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Daily Archives: January 14, 2019

  • FAQ: AskWoody, Windows Secrets, Subscriptions and ongoing database clashes

    Posted on January 14th, 2019 at 10:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This morning’s release of the first AskWoody Plus Newsletter has brought a flood of questions. I’m answering them all at, but there are some recurring themes that I figure deserve a FAQ. I’ll update this list as the questions roll in.

    Q: What’s happening?

    We’re taking the Windows Secrets Newsletter subscriber list, which is indexed by email address, and moving it to a much more stable email system known as MailChimp. (The homegrown Windows Secrets Newsletter system was notoriously unstable, as many of you will attest.) At the same time, we’re using a WordPress add-in to manage subscriptions. The WordPress add-in depends on AskWoody usernames.

    We’re sending out newsletters to both (1) folks who had Windows Secrets Newsletter accounts and (2) folks who have the new AskWoody Plus accounts. It’s dueling database time.

    Q: Will you honor my payment to Windows Secrets?

    Yes. Absolutely.

    Q: I paid by PayPal, but it said I was set up for recurring payments.

    PayPal and the AskWoody ordering system have a weird relationship. When you make a donation, PayPal sets up an automatic payment, pays the bill, then immediately discontinues the automatic payment. It makes no sense, but that’s how it works.

    If you check your PayPal account, there won’t be a recurring payment.

    I receive email notifications each time the auto payment is set up, when the account is charged, and when auto payment is turned off. If you’re concerned that PayPal has you on the hook for auto-renewals, write to me at and tell me your PayPal account name (usually your email address). I’ll look it up just to make sure.

    I apologize. I’m seriously thinking about dropping PayPal support for just this reason!

    Q: I have an active Windows Secrets subscription, but I’m getting renewal notices.

    Usually that’s because the WSN data coming in isn’t complete. Any number of possible causes. The best solution, though, is to get you manually moved over to, and pick up your subscription from there. Once you’ve registered here — you need an email address different from the one you use for Windows Secrets — write to me at and we can make the switch manually.

    I hope to have an automated way to do all of that shortly. Will keep you posted.

    Q: When I went to register on AskWoody, I was notified that my email address was already in use. How do I get around this?

    The email address you use for the Windows Secrets Newsletter has been moved over to the AskWoody user database. Dueling databases. The easiest solution is to register on this site (use the Register link in the upper right corner) using any different email address you have. You’ll need to respond to a verification email sent to that different address.

    Once you’ve registered here, you can change your email address to anything you like. To change your email address (or password, for that matter), click on your picture in the upper right corner of this page, then click on Edit. 

    Q: I have a lifetime Windows Secrets Newsletter subscription. How do I get it switched over?

    Gotcha covered. With a lifetime subscription, you’ll get the AskWoody Plus Newsletters forever, but switching over to a Plus Membership (yes, lifetime, for free) will get you all of the new benefits. It’ll go faster if you first Register on this site and set up a username. Then write to me at with your AskWoody username and we can make the switch manually.

    Q: I created an AskWoody username that’s the same as my Windows Secrets Newsletter username — which is to say, an email address.

    Not a good idea. Using your email address as a username means that any time you post on AskWoody, everybody can see your email address — and that’s not good for a zillion reasons.

    Best bet is to register a new AskWoody username (don’t use an email address!) using any different email address you have. You’ll need to respond to a verification email sent to that different address.

    Once you’ve registered here, you can change your email address to anything you like. To change your email address, click on your picture in the upper right corner of this page, then click on Edit. 

    Q: What do Windows Secrets loungers use for user name and password for accessing AskWoody? I tried my Windows Secrets user name and password, and it doesn’t work!

    We haven’t yet migrated the Windows Secrets Lounge over to the AskWoody Lounge. That’ll be another huge effort, with two additional dueling databases.

    Just to add to the fun ‘n games, the Windows Secrets Lounge passwords won’t carry over to the AskWoody site. They’re incompatible – and I wouldn’t want to be moving passwords around anyway.

    For now, feel free to register a new account on AskWoody. Ultimately, when we move the Windows Secrets Lounge over to AskWoody, I hope to have a relatively simple way to combine your old account with your new account.

    Q: Wait a sec. You’re covering

    Yep. I learned a long time ago that the best way to understand a system is to respond to questions and complaints. Until the dust settles, I’m tackling all of the questions personally. I really believe in this project.

  • AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.1.0 – Now open under old management

    Posted on January 14th, 2019 at 08:19 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We’ve just sent out the first AskWoody Plus Newsletter to Plus Members.

    For a limited time (which is to say, until we get the hooks built into this web site), everybody can take a look, even if you haven’t signed up for Plus Membership. Mosey on over here to see:

    Tracey Capen‘s welcome, and a description of how we’re rebuilding Windows Secrets Newsletter from the ground up.

    Woody’s Windows Watch which asks whether you’d be willing to pay for a monthly subscription to Windows. It’s a complex question. What do you think?

    Fred Langa’s LangaList with down-to-earth answers to questions about Windows activation keys, a dying hard drive, and Microsoft Office alternatives. Have questions? Answers? Check out the discussion here.

    Susan Bradley’s Patch Watch proudly nominates Windows 10 version 1803 as the buggiest version of Windows ever — quite a distinction. There’s also a full rundown of all the latest patches, what’s broken, and what’s still limping along. Join the discussion here.

    For those of you who used to read Windows Secrets Newsletter, that should sound like a familiar roll call. The world has changed since the old team last appeared, and the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter takes it all in stride, dishing out help and ministrations without kowtowing to the folks in Redmond.

    I’m amazed at how far this team has come in less than six weeks. It’s all rough around the edges, and there are numerous glitches driving me nuts, but the foundation is solid and our intentions are noble.

    If you like it, sign up for an AskWoody Plus Membership. Remember that we work on the donation model — you pay as much as you think it’s worth. (And you can always donate again!)

  • AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.1.0 Woody’s Windows Watch: Would you pay to rent Windows?

    Posted on January 14th, 2019 at 08:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Before you jump in with a knee-jerk reaction, realize that there are some compelling arguments.

    What do you think?

  • Fred Langa: AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.1.0 LangaList — Windows activation keys, Rescuing a dying hard drive, Best free Office alternatives

    Posted on January 14th, 2019 at 08:15 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Fred’s back with the best LangaList in years. And, yes, the denizens of AskWoody land use lots of alternatives to Office.

    Check out the latest LangaList and let us know what you think right here.

  • Patch Lady: AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.1.0 Patch Watch — DHCP bug, Non-security Flash updates, Lingering problems with Windows updates, Office and more

    Posted on January 14th, 2019 at 08:10 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For a limited time — until I get the AskWoody site built out — AskWoody Plus Newsletters are available to everyone. Read the latest, and tell us about your patching problems here.