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  • Another out-of-band patch, KB3001554

    Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 19:45 woody No comments

    Reader AS wrote and asked about KB3001554, which suddenly appeared in Windows Update on Tuesday. Yes, that’s the fifth Tuesday of the month – not the second or fourth Tuesday. That means it’s an “out of band” patch. Usually, out of band patches fix emergency holes. This one’s just meh…. I have no idea why it was issued out of band.

    As far as I can tell it isn’t causing problems. It seems pretty harmless – something about improving DVD playback on Windows 7 systems.

    If you’ve already installed it, I’d say don’t worry. If you haven’t installed it, I’d wait,  just to see if there’s a dark side to the patch.

  • What Windows 10 means for the enterprise

    Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 06:58 woody No comments

    And a short overview of what new features appeared on Tuesday.

    InfoWorld

  • Microsoft stealthily rebrands Bing Finance, with other Bing apps to follow

    Posted on September 30th, 2014 at 07:41 woody 4 comments

    MSN recycled.

    (I’m amazed that MS threw away the Hotmail brand, but insists on recycling MSN.)

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • Windows Tech Preview: Your pregame guide to Microsoft’s big event

    Posted on September 29th, 2014 at 14:58 woody No comments

    A concise list of what you need to know before Microsoft launches its next Windows extravaganza on Tuesday.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Continued problems with KB 2918614 – UPDATE

    Posted on September 29th, 2014 at 14:52 woody 15 comments

    Mea culpa.

    I gave a blanket go-ahead with the August and September patches, thinking that Microsoft had pulled MS14-049 / KB 2918614. They haven’t.

    If you’ve already installed all of the outstanding patches, keep your eye out for weird behavior in Windows 7/8/8.1 while installing other, non-Microsoft, software. There’s a full description of the problems on this Answers Forum thread.

    Sophos has a two-week-old explanation of the problem and its solution for Sophos software installations. There’s also a reddit discussion you might find helpful.

    I’m humbly moving up to MS-DEFCON 3. Avoid the KB 2918614 patch.

    (Updated to reflect the fact that KB 2918614 is still pushed on Vista, Win7, Win8 and 8.1 systems; that it has problems on all of those platforms; that Microsoft hasn’t fixed the patch, even though it’s been documented for six weeks; and that I’m a dunce for assuming that Microsoft had pulled the patch. Thanks, Bob and Jim.)

  • Surface Mini saga portends end of Windows RT

    Posted on September 26th, 2014 at 07:24 woody No comments

    One can only hope.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • HP leads Microsoft in Metro app usage

    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 09:11 woody No comments

    People with a choice rarely choose Metro apps.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • MS-DEFCON 5: Get all of your Microsoft patches applied

    Posted on September 24th, 2014 at 21:06 woody 22 comments

    After last month’s monstrous Black Tuesday debacle, the September Black Tuesday patches had a couple of problems, but they’re resolved now. The two fourth-Tuesday patches are innocuous. It’s time to get caught up on patches, and it would be a good idea to advise your friends to get caught up, too.

    September saw two pulled patches, and both have been re-issued with fixes.

    It’s time to get caught up on all outstanding Microsoft patches. I’m setting the dial at MS-DEFCON 5: All’s clear. Patch while it’s safe. That doesn’t happen very often.

    I’m still ambivalent about installing Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7.

    Get the patches installed by October 13 – October 14 is the next Black Tuesday, and I’m not expecting any significant patches to appear in the interim. (Although I may be surprised.)

    And the usual fine print:

    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). I almost never install “Recommended” patches (reader Marty suggests that you uncheck the Windows Update box that says “Give me the recommended updates the same way I receive important updates”). 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.