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  • Win10 version 1903 beta upgrade halted if you have a plugged-in USB drive or SD card

    Posted on April 24th, 2019 at 07:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet reported on this yesterday:

    Microsoft has published a support document today warning Windows 10 users that the impending May 2019 Update may not install on their systems if they use external USB storage devices or SD cards.

    The OS maker cited problems with “inappropriate drive reassignment” as the main reason for blocking the May 2019 Update.

    The solution’s simple: Yank the USB drive or SD card, if you can.

    The block only happens on 1803 – to 1903 and 1809 – to -1903 upgrades. And you don’t have to worry about it unless you’re trying to upgrade as part of the Insider Program, or using one of the MSDN copies.

    Thx @abbodi86

  • Still no April second cumulative updates for Win10, or Monthly Previews for Win7 or 8.1

    Posted on April 23rd, 2019 at 14:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    10 am Redmond time on the third  fourth Tuesday of the month has come and gone, and… no patches.

    Is Microsoft messin’ with me?

    Or is there a deeper reason?

    I’m still willing to venture a guess that MS is having problems with its promised 1809-blocking “Download and install now” feature.

    Details and an update in my Computerworld Woody on Windows article.

  • Google’s JavaScript team: Spectre mitigation doomed to failure

    Posted on April 23rd, 2019 at 11:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    That isn’t exactly what they said, but it’s pretty close. Here’s what they do say:

    A year with Spectre… When it was shown that JavaScript could be used to mount Spectre attacks, the V8 team became involved in tackling the problem…  offensive research [from the white and gray hats] advanced much faster than our defensive research, and we quickly discovered that software mitigation of all possible leaks due to Spectre was infeasible… the engineering effort diverted to combating Spectre was disproportionate to its threat level… the increasingly complicated mitigations that we designed and implemented carried significant complexity, which is technical debt and might actually increase the attack surface, and performance overheads… We still know of no attacks in the wild, outside of the curious tinkerers and professional researchers developing proof of concept gadgets

    Make no mistake, Meltdown and Spectre could become nightmares. At some point in the far future. For now, don’t worry about it, OK?

  • The demise of Windows 10 “Sets” – the part you won’t read about

    Posted on April 23rd, 2019 at 05:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The Windows blogosphere was all alight yesterday about the announcement that Microsoft has given up on a feature called “Sets.”

    The feature showed up in one of the Win10 beta builds, didn’t work worth squat, got pulled, and isn’t coming back. “Sets” basically turned any Windows window into a tabbed window — so, for example, you could have File Explorer and Google and Notepad open in different tabs in a single window. Like this screenshot, taken from The Verge:

    I never thought much of Sets, frankly. It seemed (and seems) to me to be an attempt to match Stardock’s Groupy. Meh. Putting tabs in File Explorer would be nice (see EJIE’s Clover – which is free), but as far as having windows with a mixture of random apps open in tabs, you can count me out. I do just fine with Chrome and Firefox.

    So when I read that Sets weren’t coming back, I wasn’t exactly heartbroken.

    Here’s the interesting part.

    Chris Hoffman over at How-To Geek originally wrote about the demise of Sets on Saturday. He took a tweet from ‘Softie Rich Turner and fleshed out the topic. Turner said, “The Shell-provided tab experience is no more, but adding tabs (to Windows PowerShell) is high on our to do list.” That’s not exactly an official announcement, but it’s close enough.

    Chris’s article appeared in the middle of a three-day weekend here in the US, and didn’t get much traction. But on Monday, boy howdy, everybody and his brother was writing about it. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth accompanied a description of how Microsoft had yanked this wonderful new feature from our poor, anxiously awaiting souls.

    Except… nobody bothered to credit Chris. The Windows blog echo chamber articles have popped up like dandelions in my lawn and with a few notable exceptions (Bleeping Computer among them), none of the authors have credited Chris or How-To Geek.

    It’s a tough business, folks.

  • A voice from the past

    Posted on April 22nd, 2019 at 15:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ll just drop this here and quietly slip back into the background.

  • Quick update on swallowing the whale

    Posted on April 22nd, 2019 at 12:30 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We’ve already merged about a quarter of a million Replies (posts) from the Windows Secrets Lounge to the AskWoody Lounge. My guess is that the mammoth job will be done this week. We’ve goosed the server and more than doubled nearly tripled the merge rate, while keeping response times here pretty reasonable. Apologies to those of you who spent an inordinate amount of time getting around the site over the weekend.

    What’s next? Good question.

    As soon as all of the Replies are merged, we’ll start the job of consolidating the old Windows Secrets “WS”-prefixed accounts with existing AskWoody accounts. I’ll put out a call for those with dual citizenship as soon as we’re braced.

    We’ll also be looking for lost or misplaced Topics (questions, usually). There are many, and we’ll have to manually bring them across.

    And we’re going to be re-organizing the forums. They were set up for the old AskWoody — emphasis on “What Microsoft screwed up, and how to protect yourself” — and need to be more in line with our expanding “tech help” charter.

    Folks signing up for new accounts and anonymous posters will see an “I am not a robot” challenge in the near future. Why? We’re manually weeding out 100 or more new spamming/bot accounts every day. And we’re fielding more and more attempts at direct upload of malicious scripts through anonymous posts. It’s a jungle out there. (UPDATE: That feature’s now working.)

    Afterwards there’s a laundry list of improvements coming. As we get ready for the big ones – such as redesigning the site, improving the Replies editor, separating out “free” and “Plus” content, reinstating the old Free newsletters – I’ll put out a call for your input.

    In the interim, you can use your existing AskWoody account, or your old WS account — either or both — and there shouldn’t be any conflicts, either now or in the future. (See the Windows Secrets Landing Page for details.) Not all of your Replies are melded into AskWoody yet, but almost all of the Topics should be here already.

    Don’t forget that, if you log on with an email address, you need to get switched over to a “proper” AskWoody account. You can’t do it yourself — the old cruft has to be nuked from orbit. Send me mail,

    As we wait for the merge to complete, I want to extend my thanks once again to all of the people who kept Windows Secrets alive for so long. You’ll see many of them right here, every day. I also want to say “many thanks” to the people at Informa/KNect365 (formerly Penton) who helped us move. Moving a million-post web site isn’t easy, and we’ve had tremendous support from the staff at KNect365.

    I also want to thank each of you Plus members for making this possible. I really do believe there’s still a place in the industry for volunteer-based, truly independent tech help, open to everybody. Your donations keep it all going.

  • Bott: Win10 apps – which are worth keeping, which should you dump?

    Posted on April 22nd, 2019 at 10:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Over on ZDNet, Ed has a succinct roundup of major pre-installed Win10 apps and what you should do with them. Ed’s verdict:

    “Sponsored” crap apps – delete them immediately
    Internet Explorer – once a browser, now a relic, only worth trashing
    XPS Writer – wuzzat? Thumbs way down.
    Office (cloud based free version), OneNote, OneDrive, Skype – optional
    Groove Music, Movies & TV – put a fork in it
    3D whosit, whatsit, wheresit, Mixed Reality – off with their heads

    Take a look and tell me what you think.

  • How to see your entire newsletter

    Posted on April 22nd, 2019 at 08:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just got a note from @rhp52….

    The last two newsletters I’ve received have only contained your article. It ends with a picture of Fred and the title of his article, then the end credits, email addys, etc.

    Good point. Email programs cut off long-winded emails. (Not to say that I’m long-winded, but guilty as charged.) Most have a link at the bottom to “Show more” or something of that sort. But there’s an easier way.

    At the top of each Newsletter there’s a tiny link that says

    Having trouble reading this issue? Click here for the online version.

    Click on that link and you’ll be transported to the full version – which is much easier to read and navigate….