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Monthly Archives: May 2019

  • Where we stand with the May 2019 Windows patches

    Posted on May 30th, 2019 at 03:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Whotta mess.


    I was tempted to come up with a list of the days that we had new patches and patches of patches, and finally gave up. You’d be much better off listing the days that we didn’t have screwy patches.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    I should’ve made this more explicit… I think XP, Vista and Win7 customers (and their related Servers) should patch now, but there’s still no pressing reason to update anything else.

    Give it a few more days.

  • Update: The “wormable” Win XP/Win7 RDP security hole, BlueKeep, still hasn’t been cracked

    Posted on May 29th, 2019 at 14:32 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Forgive me for joining the Chicken Little crowd a couple of weeks ago and recommending that all of you folks running

    • Windows XP (including Embedded)
    • Windows Server 2003, Server 2003 Datacenter Edition
    • Windows 7
    • Windows Server 2008, Server 2008 R2

    install the latest patches for the “wormable” RDP security hole. (Kevin Beaumont has taken to calling the security hole “BlueKeep” and it seems the name has caught on.)

    Fortunately, I’m not aware of any problems arising from installing the patches. Unfortunately (???), the pressing need just wasn’t there.

    Why? Ends up that turning BlueKeep into a real exploit is a very difficult job. According to Beaumont:

    I’ve asked every expert I can find about an obvious solution — isn’t it sufficient to simply turn off the Remote Desktop Protocol in the user interface? (In Win7, Start > Control Panel > System and Security > System > Remote Settings, in the System Properties dialog box, click Don’t Allow Connections to This Computer.) That, and/or blocking port 3389 (the port RDP uses by default) should be enough to keep any RDP-related malware at bay. At least, it appears that way to me.

    But I haven’t received a positive response from any of those experts. The ones who know ain’t sayin’. And the ones who probably do know aren’t willing to stick their necks out. It’s hard to fault them: Microsoft hasn’t provided any guidance on the matter, one way or another, so if blocking RDP ends up being insufficient — no matter how logical — there’s a lot of exposure to the person making the recommendation.

    I’ll keep you posted as I hear more, but it looks like the Sky Ain’t Fallin’.

  • Microsoft: Enabling innovation and opportunity on the Intelligent Edge

    Posted on May 29th, 2019 at 14:10 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I get hives when I see “Intelligent Edge” capitalized…

    Yesterday Microsoft Corporate VP Nick Parker gave a keynote at Computex in Taipei. It’s a wonderfully jolly pastiche of marketing memes, culminating in this vision of our operating system future (I’m looking at YOU, Windows):

    These new modern PCs and innovative devices the ecosystem will continue to build and bring to market in the future require a modern operating system. An OS  that provides a set of enablers that deliver the foundational experiences customers expect from their devices, and includes a set of delighters that deliver innovative human centric experiences. Enablers include seamless updates – with a modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions! A modern OS, is also secure by default, the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle. Always connected -with a modern OS Wifi, LTE 5G will just work – and users never have to worry about a deadspot. All of a users devices are aware and connected to each other. A modern OS provides sustained performance, from the moment a user picks up their device – everything is ready to go – without having to worry about the next time the PC needs to be charged. These enablers will satisfy customer’s basic needs, but to truly differentiate we must also delight them. A modern OS does this by enabling cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users experiences on their devices.  These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done, and it enhances applications making them more intelligent. A modern OS is also multi-sense. People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – what ever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse. Finally, a modern OS provides the ultimate in form factor agility. A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver.

    Brushing aside gaze input, enablers, delighters, an OS that knows what you’re doing tomorrow, and posture awareness — and acknowledging that the human centric stuff is the raison d’être for the mess we’re now in —  I want to ask a serious question.

    How far is ChromeOS from achieving this kind of Nerd Nirvana?

  • Windows 10 Home Ultra

    Posted on May 28th, 2019 at 11:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Rich Woods at Neowin reports that Dell has announced its new line of XPS computers will optionally come with something called Windows 10 Home Ultra. As for availability:

    The new Dell XPs 13 2-in-1 will be available soon, starting at $999. While Dell says soon though, it’s probably safe to assume later rather than sooner, since Intel’s 10th-gen processors are promised for the holiday season.

    Windows 10 Home Ultra appears to be Win10 Home, modified to take advantage of the fancy new hardware that’s coming. Other than that, details are few.

    Mary Jo Foley in ZDNet says it’s:

    a variant that was designed to work on more powerful, higher-end hardware than the systems running the “base” Windows 10 Home editions. Microsoft declined to comment last year on feature differences between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Home Advanced (or on Windows 10 Home Advanced at all).

    Paul Thurrott has a few more details on (Premium members only):

    Microsoft is finally starting to ship this offering about a year later than expected.

    I’m taking the ol’ wait-and-see attitude. Anybody else remember Windows 7 Home Premium (which included Windows Media Center and not much else) and Windows 7 Ultimate (which offered… a higher price tag)?

    If the “improvements” in Win10 Home Ultra center around support for more expensive hardware, I wonder how long it’ll be before the hardware manufacturers figure out a way to goose their systems running bone-stock Win10 Home?

    UPDATE: Microsoft has disavowed any knowledge of Home Ultra. It appears to be a figment of Dell’s Marketing imagination.

    Mary Jo now says:

    A Microsoft spokesperson has told Neowin that “There is no new version of Windows called Windows 10 Home Ultra.” My bet is there is some higher-end version of Windows 10 Home, but its name may not end up being “Ultra.” I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this higher-end Home edition of Windows 10 keeps surfacing.

    Thx @NetDef, @b

  • Is AskWoody back to normal?

    Posted on May 27th, 2019 at 22:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I hesitate to say it, but things look normal to me. There’s one bug I see as of 8:30pm Redmond time on Monday:

    In the Recent Replies list, anonymous posts aren’t identified as “Anonymous,” instead there’s no attribution

    Anything I’ve missed?

    Site seems to be sprightly. (Correcting my earlier mistake!)

    The newsletter went out about 8 hours later than usual, but that wasn’t related to the site problems.

    Tomorrow’s another day, eh?

  • Tracking down ominous noises in your PC

    Posted on May 27th, 2019 at 04:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    By Fred Langa

    Strange sounds — especially abrasive or grinding noise — emanating from inside a PC are definitely cause for alarm! Here’s how to correct the two most common sources.

    Plus: What are the risks of relying on Win10’s built-in Windows Defender as your primary, front-line anti-malware tool?

    See the full story in the May 27, 2019, AskWoody Plus Newsletter (Issue 16.19.0)

  • Entertainment in the media-streaming era

    Posted on May 27th, 2019 at 04:10 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    By Susan Bradley

    Thinking about “cutting the cord”? While temporarily displaced from home, I learned that dropping cable and relying on the Internet isn’t easy.

    Watching your favorite shows can mean coping with different platforms, sorting through confusing connectivity options, and working out the restrictions imposed by each streaming service.

    Read the full story in the May 27, 2019, AskWoody Plus Newsletter (Issue 16.19.0)

  • Freeware Spotlight — AppleWin

    Posted on May 27th, 2019 at 04:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    By Deanna McElveen

    In every Freeware Spotlight column, I write about useful and free utilities that can help you work a little faster or make your work a little easier.

    But as this is Memorial Day, we’re not gonna focus on work! Today, it’s a bit of fun.

    Read the full story in the May 27, 2019, AskWoody Plus Newsletter (Issue 16.19.0).