Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • MS-DEFCON 4: Two caveats, but install all outstanding Microsoft patches

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 20:34 woody No comments

    The two caveats:

    If you use Excel macros, you’re better off avoiding the December patches KB 2726958 for Office 2013, KB 2553154 for Office 2010, and KB 2596927 for Office 2007. Microsoft still hasn’t fixed the bug that breaks various aspect of Excel macro programming and execution, although it has issued a manual fix: KB 3025036.

    If you have an ASUS, Dell, or HP machines, check and see if it’s running an AMD processor. If so, Susan Bradley at Windows Secrets Newsletter — who’s my go-to authority on the subject — advises that you avoid KB 3004365, the January Windows Error Reporting fix. 

    With those two exceptions, Microsoft has either pulled or fixed all of the outstanding patches, as best I can tell. It looks like Avast has fixed whatever was dogging KB 3000850, from November, and the other problems mentioned earlier don’t seem to be generating the level of screams they once did.

    I’m moving us down to MS-DEFCON 4: There are isolated problems with current patches, but they are well-known and documented here. Check this site to see if you’re affected and if things look OK, go ahead and patch.

    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). 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.

  • Windows 10 can be installed on an HP Stream 7 tablet

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 11:58 woody No comments

    In spite of WIMboot.

    See this HP support thread.

    t/h AR

  • Still at MS-DEFCON 2 — but should have an update tomorrow

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 07:21 woody 1 comment

    For those of you who are still holding off on installing the December and January patches…

    Except for a few known problems, they’re looking OK. I’m going to wait and see what Susan Bradley says on Thursday in Windows Secrets Newsletter before giving a blanket go-ahead with warnings.

    The warnings will likely include as-yet-unresolved problems with Excel macros and several others.

    Let’s see how it shakes out. In the interim, rest assured that, unless you have state secrets or your work for a foreign intelligence organization, you don’t have much to worry about — there aren’t any mass clobberings going on with the December and January patches.

    Keep your powder dry and use Firefox or Chrome…

  • Big Windows 10 KB 3035129 patch also fixes Fast ring option

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 07:12 woody No comments

    I haven’t seen this problem – or its solution – documented anywhere. Kinda cool.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch

  • Third party patches

    Posted on January 27th, 2015 at 11:56 woody 9 comments

    Just in from Randy the Tech Professor…

    This year is off to a big start! TWO Adobe Flash patches, an Adobe Air patch, and of course an Oracle Java patch. The remaining patches are for Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Seamonkey.
  • Spybot conflict

    Posted on January 26th, 2015 at 21:16 woody No comments

    Just got this message from John H:

    You probably remember how I pestered you about my Windows Explorer crashing every time I right-clicked on it to bring up a context menu. Well, problem solved and you are not going to believe what caused it.

    It was Spybot Search & Destroy. That’s right, one of my favorite “indie” tools for fighting obnoxious tracking and spyware. I was having trouble updating it and ran across the following whilst looking for a solution:

    An entry in the thread confirmed that the free version also suffers from this bug.

    No wonder I couldn’t find what was causing my Windows Explorer to crash! I installed this version of Spybot right after the December patches. It never occurred to me that it could be the problem.

    Fortunately, the work-around did the trick. But I can’t help wondering how many other people might be affected by this bug since SS&D turns on the WIN Explorer Integration automatically when you install it.

    Thanks, John!

  • Windows can’t be installed because this PC uses a compressed operating system.

    Posted on January 24th, 2015 at 06:43 woody 11 comments

    I know, it’s frustrating.

    If you’re trying to install the latest Windows 10 build on a Windows 8.1 machine, you may be greeted by that notice. I got it while trying to put build 9926 on a brand new Asus Transformer.

    The culprit? WIMboot. It’s a Microsoft technology that squeezes Windows into a smaller footprint, so Windows can essentially boot from a compressed image. That’s great for cheap machines, but it doesn’t play well with the Windows 10 installer.

    I haven’t found any workaround. After trying for an hour to install 9926 directly from a UEFI-enabled USB drive, I finally gave up. Sorry, Rufus. No luck.

  • Windows 10 January Tech Preview now available

    Posted on January 23rd, 2015 at 12:40 woody 2 comments

    It’s build 9926.

    ISO Download site

    Instructions on my InfoWorld blog.