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Windows Gremlins - Alternatives?

John KenneyJohn Kenney Member
edited June 2020 in SmartSDR for Windows
Since purchasing my Flex 6400 I have spent just about as much time chasing Windows-related gremlins than I have using the radio. I'm getting fed up. I lusted after a Flex since seeing my first one demo'd at a hamfest. Years later,  I finally sold enough equipment (and robbed the piggy bank) to buy one. When things are working I'm happy with my purchase -- then along comes a Microsoft update and I spend the next week sorting things out. I'm aware of the uninstall/reinstall recommendation for updates, but it's a pain.

Sorry for the rant....here's my question: has anyone come up with a Linux-based SmartSDR solution? I've seen some discussions in the past, but nothing specific. I regularly use the iOS client and my Maestro. I know there's a dogparkSDR for Mac.... which I plan to try... but how about Mint / or similar?

John / WB5NFC



  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I have made this suggestion before but it keeps falling on deaf ears. I use WintoUSB and have a USB thumb drive that mirrors one of my computers on Windows 7. The thumb drives today are very fast and work wonderfully with SmartSDR. Every time I want to use my Flex, I just boot up my thumb drive and stick my other thumb at Microsoft and their endless updates.
  • WayneWayne Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    So just swutch to windows 7 to run the flex and problem is solved or you could chase down as I have finally finding out how to prevent win 10 updates permanently so I can use win 10 with the flex. I mean if you dedicate a single computer with win 10 to running the flex and keep it from updating and you dont surf the internet with it there really is no need to constantly update it. I spend all my time with the radio and dont have any computer issues using win 7 or win 8.1 and I dont do updates on any of the win systems and works fine havent ever got a virus using them either. You will really like it when microsoft moves the os to the cloud then you wont even be able to boot your computer unless you connect to microsoft, you may doubt it but its coming and sooner than you think. Its their solution for piracy and a monthly fee for you to even use your computer.
  • edited October 2018
    Dear John, 

    thanks for the post.

    My Flex 6700 is the best radio I ever had. The Flex software is fantastic. 

    If there are any problems with my ham station, the reason is: Windows.
    If there are any problems with other software, the reason is: Windows.
    If there is a problem with network, the reason is: Windows.
    If I lose data, the reason is: Windows.
    If there was a problem in my small company with printing, mailing oder network, the reason always was: Windows.
    That's why a changed in my company to Mac OSX. Since ten years I work without these unacceptable mistakes of windows. I can not understand, why flex did not start their good products with smart SDR on Mac OSX. The only reason to go back to windows was my flex. It was a mistake. Since 3 month I have a good radio and no interest to start my computer with all the described problems.

    Flex People! Change to a better system! Windows is telling us lies since the 90ties, they never offer a system you can compare with OSX or other.

    Thanks again John.

    73 de dg1rol

  • N8SDRN8SDR Member
    edited October 2018
    Been  using windows 10 since it was in Beta, and can say its gotten better over the years, I own and run my own I/T company and support many business running windows 10.  If properly configured and setup along with the correct hardware, right down to the power supply. It's a fairly stable operating system. Yes maybe 2-3 times in the last 3-4 years I have witnesses a botch windows update which has **** things up, But if you setup your system restore points and have a good plan for daily or weekly backups (preferably full metal options which give you choice of doing a complete reinstall of your operating system software and configurations) then a system restore can be done quickly for me that takes less then 5 minutes from a fresh drive with no O/S or doing a complete restore after formatting the current drive(s). 
  • Michael CosloMichael Coslo Member
    edited July 2018
    We beg, we plead, but apparently a Linux based solution for SSDR ius not going to happen.  Your best bet is to Either switch to a Mac, use a iPad, or if sticking to Windows, get a Windows 7 machine. 

    I bought DogPark foir my Mac side - it is also 100 percent uptime.

    Windows 10 is a not ready for primetime horror show. My Windows 7 build is 100 percent uptime. My Windows 10 build is a joke. 

    I'd pay hundreds for a Linux version of SSDR, if only for the reliability.

  • Lawrence GrayLawrence Gray Member
    edited July 2018
    I use Windows 7 on my SSDR PC and NEVER have Windows related update issues.  Win 7 is solid and works fine with SSDR and all of the other related software that I use.   We use Win 7 on our club shack PC's for the same reason.

    I highly recommend a PC/laptop running Win 7 dedicated for use with SSDR and related software.  Linux would be nice, but I don't see it coming along anytime soon.

  • K5CGK5CG Danny Member ✭✭
    edited October 2018
    My latest solution is to reinstall Windows 10 new and install everything else except SmartSDR. Then take a disk image of it (Clonezilla anyone?). If there is a windows update or a SmartSDR update that messes up the system or registry, I restore to the previous clean Windows image, let MS update it to the latest, update everything else (fldigi etc.) THEN take another snapshot as a new restore point and then install the latest SmartSDR.

    It would be really great if there was a way to make it into a portable app that doesn't need to be installed.

  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited October 2018
    I think the ideal solution is for Flex to come up with an uninstall program. I am not sure if it is possible but if it were, it would really make a great difference to a lot of its followers.
  • edited March 2020
    I'm guessing a new Win10 laptop would be a fraction of the cost of the radio. I suggest a new i7, with the largest SSD, and the most RAM and graphics memory you can afford.
    Or as my son would say (21st century vernacular): "Dad, don't be a cheapo - just swing for the gaming box dude"
    73 Jim, WQ2H
  • Burch - K4QXXBurch - K4QXX Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Windows 10 is a royal pain.  It's not just SSDR that windows 10 updates break.  I work in IT and I have spent more time this past 2 years fixing Windows 10 issues than I have in the last 25 years fixing OS issues.  It continually breaks software and hardware at the firm I work for.  God forbid if an windows update fails.  When it works, it's a nice operating system but I never had these types of issues using Windows 7.  Unfortunately, Windows 7 end of life is coming up in January of 2020.
    I'm not sure on the home version of windows 10 but at least you can delay windows 10 feature updates on the professional version of 10.  I have done this on my home computers and at least I can schedule the feature updates when I want.
    Burch - K4QXX
  • Bob K8RCBob K8RC Old Guy Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I am wondering out loud if a little habit of mine is the reason I have had absolutely NO problems with SmartSDR on Windows 10:

    For some time now, through Win7-->Win8-->Win8.1-->Win10 on the same machine I ALWAYS uninstall the old version of SmartSDR, including DAX & VSP, before installing a new version of SmartSDR. Now I know, Flex says this is not necessary but I wonder if doing so has prevented the problems that seem to be common in some people's shacks. It's essentially a "clean install" of SmartSDR each time.

    Win10 updates when it wants to here but has never trashed anything on my hamshack machine.

    I do agree that the weak link is the "Windows as a service" business model. The larger "updates" are really loading a new operating system over top of the old one which has never been a good idea. The mechanism that migrates core device drivers has never worked reliably since the first days of WinNT. (Mac & Linux, you are NOT immune to that bugaboo, either) Even when I migrated a machine from Win7 to something higher, I would backup data, then re-format the hard drive for a clean install. 

    The problem of device drivers being trashed is not unique to Flex either. The i7 laptop I am writing this on has its IDT high-performance sound card drivers replaced by generic junk when a major Win10  update occurs.

    Maybe we need to direct our ire toward Satya Nadella and his idiot business plan.
  • Stephen Hawkins NG0GStephen Hawkins NG0G Member ✭✭
    edited October 2018
    My solution was to buy a 6400M.  I left windows about  W98  shifted to Linux and never looked back. I put off buying a Flex until the M versions just because of Windows. 
  • Bob Gerzoff, WK2YBob Gerzoff, WK2Y Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    My solution has been Windows 10 Pro.   It allows me to postpone the major updates (e.g., from 1709 to 1803) for up to a year.  These seem to be the ones that cause issues. Doing so does not prevent the security updates, and I also have highly rated security software running as well.  (BitDefender).   
    Bob, WK2Y
  • Jim GilliamJim Gilliam Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018

    For those interested in disabling Windows updates see the very informative YouTube video:


    After disabling, you can verse the process just as easily. Takes about one minute to disable updates on Windows 10.

    Jim, K6QE

  • Roger,  W6VZVRoger, W6VZV Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I am new to the Flex community.  My question is whether these Windows update problems are common among users, or is it a rare occurrence or what?  I've only been on my Flex for around 2 months.  No significant issues at all here, and none to do with Windows updates.  Of course 2 months is not a very long time.
    I'll be following this whole issue with interest.  I do not see Linux as any kind of viable alternative; I know that Linux has its devotees, but most hams won't want to have to deal with Linux in order to enjoy a Flex radio.
    de Roger W6VZV
  • N8SDRN8SDR Member
    edited July 2018
    I personally use and prefer Macrium reflect for backing up, give it a look over.
  • John KenneyJohn Kenney Member
    edited July 2018
    WOW.... looks like I hit a nerve <grin>.  Thanks for all of the comments. I usually try to reply individually, but in this case, it would just chew up a lot of bandwidth -- so thanks to all -- it appears misery loves company. I will likely try to dig up an old Win7 install disk at some point. That appears to be the best solution in my situation. I just dread tracking down all the misplaced passwords and install disks I will ned to locate for the 20+ programs I have loaded on Win10 (by the way, it's on a MacBook Pro set up for dual boot with Bootcamp). I have 2-3 other older Windows computers I use for other things, but my MacBook/Win machine is my primary computer. I've found with multiple machines, it's hard for me to remember what is where. Again, thanks for all the comments and suggestions. As always, I've learned something from the group.

    John / WB5NFC
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I know many people want the latest software with all the new wonders if offers, so many jumped onto the Windows 10 wagon and purchased Windows 10 to have the latest, then soon cursed it because of problems with anything using it.

    I use Win 7, I have been for years and I can't remember ever having trouble with my Flex any time. I was using my Flex 3000 with Win 7 then I got a Flex 6500.

    Microsoft has endless resources and man power to make the best software on the planet but Win 10 is a mess and breaks things,,Flex is just one of the the fallen.

    My main work horse computer is Linux, I have no reason to use Windows if it were not for Flex.
  • AA0KMAA0KM Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018

    No alternative but I do like Toyota's built in the Usa but that's for another topic somewhere else. :)

    Forgot on here who the author was sorry for that. (very clever)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Windows 10 Hamradio edition is eagerly anticipated by the ham developers community.

    There are several key enhancements that will appeal to ham radio operators around the world:

    1) Full support for unsigned drivers. Such drivers will be considered trusted until proven otherwise and allowed to run at the kernel level, including with Realtime priority.

    Further, they will be excluded by default from all antivirus/antimalware products.

    2) Full native DOS and Windows 3.11 support. This feature will allow developers to freeze their development efforts to pre-Windows 8 times when all **** broke loose.

    3) Software designated as ham radio will be allowed to run by default as System and have full read/write to all high security areas of the file system.

    4) Windows Update will be permanently deleted from the file system so it is impossible to ever be executed again.

    5) Windows firewall will be disabled by default. The C$ and IPC$ shares will no longer have any ACLs.

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Linux is not perfect, I use Linux Mint, It updates often and never breaks drivers, anything connected to it like the printer, all software are never effected with an update.
    I think a lot of hams would grab onto Linux, it runs and works the same as Windows and there are thousands of software you can install right within the operating system with the software chooser.
    $200.00 for Linux SSDR? I don't know, interesting question.
    Maybe someone should contact the Linux Mint dev and see what they think as a business venture?
  • K5CGK5CG Danny Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    Looks interesting, but I have a dozen virtual servers also that Clonezilla works on, so it would be prohibitively expensive at $275 a pop.
  • AA0KMAA0KM Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018

    "So then you have to figure out how to license it and control your Intellectual Property."  That in itself is no small feat. 

    That says it all for Linux.

  • Jon_KF2EJon_KF2E Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    For those running Windows 7 and recommending it to others, be aware that Windows 7 already passed the date for end of main stream support in 2015. It will reach the end of extended support in January 2020. So, in a year and a half there will be no more security updates making it extremely risky to run it on an open network.

    I personally run Windows 10 and have had very few problems.

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I know there are some that have very little problems with Win 10..but for so may, problems are continuing. What are they doing wrong?
  • AA0KMAA0KM Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018

    Could be some are using win7 computer that went to windows 8 to windows 10 who knows.

    Are some windows 8 to windows 10?

    We don't know the numbers.

    A new computer designed for windows 10 drivers and all might not have issues as much who knows.

    But some report issues on here on the forums and some just  read the forums and work out their bugs on what they find and  fix them selves.

    So no real tally to be made.

  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    So, bottom line? we are going to be at the mercy of Windows for a long time.
    Thankfully there have been people on the community sharing what they know about fixing Windows problems.
    Lets not forget about the countless hours Tim has spent testing Windows 10 and breaking things so as to learn from it.
    I strongly recommend all to read up on Tim's reports and suggestions in fixing known issues after an update. It has helped many.

    May I also suggest not using the community to complain about updates, nothing is likely to change. Just ask a detailed question that relates to your problem and help will follow.
  • Neal Pollack, N6YFMNeal Pollack, N6YFM Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    For all the fuss over Windows 10,  there seems to be a repeat of one common problem after a windows 10 update, and it is documented here;

    It is interesting to me how often this is occurring (due to Microsoft), yet costing both users and FRS
    a lot of time and frustration.   Rather than switch back to an unsupported Windows 7 and become a 
    target for hackers and ID thieves, all you have to do is use the fix at the above link.
    But that fix takes time and a bunch of typing and steps.   I will repeat what I posted previously
    for Flex to consider;

    Tim mentioned that the reason an uninstall/reinstall cycle does not fix it is because MickySoft with their windows update migrated the entries to a new name and created registry entries that the Flex installer did not create.   Hence the Flex installer package did have that list of registry entries to uninstall.

    As someone both cost conscience and also all about customer satisfaction, I still maintain the point 
    I made earlier;   If Flex wants to save money and reduce both user frustration and time spent on 
    support calls, they need to add an optional click-box on the installer package prompt screen that 
    lets the user select "Deep Clean, Re-Install", which will warn the user to backup profiles, then 
    proceed to scan the registry, purge ANY entry with Flex's keywords (This is what Norton 
    Uninstaller/cleaner does), and then after that proceed to reinstall.     With coding, it is very easy to
    match/find the registry entries that MickySoft migrated with their update.   The risk is low in doing that.   The rewards are huge, both financially and customer frustration wise.

    Work Smart, Not Hard.
  • Roger,  W6VZVRoger, W6VZV Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I too have had no real problems (can't remember any) with Win 10.
  • WW1SS - SteveWW1SS - Steve Member ✭✭
    edited April 2020
    Me neither . . . No problems here with Windoze 10

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