Monthly Archives: October 2023

  • Why I leave Windows 11 alone

    WINDOWS 11

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    It’s not that I think Windows 11 is perfect. It’s just that I don’t let it bother me. Too much, that is.

    Don’t get me wrong — I am not suggesting that using third-party apps such as Start11 or StartAllBack to enhance Windows is a bad idea, or even that you shouldn’t bother. We’ve come to look at Windows as highly customizable over the decades of its existence, and it is thus quite natural to want to continue working in the same manner without having to adapt ourselves to a new paradigm we didn’t ask for.

    I don’t do that. Here’s why, along with a few things I think Microsoft got wrong.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.41.0, 2023-10-09).

  • Taming Copilot

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I use devices that include artificial intelligence and cloud services, and you probably do, too.

    For example, I regularly ask Alexa about the weather: “Hey ,Alexa — what’s the seven-day weather forecast?” That helps me know whether it’s going to be cooler on the weekend so I can garden. I have apps that control thermostats, security cameras, and garage doors. Amazon can open my garage door and drop off packages so they don’t get stolen by porch pirates.

    So it’s not that I’m against using cloud services or voice-activated devices.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.41.0, 2023-10-09).

  • Got a Windows 11 22H2 home?

    Do you have a Windows 11 22H2 home machine and don’t want to deal with Windows 11 Copilot once it gets included in the October security updates?

    No worries. Look for detailed information and instructions coming in Monday’s newsletter as well as my take and concerns about it.

    In the meantime, here are some resources as a sneak peak:

    First off for Windows 11 22H2 home version users where you don’t have group policy, here is a registry key download. I’ve done a video of the process you need to do to run the registry key.

    For those of you in firms where you have Windows 11 pro, keep in mind that if you are behind some sort of patching tool (WSUS, Intune,etc) Copilot will not show up. But if you use Windows update you are seen as “unmanaged” and thus it will. For those of you that want to use group policy to control, the ADMX and ADML downloads are on the Master Patch List page and will be included in Monday’s newsletter. Normally you have to install the code ahead of time and grab those files from a machine that has the updated patch.  I installed it on a test machine and grabbed them for you.

    Stay tuned, lots more in Monday’s newsletter.

  • MS-DEFCON 1: Pushing off Copilot

    alert banner

    ISSUE 20.40.1 • 2023-10-05

    MS-DEFCON 1

    By Susan Bradley

    This week offers a perfect example of why I don’t rush to update.

    Ultimately, I want to understand the changes coming to my desktop and ensure that I know exactly what they do.

    A little over a week ago, Microsoft announced Copilot for Windows. What that means is complicated, and we don’t really know all the details; it seems we will learn more, based upon what Microsoft dribbles out.

    That’s reason enough to elevate MS-DEFCON to 1, its highest level.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.40.1, 2023-10-05).

  • October 2023 Office non-Security updates are now available

    PK's Office update info

    The October 2023 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, October 3, 2023. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the September 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 2013
    Update for Microsoft Visio 2013 (KB5002479)

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Access 2016 (KB5002209)

    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).

  • USA only – alert to be sent to all devices

    Susan BradleyIf you are startled tomorrow, it’s just the FEMA and FCC running a test of the emergency alert system.

    “FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this fall.

    The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

    The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

    The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.”

    If you don’t want to be alerted, you can turn off your phone. But don’t panic, that large noise you’ll be hearing is merely a test.

  • Microsoft Backup triggers help-desk calls and confusion

    newsletter banner

    ISSUE 20.40 • 2023-10-02

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I applaud Microsoft for admitting that we all need to back up our computers and workstations, or at least have a recovery plan of some sort.

    But Microsoft’s recent backup implementation, its suddenly appearing Microsoft Backup app, is not well thought out and is a one-size-fits-all solution — that doesn’t fit well at all.

    Here’s the backstory. The new Backup app is available for both Windows 10 and 11. That’s a surprise, because we’ve been put on notice that Windows 10 22H2 is the final release, with only security updates coming our way until October 2025.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • How Amazon ejected AI-written e-books from its bestseller lists

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    The giant online retailer, Amazon.com, faced a problem. Hackers were using chatbots to create fake e-books — mostly novels full of gibberish — and posting them into the Kindle Unlimited (KU) service.

    The perps then launched scripts to “read” their works. The automated traffic resulted in Amazon’s e-book bestseller lists being dominated by drivel.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).

  • Ten stunning features in Microsoft Word

    MICROSOFT 365

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Microsoft Word has been around for so long, it’s easy to forget how great it really is.

    If you ask Microsoft about great Word features, they’ll drag out a list of recent innovations (starting and ending with “AI” and plenty of “cloud” in between). My own “stunning features” are things we take for granted, with some tips to make better use of them.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).

  • Thunderbolt

    HARDWARE

    Ed Tittel

    By Ed Tittel

    Not many people know this, but Thunderbolt originated as an optical networking technology. Apple and Intel worked on its initial design.

    Known as Light Peak, it was based upon optical components and fiber-optic cables at Intel’s Silicon Photonics lab. When it turned out that copper cables could deliver the same 10 Gbps bandwidth as the more expensive and finicky optical elements, the cheaper, less demanding technology won.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).