Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Windows 10 Updates Nag Screen Hijack

Windows has always loved to hijack your computer because Gates wants to micromanage your life. Previous versions would automatically update your computer, whatever you were doing, no matter how important it was (such as being in the middle of a class lecture, thus interrupting all 60 students for a 30-minute update, thus forcing you to cancel your lecture). However, you used to be able to change some well-hidden settings and turn off automatic updates, so that you could update your computer when it was convenient. Not so with Windows 10. There is no way to actually just completely turn them off. I have googled many times, and tried all the tricks to get this turned off, and while my automatic updates are *mostly* turned off, I still occasionally get an overlay screen that covers my desktop that won't let me do anything else until I click my acknowledgement that I must restart my computer. I'm not forced to restart my computer right then, but the overlay lockout keeps happening until I do. This is unacceptable.

The only thing I've found that works is to disable the permissions on the files with variations of the name "MusNotification." Here is a screenshot of a computer search (using Locate) to find all instances of these files. Every couple of months I have to redo this, since Microsoft seems to realize the original files have been disabled, so finds someplace new to put them, and it starts over.

The procedure I used to do this was to right click each file to open "Properties" then "Security" then "Advanced." First, I took ownership away from "TrustedInstaller" and gave ownership to "Users." Sometimes that still doesn't allow me access to change permissions, because the file is inheriting the permission from elsewhere, requiring me to click "disable inheritance." Once that is done, I have to go into each of the Permission entries, and "Deny" full control to all of them: TrustedInstaller, System, All Application Packages & All Restricted Application Packages. I also changed Administrator and Users to "Read only" (not Read & Execute). This is tedious, since you have to do this for all of the MUS Notification & MusNotificationUX instances, and the list grows every couple of months.

Other things I've tried, some of which partially help, are the following

  1. Go into "Services" and "Windows Update"--I can "disable" this option, but then I can't manually update the computer--I have to go back in and re-enable this service for me to update my computer. This is not acceptable.
  2. Metered connection--there is a procedure to change the wireless properties, to change how my computer monitors my wireless connection, seeing it as a "metered connection," and thus doesn't automatically download updates. However, this ended up messing with My Outlook e-mail, so couldn't use this.
  3. Going into Group Policy (some versions of Windows 10 don't have this), and upating ConfigAutoUpdate but this didn't seem to work for me--others had better luck.

Some more information about this is at

Saturday, May 6, 2017

House ACHA Vote, May 4--GOP Win %

On May 4th, the House finally passed a version of the Obamacare repeal with the slimmest of margins--they needed 216 votes, they got 217. All Democrats voted against it, predictably, but 20 Republicans also voted against it. I was interested to see the 2016 election results in their districts.

The GOP House win % ranges for those who voted against the AHCA, were from 48.5% (TX-23) to 71.3% (KY-04). In TX-23, Willie Hurd won by a hair--the Libertarian got almost 5%, so the Democrat was almost able to win the district. Clinton won that district by over 3%. The next lowest GOP win was Coffman, CO-06, with 50.2%, who easily beat the Democrat since the Libertarian took 5%. However, Clinton & Obama won this district the last 3 elections.

On average, the House Republicans who voted against the AHCA won their district with a 59.4% margin, and Clinton's win margin was 45.4%. Nationally, Republicans who won their districts got 63.4%, and Clinton lost those districts at 38.4%. So while the GOP House members who voted against the AHCA had tighter win margins than other Republicans, it was not as close as I expected.

Another possible explanation seems to be the number of people that would lose healthcare coverage from the AHCA. The Center for American Progress crunched the CBO estimates for the original AHCA proposal (which failed), estimating how many people in each congressional district would lose coverage.

In fact, this result is the opposite of what I predicted. Of the 20 Republicans that voted against the AHCA, on average, about 49,580 citizens would lose coverage in those districts, compared to an estimated 53,413 who would lose coverage in all of the other GOP-held districts. In Democrat held districts, that number jumps to 57,317 coverage loss per district.

The CAP even breaks down those who would lose coverage by group: non-elderly (adults, children, disabled & Medicaid expansion), Medicaid-elderly, Employer-sponsored, and "Exchanges & Other Coverage." There were slightly more elderly covered under Medicaid who would lose coverage in the districts of the GOP who voted against the AHCA (1,880) versus the rest of the GOP-held districts (1,842), but this difference seems negligible. I found similar results for the "Employee-sponsored" losses (17,635 vs 16,240) and the "Exchanges & Other Coverage" losses (7,150 vs 6,044).

Either there is a problem with the data, or the Republicans in these districts had other reasons for voting against the AHCA.