• About

    We are a 100% readership-supported newsletter and website providing news, tips, advice, and support for Microsoft-related software and hardware. Our primary focus is on Windows and Microsoft 365, with an emphasis on the complexities of patches and feature updates to Windows and Microsoft applications. Coverage of cross-platform systems is expanding as Microsoft products extend their reach to Apple, Android, and even Linux users. A special emphasis is placed on security and privacy, especially in today’s consumer settings.

    Our goal is to provide actionable intelligence to our readership.

    Our website and its associated forums are accessible to anyone, no registration required. Readers may register for the forums, sign up for the free newsletter, or make a donation to receive the full Plus Newsletter. Plus subscribers get all content, access to all previous issues, emailed MS-DEFCON alert notifications (plus access to our MS-DEFCON text alert system), other alerts, “Plus” status in the forums, and customer support.

    Our newsletter has an illustrious history, as noted in the Timeline below. Our roster of writers is distinguished, with decades of experience in technology.

    The current publishing schedule is weekly, with a total of 48 full issues per year plus four “bonus” issues exclusively for Plus members. Advertising is accepted in the free newsletter. No sponsored content of any kind is accepted for publication. Our content is entirely free of any vendor influence – we call ‘em like we see ‘em.

    The Newsletter

    Susan Bradley

    Susan Bradley, Publisher

    Windows Secrets’ and AskWoody’s first and only Patch Watch columnist, Susan — aka the Patch Lady, SBSDiva, Small Business Susan, and others — has made it her mission to help small businesses manage technology and digital security. She cut her teeth on Basic in high school and then progressed (or regressed) to COBOL in college. But then the PC revolution kicked in, and she’s been wrangling personal computers ever since.

    She remembers the infamous Code Red/Nimda days, and she recalls exactly where she was when SQL Slammer hit — while trying to buy something on eBay and wondering why the Internet was so slow. She is moderator at PatchManagement.org and in real life she manages a fleet of business systems (servers, workstations, several clouds and even iPhones) at a California accounting firm.

    Susan is a Microsoft Security MVP and regularly writes about security at CSOOnline.com and at Computerworld.

    Will FastieWill Fastie, Editor in Chief

    Will has been a Windows user since Version 1.0. Trained in computer science at Johns Hopkins University, he has held positions as a transaction processing systems programmer, magazine editor, newsletter publisher, Wall Street analyst, CTO, and systems consultant.

    His editorial experience includes writing one of the earliest reviews of the IBM PC for Creative Computing magazine, followed by a stint as Creative’s regular columnist writing IBM Images. He then became editor in chief of the award-winning PC Tech Journal and wrote regularly for PC Week, PC Magazine, Electronic Business, PCjr Magazine, and others. He writes irregularly on his personal Web site and just before becoming editor contributed several articles to this newsletter.

    Will has programmed in nearly 40 programming languages during his career. Since 2005, he has been developing Web sites for small business owners and has become expert in the major Web technologies including HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, MariaDB, JavaScript, and others. He wrote a proprietary, lightweight publishing and content management system to support his Web development activities.

    Roberta ScholzRoberta Scholz, Senior Copy Editor

    Roberta joined the Windows Secrets crew in 2008 after careers in teaching and publishing. After a brief hiatus during the Penton years, she gladly returned in 2019 to work with Tracey and the rest of our contributors at the newly configured AskWoody. She values the quality and work ethic of our staff as much as she appreciates the intelligence and esprit de corps of our readers, who are always ready to help each other. A UC Berkeley graduate, Roberta has extensive training in foreign languages, which translates into searching for precision and clarity in all writing.

    She enjoys gardening and family time and has been a dedicated rower for over 25 years.




    Brian LivingstonBrian Livingston, Public Defender

    Entrepreneur and bestselling journalist Brian Livingston has spent decades revealing the dark corners of technology. He has co-authored 11 Windows Secrets books and penned thousands of articles. He spent 12 years as a contributing editor of InfoWorld and created Brian’s Buzz on Windows in 2003. With Woody Leonhard, he co-founded the award-winning Windows Secrets Newsletter, serving as its editor from 2004 through 2010.

    More recently, he turned his investigative skills to finance as author of a new book and newsletter, both titled Muscular Portfolios (2018). He has also written dozens of articles for MarketWatch.com and StockCharts.com. Brian’s mission is to reveal financial technology to the rest of us.

    Deanna McElveenDeanna McElveen, Freeware Spotlight

    Freeware expert Deanna McElveen, mother to twin PhD candidates and a former elementary school teacher and children’s librarian, is celebrating 14 years as a software tester and reviewer for OlderGeeks.com.

    She is also the co-owner, along with her husband, of an over two-decades-old computer business in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. Believing that happy customers are always the best advertisement, they hope to squeeze in a couple more decades of running their store and hope to continue OlderGeeks.com into retirement.

    Max Stul OppenheimerMax Stul Oppenheimer, Esq., Legal Brief

    Max Stul Oppenheimer is a tenured full professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law where he teaches Business and Intellectual Property Law. He is a registered patent attorney, licensed to practice law in Maryland and D.C.

    He earned a B.S. in engineering (cum laude) from Princeton and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

    Any opinions expressed in Max’s articles for the newsletter are his and are not intended as legal advice.

    Ben MyersBen Myers, Ben’s Workshop

    Ben Myers is a computer industry veteran who had his first exposure to personal computers with MS-DOS 3.1. He attended one of the very first Windows 1.03 development seminars. For over 20 years, he has offered “cradle-to-grave” IT services for small businesses and individual computer owners. This includes building, upgrading, refurbishing, testing, repairing and recycling of computer and network gear, mostly with Windows, some with MacOS and Linux.

    Ben wrote extensively for PC Magazine, PC Tech Journal, PC Week, and several other printed magazines back in the last century.




    Lance WhitneyLance Whitney

    Frequent contributor Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and teacher with a background in journalism, publishing, and IT.

    Lance has written for a variety of sites and publications, including ZDNet, TechRepublic, PC Magazine, Time, Fortune, AARP Magazine, and US News & World Report. He spent seven years writing breaking news for CNET as one of the site’s early morning East Coast reporters. He was also a contributing editor for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, where he wrote a monthly column about Microsoft utilities for IT pros.

    Lance has written two computer-related books for Wiley & Sons – “Windows 8: Five Minutes at a Time” and “Teach Yourself Visually LinkedIn.” He teaches both online and in-person computer classes on Windows, Microsoft Office, eBay, social media, and cybersecurity. Earlier in his career, he worked in IT as a system administrator for a large international company, where he provided product management and systems support.

    Peter DeeganPeter Deegan

    Peter is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Office Watch site and newsletters since they started in 1996. He has written many acclaimed computer books including Windows 10 for Microsoft Office users, Microsoft 365 for Windows: Straight Talk and design-oriented titles like Eye-Catching Signs with Word and Christmas Cheer with Office.

    He’s the winner of a Computer Press Association award and a nominee in another year. Peter loves scuba diving, live theatre and is addicted to the written word in any form. When he’s not delving into the dark secrets of Office and Windows, he accumulates visits to other countries or territories (over 235 to date). Peter can be found typing away in airplanes, airports, apartments, cafés and hotels across the world, preferably when there’s a total eclipse of the sun.

    Mary Branscombe

    Mary Branscombe

    Mary Branscombe is a freelance technology journalist for a wide range of titles. Currently, she’s a regular contributor to CIO.com, IT Pro, The New Stack, TechRepublic, and ZDNet.

    She has been a technology writer for nearly three decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the Web, and most things in between, from consumer and small business technology, to enterprise architecture, cloud services and AI becoming mainstream. Along the way she acquired a Masters in AI during the second AI winter and made an early move into online journalism as the editor of the AOL UK Technology channel.

    When not working, she can be found absorbed in a book, travelling (in more normal times), making a fuss of our cats, cooking something with a lot of garlic, thinking about taking up pottery again, or finishing the knitting, embroidery, and patchwork quilts she’s been working on for the last umpteen years. She also dabbles in mystery fiction about the world of technology and startups, and she really does have a USB earring.

    Ed TittelEd Tittel

    Ed Tittel has been writing and consulting full-time since 1994 (his first article for The Macazine appeared in 1986). These days, he writes custom publications for Wiley (For Dummies…) and ActualTechMedia, and monthly for ComputerWorld and TechTarget. Ed’s primary interests include Microsoft Windows (Insider MVP, 2018–2023), cyber security, cloud computing, and networking. He blogs most weekdays on Windows topics at edtittel.com.

    For more info about Ed, please visit his website, or check his list of publications.

    Simon Bisson

    Simon Bisson

    Simon Bisson prefers to think of “career” as a verb rather than a noun, having worked in both academic and telecoms research, as well as running the technical side of UK Online (the first national ISP with content as well as connections), before moving into consultancy and technology strategy. He’s built plenty of large-scale web applications, designed architectures for multi-terabyte online image stores, implemented B2B information hubs, and come up with next generation mobile network architectures, and large-scale knowledge management solutions.

    In between doing all that, he’s been a freelance journalist since the early days of the web and writes about everything from enterprise architecture to gadgets. He’s the author of several books, written with his wife Mary Branscombe. Simon lives in South West London with Mary, two enormous Maine Coon cats, and several wandering robots.

    Randy McElveen

    Randy McElveen

    Randy McElveen, known in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas as “The Geek,” has been in the trenches of the computer and electronics repair business for nearly 25 years.

    Wielding a hot soldering iron and repairing everything from smartphones to electronics aboard harvesters, he’s also the founder and editor, for the past 14 years, of the popular software download site OlderGeeks.com. Early on, he hosted the regionally popular “Ask The Geek” call-in radio show. Listener requests from this time on air prompted him to found the local Beginners Computer Club of Mount Vernon (now disbanded). All this time, he has been the “Geek” for businesses, schools, law enforcement, and local government for the 23 years his computer store has been open.

    Chris HustedChris Husted, At Large

    Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Chris has spent the past 20 years reporting news in Phuket. Formerly Managing Editor of the Phuket Gazette, he is now Executive Editor of The Phuket News. Once a regular computing columnist focusing on end-user problems and fixes, and reporting on wider IT issues affecting people on Phuket, Chris rightly stepped aside to make way for Woody Leonhard, who arrived to call Phuket home. Chris continued to work with Woody with his columns published in the Phuket Gazette. Never one to call himself a “techie,” Chris has been branded as “he has a computer and isn’t afraid to use it.” He aims to keep it that way.

    The Forum



    AskWoody MVP since the Forum launched in 2017, Kirsty is a business-administration whiz. Her perspective of computers as work tools drives her interest in helping end users have a productive, affordable, and secure computing experience. She came to AskWoody while researching Blue Screens of Death (BSODs) caused by installed updates — and never left. She’s now part of the AskWoody forum furniture.


    Fred LangaFred Langa, LangaList

    Award-winning writer and LangaList creator, senior contributor Fred Langa has been tinkering with tech — primarily personal computing — since PCs crawled out of the primordial digital ooze.

    Fred was editor of Byte Magazine from 1987 to 1991, and editorial director of CMP Media until 1996, where he oversaw Windows Magazine and other publications. His Langa List newsletter/column had an avid following for over two decades, and he’s one of the founding members of the original Windows Secrets Newsletter.

    He’s also a world-ranging traveler — in some cases on two wheels. In fact, his famous “House calls” articles combined cross-country motorbike tours with personal PC-troubleshooting visits to Windows Secrets readers. Check out Langa.com for all Fred’s current projects.

    In April 2022, Fred received the inaugural TameYourTech Crystal award for Lifetime Achievement in Personal Computing Journalism.

    Woody LeonhardWoody Leonhard, Publisher

    Perennial (and retired) Windows gadfly, Woody has written or co-written dozens of books about Windows, Office, and personal computing. He is a founding veteran of Woody’s Windows Watch, the founder of AskWoody.com, and the savior of Windows Secrets Newsletter when he acquired it from Penton in 2019. He was a regular contributor to Computerworld. And when not tilting at WINdmills — with varying degrees of success — he led the task of keeping the AskWoody Newsletter and Alerts moving in the right direction. Woody has lived in many interesting places – and traveled in a few more. He now calls Tennessee home.

    Tracey CapenTracey Capen, Editor in Chief

    We thank Tracey Capen for his long and distinguished run as the newsletter’s editor-in-chief from 2010 through 2020, starting with the Windows Secrets Newsletter and, after a brief break and begging from Woody, returned to the helm of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter in 2019. He has had a long love/hate relationship with personal computing (and technology in general). In college, he was required to learn Fortran using punch cards — it didn’t go well. But then personal computers arrived, and everything changed. Since those pioneering days of Commodore 64s, CP/M, DOS, Apple, and Windows, Tracey has been managing editor at InfoWorld, senior editor of Corporate Computing, executive editor at PCWorld, and editor in chief of Windows Secrets (twice). He’s also worked as a boat builder, carpenter, SCUBA instructor, photographer, and numerous other odd gigs. He lives on Winter Creek Farm, on Washington State’s fabulous Olympic Peninsula.

    Newsletter Timeline

    • 1997 — Fred Langa starts the LangaList newsletter.
    • 1998 — Woody Leonhard starts the Woody’s Windows Watch newsletter.
    • 2003 — Brian Livingston starts Brian’s Buzz on Windows.
    • 2004 — Brian merges Brian’s Buzz and Woody’s Windows Watch to create the Windows Secrets Newsletter, named after Brian’s best-selling books.
    • 2004 — Woody starts AskWoody.com to broadcast news and advice on Windows and Office.
    • 2005 — Susan Bradley starts the Patch Watch column in Windows Secrets
    • 2006 — LangaList merges with Windows Secrets
    • 2008 — Gizmo Richards’ Support Alert Newsletter merges into Windows Secrets
    • 2009 — Windows Secrets takes the Woody’s Lounge website under its wing, becoming the Windows Secrets Lounge.
    • 2010 — Brian hands the editor-in-chief reins to Tracey Capen.
    • 2010 — iNet acquires Windows Secrets.
    • 2015 — Penton Media acquires iNet.
    • 2016 — Informa acquires Penton.
    • 2017 — AskWoody.com grows an appendage called the AskWoody Lounge, opening the site to contributions from everyone.
    • 2019 — AskWoody LLC acquires the Windows Secrets Newsletter, merging the Windows Secrets Lounge into the AskWoody Lounge and creating the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.
    • 2020 – Woody Leonhard retires to a tropical location after surviving the Pandemic year.
    • 2021 – Susan Bradley takes over the mantle of the site and welcomes Brian Livingston back along with Fred Langa, Deanna McElveen and the rest of the AskWoody contributors to continue the excellent tech information provided over the years. Will Fastie is named editor in chief.

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