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  • My Acer 32 gig is now on 21H1

    Posted on August 3rd, 2021 at 23:29 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    What is that and why is this significant?

    This is my ancient Acer 32 gig hard drive – never should have been sold with Windows 10 in the first place – laptop that I hadn’t paid attention to in ages. I woke it up from sleep tonight because I was straightening up the room where it is and when I went into the windows update section …  I just about fell out of my chair. 21H1 was there pending and ready to reboot.

    This is the FIRST time EVER it has installed a feature release without having help.  Now granted .. now that I think about it this just showcases that everything since 2004 was and is a minor update. But prior to this I had to always help it over every feature release not just the big ones.

    Needless to say 21H1 is now stable and if you aren’t on it, the best way to do it is to go to the Windows 10 download page and click on update now.  Clicking there will download a small file, you click on it and it starts the process of installing the feature release. When it’s done it will prompt you to reboot. Of course, remember to have a backup ahead of time!

  • The August 2021 Office non-Security Updates have been released

    Posted on August 3rd, 2021 at 12:19 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The August 2021 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, August 3, 2021. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the July 2021 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Visio 2016 (KB4504718)

    Office 2013
    Update for Microsoft Visio 2013 (KB4504728)

    On April 10, 2018, Office 2013 reached End of Mainstream Support. Extended Support will end for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
    Office 2016 also reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • Is Microsoft doing enough?

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 11:29 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    In Computerworld I ask “For Windows security, what we have is a failure to communicate” and ask if Microsoft is doing enough to help keep us safe.

    As an aside this is similar to Fred’s lament that documentation for Windows products is all over the place and not as helpful as it once was.

    What do you think? Do you think Microsoft is doing enough or could it do better?

     

  • Meet Fred, the empowerer

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.29 • 2021-08-02

    PROFILES

    Chris Husted

    By Chris Husted

    If a single organization were approaching five decades of experience in educating people about computers and helping them to solve problems they were having with their PCs, it would be called an institution.

    Fred Langa, who writes for AskWoody, is just that.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.29.0 (2021-08-02).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.29.F (2021-08-02).

  • Reader feedback on driver/software updaters, and more!

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:44 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    CCleaner — the popular system-cleanup tool — recently added automated software and driver updaters to its features. A subscriber set out to see whether they’re any good.

    Plus: Another subscriber’s laptop is stuck at 79% battery charge and won’t charge any higher; and a third seeks advice on how to obtain the fastest possible PC-to-smartphone USB tethering.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.29.0 (2021-08-02).

  • Revolutionary battery tech changes the way we charge

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    The dream of renewable-energy advocates everywhere may finally have been realized. The goal is a battery technology that stores solar and wind energy and releases it for days on end. Now, a new tech allows companies to meet demand at peak times with no need to fire up any spare fossil-fuel generators.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.29.0 (2021-08-02).

  • Gold copies — keep them close

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Recently, I realized that some of the items I needed to download were no longer available from the links I had been using.

    The other day, I was working on an older server, attempting to re-create its software on a different server. As I worked through the needed prerequisites, I couldn’t find what I needed.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.29.0 (2021-08-02).

  • Opal: I’m building a new PC

    Posted on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:41 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    HARDWARE DIY

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Hardware for the future. Windows made me do it.

    I wasn’t expecting to need a new computer just yet. My current PC is a bit long in the tooth, but I chose well when I built it and it has lasted six years, still providing the performance and capability I need on a daily basis. I have no urgent need for Windows 11.

    Except that I work for this newsletter.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.29.0 (2021-08-02).

  • Tasks for the weekend – July 31st – what to do?

    Posted on August 1st, 2021 at 00:03 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (Youtube here)

    This week I’m revisiting two discussions that have been going on regarding actions to be taken on two bugs that are not yet patched.

    First is the permission bug.

    The second is the print spooler bugs.

    I will separate my recommendations into two camps: Home and Business.

    For Home I honestly don’t think you should take any action at this time because I do not see active attacks against home users for either the Print Spooler bugs or the incorrect permission bug. Both of them are more suited for attackers going after businesses, so once again, I’ll urge you to be aware, don’t click where you shouldn’t, but not to take any actions at this time.

    For businesses I see that you need to be evaluating and if you feel that the risk is large enough to then take actions that I discuss in the video.

    Take a look at the video.

  • Plan on the worst

    Posted on July 30th, 2021 at 22:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I have a love/hate relationship with Surface devices. They are my favorite for travel as the Surface Go is the lightest one, with the Surface Pro 7+ being right behind. But… and this is starting to be true for more and more technology…. they cannot be easily serviced. Battery needs replaced? You can’t fix it. Monitor stops working on it? Sorry. So if you stupidly do what I did the other day…. like have your Surface in your purse on the passenger seat of your car. Then you opened your car door when you didn’t realize your purse was way too close the edge of the seat…. and well you can see where this is unfortunately going can’t you?

    When it then hits the cement pavement just at the exact corner of the screen… you can guess what happened:

    Nailed it, right on the edge.

    The computer still booted up, it just was a bit…. crunchy in that corner of the screen with little bits of glass in the keyboard. Ugh.

    When I purchased this device, I did it as part of an All access for business plan. You can add an accidental coverage plan, which I did just in case I did something … well… stupid like this. “Sigh!”, I said to myself, “well I get to test it out this time”.  So I signed into the Surface business access site and started the process to get it replaced. As part of the “replacement” process you only ship the unit itself. You reset it to factory defaults and erase all of your data because you are NOT getting this unit back.

    So in my case, because I tend to use it to remote into other things, I honestly didn’t have to back anything up. I can easily install what I need on the device again. But I did have to remove the AT&T Cellular SIM card that was an extra accessory I got that allows the device to always have Internet connection as long as I’m within range of an AT&T cellular tower.

    Microsoft provided a physical address I needed to send it back to and off it went. I had heard from others that I might get a refurbished unit back and not a new unit, but because the unit they were replacing was a Surface Pro 7 plus, chances were good that I would receive a new unit, not a refurb’d. Sure enough, I received back a new unit.

    I went to reinstall the AT&T SIM and was surprised to see that cellular didn’t turn back on again. Okay I probably need to call AT&T and tell them the new IMEI or some other information that they need to reenable it. Turns out on the Surface Pro 7 plus it supports both an eSIM and a physical SIM there’s a little arrow key in the cellular networking section that you can pull down and choose eSIM or the physical SIM. Duh. Once I picked the physical SIM, the cellular connected right up without contacting AT&T.

    As an aside, remember that Surface devices can get updates for it’s Operating system AND it’s hardware and firmware but they still are not easily repairable. Therefore, plan accordingly.

    In July Microsoft released various updates for firmware and hardware on the following Surface devices:

    Surface Book – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Laptop 3 – various performance issues

    Surface Pro 4 – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Pro 3 – security fixes for firmware

    Surface Studio 2 – security fixes for firmware

    The moral of this story is, buy the support plan for accidental coverage for these types of tech devices that cannot be easily serviced. Even though most of the time you won’t use it, there will be that ONE time when the device slides out of your purse onto the concrete pavement as you open your car door. Trust me. It can happen.

  • Do you reboot your Apple devices?

    Posted on July 29th, 2021 at 20:11 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ll be the first to admit that other than installing updates, I don’t reboot my iphone on a regular basis. The other day Apple got a big patch bundle to fix several zero days/security issues. By now you’ve probably installed those updates. But do you reboot on a regular basis?

    The NSA issued a “best practices” guide for mobile device security last year in which it recommends rebooting a phone every week as a way to stop hacking. Apparently it keeps attackers from being able to insert “persistence” attacks on the device.

    How often do you reboot?

     

  • MS-DEFCON 4: July updates should be installed

    Posted on July 27th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.28.1 • 2021-07-27

    PATCH WATCH

    MS-DEFCON 4

    By Susan Bradley

    July patches have been well behaved.

    Consumer and home users

    If you’ve used the “pause updates” methodology, now is the time to install the July updates. I’ve not seen any major printing issues introduced with these July updates. However, I still recommend that you keep the Print Spooler service disabled. If you do print, consider turning the spooler off and then back on when you need it. Microsoft fixed the issue with the Print Nightmare bug, but another Print Spooler bug has yet to be fixed and is slated to be discussed at the annual security conference in Las Vegas, better known as the Black Hat Conference.

    For Office updates, open up any installed Office application, click on File, then on Account, then on Office Updates and choose to enable updates. Then click on Update Now to trigger the installation of the updates.

    Business users

    For business users, Microsoft has described only one side effect with printers and the July updates. Printers that rely on smart-card (PIV) authentication may fail to print after the installation of the July patches. This is not a widespread problem, and there is no reason to delay installation of the patches.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.28.1 (2021-07-27).