Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • Bryan Roper just laid off

    Posted on January 23rd, 2017 at 16:44 woody No comments

    I can’t believe it. Microsoft’s very best presenter – and one of the best “you won’t beleeeeeeeeive this feature” guys (whether the feature’s worth a cluck or not) – was just laid off.


  • Windows 10 upgrade version timing

    Posted on January 23rd, 2017 at 11:08 woody 11 comments

    Why you may have been upgraded from 1511 to 1607 over the weekend, and what you can do about it.

    Important reading for anyone who wants to take control of forced version upgrades. There are lots of niggling details.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • Problems accessing Time servers on Win 8.1 and Win10 1607

    Posted on January 22nd, 2017 at 07:21 woody 31 comments

    I have a series of messages from CT:

    Have you noticed any problems accessing MS or NIST Time Servers. I run in to this problem here in Calgary, AB, Canada Friday. when I was trying to Upgrade to 15014.

    I usually have my PC’s and NAS on but it always gives a TimeOut error NOW.

    The only one that works MOST of the time is ON W 8.1 & W 10 14393.693 1607 BUT NONE work on W 10 14986 or higher. I have had to change all my Time Sync Sites to keep my Network accessible.

    Flaky ones or don’t work at all: (occasionally) (varies) (has been problematic for years and not recommended even by MS)

    As far as my Upgrade is concerned, ‘Update’ just rolls it’s marbles. NO Progress Bar, nothing more…… I am starting to wonder if this is the Time Sync Problem????

    Anything that you can add would be much appreciated.

    We went through the usual Time Sync solutions, and nothing worked. Sure enough, the Internet Time Settings dialog shows “An error occurred getting the status of the last synchronization. Access is denied.”

    Any suggestions?

  • Is Microsoft preparing a new “Get Windows 10” campaign?

    Posted on January 21st, 2017 at 13:40 woody 101 comments

    With Win10 adoption stalled, recent events have me wondering if we could see a resuscitation of the much-maligned GWX effort. In case you’ve forgotten, “Get Windows 10” or GWX is what Microsoft called its year-long malware assault on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines, trying, tricking and in some cases forcing folks to move to Windows 10.

    Several recent developments have me wondering if Microsoft’s poised to do it again. Certainly, nobody in charge would repeat the boneheaded mistakes of the original GWX – especially with Joe Belfiore now charged with making money from Windows 10. (Protip: Joe’s much too savvy to run something as stupid as GWX.)

    Consider what’s happened since Microsoft rescinded its free Windows 10 upgrade offer six months ago:

    Upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 is both easy and free. Still. Ed Bott wrote about that two weeks ago – complete with a blueprint for upgrading. While Ed doesn’t speak for Microsoft, his articles are examined in detail by many people inside Microsoft. If there were any lapses in that article, we would’ve heard about it by now. Bottom line: A nod and a wink, and you can upgrade to Win10 for free. If you really want to.

    Microsoft’s pushing driver updates to make it easier to upgrade from Win7 or Win8.1 to Win10. That was the source of the “INTEL – System – 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM –” driver problem – and many other weird drivers – that have gone out via Windows Update over the past month.

    Microsoft just made upgrading free for enterprise customers who have subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider program. Here’s the most important part of the free CSP upgrade, explained in the official description:

    The Windows 10 upgrade licenses issued as part of this process are perpetual and associated with the device. This means the license will not expire or be revoked if the customer chooses to end their Windows cloud subscription in the CSP program.

    It looks like the Creators Update is going to give Win10 Pro (and maybe Win10 Home) customers the ability to “Pause updates” for 35 days. If that comes true, one of the major objections to Windows 10 will melt away. Forced updating is a huge issue among the people I know – for good reason. Microsoft has a horrible record of botching security patches (and non-security patches, too).

    It looks like the Creators Update will have additional controls over Microsoft’s snooping. I’m not at all convinced the additional controls will do much to allay the fears of those who don’t trust Microsoft’s ability and willingness to play fair with gathered data (and, no, this isn’t privacy FUD). But it looks like the concessions are genuine, and Myerson’s privacy manifesto certainly represents a step in the right direction.

    So I’m going out on a limb here, but I’ll make a prediction: I bet sometime in the next few months, Microsoft will re-institute its “Get Windows 10” free upgrade program. This time, I bet there’s a whole lot more carrot and a whole lot less stick.

  • Lost Windows 7 key after forced Win10 upgrade

    Posted on January 21st, 2017 at 11:28 woody 36 comments

    Interesting question from KP:

    First of all, thanks for your Web site, it is my go-to site for all the latest Microsoft update shenanigans. My 80 year old father bought a HP PC from a guy who buys PC’s by the pallet from companies that are doing mass PC upgrades. This would be sometime in late 2015. It had been originally purchased with XP (XP OEM sticker on case) but had been upgraded to Win7 by the company prior to them replacing them.

    After about a year of perfect performance, my dad started getting the GWX message. I had not had the opportunity to load the GWX control panel tool. Long story short, He has a habit of leaving his PC running 24×7 and one morning he went into his office and winX had been installed on his machine. He was able to carefully navigate to the part of the screen where he could remove the winX and restore his Win7 OS. He told me later that the process took several hours to reinstall Win7. After the process, he had Win7 back but started getting the dreaded “this is not an official version of Windows 7” message. I used Belarc to try and recover a key that may be on his machine but all I get is an xxx-OEM-xxx key. When trying to reactivate, I used the same key shown by Belarc and still get the same “not official” key.

    This PC was running Win7 flawlessly for a year prior to the WinX upgrade attempt. Do you have any thoughts/advice on how we can straighten this out?

  • Win10 machines with 1607 upgrade hidden are getting upgraded

    Posted on January 20th, 2017 at 07:59 woody 125 comments

    I’ve seen several reports now. Will keep you posted.

    Microsoft officially released the v 1607 “CBB” bits yesterday. According to @teroalhonnen, the build being distributed is 14393.447, which is the Nov. 8 2016 version of v 1607, including KB 3200970.

    I can understand why having the 14393.447 build available could trigger hidden 1607 upgrades to become unhidden. After all, that’s what happens with earlier versions of Windows – when a new version of a patch rolls out, it’s usually automatically taken off the hidden list.

    But this is the first time I’ve seen it for Win10, and it seems disconcerting that folks who have intentionally hidden the 1607 upgrade are now getting it installed silently – on both Win10 Home and Win10 Pro machines.

    If you see or hear anything, please post here!

    UPDATE: Many of you are reporting that you have to run wushowhide again to re-hide the 1607 upgrade.

    The upgrade cycle is a very complex topic and, as you can see, it caught me flat-footed. I’ll try to make some sense out of it and publish my findings.

  • Using the Reliability Monitor

    Posted on January 20th, 2017 at 05:36 woody 28 comments

    Is your machine feeling a little flakey? Check out the Reliability Monitor. Easy, fast and uncannily accurate. It won’t give you solutions, but it will pinpoint problems.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

  • InfoWorld and IDG being bought by China Oceanwide

    Posted on January 19th, 2017 at 10:40 woody 12 comments

    It’s a complex arrangement, but the bottom line is that privately-held China Oceanwide Holdings Group and the Chinese venture capital branch of IDG (“IDG Capital”)  are buying the original US-based IDG.

    IDG includes InfoWorld, Computerworld, MacWorld, PCWorld, and CIO. It’s also the parent company for IDC, which you likely know for its hardware and software predictions.