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Daily Archives: February 5, 2020

  • Patch Lady – Panos we need transparency

    Posted on February 5th, 2020 at 23:52 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Earlier today two things happened.  Thing one:  Panos Panay was named in charge of Windows both in terms of hardware and software.

    The second thing occurred is that we all found out that our local search boxes are somehow dependent on some service working at Microsoft.

    A few weeks ago Microsoft announced that they were going to insert a search extension in Chrome to redirect the search from google to bing for users of Office 365 Pro Plus.   They plan to do the same for Firefox.  As of today I have not heard any word that this decision – that I haven’t seen a single person or customer of Microsoft think this is a good idea – has been pulled back and reconsidered.

    This is my blog post to Panos Panay as he starts this new journey.

    Dear Mr. Panay.   Let me introduce myself.   My name is Susan Bradley and I’ve been working with computers since I was in high school years ago.  Microsoft has been a key part of my personal success and business success.  We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without Microsoft paving the way of bringing technology out of the datacenter and to my desk.  I want to congratulate you on this new position and hope that you will pave the way for a new transparency that is sorely needed in Microsoft.  As the computer has moved from the datacenter (when I was in college I worked on computer coding in Basic on dumb terminals in the college datacenter) to my desk (IBM 8088) and now back to the data center, you need to realize that the journey where our data is there to here and now back at there means that you need to earn  AND maintain our trust.

    We have to trust that you are keeping our data safe.  We have to trust you on Patch Tuesday to patch and protect our systems.  Microsoft has long taken the stance that patching our systems is the best way to keep ourselves safe.  Your staff has often explained that the old way of individual patching led to fragmentation of the operating system.  If one person opted to not install an update, they would forever have a system that was not “whole”.  They’d forever have an operating system that would be different and unique from another system.  Thus rolling up all of the updates into a single installable patch each month would ensure that we were all patched, all protected, all “whole”.  It also assured us that we’d have less issues with detection and supercedence.

    But rolling up all of these updates into one patch meant that we had to trust that you’d done enough quality checks to ensure that we’d not only be protected when we patch, that we’d also get patches that didn’t hurt us in the process of updating.  I STILL get constantly asked about which patches should be skipped because people don’t trust that Microsoft is doing enough to ensure that patches are tested in advance.  The Windows health release dashboard that was released goes to help this trust process.

    But you need to do more.  I still cannot in good conscience tell people to patch immediately.  I still feel more comfortable telling people to wait at least a week (if not more) to give time for issues to be discovered and patches fixed.

    Today’s search issue is an example where transparency of what happened here needs to be talked about.  Most of us had no idea that our shiny new Windows 10 search box had a dependency on something that broke.  Most of us had no idea that you are not only updating our operating system with patching updates, with store updates and now apparently another updating mechanism that none of us really had a clue was being updated on a regular basis.

    And please.  Please sit down with Joe Belfiore (who is taking over the Office side of Microsoft) and do not hijack the search engine of a third party browser.  Doing so means that you are setting a bad precedent.  An entry in wikipedia now list Office 365 as a browser hijacker.   It saddens me to see that.  This isn’t how software should be written and deployed.  And this REALLY isn’t how Microsoft should be deploying software in 2020.

    A while ago I had put in place a “Pinocchio” scale.  I’d put a graphic on a post when I felt Microsoft wasn’t being transparent enough.    I think I need another graphic.  One that represents when your Company hasn’t earned our trust.

    It’s not enough to post up whitepapers on how your cloud services provide privacy and security.  Your firm has to earn our trust in the actions of your firm.  Your firm can’t go back to the behavior of a software bully.   Microsoft, remember not THAT long ago you had to pay penalties and fees for doing monopolistic behavior.  Don’t do that again.

    So please.  As you take over the reins of this company, your shareholders aren’t the only important people you need to cater to.  Your customers, those of us that have to trust you with our data, our businesses, our future endeavors deserve better behavior than this.

  • Win10 Search is working again

    Posted on February 5th, 2020 at 11:46 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Following up on numerous tips here (and elsewhere), I rebooted twice and finally got my Win10 version 1903 Search box back:


    Search on my  main machine is now build 2020.02.04.6238073.

    Sorry, but this doesn’t have anything to do with Microsoft’s Servers going down. The black box is clearly the result of a buggy Search build that was pushed onto Win10 machines – without any warning, no documentation, and no permissions.

    MS has been messing with Search versions for the past few days. Now, it appears, they’ve found something that works.

    How long until they break it again?

    And — I repeat — how could anyone with fiduciary responsibilities for a system allow something like this to happen?

    UPDATE: Mary Jo Foley reported at 11:48 am Central time that she still can’t get it to work. Shortly afterwards, she posted on ZDNet that three reboots brought the Search screen back. “No word on what caused the issue or how Microsoft intends to prevent this from happening in the future.”

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Microsoft has told Tom Warren that:

    Microsoft confirmed it was investigating access and latency issues “with multiple Microsoft 365 services,” before fixing the issue at 11:35AM ET. Microsoft blames a “third-party networking fiber provider” for experiencing a network disruption resulting in multiple Microsoft 365 services issues. While Microsoft has fixed this issue, many are still reporting that Windows search is still not working. You may need to reboot your Windows 10 PC to get search working again, though.

    Okay, Microsoft. Pull the other one. Since when does a third-party networking fiber provider increment Windows Search build numbers? I need to get Susan Bradley to re-instate her Pinocchio awards. Five noses, this one.

  • Does the Win10 Search box still work for you?

    Posted on February 5th, 2020 at 07:26 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Here’s a little test. Reboot your Win10 1903 or 1909 machine and click down in the Search box, in the lower left corner. When I did that early this morning on my Win10 version 1903 system (build 18362.592), here’s what I saw:

    Search isn’t working. I didn’t touch anything. Microsoft screwed up.

    @howardagoldberg and @warrenrumak have been connecting the dots.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    UPDATE: Mayank Parmar on Windows Latest has a step-by-step guide to disabling Bing in Windows Search. That apparently bypasses this bug. But be aware that, in the past, disabling Bing search has led to weird side-effects when installing at least one Win10 cumulative update.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: The general reaction has been “it’s Microsoft’s servers – wait and it’ll get fixed” which seems highly likely. BUT. What gives Microsoft the right to change the internal working of your Search bar, without your knowledge or consent? Folks with fiduciary responsibility for keeping a system secure should be livid at this point.

    YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Warren at The Verge says:

    Microsoft has confirmed it’s investigating access and latency issues “with multiple Microsoft 365 services,” so other Windows-related services may also be impacted by this outage. The Windows search service went down at around 8AM ET today, and at the time of publishing, it’s still not working for the majority of Windows 10 users.

    Which seems all well and good, until you discover that Microsoft’s “Service health status” notice says:

    Title: Can’t access multiple services. User impact: Users may be unable to access multiple Microsoft 365 services. More info: Additionally, users who are able to access services may experience latency. Current status: We’re investigating a potential network interruption as the root cause. Scope of impact: Impact is specific to users served from Europe.

    This isn’t exclusively a Microsoft 365  problem. It’s not confined to Europe.