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  • Cortana officially gets thrown under the bus

    Posted on February 28th, 2020 at 16:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    An amazing Friday blog post from Cortana corporate VP Andrew Shuman:

    Today, Microsoft is announcing an updated Cortana experience in Windows 10 that will deliver more help from your assistant in Microsoft 365. This next step in Cortana’s evolution will bring enhanced, seamless personal productivity assistance as a free update to the latest version of Windows 10 coming this spring…

    We’re excited about how these updates to Cortana will help you stay on top of things, save time and do your best work. As we continue to innovate on Cortana in Microsoft 365, we plan to share further improvements in the coming months.

    Tero Alhonen had an accurate synopsis on Twitter:

    We’re excited about these updates to Cortana:
    * consumer skills including music, connected home and third-party skills will no longer be available
    * ending support for Cortana in older versions of Windows
    * turning off the Cortana services in the Microsoft Launcher on Android

    and we plan to share further improvements in the coming months.

    He then turned to the demise of certain MCSE certifications, posted yesterday by Alex Payne, the GM of Global Technical Learning at MS….

    We’re also excited to share that there will not be Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 certifications and basically everything that has anything to do with on-prem will be wiped out

    (That’s Tero’s take, but it’s a fair representation of what’s happening.)

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Get the February patches installed

    Posted on February 28th, 2020 at 13:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The “disappearing desktop” temporary profile bug is still in the February cumulative update for Win10 version 1903 and 1909. Looks like the bug’s in the “optional, non-security, C/D Week” update, too. Nonetheless, we’ve seen a lot of reports of problems, and they all appear to be solvable.

    So it’s with some trepidation that I’m moving us to MS-DEFCON 3. You should get the Feb patches installed. (NOT the “optional, non-security, C/D Week patch, of course.)

    As an added surprise… I’m moving my production machines to Win10 version 1909. It looks like the File Explorer Search bug was fixed in the regular Cumulative Update — and I don’t see any persistent bugs in 1909 that aren’t also in 1903.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Do you need to test cumulative updates?

    Posted on February 28th, 2020 at 11:19 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I just stumbled across this video made by Microsoft back in November, that discusses how Microsoft rolls out cumulative updates internally.

    It’s… stunning. Start around 16:00 into the broadcast and you can hear a discussion of this slide:

    Beginning with Windows 8.1 or thereabouts, Microsoft itself stopped testing cumulative updates before rolling them out to their own machines.

    To date, we haven’t seen application compatibility issues with this approach.

    That speaks volumes, methinks.

    I’m sure we live in a parallel universe.

  • Mary Branscombe: A deeper dive into Windows 10X

    Posted on February 28th, 2020 at 08:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    TechRepublic just published an excellent article by Mary Branscombe (@marypcbuk on Twitter) that digs into the internals of (what we know about) Windows 10X:

    Windows 10X is designed for security and isolation, running all traditional Win32 apps in a container (actually a lightweight VM), separating the state of apps and drivers from the OS itself (with all the system files, registry keys and other data for an app written to an app data folder in the Win32 container rather than into the OS), and making the OS read-only. That speeds up updates, and means you don’t need as much anti-malware scanning — which again improves performance.

    Windows Core OS. What might appear in the second 2020 update to Win10 (20H2) and the first update in 2021 (21H1). Small and large cores. Krypton Containers. WinUI 3.0. Updates to user interface controls that don’t require changes to the operating system. Good stuff.

    If you thought Win10X was just for Neo and Duo, arriving around Christmas time, this article should be a real eye-opener.

    (TechRepublic is a ZDNet property. Like ZDNet, it’s owned by CBS.)

  • Late February optional update, KB 4535996, released for Windows 10 1903 and 1909

    Posted on February 27th, 2020 at 19:10 joep517 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The latest cumulative non-security update for the latest Windows 10 releases. See February 27, 2020—KB4535996 (OS Builds 18362.693 and 18363.693) for a long list of changes and fixes.

  • A break – in praise of COVID-19 sanity

    Posted on February 27th, 2020 at 08:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m not an epidemiologist. You aren’t either. But I’ve bumped into a tremendous series of Tweets from someone who is, Alistair Miles.

    I rarely comment about the world at large from here at AskWoody Central. You get enough of that bombardment every day from a million sources. But this measured, informed and reasoned response really struck a chord.

    Miles concludes by saying:

    If you know someone who works in healthcare, reach out and say hi, and thank you.

    … and I would like to reach out to all of you who work in healthcare (and those of you who help folks in healthcare), and say hi and thank you.

    Things are going to get hairy. But there’s no need to panic. We’re all in this leaky boat together.

    (Comment, if you feel so inspired, but leave the politics out of it, please! Many mistakes have been made. Many more will be made. This post is all about thanking and encouraging folks who will face a tough time, on our behalf. Nuff said.)

  • iPad guide for Windows users who want to switch

    Posted on February 26th, 2020 at 14:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Another amazing, hard-knocks rundown from Nathan Parker, edited by @PKCano.

    If you’re thinking of moving from Windows to an iPad, there are many tricks — and your knowledge of Windows can help.

    See the full guide in AKB 2000021.

  • Where we stand with the Feb 2020 Microsoft patches

    Posted on February 26th, 2020 at 08:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve lost hope that we’ll see a fix for the “lost profile” bug in the Win10 version 1903 and 1909 February patch, but other details seem on track.

    Let’s see what other problems crawl out of the woodwork.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.