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Windows 7: Weird "Personalized Settings" thing appeared and changed appearance

20 May 2018   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Weird "Personalized Settings" thing appeared and changed appearance

Today, I switched on my Windows 7 PC, it started up OK, Chrome loaded up as usual, and I started looking at some emails. Then, in the background, some weird, crappy-looking grey box popped up saying something about "personalized settings". Then, suddenly my desktop pictures disappeared, all my desktop icons rearranged themselves and all my program shortcuts disappeared from the taskbar. "WTF? Is this a virus? What the hell is happening?!".

I then ran a scan on Malwarebytes to see if that found anything - it found a couple of Binkiland bloody things, but nothing apparently catastrophic. I then opened the Control Panel, which had been reset to the indecipherable "category" view, and opened Windows Update to see if some god-awful "update" had screwed me over. I NEVER allow Windoze to just install updates by itself - I always check the KB numbers online to see how disastrous an update is before I let Microsoft try to destroy my machine. But it seems that Microsoft forced some updates upon me a couple of days ago without my knowledge or permission:
  • Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool x64 - April 2018 (KB890830)
  • 2018-04 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4093118)
  • Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2952664)
  • 2018-03 Security Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB4100480)
Whaatt? While I'm typing this, all my shortcuts have just magically re-appeared in my taskbar! W-T-absolute-F?

Anyway, I read that Windows is supposed to create a system restore point before it breaks your computer with "updates", so I went to System Restore...but "No restore points have been created on your system drive". Thanks Microsoft.

So, I poured myself another cup of tea, and tentatively did a restart, fully expecting some kind of doomsday scenario to break loose (hence needing tea) after the restart, but no - the restart went OK, but my desktop pictures are still not there and my desktop icons are in the wrong place....WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH........WTF? All my desktop icons have just MOVED to their correct places! Christ on a bike, do I have ANY control over this machine?

I ran an AVG scan and it didn't find any viruses.

It seems that either my machine is gradually fighting back and slowly winning the battle against these stupid updates (I am picturing a scene from "War Games" where WOPR is playing noughts & crosses/tic tac toe inside the CPU right now) or the updates are not as evil as they might initially seem.

I have dared to load up Adobe After Effects and Adobe Illustrator and the last project I was working on (which I need to work on now, having just wasted about an hour worrying about this silly problem) and things seems to be fine.

So: would it be a bad idea to attempt to uninstall these updates, seeing as their evil intentions are - maybe -gradually eroding away? Or should I eject them from the premises ASAP? I read something about update KB4100480 being part of a dreadful series of ballsups here: Mad March Meltdown! Microsoft's patch for a patch for a patch may need another patch • The Register

And finally, is there a way (other than yanking out my Ethernet cable every time I'm not specifically doing something online ) to make sure ABSOLUTELY NO UPDATES get installed EVER without my permission? I already have 'Choose how Windows can install updates' set to 'Check for updates but let me choose...', but this is obviously being ignored. I suspect if I set that to 'Never check for updates' that will also be ignored.

Any help/opinions/jokes/whatever would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2018   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

Bah. In all this excitement I forgot about my tea, and now it's almost stone cold.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Weird "Personalized Settings" thing appeared and changed appearance

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