Windows 10 File History Problems

There are still a few bugs in Windows 10, as might be expected with a new operating system release. One of these bugs is in the File History utility – something that first appeared in Windows 8. The issue I encountered was that the option to exclude folders, although Windows 10 appears to accept the new configuration to exclude certain folders I specify, simply doesn’t work. File History continues to store those folders on the backup drive. In my case, there are some very large folders which I back up to a separate external drive (i.e., music/mp3 files and photos), which within a  couple of days completely fills up primary external backup drive. I haven’t yet found a workaround for this problem. A search at Microsoft reveals that this is not an isolated issue; indeed, there are other problems noted with File History suggesting that it is not yet a reliable backup strategy – see this search. In particular, see this post, which to date has no replies. For now, my solution was to turn off File History entirely until either I can find a fix or workaround, or Microsoft fixes the problem.

Upgrading to Windows 10

I started off upgrading just one laptop this past weekend, figuring if I ran into problems it was not essential and any downtime would be inconvenient but not mission critical. However, the upgrade went so smoothly that I went back the next day and upgraded my desktop and my wife’s laptop. There were a few glitches… On the first laptop, Outlook stopped working with an error message to the effect that I didn’t have permission to access the Outlook mailstore. I fixed that (a permissions issue) fairly quickly. I think the cause was that for the first upgrade, my laptop, it was a password protected laptop and Windows 10 encouraged me to switch that login in to my Microsoft login. I didn’t have that problem on the desktop or the other laptop because they weren’t password protected to begin with and I ignored the Windows 10 recommendation to use my Microsoft login. On the desktop, Outlook has twice silently refused to open links in Firefox. That’s another quick fix too… apparently this is a glitch that plagued some Windows 8.x installations as well and there is a Microsoft Fix-It that will automatically fix the issue for you using some registry entry repairs. It does require a reboot and in the process sets the default browser back to Windows Edge but that too is easily fixed by loading Firefox and responding yes to the query to make it my default browser. Yesterday, there was an automatic update from Windows 10 fixing various bugs, although I don’t know specifically what they were. Overall, though, despite the little glitches, I have to say this was an easy upgrade. If you have already upgraded, what was your experience?

Plugins to Enhance WordPress Security

WordPress has become increasingly popular as a platform for creating highly customizable responsive websites. And of course this makes it increasingly attractive as a target for hackers and spammers. To help guard against this, here are a couple of plugins that help to at least minimize unknown vulnerabilities. Your first defence should be to ensure that you keep WordPress itself and all your plugins and themes up to date. WordPress and the WordPress community is very good at reacting to security threats and vulnerabilities as they are discovered and typically patched or updated versions are made available within a few days. But the patches won’t do you any good if they are not applied. Advanced Automatic Updates by pento adds extra options to WordPress’ built-in Automatic Updates feature. On top of security updates, it also optionally supports installing major releases, plugins, and themes. If you use this to keep your themes updated, please see Don’t let WordPress theme upgrades break your site to avoid losing your theme customizations. Plugin Vulnerabilities by White Fir Design alerts you when any of your installed plugins contain known security vulnerabilities, as well as warning you of vulnerabilities in other versions of those plugins. This will at least make you aware of an issue until the plugin updater can instgall a patched version. Finally, Wordfence Security by Wordfence is a must have plugin for any WordPress site. From the plugin description: Blocking Features Real-time blocking of known attackers. If another site using Wordfence is attacked and blocks the attacker, your site is automatically protected. Block entire malicious networks. Includes advanced IP and Domain WHOIS to report malicious IP’s or networks and block entire networks using the firewall. Report security threats to network owner. Rate limit or block security threats like aggressive crawlers, scrapers and bots

Don’t let WordPress theme updates break your site

You’ve put in a lot of effort to customize your site with added CSS and HTML. But will it survive an update to your WordPress theme? Here’s how to avoid that. First, there is a great little plugin called MP Customizer Backups by Mint Plugins (available from the Plugins repository) which allows you to back up or restore all customizations added via Customizer. This is a great time saver for developers allowing you to return to a previous working version if something goes wrong. And of course you can update the theme and use this plugin to reapply your customizations if required. The second plug-in is WP Add Custom CSS by Daniele De Santis. With this plugin, rather than editing the theme’s CSS file, you can simply add your changes or additions to this file so they are not overwritten when the theme updates. If you are familiar with vBulletin forum software, it works much like the additional.css template. 1 Finally, the third plugin is Insert Headers and Footers by WPBeginner. As the name implies, this allows you to add HTML or PHP to customize the header or footer for your theme and again avoid having your changes overwritten by a theme upgrade. Anything which makes your job as a WordPress site designer or developer a little easier is worth the few minutes it takes to install these plugins. Happy WordPressing! 🙂 1 Update: I’ve recently discovered an alternate plug-in named Simple Custom CSS by John Regan & Danny Van Kooten which you may prefer (as I do). This includes highlighting for syntax, etc., similar to NotePad++.

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