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Newsletter Archives

  • News and Interests are a bit blurry

    Posted on June 15th, 2021 at 11:14 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    “After installing KB5001391 or later updates, the news and interests button in the Windows taskbar might have blurry text on certain display configurations.

    Affected platforms:
    • Client: Windows 10, version 21H1; Windows 10, version 20H2; Windows 10, version 2004; Windows 10, version 1909
    Next steps: We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.”
    So far if turning it off doesn’t work, try icons only.
    And next time Microsoft?  Don’t push out “feature release stuff” in a security patch.  Signed… your beta testers.
  • Targeted zero-day vulnerabilities; will more attacks be seen soon?

    Posted on June 14th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Solutions for six exploited vulnerabilities are included in this month’s patch releases.

    Months like these always leave me in a quandary. Sometimes fixes appear before anyone in the wild has been affected, but sometimes there are users who have been impacted. Should I urge everyone to immediately patch without testing? Or should I keep with my tried-and-true recommendations — don’t panic, and wait to ensure there are no side effects with these updates.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.22.0 (2021-06-14).

  • Tasks for the weekend – June 12 – Let’s look at Autoruns

    Posted on June 12th, 2021 at 23:46 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    [Youtube here]

    This week we’re following up with June 5th’s  look at programs that launch on startup  and this time we’re looking at the “uber” version of a tool that allows you to review what’s starting up on your machine.

    Sysinternals Autoruns

    Most of time it’s self explanatory… until it’s not. And then remember just ask.

    The colors mean different things:

    Pink – this means that no publisher information was found, or if code verification is on, means that the digital signature either doesn’t exist or doesn’t match, or there is no publisher information.

    Green – this color is used when comparing against a previous set of Autoruns data to indicate an item that wasn’t there last time.

    Yellow – the startup entry is there, but the file or job it points to doesn’t exist anymore.


  • Shared code base means interesting out of bands

    Posted on June 12th, 2021 at 09:23 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So we have a bit of an unusual out of band (meaning an extra update not released on the Second Tuesday) update released on June 11 for Windows 10. Note that this is one of those types of updates that will be offered up in the WU window but not pushed to you UNLESS you specifically clicked on “Check for Updates”.  If you do that, it WILL install.

    KB5004476 was released to “Addresses an issue that might redirect you to the Microsoft Store page for Gaming Services when you try to install or start an Xbox Game Pass game on your Windows 10 device. Additionally, you receive error 0x80073D26 or 0x8007139F.”  I can honestly say that I’ve never tried to install an Xbox Game pass game on my Windows 10, I stick with my Dad’s solitaire games but I guess I’m in the minority.

    Also out is our dear friend KB4023057  the patch that Microsoft rereleases every time there’s a feature release. It’s goal is commendable (it’s trying to make enough free space, ensure your system is healthy, etc), but it’s not been a well behaved as we’d like and in the past people have reported that it reset power settings incorrectly and reset network stacks incorrectly so most wise patchers opt to skip it.

    I find it interesting that for the Xbox game bug they couldn’t use the known issue rollback where they can roll back the code on your device for a bad quality patch without having to have you install an update and reboot. Meanwhile be aware that some folks are reporting issues with the size of News and Interests on their toolbar causing display issues and being fuzzy. One recommendation is to change to icons only. Bottom line too bad Microsoft can’t do an out of band on News and Interests.

    Remember – if you click on “check for updates” you will get both of these installed. Ultimately KB5004476 will be included in your Windows 10 machine in the next cumulative fix. But it’s recommended to avoid or uninstall KB4023057.

  • Doing a bit of re-organizing

    Posted on June 10th, 2021 at 15:59 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m doing some reorganizing of the side menu to make the site better in the long run.  First off thank you to all that make the forums a happy and healthy place.  But…. and there’s a but coming… but that happy and healthy means that we have a LARGE database. Over a million entries and counting.  As we grow there are certain functions that cause a real drag on the database – and one of them is the “recent replies” widget.  Because it was on every page and on every view, every time it causes a query to be run. You can only imagine that as we grow bigger …. well you get the idea. Bottom line in the background it’s been giving us headaches over the last few weeks. So for now I’ve rearranged the widgets on the side to remove that offending one so it doesn’t trigger the database errors we’ve been seeing.

    So here are some alternative ways to view the forums:

    First I moved up the search for topics menu and the ones I’d recommend are “New posts: Last day”  or “Recently active topics

    Remember too as you post a question to either tick the box “Notify me of follow-up replies via email” or – if you just want to watch the topic and not post, remember to click subscribe at the top of the topic.  Either method will ensure that you get an alert when someone someone posts.

    As always THANK YOU to all and everyone for making this a fantastic and helpful site!

  • June updates bring news

    Posted on June 9th, 2021 at 01:05 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s been a little bit funny seeing some of the reactions online to the News and Interests feature that is included in the June updates. As Askwoody readers know, this first started to trickle out in May but in the June security updates they are included in everyone’s Windows 10 including Enterprises.

    Just a reminder, you can right mouse click on the weather info, go up to news and interests, and either adjust the options (as it does take up a bit of real estate) or turn it off completely.

    Optionally you can use this registry key to do so. To use it, simply click on the download in the upper right, click to run the file, it will warn you it’s not digitally signed, click through that, next click through the UAC prompt and you’ll get to this page warning you about adding it to your registry.

    Click yes and it will turn off the News feature. You’ll need to reboot (I had to) to get it to turn it off.

    I’m keeping an eye on the early beta testers in the forums, so far I’m not seeing anything trending.  As always full details of the updates will be in the Newsletter, in the meantime if anyone needs assistance or help, you know where we are.

    In other patching news, keep an eye out for Apple 14.6 for your iphone/ipad and remember that Apple 15 will be offered up to even iphone 6 models. Androids, keep an eye out for your updates as well.

  • Who is Susan Bradley?

    Posted on June 7th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Chris Husted

    By Chris Husted

    In a fast-changing world where new apps and devices are released by the month and updates by the week, all driven by a vigorous dose of planned obsolescence, it comes as a blessing to meet someone who keeps the big picture in mind while making sure the day-to-day essentials are looked after.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.21.0 (2021-06-07).

  • BSODs point to driver issues with feature releases

    Posted on June 7th, 2021 at 02:40 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Sometimes a BSOD is trying to tell you something

    AskWoody subscriber BD reported that every time he upgraded to 20H2 on two of his three computers, the process did not end well. Instead, he was rewarded with a blue screen of death (BSOD). No matter what he tried, the process always ended in failure and rollback.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.21.0 (2021-06-07).

  • Tasks for the weekend – June 5, 2021 – what’s in your startup?

    Posted on June 5th, 2021 at 23:40 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (You tube video)

    Have you looked as to what applications start automatically in your computer as it starts up?

    Take the time to review and turn off what you don’t want. For example, here on one of my home PCs, I disable Skype for Business. It was installed by an Office suite a while back and I don’t use it on this pc so I disable it.

    In Windows 10, we’re going to use the “Windows 10 way” to review the apps that are listed for startup. Click on the search box, type in Startup Apps and review the resulting listing of applications. Review in particular the ones that say “high impact”. Disable what you don’t want launching and then reboot your computer to see the impact.

    So what apps are listed in your computer?


  • MS-DEFCON 2: Defer Windows & Office updates to June 24

    Posted on June 4th, 2021 at 03:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.20.1 • 2021-06-04
    MS-DEFCON Level 2

    By Susan Bradley

    Consumer and home users

    Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to get the May updates installed.

    Before next Tuesday, be sure you are comfortable with your methodology for deferring updates. For Windows updates, I’m still a fan of the method I call “pick the date.” Go to Settings, then to Update and Security; click on Advanced options, and select Pause updates. Then use the Select date drop-down to choose the date when you’d like updates to resume. I’m suggesting June 24.

    Note that the News and Interests notification will be fully enabled in your task bar this month.

    For Office updates, open up any Office application, click on File, Office Account, Office Updates; choose Disable Updates. You can resume updates later in the month. While you have Office updates disabled, avoid opening macro-enabled files as a defense against potential ransomware threats.

    Business users

    Ransomware has been a big topic in the news this month. While doing your patch testing, continue to educate your end users about the dangers posed by simple tasks done carelessly — opening emails, transferring files, clicking on links, etc. Greater danger requires greater vigilance.


    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.20.1 (2021-06-04).

  • Norton 360 adds crypto mining

    Posted on June 2nd, 2021 at 22:22 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Once upon a time we all bought IBM 8088 computers. To that we all added the yellow box better known as Norton antivirus.

    Over time we moved away from Norton to various other antivirus platforms to where it’s no longer the defacto antivirus we all use.

    Now Norton 360 will be adding crypto mining to it’s antivirus suite.

    Let me just say that I don’t think this is a good idea.  One of the ways you know a system isn’t doing well is when you experience slow downs, and other issues. This would just mask one of the ways we can tell if something is wrong with our systems.

    Sorry, yellow box, I’m going to pass.

    So?  What do you think?


  • A quiet month of May

    Posted on May 31st, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    21H1 is released. Quietly. With no fuss.

    The big release of this month is not the security patches released earlier but rather the May appearance of Windows 10 version 21H1. Microsoft currently has released 21H1 to “seekers” — that is, those people who click on Check for Updates in the Windows update interface. The 21H1 release is a bit anticlimactic; it doesn’t contain many changes. 21H1 even shares the same “base” as 2004 and 20H2. On my test laptop, the install of 21H1 was very fast and caused no side effects.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.20.0 (2021-05-31).