates had already been installed with few or no problems on the previous instance of Windows.)

*If so, which one(s) are they?

* And, under any circumstances, which KB file pushes the MS Edge spam in the first place? (So I can avoid it, as well as Edge, like the plague!)

(This is so I, and anyone else reading this, won't have to reinstall Windows 150 +/- times to locate the skunk myself.)
 

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    Stan Schultz
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Slavic

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Jan 27, 2019
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95

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i7-6700 (Skylake)
    Motherboard
    Asus Maximus VIII Gene
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus GeForce 1050 Ti, 4 GB
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    Philips 235PQ
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 (FHD)
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Stan Schultz

New Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
11
Location
Anywhere in North American where 6 wheels can take
This is not really a solution to my problem, but rather a jury rigged work-around. More on this at the end.

SETTING THE STAGE
The underlying task was to install as many of the outstanding updates as possible without contaminating my laptop with the disastrous Microsoft Edge commercial, and with the least expenditure of effort and wasting of time. But, I had few options for identifying the culprit KB article or weeding it out of a massive list of potential perpetrators. I finally settled on ignoring any (or almost any) KB article purporting to be a security update. Though possible, I judged that it was highly unlikely that Microsoft would try to sneak their advertising “under our noses” in the guise of a security update. (But then, they DID have the audacity to try to pass their sales pitch off as an upgrade!)

In addition, I and presumably a bunch of others have been suffering this problem only in the last short while. Therefore, the offending update was a fairly recent release.

NITTY-GRITTY
At that point, I went back to Microsoft’s list of 150 +/- updates (Control Panel > Windows Update > either Check for Updates, or Download and install...) and took a total of five screen shots to record them all. It’s that long because this is the first update after a fresh install. And screen shots were a “quick and dirty” method for obtaining a hard copy because the list is not a simple character-based listing like most website lists, and therefore could not be simply copied and pasted, or downloaded as part of a webpage. And, on the spur of the moment, I couldn’t figure out a better way of getting a hard copy.

I then took those five screen shots and copied by hand all of the entries NOT labelled “Security Update for Windows...” (cutting down on the time and effort required) into a table created with my word processor.

Then I went to Microsoft’s Update Catalog (Microsoft Update Catalog) and searched for each of the updates individually. Each target update was listed in my table by number, the first few words of its title, and the last date that each Knowledgebase article was updated. Using some sort of database technique (e.g., a table or spread sheet) allowed for a very organized way to enter the data, thereby reducing potential errors, as well as being able to have the program almost effortlessly sort the entries in at least three different ways. It also allowed me to compose a simple data acquisition and entry macro that ensured the consistency that might potentially be needed later. (I am very bad at repetitive, assembly line operations as well as being somewhat dyslexic.)

Upon sorting my list, I found that there were only six KB articles released during 2020 for my particular version of Windows, so I chose an arbitrary cutoff date of January 1st, 2020. These half dozen updates are listed in the attached table.

Next, I had Windows recreate a new update listing, found the six suspect entries, and marked them as hidden (Highlight a KB update > right-click it > click “Hide Update”).

Lastly, it was a simple matter of installing the new, slightly smaller list of older updates in the usual manner.

RESULTS
I am happy to report that after the installation was complete, and I rebooted Windows, I was not confronted with Microsoft’s blatant advertising campaign. And my laptop is running as well as can be expected after such an ordeal. I am now busy tweaking it to my requirements.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
I am sure that somewhere on the Internet someone has already compiled a downloadable, editable list of KB articles, but this entire operation only took me a couple of hours, while searching for such a listing might consume several days, and still not contain the most recent releases which were the prime suspects.

It turns out that apparently, Microsoft adds all the newer KB updates to the top of the list. Had I known that at first, my job would have been much easier!

While I am satisfied with my results, the ultimate solution, if I can find the time later, will be to go back to those original six hidden updates and install each, one at a time. Upon rebooting after installing each one, ONE AT A TIME, if no advertising attempts to trash my machine again, I’ll install the next one on the list. Repeat as necessary until the culprit is found. Unless, of course, one of you beats me to it! Once it is found, I or whoever else may find it should immediately announce the fact on this list so everybody else can take some evasive or reparative action. (And of course, restore Windows on my laptop to repair the damage!)

I cannot emphasize too strongly the concept that the automagic restore point generation done immediately before any Windows update really saved my cookies! If the reader should ever find themselves in a similar situation, REMEMBER THAT FACT!

Best to you all...

[N.B.: Great thanks to Slavic for your contribution. Unfortunately, I found it about an hour after the final reboot of my laptop.]
 

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1
    Name
    Stan Schultz
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus G750JM
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-4700HQ
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GEFORCE GTX 860 M
    Occupation
    Retired. Two governments pay me to be a consumer.
    Browser
    Mozilla Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Country Flag
    USA
    State/Region Flag
    ca alberta

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