Sunday, September 24, 2023

How To Install Photos Legacy, and Microsoft Windows App Store

Microsoft is upgrading well-known apps such as Paint and requiring an app store download to install the legacy Paint app. For those with MS Windows login accounts not using an email address, using the Microsoft app store will encounter issues. It appears Microsoft is focused on forcing installs from their app store, along with sign-in via an email address.

A couple apps you may want to download from the app store are Paint Legacy and Power Tools. In a web browser, login to a Microsoft email address such as a Hotmail account. Then go to the web version of the app store and search for your app. Then click button "Get in Store App" and it may download and install. This can avoid using the app store app which is now built in to MS Windows.

After logged in to a Microsoft account on web browser (to or or other Microsoft email hosting), use the following links:
  • MS Photos Legacy     ( )
  • MS PowerToys     ( )

The download window claims there are in-app purchases available in the Photos Legacy app.

Be aware that Power Toys will add items to context menus such as File Explorer.

Monday, July 17, 2023

File History in Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows File History is a type of backup will periodically copy files to another location or another computer. If you lose the files, you can restore from the backup copies. The backup copies will be saved at a destination file store location. The destination location is often a network drive or on a locally attached USB drive which can be quickly removed each evening. A locally attached hard drive on the same machine does not provide geographic redundancy like a network drive, though it can be used to provide file backups. This post describes how to set up File History in Microsoft Windows 10. 

This first example uses a locally attached drive (because it is straightforward to set up local drive is without potential networking issues). The second example will use a network drive.

To set up File History, begin by ensuring you have access to the network share. In File Explorer, open the network share. If prompted for login, enter the login information and check the box for "Remember my credentials".

Next, open the Backup application. If the app is already running, close it and re-open it. Press the MS Windows Start button and type: backup settings
Choose the Backup application.

Choose "Add a drive". 
For this example, drive D: is chosen.

The blue text of "More options" will allow configuration on how often to back up and how long to store backups. Many people will set "Keep my backup" to "Until space is needed".

Under "Back up these folders" choose "Add a folder" and choose a folder. When your folder choice is visible, click on it. You may want to remove some of the folders, such as "Saved Games" or "Favorites". This example will back up the personal music directory. 

Press "Back up now" and the file history backup will begin.

Press the back arrow to confirm "Automatically back up my files" is set to on. 

Press "More options" to go to the "Backup options" screen to learn when the initial backup is complete. This shows the backup is in process with "Backing up your data...".

You may want to use File Explorer to go to the backup drive and confirm a new folder was created with your Windows PC user name and machine name.

In case the PC is destroyed physically or by malware, it will be useful to have File History backups stored on a network drive away from the primary machine. In general, File History configuration is the same, though networking must be properly configured. Occasionally an issue is encountered with the network share.

This example uses the network resource with name NASIX. Confirm you have credentials to access the network share by clicking on the network share or by typing the share name in File Explorer as: \\share-name

The following error message was displayed. This is somewhat confusing in that the network resource appears to be available in Windows File Explorer, yet an error is encountered when attempting to open the resource even before a logon or credential is requested. You may try the "Diagnose" button.

In this example, the error message "Windows cannot access \\sharename" may require several steps to troubleshoot. If you do not have an error connecting, you may skip over this troubleshooting section.
First, log on to the actual network device an ensure it is properly shared. Next, open the Windows PC, open a command prompt by pressing Start button and type: cmd

In the following "net use" example, "z:" can be any available letter and "nasix" is the name of your network share. In the command prompt, type the following: net use z: \\nasix

You may encounter system error 51 or system error 53 such as, "System error 53 has occurred. The network path was not found." 
  • Ensure the necessary networking components are installed and are running. Open "features" from the Start button to open "Optional features". 
  • Clear out any old credentials for the resource. Press Start button and "credential manager". Click on Windows Credentials and remove any out-dated credentials.
  • Ensure the SMB client is installed. Open "services.msc" from the Start button and ensure the "Network Connections" is started. 
  • Open the old control panel app from the Start button, type "control panel", choose "Network and Internet", "View network computers and devices".
  • Also in the old control panel app, search for "sharing" and choose "Manage advanced sharing settings" then confirm network discovery and file sharing are turned on. Double-check all of the discovery and sharing options.

If none of this fixes the system error 53 problem, it may be useful to add a key to the Registry. Tampering with the registry may cause significant problems and may affect future software upgrades in surprising ways. Make a note of what you change in the Registry so you may remove it if necessary.
Press the Start button and type "regedit". Choose Registry Editor. On the left pane, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters and add a key named AllowInsecureGuestAuth as DWORD 32-bit. Set the value to 1. In File Explorer, try to open the network resource. 

Logs for File History may be found in the Event Viewer at %SystemRoot%\System32\Winevt\Logs\Microsoft-Windows-FileHistory-Engine%4BackupLog.evtx

File History settings are also available in the older Control Panel app, at Control Panel\System and Security\File History

Saturday, April 15, 2023

One-liner: Python webserver to display files

Go into linux directory that has the files you want to serve.

Start the webserver in the directory of the files you want to expose:

$ python3 -m http.server 8321

Test it from another machine by using a web browser and going to the hostname:port:

To persist the webserver after you log out of the shell, use nohup:

$ nohup python3 -m http.server 8321 &

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Who Needs the Optional Features in Microsoft Windows

Minimizing the applications and services on your computer can help to reduce the hacker attack service. If an app or service does not exist and can not be started, then it can not be exploited. The consumer desktop version of Microsoft Windows is good at keeping backward compatibility. This unfortunately leads to increasing hacker attack service and bloated installations.

Microsoft Windows 10 can remove some of the unneeded software. In this example, we will remove the .Net Framework.

The command prompt command "systeminfo" shows the following:

OS Name:                   Microsoft Windows 10 Home
OS Version:                10.0.19045 N/A Build 19045

Before starting, please create a restoration point in case you want to undo the changes. Press Start button, type "restore", choose Create A Restore Point.

On the desktop, press the Start button then press the Settings icon (the gear).

In the Windows Settings, choose Apps and click Optional Features. This may request the administrator prompt, which is required to continue.

Click on Optional Features.

Scroll down and click More Windows Features. 

This will display the Windows Features box. 

Deselect .NET Framework. 

Press OK and apply the changes.

Reboot to finish the changes.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Hide Icons On Microsoft Windows Desktop

Anyone updating applications may notice that links to start the app often appear on the desktop. While these can often be easily deleted, if they are instead hidden then the next time the app is updated the link is likely to remain and stay hidden.

Microsoft has been pushing icons and shortcuts to the desktop. A recent Windows 10 patch rollup put a Microsoft Edge icon on the desktop, and it requires administrator privilege to remove it. 

Regular users can hide the icon with a quick command window. Bring up the command prompt by pressing Start button, type cmd, and press the Command Prompt app.

In the command prompt window, go to the desktop folder by typing:
cd desktop

Look for the file with the directory command and a flag:
dir /A

If the file does not exist, it may be in the Windows public profile. On the desktop, right-click on the icon, choose Properties, press the Details tab, and look where the actual link is located. If it is in the public profile you will need an administrator to help you.

If the file exists in your profile, you may set the hidden attribute on the filename for the icon to make it disappear:
attrib +h Microsoft*.lnk

The desktop should now be less cluttered with the icon hidden.

If the lnk file is in the Windows public profile and you can become adminstrator, then start the command prompt as administrator. Go to the directory and set the hidden flag:
C:\Users\Public\Desktop> attrib +h Microsoft*.lnk