Newsletter Archives

  • Master Patch list updated as of January 10, 2023

    #PatchTuesday #DeadBodyWedneday #KeepaneyeoutforissuesThursday

    Consumers:  Defer updates at this time.

    I’ve updated the Master Patch List for Tuesday’s releases.

    It’s too soon at this time for consumers to be making recommendations, I’m still watching for issues.

    For businesses, the impact to look out for and keep an eye on are any Exchange on premises server you are still patching.

    As a reminder

    • Windows 11 22H2: Not recommended
    • Windows 11 21H2: If you have a Windows 11 PC, recommended
    • Windows 10 22H2: Recommended
    • Windows 10 21H2: Recommended (if a vendor won’t support 22H2)
    • Apple Ventura – tentative. Check with the applications you rely on if they recommend this release.

    As always, thank you all for supporting the cause! Remember a donation will give you access and if you donate $50 or more you’ll get a special code to enable text messages sent to your phone each time the Master Patch List gets updated and when I change the MS-DEFCON level.

  • Batten down the hatches for January updates


    As the wind blows in California where I live, we’re trying to batten down the hatches (as the trite saying goes).  So batten down the hatches on your computer as here comes the January Windows patches

    98 updates.

    1 publicly disclosed.

    11 critical

    Stay tuned and remember to defer at this time and I’ll be reporting on any side effects and issues.

    Remember it’s the end of the road for Windows 8.1 and the last of the updates for Windows 7 ESU.

    I’ll be discussing options you can take for these two platforms (yes once again 0patch is coming to the rescue)

    Don’t forget the OTHER needed updates:  Chrome, Firefox (14 critical), Citrix, Foxit, VMware.  As always don’t forget to check your browser updates.

    Edit of 1-12-2023.  I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or not but I’ve had to run the QB tool hub tool to fix printers on two of the three test machines at the office. All other printing was fine, it was just printing a report from INSIDE of QuickBooks that wouldn’t print. Ran the printer fix up tool and all was well.

  • Welcome to our twentieth year

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    ISSUE 20.02 • 2023-01-09


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Time flies.

    It seems like only yesterday. Out of the blue, I got an email from Brian Livingston, asking to meet with him while I was in Seattle attending a Microsoft event. Over dinner, he explained that he wanted me to write a column in the Windows Secrets Newsletter that would track issues with Microsoft patches and analyze their impact on PCs and their users.

    It was the dawn of “The Patch Lady.”

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.02.0, 2023-01-09).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Do you know the easy way to get into the boot menu?

    During last week’s video I recommended that you look for a backup software that adjusts the boot menu so you can easily get under the operating system and recover should something happen. Do you know the OTHER way to get under the operating system into the troubleshooting screen that’s just as easy? Watch it here!

    On Windows 10 and 11, Click the Windows Start menu, then the Power button. While pressing down the Shift key, click the Restart button. This will take you to the Windows Troubleshooting options, where you can reboot to BIOS.

    But wait there’s another way…. you can access Windows Settings by right clicking on the Start Menu. Then navigate to the Update and Security section then the Recovery section. In the Recovery settings, under the Advanced startup section, click Restart now.  Note that if you don’t see an option for UEFI as an extra option (like in the video) it’s because your system doesn’t support uefi boot or is in legacy mode.

    Then wait for the loading screen to complete and then click the Troubleshoot button. Tap the advanced button and then choose what you need to do – you can even boot into the bios settings from here.

    Now if your computer isn’t bootable, you can still get to these boot options menu via the Windows 10 USB installation drive.  Plug the USB drive into your usb drive on your computer. While booting, before Windows starts to load (and you’ll need to do this quickly) you need to continuously press F12 to enter your PC’s BIOS. Then select USB Drive as the boot device and Press Enter key.

    This has ALWAYS been annoying to me:  The keys to press, such as F12, F2, Delete, or Esc, differ on computers from different manufacturers.

    Got a Macintosh? Do you know it has similar firmware booting options?

    First is it the newer style with Apple silicon or older Intel based?

    If newer, turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the power button as your Mac starts up. Release the power button when you see the startup options screen, which shows your startup disks and a gear icon labeled Options.

    If it’s the older Intel style, you can read this post for the various key combinations.

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Getting ready for 2023

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    ISSUE 20.01.1 • 2023-01-05

    By Susan Bradley

    Once again, we are preparing for another year of patching.

    And to start out the year auspiciously, I must raise the MS-DEFCON level to 2. That’s because I’m recommending that updates to Windows be deferred until later in the month. Although Microsoft takes a long Christmas vacation, and the resulting January is usually limited to just security updates, it’s best to be very cautious until the issues that cropped up in December are resolved.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.01.1, 2023-01-05).

  • Bringing in the new year with a backup

    As the year 2022 closes give yourself a new year’s resolution to make a backup.

    One that ensures that anytime you read about ransomware, hard drive loss or possible issues with a Windows or Apple patch you don’t worry about such things.

    I personally use Macrium reflect and I ensure that it builds a “boot” menu so that I can easy get into the recovery process.

    Part 1 of the backup video is here: Making a backup 

    So have YOU rung in the new year by making sure your computer has been backed up?

    What about restoring?  Do you check if you can restore your computer?

    Part 2 of the backup video showcasing how to restore is here:  Restoring your backup

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Windows 10 22H2 may leave you blue

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    ISSUE 19.52.1 • 2022-12-27

    By Susan Bradley

    I have a favorite Christmas song titled “We need a little Christmas,” from the Broadway musical “Mame.”

    The uplifting tone of the song expresses the pleasure and happiness we experience during the holiday. We don’t usually associate “blue” feelings with the season (except Elvis).

    Windows 10 could use a little of that holiday spirit. Unfortunately, two different patches for 22H2 appear to be throwing off blue screens of death for some — but not all — users. As much as I’d like to lower the MS-DEFCON level to the more serene level 4, so you can enjoy the holiday while applying updates, out of caution I am dropping it only one notch.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (19.52.1, 2022-12-27).

  • Finding good security information


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I do this so you don’t have to.

    And I’ve been doing it for a long time, learning and cultivating sources of knowledge to allow me to make informed decisions about the stability and security of my computing environments, both at home and for my business. The latter has been extremely important to me; as a CPA, I am entrusted with the private financial information from the firm’s clients, which must be dealt with carefully.

    Thus, I have been on a decades-long journey through the landscape of NNTP newsgroups, Listservs, email groups, chat rooms — you name it. Today the available resources are much broader, including all the social networks including YouTube; specialty websites dealing with security, privacy, and operating environments; governmental websites regarding regulation, especially with regard to privacy; and the many personal acquaintances I’ve developed over the years.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).

  • Happy Holidays 2022

    Happy holidays to all and hope everyone around the world has had a great and safe morning no matter where you are or what you celebrate.

    Today is the day I make one of my favorite breakfast recipes. And of course, while I could go find the cookbook on the shelf, like any good geek, I just googled it. Or rather duck duck go’d it.  (Sorry duck, you are going to have to work on your naming as it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

    Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday season, always have batteries on hand, always have power on hand, always have lit up Christmas trees and no burnt out bulbs and above all else, always have a helpful community to help you through any questions that life, or technology may throw your way.

    Thanks to all our readers and forum participants.

  • So did you buy a new computer or laptop this season?

    What did you buy?  What brand did you buy and why?  What specs?  Hard drive, memory?

    Where did you buy it?  Several of my friends buy electronics at Costco because of the return policy.

    One thing that I’m sad to see in the marketplace is that while you can find Chromebooks, the market for Linux based laptops and desktops is moved back to niche brands and a bit more expensive business machines and not affordable (i.e. cheap) home versions. Yes you can put it on older laptops that are aging away from Windows 7 and 8.1 but it’s also nice to see a healthy ecosystem of cheaper Linux based laptops geared towards the home market.

    So what did you buy? Why did you buy it? Where did you buy it?

  • If you use LastPass…. read on

    So there is a bit of disturbing read on the LastPass situation

    Read this first.

    also a bit of commentary from a Security expert on the topic:

    Ask yourself…. do you have two factor authentation set up on your LastPass? I have Yubikey as a second factor on my password manager.

    If you use LastPass and do not have two factor enabled, ensure that you change your master password. Add two factor authentication to any cloud based password manager.

    Don’t get rid of a password manager, just make sure it’s appropriately protected. We will cover more on how best to protect your passwords in a future newsletter.

  • Patching year 2022 comes to a close

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    ISSUE 19.51 • 2022-12-19


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Every vendor brought us a lump of coal.

    No matter which platform you use, we are closing out a year in which we have been very vulnerable. From Microsoft to Apple to our firewall vendors — and even to Linux distros such as Ubuntu and Mint — just about every vendor has ended the year with patches, vulnerabilities unfixed, and new releases.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.51.0, 2022-12-19).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.