Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • Patching Win10 in the real world

    Posted on October 23rd, 2016 at 11:20 woody 6 comments

    Forgive me for ranting.

    I have a half dozen kids over every Sunday morning, for a “learn to code” session. I haul out six computers – a Chromebook, an iPad, Surface Pro 3, a MacBook Pro, a Win7 machine and one more Win10 machine. I don’t use those machines all the time.

    I made a mistake. One of the Win10 machines is set to update automatically. You guessed it. Without any assistance on my part, as I was cranking up other computers, it started upgrading to 1607. The poor kid with that machine had to sit and wait and wait. I finally hauled out an older iPad and got him going.

    The upgrade took almost an hour. And the machine was useless the whole time. But it’s now on 1607.

    GRRRRRR. The Chromebook is still the most reliable PC that I own, followed by the Mac. (iPads are great, but they aren’t PCs – I specifically want to teach the kids how to use a mouse, because their standardized tests use mice.)

  • Preventing the modal “Updates are available” notice in Win10

    Posted on October 23rd, 2016 at 06:14 woody 26 comments


    Some of you are reporting a modal dialog box like this one, appearing on the Windows 10 desktop. (“Modal” means it shows up on the screen, takes over, and you can’t do much of anything unless you click “Get updates.”) You can disable the dialog box by going into Task Manager, but that’s a real pain.

    There’s a discussion on Reddit, one on Superuser, and several more scattered around the web. But nobody seems to have figured it out. I, personally, have never seen the beast.

    Does anybody out there know (1) What causes Windows to show the dialog box and (2) How to prevent the dialog box, both for Home and Pro?

  • What’s the latest for speeding up Windows 7 scans?

    Posted on October 21st, 2016 at 16:16 woody 81 comments

    We’ve had a whole lot of water under the bridge these past few weeks. Where do we stand on Win7 update scan speedups?

    The game’s going to change after this month’s updates – Group A won’t have to worry about scan times, Group B will be going to the Update Catalog directly. But for now the scan problem persists.

    What say ye, oh wise ones?

    UPDATE: Canadian Tech has just posted a new thread on the Microsoft Answers forum. It explains what you can do if the straightforward patching methods mentioned here don’t speed up the Win7 scan for updates. Good reading – but difficult.

  • Confusion abounds in the new Windows/Office patch rollup-only world

    Posted on October 21st, 2016 at 07:20 woody 79 comments

    What happens when a  bundled update has a bug in it?

    Easy question. Not an easy answer.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

  • Microsoft’s shares hit an all-time high

    Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 19:39 woody 36 comments

    It’s hard to knock success.

    Wall Street Journal.

  • Is Microsoft now fixing security patch bugs with non-security patches?

    Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 15:55 woody 129 comments

    For those of you who want to stay in “Group B,” this is a big deal.

    There’s a bug in MS16-087, the July security patch “Security update for Windows print spooler components: July 12, 2016 ”

    The nature of the bug is documented in the KB article, but in some situations the bug triggers false warnings about bad printer drivers.

    Turn to the description for KB 3192403, the Monthly Rollup Preview. That’s the “C” Tuesday preview just released, which will become part of the non-security section of next month’s Monthly Rollup. (I know, it’s ridiculously complicated. I have an article coming in InfoWorld with some explanations momentarily.)

    Here’s the part that surprised me. According to the docs, this Preview:

    “Addressed issue that prevents pushed-printer connections and printer connections from trusted servers from being installed in Point and Print scenarios after installing MS16-087. ”

    That sure looks like a non-security patch fixing a bug in a security patch.

    Anybody known any of the details about this one?

    UPDATE: Martin Brinkmann has an excellent overview on ghacks.

  • The AskWoody ads should be clean now

    Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 11:47 woody 55 comments

    If you ever see an ad on this site for a product/service/site that’s unsavory, email me immediately, please!

    My ad broker has been very responsive. I think the ads are OK now, but I’m counting on all of you to tell me if something goes off the rails. If you see a bad ad, I need the URL that it points to – the web address. That’s how they’re filtered.

    Thanks, everybody.

    (NOTE: Some programs like Privacy Badger take exception to a couple of links on the page. Firefox even has a cross-site scripting setting that may make the ads appear as raw HTML gibberish. See the comments for details.)

  • At the mercy of AI: Your job, your health, your money

    Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 07:48 woody 27 comments

    If you’re concerned about personal privacy – and you should be – this article will take you back a step and look at a bigger picture.

    The focus on loss of privacy from Watson, Cortana, Google, Facebook, DeepMind, and Siri risks us missing an even greater threat

    Scary. I really do think the proposed kind of data oversight and regulation will be one of the big battlefields of the coming decade. The credit reporting agencies got a free ride for far too long (don’t get me started). We need to put the same type of assurances in place for all data collection, if it’s used to categorize/vet/pigeon-hole people.

    InfoWorld Galen Gruman’s Smart User