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  • Welcome to the third cumulative update for Win10 1709 this month, KB 4058258

    Posted on January 31st, 2018 at 14:34 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I went back and counted, and came up with 15 different days this month that have had Windows/Office patches, pulled patches, re-patches, and the like.

    Note to self: Microsoft declared that 1709 was ready for business deployment on Jan. 11. Since then, it’s pulled the original patch for 1709 because it bricked AMD machines, re-released them, and then it released two more cumulative updates. This month.

    Sounds like it’s ready for business to me.

    Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Windows Defender will start blocking and removing malware

    Posted on January 31st, 2018 at 05:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Okay, okay. The headlines floating around don’t say that, but I think “Defender to block malware” accurately describes Microsoft’s promised next step in its battle to clean our machines.

    You know those registry scanners that tell you that you have 2,136 bad registry entries and it’ll only cost you $137 to have them all removed?

    On March 1, Microsoft’s going to start kicking those “coercive apps” to the curb. Which is something Windows Defender should’ve done about two decades ago.

    Details from Lawrence Abrams at BleepingComputer and Martin Brinkmann on ghacks. Remains to be seen how it’ll work in the real world.

  • New, improved privacy in Win10 1803 may not be what you think

    Posted on January 31st, 2018 at 05:32 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve been reading the wave of mainstream articles that followed Marisa Rogers’s publication last week of an official Microsoft notice about new privacy features in the next version of Windows.

    Being the skeptic that I am, the articles sounded to me like Microsoft Press Releases bouncing around the blogosphere — long on accolades, short on real-world experience. Sadly, we’re seeing a whole lot of “reporting” like that these days.

    So it heartens me to see a hard-boiled look at the new feature, from my old friend Preston Gralla. In his Computerworld opinion piece Don’t believe Microsoft’s latest privacy hype, Gralla hit it right on the nose:

    Microsoft got plenty of kudos for the new tool. For the company, that was mission accomplished. But it was anything but that for users. The Diagnostic Data Viewer is a tool that only a programmer could love — or understand. Mere mortals, and even plenty of programmers, will be baffled by it, and they won’t gain the slightest understanding of what data Microsoft gathers about them.

    His conclusion:

    Microsoft should change this. It should release a simple-to-use tool that shows in granular detail and in plain English exactly what diagnostic information is being sent to Microsoft. People should then be allowed to opt in or out for every type of diagnostic information that is sent. And everyone should be able to do that, not just those who have a specific version of Windows 10.

    With the EU apparently poised to do some real privacy protection — I’m not talking about the glossy installation switches in Win10 1703 and later, which are all hat and no cattle — the topic’s going to get heated in the next few months.

    If you want to know the real, nitty-gritty story on Win10 privacy — which settings do what, and how it all fits together — take a look at Martin Brinkmann’s The Complete Windows 10 Privacy Guide: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update version. I have a link to it over on the right side of this page.

    That’s the meat. Don’t settle for the sizzle.

  • Another complaint about KB 4023057

    Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 13:34 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Earlier today I had a tweet from Help4me who’s frustrated that we’re still stuck at MS-DEFCON 2:

    Soon after, I saw this blog post from an old friend, Michael Horowitz:

    Last night, I closed the lid on the laptop and heard it beep to indicate that it was sleeping… Opening the lid did nothing, it was still sleeping (the power button blinks to indicate this). Press the power button again and again and again and again and nothing. With no other option, I press and hold the power button for about 8 seconds or so and the machine finally springs to life… it is installing bug fixes as part of the boot process. .. Windows Update history shows that it installed an update, KB4023057, yesterday.

    Of course, KB 4023057 is an old – downright ancient – patch. @abbodi86 warned about it last October:

    Is a Win10 1607 cumulative update re-enabling a disabled Windows Update service?

    If y’all want to install this month’s patches — primarily to fix a Meltdown/Spectre vulnerability that’s never been seen in the wild — more power to ya. As for me and mine, I’m gonna wait.

    Unless Windows Update jumps up and bites me in the posterior, as it has Horowitz.

  • New Office 365 features

    Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 13:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer just posted a list of new features brought to Office 365 this month:

    Microsoft Teams – Find and use apps in new ways, Command apps and take quick actions across Teams

    Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac – Co-authoring for iOS and Mac, Automatically save your work on Mac (“Today also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint.” – imagine that!), Drag and drop content and files on iOS, Access OneDrive files from more iOS apps, Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOS, Search across your organization with Outlook for iOS, Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for Mac

    New ways to share on Yammer

    Powerful inclusive learning tools

    Comments most welcome. (As mentioned elsewhere, I’m rapidly moving away from Office and toward Google Apps.)

  • How Computers Work, from code.org, Khan Academy, and BillG hisself

    Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 08:26 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m going to try hard not to gush.

    This is simply amazing. Everybody needs to understand how computers work. One of my favorite authors of all time, Ron White, wrote the original How Computers Work: The Evolution of Technology, 10th Edition (How It Works) book (illustrated by Tim Downs), and I refer people to it all the time — not just kids, but anybody who needs a firm understanding of these crazy little things that drive me nuts.

    There’s a new series out on YouTube that’s just blowing me away. How Computers Work by code.org, Khan Academy, and a whole bunch of notable people, takes you through the basics in about half an hour.

    Watch it. Spread the word.

    And another extraordinary series, sponsored by code.org and anchored by Vint Cerf.

  • Get 7-Zip updated now

    Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 06:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Igor Pavlov, the developer behind my favorite zipping routine, published an important security update on Jan. 28.

    Description and full instructions in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • The ‘AskWoody Lounge’ starts its second year

    Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 05:00 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A whole year has passed since Woody opened up the site further, to what is known as the “AskWoody Lounge”, allowing users to register. Mind you, AskWoody.com actually dates back to July 2004. This year has seen an explosion in activity on the site, with around 30,000 replies and over 1,000 topics posted in that time. Site traffic has also increased, with over 110,000 unique site visitors this month, and we’ve just had the busiest day, with over 16,600 site visits.

    We’ve had a few site issues, sure (and sorry – they are still being worked on), but soldiered on together. We have navigated many update crises, even got to MS-Defcon 5, but have spent much of the time hanging on for the “all-clear”. We’ve seen cybersecurity threats like Wannacry, issues like Net Neutrality, the unravelling of Intel ME, most recently the Meltdown / Spectre vulnerabilities, and many discussions over the future of owning a WinOS-based device / machine. Woody has managed to maintain his trademark humor in his ComputerWorld articles throughout! Ok, so it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses here, but Woody has managed to keep a fairly good lid on things, with the willing assistance of his small team of MVP helpers.

    One thing that hasn’t quite panned out as hoped, was Woody’s wish for AskWoody.com to be a self-sustaining venture. Donations have been coming in steadily, but the ad revenue has dropped off since the site issues in September. All support received has been helpful, from whatever channel. Could we please ask for your continued support, and if you are shopping at Amazon, could you please use the AskWoody link? It all helps a little.

    I’m sure we’d be lost without this resource! In the words of Kermit & Fozzie Bear:
    “Moving right along in search of good times and good news, with good friends you can’t lose – this could become a habit”.

    So here’s to the second year – may it be more successful than the first. And three cheers for Woody! Hip, hip, hooray!