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Windows 10 Won’t Boot When Using System Restore After Updating

Microsoft says that a known issue will block Windows 10 from booting after trying to restore the system to a restore point created before installing a Windows 10 update.

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The issue affects all Windows machines where system protection is turned on and a system restore point has been created prior to installing one or more Windows 10 updates.

When users try to restore the system after the Windows 10 updates have finished installing, the system will not be restored and, instead, “the computer experiences a Stop error (0xc000021a)” and, after restarting the computer, the system will not be able to return to the Windows desktop.

According to Microsoft’s support document, this is a known Windows 10 issue and it happens because:

During the system restore process, Windows temporarily stages the restoration of files that are in use. It then saves the information in the registry. When the computer restarts, it completes the staged operation.

In this situation, Windows restores the catalog files and stages the driver .sysfiles to be restored when the computer restarts. However, when the computer restarts, Windows loads the existing drivers before it restores the later versions of the drivers. Because the driver versions do not match the versions of the restored catalog files, the restart process stops.

Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you’re sure you yelled STOP

Failed restart recovery

Redmond provides a procedure that can be followed to recover from the failed restart caused by this known issue which requires users to enter the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE or WinRE) by restarting the computer again after the failure.

To be able to circumvent the restart failures caused by this known issue, users may have to either restart two times in a row or use a hardware restart switch.

Once the Windows Recovery Environment is on the screen, follow these steps:

  1. Select Troubleshoot Advanced options More recovery options > Startup settings, and then select Restart now.
  2. In the list of startup settings, select Disable driver signature enforcement. (Note: You may have to use the F7 key to select this setting.)
  3. Allow the startup process to continue. As Windows restarts, the system restore process should resume and finish.

Following the steps listed above will allow users to restore the computer to the restore point chosen before the Stop error (0xc000021a) was triggered.

Avoiding failed restarts

In order to start the System Restore wizard on computers affected by the restart crashes caused by failed system restores, users have to use WinRE instead of the Settingsdialog box.

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To be able to start this process from the Windows desktop, follow this procedure:

  1. Select Start > Settings >Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Under Advanced options, select Restart now.
  3. After WinRE starts, select Troubleshoot Advanced options System restore.
  4. Enter your recovery key as it is shown on the screen, and then follow the instructions in the System Restore wizard.

Source: Sergiu Gatlan, Bleeping Computer

 

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Microsoft Azure Customer Data Deleted In DNS Flaw

Users of Microsoft’s Azure system lost database records as part of a mass outage on Tuesday.

A combination of DNS problems and automated scripts were to blame, said reports.

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Microsoft deleted several Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) databases in Azure, holding live customer information. TDE databases dynamically encrypt the information they store, decrypting it when customers access it.

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Keeping the data encrypted at rest stops an intruder with access to the database from reading the information.

While there are different approaches to encrypting these tables, many Azure users store their own encryption keys in Microsoft’s Key Vault encryption key management system, in a process called Bring Your Own Key (BYOK).

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The deletions were automated, triggered by a script that drops TDE database tables when their corresponding keys can no longer be accessed in the Key Vault, explained Microsoft in a letter reportedly sent to customers.

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The company quickly restored the tables from a five-minute snapshot backup, but that meant any transactions that customers had processed within five minutes of the table drop would have to be dealt with manually. In this case, customers would have to raise a support ticket and ask for the database copy to be renamed to the original.

 

Why were the systems accessing the TDE tables unable to access the Key Vault? The answer stems from a far bigger issue for Microsoft and its Azure customers this week.
An outage struck the cloud service worldwide on Tuesday, causing a range of problems. These included intermittent access to Office 365 in which users had only half a chance of logging on. Broader Azure cloud resources were also down.

 

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This problem was, in turn, down to a DNS outage, according to Microsoft’s Azure status page:

Preliminary root cause: Engineers identified a DNS issue with an external DNS provider.

Mitigation: DNS services were failed over to an alternative DNS provider which mitigated the issue.

Reports suggested that this DNS outage came from CenturyLink, which provides DNS services to Microsoft.

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The company had suffered a software defect, it had said in a statement.

This shows what can go wrong when cloud-based systems are interconnected and automated enough to allow cascading failures.

A software defect at a DNS provider indirectly led to the deletion of live customer information thanks to a lack of human intervention.

CenturyLink seems to be experiencing serial DNS problems lately.

The company, which completed its $34bn acquisition of large network operator Level 3 in late 2017, also suffered a DNS outage in Decemberthat reportedly affected emergency services, sparking an FCC investigation.

Azure users can at least take comfort in the fact that Microsoft is offering multiple months of free Azure service for affected parties.

Source: Naked Security

 


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Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you’re sure you yelled STOP

 

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Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you’re sure you yelled STOP

All your activity are belong to us

Updated A feature introduced in the April 2018 Update of Windows 10 may have set off a privacy landmine within the bowels of Redmond as users have discovered that their data was still flowing into the intestines of the Windows giant, even with the thing apparently turned off.

In what is likely to be more cock-up than conspiracy, it appears that Microsoft is continuing to collect data on recent user activities even when the user has explicitly said NO, DAMMIT!

First noted in an increasingly shouty thread over on Reddit, the issue is related to Activity History, which is needed to make the much-vaunted and little-used Timeline feature work in Windows 10.

Introduced in what had previously been regarded as one of Microsoft’s flakiest updates – prior to the glory of the October 2018 Update, of course – Timeline allows users to go back through apps as well as websites to get back to what they were doing at a given point.

Use a Microsoft account, and a user can view this over multiple PCs and mobile devices (as long you are signed in with that same Microsoft account). The key setting is that “Send my activity history to Microsoft” check box. Uncheck it and you’d be forgiven for thinking your activity would not be sent Redmondwards. Right?

Activity History

Except, er, the slurping appears to be carrying on unabated.

The Redditors reported that if one takes a look at the Activity History in the Privacy Dashboard lurking within their account, apps and sites are still showing up.

The fellows over at How To Geek have speculated the issue may be something to do with Windows’ default diagnostic setting, which is set to Full and will send back app and history unless changed to Basic. Of course, Windows Insiders have no option but to accept Full, although a bit of slurping is likely to be the least of their problems.

A thread at TenForums has also provided a guide to turning the thing off, ranging from tinkering with Group Policies through to diving headlong into the Registry. Neither are options likely to appeal to users who would expect that clearing the “Send data” box would stop data being sent.

Deliberate slurpage, or a case of poor QAand one team not talking to the other aside, it isn’t a great look for Microsoft and users are muttering about potential legal action. Privacy lawyers will certainly be taking a close look – after all, the gang at Redmond are already under scrutiny for harvesting data and telemetry from lucky users of Windows 10.

Google has been on the receiving end of a sueball for slurping location data from user’s phones and providing an over-complicated way to turn off the “feature”.

It is all a bit of a mess and has left users unsure of what is being collected and when. We have contacted Microsoft to find out how it plans to deal with the situation (ideally before 2018’s privacy bogeyman, GDPR, makes an appearance) and will update if a response is forthcoming. ®

Update 13 December 16.45UTC

Microsoft got in touch to insist it is committed to privacy and transparency, but admitted there is indeed a bit of naming problem, with “Activity History” cropping up in both Windows 10 and the Microsoft Privacy dashboard.

Marisa Rogers, Privacy Officer at the software giant, told us: “We are working to address this naming issue in a future update.”

The slurpage collection is of course for your benefit and Rogers added that users have “controls to manage your data.”


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