Category Archives: Windows


Today I turned on onedrive on my Windows box. Actually two windows boxes, one 10 and one 11. And also, to be accurate, on the Windows 10 box I had to go to some trouble to actually reinstall onedrive which I had long ago completely removed in a fit of pique.

Most of the stuff I write in this blog is about technical stuff I have figured out, and want to record so I can read about what I did later on after I have inevitably forgotten it. This is different. This is more like a cathartic confession, hopefully with the side-effect of purging myself of an unhealthy attitude I have. My confession is that I am unfairly biased against Microsoft, and I tend to automatically reject as unworthy almost anything they create, and I do so sometimes without giving it a fair shake.

Here is the quintessential example. Onedrive is (IMHO) yet another in a long line of ideas which Microsoft rips off from Apple. E.g., in the recent past, Apple created Timemachine, whereupon Microsoft introduces Filehistory. Then Apple creates iCloud, and thereafter Microsoft introduces Onedrive. I don’t love Apple, but that is for industrial policy reasons. When it comes to innovation, though, one has to admit that Apple is constantly innovating. Apple is a visionary innovative engineering company excited by new ideas, which happens also to be excellent at marketing. Microsoft, in my opinion, is a marketing company which is seldom innovative and mostly copies (or buys) other people’s ideas.

I don’t really use iCloud very much, but mostly because I don’t do much actual work on any Macs, and because I don’t take a lot of pictures or listen to a lot of music. I have the default free amount of iCloud storage, but don’t pay for more.

But the important point is that I don’t “resent” iCloud. It doesn’t make me angry. It is there, and like most Apple engineered products it is somewhat seamless. On the other hand, I resented One Drive. I resent that it superimposes itself on Windows, and cannot be ignored. I resent that it is always whining about my not having logged in, and nagging me. I resent most of all that it actually changes the way the file explorer/file system works — once One Drive was implemented, what I used to know about how my friends files were set up became wrong. So typical of Microsoft… they know best, they change things fundamentally and the user must adapt. Reminds me of the old jokes about AT&T pre-breakup. Rule 1: We are AT&T, we don’t care, we don’t have to, we are AT&T. Rule 2: Screw you, see rule 1.

But as time has gone on, I have stopped tilting at this particular windmill. Microsoft may have copied the idea from Apple, but it does make a lot of sense in some ways, like some other changes in the Microsoft experience. I have begun to use a Microsoft account for login on Windows boxes. That also, for a long time I refused to do. And I am letting the Windows boxes do their backup on Onedrive. Because — leaving aside the uber-paranoid reactions that many of us feel about all the big companies having all our data, the fact is that this is a far easier way to do backup. It is a far easier way to reinstall a new machine. All the mumbo-jumbo one used to have to do with windows license keys and licenses for other microsoft products (if one is so unfortunate and foolish to still be paying them for Office for example, which I am not) — all that stuff becomes automatic.

So, grumble, grumble… I am signing my windows boxes in with a microsoft account, and I am letting them back up on onedrive. Grumble, grumble.

Headless Windows 10

The oldest physical box in the house, a 12 years old Core2 Quad in an old case was my Windows 10 box, nutmeg, which I don’t use very much except to test out various things under Windows. I don’t do much with Windows any more, yet it was attached to one of the three monitors on my desk – using up 1/3 of my total screen real estate; and it was generating heat and fan noise, and its presence offended me. I decided it needed to move to the basement, alongside Cinnamon and Rosemary who are already down there in a rack — banished to the basement because they have a lot of disk drives, and so generate a lot of heat and noise.

I bought another rack mount chassis, and moved nutmeg’s innards to it. This proved annoyingly difficult because various old bits of hardware decided this was a good time to give up the ghost – I lost two old disk drives that decided to stop functioning. But eventually got everything up and running.

The idea was that I would manage the box, on the relatively few occasions I needed to do so, just as I do both Cinnamon and Rosemary, with a VNC connection. So after it was up and running on my work table, I pulled the monitor, keyboard and mouse and rebooted. But attempting to connect with VNC failed. For the record, this was TightVNC.

I eventually found that VNC would work if and only if I had a monitor attached. Furthermore, if I had a monitor attached and established a VNC viewer to nutmeg, if I then unplugged the monitor the VNC viewer would immediately freeze. WTF?

Without making this a long story, I found that the problem could be resolved by changing an option in Settings/Accounts/Sign-in options which is down at the bottom under Privacy, and reads “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart.”

So my mental model of what is going on is that if that option is set, windows is attempting to “set up my device” and I suppose the device it is trying to “set up” must be the monitor. What I don’t exactly get is why the VNC viewer should freeze when an existing monitor is removed. I suppose that removal generates some event internally, and processes attached in some way as consumers must be killed or something. Not sure. I don’t need to understand it. I have very few cycles in my advanced age and am not planning to waste any of them trying to figure out Windows.

I was very pleased that after I did this, and was able to connect via VNC, I was able to set the resolution to various values up to 4K. And after rebooting and reattaching it even retained my display resolution setting.