Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows, Office and more… Please disable your ad blocker – our (polite!) ads help keep AskWoody going!
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • How frequently is Microsoft Security Essentials getting updates?

    Posted on March 1st, 2018 at 17:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    While I wasn’t watching, it looks like the frequency of MSE updates has increased.

    GL just wrote to me:

    Microsoft security essentials use to have one up date a day. Recently I`ve been getting 2 a day. Now today it looks like I`ll be getting morning , afternoon and evening. Whats up with that?

    Have you seen any odd behavior?

  • Microsoft “helps” Intel by releasing KB 4090007, a Spectre 2 microcode update for Win10 1709, Skylake processors only

    Posted on March 1st, 2018 at 13:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: Correcting myself (thanks to the anonymous poster) — this is a microcode update, which is kind of a transient firmware override, for lack of a better description. There’s a more thorough description on the Debian wiki, “Processor microcode is akin to processor firmware. The kernel is able to update the processor’s firmware without the need to update it via a BIOS update. A microcode update is kept in volatile memory, thus the BIOS/UEFI or kernel updates the microcode during every boot.”

    I can’t recall ever seeing Microsoft issue a firmware update (other than a Surface firmware update) as a security patch. This one comes with its own KB, no less.

    The announcement is very specific. KB 4090007 only deals with the Spectre Variant 2 / CVE 2017-5715 (“Branch Target Injection”) mitigation, and only on 6th generation Skylake H/S, U/Y and U23e processors. It’s only for Win10 1709. It’s not a cumulative update.

    And — importantly — it’s an Intel microcode update. Not a Windows patch.

    Says Microsoft:

    We will offer additional microcode updates from Intel as they become available to Microsoft. We will continue to work with chipset and device makers as they offer more vulnerability mitigations.

    which is a noble goal, at least to my way of thinking.

    You won’t get the patch via Automatic Update. If you really, really want to test it on your Win10 1709 / Skylake machine, you can download it from the Microsoft Update Catalog and manually install.

    Spectre v2 is a vulnerability in just about everything — Intel, AMD, ARM. As I’m fond of repeating, neither Meltdown nor Spectre (either variant) has been found in the wild.

    As you might imagine, I’m highly skeptical. I mean… what could possibly go wrong?

  • Microsoft releases KB 4091290, a fix for the Win7/Server 2008R2 SCARD_E_NO_SERVICE bug

    Posted on March 1st, 2018 at 13:16 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Coming soon to Windows Update.

    KB 4091290

    This update addresses a known issue previously called out in KB4075211 where the LSM.EXE process and applications that call SCardEstablishContext or SCardReleaseContext may experience a handle leak. Once the leaked handle count reaches a certain threshold, smart card based operations fail with error with SCARD_E_NO_SERVICE

    See Susan Bradley’s explainer from yesterday.

    Looks like this is the first Windows Update release for the month. No doubt many more are to follow.

  • Android Outlook app scrambling Contacts?

    Posted on March 1st, 2018 at 11:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m hearing reports all over that the Android Outlook app is running roughshod over (Outlook) Contacts lists.

    As I understand it, linking the Android Outlook app to your (Exchange-based?) email account reaches into your Contacts and scrambles things like:

    • Email 1 turns into Email 2, Email 2 turns into Email 3, and Email 3 goes back around to Email 1. It’s particularly frustrating because “The display still looks correct so it appears that I am sending it to the correct email address.  I can see it correctly when I look in the sent items but that is too late.”
    • Fax numbers turn into “Other” numbers.
    • Website, Spouse, Title removed
    • “Almost all Notes were removed but for ones not erased”
    • <mailto:…> was added to each email address and periods replaced apostrophes
    • Some physical addresses were removed, and “United States of America” was added to physical addresses

    The gripes I’ve seen come from a private forum — and I won’t reproduce the posts here. (I would welcome — encourage! — the original posters to chime in here.) But the problems are very real for some people at least.

    Can you confirm? I don’t use Outlook Contacts – switched over to Google Contacts years ago.

    Thx @sb