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Monthly Archives: January 2019

  • DNS Flag Day: We’re buckled in over here

    Posted on January 31st, 2019 at 19:02 admin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    February 1 is DNS Flag Day – a day when the people who support the internet’s lookup pages (think phone book — if you’re old enough to remember what those are) start to get rid of decades-old bypasses that are gumming up the works.

    If your connection runs through a Windows Server you may see a complaint that “Minor problems detected” for your connection.

    You don’t need to worry about it. We’re hunkered down here and ready to enter the 21st century.

  • The Windows Update servers are having hiccups

    Posted on January 31st, 2019 at 08:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Bogdan Popa at Softpedia has the skinny.

    It looks like many DNS servers are mis-routing Windows Update connections. At this point, it looks like the problem ISN’T with Microsoft.

    Bogdan’s solution is to use the Google DNS server. A bit of irony in that, but hey, if it works….

    Thanks to @b for pointing it out to me:

    I’ve been unable to connect to Windows Update for the last 12 hours via Comcast in US, but I can reach Windows Update after connecting via VPN.

    The method for changing DNS servers varies depending on which version of Windows you’re using, and whether you’re on a wired (Ehternet) or wireless (W-Fi) connection. For Win10 users, do this:

    Step 1. Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet >Ethernet > Change adapter settings. (If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, click Wi-Fi > Change adapter options.)

    Step2. Right-click on your adapter (if you have a Hyper-V virtual switch set up, that’s the one you want), choose Properties, then double-click Internet Protocol Version 4. You see a dialog box like this one:

    Step 3. Depending on which DNS server you trust, enter and to use Cloudflare’s DNS server. Or you can use and for Google’s, or and for OpenDNS’s.

    Step 4. Click OK and, for peace of mind, reboot. (It should work if you just restart your browser, but if you have many browsers open, hey, it won’t hurt.)

    UPDATE: Looks like the problem was solved overnight.

  • If you can’t post on AskWoody, there’s a reason why – and a quick fix

    Posted on January 31st, 2019 at 07:52 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen reports from several people this morning that they can’t post on AskWoody when they’re logged in. When they log out, no problem, they can post anonymously.

    If that sounds like you, shoot me mail at and tell me your username.

    Ends up the problem is some flipped bits in our user role list. It’s easy to fix, but I have to go in and do it manually. My guess is that we have a mildly munged database – the bane of my existence.

  • Have a question about your AskWoody Plus Newsletter subscription?

    Posted on January 30th, 2019 at 13:00 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    One of the joys (!) of handling the AskWoody CustomerSupport line all by my lonesome is that I get a chance to see the kinds of problems people encounter.

    Right now, the most common problem for folks making the transition from the now-defunct Windows Secrets Newsletter to the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter arises when people want to get into their account (check subscription status, renew a subscription, change an email address) or want to set up an AskWoody Lounge account and can’t – usually because the system tells them that their email address is already taken.

    There’s a long story surrounding the problem, but it all boils down to our dueling databases – we brought across a metric ton of subscribers and mashed them into the AskWoody database. But we didn’t have a username (the old Windows Secrets Newsletter database didn’t have usernames). So we took the email address on those existing Windows Secrets Newsletter accounts and pressed them into service as a username.

    Bottom line is that you may be having problems because your email address is lurking somewhere in the AskWoody system.

    Easy solution: Shoot me mail at, preferably from the email address in question. I’ll blast away the old remnants and send you step-by-step instructions for building a clean AskWoody account, which should serve you for many years to come.

    Any problems? I don’t have all the answers, but I can guess at some of ’em. 🙂

    We’re getting closer to swallowing the whale. If you’re using — the Other Lounge — and want to get a leg up here before the Lounges merge, the best way to ease the transition is to sign up for an AskWoody account now.

    If you don’t have an AskWoody account, click Register in the upper right corner of this page, fill out the form, DON’T use your email address as a username, and follow the instructions. If WordPress bellyaches that your email address is already taken, shoot me mail at I’ll get the old junk blasted out. If you don’t get a confirmation email, shoot me mail at (Have you heard that one before?) Slog your way through, and you’ll be ahead of the game when the inevitable rollout, uh, rolls out.

    More details as we get the merger going.

  • Microsoft Patch Alert: January patches stumbled all over themselves, but they’re finally looking reasonably stable

    Posted on January 30th, 2019 at 08:12 admin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Cold and snow have descended on Middle Tennessee. School’s out for the day. What better activity than to dissect this month’s patches?

    • The usual Win10 Patch Tuesday and “optional” cumulative updates, with a surprise laggard
    • Multiple problems with Win7/Server 2008 Monthly Rollups
    • .NET and activation surprises
    • Office 2010 takes one for the team

    and more.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Unable to access Microsoft 365 services

    Posted on January 29th, 2019 at 18:55 admin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yep. Looks like Microsoft 365 is down again.

    The official report (as of this moment):

    Affected users are unable to authenticate to and access Microsoft 365 services… Dynamics 365, LinkedIn, and other services that leverage Azure Active Directory (AAD) are or were also affected by this event… This issue may potentially affect any of your users attempting to access Microsoft 365 services.

    Start time: Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 9:15 PM UT. [That’s 4:15 pm in New York.]

    Preliminary root cause: A portion of third-party managed network infrastructure that facilitates authentication requests and access to Microsoft 365 services was degraded.

    Can’t help but wonder if this is related to the sporadic Microsoft Update Catalog outages we’re seeing.

  • Patch Lady – Microsoft safe links is having issues

    Posted on January 29th, 2019 at 10:59 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Office 365 and Microsoft 365 has a service called “safe links” where it prescans the urls that users receive in emails.

    Per the Microsoft 365 twitter account it’s having issues.  If you attempt to click on the links you’ll get a service unavailable.

    If you need to convert these links, you might want to try using

    The fix is rolling out now.  Safe links is something I honestly recommend that you set up if you use Office 365.  You’ve probably seen it in action in  You’ll get an email and the first part of it has and then it’s followed by the url of the site along with your email address for the ability to track it through your Advanced Threat Protection portal.  Bottom line, it’s not you, it’s them.  And I strongly recommend signing up and following that twitter account and setting it up to alert you directly.  There is no way (that I’ve found) to get an alert directly from Microsoft about issues in their service.  While it’s documented in the portal, you have to go there, and even when I have the 365 admin app on my phone I don’t get proactive alerts that something is amiss.  So for now, twitter is my way to know when it’s them, not me.


  • Patch Lady – 11 days and counting

    Posted on January 28th, 2019 at 20:59 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You remember this?  Well today I had access to a Windows 10 Home laptop and it was still running 1803.  I honestly don’t think that Microsoft is pushing 1809 hard at all.

    Has anyone – who hasn’t been a “seeker” – or in the early rollout where 1809 fell on it’s face – seen 1809 offered up to your computer?

    Post in the comments if you’ve seen it!