Microsoft's Masochism

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by biorpg, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. biorpg

    biorpg MDL Novice

    Jul 18, 2010
    #1 biorpg, Sep 10, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    Disjointed, unimportant rambling follows... I wouldn't read it (You can go to the bold TL,DR if you..sigh... "Shut up, Me. Just shut up."):

    Earlier this morning I found myself bouncing back and forth between DuckDuckGo,, Google, and back to in a frustrating attempt to find a complete reference to all of the possible policy settings one can set within the registry key:
    My interest in a comprehensive list of the key's values came after my 'umteenth' revision to a script for remapping my server machine's network drives on my workstation - one of those battles that creates a sense of hostility coming from the operating system, as one variation of the script would work for days on end, and then suddenly the drives will map for console access, but not in explorer or vise-versa, if they mapped at all.
    This time I decided to try a powershell script rather than a batch script, so I helped myself to some copy-pasta from what appeared to be the most agreed-upon answer to a related StackOverflow question.
    Unsurprisingly, despite the comments regarding the powershell commands used, as well as the command's own help file had stated, using the "-Persist" option did not cause the drives to map in Explorer; they only mapped within the console.
    So I searched for further documentation on New-Object in relation to MapNetworkDrive, and am rewarded with one of those Microsoft KB articles that tells you exactly how to solve the problem you're having, and why you're having it, and knows what you've already tried and so tells you why that didn't work. You know, one of those KB articles.

    I promptly added the registry entry and export it for inclusion in the registry settings I set after reinstalling Windows. Now, rather than resume the task that had been interrupted by the malfunctioning drive mappings, I decided to take the moment to learn about any other possibly useful entries for this key.

    Searching "EnableLinkedConnections" alone simply returned a couple very similar articles from, and many more from third parties quoting or linking to those articles.

    Searching "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System" returns articles for the entries that already exist by default and have easy to find, nearly identical names within Group Policy.

    So, a moment of thought about how Microsoft's reference pages are laid out, and I remove the slashes, and include a few of the key's values that I feel are the most unrelated to eachother and search "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Policies System EnableLinkedConnections ValidateAdminCodeSignatures scforceoption". Well, the search engine omits "EnableLinkedConnections" from the results because it doesn't appear on any 'credible' page alongside the other possible values.

    Just to be sure, I search: "intext:EnableLinkedConnections AND intext:ValidateAdminCodeSignatures AND intext:scforceoption". Interestingly enough, this had 30-something results, but none from Microsoft or even a third party expert site. All 30+ results were either complete registry dumps pertaining to malware analysis, or an equally long system config script produced by some French software.

    I then try searching a few different combinations of valid values for the key until I find what seems to be the most complete reference page for UAC policy settings in the registry. This page suggests reviewing the Windows 2000 reference documents for more information. I give up on the little quest, and call the single problem-solving registry value gleaned a small win.

    For a mental break from the technical over-thinking of everything, I search one more time: "has Microsoft fallen to corporate amnesia?". Google refuses to show me any instances of the term in the same sentence as Microsoft, but an article catches my interest regardless.

    TL,DR-start here

    After reading this rather lengthy article, I find myself enlightened on a couple facts. First, was that perhaps Apple stole more of the iPhone from Microsoft than it did from Nokia. The second regards the workplace drama that explains Microsoft's post-Millennium masochism. I also find my notions of Microsoft possessing very precise evil plans veiled in mediocrity now quite invalidated.

    The article explains how the dot-com crash followed by the poor management skills possessed by the early development teams and system engineers-turned department leads through seniority had ended an era of Microsoft making its employees rich through its stock sharing that had also been driving the company's capital gains due to the fact that that situation made working together toward greater goals as fast as possible the most profitable option for the employees themselves.
    Apparantly, once Microsoft's stock had fallen to half of it's former glory, its policies changed for new hires, while the seniority retained the wealth they had accrued, albeit diminished relative to the stock's value.
    So here you have the teaming hordes of IT geeks and computer systems engineers who had pursued careers at Microsoft in hopes of great wealth now working for a more standard level of compensation. So, with their dreams of riches in shambles, they go to work trying to pull Microsoft out of the gutter, but their efforts are subverted by the remaining senior employees who are still pretty damn rich, but unwilling to take on any projects that could risk detracting from their flagship operating system and software. And I will (reluctantly) tell you from experience that employees that are paid "too much" will become quite complacent and suffer the loss of their drive as a result of financial success.

    At this point in the article, I can almost feel the day-to-day drain on the lower-tier Microsoft employees' ambitions and motivation. So the article then reveals something even worse as Microsoft adopts a management system called “stack ranking:

    Learning of this, I find a lot of what I've observed of Microsoft now making a lot of sense. How all those support questions and answers always seem to have a single Microsoft employee's attention which is generally half copy-pasta and half their own thoughts; they do quite generally come off as 'individuals' rather than co-workers. Even when more than one happens to give a response, they won't directly interact with the other rep.
    More interestingly though, I feel this could also be the reason we're occasionally thrown an otherwise undocumented bone; perhaps in spite of company policies. Like the one I was thrown near the beginning of the Windows 10 tech preview in the form of a registry value to add to a relatively 'shallow' key that didn't require any data to be assigned to it, but allowed for the built-in administrator to access UWP apps such as Settings and the Store without needing to subject the account to UAC elevation prompts.

    The registry entry that accomplished this has long since vanished from my memory, as I had only entered it once.
  2. MrMagic

    MrMagic MDL Guru

    Feb 13, 2012
    TL;DR is too long, needs a "TL;DR the TL;DR"
  3. Mr.X

    Mr.X MDL Guru

    Jul 14, 2013
  4. John Sutherland

    John Sutherland MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2014
    Hello @biorpg - Thanks for posting the link to the Vanity Fair article about Steve Ballmer's negative effect on Microsoft during his tenure. I particularly liked the analogy the author made between the decades long decline of Sears in the retail sector and what's been happening at Microsoft in recent years. I think that given what we've witnessed in the last 10 years, like the massive layoffs (~30,000) and the complete failure of some of their product lines (e.g. tablets and phones), it could be a sign of the beginning of the end for Microsoft maintaining it's position as a leader in the tech industry. Over the last 10 years there has been a shift away from traditional desktops/laptops, with people opting to use smart phones and tablets instead. Initially Microsoft failed to recognize this trend and later on failed miserably in trying to play catch up with likes of the iPhone, the iPad, and the wide array of Android-based devices. In my opinion, there are only two things keeping them going: 1.) The superiority and widespread acceptance of their range of business software, like Office, Excel, and so on. 2.) Their complete lock on the OEM's (HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc.) for providing Windows as the de facto operating system on all of their products. I think if they lost their grip in either of these two areas, things would go south for them even more quickly.
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  5. Tiger-1

    Tiger-1 MDL Guru

    Oct 18, 2014
    @ John very good post dude :)
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  6. biorpg

    biorpg MDL Novice

    Jul 18, 2010
    Here's another good article:

    After reading that, I wondered what that $150m investment should be worth today. Luckily, shortly after I began going about it the long way with market values and a couple maths, I found this:

    A direct conversion for Microsoft's $150m investment is $17.6b, but the stockwatch covers an investment made in 1996, while in 1997 Apple's stock was even lower.
    This article probably has closer estimate:

    Though, reading that revealed that it's all for naught, as Microsoft sold off the last of their Apple shares back in 2003.

    Do you think if Microsoft were facing bankruptcy today, that Apple would return the favor?
    If we were to compare how much of an investment $150m for Microsoft to make was back in 1997 relative to their assets OR market cap., an equal favor from Apple today would be:

    $947m if proportional to Microsoft's 1997 market cap.
    $4.92b if proportional to Microsoft's total assets in 1997.

    Either way, the answer is no. Apple would gladly sit and watch Microsoft fizzle all the way out, making sure to spit upon the last dying ember for that satisfying "sizzling" sound.
    Shortly after we would probably hear it claiming to have originally created Office and Visual Studio, and how it will only be available on MacOS.

    Lastly, this one shows that the investment was pretty much strong-armed from Microsoft in Apple's typical fashion of wielding law outside of court.
  7. R29k

    R29k MDL GLaDOS

    Feb 13, 2011
    None of you know what you're talking about. The future of Microsoft is in good hands, if they are going to go bankrupt they can switch to designing curtains.
  8. Joe C

    Joe C MDL Guru

    Jan 12, 2012
    Microsoft has moved from being the kind of corp that wanted to help you and make us more productive. Today that is now turned into an iron fist rule, You Must Get 10!! And you will like it cuz we say so, for the few times I have used 10, it feels like it wants to fight with you to do anything
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  9. So true. Sad, but true. I guess when you reach the top, and have monopoly over a product or service, you start to develop this sense of invincibility and arrogance.