How to Pause Stalled Windows 10 Updates

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m almost ready to abandon Windows as my primary  operating system. ‘Been using Linux (Mint, Cinnamon 18) on a second computer here in the office for a year or so now, and it does almost everything I need, and without the hassles. 

One of my biggest frustrations with Windows 10 continues to be its update delivery system. Yesterday, for example, my main system chose first thing Monday morning to try downloading the big 1709 update. Of all the times it’d could’ve tried to do that, my busiest few hours of an average week! And this happens a lot. 

Out here in the boonies our DSL is s-l-o-w, and when an update is trying to download in the background, it slows everything else down (to what feels like dial-up levels! Remember dial-up, anyone?) And Windows 10 provides no easy way to pause downloads in “settings” directly. 

Thankfully, a bit of research found the following method for at least pausing it to get some work done, and I thought maybe you’d find it as useful as I have. 

To pause a “hung up” or untimely update until later, follow these steps:

Right-click the Start Menu and select Command Prompt (Right-click and “run as Administrator”. I keep a shortcut to the CP on my desktop for this now).

Enter “net stop wuauserv” (don’t include the quotes with any of these)
Enter “net stop bits” 
Enter “net stop dosvc”
Close the Command Prompt window. (typing “exit” and “enter” will do that quickly)
Each command may take a few seconds to complete.

To reverse the process and resume downloads later, follow these steps:

Right-click the Start Menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).
Enter “net start wuauserv” (again, without the quotes)
Enter “net start bits”
Enter “net start dosvc”
Close the Command Prompt window.

That’s been working for me so I can at least get some work done. I left this machine running all night, hoping it would finish updating before I needed it again this morning. Nope. Still hung up at 18% this morning, so I ran the above commands again to pause it. Ugh. 

Come on, Microsoft, you’ve got to do better than this! 

Hope that’s of some help.  God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

Wise men still seek Him
Acts 4:12

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How to Make Your Own Penetrating Oil for Stubborn, Rusted Fasteners

Just a quick tip today: 

I’ve tried just about every penetrating oil, rust-buster, liquid wrench, Kroil, etc, over the years, but always end up coming back to my home made stuff. 

I just broke loose a pair of really rusted-on little 1/4″ hex toaster element nuts in an early 1950’s Sunbeam this afternoon, and it reminded me that I haven’t shared this with you yet. ‘Been meaning to for a while. 

Most old geezers like me already know this trick because it’s been around for years, but it works better than any of the commercial stuff I’ve tried. 

Just mix automotive automatic transmission fluid (ATF) 50:50 with ordinary Acetone (both are available at auto parts stores) and shake it well. Wet any rusted, “frozen” bolts or nuts with it for a while (preferably overnight) and I think you’ll be happy with the results. In the case of this old toaster, it only took about 15 minutes for this stuff to do its work. 

I keep a half-dozen of these 2 ounce needle-oiler bottles on my work bench, and one of them is always filled with this super-handy solution. 

Anyway, that’s it for today – short and sweet! Thanks for stopping by! 

God bless you and yours in 2018, 

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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Finding Uses for All Those Ash Trees

Hi Guys, 

So I’ve been felling and processing our dying Ash trees here just as fast as one person can. The woodshed’s stacked with about 3 years worth of the stuff, and I have piles of 54″ logs in the woods, with about 80 more trees to fell. 

‘Been trying to come up with uses for all of it, and the other day when I was about to order some more plastic felling wedges, had a thought. This doesn’t happen too often at my age, so I pay attention. 😉 

Why not make a simple jig and try cutting my own wedges out of last years’s Ash? I’d milled and stickered a few boards last summer with the chainsaw mill (you use a few wedges in that process, too), and those boards have dried and are very hard now. So that’s what I thought I’d tell you about. 

In the photo below is a crude and simple bandsaw jig I made (be kind – I’m no carpenter!) from a 2×4 to cut roughly 3×6 wedges, and it actually works pretty well. I didn’t plane them smooth because leaving them rough should help them grip better in the kerf.

Home-made Ash felling wedges and jig

I have yet to try these out, but once our current “polar vortex” moves through here, hopefully by next week, hope to get back to the woodlot (I’m a “fair weather lumberjack”, haha). 

I’ll keep you posted on how well they work. My only concern is that they might split easily when whacked hard. They are Ash, after all. We’ll see. 

Let me know if you’ve ever tried this, and also if you’ve come up with any good uses for Ash logs and/or lumber. I plan on seasoning some long splits to keep on hand for handles, etc. 

PS – On another note, I mentioned PCP air rifles last time, and continue to be just amazed by what modern ones can do. I’ve put 19 Gray Squirrels in the freezer with mine so far, and the Benjamin Marauder .22 is especially impressive. I had no idea they could be so powerful and accurate. 

God bless you and yours, and have a Great CHRISTmas! 

Dave Harnish

Wise men still seek Him
Acts 4:12


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Need to Clean Your Rifle? Got a Weedwacker?

I’ve been shooting and enjoying air rifles of the PCP (“Pre-Charged Pneumatic”) variety since I last talked to you, and they’re amazing. They can be tough to clean with conventional cleaning rods or cables, though. 

Their accuracy is incredible, but like a firearm, it suffers if you allow the barrel to get too dirty. I struggled trying to clean mine before I discovered this little trick. Now I use it to clean firearms, too. 

A piece of .080″ plastic string trimmer line long enough to reach all the way through the barrel and a few home-made cotton patches are all you need. Dry patches are used with air rifles, with no solvent recommended.  Materials for this are as close to free as it gets! 

Using a hot surface like a heated roofing nail head, etc (I use a “styrofoam cutter” blade in a soldering gun), flatten one end of the string a bit, so it still fits through the barrel. My rifles are .22’s, and the .080″ line works great for them. I normally use the square trimmer line to actually trim with, but still have lots of the old round stuff on hand. 

Sharpen the other end of the string with a sharp knife, and you’re done! Coil it up and slip it into a small plastic bag along with few patches and you can carry it in the field. I cut my .22 patches about 1″ square, but that depends on the material thickness. You’ll want to experiment with that, or if you’re not as “tight” as me 😉 , just buy patches sized for .22 cal. 

“Weedwacker” line rifle cleaning kit

To use, poke the sharp end of the line through the center of a patch, slide the patch to the flat end, then feed the sharp end into the bore from the action end. If your rifle’s suppressed, insert a soda straw into the suppressor to guide the string through it without hitting the baffles. When the sharp end appears at the muzzle (or end of the straw), pull it on through and check the patch. Repeat until the patches come out clean. 

Note: I had to experiment a bit with different diameter straws to get the right size for my suppressed rifles. 

I’m loving this cleaning method, and will be experimenting more with it. I normally buy trimmer line in big spools, so it’s practically free to use for this. Way less money than anything sold for the purpose, and it works better than any of the pull-through kits I’ve ever bought!

Try it! And please let me know how it works out for you, any improvements you’ve made to the process, etc. 

Until next time (and who knows when THAT will be! 😉 ), God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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How to Remove Those Microwave Magnets

Hi All! 

Last time, we talked about the two extremely handy ceramic magnets in every microwave oven’s magnetron. This time I’d like to quickly run through the simple procedure for removing them. 

Mags are bolted to the wave guide with screws or bolts (usually 4). The one in the photo below is a little unusual, as it used 3 mounting bolts. Here’s the magnetron assembly pulled out of the old microwave oven, a Panasonic, I believe: 

(Click on a photo to see a bigger view)

A Magnetron assembly

The hardest part, getting it out of the oven, is done! Once you’re to this stage, put on a pair of work gloves and use wire cutters to pry the 4 retainers from the corners, then pull off the top plate: 

Taking a Magnetron Apart

Once all 4 tabs are bent back, the top plate will pull off. You may have to spread the sides a bit with two pairs of pliers to get it to clear. Don’t be shy, just yank on it; there’s nothing in the Mag that can hurt you – no radiation, no electrical charge, none of that. Just sharp edges of sheet metal to watch out for. 

With the top plate off, there’s often a big washer crimped on top of the upper magnet. Once that’s off, just grab the cooling fins and pull the mag “guts” out of the case, stretching the two wires right along out with it. Cut those off, and you’ll have the mag tube, magnets, and fins, in your hand. Here are the various pieces laid out: 

The Dissected Magnetron 

Pull each magnet out and scrap the rest. Be careful when the magnets get close together; they can pinch your fingers, and they break easily (the magnets, not the fingers!) 

That’s all there is to it! ‘Wish I could list all the things we use these magnets for around our place, but they have so many uses I wouldn’t know where to start. 

Just because it’s interesting, here’s what an actual Magnetron tube looks like without its cooling fins: 

A “Naked” Magnetron Tube

It’s simply a vacuum tube, like those used in old radios and TV’s, but in a thick metal case instead of a clear glass tube. If you hacksaw it open, you’ll find chambers inside, sized to produce waves of  around 2450 MHz (2.4GHz – the same as most WiFi, interestingly enough). 

PS – If you still have the microwave oven cabinet, ground it and it becomes a Faraday cage. Anything you put inside will be protected from EMP weapons and solar flares. I’ve had one for years, with a small shortwave radio, walkie-talkie, extra batteries, etc, inside. (One of my favorite sayings has become “hey, ya never know!”) 

Hope that’s helpful! 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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Before You Scrap a Microwave Oven… (Free Magnets!)

Hi Guys! Again I have to apologize for my long absence here! If this continues, I’ll have to change this blog’s name to something like “Things I learned LAST YEAR”, or something! (As Martin Luther used to say, “Busyness isn’t *of* the devil, it IS the devil”) 

I hope you’ll forgive me for taking so long between posts. ‘Need to do better at keeping up with this project. Someone told me once that “semi-retirement” would make life so relaxed and slower-paced. Um, uh-huh. 

Anyway, here’s another tip that came to mind recently, and even though it certainly isn’t new this week, it’s been a very handy one for us over the years. 

Every microwave oven’s magnetron – the copper vacuum tube that generates the actual microwaves that heat our food – has two big round ceramic magnets inside. They provide the magnetic field that rotates the waves, directing them in a set of tuned cavities, then out the tube’s antenna and down a wave guide and into the oven. That’s a simple country boy’s description of the process, anyway. 

I repaired a LOT of microwave ovens over the last 40 years or so, and whenever scrapping a magnetron, always saved its two magnets, and they are a super handy item to have around. 

A Few Microwave Magnetron Magnets

Around here we use them for all kinds of jobs, like quickly fastening tarps over machinery outside, hanging paperwork on steel bulletin boards and refrigerators, hanging up tools, magnetizing screwdrivers, and dozens more. 

So the next time you see a trashed microwave, or before you scrap one, open it up and grab the magnets from the mag.  I’ll talk more about specifically how to take them out in another post (and you’ll find YouTube videos, etc, on the subject) but they’re easy to remove, and the job is quick and safe to do. 

A couple things about handling them: although not as insanely powerful as neodymium magnets, they’re strong enough to painfully pinch a finger if you catch one between them. And because they’re ceramic, they’re very brittle, so dropping or hitting one with a hard object one will break or chip it. 

But I know you’ll find tons of uses for them just like we have, and you can’t beat the price of a pair of them! 

Hope that’s helpful! A very happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms! 

God bless you and yours, 
Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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What’s That Bump” in the Night? Just Your Toilet Paper Roll…

OK, so it’s probably just me, but I’m wondering if any of you are bugged by this:

The last few times we bought toilet tissue (the “squeezably soft” name brand stuff my Lovely prefers), I’ve noticed the cardboard cores inside each roll have become really, really thin. They arrive smashed, with many of them twisted and wrinkled beyond anything even close to “round”. While surely not the most pressing thing in modern life, this is one of those little irritations that just bugs a mechanical type like me.

When one of these rolls is installed in our library’s dispenser and you pull on the paper’s end, instead of spooling off smoothly like it’s supposed to, that crushed core makes it thump, jump, and bang all over the place. 

After putting up with it for a month or two, thinking maybe we just got one bad batch of this stuff, I’ve noticed that nearly every roll we buy has this problem (the rolls  aren’t as wide as they used to be, either, but that’s another subject). 

One of the offenders, with the fix beside it

Anyway, as with most of life’s little glitches, the fix is simple. Cut a 4″ piece of standard 1-1/2″ plastic sink tailpiece and insert it into the roll’s core. Quiets things right down and everyone sleeps better. 

(Just remember to save and re-use the plastic tube when changing the roll) 

Hope that’s helpful to the one other person on the planet that it bothers. 😉 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

John 14:6 KJV



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It’s Been a While!

Hi guys, 

I apologize – it’s been a LONG time since I posted anything here. We lost our yellow lab Gracie, my ever-present “sidekick” and 2nd love of my life, back in late March 2016, and it just took all the wind out of my sails for a while. 

We finally got another puppy back in October, nearly 6 months old already. She’s becoming a fine dog, but I’m only now coming back up to speed with things around here. 

RIP Gracie 10/10/07 – 3/28/16
(She packed a lot of love into that little dash!) 

Thanks for your patience. Talk to you again soon! Happy Valentine’s Day! 

God bless you and yours,  

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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Rainwater Getting Inside Your Car? Have a Sunroof?

Here’s one I recently learned in the “school of hard knocks”: car sunroofs have rain gutters and downspouts! 

I’d never thought about how a sunroof handles rain until our older Toyota Camry suddenly started getting a wet spot on the driver’s side floor whenever it rained hard. We couldn’t figure out where the water was coming from until a local mechanic clued us in on the fact that sunroofs don’t have water-tight seals around them. 

Rainwater is allowed to just run in around its edges, gets collected by a trough system, then drains down through a small tube (“downspout”) and onto the ground under the car. 

Like a frost-free refrigerator’s drain, this system is driven by gravity, and just like in a refrigerator, it takes very little “gunk” to clog it up. In our Toyota, the small plastic tube exits the sunroof area from its left front corner and is routed down through the roof pillar and the body just ahead of the driver’s door. 

In our case, a bit of hot water and compressed air cleared out the the drain tube clog and solved the issue. 

You’ll want to look for that if you ever have water leaking into your sunroof-equipped car and can’t find the source. Live and learn! 

God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln


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Tired of Gas Can Spouts Designed by Bureaucrats Yet?

What have we allowed bureaucrats to do to our gas cans?! Don’t know if you’ve bought a new can lately, but if you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Evidently someone completely out of touch with the way things work out here in the real world felt a need to push some feel-good legislation on a slow day, so he or she decided gasoline and diesel fuel cans poured way too easily and had to be “modified”. Seems like the results are always the same when the government starts meddling with things (they cost more and no longer work). 

These new abominations take all day to trickle anything out of them, and half of what does trickle out gets spilled down your pant leg. (If I knew who thought up this obscenely dumb idea, I’d mail them a box full of these useless pieces of wasted tax dollars.) 

The worthless, spring-loaded design that comes with your new can will look something like this:


After fabricating my own nozzles, usually from copper tubing, I’m thrilled to report that I’ve finally found a solution to the problem, and the gasoline, premix, and diesel cans around our place actually *pour* now.

The fix is called the “Easy Pour” spout kit, and comes with an actual *vent*, a nice flex-spout, adapters to fit the two most common sizes of cans in use, and a couple other useful accessories. Here’s the one gallon can that the above worthless contraption rode home on, but that now actually pours: 



To install the vent, just drill a 1/2″ hole in the top of your can and snap it into the hole. Screw the new spout on, and that’s it; your can will work again. 

I’m really happy to have found this useful kit, and try to keep a couple of spares on hand here.  I’ve told lots of folks about them, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy to learn about them, too. 

They’re inexpensive and available on Ebay and Amazon (although who knows for how long! I’m stocking up!). This link will take you directly to the Ebay search results for them:
(I’ve shortened the LONG Ebay URL to make it easier to handle) 

Happy pouring, and God bless you and Yours,

Dave Harnish

John 14:6 KJV


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