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  • Dell computers put at risk

    Posted on May 6th, 2021 at 14:21 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So today’s headline that I wrote above is one that I see too often. It gets you to be worried about something that I honestly don’t think attackers will use as a means to attack us.

    Here’s the background (thanks to reader RougeSec58 for the links:)

    Dell support article

    Reddit thread with N-Able script to remove it.

    So the other day I read this twitter post….

    Due to the introduction of Driver Signature Enforcement & Kernel Patch Protection, it’s become increasingly rare for attackers to create and execute #Windows rootkits.

    All of these firmware/rootkit headlines make me ponder… gee… why is it that attackers use phishing lures so much? Because that’s the low hanging fruit. It’s not easy to attack us to go after Spectre style attacks. I see this Dell issue in the same way. It’s way easier to get us with phishing lures and click baits than it is with these sort of attacks.

    “there is no evidence at this time that its flaws have been exploited in the wild.”

    Just because there is a possibility of attack doesn’t mean it is probable that it’s  being attacked.

    As always, feel free to disagree with me and educate me that I’m in the wrong. That’s what security is all about anyway ….weighing the risks and trying to determine if THAT is going to get me or if it’s just headlines to make me worry.

  • Ghacks report Defender bug

    Posted on May 5th, 2021 at 11:38 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Martin reports postings about defender scan files filling up hard drives. I’m plain old Defender here and not seeing this issue so it appears like it’s an interaction between Defender and possibly Sophos? Note that to see that location you’ll need to have “Show/hide” box ticked to show Hidden items and then you’ll have to click through a UAC prompt to see into that Store folder.

  • The May 2021 Office non-Security Updates have been published

    Posted on May 4th, 2021 at 15:10 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The May 2021 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, May 4, 2021. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the April 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 Office 2016 (KB4462117)
    Update for Skype for Business 2016 (KB4493155)
    Update for Microsoft Outlook 2016 (KB5001921)

    There were no non-security listings for Office 2010 (which reached EOS on October 13, 2020) nor for Office 2013.
    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).

  • Office current branch triggers Outlook Bug

    Posted on May 4th, 2021 at 14:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    @b pointed me to several threads in the answers forums where in Version 2104 ” quite a few home users and companies have found that Version 2104 (Build 13929.20296) of April 29 introduces a bug which causes To: field autocomplete dropdown to go up off screen instead of down. Not everyone is affected; It probably depends on screen resolution and text scaling”  He said he has that version but is not seeing the bug. Rolling back to the prior version 2103 (Build 13901.20462) of April 23, does seem to work for everyone (including Office 2019).

    This is why I recommend moving back to the semi annual branch  where you don’t get quite as many bugs.

    You can read the threads here:

    Outlook 2016 Autocomplete is doing something weird

    Outlook 2019 autocomplete view changed after update

    Outlook 2019 Address Autocomplete Broken

    You seeing anything?

  • Take control of your Mac’s privacy

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:08 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.16 • 2021-05-03


    Nathan Parker

    By Nathan Parker

    Apple’s emphasis on privacy is focused on personal devices, such as iPads and iPhones. But Macs have privacy settings, too.

    In my recent article “Take control of your privacy — iPhone & iPad” (AskWoody 18.12, 2021-04-05), I discussed many of the settings provided by iOS and iPadOS to control the privacy and security of the device and the apps running on it. Although one might think all Apple systems would be in lockstep, I have noticed that the settings in macOS are not quite as granular, not quite as detailed, as those in iOS/iPadOS.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.16.F (2021-05-03).

  • More on OneDrive, and Symlinks

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:06 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    A recent column on OneDrive problems brought a ton of email from readers asking for help with overcoming OneDrive’s poor documentation, weak user interface, and other limitations.

    The largest group of questions was about using symlinks to allow OneDrive to automatically sync and process files or folders without having to first move and fit them all into the local C:\…\OneDrive\ folder.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).

  • Microsoft Casual: It ain’t all fun ’n’ games

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:04 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    New shoot-’em-up and twitch videogames get all the attention, but lots of people still like good ol’ strategy games, such as Solitaire and Minesweeper.

    Microsoft removed its games from Windows 8, but they’re just lightly hidden in Windows 10. In addition, the whole Microsoft Casual Games package is downloadable — and boy, are people having problems.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).

  • How to control the privacy of your Microsoft account

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    You can review and manage a host of privacy settings and collected data for your Microsoft account via a dedicated account website.

    I know that some Windows users shy away from creating a Microsoft account because they’re concerned about the software giant siphoning up too much information about them. That’s certainly a valid concern. Like other tech companies, Microsoft will track many of your activities to “customize your experience” but also, sadly, to serve you targeted ads and other content.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).

  • Last call for 1909

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    All’s clear for updating. Plus, I bid farewell to the man who saved the Internet.

    As noted in my Alert last week, I’ve given the all-clear to install updates this month. The printing bugs have been squashed, and no other issues are apparent.

    If you have still not installed updates, review your deferral settings. If you’ve chosen to defer updates to a specific date, click on Start, Settings, Windows update. If updates are deferred, you will see a bold notice that updates are paused plus a Resume updates button. Clicking that button will clear any deferrals you have set.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).

  • Tasks for the weekend May 1, 2021 – How to remove IE

    Posted on May 1st, 2021 at 23:48 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (YouTube video here)

    So now that new Edge is out you may ask yourself … “Self? Is it wise to keep Internet Explorer 11 on my Windows 10?”

    Some people have indicated that they proactively have removed IE from their systems and then realized some applications demand – even now – that Internet Explorer is still kept on the system. The biggie in the small business space is QuickBooks. Yes indeed, it still demands that Internet Explorer is installed.

    IF you want to proactively remove it here are the steps:

    20H2 instructions:
    Open Settings.
    Click on Apps.
    Click on Apps & features.
    Then on optional features.
    Click on Internet Explorer 11 option.
    Click to Uninstall.
    Click the Restart now button.

    Consider this an “optional” task for the weekend for those that have a backup and are in a beta testing mood. If you find a key application needs it just go back through the steps above and this time click to add features and choose Internet Explorer 11. Reboot again and it’s back on your machine. Remember to not have the “metered connection” trick enabled otherwise the reinstallation will fail.

  • What would you suggest?

    Posted on May 1st, 2021 at 19:31 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patrick writes…..

    At the present, I am running a desktop 11 year old Dell Studio 540 with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 at 2.50 gHz (purchased in 2009). The HDD is beginning to run less than quietly. It is running Windows 10 20H2 (OS Build 19042.964). I just took almost 2 days (not full time, but agonizing anyway) to get iCloud for Windows working again with my Outlook 2016 after a Windows Update.

    When we recently got AT&T Fiber installed, I tried to connect with the Cat 5 cable installed in the house – to no effect, so I added a Mesh system. It works, but the signal is pretty low where the computer is installed.

    Which would be the better choice for me – (1) replace the HDD (I’ve been using a Seagate Portable 2 Gig SCSI disk to image the internal drive which is partitioned into C:,H, and J), or just buy a new computer and start over?

    So what would you do?  I’ll add my recommendation in the comments.

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Patching is approved

    Posted on April 30th, 2021 at 01:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.15.1 • 2021-04-30
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Proceed to update.

    I’m separating my patching guidance into two categories — one for consumer or home users and one for business users. And I’m changing our MS-DEFCON level to 4. At this time, I’m not seeing major issues with updating.

    Consumer and home users

    The April updates have been much better behaved and I’m not seeing any major issues with the releases. Problems identified in 2004/20H2 as impacting performance in games have been automatically mitigated by Microsoft, using its Known issue rollback process. The April updates also resolved the lingering issues with printing triggered with the March updates. Importantly, the April updates install the new, Chromium-based Edge as the default browser and remove the old, “legacy” Edge. Be aware that this update will reset default programs, such as your PDF reader, to the new Edge; you’ll need to make manual adjustments to restore your preferences.

    Note: Going forward, when AskWoody mentions “Edge,” you should assume we mean the new, Chromium-based Edge. Otherwise, we will refer to legacy Edge.

    If you are still using Windows 10 Home or Pro 1909 you have only until May before that version is no longer supported. If you have not already upgraded to 20H2, I recommend taking this opportunity to do so. Remember, my favorite way to upgrade is to use the Update now button on the Software download page.

    Business users

    Coming with the preview releases for Windows 10, and included in the May Security releases, Microsoft will be including a new “News and Interests” taskbar item that will feature topics of interest to your users. If you want to proactively block it, use the Group Policy editor or adjust registry keys.


    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.15.1 (2021-04-30).