Fix Windows 10 install stuck at “Getting Ready”

If you ever see a Windows 10 install getting stuck at “Getting Ready”–the issue could be caused by various factors.  Below are some tips to help you fix this issue along with other tips for other kinds of installation related errors.

1. UEFI booted installation — disable secure boot and enable “Legacy Booting”. When you insert the USB or DVD installation, make sure to select “legacy boot option in boot devices list of your laptop or desktop”.  If you see HP, Dell or other logos when you are booting up Windows 10 instead of the Win10 logo, that is a sign something is off (this only applies to clean install, if you are upgrading–you may still see the logo of your computer manufacturer.)  The UEFI bootloader–booting up your USB installer is the culprit of the installation getting stuck in that “Getting ready”.   If you ever shut it down when it is stuck in that “getting ready”, you will see that installation has failed error and to restart installation again.  Once you ensure that legacy booting is enabled in BIOS, you need to hit ESC or F9,F12 or whatever key shows you the boot devices list so that you can select the regular legacy boot and not the UEFI boot option for your thumb drive.

2.  If your Windows 10 install gets stuck on “Getting Updates”–it may actually be using a slow internet and not stuck at all.  Make sure you are using a fast internet or you could always just install without the “Get updates” option during the upgrade installation.

3.  If you get other installation errors, make sure to disconnect all peripherals aside from mouse and keyboard.

4.  Instead of using the Windows Update service inside Windows got upgrade from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 to 10.  You could just download the Media Creation Tool found here https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10ISO

5.  If the Media creation tool is not working for you, it usually means your USB flash drive may not have enough space on it.  You can try running the media creation tool in admin mode by right clicking and clicking on “Run as Administrator”.   Make sure your thumb drive is not locked.  Try a different flash drive if it still keeps failing at writing to the USB after it has downloaded the Win10 ISO.  Make sure to choose the right version for your system architecture, most new systems will be 64 bit.

6.  If after you install Windows 10 and it gets stuck on “Working on it”– Go to control panel and then Windows Update.   Click on check “check for updates”.  Let it take however long it wants for the update, and it should show you the upgrade option.

Windows 10: release date, price, news and features

The future of Windows is coming on July 29

Windows 10 release date news and features

Update: With less than two months to go until the big launch, Microsoft is slowing down its Windows Technical Preview updates and introducing fewer brand new features. The latest is a “Delay” feature that allows users to, well, delay the download and installation of new features. More details below.

And during Computex 2015, Microsoft showed off a slew of upcoming PCs and laptops that will run Windows 10 either out of the box or through the free upgrade. Check them all out here.

Original article follows…

With Windows 8 and today Windows 8.1, Microsoft tried – not entirely successfully – to deliver an operating system (OS) that could handle the needs of not only number-crunching workstations and high-end gaming rigs, but touch-controlled systems from all-in-one PCs for the family and thin-and-light notebooks down to slender tablets.

When Microsoft pulled the curtain back on Windows 10 back in September of 2014, it was clear that, with an operating system optimized for PCs, tablets and phones in unique ways, the Redmond, Wash.-based firm was onto something. Skipping the Windows 9 name entirely, Microsoft issued a public preview of the shiny new OS later that autumn, known as Windows Technical Preview (WTP).

You can try it out for yourself through Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program (nearly 4 million have, as of May 2015). You’ll need a Microsoft account to get it, and it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not the finished product, so it will be a bit rough around the edges.

Since its September 2014 reveal, Microsoft held a consumer-facing preview of the upcoming OS in January 2015, and shelled out even more details during its Build 2015 conference back in April. As the months have passed through those milestones, new features rolled in with each Windows 10 preview build update. And now, with a release date announced, the OS is mighty close to completion.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A complete update for Windows
  • When is it out? July 29
  • What will it cost? For Windows 7 and 8.1 users, it will be free for one year
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson says ‘this summer’

When is the Windows 10 release date?

Microsoft slated Windows 10 for a summer launch, and the company has stuck to its word. Following several leaks (and one giant snafu from US retailer NewEgg which published an incorrect launch date), it has now been confirmed that Windows 10 will launch on July 29.

That said, it’s unlikely that Windows 10 will release for all device types on this date.Judging from comments made by Microsoft Corporate VP of Operating Systems Joe Belfiore, the company has planned a phased approach to the launch. Windows 10 will release for desktop and laptop devices first, then trickle down to phones, the Xbox One, Arduino machines and its own HoloLens.

For Windows 7 and 8.1 users, the cost is free-99

How much will Windows 10 cost?

For Windows 7 and 8.1 users, Windows 10 will be free for one year. After that period – not to mention for standalone copies of the OS – the asking price starts at $119.

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson announced in January that Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users for its first year. Microsoft also confirmed a while ago that the two most recent Windows versions will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 directly.

However, if you’re not eligible for Microsoft’s upgrade program – those who upgrade after the first year free offer, or those running a non-genuine Windows version or one older than Windows 7 – Windows 10 Home will cost $119 (about £78, AU$156) and Windows 10 Pro will cost $199 (£131, AU$262) per license, Microsoft confirmed to TechRadar. Windows 10 Home users who want to upgrade to Pro will have to pay an additional $99 (£65, AU$130) for the Windows 10 Pro Pack.

The company promises that it will support those who scored a free upgrade to Windows 10 with security and system updates for the lifetime of those Windows devices.

Neowin reported back in February that Microsoft has trademarked the term “Windows 365,” supposedly with the intent of it being a service. The news and speculation has sent folks buzzing about the possibility of a subscription-based Windows to come, though that’s not likely to be Windows 10. Oh, we hope not.

This could be you right now

How will I get to download Windows 10?

Confirming the rumors and leaks leading up, Microsoft has already started the upgrade process for current Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. If your machine is up to date today, you will soon see a small icon of the Windows logo on your task bar next to the internet status icon.

Clicking it will open a window that details the upgrade process and will allow you to “reserve” your free Windows 10 download by providing your email address. Presumably on or in advance of launch day, Microsoft will download the OS to your device and notify you when it’s ready to install.

What follows that prompt are a few bits of info to tease the new release and get users excited. It’s that easy.

Seven shades of Windows 10

Windows 10 will be available in 7 versions, far more than one would have expected in the first place. While IoT, Mobile, Home, Enterprise and Professional were already confirmed, Mobile Enterprise and Education were unexpected. In comparison, there were only four versions of Windows 8.1 (five if you include Windows Phone 8) and one of them was Windows RT.

Microsoft clarified the free upgrade offer for Windows 10, adding that Windows 10 Home and Pro will be available for free to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users that have appropriate licenses (presumably, Windows 8.1 Home users will only be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home).

It pays to be an Insider

What’s new in Windows Technical Preview?

The latest WTP build available for all testers is build #10074, released during Build 2015. The update builds on what was released in the last stable build, namely streamlining the Virtual Desktop experience and giving the Photos app some much-needed functionality.

For the more experienced or foolhardy users in Microsoft’s “Fast” ring, they’re already looking at a leaked version of preview build #10134. The new build is not as stable as the “Slow” ring’s aforementioned latest release, and introduces one new feature of note: Delay.

This tool allows users to, as the name implies, delay the download and installation of future preview build updates. This will be a boon to IT managers running fleets of Windows 10 machines, and could signal a shift in focus for for the time being toward enterprise users.

Build #10134 also brings a small update to the Windows Snippet tool. However, keep in mind that these builds are always less stable than the more tested “Slow” releases.

But back to build #10074, this version brings the debut of the resizable Start menu from “Fast” ring build #10056, not to mention the first look at Microsoft’s new Mail and Calendar apps in a stable environment. Most importantly, this version gives users their first look at Microsoft Edge, the company’s new default browser for Windows 10. The release also includes the translucent, resizable Start menu as well as deeper Cortana functionality and Live Tiles on the Start menu.

More importantly, Microsoft detailed how the Windows Technical Preview will endlater this year. For build numbers 9841 through 9879, those already stopped booting on April 30. For build numbers 9926 through 10049, those will stop working on October 15 – well after the final release of Windows 10, of course.

What Microsoft hasn’t seemed to address yet is how folks who installed Windows 10 outright on a machine will be able to “upgrade” to the final version once it launches this summer.

Further updates are in the works (already)

Before Windows 10 has even launched, Microsoft’s upgrade plans for the OS have leaked. Operating under the codename “Redstone”, the Windows maker will issue updates in two waves.

According to Neowin’s report, the first will come June 2016 and the other October of next year. But don’t expect huge, sprawling changes from these updates – they’re likely to be tweaks to the new OS for specific types of hardware and other improvements.

Move on to the next page to read about the biggest changes coming to Windows 10 in depth.

USBKill — Code That Kills Computers Before They Examine USBs for Secrets

USBkill — A new program that once activated, will instantly disable the laptop or computer if there is any activity on USB port.
Hey Wait, don’t compare USBkill with the USB Killer stick that destroy sensitive components of a computer when plugged-in.
“USBKill” is a new weapon that could be a boon for whistleblowers, journalists, activists, and even cyber criminals who want to keep their information away from police and cyber thieves.
It is like, if you are caught, kill yourself. In the same fashion as terrorists do.

Here I am not talking about to kill yourself, but to kill the data from your laptop if the law enforcement has caught your laptop.

USBkill does exactly this by turning a thumb drive into a kill switch that if unplugged, forces systems to shut down.
Hephaestos (@h3phaestos), the author of USBkill, reports that the tool will help prevent users from becoming the next Ross Ulbricht, founder of the infamous underground drug marketplace Silk Road, who was arrested in a 2013 FBI raid in which his laptop was seized by law enforcement agencies.

USBKill waits for a change on your USB ports, then immediately kills your computer,” a Githubdocument states.

Completely Wipe up any pieces of evidence before Feds caught you:

Generally, the kind of activities on USB port include the police installing a mouse jiggler – a tool that prevents computer systems from going to sleep, and any USB drive being removed from the computer.
If this happens you would like your computer to shut down immediately,” Hephaestos says. Simply, tie a flash USB key to your ankle, and instantly start USBkill when the police or any other law enforcement official caught you with a laptop.
In case, they steal or take your laptop or computer with them, they would definitely remove the USB drive that will immediately shut down your laptop.
The author of USBkill states that the program could be very effective when running on a virtual machine, which would vanish when you reboot.
The author says that USBKill will be added to additional commands and functions. However, it does work correctly and efficiently in its current state as well.
Source: THN

Infectious Porn Video Back on Facebook

The new pretend-porn trojan was fast enough: it has infected over 110,000 Facebook users in a couple days. It works as follows: one of user’s Facebook friends shares a porn video and it appears in the user’s news feed. After it is clicked, it asks the user to install an update for the Flash software, instead installing malware.

The malware tags the infected user’s friends in a post containing porn video clip. The clip itself can’t be played, as it asks to download a (fake) flash player to run. Of course, instead it downloads the actual malware. Security experts revealed they have been monitoring the new malware for the last 2 days where it managed to infect over 110,00 users and remains on the rise.

Once the trojan infects someone’s account, it re-shares the video adding up to 20 tags of their friends. This helps it spread faster than previous malware, which was distributing itself through private messaging on Facebook. The experts dubbed the new malware “Magnet” and explained it was able to hijack victims’ keyboard and mouse movements.

Of course, this is not the first time porn videos have been used in Facebook-targeted malware scams. For example, last summer, there was a scam designed to look like a YouTube video of someone stripping in front of their webcam.

In response, Facebook said they were aware of the latest malware, and were doing what they could to stop it spreading further across the network. Facebook used several automated systems in order to identify potentially harmful links and stop them from spreading. The company also explained that these malware varieties are normally hosted as browser extensions and distributed via links on social networks. Facebook blocks links to the scams, offers cleanup options and extra measures to make sure its users are safe.

 

Apple Can Be Sued for Storage Space on Mobile Devices

Apple currently faces a lawsuit over the complaints about the large amount of storage that its new iOS 8 takes up on iPhones and iPads. The users of the devices complain about the misrepresentation of the storage capacity.

The lawsuit claims that the advertising of the tech giant fails to fully represent the total amount of storage available. In addition, it is alleged that iOS 8 made it worse, as the operating system takes up a larger amount of space without informing users before upgrade. Indeed, up to ¼ of the advertised storage capacity of iPhones and iPads will be consumed by iOS 8 and therefore be unavailable for consumers if they buy those with iOS 8 installed.

The case was started by two users, who claim to have bought iPhones and iPads back in 2014 advertised with 16GB of storage, but found out that they have access to much less. The complainants are going to turn the lawsuit into a class action and are seeking $5m in damages.

Apparently, it is normal for consumer electronics makers to advertise the total storage capacity of their devices without mentioning how much of it will be taken up by the pre-loaded software. The problem with Apple is that the company also prevents customers from adding more memory via microSD cards and instead offers a pay-for iCloud storage service when storage on the device is full.

It is known that the company’s latest iOS update, advertised as the “biggest iOS release ever”, was beset with issues that forced Apple to pull its health app and service. Moreover, the iOS 8 update also led to connectivity issues for some mobile devices, and was reissued twice with bug fixes.

The main problem faced by most users was the size of the update – the overwhelming majority of users could not install the new iOS when it was issued, because it required a lot of free space on internal storage capacity. Thus, the users were forced to delete large amounts of information from their devices to try a new iOS. In addition, the total amount of space available to the users compared with iOS 7 reduced significantly, according to the plaintiffs.

The lawyers point out that Apple has faced and defeated similar lawsuits earlier: for example, three years ago in Canada, Apple was accused of misrepresenting the amount of storage available to users on the iPod. Apple was not the only company that faced such claims – Microsoft was also sued over a similar issue with its Surface tablets.

Google Faced Fines in Netherlands

The authorities of the Netherlands may fine Google about €15 million over Internet privacy breaches. It turned out that Google is failing to abide by the data protection law of the country by collecting users’ private data including browsing history and location for targeting advertisement.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has given the tech giant two months to fix the way it handles the information collected from individual users of its services. Besides Netherlands, the company has also been under investigation in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy over the way it handles user information after enforcing new company guidelines 2 years ago.

The tech giant collects information from search engine queries, users’ emails, intermediary websites tracking or “cookies”, location information and even YouTube browsing in order to target users with ads in future. The Dutch regulator claims such data collection is taking place without Google adequately informing the Internet users in advance. Moreover, Google doesn’t ask for consent, which is a violation of the country’s legislation.

According to DPA’s head, the practices of the tech giant catch the country in an invisible web of their personal details, without telling them or asking their permission. The Data Protection Authority ordered Google to start informing Internet users of its actions and to ask for consent. Otherwise, the company would face fines of up to €15 million.

In response, Google said it was very disappointed with the order of the Dutch regulator, because the tech giant had already made a number of changes to its privacy policy when trying to address DPA’s concerns. Nevertheless, Google has already introduces some proposals for further changes in its policy to the group of EU data protection authorities.

Microsoft Could Kill Internet Explorer; New Spartan Browser Coming Soon

Bad News for Internet Explorer fans, if any! Microsoft’s almost 20 years old Web browser with a big blue Esign might soon be a thing of the past.
With the arrival of Windows 10, probably by next fall, Microsoft could come up with its brand new browser that’s more similar to Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome, but less like Internet Explorer (IE), according to a recent report published by ZDNet.
“Ok so Microsoft is about to launch a new browser that’s not Internet Explorer and will be the default browser in Windows 10,” tweeted Thomas Nigro, a Microsoft Student Partner lead and developer of the modern version of VLC.
The browser, codenamed “Spartan,” is a “light-weight” browser with extension support, and multiple sources confirm that this new browser isn’t IE12. Instead, Spartan is an entirely new browser that will use Microsoft’s Chakra JavaScript engine and Trident rendering engine (as opposed to WebKit). But Internet Explorer isn’t going away completely.
According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, Windows 10 will ship with both Internet Explorer 11 and Spartan, though the former is expected to stick around for backwards compatibility only. The new browser will be available for both desktop and mobile devices running Windows 10.
So far it’s unclear whether Spartan will be portable on non-Windows systems, such as Android, iOS, or OS X, but if it is actually imitating Chrome and Firefox, two of the most popular browsers out there, the idea isn’t too crazy. The new browser is currently under development.
However, if this new browser doesn’t use Webkit, it will not likely be accepted into Apple’s App store, because Apple requires all “apps that browse the web must use the iOS WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript” according to its app store review guidelines.
What Microsoft will call the new browser is also a mystery at this point, as ‘Spartan’ is just a codename for the project, and there’s no revelations on what it might be called by the company.
Microsoft hasn’t provided any details about it but the company is hosting a press event on Jan. 21 in the company’s hometown of Redmond, Washington, where it is expected to provide more details about the consumer version of Windows 10, so perhaps we will know some more about Spartan then.

Google Leaves Russia

Google decided to shut down its engineering office in Russia. This decision was made because of a new law, which Russian authorities expect will improve data protection. Since next January, the foreign companies will be required to store Russian users’ personal data on servers located in the country. Many believe that such law will just make it harder for American online firms to work in Russia and provide the country’s secret services greater access to data held by foreign companies.

However, Google Russia assured its users that they are deeply committed to them and retain a dedicated team working to support them. Despite closing the engineering office in the country, Google will retain support and marketing staff in Russia.

Russian authorities seem to be suspicious about the worldwide web. The rumors are that the local security services have advised officials against using Gmail. Moreover, the legislation was considered that would ban government employees from discussing official issues over non-state email accounts.

Russia also passed another law in 2014, which requires bloggers with more than 3,000 audience to register their personal data with the government, as they are now officially considered media. This regulation has been largely decried as an intimidation tactic.

In response, Google and other tech giants have criticized Russia’s restrictions on the Internet. For example, Google voiced concerns that Russia was beginning to copy Internet censorship from China, where Google closed its internet search service 4 years ago after it stopped cooperating with government censors.

It should be noted that a couple months ago, Adobe Systems also shut down its Russian office – according to reports, the American company failed to meet the requirements of the new law and close several deals due to western sanctions against Russia. This past spring Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s most popular social network vKontakte (InTouch), quit his own company after a dispute with its new Kremlin-linked owners.

Finally, unlike the rest of Europe, Google does not dominate the local market: although it is widely used in Russia, the local search engine Yandex controls more than half of the search market there. According to statistics, Yandex became the most popular media channel, while Google was on the fourth place by the number of daily visitors.

Chinese Hackers Suspected of Attacking Government Sites in Afghanistan

The visitors of several official Afghan government websites might have had their devices infected with malware after a threat group believed to have ties to China compromised the sites through a content delivery network (CDN), a new report has revealed.

Chinese threat actors have often been suspected of targeting the systems of high-profile organizations in the United States. However, according to a report from threat intelligence company ThreatConnect, China-based groups appear to be targeting other countries as well.

Members of the ThreatConnect Intelligence Research Team (TCIRT) discovered that malicious actors compromised a JavaScript file hosted on cdn.afghanistan.af, a domain used by the Afghan Ministry of Communications and IT to host content that is displayed on several .gov.af websites.

By altering the content of a single JavaScript file hosted on the CDN domain, the attackers managed to deliver a malicious Java applet to numerous sites that called the compromised resource. Researchers said this was a targeted cross-site scripting (XSS) “drive-by” attack. On Monday, only Kaspersky solutions detected the Java applet as being malicious, but on Sunday the threat was not flagged by any of the antivirus engines on Virus Total.

The list of affected websites includes the Afghan Embassy in Canberra, Australia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of Administrative Affairs and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Researchers believe the campaign, which they have dubbed Operation Helmand, is tied to China because the compromised JavaScript file, gop-script.js, was modified on the same day and at around the same time that China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang met Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan, in Kazakhstan.

A similar incident was spotted this summer when the website of the embassy of Greece in Beijing was compromised just as China’s prime minister visited his Greek counterpart in Athens.

While some might argue that these were just coincidences, experts have also found links between the attack on Afghan government websites and other campaigns that have been tied to China, including Operation Poisoned Hurricane. Similarities also exist between the malware and the notorious PlugX RAT, a threat often used by Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) actors, including against targets in Afghanistan.

“As the US and NATO reduce their troop levels in Afghanistan, China is posturing to fill the gap of influence that the west is leaving behind. With plans to facilitate multilateral peace talks with the Taliban and establish major transportation projects which aim to bolster the Afghan economy, Beijing has been eying Afghanistan as part of its broader South Asian strategy,” ThreatConnect explained in a blog post.

“By exploiting and co-opting Afghan network infrastructure that is used by multiple ministerial level websites, Chinese intelligence services would be able to widely distribute malicious payloads to a variety of global targets using Afghanistan’s government websites as a topical and trusted distribution platform, exploiting a single hidden entry point,” the security firm said. “This being a variant of a typical ‘watering-hole’ attack, the attackers will most likely infect victims outside the Afghan government who happened to be browsing any one of the CDN client systems, specifically, partner states involved in the planned troop reduction.”

China fingered for Afghan Govt attacks

Chinese hackers have targeted nearly all major Afghanistan Government websites by hacking an official content delivery network (CDN) and gaining a foothold to attack western governments.

Hackers popped the network run by the Afghan Ministry of Communications and IT which delivered malware to many of the Government’s websites including the Australian embassy.

Afghanistan’s agencies for finance, education and justice were among the nine listed as falling victim to the attack, according to ThreatConnect researchers who found the watering hole attacks closely coincided with a meeting on infrastructure development and bilateral cooperation in Kazakstan between China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Afghanistan’s government chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah.

The researchers said an image used to serve the malware was modified only hours after it appeared to be taken at the meeting.

The image used in the attacks

Such a hack would be of interest to China, researchers said, given that the country is building regional influence and might see an opportunity in the vacuum of the West’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Beijing is also building transport infrastructure in the region and facilitating multilateral peace talks with the Taliban under its South Asian strategy.

“By exploiting and co-opting Afghan network infrastructure that is used by multiple ministerial level websites, Chinese intelligence services would be able to widely distribute malicious payloads to a variety of global targets using Afghanistan’s government websites as a topical and trusted distribution platform, exploiting a single hidden entry point,” the threat intelligence team (TSIRT) wrote in an advisory.

“This being a variant of a typical watering-hole attack, the attackers will most likely infect victims outside the Afghan government who happened to be browsing any one of the CDN client systems, specifically, partner states involved in the planned troop reduction.”

Naming conventions used in the Afghanistan attack dubbed Operation Helmand were similar to those in East Asia hacking operations.

The attack also bore similarities to a June watering hole attack in which a malicious Java file was served on the website of the Greece embassy in Beijing during a diplomatic meeting to Athens.

The team warned enterprises to monitor content delivery networks and ensure server response headers were configured to push third party content from narrow white lists.