Windows Fall Creators Update Game Mode enhances game performance

I’ve just spotted this on TechPowerUp. And I have to agree that Game Mode actually does something this time around as I’ve experienced it in Natural Selection 2 (unlike in Creators Update from early summer of 2017). Although my test wasn’t this “scientific”, I did notice positive improvements and will continue to observe more now that I know it’s there.

Would be nice if someone tested this with NVIDIA graphic card as well to see how things change between vendors. And also test even more games. But so far, it’s looking very positive.

You can access “Game Bar” by pressing “Windows key + G” and then enabling Game Mode which is off by default and designated by a crossed circle next to Game Mode icon. Enable it and see for yourself if it improves things for you.

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Windows Defender Anti-Ransomware Fall Creators Update feature issues

With release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Windows Defender gained new Anti-Ransomware feature named “Controlled folder access”.

What it does is block access to folders for all the apps that aren’t allowed, preventing unauthorized apps from modifying or encrypting your files (it even prevents them from reading files too!). The problem is, it doesn’t seem to work correctly and has annoying limitations that make it rather useless.

Folder control issues

It automatically protects all the usual data folders like Pictures, Music, Documents etc. The problem here is, it also includes Desktop. This by itself is alright since we tend to keep stuff on desktop and we don’t want it encrypted by ransomware. However, at least I prefer to use Desktop as transitional storage for downloads and stuff I save from web. And Windows Defender’s Controlled Folder Access doesn’t like that, throwing warnings at me all the time for each thing I try to do and it interacts with Desktop. To make things worse, you cannot remove or edit default locations. They are hardcoded and cannot be changed, forcing you to either have ALL enabled or be forced to disable the feature entirely because it just doesn’t work because it becomes so damn annoying you can’t even use it.

Whitelisting doesn’t seem to work

Supposedly, this Controlled Folder Access feature is suppose to access some sort of whitelist to automatically allow known safe apps from accessing protected folders. The problem is, it just doesn’t work. It didn’t recognize Paint.NET, it didn’t recognize Opera browser, it even complained over its own Explorer.exe! Which brings us to  third issue…

Allowing apps is rather useless sometimes

For example, Opera is not recognized by the whitelist. However, you can add apps and programs to the allowed list yourself. Only problem there is that paths are absolute and in Opera’s case, that means your allowed path to opera.exe includes a version number, like so: “C:\Program Files\Opera\48.0.2685.39\opera.exe” which means the allowed rule will only work till Opera gets updated. And then it’ll complain again because the allowed path won’t connect anymore to the actual new version after update…

Verdict

I like the idea. This is what I’ve recommended to avast! team like half a year ago and they did it properly. It’s fully configurable and uses their powerful whitelist which makes the use of their Anti-Ransomware protection really convenient as you hardly ever even get a popup for clean apps. Microsoft on the other hand, it’s not configurable enough, it lacks important settings, it’s too locked down and it has a non-functional whitelist system. It has a potential, but in a current form, it’s just not useful. In fact it’s just outright annoying. I kept on manually adding programs to the allowed list and Windows Defender kept on finding new ways to annoy me till I just disabled it again. And seeing how Microsoft only changes such big things between these milestone updates, it’ll take another 4 months to maybe see this fixed. Not cool… So much potential wasted because of stupid design decisions…

For fucks sake NVIDIA, fix your Fast V-Sync shit with Opera/Chrome browser videos

I haven’t ranted for a while and this seems like a perfect opportunity to do so. This time it’s for “always absolutely perfect” NVIDIA’s ForceWare drivers that everyone praises so much…

Quite some time ago, I’ve switched to Opera browser because everything else is quite frankly shit because of various things, but especially because of dumb ass GPU blacklisting which makes my AMD E-450 APU useless. But Opera allows disabling of this GPU blacklist and I get my HW acceleration back on that old but still perfectly capable APU. So I use Opera on all my systems now. And I’ve noticed that if you have Fast V-Sync or Adaptive V-Sync enabled globally, ALL videos in Opera browser will be all fucked up, stuttering, video shifting inside itself, flickering, annoying as fuck. I didn’t notice this before, because I was using Firefox where even with Fast V-Sync enabled, videos play fine. Just not on anything Chrome based, be it actual Chrome or Opera (and even Vivaldi). So, I’ve filled a bug report to NVIDIA. That was months ago and they still haven’t fixed their shit. I’ve tried as far back as drivers from January 2017 and they all have this fucking bug that for some reason no one else seems to have spotted. Apparently 90% of people don’t have a clue how cool Fast V-Sync is otherwise so they don’t even experience this shit. I use Fast V-Sync for all games because it removes tearing and has no input lag unlike normal V-Sync.

Here’s a kicker though. Windows 10, even though I’ve installed ancient drivers to try and solve an issue, it auto installed newer drivers on its own (Microsoft, stop fucking up with drivers without my fucking permission you utter twats). However, while I’m pissed at Microsoft for doing that, the drivers from May 1st 2017 version 382.05 that get auto installed by Win10 DON’T have this bug for some fucked up reason. It’s especially more fucked up because all the drivers after it from NVIDIA again have this retarded bug. So, why do ALL the drivers before and after ForceWare 382.05 have this stupid bug, but this one doesn’t? And more importantly, why the fuck NVIDIA hasn’t fixed it yet for months?

This shit is pissing me off so much I’m seriously considering just going to AMD with the RX Vega because NVIDIA apparently just doesn’t give a fuck if this crap can’t get fixed for months. Especially now that AMD has Enhanced Sync which is the same as Fast V-Sync. And hopefully with no such retarded issue… What good is all this awesome framerate and shit from NVIDIA if they fuck up basic shit like video playback in most widely used browser engine (Chrome) in connection with one of their most useful features for games? Aaargh

Kaspersky Antivirus Free finally released for everyone!

Kaspersky offered Kaspersky Antivirus Free to certain countries for quite a while. But yesterday, Kaspersky finally released it for everyone to use, worldwide.

KFA1.png

Kaspersky Antivirus Free however does come with few limitations however (no way, really? 😀 ). As you can see from the main panel image, they disabled few options. And this trend continues in settings as well…

KFA2.png

While most features missing in settings aren’t big show stoppers, lack of SystemWatcher however is. A bit. SystemWatcher is Kaspersky’s flagship behavioral blocker which is very powerful. Missing this component in Free version means it’ll perform considerably worse than their paid versions. Only consolation is the fact that Free version still connects to KSN, Kaspersky’s cloud system which does interact with SystemWatcher component on paid versions, meaning Free users benefit from SystemWatcher, but indirectly rather than directly. In an essence, a paid user of Kaspersky has to encounter a super brand new malware, that person will then supply the detection metrics to the KSN and you as a Free user will receive protection against that malware from someone else’s SystemWatcher indirectly via KSN.

KFA3.png

This is how a detection dialog looks now on Windows 10. It’s utilizing native Windows notification system to show malware detection alerts.

Conclusion

While I don’t think it’ll pose an immediate threat to avast! or AVG which do provide full behavior blocker even in their Free version, it’s nice to have another option among free antiviruses. Kaspersky, despite lacking some core protection features will for sure still provide sufficient protection beyond what most of other free antiviruses provide. That especially applies to Windows Defender.

Only thing that is still uncertain is the fact that license says it will last for 365 days. What happens after that? avast!, AVG, AVIRA, Panda Antivirus free, all these are free forever. Will Kaspersky Antivirus Free only be “free” just for one year and then the fun is over or can you extend/renew this? Can’t find any info on this. We’ll see I guess…

UPDATE 2017/07/27

It seems Kaspersky Antivirus Free will be available for more than 1 year (365 days license). Some user on Kaspersky forum changed his date to 2020 and Kaspersky Antivirus Free said it expired and that it has limited functionality. After clicking RENEW button, he got another 365 days license. So, I guess that explains it all. Things may change down the line, but it seems to be set for free renewals as things stand now.

DOWNLOAD

https://www.kaspersky.com/free-antivirus

ASUS released new firmware v3.0.0.4.380.7743 for ASUS RT-AC87U router!

ASUS RT-AC87U Firmware version 3.0.0.4.380.7743

Security fixed
– Fixed CVE-2017-5892 (JSONP Information Disclosure)
– Fixed CVE-2017-7494 (Samba remote code execution vulnerability
– Improved brute-force protection for SSH, Telnet connection.

Bug fixed
– Fixed web history issue.
– Fixed URL filter, keyword filter, network filter time related issue.
– Fixed USB Modem/ Tethering UI issue.

Grab it here (select “Others” as OS version):
http://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC87U/HelpDesk_Download/

Disable intro videos in Prey 2017

I absolutely love this game, but like almost every new game, what absolutely pisses me off are god damn retarded half an hour long intro videos which of course can’t be skipped. Not the first time and I’m very much sure not the last time either. And if you’re like me, who likes to hop into a game, play it for a while, close it and do something else for a while and go back playing the game, you spend 1/3 of the time watching stupid intro videos. Who thought this shit should be unskippable? God…

Anyway, I figured out that while there is no config file, you can make them skip by simply renaming or deleting the intro video files.

So, go to:

.\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\common\Prey\GameSDK\Videos

Rename or delete following videos:

  • ArkaneLogoAnim_Redux_1080p2997_ST-16LUFS.bk2
  • Bethesda_logo_anim_white.bk2
  • LegalScreens.bk2
  • Ryzen_Bumper.bk2

This is it. When you’ll fire up the game next time, it’ll go straight into “PRESS ANY KEY” intro screen without half an hour of idiotic intro videos.

Enjoy

Farewell Firefox, hello to Opera

I’ve been a long time user of Firefox browser and I absolutely loved its flexibility, modularity and just that openness to cool features. A lot of time has passed since apparently, because Mozilla’s philosophy seems to have lost its ways entirely. With every month and every release, it’s becoming more like a clone of Chrome. And not in a good way. First they copied its basic skin/theme, then they copied the start page and then they copied their retarded last tab closing (which I’ve ranted about in my last blog post), now they are going with the clumsy and restricted add-ons (extensions). And recently, what really placed that cherry on top, the GPU blacklisting which rendered my old laptop entirely useless. It took me ages to even figure it out, because at first, I thought Windows was causing this and then that older Radeon drivers are causing this and then I realized at one point Mozilla just blatantly decided to blacklist my AMD E-450 APU’s GPU so everything runs in software. And runs like shit because it’s not hardware accelerated.

Transition to (through) Chrome

Then, I’ve switched to Chrome for a while. It’s basically Firefox anyway since that one copied half of it. I could also easily ignore the GPU blacklist via chrome://flags panel (they seem to just blindly share this stupid GPU blacklist), allowing my AMD E-450 to accelerate Youtube and webpage rendering again. And it’s working perfectly for 2 months now. No lockups, no crashes, no problems what so ever, I have no clue why the fuck they are blacklisting this GPU and probably many more). But what bothers me with Chrome is that you need like 15 extensions for various stupid little things just to make it half usable and when you have so many extensions, it’s really a bloated hog and a lot of functions still don’t work well because they can’t be done better with clumsy restricted extensions system they have. And their Android version of Chrome si rather clumsy as well.

Hello Opera

And that’s when I (again) resorted back to Opera. My favorite browser back from the days when it was still running the Presto engine and it’s absolutely crazy configurable interface. Opera has since also switched to Chrome’s engine, but with one big difference. It has a lot of goodies already integrated. I don’t need extra extensions for adblocking, mouse gestures, last tab behavior is the way it should be in all browsers, it has a basic RSS reader. I basically need 2-3 extensions and I’m ready. Opera still has few traditional Scandinavian idiocies, but seeing the direction it’s slowly heading, I think they’ll improve that. Where Chrome and Firefox are just an entirely lost cause. They both live in its echo chamber of what they think it’s brilliant and they basically do zero useful innovations.

Opera on the other hand is currently a champion in innovation and it kinda surprises me it is not gaining higher user share. It has integrated Adblocker which is super fast since it works on browser engine level, it has integrated mouse gestures which I can’t live without anymore, has a decent RSS reader, extra Battery saving feature which comes in handy on portable devices where battery autonomy matters, it has a video pop-out feature which works on all major webpages like Youtube, Twitter and Netflix, so you can have a tiny video frame on top of browser, allowing you to browse other webpages while watching that video in the corner. Is the only browser which comes with portable install option in the original installer and even updates itself when in portable mode. Something Chrome just has no clue how to do it (Firefox does though). Bookmarks manager is also good and having it accessible from a sidebar is also nice. Maybe not as flexible as Firefox’s fixed bookmarks “browser” as a sidebar, but close enough. Everything just works so nicely and requires minimal number of extensions, I’m now sticking with Opera and I’m loving it. And the Android browser is also brilliant. With adblocking and compression, it’s saving my tiny data plan and it’s just so fast and functional. And has an EXIT button so you can close it entirely. Unlike Chrome which tends to consume quite some battery when just in the background.

So, all in all, Opera has come a VERY long way since initial terrible versions of their “modern” Chrome based browser. Back then and till few versions back actually, I couldn’t stand it. But something changed with recent Opera 45 build when it received the black sidebar. I lose few 10 pixels of webpage width, but it’s just so usable that I actually want it there. I’ve now also started making recommendations and ideas in their Wishlist section and maybe things will change into absolute perfection. We’ll see.

Yeah, Mozilla’s constant urge to copy everything Google does cost them a user. I don’t play any significance as single user, but it explains why they have been losing users for quite a while. They stopped being innovative and unique. And I think the GPU blacklisting nonsense cost them users as well. When perfectly capable device all of a sudden stutters on all webpages and can’t even play 480p video smoothly on Youtube, people will try something else. And while Chrome and Opera use the exact same GPU blacklist, Microsoft Edge doesn’t. Everything runs hyper smooth on it out of the box even on GPU that is blacklisted by others. Which could explain why people are switching to Edge. I personally don’t like it because it’s clumsy and has no options to customize, but browsing smoothness can explain why people might like it.

When Opera switched to Chromium foundations, I never thought I’d be using it again. It was just such dramatic shift from super configurable Opera 12 to super clumsy and limited Chromium, but I guess they are heading the right direction and their work is slowly starting to pay off. There is also Vivaldi which is made by few original Opera developers, but it’s still in way too early phase for me. But Opera isn’t. So, if you happen to dislike Chrome and Firefox, give Opera a try. I was pleasantly surprised.