Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • PowerShell problems with KB 3176934, the new Win10 v 1607 build 14393.82

    Posted on August 24th, 2016 at 08:13 woody 13 comments

    Don’t these people even talk to each other?

    Right hand, meet left hand.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Language Pack slowdown with Windows 7

    Posted on August 23rd, 2016 at 17:10 woody 14 comments

    Good note from ch100:

    On Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise, there are currently 34 Language Packs on offer as Optional Updates. I’ve often made the claim that for simplicity and for the added features, all Recommended and Optional updates should be installed in addition to the Important updates which I consider mandatory for a fully supported Operating System.

    That said, I believe Language Packs should not be installed unless there is a need for them as they slow down the system.

    This in detail explanation is based on Windows Vista, but applies to a large extent to Windows 7.

    The Technet article claims that “Microsoft recommends that you do not install more than ten language packs at a time.”

    More technical details based on Windows 7 here

    This blog instead claims “NOTE:  We recommend that you have no more than 3-5 language packs installed on any one Windows installation unless you have to have them installed.”

    In my experience, even 2 Language Packs (the main one which is installed with the system plus one additional) can slow down the system significantly, so do not install if not needed.

  • Microsoft releases KB 3176934, bring Win10 Anniversary Update to build 14393.82

    Posted on August 23rd, 2016 at 13:52 woody 8 comments

    Details in the morning, in InfoWorld.

    This has been a dicey one, with two different versions in the Release Preview ring.

    KB article

    Win10 update history

  • Win10 Anniversary Update woes: ‘freeze’ issue thawing, but BitLocker problems emerge

    Posted on August 19th, 2016 at 08:11 woody 48 comments

    I still say it’s best to hold off on installing the Anniversary Update, version 1607.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    Brad Sams: Microsoft Has Broken Millions Of Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update on

    Peter Bright: Windows 10 Anniversary Update breaks most webcams on Ars Technica

    Ed Bott took the “freeze fixer” – the Self-Healing Tool – to task. It’s old, ineffective, and not recommended by Microsoft. I have no idea who at MS gave the link to Mazzetti, but he was bamboozled. Ed’s article on ZDNet.

    I’ve been saying it since Aug. 4: The Anniversary Update isn’t ready for prime time.


  • Which patches to patch?

    Posted on August 19th, 2016 at 04:58 woody 59 comments

    Good question from GT:

    You’ve written that even when on Defcon-2, we should still download the malicious software removal tool; however, it won’t download to my Win7 system..

    Also, I’ve previously downloaded the 52MB security update to IE 11 but I nevertheless see it again, checked.

    I’m ready to abandon IE in favor of Firefox; but Norton Identity Safe doesn’t work with FF despite showing it as an enabled add-on. I’m reluctant to use Chrome for privacy reasons.

    Please advise if ever you have a spare moment.

    Yep, we’re at MS-DEFCON 2, which means I don’t think there’s any reason to install the current round of patches.

    The neat thing about the MSRT and Windows Defender updates is that you don’t need to run them. Don’t even need to think about them. They take care of themselves.

    Not sure why IE 11 is showing you the update again, but it probably didn’t get installed the last time. Stop using IE, and don’t worry about it. You need to update it sooner or later, but there’s no sense even thinking about it right now.

    Move to Firefox. Dump Norton. I understand why you don’t want to use Chrome – it’s a valid concern. Firefox is great. If Norton doesn’t work with Firefox, give Norton the heave-ho. It’s an expensive, problem-prone package that has very few benefits. You may have problems uninstalling it. If you do, drop back here.

    I recommend the free (absolutely free) Microsoft Security Essentials, and I’ve recommended it for many years. Antivirus has become less and less relevant. MSE might not be the highest scoring package, but it works fine for just about everybody. If you’re carrying nuclear detonation codes, it’s another story, but for most people, MSE does the job, does it well, and doesn’t beg you for money.

  • Win10 Anniversary Update bug turns into “Turn off Cortana” feature

    Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 10:31 woody 41 comments

    Remember when we were talking a couple of weeks ago about the bug in the Win10 Anniversary Update that kills Cortana?

    Ends up that our idle speculation was correct – the registry setting that triggered the bug does, in fact, disable Cortana.

    NetDef posted the original hack (although he fingered BingSearchEnabled as the key, uh, key).

    Ed Bott just posted the definitive answer on ZDNet. In Win10 Anniversary Update, if you set HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\AllowCortana to 0, Cortana disappears. Symptoms are the same as the ones I describe in my InfoWorld bug post from two weeks ago.

    If it were anyone but Ed, I’d approach the tip with caution — there are lots of hacks that end up breaking things. But Ed has the eyes and ears of the Dev team behind him. Count on this being a good hack. For now, anyway.

  • A peek at the future of Win7/8.1 patching with KB 3177723, 3179573, and 3179574

    Posted on August 17th, 2016 at 08:05 woody 49 comments

    There may be some hope that the October changes will help.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Undocumented patches KB 3177723, KB 3179573 and KB 3179574 just appeared

    Posted on August 16th, 2016 at 12:54 woody 84 comments

    KB 3177723 is an “Important, High Priority, Non-Security, Update Rollup” for Win7, Win8.1, and a massive bunch of other versions (Windows RT 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Embedded 8 Standard, Windows Server 2012, Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Embedded)

    KB 3179573 and 3179574 seem to be the Win7 and Win8.1 versions, respectively, of an optional non-security patch.

    Thanks to Abbodi for the pointer… these are documented in a new format, which mimics the Windows 10 update notification format – and thus is likely to persist after October.

    KB 3179573 is documented on the new Windows 7 update history page. (“Last Review: Aug 10, 2016 – Revision: 20”) Looks like it includes a fix for an earlier bad patch, KB 3161561.

    KB 3179574 is documented on the new Windows 8.1 update history page. (“Last Review: Aug 10, 2016 – Revision: 32”) Lots of changes including, apparently, three fixes for earlier bad patches.

    I still see no information for KB 3177723.