Windows 10 Version 1803 Released to Windows Insiders

My Windows 10 Insider test system (Latitude 7350) just updated to the mainstream build Windows 10 Version 1803 (March 2018) also known as Build 17133, Redstone 4 (RS4).

This is a mainstream build, at current the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is not updated to the latest version however I expect in to be updated within the next 2 weeks.

The watermark is gone:

msinfo32 shows no expiry date (meaning it is not an Insider build):

The build is also shown in System:

Flags, Floral Symbols and the Coat of Arms of CANZUK

I've put together a YouTube video showing the relation between the Flags, Floral Symbols and the Coat of Arms of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

00:10 The United Kingdom
02:25 The Crown Dependencies
03:16 The British Oversea Territories
06:15 The Dominion of Canada
10:07 The Commonwealth of Australia
13:58 The Dominion of New Zealand

00:00 Rule Britannia
02:12 Over the Hills and Far Away
05:42 The Maple Leaf Forever
10:07 Advance Australia Fair
11:07 I Vow to Thee My Country
14:16 God Defend New Zealand

For details on the Freedom of Movement initiative see the CANZUK International Website:

The Petition for freedom of movement between CANZUK countries is here:

227,000 have signed it so far.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool Updated

The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool:

Has been updated to Redstone 3 – Version 1709 (build 16299.15)

The Media Creation Tool only allows one to select Windows 10 under Edition. However the new installation .iso appears to be multi-Edition including the new Windows 10 S Edition and the European Commission N Editions:

The new Windows 10 S (Secure) only lets you install Apps from the Store. In other words it is limited and you are only allowed to install Apps from the Windows 10 Store.

This is what happens if you try and launch an .exe:

You get this error message:

With the failure of Windows Phone, Microsoft must be desperate to get developers writing Apps for their Store and are using a cheap base Edition of Windows as a ransom for many end users to entice developers to do so.

Windows 10 Redstone 3 Version 1709 (Build 16299.15)

Windows 10 Redstone 3 (RS3) Version 1709 (Build 16299.15) is available on the Fast Track for Windows Insiders:

Currently the best way to get it is to Download the Windows 10 Insider Preview .iso build 16292 and perform an in place upgrade.

Then right click the button and select Settings → Update and Security → Windows Insider Program and change your settings to the Fast Track. Although updated RTM installation .isos will likely be available via the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool in a couple of weeks.

Microsoft Edge now can be used as a proper PDF reader. Microsoft have finally supported PDF bookmarks into Microsoft Edge something I've requested since the original release of Windows 10 TH1 (Version 1507):

There is also a tab preview and more support for writing with a stylus:

Also they have put in the ability for full screen viewing:

150th Dominion (Canada) Day

I wish all Canadian's a Happy Dominion Day.

Since today is Canada's 150th Dominion Day I have put together the following chart highlighting the historical ties between the United Kingdom and Canada. Please feel free to share and distribute it.

Canada Dominion Day

Canada – Kanata (Iroquoian) means “Settlement, Village or Land”.

On this day 150 years ago (1st of July 1867) Canada became a Dominion of the British Empire. A Dominion is an “autonomous Community with the British Empire”. In other words a political equal to the United Kingdom equal in status and in no way subordinate in any aspect. Dominions are united by common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam
They desire a better country

A Mari Usque Ad Mare
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth

And for Dominion Day my Canadian Red Ensign is out flying. Another grey sky in Glasgow, Scotland.

Philip Yip




Improvements in Windows Update

With Windows 10 Build 15063 Microsoft have made updating more flexible for Windows 10 Pro.

Active hours now has a maximum of 18 hours opposed to 12:

There is now the Current Branch for Business (which gives more of an emphasis on Security opposed to Feature Updates and gives only thoroughly tested Updates):

There is the option to pause updates for a week. This means you can safely set up your computer for an overnight measurement/render/simulation without worrying about Windows 10 auto-restarting:

For more details see Managing Windows Update in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Build 15063, Version 1703, RS2, Creator's Update Guides

Windows 10 RS2 Build 15063/Version 1703/Creator’s Update

Your OEM Product Keys

Windows 10 RS2 installation media is multi-Edition and will automatically input the SLP key from the MSDM for all the following OEM licenses:


This installation media will also accept the Windows 7 Product Key from the COA:

Windows 7 COA

For more details about your Product Key see:

The following is just a demonstration proving that Windows 7 OEM and Windows 8.x OEM keys still act as Windows 10 OEM keys as you may be told elsewhere that the Free Upgrade is over:

Installation Guide – Download and Clean Install (from Windows)

Installation Guides – Download and Upgrade Install (from Windows)

The Upgrade Install only works for a system running Windows 7, Windows 8.x or an earlier build of Windows 10. Upgrade Installs are not supported on Windows Vista.

Installation Guides – Download and Clean Install (from Linux)

Windows 7

Variant A – Downloading installation media from Dell (Dell only Intel Based Skylake systems with Windows 7 Pro OEM Downgrade Rights).

Variant B Downloading installation media from Microsoft (All OEMs).

Windows Vista Reaches End of Life

End of OS Support

  • 11 Apr 2017: Windows Vista reaches End of Life and no security patches will be released since. See here for more details.
  • 08 Apr 2014: Windows XP reached End of Life (>3 years ago) and no security patches have been released since. See here for more details.

End of Browser Support

  • 27 Sep 2016: FireFox 53 Drops support for Windows Vista and Windows XP see here for more details.
  • 12 Jan 2016: Support for all versions of Internet Explorer except for Internet Explorer 11. See here for more details.
  • 01 May 2016: Google have just dropped support for Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Some How to Tutorial Videos

A assortment of new tutorial videos I've made.

Screen Recording using Debut Video Capture

Debut video capture is available here:

Referencing using Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley Desktop is available here:

Scanning a Colour Document, Straightening ot, Cleaning it up and Performing OCR for Free

Gimp is available here:

PDFill Free Tools are available here:

PDF XChange Viewer is available here:

Creating an Animated GIF using Image J

Image J (FiJi) is available here:

Disable Driver Signature Enforcement to use an Unsigned Driver in Windows 10



Converting a Windows XP OEM Physical Machine into a Retail Virtual Machine

This one has a written guide:

PhD Thesis – Nanometrology using Time-Resolved Fluorescence

A couple of months ago I finished my PhD. I have made basic tutorial video on some of the basics of Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Super-Resolution Microscopy.

Fluorescence Emission and Rayleigh Scattering

dSTORM – direct Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy

Something more scientific related to my field of work. For those interested you may see my completed PhD thesis:

Missed the "Windows 10 Free Upgrade"? – What next?

Microsoft had heavily been marketing a 1 Year Free Upgrade for Windows 10 from Windows 7 and windows 8.1. That 1 Year Ended on the 29/07/2016. Now Microsoft at different levels; website, technical support and marketing state the Free Upgrade has Ended however they do so with some inconsistencies. There is a post about Accessibility users with a slightly newer upgrade assistant here.


Despite all the statements from Microsoft Marketing stating the Free Upgrade has Ended it appears:

  1. Slight changes have been made to Windows 10 Installation Media*.
  2. No changes have been made to Windows 10 Activation Servers**.

At current the Windows 10 RS1 .iso will accept Windows 7/8.1 OEM and Retail keys during installation. This is expected as otherwise users will install the incorrect Edition. However fresh keys also continue to activate systems not already been made Windows 10 Device. For more Details see Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso.

* 07/08/2016 There appears to have been some minor changes to the Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool and Windows Installation Files is an Upgrade Install is attempted. These changes mean the user is asked for a Windows 10 Product Key and Windows 7/8.x keys are rejected. These changes are very minor and can be overcame with a few clicks.

** 10/08/2016 Tested 3 systems with Windows 7 Pro OEM Licenses that weren't Windows 10 Pro Devices. Clean installation of Windows 10 Pro with the product key input during installation of afterwards in settings lead to Microsoft Product Activation and the systems being designated Windows 10 Pro Devices.

** 10/08/2016 Tested the 10130 Upgrade Path in a Fresh VM. It still works:

For more details see:

It is extremely unlikely that Windows 10 RS1 installation media stops accepting Windows 7/8.x keys during installation as the wrong Edition of Windows may be installed resulting in many Product Activation issues…

If the Product Key is rejected in System/Settings when Windows 10 tries to contact the activation server it'll also cause Product Activation issues. I don't think this is likely to happen; it depends if Microsoft want to get serious about stopping offering the Free Upgrade…

Heres what happens with GWX (Get Windows 10) if you Change the Date…

If you haven't upgraded to Windows 10 TH2 you will get a 2 day countdown from the GWX (Get Windows 10 Nagware).


I decided to change my date/time in my UEFI BIOS and I got this.


The Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool seems to be unphased by the date change however.


Note that the Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool seems to be completely unphased by the fact that the system's date has changed. This may be because either it connects to Microsoft Servers and the servers report the true date or alternatively because Microsoft have no intention on stopping the Free Upgrade. More testing needs to be done.

More details in this video:

4 Day Countdown Left

If the Free Upgrade period ends as Microsoft Marketing are aggressively stating (personally I don't think it will as Windows 7/Windows 8.1 Product Keys are too embedded with Windows 10 product Activation) then you have a mere 4 days left to upgrade if you haven't already.

This guide here gives detailed notes on A Clean Installation:

Will the Free Upgrade Continue? – Windows 10 RS1 Insider Preview 14383 and 14393 Builds Still Accept Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 OEM Keys

I made a Recovery Drive of Windows 10 14383 from my Latitude 7350 and clean installed it on an OptiPlex 390 system which has never been made a Windows 10 Pro Device:

I then used the OptiPlex 390's Windows 7 OEM Key to activate Windows 10 RS1 Insider Preview.

I have completed the same test with build 14393. There isno audio here as the results are identical:

Notes: As we have everything updated in these Insider builds to match the final release in order to stamp out the last bugs – this includes the license agreement, Edition and lack of watermark. Then we can say for sure that as far as the Operating System is concerned Unused Windows 7 OEM keys are still accepted. Any changes to Product Activation are not incorporated into the installation media but this not rule out changes in the Microsoft Product Activation Server.

My personal opinion is the Free Upgrade will continue after the 29th of July… Windows 7/Windows 8.x keys are too embedded into Windows 10 and the deliberate breakage of product activation without time for testing on an Insider Preview build is a really silly move for Microsoft.

10 Days until 1 Year Free Upgrade Grace Period is Over…

You have less that 10 days to register your systems hardware with a Microsoft Activation Server and make your system a Windows 10 Device if you haven't already done so…

After this date you "may need to pay full retail price" to Upgrade to Windows 10 when Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 approach End of Life (2020).

Its advised to Backup your Windows 7 or 8.1 Installation using Macrium Reflect so you can easily revert if need be. Before upgrading you should Update your (UEFI) BIOS. You then can then Upgrade to Windows 10 TH2. After the Upgrade you may Restore your old Windows Installation using your Macrium Reflect Image.

Alternatively you may backup your files and Clean Install (recommended particularly if you plan to migrate). See Download Windows 10 TH2 and Clean Install.

I have bought several second hand Windows 7 OptiPlex 390/790/7010 models this week that aren't yet upgraded to Windows 10. I plan on using these to see if the Free Upgrade will continue to work after the 1 Year Free Upgrade period. I will report my findings…

Upgrade Assistant and Media Creation Tools

Some of the Media Creation Tools are giving a 404 error… The most problematic ones are the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (needed for Windows Vista and Windows XP systems) and Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool.

Windows 10 Product Family

Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool -ok

Landing Page:  

Direct Download Link:

File name and size: MediaCreationTool (18,016 KB)

Remarks: Watch out for Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH2 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US). Download the .iso, make a Bootable USB and Upgrade from that.

Windows 10 TH2 TechBench .isos – ok

Landing Page: 

Windows 10 TH2 Academic Media Creation Tool – ok

Landing Page:

Direct Download Link:

File name and size: MediaCreationToolRetail.exe (18,016 JB)

Remarks: File name mentions Retail but it is Academic. Requires Product Key and does not allow selection of language or architecture.

Windows 10 TH1 64 Bit Media Creation Tool – ok

Former Landing Page:  

Direct Download Link:  

File name and size: MediaCreationToolx64 (19,272 KB)

Remarks: Was Upgrade Only caused issues with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH1 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US).

Windows 10 TH1 32 Bit Media Creation Tool – ok

Former Landing Page: 

Direct Download Link:

File name and size: MediaCreationTool (17,850 KB)

Remarks: Was Upgrade Only caused issues with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH1 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US).

Windows 8.x Product Family

Some links for Windows 8 and Windows 8.x Media Creation Tools/Upgrade Assistants are giving 404 Errors.

Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool – 404 error

Landing Page:  

Direct Download Link:  

File name and size: mediacreationtool.exe (1,449 KB)

Remarks: Lacked Windows 8.1 with Bing OEM and Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing OEM .isos.

Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – ok

Landing Page:

Direct Download Link:

File name and information: OSGS14-WindowsSetupBox-32bitand64bit-English-4141408 (6,281 KB)

Remarks: Is Windows 8.1 Retail only blocking Windows 8 Retail Keys and all OEM keys.

Windows 8.1 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – 404 Error

Former Landing Page:

Direct Download Link:  

File Name and Information: WindowsSetupBox.exe (4,839 KB)

Remarks: Was Windows 8.1 Retail only blocking Windows 8 Retail Keys and all OEM keys. Tricks with the Windows 8 Retail Only Downloader and generic product keys could be used with a Windows 8 Retail key.

Windows 8.0 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – 404 Error

Former Landing Page:

Direct Download Link:  

File name and information: Windows8-Setup.exe (5,359 KB)

Remarks: Was Windows 8.0 Retail only blocking Windows 8.1 Retail Keys and all OEM keys.

Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant – Ok

Landing Page:  

Direct Link:

OSGS14-WindowsUpgradeAssistant-32bitand64bit-ClientSKU-4141411.exe (6,281 KB)

Remarks: Cannot be ran on Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant – 404 Error

Landing Page:

Direct Link:  

File name and size: Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.exe (5,359 KB) 

Consider Windows Vista End of Life

Browser Support Limited

Internet Explorer 11 will be the only version of Internet Explorer Supported come January 2016.

Although Windows Vista "supposedly" reaches End of Life in April 2017:

The fact that the latest version of Internet Explorer supported for Windows Vista is Internet Explorer 9 means Windows Vista has effectively reached End of Life. No Security Updates for Internet Explorer may make it no longer safe to use.

Google are also dropping Windows Vista support for Chrome in April 2016 as they agree that Microsoft no longer actively support this Operating System:

Office Support

The latest version of Office for Windows Vista is Office 2010. It never got support for Office 2013 or later:

The Latest version of Windows Live Essentials for Windows Vista was Windows Live Essentials 2011. You've guessed it, this version too is at End of Life:

Driver Support

Almost all major venders eg. Intel, AMD, NVidia provide no new drivers for Windows Vista. This means new peripherals may not work with a Windows Vista PC.

What to Do if I'm Still Running Vista?

First you should assess the value of your system… If your systems hardware passes the minimum system requirements to Windows 10, most PCs shipped with Windows Vista will be capable then you should consider migrating to Windows 10. Unfortunately there is no "Official Free Upgrade" however the "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path via the expired Windows 10130 Insider Preview Works Well… I document this in detail here Windows Vista → Windows 10 Insider Build 10130 (Clean) → Windows 10 TH2 Pro. Although the Insider Preview Build 10130 expired in October 2015 workarounds to change the date to September 2015 still allows the Windows Insider Preview 10130 to act as an eligible Windows Edition to upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 Pro. This "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path has worked for the last 3 months…

If your system was very low end and fails to pass even these minimum requirements its time to buy a new system. If on a budget a second hand ex-business Dell OptiPlex 780 Desktop or Latitude E series with a Windows 7 OEM license and free upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 are good choices. Personally I do not recommend upgrading a system which contains DDR RAM, IDE HDDs or a single core processor. Anything like Intel 915GM graphics or worse won’t cut Windows 10 and even you get it to install it will be woefully slow. The minimum hardware I would recommend upgrading is a Dell latitude D820 with a Intel Core Duo T7200, 2 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 RAM and Intel 945 graphics.

Checking Windows 10 System Requirements

If you aren’t sure whether your legacy hardware running Windows XP/Vista is capable of running Windows 10 run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (which runs on XP and Vista). The system requirements are almost identical for 32 Bit Windows 8.1 and 32 Bit Windows 10.

Simply run the upgrade assistant:


It will scan your computer to determine whether its compatible:


Click see compatibility details:


The compatibility details may show some of the following details to review:


You are looking for it to state issues specifically about your hardware.

The 4 issues it lists in this case aren’t significant:

  • Install an App to play a DVD. – No problem install VLC player after Windows 10 TH2 installation.
  • SecureBoot isn’t compatible with your PC. – No problem Windows 10 can run in a legacy BIOS using the MBR partition scheme. It won’t perform as well and will be less secure than a newer system with these technologies.
  • Sidebar Gadgets aren’t supported. – No problem, few people use these and the Apps in the Windows 10 Store are far superior.
  • Your screen resolution isn’t compatible with snap. – No problem the screen resolution for Windows 10 was lowered to support 800×600 as a minimum.


Windows 10 TH2 Clean Installation Tutorial Videos

I made a set of tutorial videos clean installing Windows 10 TH2 on my systems:

1. Updating your BIOS, Checking if you have UEFI and SecureBoot, Checking your Product Key from your UEFI BIOS or COA

Dell Drivers:

Windows Product Key Tool:


Written Guide BIOS Update and Checking for UEFI and SecureBoot

Written Guide Notes on the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Product Keys

2. Downloading a Windows 10 TH2 OEM and Retail .iso

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool:

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using the Media Creation Tool and Creating a Bootable USB

Windows 10 Direct .iso Download Links:

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using Direct Download Links and Creating a Bootable USB

3. Clean Install Windows 10 TH2 from a Bootable USB

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using the Media Creation Tool and Creating a Bootable USB

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using Direct Download Links and Creating a Bootable USB

4. Installing Systems via Windows Update, Checking your Model, Checking your Hardware IDs and Driver Versions in the Device Manager and Downloading and Installing System Drivers from Dell

Dell Drivers:

Written Guides Notes on Checking the Hardware IDs in the Device Manager

Written Guide Notes on Recommended Driver Installation Order