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Monthly Archives: November 2019

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Make sure Automatic Update is temporarily switched off

    Posted on November 11th, 2019 at 06:20 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    With Patch Tuesday tomorrow, and a Win10 1909 upgrade waiting in the wings, now’s a good time to check that Automatic Update’s temporarily turned off.

    As usual, there are full step-by-step instructions in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Resolving Windows network-connection problems

    Posted on November 11th, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    NETWORK TROUBLESHOOTING

    By Lance Whitney

    Troubleshooting networking issues in Windows 10 can be a maddening process. When your PC refuses to make a connection to the Web, Windows’ built-in diagnostics tools can help.

    But when troubleshooting, it’s also useful to have some understanding of how Windows networking works. Firewalls, network adapters, and various properties and settings all play a part in whether you have a fully functioning Ethernet or wireless connection.

    This topic can be deep and complex, but here are some basic diagnostic steps that you should try first.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.41.0 (2019-11-11).

  • Hybrid attack can extract data from inert RAM

    Posted on November 11th, 2019 at 01:10 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    By Fred Langa

    It sounds impossible, but data can be recovered from RAM chips — even after they’ve been removed from a PC.

    Specialized attacks on memory modules can reveal working passwords and cryptographic keys still stored random-access memory, possibly allowing malicious hackers to bypass encryption services such as BitLocker, VeraCrypt, FileVault, and others!

    Plus: Disabling Windows Firewall and its nags.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.41.0 (2019-11-11).

  • Freeware Spotlight — WPD

    Posted on November 11th, 2019 at 01:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    BEST UTILITIES

    By Deanna McElveen

    Back in the day, if Windows 95 had sent out today’s Win10 telemetry, our 56K modem connections would have constantly ground to a standstill.

    Let’s face it, we’re all Microsoft’s lab rats!

    Yes, Windows offers various tools for managing privacy. But a third-party utility — WPD — makes the task far easier. It’s a one-stop privacy dashboard that digs deep into Windows settings. It will, for example, let you easily change some privacy-related Group Policy options. WPD lets you wear your foil hat with pride!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.41.0 (2019-11-11).

  • PC bargains: Buying a laptop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

    Posted on November 11th, 2019 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PC BUYING

    By Michael Lasky

    Shopping for a new PC this holiday season? The best bargains are almost always on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and the following Cyber Monday.

    While Cyber Monday’s online shopping binge might have lessened the Friday brick-and-mortar crowds — and extended the time we have to look for bargains — it hasn’t reduced the seduction for impulse buying.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.41.0 (2019-11-11).

  • Patch Lady – computers know when they are going to be replaced

    Posted on November 10th, 2019 at 19:51 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There are some fundamental truths in computing.

    1. Computers hear when you talk about replacing them and suddenly start doing weird things.
    2. When you are doing a migration process, do not install updates.

    …so Saturday night at 3 a.m. the server that housed our old (and still active) domain controller went offline.  The time of 3 a.m. is notable as it’s the historical and traditional time that updates are installed in my office.  This server is a virtual machine and was housed along with a few others on an older HyperV server that I’m getting ready to retire.  In a small environment I normally don’t join the HyperV (virtual server) to the domain, but had in this case in order to do a live migration from the old server to the new server.  I was going to leave this one domain controller behind once I migrated off of it on the old server since I was planning to retire it, along with the HyperV.  My guess is that because I had joined it to the domain it inadvertantly caught the update policies from the domain and installed updates that I hadn’t intended and it rebooted.  Note that I can’t prove this, but I just know what I did to the server and how it went offline at 3 a.m on Saturday morning, which is the exact time that updates are normally installed in my office.

    Now comes the fun part.  When I went to the office to see why it wasn’t online, it was at a boot  prompt waiting for a bitlocker key for the C drive.

    Now here’s the thing, when I built this server five years ago I wasn’t comfortable with bitlockering the boot drive so I didn’t do it.  I bitlockered (drive encryption) the Data drive on D, but NOT the C drive.  And I’m positive I didn’t because I blogged at the time (five years ago) that I wasn’t comfortable with encrypting the boot drive.  I had the print out of the bitlocker key for the D drive, but NOT the C drive as I never bitlockered the C drive.  I went back in fact and found my blog post where I talked about not bitlockering the C drive.

    And the bitlocker key wasn’t hooked to a Microsoft account like my Surface devices, nor was it in AzureAD as again, I never entered  it on the C drive.  So the two places that you can go to to see if your bitlocker key is there, I know it wouldn’t BE there.

    Needless to say I didn’t have a recovery key when I never gave it one.   Just for grins I tried the recovery key of the D drive (you can see that above) and it said it was incorrect.  Yeah, no kidding!  So while I then got out my backup of that server and started the process of restoring it to the new HyperV server, I decided to also reinstall the host OS knowing that once I got into the server I could then reset up the HyperV server that was safely on the D drive untouched.  It was an exercise to see which method would be faster and rebuilding the boot drive was faster than the restoration process.

    So what update might have triggered this?  I honestly don’t know.  I know that when I patched this hyperV server based on 2012 R2 I only installed recommended updates not optional ones.  I never installed a later .net.  Given that I had hooked it to the domain, my guess is, and I can see in my WSUS policies that it had picked up additional patch approvals while on the domain and accidentally installed them.  Shame on me I know better than this and while doing migrations I should have turned the windows update service to disabled.

    It’s a reminder to me that encryption is wonderful, until it’s not.  It’s a reminder to ensure you have an alternative way to get to the web because your normal method may be impacted.  It’s a reminder to remember you have backups and to have paper documentation of passwords and information in case you can’t get into the digital copies.  It’s a reminder to download a copy of Windows media and have flash drives and external usb hard drives as supplies ready at a moments notice.

    ….. and finally, it’s a reminder to not talk about new servers and migration plans while the old server is listening.  Clearly I hurt it’s feelings.

     

  • Microsoft deleting – not moving – old Internet Explorer documentation

    Posted on November 9th, 2019 at 05:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A disturbing report from @VulturEMaN:

    My RSS feeds for MS documentation updates is showing a lot of IE8/9 documentation updates, but when I click those links all result in a 404. Likely these pages are being deleted. This just started over the last 2 days.

    Feed that doesn’t show the deletions: https://support.microsoft.com/app/content/api/content/feeds/sap/en-us/6a88efa5-712b-9e99-f1b9-368dc2d81f2e/rss

    And then they’re deleting the update from the RSS feed itself. The proof is in the RSS posts that my feeder.io account is showing for that feed, since RSS readers typically keep a copy of anything ever in the feed, even if it was added by mistake or removed.

    I have no kind words for people that delete documentation.Why aren’t they moving it to a site like archive.microsoft.com and then put a big banner at the top that it’s legacy? How many of these articles are relevant to later versions of IE, so we don’t repeat history?

    You can read a more detailed account – including a list of 74 links that have disappeared – on Reddit.

  • Our RSS feed isn’t working properly

    Posted on November 8th, 2019 at 14:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m getting lots and lots of messages from those of you who still rely on RSS feeders.

    (I do too!)

    Yep, our RSS stream is broken. “Blank line before XML declaration” The devs are working on it. Should have a fix soon.