Microsoft Trying to Force Teams Desktop on Users

Microsoft must be getting desperate, they pushed out an Office update that sneakily installs a special program to automatically try installing Teams every time any user logs in. They even went so far as to name the program “Teams Machine-Wide Installer” so that it is nearly impossible to find and uninstall (all other Microsoft software has a name starting with Microsoft which is easy to find in the remove list). Thanks to the reddit users who pointed out the name.

Windows 10 device descriptor request failed

Yesterday I encountered the error in the post title when moving my StarTech 4 Port USB to Serial Adapter from a 10 year old PC (that finally died) to my current engineering workstation. I’d never experienced that particular error before so I Googled it and read about a dozen articles with suggestions for fixing it and none of them helped.

Being an engineer of electronic instruments I realized I needed to step back, assume nobody posting on the internet really has a full grasp of how USB works, and think about the system and how to methodically troubleshoot the problem. I soon realized that I’d skipped what should always be the first tests, cables. I have the USB/Serial box mounted at the test bench and it’s connected via a long USB cable and extension back to my workstation. To make a long story short, I learned that this device is less tolerant of using excessively long (out of spec long) USB cables than other USB 2.0 devices I use. For convenience I was using an existing run that made the total distance 8 meters. Swapping the 4.5 meter extension cable for a 2 meter extension cable fixed the problem.

BTW – looking back on this problem where I wasted at least an hour of my time I noticed there was a clue on the product page. The Accessories tab lists one single item, 15 ft USB 2.0 Active Extension Cable.

Disable Serial Mouse Detection

Microsoft Windows’ backwards compatibility with ancient hardware is usually nice to have but sometimes it detects other serial devices as a serial mouse. This happens whether the device is connected to a real TIA-232 port or a Universal Serial Bus (USB) to TIA-232 adapter. Some USB connected devices, e.g. GPS receivers, have USB to TIA-232 convertors built right into the device.

  1. Tap the Windows key to begin a start menu search
  2. Start typing regedit and when the menu entry for Registry Editor App appears
  3. Right click the menu entry and choose Run as administrator
  4. When the, Do you want this app to make changes to your device?, prompt appears choose the Yes button
  5. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\sermouse
  6. Since Windows 10 updates will sometimes change this value back to the default, bookmark this entry so you can get back to it easily in the future.
  7. Change the value of the Start key from 3 to 4
  8. Close Registry Editor and reboot the PC

I learned which registry key to change and its setting options from here and here.

If you want to retain the capability of using a serial mouse and just disable it for on one port see here.

 

Microsoft Needs to to stop their Vice Presidents from Spreading Misinformation.

This morning I read an update of a How-To Geek article on the Windows 1903 update. It said that Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra posted that everyone can get 1903 now. Clicking the link I saw that three days ago the VP of Gaming @ Microsoft posted this:

Mike Ybarra (Verified account)
@XboxQwik
If you want Windows 10’s latest update, 1903, as of today all users can go to Windows Update and get it. Variable refresh rate and exciting news at e3 – you’ll want to have this! #XboxE3

Since Mike is Corporate Vice President – Gaming for Microsoft I thought this must be true. I checked the two Win10 PC’s in my home office (one Win10 Pro and the other Win10 Home) and the update is NOT yet available. Microsoft really needs to prevent it’s VP’s of other divisions from spreading misinformation about Windows 10 updates. It is not helpful and perpetuates the impression that Microsoft can’t be relied on for accurate information.

Your browser is managed by your organization

Noticed this message in Chrome today and it made no sense since the PC I’m on is not managed by my organization. Google search found me this recent article, Chrome Saying It’s Managed by Your Organization May Indicate Malware.

Looking around it was clear the only managing being done is disabled password saving in Chrome. That’s something I always turn on anyway since I’ve been using LastPass Premium for many years now. In fact it seems like a nice registry setting so that I, or a Chrome update, can’t turn password saving back on without an extra step.

In my initial search there was result from the LastPass forum about somebody having problems because they had both Chrome and LastPass trying to handle passwords. That’s when I realized that the registry keys where probably set by LastPass to prevent any conflict when I installed the binary version this morning.

Why I Don’t Trust Politicians on IT/Tech Issues

It’s because they are not competent in even the simplest of technical issues, here’s a prime example.

U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner and staff introduce an IoT bill and where do they post the text,  a walled garden pay service that requires registration to get a copy. Thankfully the bill will eventually put on the official US government sites including congess.gov where citizens can get a copy without paying¹ a commercial service. When senators and their staff can’t even do the simplests of tasks, posting a document for citizens for free, how can anyone trust they are competent in any tech area. I suppose I should at least give them credit for not being even worse, they could have posted it to Facebook or some other extreme privacy violating money grubbing corporate site.

Source: Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Cybersecurity of Internet-of-Things Devices Introduced in Senate & House – Press Releases – Mark R. Warner

¹ Forced sign up, even without direct cash payment, is still paying with your private personal data.

Windows 10 Bug Fix

On my personally owned home office workstation I saw this message in red on the Windows Update screen, “Some Settings Are Managed By Your Organization”. For quite a while I didn’t think much about it since I log in to the corporate Office 365 site on this PC. Today it suddenly dawned on me that since this PC’s Win 10 login is to my personal outlook.com ID it seemed unlikely my workstation was being managed by my employer.

A quick Google search and I found that the message is likely caused by what appears to be a rare bug in Windows 10. TekRevue has the details and a simple fix that worked for me.

OneDrive for Business Sync Problems

I had sync problems between my home office PC and the PC in the main office. It turned out that the problem was from making huge changes in the files synced with OneDrive and SharePoint via the OneDrive for Business program. To avoid this problem I found you should have both PC’s logged in while making large changes.

Sadly the only way to get things back in sync was to perform a reset of OneDrive and then let it download all 20G again. Glad I discovered this problem before my usage got into the multi-hundred Gigabyte range.

To perform the reset and restart run this command.

%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset

If OneDrive does not restart on its own in a copule minutes then run this command.

%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe

From this Microsoft OneDrive community forum post.