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Monthly Archives: June 2019

  • Freeware Spotlight — System Information Viewer

    Posted on June 24th, 2019 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Best Utilities

    By Deanna McElveen

    They say that information is power, and this holds true with computer diagnostics. The more you know about your system, the more likely you’ll find solutions to problems.

    Windows provides a good amount of system data, but to dive deep you need third-party tools. One of our favorites is Ray Hinchliffe’s System Information Viewer (SIV). It’s not a thing of beauty, but there’s little it can’t reveal about your PC’s stats — whether you’re running Windows 2000 or current versions of Windows 10.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.23.0 (2019-06-24).

  • How to maximize your battery charge in Win10

    Posted on June 24th, 2019 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    WINDOWS 10

    By Lance Whitney

    It always seems that your portable PC runs out of juice at some highly inopportune moment — such as when you’re about to email that must-deliver report, and there’s nowhere to plug in.

    Your notebook’s power settings can have a huge impact on battery life. Age is also an important factor — a three- or four-year-old battery might not last an hour. (Time to replace it!) Fortunately, Windows 10 offers several tools and techniques to keep your battery alive for as long as possible.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.23.0 (2019-06-24).

  • Win10 version 1903 disappearing Update settings described, but not explained

    Posted on June 23rd, 2019 at 20:20 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Of all the problems with Win10 1903 – the version that’s being pushed onto unsuspecting machines right now – this one’s the worse.

    In Win10 1903 Pro, if you go into Windows Update, advanced options, you get a pane that looks like this.

    Several of you have noted that, if you specify deferral options as I have here (non-zero numbers in either of the two bottom boxes), the entire “Choose when updates are installed” part of the advanced options dialog disappears.

    @abbodi86 has undertaken some experiments with the settings. Here’s what he has concluded:

    Yep, the Feature Update deferral box disappears once i change the entries to non-zero.

    Maybe it’s an intentional move so the user cannot change the period frequently? 🙂

    Anyway, the Feature Update deferral period can be still controlled with registry setting

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsUpdate\UX\Settings] “DeferFeatureUpdatesPeriodInDays”=dword:0000016d

    Group policy can be used to show you the feature update deferral period. The box will show up greyed, but at least you can know the period

    @abbodi goes on to say that he tested changing the Quality Update deferral period the same way, with the same result — if you set it to anything other than zero, the whole section disappears.

    Here’s what really galls me. This is a known bug (feature?), replicable on any Win10 1903 Pro machine. Microsoft has documented the bewilickers out of its new 1903 features that let anybody defer forced updates. (Ironic that the ability to pause forced updates is 1903’s most important new feature, eh?)

    Yet in this, the most fundamental way to control forced updates, we clearly have a bug (feature?) that severely limits your ability to control updating — and we haven’t heard a single squeal from Microsoft.

    I’ve been hoping that the second monthly cumulative update for Win10 1903 will fix this bug, but we haven’t seen it yet. And if it is fixed, it isn’t clear to me how Microsoft will install the fix. Will it obey the settings hidden in the user interface (but still accessible in the registry, and through Group Policy)? Or will it just push through the fix?

    Microsoft’s seeing the aftermath of one fundamental flaw: The beta test versions of Win10 1903 didn’t include the full “defer updates” regimen. Feature update deferral and Quality update deferral weren’t tested outside of Microsoft. And you can see the result.

    MS takes full control of updates on Windows Insider installations, so even if three million people are in the program, not one of them tests forced update deferrals.

    Sorry, folks, 1903 isn’t even half ready for prime time.

  • Dell patches SupportAssist, but other PC-Doctor software still vulnerable

    Posted on June 23rd, 2019 at 07:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Dell announced on June 21 that it has issued an emergency patch for the Dell SupportAssist software – which you’re probably running if you have a Dell computer and didn’t wipe out the pre-installed garbage.

    Specifically, the PC-Doctor component of SupportAssist has a vulnerability in the way it checks (or, er, doen’t check) the validity of certain DLLs on your computer. If somebody sticks a bad DLL on your machine, in a specific location and with a specific file name, PC-Doctor helpfully picks it up and runs it – with system-level privileges. SafeBreak Labs, which discovered and reported the bug, has a full description.

    Dell ain’t the only one. Apparently PC-Doctor Toolbox is also part of

    CORSAIR ONE Diagnostics
    CORSAIR Diagnostics
    Staples EasyTech Diagnostics
    Tobii I-Series Diagnostic Tool
    Tobii Dynavox Diagnostic Tool

    You may recall that Dell SupportAssist had a big security breach back in May, 2019. Beats me why anyone would continue to use crapware like it.

  • Microsoft releases out-of-band fixes for Win7 and Win8.1 on 6/20

    Posted on June 21st, 2019 at 06:27 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has released out-of-band updates for Windows 7, and Windows 8.1, and IE11 to fix errors introduced by Patch Tuesday patches.

    Update for 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP1 KB 4508772

    This update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 includes the quality improvements from KB4503269 (released June 11, 2019), in addition to these key changes:

    • Addresses an issue that may display the error, “MMC has detected an error in a snap-in and will unload it.” when you try to expand, view, or create Custom Views in Event Viewer. Additionally, the application may stop responding or close. You may also receive the same error when using Filter Current Log in the Action menu with built-in views or logs.

    Update for Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 KB 4508773

    This update for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 includes the quality improvements from KB4503290 (released June 11, 2019), in addition to these key changes:

    • Addresses an issue that may display the error, “MMC has detected an error in a snap-in and will unload it.” when you try to expand, view, or create Custom Views in Event Viewer. Additionally, the application may stop responding or close. You may also receive the same error when using Filter Current Log in the Action menu with built-in views or logs

    Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 11 KB 4508646

    This update for Internet Explorer 11 includes the quality improvements from KB4503259, in addition to these key changes:

    • Addresses an issue that causes Internet Explorer 11 to stop working when it opens or interacts with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) markers, including Power BI line charts with markers.

    Important: The improvements in this update are not included in the Monthly Rollups released June 11, 2019

    Please note: Like the Security Only Updates and the separate IE11 Cumulative Updates, these Patches are MS Catalog only downloads. They are not available through Windows Update.

  • If you’re running Win10 Pro 1803 and you want to move to 1809 so you don’t get pushed to 1903, there’s good news

    Posted on June 19th, 2019 at 22:15 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    @PKCano has gone through the steps:

    I’m not ready for 1903 yet. I wanted to see if I could update my 1803 Pro to to 1809 through the usual channels. I was up to date through June CU KB4503268 Build 17134.829, not seeing ANY of the new settings, not offered either 1809 or 1903, even after “checking for updates.”

    My original settings: SAC, Feature deferral=365, Quality deferral=0, No pause. In Group Policy, Configure Automatic Updates=Enabled, value 2 (notify download/install). I am NOT using any third-party update blockers. The Feature deferral of 365 preventing being offered feature updates.

    Trying @zero2dash ‘s method, I set Feature deferrals to 32 days (it has not been 32 days since 1903’s release, so that should give me 1809). Checking for updates, SAC kept me from being offered the June Preview CU. Sure enough, I was offered Feature Update 1809. It installed as Build 17763.592.

    I put the Feature deferral on 1809 back to 365 days. I am NOT seeing 1903 offered nor the “download and install now” section in Windows Update. Everything seems to be working. BitDefender Free, Malwarebytes Free, Open Shell Menu

    Please NOTE: Win10 v1903 was released May 21, 2019. I used 32 days as the Feature deferral setting in my test because it had been less than 32 days since v1903 had been released.
    If you are attempting this method, the number of deferral days has to be set GREATER THAN the number of days between the current date and May 21st. Add a few days to the difference just to be safe.

    Excellent news for anyone who didn’t squirrel away a copy of 1809 while it was easily downloaded.

  • Dell: Recent patches break iSCSI login on Dell PS Series arrays

    Posted on June 19th, 2019 at 20:10 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There’s a thread on the Dell support site that says:

    There are currently three MS KBs that once installed result in iSCSI login failures with Dell PS Series arrays

    Server 2019 – KB4497934 – Released May 21
    Server 2016 – KB4499177 – Released May 23
    Server 2016 – KB4503267 – Released June 11

    At this time the only resolution is to remove the KB and iSCSI logins  will complete.

    Then there’s confirmation from a Dell engineer:

    Dell and Microsoft are aware of the issue and are working on it. For the time being all that can be done is remove the KBs in question and wait for Microsoft to issue the fixed update.

    I don’t have any further info about later cumulative updates including this bug. It isn’t listed on the Release Information Status page.

  • Patch Lady – well not quite ready

    Posted on June 19th, 2019 at 14:52 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yes this is an infamous Acer Spin with the 32 gig of hard drive space that can’t get an upgrade to 1903 right now.  Stay tuned as I monitor and see when it is deemed worthy.