Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Microsoft mystery patch KB 3123862 continues to stump the experts. Don’t install it.

    Posted on February 5th, 2016 at 08:01 woody 17 comments

    Fool me once…

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Patch but watch out

    Posted on February 4th, 2016 at 14:38 woody 53 comments

    With Patch Tuesday just around the corner, it’s time to get caught up again. This month, making your machine right is much more difficult than applying all outstanding updates. Here are my recommendations, and I gladly welcome any contrary opinions.

    Vista: Start Internet Explorer and verify (Help > About) that you’re running Internet Explorer 9. Apply all outstanding patches, but DON’T CHECK any update boxes that are unchecked. Run the update. If your fonts turn fuzzy, follow the instructions in KB 3037639. Most of all, be very aware of the fact that extended support for Vista ends on April 11, 2017, so you’re going to be facing the piper before too long.

    Windows 7: The “recommended” upgrade to Win10 is upon us. If you don’t want to upgrade to Win10 right now – there are lots of reasons to hold off – here’s the easy way to get caught up without installing any of the latest dreck.

    Step 1. Run GWX Control Panel and set it to block OS upgrades.

    Step 2. Go into Windows Update (Start > Control Panel > System and Security > under Windows Update, click Check for updates). Click the link that says “XX important updates are available” and only select security updates. In other words, check the boxes next to items that say “Security Update” and UNCHECK the boxes next to items that only say “Update.”

    Update: I haven’t had any problem with “important” non-security Office updates. If you encounter one, and it’s checked, leave it checked.

    Step 3. Check the box next to “Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2.”  “.NET Framework 4.6.1 update KB3102433” (sorry, my original post had the wrong update!) Susan Bradley figures it’s a good update – previously .NET updates have been wretched, but lately they’ve been alright.

    Step 4. On the left, click the link that says Optional. Uncheck every box that you see. Yes, I’m saying that if a box is checked, uncheck it.

    Step 5. Click OK, then Install updates.

    Step 6. Back in Windows Update, on the left, click the link to Change settings. Make sure “Important Updates” is set to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them,” and uncheck the box next to “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important ones.”

    Step 7. Click OK and reboot.

    Step 8. This one’s important. You need to run GWX Control Panel again. That’ll ensure Microsoft didn’t install anything untoward.

    If you haven’t checked recently, crank up Internet Explorer. Don’t use it to go to any sites, but click the gear icon in the upper right corner, choose About Internet Explorer, and verify that you’re on IE 11.

    Windows 8.1: Follow the instructions for Windows 7, but in Step 2 go into Windows Update by right-clicking on the Start icon and choosing Control Panel.

    Windows 10: If you’re using the metered connection trick to block updates, unblock the metered connection long enough to get caught up.

    Everybody: Either watch here on, or follow me on Twitter (@woodyleonhard) to keep up on the latest. The situation’s changing rapidly.

    I’m putting us at MS-DEFCON 3: Patch reliability is unclear, but widespread attacks make patching prudent. Go ahead and patch, but watch out for potential problems.

    My usual boilerplate advice:

    For those of you who are new to this game, keep in mind that… You should always use Windows Update to install patches; downloading and installing individual patches is a clear sign of impending insanity. I always install Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials updates as soon as they’re available – same with spam filter updates. I never install drivers from Windows Update (in the rare case where I can actually see a problem with a driver, I go to the manufacturer’s web site and download it from the original source). If Windows Update has a patch but the box isn’t checked, DON’T CHECK THE BOX. It’s like spitting in the wind. I use Chrome and Firefox, and only pull out IE when I feel very inclined — but even if you don’t use IE, you need to keep up with its patches.

    P.S. Yes, you read that right. I now recommend that you Win7 and 8.1 users only install Security Updates. For many months, almost all of the non-security updates Win7 and 8.1 customers have received are specifically designed to push them to Windows 10, or to increase Microsoft’s ability to snoop on Win7 and 8.1 machines. No thanks.

  • Windows 10 beta build 14257: Solid, stable, and boring

    Posted on February 4th, 2016 at 13:48 woody No comments

    Actually, that’s good news.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • 10 hurdles to Windows 10 adoption

    Posted on February 4th, 2016 at 05:51 woody 4 comments

    Here’s what Microsoft needs to change, before Win10 is really ready for prime time.

    InfoWorld feature

  • Avoid Windows 10 cumulative update KB 3136562

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 at 13:42 woody 2 comments

    At this point, it’s just a bunch of bits – not an update. Even if it’s on Microsoft’s servers.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • KB 3135449 and 3135445 could be useful, but ignore the rest of Microsoft’s batch

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 at 13:40 woody 12 comments

    KB 2952664, 2977759, 2976978 are more of the same-old, same-old.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Details emerge about the ‘Recommended’ Win10 upgrade – and how to prevent it

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 at 08:51 woody 14 comments

    But, once you have it, how do you turn it off?

    Many of your friends and family will be wondering, I bet.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Windows 10 about to become a “recommended” update for Win7/8.1… or maybe not

    Posted on February 2nd, 2016 at 08:01 woody 48 comments

    I haven’t seen any “recommended” Win10 updates. Have you?

    Nothing in the official patch list, KB 894199

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows