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How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:32 am
by trope
I've had a laptop for a couple years that is multi-boot including Windows 10 (which came with it) and Mint. I came across this scary thread viewtopic.php?f=46&t=270547 that describes Windows 10 updates overwriting other partitions. I rarely use Windows but I'd like to keep it in case I need to use a Windows application in a pinch for work. I haven't had any problems up to now with accessing Mint 19 or Mint 20.

I am not sure if I am at risk, but if I am, what do I need to do to defend myself from the scenario described above? Is it possible to never update Windows 10, or will it force updates?

If this is a serious issue, is there a way to move Windows to a virtual machine or should I even consider removing Windows from the multi-boot and purchasing a new copy of Windows 10 to use in virtualbox?

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:29 am
by RIH
Well it is possible for Windows updates to overwhelm a dual booted Linux environment.
After all, there are plenty of cases of Windows updates even overwhelming just a Windows booted computer.. :D
But i really don't think that it happens that often to overly concern most users.
After all, Windows can't update & cause issues if you are not running it..

If it is of concern then you can certainly give yourself greater protection by keeping the Windows & Linux systems on separate drives.
That way even if a Widows update causes computer issues you can just use BIOS to boot directly to the Linux drive.

Single booting Linux & then using a Virtual machine would certainly solve the issue also.
In your case you should be able to delete the Windows partition & then use those credentials on the virtual Windows 10 machine - no need to re-purchase Windows.
You do need a decent CPU & plenty of RAM in order to have a good experience with running virtual OS's though..

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:01 am
by Pierre
in an lot of ways .. .. you can't do that.
:(

that Windows System, will usually only recognise, only itself,
& in some recent updates .. there was some provisioning for an System Back-up Partition,
thus, it overwrote some other partitions, including any Linux Partitions.
:roll:
the thing itself .. is an Bomb .. waiting to go off . . .

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:51 am
by kelevra
trope wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:32 am
If this is a serious issue, is there a way to move Windows to a virtual machine or should I even consider removing Windows from the multi-boot and purchasing a new copy of Windows 10 to use in virtualbox?
I was using Virtualbox with a Windoze 10 VM until quite recently. I found alternative Linux software that allowed me perform the same duties. It worked fine on my lowly Celeron based machine. It was a little finicky but did exactly what I needed it to do.

You can use an existing Windoze 10 ISO and not activate it, you just have to deal with the watermark in the bottom RH corner of your screen. (Jay and Linus do it all the time) There are also free virtual machines available from MS that last for 90 days. Although I do not advocate them, there are also cheap Windoze 10 keys available.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:21 am
by cliffcoggin
Alternatively, don't allow Windows to connect to the internet.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:34 am
by bob466
This is where Virtualbox comes in very handy. :D A Windoze Virtual Machine is secure because it's a File...not a psychical Drive and cannot harm your Linux System because it cannot access it. You can have a Shared Folder on your Mint Desktop...so you can share files or anything with safety. 8)

Virtualbox has two excellent features...once you create your VM...you can Export it to an External HDD...by doing this...if anything happens...you can Import it back...without having to Reinstall it...especially when you do a clean Install of Linux Mint. :D

The other one is...you can create a Clone...this is very handy for surfing the Net. I have a Win 7 VM which is no longer supported...if I use it on the Net and get a virus or hacked...I delete it and create another Clone. Image

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:17 am
by rickNS
trope wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:32 am
1) Is it possible to never update Windows 10, or will it force updates?

2) or should I even consider removing Windows from the multi-boot and purchasing a new copy of Windows 10 to use in virtualbox?
1) EDIT; to correct error turns out this is easy to do in the home version too.

How to Disable Automatic Updates in Win 10 pro, (enterprise too I think)

• Press the Windows logo key + R then type gpedit.msc and click OK.
• Go to "Computer Configuration" > "Administrative Templates" > "Windows Components" > "Windows Update".
• Double-click "Configure Automatic Updates".
• Select "Disabled" in Configured Automatic Updates on the left, and click Apply and "OK" to disable the Windows automatic update feature.

EDIT to add, disable updates in home edition,
•Windows key + R
•type, services.msc
•Select, double click Windows Updateon the general tab change startup type to disabled,
•press OK
•Restart computer

2) Virtual box good idea depending what you use it for, BUT no need to purchase win10, you can find free download. Frankly MS is glad these days if they can "sucker" anyone into using it.

Here a pic. from win10 pro machine (2).

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:30 am
by AndyMH
trope wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:32 am
Is it possible to never update Windows 10, or will it force updates?
Reasonably straightforward if you have win pro edition, how given in previous post, there are others - google. I believe it is also possible with the home edition, but more complicated - registry hacks. I've got the pro version and whenever I install it the first thing I do is turn off automatic updates.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:49 pm
by rickNS
AndyMH wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:30 am
I believe it is also possible with the home edition, but more complicated - registry hacks. I've got the pro version and whenever I install it the first thing I do is turn off automatic updates.
It turns out it is just as easy to turn off updates in the home edition.

Windows key + R
type, services.msc
Select, double click Windows Update
on the general tab change startup type to disabled,
press OK
Restart computer

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:48 am
by stevie57
I'm new and this is only my second post so the last thing I want to do is upset anybody. But I understand that Microsoft are in the process of removing the facility to disable updates in Windows 10. Apparently it's now in the Windows terms and conditions that you accept all updates. So you are going to get Windows updates rammed down your throat, whether you like it or not. I was informed of this by one of the IT gurus at work. We use Windows 10 and let's just say our IT department are never, ever short of work.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:25 pm
by rickNS
stevie57 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:48 am
So you are going to get Windows updates rammed down your throat, whether you like it or not. I was informed of this by one of the IT gurus at work.
No one is upset, but some people just think they are IT gurus.
You can see my screen shot above ? Nearly 10 months have gone by since any update check, (since I bought the used laptop).
stevie57 wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:48 am
Apparently it's now in the Windows terms and conditions that you accept all updates.
That may well be, IDK, but I don't care much for dic-tators telling me how to use my stuff. Does anyone actually read that ridiculously long document?

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:31 pm
by pnin
trope wrote: Is there a way to move Windows to a virtual machine?

The simple answer to this is yes -- take a look at Microsoft's own Disk2vhd (docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/disk2vhd)...

In a nutshell, Disk2vhd will move your Windows files to a virtual disk which you can then attach to a VirtualBox virtual machine.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:49 pm
by AndyMH
pnin wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:31 pm
In a nutshell, Disk2vhd will move your Windows files to a virtual disk which you can then attach to a VirtualBox virtual machine.
Interesting - thanks for posting, didn't know that existed.

Re: How to Defend my Computer from Windows?

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:08 pm
by pnin
Just giving back: glad to have brought something new to the table. :)

FYI, one can even run Windows straight out of virtual disks without using any VirtualBox -- e.g., see https://johnpapa.net/bootoffmetal/ and https://forums.ventoy.net/showthread.ph ... 88#pid1488...