Monthly Archives: January 2023

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Patching weather is clearing

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    ISSUE 20.04.1 • 2023-01-24
    MS-DEFCON 2

    By Susan Bradley

    In general, the January updates have been well behaved.

    So far, I’m not seeing any trending issues with them; accordingly, I’m lowering the MS-DEFCON level to 4. But that’s not to say we haven’t seen some other issues related to other types of updates. In addition to describing those, I’ll discuss a vulnerability in a part of your computer you may never think about.

    Two issues recently impacted Start menus and shortcuts but were unrelated to one another.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.04.1, 2023-01-24).

  • “What can I use my old computers for?”

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    ISSUE 20.04 • 2023-01-23

    SUPPORT

    Randy McElveen

    By Randy McElveen

    I will be the first to admit that I have a problem letting go of things. I just cannot throw things away, especially electronics.

    In this article, I will give you some “tips for pack rats” about how to repurpose old computers. I’m sure I will get around to doing these things with my basement full of computers — someday.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Is the woman in this video real or a deepfake? Now find out.

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    There’s been an explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) that can create fake videos and compose passable writing samples. These computer-generated outputs are now good enough to fool the average person, who may absorb social media with an uncritical eye.

    The major media have exhaustively (but superficially) written about these AI programs. So I won’t bore you with the mind-numbing details of exactly how they work.

    Instead, I’ll tell you how to detect them and — hopefully — protect yourself against fakes of all kinds.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).

  • Get started, but stay original, with Microsoft Designer

    MICROSOFT 365

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    There is and will continue to be a lot of hype about Microsoft Designer.

    As usual, the reality of a Microsoft product is somewhat different. Microsoft’s focus is making everything quick and easy, which sounds great. But any moderately experienced Office user knows the trap. Too many docs, sheets, and slides have a tedious sameness to them because they rely on the same templates and design helpers.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).

  • Microsoft to lay off 10,000 workers

    MICROSOFT NEWS

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Microsoft will reduce its worldwide workforce by 5% due to economic uncertainty.

    On January 18, 2023, Satya Nadella sent to all Microsoft employees a letter titled Focusing on our short- and long-term opportunity. The note contained his explanation for the contraction of the workforce.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).

  • When is the right time to buy a Windows 11 computer?

    HARDWARE

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The other day, I retired the last Windows 7 computer in our office, the one that had been used by our office manager.

    She didn’t like change and rarely went online. She used the computer only for some key business applications. (She carried a flip phone.) In other words, this is a case in which I wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

    So I took an older Windows 10 computer that wasn’t eligible for Windows 11, put the Start10 application on it, installed the Office classic menu, and ported her preferred background image to the “new” PC. I put the icons on the desktop in exactly the same place. I did everything possible to make the new computer look and behave as much like the old one as I could. And I didn’t tell her the computer had changed.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.04.0, 2023-01-23).

  • Group policy is cool but….

    Stumbled across this video tonight from Linus Tech Tips (not Linux but Linus). The video is about enabling Group policy editor. BUT on a Home PC even enabling Group policy editor  on Home doesn’t necessarily make Group policies work on Home skus. Some settings will work, some will not.

    The video is a bit hard to follow but the command(*) to enable group policy editor can enable group policy editor on Windows 10/11 Home skus but that doesn’t mean that if you enable a setting that it actually WORKS on a Home sku.

    Also be aware that you will need to have a computer that can support virtualization in order to run Linux on Windows (WSL).

    There is a Github group policy editor tool but I honestly haven’t tested to see if it works.

    Okay I’m a critic tonight because he’s glossing over a lot of the system requirements and details in this video. That said, it is showcasing that under the hood of Microsoft they aren’t just doing “Windows” but actively putting cross platform features into Windows 11.

    What key tip or trick would you recommend others should know and probably don’t?

    (*) Commands below:

    FOR %F IN (“%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientTools-Package~*.mum”) DO (DISM /Online /NoRestart /Add-Package:”%F”)

    FOR %F IN (“%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientExtensions-Package~*.mum”) DO (DISM /Online /NoRestart /Add-Package:”%F”)

  • How to set up a local account in any edition of Windows 11

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    ISSUE 20.03 • 2023-01-16

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Yes, there is a way to create a local account in Windows 11, if you know the right tricks.

    With Windows 11, Microsoft has certainly made it more difficult to use a local account, especially if you’re running Windows 11 Home edition. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. There is one clever way to sneak past Microsoft’s restrictions and create a local account in any edition of Windows 11.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Windows Menu Editor — This is the last day I search for “Delete”!

    FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    I switch between versions of Windows a lot.

    Most of the computers I repair are Windows 10, but most of the ones I build are Windows 11. Two of the desktops I use in the office are Windows 10, but my office laptop is Windows 11. I don’t know how many times a day I right-click to cut, copy, paste, rename, or delete something — but if it’s on Windows 11, it takes time for my brain to stop searching for the words “Cut,” “Copy,” “Paste,” “Rename,” or “Delete.”

    I don’t have the time nor the will to adapt!

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • Saving history

    PERSONAL MEDIA

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Nothing lasts forever. Or does it?

    The readership of this newsletter is old enough to have used, if not embraced, a host of analog technologies for documenting memories. Today we’re taking photos and videos using our omnipresent “phones,” but as recently as two decades ago magnetic tape and film were our primary tools.

    We know this to be true because in our attics, basements, and closets we have trays of 35mm and Instamatic (127) slides. We have strips of black-and-white negatives, and perhaps strips of color negatives. We have boxes of video tapes in Sony Video8, Hi8, Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, and the crossover format MiniDV. We have albums of printed photos. We have quarter-inch audio tapes, cassette tapes, and maybe even the elusive 8-track cartridge format. We may even have vinyl LPs, and older 45s and 78s.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • January’s patching cyclone

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We’re a bit soggy and wet at the AskWoody Tech LLC Global Headquarters here in central California.

    We’ve had nearly a week of rain, and more is coming. I shouldn’t complain — severe drought has brought our state’s water supply down to historically low levels, so the water is needed and much appreciated. But when Microsoft rains down upon us at the same time, the total deluge is a bit much.

    For January, Microsoft fixed 98 security vulnerabilities, said goodbye (for the final time) to the much-beloved Windows 7, also said goodbye to the less used (but popular among its buffs) Windows 8.1, and actually released updates to Microsoft’s on-premises mail server, Exchange.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • Thinking of moving to Apple?

    Now that Windows 7 is at it’s end of life, if you are thinking about moving to a different platform remember that if your data is filled full of basic stuff like Word documents, Excel files, music files, photos and what not all of this will be able to be viewed and opened on platforms like Apple or even Linux. But if you use the native apps in these platforms, remember to export or save as PDF or back to a Microsoft centric file format if you plan to share with others.

    Often the built in applications in these other platforms save in a file format that isn’t able to be natively opened on a Windows machine. So that person will need to find a converter or ask you to export it to a Microsoft format. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do.

    I’ve done a video showcasing the Apple versions of Word and Excel as well as the native applications that can save in the .doc and .xls format.