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  • Microsoft says forget your passwords!

    Posted on September 27th, 2021 at 02:40 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    In a major push, Microsoft is advocating moving away from passwords and instead using different authentication methods.

    The headline: “The passwordless future is here for your Microsoft account.” Is it?

    Here’s what Microsoft has to say in its security blog about a move away from passwords.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.37.0 (2021-09-27).

  • Tasks for the weekend – September 25, 2021 – but what if you DO want Windows 11?

    Posted on September 26th, 2021 at 00:29 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here  Unless you’ve been’ living under a rock, you’ll know that Windows 11 is to be officially released on October 5th. We don’t know when 21H2 will be released but I think it will be after October 5th.  Don’t worry after I give the all clear to install updates I’ll walk you through the setting to defer 21H2 and ensure Windows 11 won’t get installed in next week’s newsletter. Some of you that are the testers for the rest of your office/fleet may want to have Windows 11 as soon as possible.

    So what should you do if you DO want Windows 11 on your existing computer? 

    First off as we’ve said before, check that your hardware can support it. Keeping in mind that if you’ve done ANY group policy based deferrals of updates, the Microsoft tool will say that your organization manages patching on your machine.  Thus you’ll need to use a third party tool like WhynotWin11 instead.

    Next click on search, device manager, go into your video card driver drivers and review the date of the drivers. Next go to the manufacturer of the video card drivers (don’t google and go to a random driver site) and see if there are newer drivers. If there are, install them.

    Next check if you have the latest and greatest engine of your antivirus vendor. (This will be automatic with Microsoft Defender). Ensure you have the latest engine from your vendor – and if need be – uninstall and reinstall. Make sure your backup vendor will support Windows 11 as well.

    Review for support from your vendors – see if they all support it at this time – and if they don’t you can deal with not using them if there is an issue.

    …and remember – you can roll back to Windows 10, you can easily do so.  So after you install it, go through the applications and accessories like printers and scanners that are your bread and butter items and test to make sure they work. If they don’t, roll back, report it here, and we’ll let you know when the issues are fixed.

  • Sneak peak – testing out a new skin on the forum

    Posted on September 24th, 2021 at 14:59 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Over on a test forum (where we turn it on when we want to test updates and new plug ins) I have a test going on a new “skin” for the forum. Note we’re still in testing – at the present time if you want post anonymously you have to enter anon as the user and as the email address – we’re working on making that prefilled in if you don’t want to log into the site.

    Bottom line check it out. Let me know please if you have any issues?

    The goal is to make it WAY more obvious how to start a topic or reply.

    Feedback please!

  • Do we need firmware and software updates forever?

    Posted on September 23rd, 2021 at 14:24 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Check out this article:

    Consumers have relied on the good graces of device makers to keep our gadget firmware and software secure and up-to-date. Doing so costs the manufacturer some of its profits. As a result, many of them are apt to drop support for old gadgets faster than the gadgets themselves wear out. This corporate stinginess consigns far too many of our devices to the trash heap before they have exhausted their usability. That’s bad for consumers and bad for the planet. It needs to stop.

    We have seen a global right-to-repair movement emerge from maker communities and start to influence public policy around such things as the availability of spare parts. I’d argue that there should be a parallel right-to-maintain movement. We should mandate that device manufacturers set aside a portion of the purchase price of a gadget to support ongoing software maintenance, forcing them to budget for a future they’d rather ignore. Or maybe they aren’t ignoring the future so much as trying to manage it by speeding up product obsolescence, because it typically sparks another purchase.

  • Clearly they didn’t get my feedback

    Posted on September 22nd, 2021 at 11:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The Surface Go device is one of the lightest, best devices for traveling if you need a Windows device.  But there is a BUT in there.  The keyboard is a little too small/off and I kept hitting the wrong keys. So I traded up for a Surface Pro 7 + but it is a little heavier.

    The Surface event is being held today and the Surface Go 3 doesn’t look like it got a larger keyboard.

    Next up Surface 8 devices.

    Interesting change that I didn’t realize was happening … my favorite business way to buy Surface devices WAS through the Liftforward/Surface all access program that you paid over time and then could upgrade/swap out as needed.  Looks like this shut down in March of 2021. Now they have Klarna as their partner.

    You can watch the recording here.

  • Real-time MS-DEFCON alerts debut!

    Posted on September 20th, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.36 • 2021-09-20


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The new AskWoody SMS alert system is now available for Plus members.

    The MS-DEFCON system has been a staple of the AskWoody site for many years now. You know it as a visual system of numbers and colors that provides a quick indicator of the relative safety of applying updates (patching) to Windows and other Microsoft apps and services.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.36.0 (2021-09-20).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.36.F (2021-09-20).

  • Back to School, Back to patching

    Posted on September 20th, 2021 at 02:39 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    September is the month for in-the-wild patching.

    September is a month of change. From going back to school here in the United States to seasons changing all over the world, one thing remains constant: we have to patch. No matter what technology we have or use, it seems like this month, we’re patching it.

    From Apple devices that are getting a fix for the targeted attack that allowed journalists to be spied upon, to Chrome’s several vulnerabilities that have already been used in targeted attacks, to Microsoft’s ActiveX and Office bugs that have already been seen in active attacks, you will probably be patching sooner versus later.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.36.0 (2021-09-20).

  • Tasks for the weekend – September 18, 2021 – it’s squirrel away time

    Posted on September 18th, 2021 at 23:38 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (Video here) It’s squirrel away time. Time to download a copy of Windows 10 21H1 and ensure you have a copy in case you need it to do a repair install or a clean install.

    To do this go to the Windows 10 ISO page and download a copy and place it on your computer or to a spare flash drive.

    We think that 21H2 might be coming out soon but we’re not sure when. Microsoft is very focused on Windows 11 and I’ve yet to see an announcement surrounding the release of 21H2. Regardless I recommend downloading a copy and keeping it aside.

    The other day I reinstalled from scratch on my home Lenovo laptop due to the fact that I wanted to really clean it up and it was slow in connecting via RDP. Once I got done installing the Windows 10, I went into device manager to see if there were any missing drivers. There were some missing. Even looking at the optional updates via Windows updates didn’t find all of the drivers. I ultimately went to the vendor web site and downloaded the drivers from there. There are a lot of third party websites out there that advertise that they can update your drivers. I strongly recommend not using these sites as some of them have less than stellar reputations.

    As always if you have any issues with your computer, we’re here to help.

  • November 1 – basic auth is really being shut off

    Posted on September 16th, 2021 at 23:59 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PK reminded me of this the other day:

    New minimum Outlook for Windows version requirements for Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Tech Community

    What is it?

    Microsoft is finally (after a delay due to the pandemic) shutting off “basic” authentication to Microsoft 365. So if you have an older Outlook that you are using to access Microsoft 365 this will impact you as there is no longer any grace period. Basic authentication is older, less secure way of passing usernames and passwords to the hosted email.  Attackers go after basic authentication and can gain access, thus it’s EXTREMELY good that they are FINALLY shutting this off once and for all. But that said, it doesn’t make it easier for you if you love Outlook 2010.

    But I don’t have Microsoft 365, what do I care?

    Ah but do you have your email through a service like Godaddy which these days uses Microsoft 365 on the back end? I’ve also seen some ISPs offer their email through Microsoft 365.

    Bottom line if you use an older Outlook – like Outlook 2007 or 2010 you need to migrate off of those desktop versions if you connect to Microsoft hosted email.

    Remember if you are not a fan of the newer Outlook there are other options including the web based version of Outlook but be aware that Thunderbird may not work, especially in a business setting.

    How can I know what my ISP uses?

    I’d check their help forums (yea, I know that’s not a great answer), or ask here and we’ll see if we can figure it out for you!  I’ll remind you again in the newsletter when it gets closer to November 1.

  • September 2021 – it’s patch day!

    Posted on September 14th, 2021 at 12:53 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This week is clearly “patch the zero day” week.  Yesterday we had Apple, also Chrome fix several zero days.

    Today we have the Microsoft version.  Now while Adobe doesn’t have any zero days in their release bundle, if you are (still) a user of Adobe Acrobat or Reader, you’ll be getting and wanting an update.

    Today we are fixing the Microsoft zero day MSHTML vulnerability I wrote about the other day. If you used the registry key to protect yourself, when I give the all clear I’ll remind you to undo that.

    One thing I’m not clear on from initial read of my usual sources of Dustin Childs and Bleeping computer is the situation with the print spooler. There are more print spooler bugs being fixed – but are they the ones we were concerned about that were carried over from prior months that kept me urging you to keep the print spooler service disabled? I’ll be digging into that question.

    Stay tuned, deeper analysis by this weekend.

    As always for those that DO have a backup, like to be the beta testers for the rest of us, do let us know of any issues you see. In the meantime I’ll be watching and accumulating the facts – and not the rumors – as we always do here on AskWoody.

    Don’t forget to sign up for either the twitter alerts or the newly minted text alerts:

    Want to get alerted when the AskWoody MS-DEFCON status changes?

    MS-DEFCON Alert system

    If you want to get alerted when the MS-DEFCON status changes there are two ways to do so:

    Twitter: Sign up for twitter and follow that account. Then set up notifications in the twitter app so that you get alerted when the account tweets a change. COST:  free – other than now having a twitter account but I honestly find that some of the best security information and advice is freely given on twitter. You can also follow the official Askwoody twitter account as well.

    Cell phone notifications via text:  You need to be a PLUS member to get the fullest benefit from this service.  We request a small fee requested (along the lines of the decide what you want to pay as the main site has) in order to cover the costs of the monthly texting service and server hosting. Click here to sign up. COST:  We ask a minimum of $1 a month to keep the lights on and the chipmunks powering the servers fed, but if you’d like to donate more to the cause we’d all be appreciative!

  • Security patches for Apple – Sept 13

    Posted on September 13th, 2021 at 12:44 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Security patches for Apple:

    Apple is patching two “in the wild” zero days – 1 in CoreGraphics (aka CVE-2021-30860) and 1 in WebKit (CVE-2021-30858)

    Patches for iOS 14.8 and iPadOS 14.8

    1 zero-day fixed in Security Update 2021-005 Catalina
    2 zero-days fixed in macOS Big Sur 11.6

    2 zero-days fixed in iOS and iPadOS 14.8

  • PrintNightmare still a nightmare for patchers

    Posted on September 13th, 2021 at 02:41 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    As we start to ready ourselves for the September updates, we’re still haunted by the PrintNightmare issues from the August updates.

    The good news for home users and consumers is that we haven’t seen the August updates triggering side effects with printers. For business users, there are still issues requiring vigilance.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.35.0 (2021-09-13).