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Microsoft Techs making changes in Windows 8

Discussion in 'Business Applications' started by lilylulu, Sep 28, 2019.

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  1. lilylulu

    lilylulu Thread Starter

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    I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop which came pre-loaded with Windows 8. I added Microsoft Office 2013. I blocked Windows updates and use Version 8 by choice. I use a Chrome browser and AOL as the search engine. Everything was fine until about a year ago when the "Home Group" Techs became aggressive about making changes to Windows 8.

    They moved an information bar from the bottom of the screen to the top, started randomly removing icons from that bar, removed sites from a small pull-down menu that allows quick access to Word, the Start Screen, etc. At my request, they put the icons back and I restore items to the pull-down menu as soon as they are removed. They recently knocked me offline twice to urge that I let them switch my printer from manual control to having it turn on automatically. I politely declined.

    A few months ago when a notice appeared that updates would no longer be available, I hoped Home Group visits would stop. I was wrong.

    This could all be interpreted as their efforts to assist me in ways they consider helpful - until Friday when I saw that the well-designed Print Menu which ran down one side of the Windows 8 screen had been repositioned to mid-screen, has been made more difficult to use and sits on top of text. Despite my requests, they have not restored the menu to its original position.

    Is there any way I can get the original Print Menu back? Is there any way to block these random changes without also losing technical help if a real problem arises? I would be grateful for any thoughts on this subject.

    I would include the Sysinfo utility with this post but I don't know how to cut and paste.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    Who are these "Home Group Techs" that you refer to?

    How did you/they make contact with each other?

    Please run the SysInfo Utility from the following link:

    https://static.techguy.org/download/SysInfo.exe

    Once downloaded, double-click on it to run it. The report text will already be highlighted. Just right-click somewhere within that text and select "copy" then come back here and open a reply bock and right-click in the white space and select "paste" then submit your reply.
     
  3. SeanLaurence

    SeanLaurence

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    Most people gave up on Windows 8 a long time ago in favor of windows 10. I am sure that you have your reasons for not upgrading, but you might want to re-consider your position given the impending loss of support for 8. Win 8.1 is supposed to be supported for longer, but I would ask why you would not upgrade to 10 instead of sticking with an operating system that MS no longer cares about. The upgrade is free for you.

    You should be able to access your original printer menu from the control panel. From the run menu, ( <windows>r ) type control. In there you should find printers (devices and printers?) The 'view' might have changed on it. I don't know which is your preferred view or what the view setting is now, but you can try changing that setting (right click in the printer window, or pull down a view menu) to see if that gets you what you want.
     
  4. lilylulu

    lilylulu Thread Starter

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    Cookiegal,

    Thank you for yesterday's reply. To answer your question, Homegroup was created by Microsoft as a way for a small network of Windows computers and devices to share things like folders and photos. I only have one laptop but was still labeled as a Homegroup. When Microsoft Techs access my computer for updates or to fix problems their Homegroup symbol appears on my home page. My issue is that these Techs are accessing my computer not for updates or problems but just to play around in Windows 8. SeanLaurence who was also kind enough to respond made the point that MS no longer cares about Windows 8. That may be the reason the Techs feel they can do whatever they want.

    Despite your clear instructions and several attempts by me, the SysInfo program did not open. Instead I repeatedly got warnings that opening it could damage my computer. I'm not going to proceed with opening the program because the problem is not an internal one but the external Techs accessing the computer. I'm now going to try SeanLaurence's instructions to see if I can return my Print Menu to its original status. The basic problem remains of trying to block random changes by Microsoft Techs without also losing technical help if it's needed in the future.

    Thanks again, Cookiegal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2019
  5. SeanLaurence

    SeanLaurence

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    Like Cookiegal, I too am concerned about who the ''"Home Group" Techs' or 'Microsoft Techs' are. There are scam artists out there that phone people up, claiming to be from Microsoft support (or some other credible sounding name) and also that there is something wrong with your computer that needs to be addressed. Typically, it is designed to sell you some kind of support plan, which are usually fraudulent. If you allowed somebody like this onto your computer, there is no way we can tell what they did to it - good or bad.

    Cookiegal and I do understand what a "Homegroup" is in the context of Windows 8. Your initial post was confusing as your refereed to ''"Home Group" Techs', which sounds like an organisation, but not one that we are familiar with.

    At this stage my suggestion would be to either seek out professional help from a well established (reputable) local computer repair store or
    Back up your data, make sure you can re-install the programs you need, and reset your windows back to either factory default.
     
  6. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    Indeed. :)

    I'm also confused as to why you blocked Microsoft Windows Updates. If you're on Windows 8 (not 8.1) and therefore have no updates since 8.1 was introduced or perhaps even before, it's likely your computer is infected and has been for some time.

    You can run the SysInfo Utility without problems. If your antivirus is alerting then temporarily disable it for the download. The only reason it gets flagged sometimes by overly agressive security software is because the name of file "sysinfo.exe" is commonly used by malware as well. We wouldn't ask you to use a tool that we provide if it wasn't safe to use.
     
  7. lilylulu

    lilylulu Thread Starter

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    SeanLaurence,

    Thank you for both your posts. And thank you for your vigilance in pointing out scams targeting computer users. The reason I didn't realize the true intent of Cookiegal's questions about Homegroup is because so far I've been one of the lucky ones who has never been targeted. I have one laptop, one printer, am not on any social media, do no banking online and use a pay-as-you-go flip phone. Perhaps my underwhelming digital footprint has kept me unattractive to scammers.

    I am confident that my problem is caused by one or more Microsoft Techs playing in my computer. Their tweaks are becoming increasingly bold and I'm trying to find a way to shine some sunlight and hopefully stop their unwanted experimentation. There have been no phone calls, no threats, no destruction of files, not even a slowdown in computer response times. The same Homegroup logo has appeared on my home screen ever since they began making legitimate access in 2013 for updates. My fear is that they now feel Windows 8 is fair game to dabble in.

    I hear what you're saying about moving on to Windows 10. I am familiar and comfortable with Windows 8. It serves my needs well but I soon may have no choice but to either graduate to Windows 10 or move away from Microsoft.

    My appreciation for your instructions on trying to return the Printer Menu to its default. Although I wasn't able to find a pathway to do that, I did learn more about my devices than I knew before. A professional originally set up my computer and printer and I'm of the same thought as you. It's time for me to get a skilled technician to see what, if anything, can be done.

    It's easy to see that Tech Support Guy is a wonderful site and I do not want to abuse it or the volunteer responders. I'm thinking that perhaps I should shut down my thread since I'm opting for outside help. If you have time, can you tell me if you think that's a good idea. And if you don't have time, thank you for all the help you've already given me.
     
  8. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    Please, keep the thread open.

    I don't understand why you are on a 'HomeGroup or how your computer became configured that way.
    Did it come that way, new, or you had it changed?

    Mine have always been configured 'workgroup' from the manufacturer and I never allow anyone, even MS, remote access to it.

    My understanding of HomeGroup is an allowed network of specific computers for sharing and printing.
    But you are describing remote access and control/alteration of your computer to an entity you apparently didn't invite.
    I only did a quick read about HomeGroup, but I don't see any mention of remote access or security/function updates:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_HomeGroup#HomeGroup

    I think it best to get one of the TSG security experts taking a close look at your thread.
     
  9. SeanLaurence

    SeanLaurence

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    Johnny - it appears that Home group refers to the name of the company she enlisted for technical support. An unfortunate name given the confusion that arises.
     
  10. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    I was afraid of that, Sean.

    I would advise her to cancel it.
    Personally, I'd reinstall Windows and all my software.

    Win 8 was no longer supported after Jan. 12, 2016 and from a practical pov, Win 10 might be a better choice since it will be supported much longer than the upgrade to Win 8.1.
     
  11. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    Windows 8.1 will be in extended support until January 10, 2023 so I'm not jumping ship yet. :)
     
  12. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    But you will eventually :)

    I bought a well configured new Toshiba with Win 8 with the intention of a lot of traveling. But those plans got shoved aside and I haven't bothered to update it at all. I don't currently use it.
    But I hope that changes soon :).
    So I know I'll be upgrading it to a free Win10 Pro hopefully in the near future.

    I do like Win 10 Pro on my Lenovo desktop.
    It just takes a bit getting used to after Puppy. And I don't use it much .....:D
     
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