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Daily Archives: August 27, 2019

  • Patch Lady – free isn’t free

    Posted on August 27th, 2019 at 21:54 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve seen several people point to several posts about “free” Windows 7 extended updates.  But I don’t see these “free” as truly free.

    Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EA and EAS) customers with active subscription licenses to Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E5 Security will get Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for Year 1 as a benefit,” Microsoft said in a FAQ about the end of support for Windows 7 and Office 2010.

    Windows 10 Enterprise E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 are the top-tier subscriptions of the OS or packages that include the operating system. They are the highest-priced plans in their specific lines.

    EA agreements are only sold to larger customers.  I may have a Microsoft 365 E5 agreement myself personally but I do NOT have an EA agreement.  You have to have 500 seats of a license (or more) in order to get a EA agreement.

    Next even if you would get access to Windows 7 extended support patches, keep in mind that you will be installing a servicing stack update that enables the ability to enter a MAK key that will specifically license you for Windows 7 patches.  These will then come down for you via Microsoft update (as I understand the process).  If you are a “I don’t want no telemetry on my PC”, you probably won’t want a servicing stack update installed along with a product key that will brand you as being an Extended security patch customer.

    Bottom line, if you want to surf on the web on a Windows 7 machine after January of 2020.  Don’t.  Please.  Keep on using it for specific needs that no longer need the Internet, but don’t do online banking or other financial transactions.  Look into setting up a Linux based boot disk for such needs.   Windows 10 truly does have secret sauce to make it harder to attack (Example:  memory is designed to make it harder for attackers to target).

    Patching can be tamed.  The telemetry that Microsoft gets (IMHO) helps them protect us better from security threats.  I don’t see it as spying.  I know, I know, you will disagree with me.  That’s okay.  I just want folks to make sure that you don’t read the headlines about “Free Windows 7 patches” and not realize this wasn’t meant for small firms and individuals.  Don’t get caught up by thinking there’s a way to get free Windows 7 updates.

    Bottom line… move along.  These aren’t the droids you are looking for….

  • Win10 version 1909 (“19H2”) now has three current beta versions

    Posted on August 27th, 2019 at 10:48 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Never let it be said that the Windows Insider rings are well defined.

    Microsoft’s putting the finishing touches on the next new version (“feature update”) for Win10 version 1903. Except it isn’t being distributed as a new version. It’s being distributed as a plain-vanilla monthly patch (“quality update”).

    I tend to think of the next version of Win10 as Win10 1903 Service Pack 1. But you’ll probably end up calling it Win10 version 1909.

    Here’s where you need a decoder ring.

    The Windows Release Preview ring has been used, historically, for all sorts of things. Recently, it’s been used to test updates to Win10 version 1903 prior to officially rolling them out. (It’s also been photobombed by an odd update, build 18947, which was quickly pulled.) On August 21, Microsoft released a new test version of Win10 1903, build 18362.325, into the Release Preview ring. Presumably, 18362.325 includes fixes for the VB/VBA/VBScript bugs introduced on Patch Tuesday in 18362.295.

    Starting yesterday, a subset of those in the Release Preview ring (about 10%, according to Dona Sarkar), were given the keys to the executive washroom. If you’re in the Release Preview ring and you’re one of the chosen few, you’ll see a link to update to “Windows 10, version 1909.”

    Click on that link and you’ll be able to test Win10 build 18363.327. That’s the first Win10 1909 update allowed out of the Redmond barn.

    Note the monkey business with the build numbers — Win10 version 1903 is build 18362.blahblahblah. Win10 version 1909 (nee “19H2”) is build 18363.mumblemumble.

    Sarkar says “to designate 19H2 as a feature update, we are revising the baseline build number by one full build” in the Windows Obfuscation Numbering Scheme. But note that:

    Insiders in the Release Preview ring who get 19H2 Build 18363.327 today will not see all the 19H2 features the Slow ring currently has as not all the features have been incorporated into the build yet.

    But wait a sec. There isn’t a single beta version of 1909 in the Slow Ring. There are two. I call them the bifurcating betas. That means, right now, there are not one, not two, but three different beta test versions of Win10 1909 — builds 18362.10014, 18362.10015, and 18363.327.

    The official announcement ends with this bit of wisdom:

    Because of the differences between the way the 19H2 updates are packaged between the Slow and Release Preview rings, Insiders in the Slow ring will not be able to switch to the Release Preview ring and get updates yet. Insiders who are thinking of switching rings should stay put for now. We will communicate to Insiders when it is ok to make the switch.

    See what I mean about a decoder ring?

    Thx @EP

    UPDATE: Paul Thurrott has posted an article on his paywall site that says there are “a minimum of” four versions of 1909 (“19H2”) floating around. I’ve seen three, but haven’t seen the fourth — and doubt that it exists. Three. Four. Whatever. It’s still way too many.