Monthly Archives: July 2023

  • HiBit System Information — Meet your computer

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    ISSUE 20.31 • 2023-07-31


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    A modern Windows PC has hundreds of hardware components and even more software programs to control it all. You don’t need to use a screwdriver to find out what you have.

    HiBit System Information is a free and portable utility that gives you everything you ever wanted to know about your computer in a neat, easy-to-navigate, tabbed interface. Because it’s portable, you can put it on a flash drive and go around snooping in everyone’s computers. With permission, of course.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.31.0, 2023-07-31).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • BitLocker, Windows 11 security, and you


    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    BitLocker, a major part of a more secure Windows 11, is treated differently by the Windows Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) setup than by an install and setup using the standard Windows 11 installation image downloaded directly from the Microsoft website.

    This is a significant difference, so let’s explore these two ways to install Windows 11, adding useful background and facts plus analysis of what Microsoft keeps close to the vest. (OOBE is an abbreviation coined by Microsoft.)

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.31.0, 2023-07-31).

  • A dozen problems with privacy


    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    The right to privacy appears to be on a roll.

    Here are a few examples from just the last few months involving Meta, Twitter, Amazon, and Ring.

    Meta was fined $1.3 billion for violating European Union privacy rules (it stored data in that notorious data piracy haven — the United States). Meta is appealing the fine.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.31.0, 2023-07-31).

  • My day on jury duty


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The last time I was called upon to perform my fundamental American civic duty was years ago. It hasn’t changed much, except for technology.

    There were bar codes, large displays that broadcast PowerPoint slides, and a YouTube video that explained jury service. That video went so far as to explain who sat where in the courtroom. (I thought that was obvious, but apparently I have watched way too many Perry Mason episodes.)

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.31.0, 2023-07-31).

  • Searching for answers

    Have you noticed lately that it’s getting a little bit harder to find the right answer? Technology has always been fun to get answers for, from unusual error messages to weird guid codes to asking someone else “Hey? Are you seeing this too?” Now layer on technology that changes between versions and feature releases, and then layer on the fact that hardly anyone writes manual anymore, rather they give you codes to scan on your phone to go to a web site.

    My recommendation is to find where the advanced search settings are in any search engine you use. For example, if I’m searching for something on Windows 11, especially 22H2, I will limit that search to postings within the last six months or so. Keeping it to the recent information means that I won’t hit older sites and posts that may not be what I need.

    Case in point, in Windows 11 22H2, Focus assist has been a part of Windows since Windows 10, but with Windows 11 version 22H2, Microsoft is changing its name to Do not disturb.

    So like on DuckDuckGo see that “any time” drop down? Click that and limit the time and see if that helps to narrow down what you are searching for. What have you found lately when you search? Do you find what you are searching for?

  • July 2023 Office non-Security updates have finally been released

    The July 2023 Office non-Security updates have been released late on Thursday, July 27, 2023. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the July 2023 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Excel 2016 (KB5002454)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB5002117)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB4493158)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB5002307)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB4464587)
    Update for Microsoft Publisher 2016 (KB5002396)
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB5002458)
    Update for Microsoft Word 2016 (KB5002456

    There were no July 2023 non-Security updates listed for Office 2013.
    On April 10, 2018, Office 2013 reached End of Mainstream Support. Extended Support ended for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
    Office 2016 also reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Got 22H2?

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    ISSUE 20.30.1 • 2023-07-25

    By Susan Bradley

    If you haven’t updated to Windows 10/11 22H2, now is a good time because I’m lowering the MS-DEFCON level to 4.

    This month’s updates have now settled down to the point that I don’t anticipate any issues for the vast majority of readers, nor have I seen any surprises in my testing on Windows 10 or Windows 11.

    22H2 is now my recommended version of Windows for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 for all editions and all types of users — with the single exception of gamers.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.30.1, 2023-07-25).

  • Another AI you didn’t ask for: Windows Copilot

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    ISSUE 20.30 • 2023-07-24

    WINDOWS 11

    Josh Hendrickson

    By Josh Hendrickson

    Microsoft’s new AI for Windows has me asking the same question over and over: Who is this even for?

    I’ll get to why in a moment, but it’s not a good first impression for Copilot, the new AI Microsoft intends to build into Windows. It’s out in preview right now for anyone on the Windows Insider DEV build, and naturally I had to give it a go.

    First impressions are everything, and Copilot starts off … well, strange.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.30.0, 2023-07-24).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Will Threads be the real Twitter killer?


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    The parent company of Facebook and Instagram — Meta Platforms — launched this month Threads, a Twitter-like social network. It looks like the first serious contender to knock Twitter off its perch.

    Unlike other Twitter competitors — Mastodon, Bluesky, Truth Social, and many more — Threads has already attracted a gigantic audience. The Threads app for iOS and Android surpassed 100 million users in just its first five days. That makes it the fastest-growing app ever, besting ChatGPT, which required two months to hit the same mark.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.30.0, 2023-07-24).

  • Opal becomes Obsidian


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    In this final article about building my new Windows 11 PC, I reveal a surprising change.

    It’s taken quite a long time for my new Windows 11 PC to get to the point when it could become my daily driver. I admit to some sloth. Worse, I confess to some confusion.

    Nonetheless, the unexpected delay in the project has been a worthwhile learning experience.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.30.0, 2023-07-24).

  • Zero day in the cloud


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    If you are a consumer, home user, small-business user, or even a medium-sized business user, today’s column may anger you — or at least cause you to mutter, “I told you so.”

    For those of you who work in large companies and government entities, your size allows you to complain more loudly than most. I hope you will, because the event I’m about to discuss, plus all our past and present complaints, should make all cloud vendors, especially Microsoft, take note.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.30.0, 2023-07-24).

  • The dribble impact

    Just a reminder that lately Microsoft has been into dribbles.

    Case in point – several folks in my office finally got the “feature” where the menu in Outlook moves from the bottom of your Outlook to the top left. You think you accidentally moved it and finally you realize it’s not you, it’s them. (855 posts and counting) In Microsoft 365 you can open Outlook, go into file, options, advanced and uncheck the “show apps in Outlook”. The menu bar will move. There is also a registry key method. We were joking that Microsoft must be ensuring our brains stay active by moving the icons around the screen.

    The other dribble I haven’t seen is the “badging” or reminders to sign in with a local Microsoft account. I set up yet another Windows 11 home pc for someone to take home and replace an aging laptop and while yes you can still use the trick whereby you put in the as your Microsoft account email and then ANY password and it will let you set it up totally without a Microsoft account and without a password if you so desire (I honestly would not recommend that). So I think they are still rolling that out.

    In setting up the computer and downloading tools like Start11 to adjust the menus and then I went to download Explorer Patcher and found you REALLY had to be careful and not install something from a bogus website. As always if you are setting up anything new – and this goes for any operating system from Windows to Linux to Apple, you might not be quite so savvy about what are good sites to download from and what are not. If you have any questions just ASK. There are nefarious folks out there that are trying to trick us all.

    Remember click on the Forums support section, find the operating system you are interested in, and click on the New Topic button.  Someone is pretty much here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.