Direct download links to patch the recent WannaCry ransomware exploit (KB4013389)

Many recent articles about the WannaCry ransomware virus report that Microsoft has issued a fix to patch the issue. However, as is typical of today’s poor-quality mainstream journalism, the articles don’t include any links to the patch. So here are the links.

Windows 7: Install SP1 first and then use the links below.

Windows 7 SP1 32 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/d/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/02/windows6.1-kb4012212-x86_6bb04d3971bb58ae4bac44219e7169812914df3f.msu

Windows 7 SP1 64 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/d/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/02/windows6.1-kb4012212-x64_2decefaa02e2058dcd965702509a992d8c4e92b3.msu

Windows 8 32 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/05/windows8-rt-kb4012598-x86_a0f1c953a24dd042acc540c59b339f55fb18f594.msu

Windows 8 64 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/05/windows8-rt-kb4012598-x64_f05841d2e94197c2dca4457f1b895e8f632b7f8e.msu

Windows 8.1 32 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/02/windows8.1-kb4012213-x86_e118939b397bc983971c88d9c9ecc8cbec471b05.msu

Windows 8.1 64 bit: http://download.windowsupdate.com/c/msdownload/update/software/secu/2017/02/windows8.1-kb4012213-x64_5b24b9ca5a123a844ed793e0f2be974148520349.msu

Downloads for other operating systems can be found by clicking the OS name here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx#ID0EHB

Solving error 80070422 “Failed to configure Windows updates”

There are various solutions floating around for the Windows Update error “80070422” (aka 0x80070422) but none of them worked for me.

Here’s what worked:

  1. Start -> Run -> type services.msc
  2. Ensure the following services are all set to “Automatic” startup:
    1. Windows Update
    2. Windows Firewall
    3. Windows Modules Installer
    4. Background Intelligent Transfer

Trillian messenger skin: “Trillian Live Messagewindow”

Here’s a mirrored copy of the Trillian messenger skin “Trillian Live Messagewindow” by Scream81, originally hosted at http://forums.ceruleanstudios.com/showthread.php?t=105070.

Currently only works with Trillian versions 5.6 and below. I’ll update when/if it’s compatible with v6+.

TrillianLiveMessagewindow.zip

How to re-enable unsigned extensions in Firefox 50 without reinstalling them manually

The Problem

If you’ve recently upgraded Firefox you may be left with lots of unsigned extensions which need to be reinstalled. If you’ve followed our guide to allowing unsigned extensions in Firefox then you’re halfway there; but what if you don’t want to manually re-install every single one of your old or unsigned extensions, one-by-one?

Luckily, there is a way to automatically re-install all of them with very little effort.

The Solution

First of all, you should have already upgraded Firefox and enabled unsigned extensions. Now, to reinstall all your extensions in one go, do this:

1. Open your Firefox profile folder (%appdata%/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/[profile_id] or, from Firefox, navigate to about:support and click Show Folder). Ensure Firefox is closed.

2. Now open the extensions subfolder and temporarily move all of the files/folders to another location.

3. Open Firefox again; you should have no extensions now.

4. Close Firefox and move all those extension files/folders back to the extensions folder.

7. Re-open Firefox once more and you should see lots of new tabs asking you to install your old extensions. You can either click Install on each tab, or go to the Tools > Add-ons window and install/enable them all in bulk.

How to install or use unsigned extensions in newer versions of Firefox

The Problem

Recently Mozilla made a change to Firefox so that, as of version 48, all extensions (add-ons) must be signed in order to be installed or used.

I discovered this after updating from Firefox v40 to v50 and having literally all of my extensions disabled, with the very helpful message “[This extension] could not be verified for use in Firefox and has been disabled”.

What’s worse is that there is absolutely no option to over-ride this behavior, even for advanced users. Another case of “Mozilla knows best”, of course, and another nail in the coffin of user choice.

To use unsigned addons, Mozilla says you should use a Firefox developer version (“Nightly”), an Extended Support Release (ESR) or their “unbranded” browser which has an ugly black icon and no name.

All of these are, of course, unacceptably inflexible solutions which act as a giant middle finger to the user. But there is a way you can continue to use the branded version of Firefox while still using any unsigned addons.

The Solution

Firstly, with thanks to a post by user chaser__ on Reddit, do the following:
1. Browse to about:config and set the following preferences to false:

xpinstall.signatures.required
xpinstall.whitelist.required

2. Open your Firefox program folder (%programfiles%/Mozilla Firefox) and create a file called config.js with the following content (including leading comment line (“//”)):

//
try {
  Components.utils.import("resource://gre/modules/addons/XPIProvider.jsm", {})
    .eval("SIGNED_TYPES.clear()");
}
catch(ex) {}

3. From the same folder, open defaults/pref and create a file called config-prefs.js:

pref("general.config.obscure_value", 0);
pref("general.config.filename", "config.js");

4. Now close and restart Firefox and you will be able to install unsigned addons.

If you have a number of existing unsigned addons you’d like to continue using, then you can either manually reinstall them or see our post on How to re-enable unsigned addons in Firefox 50 without reinstalling them manually.

How to downgrade from Firefox 29 to Firefox 28.

Firefox has just been upgraded to version 29, and is apparently one step closer to being a clone of Google Chrome. As usual, the update is absolute crap and many users are incredibly angry.

So, to downgrade to version 28 of Firefox, just run the full v28 installer which can be found here:

ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/28.0/win32/en-US/Firefox%20Setup%2028.0.exe

Oh, you should also submit some negative feedback and your thoughts about the “upgrade”, here:

https://input.mozilla.org/en-US/?page=1

Thief 4: disable intro videos, mouse acceleration, startup errors, and framerate smoothing.

Thief 4 (2014) has just come out and already there are a few problems. And solutions.

Startup Error 0xc000007b

When launching Thief on 64-bit (x64) computers, you might see an error message like:
“0xc000007b the application was unable to start correctly”. The solution is:

1. Search within your C:\Windows folder for “D3DCompiler_43.dll” and delete all instances of this file from your system.
2. Download the Direct X Web Setup from Microsoft and install it.

If that doesn’t work you can carefully follow the steps in this video, except changing the game path to Thief’s path.

Disable Intro Videos

1. Open up [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefEngine.ini.
2. Delete or comment-out any lines beginning “StartupMovies”.

Disable Mouse Acceleration / Mouse Lag

1. [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefInput.ini
2. bEnableMouseSmoothing=False

Disable Framerate Smoothing

1. [THIEF_DIR]\ThiefGame\Config\ThiefEngine.ini
2. bSmoothFrameRate=False

Disable Framerate Lag / Buffering

1. [THIEF_DIR]\Engine\Config\BaseEngine.ini
2. OneFrameThreadLag=False

How to change Firefox bookmark icons (favicons) without extensions or addons!

Now that the Bookmark Favicon Changer extension for Firefox no longer works, you need an alternative way to customize the favicons of your bookmark items. And here it is!

1

1. Open up Firefox’s behind-the-scenes “profile” folder on your computer. On Windows 7/8, this is located at:

C:\Users\Your_Username\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\Your_Profile_Folder

2. In that folder, create a new directory called “chrome”, if it doesn’t already exist.

3. Inside the “chrome” folder, create a new file called “userChrome.css”.

4. Open up userChrome.css and paste the following CSS code:

/* First line of userChrome.css must be this: */
@namespace url("http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul");

/* Custom favicon for this bookmark */
.bookmark-item[label="BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE"] image {
    width:0!important;
    height:0!important;
    padding: 0 0 16px 16px !important;
    background:url(BASE_64_STRING_HERE)!important; 
}

2

5. In the above code, there’s a few things you have to to edit:

i) Replace “BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE” with the title of your bookmark as it appears on your bookmark bar (e.g. “Reddit”).
You must supply a label, even if you don’t want any label to appear – see below for how to make this happen.

ii) Replace “BASE_64_STRING_HERE” with a base64-encoded string of your desired favicon, which you can obtain by uploading the icon to a website like this one.

3

6. You must give your bookmark a label in step 5 for this to work – but if you don’t want your icon to have a label (text), just add some more code:

/* Hide the text of this bookmark */
.bookmark-item[label="BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE"] {
    margin-right: 0px !important;
    width: 22px !important;
}
.bookmark-item[label="BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE"] > .toolbarbutton-text {
    display: none !important;
}
.bookmark-item[label="BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE"] image {
    margin-left: 4px !important;
}

Remember to replace “BOOKMARK_NAME_HERE” with your (now invisible) bookmark label!

4

7. Save the file and restart Firefox.

5

Done.

Skype 3.6/3.8 no longer working on Windows.

If you use Skype 3.6 or 3.8 on Windows you’ve probably noticed a message in the past few weeks which says “Skype cannot connect.”

Unfortunately after much research I have found no workaround for this.

I do not recommend you upgrade to a newer Skype version because they are insecure. I’d recommend the excellent Trillian IM to use instead of Skype. It supports Skype accounts, so you can still talk to your Skype friends, any many other chat protocols.

I recommend you try it with the TrillianLiveMessageWindow skin which makes Trillian look like the old Windows Live messenger.

Trillianlivemessagewindow

Block and Auto-Reject Calls in Android without Extra Apps

You may be receiving nuisance or spam calls on your phone which you’d like to block or ignore. Luckily in Android, there’s a very simple way of doing so:

  1. Navigate to Settings -> Call Settings -> Call Rejection -> Auto Reject List -> Create.
  2. Enter the number, or part of the number, you’d like to block.
  3. Change Match Criteria if you’re looking to block a range of numbers which start or end with certain digits.
  4. Hit Save.

You can also access the above via the Dialer/Phone App -> Menu button -> Call Settings.

You can block calls from all Unknown numbers simply by ticking the box beside “Unknown” in the Auto Reject List settings screen.

I used this to block calls from nuisance callers 01792211845 and 01792211843 simply by entering 0179221184 and changing Match Criteria to “Starts With”.