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Monthly Archives: June 2020

  • Win10 codec security hole

    Posted on June 30th, 2020 at 17:18 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This one’s more interesting than the typical Windows zero-day.

    MS just published a Security Update for CVE-2020-1425 | Microsoft Windows Codecs Library Remote Code Execution Vulnerability:

    A remoted code execution vulnerability exists in the way that Microsoft Windows Codecs Library handles objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could obtain information to further compromise the user’s system. Exploitation of the vulnerability requires that a program process a specially crafted image file. The update addresses the vulnerability by correcting how Microsoft Windows Codecs Library handles objects in memory.

    (It looks like the bad codec is a piece of Windows that decompresses a video file.)

    It’s listed as not exploited, not yet disclosed. So it’s a real security hole, but it hasn’t been exploited yet – so it isn’t a zero-day.

    Affected customers will be automatically updated by Microsoft Store. Customers do not need to take any action to receive the update. Alternatively, customers who want to receive the update immediately can check for updates with the Microsoft Store App; more information on this process can be found here.

    Nothing to see here, folks.

  • Windows Insiders (beta testers): You’re being moved to the new, new channels soon

    Posted on June 30th, 2020 at 07:17 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you haven’t been moved already.

    Amanda Langkowski posted yesterday:

    Update 6/29: Today, we have begun rolling out the Channels naming to the Windows Insider Program Settings page under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. The rollout will happen over the course of the next few days.

    I talked about the truly baffling re-naming effort back on June 18.

  • A Win10 guide for Windows Update settings

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By @PKCano

    For most PC users, the basic task of keeping Windows up to date involves a bewildering pantheon of terms.

    To make the process of patching Windows and Office a bit easier, here’s a simple summary of Microsoft’s updating system. This article isn’t aimed at business users who have the support of IT departments. It’s dedicated to consumers and small-business owners who strive to keep their machines safe from malware, operating-system flaws, and other threats. The descriptions below apply to Windows 10 Versions 1903 and 1909. I’m still looking at the updating-process changes in the new Win10 2004.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • Freeware Spotlight — ScreenToGif

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:10 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Deanna McElveen

    Usually, when an app becomes one of my favorites, I just assume everyone else knows about it.

    So there I was, working with Nicke Manarin’s ScreenToGif utility on a simple task: creating instructions for a client on how to change Windows from double-click to single-click. And then it hit me: this handy-but-relatively-unknown app is … article material!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • June updates crash printing

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:05 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Susan Bradley

    In a normal monthly Windows and Office patching cycle, I almost never roll out any optional updates that Microsoft releases between Patch Tuesdays.

    It’s hard to say what’s “normal” with Windows updating, but June is atypical even by the usual patching tribulations.

    Soon after the Patch Tuesday security updates dropped (on June 9), there were reports of printing failures. The problem hit close to home; after patching my systems, I could no longer print to any of my large multifunction Ricoh printers — a huge problem for my business. As a quick workaround, I updated the printer drivers from PCL5 to PCL6.

    Subsequently, Microsoft posted optional fixes on the MS Update Catalog for Windows 10, Win8.1, and Server 2012.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • Eight ways to grow email lists for small businesses

    Posted on June 29th, 2020 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Nathan Segal

    According to Maria Veloso, author of Web Copy That Sells, most small companies tend to put too much focus on one-time sales, even if they don’t intend to.

    Which could mean leaving lots of repeat business on the table.

    Staying in contact with clients and customers is an important tool for small firms with limited marketing funds and resources. Subscription-based email lists are a relatively easy way to stay in touch. Regular, well-crafted messages remind customers that you have new products and services they might like to know about.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • Apple’s WWDC: A retrospective

    Posted on June 28th, 2020 at 15:55 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Good outline from our own Nathan Parker, @parkernathan:

    WWDC 2020 Bottom Line

    WWDC 2020 recently wrapped up with its first online-only event. While no new consumer hardware was announced during the event, major updates are coming to the operating systems that power Apple devices this fall, and Apple has also kicked off a major processor transition that will affect Mac users for years to come. Here is the WWDC 2020 “bottom line”.

    iOS 14:
    • Will run on all devices compatible with iOS 13
    • Widgets can be pinned to Home Screen (including widgets that swap out at different times)
    • New App Library (similar to app drawer in Android, although it still categorizes apps)
    • More compact call notifications (both from phone and CallKit apps)
    • Picture in Picture arrives for videos and FaceTime calls
    • Messages adds: pinned conversations, group images, mentions, inline replies, and new Memoji and stickers
    • Maps adds: cycling directions, electric vehicle routing around charging stations, travel guides
    • New built-in Translator app, includes offline mode for privacy
    • Siri adds: compact interface, improved knowledge and web search, sending audio messages
    • Home adds: suggested automations, home status icons at the top of the Home app, adaptive lighting, activity zones, face recognition for HomeKit Secure Video cameras
    • Safari adds: built-in translation, performance enhancements, password monitoring, website privacy reports
    • CarPlay adds: wallpaper backgrounds, and support for parking, electric vehicle, and food ordering apps
    • CarKeys: Use iPhone to unlock and start select car models, arriving first to BMW 5 Series
    • AirPods enhancements (to firmware, not hardware): spatial audio support on AirPods Pro, battery notifications, adaptive charging, automatic device switching, accommodations to account for hearing differences, Apple TV audio sharing
    • App Clips: Use a part of an app without downloading the entire app
    • Privacy enhancements: App Store lists privacy information, recording indicator, migrate existing accounts under Sign In with Apple, share approximate instead of exact location
    • App Store now allows app developers to offer the ability to share in-app subscriptions on Family Sharing
    • Apple Arcade: New Game Center app (also works with non Apple Arcade apps) and Game Center integration, continue playing feature across devices for games
    • ARKit 4 now includes location anchors
    • Camera app adds the ability to lock exposure values
    • Health enhancements: sleep tracking, sound data collected from headphones, health checklist, new data types for ECG, symptoms, mobility, and health records
    • Now includes the ability to set the default web browser and email app to third party apps
    • Weather app now includes some integration from the acquisition of Dark Sky
    • Apple Music offers a new Listen Now home tab

    iPadOS 14:
    • Will run on all devices compatible with iPadOS 13
    • Will include most but not all new features of iOS 14
    • Also includes a new search feature that feels similar to Spotlight on Mac
    • Also includes the ability to write in text fields with Apple Pencil (known as Scribble)
    • Also includes the ability to copy and paste handwriting
    • Also includes data detectors on handwriting

    macOS Big Sur:
    • Changes release number to 11 (early developer betas show 10.16, but release will be 11)
    • Compatible with these Macs (some Catalina Macs will be left out)
    • New design for apps, dock, and icons with taller, more translucent menu bar and redesigned sheets, all based on iOS
    • New design for Notification Center and widgets
    • New Control Center similar to iOS
    • Safari adds: Chrome to Safari extension porting, the ability to import Chrome settings, customizable start page, new dedicated extensions category in App Store, new tab design, built-in translation, password monitoring, privacy reports for websites, increased performance and power efficiency
    • Maps adds: cycling directions, electric vehicle routing around charging stations, travel guides, look around, indoor maps
    • App Store adds additional app privacy information
    • Photos adds improved ML photo editing
    • AirPods support adds automatic device switching
    • Home adds: activity zones and face recognition to HomeKit Secure Video cameras
    • Apple Music adds new Listen Now home tab
    • Siri enhancements include increased Siri knowledge
    • Optimized battery charging and usage history comes to all Mac notebooks
    • macOS System now signed
    • Faster macOS updates
    • Return of the Boot Chime, new tweaked system sounds

    watchOS 7:
    • Available for Apple Watch Series 3 or later
    • New watch faces, complications, and the ability for app developers to offer more complications for third-party apps
    • Adds the ability to share watch faces
    • Ability to download watch fasces from the App Store or online
    • Workouts adds: dance, functional strength training, core training, and post-workout cooldown
    • Maps adds bike routes
    • New automatic handwashing timer and reminder to wash hands when arriving home
    • Siri adds: translation, on-device dictation, and Siri Shortcuts
    • New hearing features: Safe weekly listening threshold when using earphones, weekly listening summary, reduce loud sounds
    • Drops support for Force Touch

    tvOS Enhancements:
    • Multi-user gaming
    • HomeKit Secure Video feeds from cameras
    • Picture-in-picture
    • AirPods audio sharing
    • YouTube and AirPlay now supports 4K on the Apple TV 4K

    HomePod gains support for third-party music services

    Apple Silicon Transition:
    • Apple announced it is transitioning its Macs from Intel processors to processors based on its A Series chips used in other Apple devices (also based on ARM)
    • First Mac with Apple Silicon ships by year end, Mac Mini Developer Transition Kit based on A12Z available now for developers to lease, more Intel Macs arriving this year
    • Transition to likely be complete within two years
    • macOS upgrades for Intel Macs supported for “years”
    • Apple Silicon Macs will natively run iOS and iPadOS apps
    • First Apple Silicon Mac will run macOS Big Sur
    • Developers can build “Universal 2” apps that run on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs (similar to “Universal” apps during the PowerPC to Intel transition)
    • “Rosetta 2” runs Intel-only apps on Apple Silicon Macs while developers work to port their Macs to “Universal 2” (works similar to “Rosetta” during the PowerPC to Intel transition, although with faster performance than the older “Rosetta” technology), virtualization with Linux works but not for Windows apps or Boot Camp at the moment
    • Boot and recovery mode and Mac sharing (Target Disk Mode replacement) streamlined on Apple Silicon Macs

  • Windows 10 information hub

    Posted on June 27th, 2020 at 22:14 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Zdnet’s Ed Bott has put together an article he calls – The ultimate Windows 10 information hub: Everything you need in one place. Ed says if you are “Looking for technical information about Windows 10 releases, new features, known issues, troubleshooting, and tech support?” start there.

    The page is updated frequently. It has links to many of Ed’s articles on various aspects of Windows 10. It also has links to many Microsoft support articles and tools.

    All-in-all it is a good place to start Windows 10 information. Saving a bookmark to this article might be a time-saver in the future

  • The former head of Windows: “Mac will be the ultimate developer PC”

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 14:28 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I don’t quote Steve Sinofsky very often, but he just posted this on Twitter – and it rings very true.

    Steve Troughton-Smith:

    I really hope the ARM transition is what gets Apple’s Mac lineup to 120Hz, Face ID & touch. There are so many things we take for granted on iOS that make macOS feel broken without them, and with the convergence of the software and hardware it feels like those are closer than ever


    It will. Guaranteed. In two years there is only ARM hardware and in 4 Intel will be ancient memory. The ecosystem will have rolled over. And Mac will be the ultimate developer PC. iPad will be used for more and more “work”. PS yes a computer without touch is broken.

    Yes, this is the Steve Sinofsky who started on Excel development, ran the Office side of things for many years, then shifted over to lead the team that finished Windows 7 and created Windows 8. Yes, that Windows 8.

    I rarely, rarely find myself agreeing with SteveSi on anything. But in this case, I think he’s right.

    (Don’t tell Steve I said, that, OK?)

  • Microsoft Closes Retail Stores

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 11:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has announced it is closing almost all of its retail Stores (and the few that won’t close won’t be selling products and will be turned into Microsoft Experience Centers).

    This is a devastating blow to existing Microsoft Surface users looking for decent support and it certainly won’t do much to help with sales of new Surface devices.

    One counterbalance to the poor online and phone support for Surface products was that if you were fortunate to live within traveling distance to a Microsoft Store, most consumers could get better results for hardware issues than using online support. And then there was the instant exchange, as opposed to sending in your broken device and waiting, sometimes up to two or more weeks for a replacement. And then getting a bad replacement. At the Stores, the replacement process was usually instant and customers could examine the replacement product (reject if needed), etc. For many with bulging batteries in Surface Book and SP4 devices, going to a MS Store was the only solution to avoid a $600 out of warranty charge (Microsoft cut off free replacements after 3 years from date of Purchase). The Store staff “got it”. The Apple Stores right next store to most of the MS Stores replaced batteries and devices all day long. And took care of swollen batteries in Macbook Pros.

    The closest store to me was one mile from the Massachusetts border. That Store had a robust small business sales and support business. When in the Store, I often saw pickups of multiple new Surface devices. And they handled software and hardware issues for these customers easily. There were actually smiles on the faces of those folks waiting for the techs to work on their devices. This speaks to the top level skills of these MS Store technicians.

    As Amy Babinchak stated in the Third Tier Facebook page “This is a sucky development. The Microsoft store was a valuable partner to my MSP. They hand delivered orders directly to clients, managed warranty and repair issues like pros I’ve never seen before. The existence of the store legitimatized the Surface line of products. This is a sad event “


  • Is the Disappearing Profile bug still alive and well?

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 09:26 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    This morning I logged in to my Win10 Pro v2004 VM, and, after entering my password, ran into the rolling circle of dots that took minutes and a message “Preparing Windows.”
    It opened into a desktop with a “We can’t log you in to your account” box in the middle of the screen and a desktop that was not mine.
    Note, there were no obvious updates in the last few days, no other indication that anything was going on.
    I shut down (not restarted) the VM – don’t have Fast Startup, sleep, or hibernation. In fact, I have removed the hiberfile. So no hangovers.
    Restarted the VM, logged in again, and everything was normal. My Profile was back.

    Seems the disappearing profile bug is still alive and well. And it isn’t necessarily precipitated by an (obvious) update.

    Has anyone else seen this lately? Tell us your version of Win10 (v1809, v1903, v1909, or v2004) and the Edition (Home or Pro).
  • Win10 version 2004 deferrals gone from the user interface – but there’s a little-known Registry key that’ll keep new versions off your machine

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 08:12 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This one’s a gem.

    As you can see in the next two blog posts, Microsoft has officially taken away the “defer quality updates” and “defer feature updates” settings from the Win10 user interface. You can futz around with Group Policy entries in Pro, Education and Enterprise versions, if you want to dive in, but it’s no longer easy to keep Microsoft from offering version upgrades.


    Except there’s a little-known Registry key called TargetReleaseVersionInfo that’ll keep your Pro, Education or Enterprise PC locked on to the version of your choice — at least, until Microsoft pulls the plug on that version. @abbodi86 leads the way.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.