This was a very random and strange occurrence, suddenly my wife’s PC would no longer boot from the SSD drive, instead, it kept trying to boot from the secondary disk. Even when I accessed the boot menu in bios and told it to boot from this disk, it still refused.
So I booted from my Windows 10 USB stick and used command line tools. When I used diskpart, it was also reporting that the disk was empty and unformatted as well. I went through the usual repair procedures, but could not detect the previous Windows installation.
So since I did not fancy spending ages trying to fix this, I went to do a Windows re-install, which is really the easy option now we store all our data on onedrive cloud storage anyway, so nothing gets lost. But this is when I received the above error 0x80300025, We couldn’t install Windows in the location you chose.
The first thing I did was to disconnect my secondary drive, so that the system could not keep trying to boot from it. I then went into the bios to set the boot drive, but this time received another message telling me I could not boot from this disk with the current settings. So I had to go into my bios and change the CSM settings to allow legacy devices as well as uefi.
Why this suddenly happened, and why I had to change this setting is a mystery, my best bet is that maybe my 5 year old accidentally got into the BIOS and fiddled with the settings when the system was booting. Although TBH I do not recall having EVER set this CSM setting before, I am pretty sure it has always been in uefi mode by default.
So the 2 steps if you get this issue are: disconnect other drives, check your bios/uefi settings.
Meltdown and Spectre are the names of two serious security flaws that have been found within computer processors. They could allow hackers to steal sensitive data without users knowing, one of them affecting chips made as far back as 1995.
What are Meltdown and Spectre?
Meltdown is a security flaw that could allow hackers to bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s core memory, which is normally highly protected.
Spectre is slightly different. It potentially allows hackers to trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information.
Is it serious?
Yes. Meltdown is “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found” according to Daniel Gruss, one of the researchers at Graz University of Technology who discovered the flaw. It is very serious in the short term and needs immediate attention.
Spectre, on the other hand, is harder for hackers to take advantage of but is also more difficult to fix and is expected to be a bigger problem in the long term.
What kinds of devices are affected?
Practically every computing device affected by Spectre, including laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones and even cloud computing systems. A few lower power devices, such as certain Internet of Things gadgets, are unaffected.
What is a processor?
The processor, or central processing unit (CPU), is the primary chip in a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program – in essence, the brain of the computer.
When you command a program to do something, it is the processor that carries out that command, co-operating with the rest of the system to perform whatever task is needed.
There are other types of processors, including graphics processing units (GPU) or graphics cards, co-processors such as sensor chips that detect motion or similar physical conditions, but the term “processor” without a caveat is generally exclusively used to describe the CPU.
Does it only affect Intel processors?
Spectre affects all modern processors, including those designed by Intel, AMD and ARM, but Meltdown is currently thought only to affect Intel chips manufactured since 1995, with the exception of the Itanium and Atom chips made before 2013.
What can be stolen?
The core system, known as the kernel, stores all types of sensitive information in memory. This means banking records, credit cards, financial data, communications, logins, passwords and secret information could which is all be at risk due to Meltdown.
Spectre can be used to trick normal applications into giving up sensitive data, which potentially means anything processed by an application can be stolen, including passwords and other data.
Is it already being used to steal data?
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said that there is no evidence that Meltdown and Spectre are actively being used to steal data at the moment, but the nature of the attacks make them difficult to detect.
Experts expect that hackers will quickly develop programs to launch attacks now that the information is available. Dan Guido, chief executive of cybersecurity consulting firm Trail of Bits, said: “Exploits for these bugs will be added to hackers’ standard toolkits.”
What can I do about it?
Users can do little to avoid the security flaws apart from update their computers with the latest security fixes as soon as possible. Fixes for Linux and Windows are already available. Chromebooks updated to Chrome OS 63, which started rolling out in mid-December, are already protected.
Android devices running the latest security update, including Google’s Nexus and Pixel smartphones, are already protected. Updates are expected to be delivered soon. Users of other devices will have to wait for the updates to be pushed out by third-party manufacturers, including Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus.
On Thursday night, Apple advised customers in a blog post to update their devices’ operating systems and only download software from “trusted sources such as the App Store”. The company also said that “there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time”.
If you are running old and unsupported operating systems or old phones which are no longer receiving updates, then there is no fix and your devices will remain vulnerable unless you upgrade your operating system.
I do offer Windows 10 upgrades for anyone that is not able to do this themselves.
Will the fixes slow my computer?
While the fixes for Spectre are not expected to have much immediate impact on the performance of computers, the nature of the fixes needed to protect against Meltdown could have a significant impact.
That’s due to the separation of the application and kernel memory required by the various operating systems to prevent the flaw being used to access protected data. Separating the two memory systems like this means that tasks that constantly require the kernel do to things, such as writing files to disk or sending data over a network, could be significantly slower due to the increased time it will take for the processor to switch between the application memory and the kernel memory.
Some early estimates predict up to 30% slower performance in some tasks. Whether users will notice a difference on their computers will depend on the task they are trying to do. Gaming, browsing and general computing activities are unlikely to be affected, but those that involve lots of writing files may become slower.
Some technologies, such as Intel’s Process-Context Identifiers (PCID) that was included with the company’s processors since 2013, can lessen the impact of the fixes if taken advantage of in the operating system.
Who found it?
Meltdown was independently discovered and reported by three teams, including Jann Horn from Google’s Project Zero, Werner Haas and Thomas Prescher from Cyberus Technology and Daniel Gruss, Moritz Lipp, Stefan Mangard and Michael Schwarz from Graz University of Technology in Austria.
Spectre was independently discovered by two people, including Horn and Paul Kocher, who worked in collaboration with Daniel Genkin, from University of Pennsylvania and University of Maryland, Mike Hamburg from tech firm Rambus, Lipp, and Yuval Yarom from the University of Adelaide and Data61.
What about cloud services?
The problem is magnified for cloud services such as Amazon’s Web Services and Google’s Cloud Platform, due to the scale of their computing resources and the potential impact on performance of the fixes.
Amazon said it was in the process of patching systems with all but a “small single-digit percentage” of its Amazon Web Services EC2 systems already protected, but that “customers must also patch their instance operating systems” to be fully protected.
Dodgy WIFI signals are a royal PITA, and with so many devices in your home now using WIFI, such as phones, tablets, Fire TV, PC’s, printers, every bit of speed matters. While none of the tips in this article are new, most of them can all be carried out for free or very cheaply, and they might just help you get a little bit of extra performance from your wireless network.
1. Find the right spot for your router
This might not be something you’ve thought about, but properly positioning your router can make a significant difference when it comes to ensuring good coverage around your home. It can be difficult to move your router around too much when its location is somewhat dictated by the location of your master socket, but ideally, you might want to consider some of the following.
First of all, try to elevate your router as much as possible. At the very least, it’s not a great idea to keep your router on the floor, so try to keep it on top of a cabinet or desk. If your router is upstairs, you won’t need to worry about elevation, but at least keep it off the floor.
If possible, try to move your router to a central point in your home. If your router is by a window, or in a corner, a good deal of the signal is going to be lost. Positioning your router centrally means a more even coverage around the home. This can be difficult depending on the location of your master socket, but if it is easy to achieve and doesn’t look unsightly, investing in some longer cables to give you a little more room to play with can pay off.
Finally, moving your router away from obstacles can also help. So don’t keep the router in a cupboard, or close to furniture that might block the signal. Where possible, try to allow for some clearance around the router.
The biggest problem here is then connecting your WIRED devices to the router. More often than not, these devices tend to be in the lounge, such as your TV, Fire TV, skybox, games console etc. In which case the best solution is to get a small ethernet switch and connect all your devices to this, and 1 cable to connect your switch to the router.
If you have a modern dual-band router, you’ll have the option to connect at the 5GHz frequency instead of 2.4GHz. Lots of routers will take care of this for you automatically, but they also allow you to manually control which frequency you want to connect to (you’ll need to set up two SSIDs in your router settings).
As a rule, 2.4GHz will give more range, but connections will be faster at 5GHz. The other advantage of the 5GHz spectrum is that it will generally be less congested. That is, there will be less interference from things like home appliances and your neighbours’ WiFi.
3. Change the channel
No, we’re not talking about the TV here. Rather, your router will transmit its signal on particular channels chosen from an available range. If other wireless networks in your vicinity (i.e. your neighbours) are transmitting on the same or adjacent channels there is a possibility that you might run into interference issues.
You can use a WiFi analyzer to scan nearby networks for interference, look for SSID’s running on the same channel as yours.
To help you do this, download the WiFi Analyzer tool from the Windows Store and install it onto your laptop.
Here also is the one I use for Android and a few options for iPhone.
These tools take the guesswork out of improving your router’s signal settings by looking for interference caused by overlapping signals broadcasting on the same channel and letting you know how to change the channel. This article gives more detailed instructions.
4. Check those antennae
Lots of modern routers have internal antennae, so there’s not much you can do about that (though they should be optimally set up, so there probably isn’t much need for worry). However many routers (new and old) still use external antennae.
Crucially, when it comes to positioning these antennae, the general advice is to place them perpendicularly. So if one antenna is pointing straight up, the other should be positioned horizontally, at a right angle to the first antenna. This is because reception will be better on your tablet, smart phone, laptop, etc. if their antennae are oriented the same way. So, positioning your antennae perpendicularly ensures better communication with your devices no matter their orientation.
5. Keep your router away from other electronic devices
At this time of year, your Christmas lights are likely to be a big culprit, but other electronic devices like computers, TVs, power adaptors, and even fluorescent lights can all cause interference to your wireless signal. So it pays to keep your router as far away as possible from these sources of interference, even from the electrical sockets. Entirely isolating your router might prove to be an impossible task, but try to reduce exposure as much as you can.
6. Check for bandwidth hogs
Do you sometimes find that despite having a strong WiFi signal, everything is slow as hell, or just stops working altogether? And does this often seem to happen at the same time every day?
One common cause I found was Windows updates, check the related posts below for more details on this one.
Another cause is video streaming. If you have multiple people in your house, all streaming video on their laptops, tablets, Amazon Fire Sticks then this is going to suck all your bandwidth and leave not much for anyone else.
Torrent downloading is another one, if you have someone in your household who likes to download files via torrent, then this can easily consume all your bandwidth due to the way it works.
If you have a decent router, then there should be tools in your router admin to show you all the connected devices and how much bandwidth they are using. You may need to enable QOS (quality of service) to get this data.
7. Extend your WiFi
If there really is nothing that can be done about your existing WiFi signal, then you could consider using a WiFi extender or powerline adaptor to extend your WiFi into poor signal areas of your home.
A Wi-Fi range extender sometimes called a range expander, is a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of a wireless LAN. The device is situated in between a base router or access point and a client that is not close enough to receive acceptable service or one that is on the other side of a barrier.
Powerline adaptors turn your electrical cables into a speedy network.
Simply plug one end into a power socket next to your router, and connect with an ether cable, and plug another adapter into any other socket in your house. Voila, you now have your broadband connection extended to that socket, which you can use via an ethernet cable or WiFi if it also has a built-in WiFi extender.
Wi-Fi extenders have long been a popular option when it came to solving Wi-Fi dead spots in homes, but with the introduction of mesh Wi-Fi systems over the last couple of years, many casual users have been eyeing these new systems instead, mostly due to how easy they are to set up and use.
Mesh Wi-Fi systems consist of two or more router-like devices that work together to blanket your house in Wi-Fi. Think of it as a system of multiple Wi-Fi extenders, but one that’s much easier to set up—and doesn’t require multiple network names or any other quirks that some extenders have. All it takes is plugging in the units and following some simple steps in the accompanying app. Once it’s all set up, managing your network is also really easy, as most of the advanced, complicated features are out of the user’s way and the big features that people want are easily accessible and simple to use.
How Is Mesh Wi-Fi Different Than Using an Extender?
One facet that many people don’t realize about mesh Wi-Fi systems is that they’re meant to replace your current router, and not work alongside it. So while Wi-Fi extenders simply boost your main router’s Wi-Fi signal, mesh Wi-Fi systems actually create a whole new Wi-Fi network, separate from your current router’s Wi-Fi.
Plus, if you ever need to manage your mesh Wi-Fi network, you can do so through a simple smartphone app, and not through your router’s complicated admin page. It makes it a lot easier to change settings and see a glimpse of your network overall.
Mesh networking also allows these multiple router-esque units to communicate with one another in any sequence they wish. Traditional Wi-Fi extenders can only communicate with your main router, and if you set up multiple Wi-Fi extenders, they usually can’t communicate with each other. However, mesh Wi-Fi units can talk to whichever unit they want to give the best coverage possible to all of your devices, which is a huge benefit.
For example, if you set up the first and second mesh unit in your house, you don’t have to worry about placing the third unit close to the first unit, since it can simply just get the signal from the second unit that you set up, allowing you to create a much larger range than you could with Wi-Fi extenders. Think of it as a relay race where runners hand off the baton to the next runner to advance down the track—mesh Wi-Fi systems work the same way.
Furthermore, if you were to open up a Wi-Fi analyzing app, you would notice that your mesh Wi-Fi network is actually transmitting separate Wi-Fi networks, one for each unit that you have set up. This is how traditional Wi-Fi extenders work as well, but with those, you would often have to switch between networks manually (between Network and Network_EXT, for example). However, a mesh Wi-Fi network still acts as a single network, so your devices will switch between mesh units automatically.
Proving once again that medication is not the answer to getting inattentive kids to do well in school, four Fort Worth area public schools are finding success with the LiiNK program. This revolutionary approach to schooling and counteracting ADHD is based on the idea that offering kids more unstructured play can help them focus and do better in the classroom.
It seems silly to label the concept of allowing kids to be kids as “revolutionary,” but we have gotten so far away from letting children enjoy life that the idea is indeed raising a lot of eyebrows. In fact, some teachers in the school districts involved initially resisted the idea because they feared they would be unable to teach the children everything they needed to learn in the amount of time available until they saw the results. Although this again is another case of common sense not kicking in, since how much of that time do teachers actually spend teaching vs dealing with disruption and bad behaviour.
At Fort Worth’s Eagle Mountain Elementary, kindergarten and first-grade students are now being given two 15-minute breaks in the morning and another two in the afternoon. The total recess time of one hour per day is three times the amount they were given previously. They go outside regardless of the weather to play games or use the playground equipment.
Just five months into the new schedule, teachers found that their students were more attentive listeners who were better able to focus, follow directions, and solve their own problems. They were also less fidgety. Even parents are noticing the changes, commenting that their kids seem to be more creative and independent.
The pressures of public education are immense, with young children being increasingly pushed to do well on standardized tests, and subjects like physical education, music and art getting the short shrift. It’s easy to imagine how kids with more active dispositions would struggle in such a restrictive environment.
In today’s quick-fix-obsessed society, the answer for many has been to give these energetic kids an ADHD diagnosis and some pills in an effort to get them to sit still. There are countless reasons that drugging young children is not the best route to take despite Big Pharma’s claims to the contrary, not the least of which is the likelihood of suffering a number of unpleasant side effects from ADHD meds and screwing up your kids future.
Contrast this with the simple concept of a recess, which has been shown in studies to give kids a number of vital physical, emotional, social and cognitive benefits. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics calls it a “crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.”
The LiiNK program was inspired by the education system in Finland, where students earn some of the best scores in the world in science, math and reading. Experts say that giving kids recess essentially “reboots” their systems. When they return to the classroom afterwards, they have renewed focus and are more receptive to learning.
Maximizing the benefits of recess
The breaks need to be outside to be effective. Texas Christian University Kinesiology Professor Debbie Rhea says that natural light, fresh air and vivid colors all have a positive effect on the brain and its functioning. Spending time in “green outdoor activities” has been shown in studies to reduce ADHD symptoms.
It is also essential that the students’ recess entails unstructured play, she says, which means they can run around, play together and invent games or use their imagination. Teachers should take a limited role, staying nearby to ensure everyone is safe.
The program has been so successful in Texas that other schools across the nation are hoping to implement it soon. It’s amazing how such a simple concept – giving kids time to run around outdoors – can have such a transformative effect. With this approach, everybody wins… except, of course, Big Pharma, who won’t be selling as many poisonous ADHD meds to parents who have been fooled into believing their only option is drugging their kids.
For the last few weeks my son has been unable to use his gmail, gdrive or in fact any part of his g suite account using Google Chrome, due to getting this dreaded #400 bad request error.
The 400 Bad Request error is an HTTP status code that means that the request you sent to the website server, often something simple like a request to load a web page, was somehow incorrect or corrupted and the server couldn’t understand it.
I googled this errors for hours, but none of the solutions I found worked.
I completely uninstalled chrome and started from scratch, no dice.
I even tested this on my own PC, and had the same issue.
Tested with other browsers, but they do not have this issue.
After troubleshooting the issue extensively, what I discovered was that this problem was only affecting my son’s google profile and only occurred after I created his profile in chrome and synced it. If I logged into Gmail without creating the profile, everything worked, If I used the guest profile, or if I used incognito, everything also worked fine. So the issue is clearly with the Google profile and what chrome is trying to do after it has downloaded/synced it for the first time.
I contacted Google support (as I have a paid g suite account), and had some painful exchanges, with them insisting that a #400 error is a client-side error and so the issue is with my environment and not a problem with any of their services. It has taken a lot of perseverance and repeating the evidence over and over to show that it is not a local environment issue, but finally, a solution has been found.
All you need to do is reset your google profile sync.