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  • The sad saga of Surface problems continues

    Posted on September 19th, 2019 at 04:46 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You’re going to hear a lot about the shiny new Surface devices coming in the next few weeks.

    Should you be tempted to shell out your shekels, be aware of the problems we’ve hit with Surface devices recently — and how Microsoft has (or has not) responded to the complaints.

    Extensive details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    I’ve said it before… I won’t buy — or recommend — a Surface device until Microsoft cleans up its support.

    Thx Barb Bowman!

  • ChromeOS Enterprise

    Posted on August 26th, 2019 at 11:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Google and Dell sittin’ on a tree….

    Big news from both Google and Dell. Tom Warren at The Verge puts it this way:

    Google is launching new Chromebook Enterprise devices that it hopes will draw more businesses away from Windows-powered laptops… Dell is launching Chrome OS on a pair of its popular business-focused Latitude laptops, offering both a regular clamshell design and a 2-in-1 option.. Businesses will be able to choose from Dell’s 14-inch Latitude 5400 ($699) or the 13-inch Latitude 5300 2-in-1 ($819).

    Microsoft keeps promising a new Windows version codenamed LiteOS. It isn’t clear to me at all how LiteOS will be better. When it finally appears.

  • More Surface Pro battery blues: Thurrott quoting Barb Bowman

    Posted on August 23rd, 2019 at 12:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Barb Bowman has pulled together a lot of information about bad batteries in the Surface Pro 5 and 6. Bottom line: Microsoft caused the problem (probably with bad firmware/driver updates), but they aren’t responding to customers who complain.

    Sound familiar?

    In today’s Short Takes, Paul quotes Barb:

    I’ll let Barb Bowman, an outspoken MVP (and friend), handle this discussion. “It took [Microsoft] 9+ months to acknowledge battery issues with [Surface Pro 2] and the fixes didn’t solve everything,” she noted in a community support post. “This issue is just starting to trend. I keep emailing an internal contact on it but no replies.” Honestly, this is the problem with Surface: It’s a small business that moves slowly, especially when it comes to responding to issues. It tarnishes the whole brand.

  • CPU throttling to 0.4 GHz on Surface devices, including the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Book 2

    Posted on August 14th, 2019 at 09:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Thanks to @TechThinkers for pointing me to this article by Mayank Parmar in Windows Latest:

    CPU suddenly slows itself down and drops to 0.4Ghz– below the base level for the chip.

    this issue is not associated with Microsoft’s firmware or software updates

    It could be a bug impacting the thermal management system which slowdowns the clock speeds under heavy thermal loads. The throttling issue was first reported in 2018 on Surface Book and complaints have increased significantly in 2019.

    Mayank points to threads on Reddit, the MS Answers Forum, and the Feedback Hub. The descriptions have an uncanny common thread: They all say that the CPU (measured in the Task Manager) pegs at 0.4 GHz — not 0.3, not 0.5 GHz.

    Have you hit this problem? Is it associated with your machine heating up?

    UPDATE: James Sanders at ZDNet has taken up the topic.

  • Galaxy Book S, Note 10, and the Microsoft connection

    Posted on August 7th, 2019 at 16:30 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Looks like Samsung is going to start selling a Windows laptop that works with a Snapdragon ARM processor. Details from Mehedi on

    There isn’t anything standout of the design of the device, and it’s pretty simple for a laptop. But it still has a pretty nice and simple design.

    It’ll arrive in September with 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, 23 hours of battery life, 13.3-inch display, priced from $999. Expect to hear a LOT of chest-beating from the Microsoft-centric sites.

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t come with Win10 S. And that it doesn’t ship with Microsoft’s drivers. <snark /off>

    UPDATE: Follow-up by Mehedi with more details of all the Samsung-Microsoft announcements. Looks like the Note 10 will ship with a load of MS software.

  • Problem reported with the latest firmware update for Surface Book

    Posted on August 5th, 2019 at 15:23 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: More details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    Have you updated your Surface Book with the latest firmware/driver release (dated July 31)?

    Can you connect to WiFi?

    thunder1025 reports on the Microsoft Answers Forum:

    I updated the wifi driver to “Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. – Net – 15.68.17013.110”, and after that update, I can’t connect to a 5GHz wifi connection, I can only connect to 2.4 GHz. when i try to connect to the 5GHz, it says: “Unable to connect to this network”. Uninstalling the wifi driver, and restarting the device did help me get the 5GHz connection back to my Surface book, but when i decided to try to install the same driver again, and try to connect to 5GHz again, the same “Unable to connect to this network” appears.

    There’s also a post from Andypeppa:

    I have the same problem with the same driver version as well, applied on 8-1-2019. Your post gave me an idea that maybe it was just the 5GHz channel, but alas, I have the same issue with the 2.4GHz spectrum as well; I went to force the band of the Marvell AVASTAR WiFi adapter to 2.4GHz only and it still would not connect.

    I have the Surface Pro (Gen4.5? it’s the one where they didn’t announce the version) but my experience is the exact same as yours; the moment that driver was applied, I can no longer attach to my home WiFi system (UniFi). Interestingly, the Surface Pro WILL attach to the WiFi hotspot on my iPhone.

    And from Nicholas Barsotti:

    I have the same problem with my Surface Pro 6.  Upgraded to driver 15.68.17013.110 and I couldn’t get connected to my wifi either.  I tried forcing 2.4 and 5 Ghz neither worked.  I am using UniFi AC pro access points.  Rolling back to an older version got me back online.

    Thx @BarbBowman

  • Why can’t Microsoft reliably patch its own hardware?

    Posted on July 22nd, 2019 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Woody Leonhard

    You don’t need me to tell you that Windows patches are too often of, uh, questionable quality.

    But the latest screw-up with Win10 Version 1903 and top-of-the-line Microsoft Surface Book 2 PCs really takes the cake.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.27.0 (2019-07-22).

  • Dell patches SupportAssist, but other PC-Doctor software still vulnerable

    Posted on June 23rd, 2019 at 07:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Dell announced on June 21 that it has issued an emergency patch for the Dell SupportAssist software – which you’re probably running if you have a Dell computer and didn’t wipe out the pre-installed garbage.

    Specifically, the PC-Doctor component of SupportAssist has a vulnerability in the way it checks (or, er, doen’t check) the validity of certain DLLs on your computer. If somebody sticks a bad DLL on your machine, in a specific location and with a specific file name, PC-Doctor helpfully picks it up and runs it – with system-level privileges. SafeBreak Labs, which discovered and reported the bug, has a full description.

    Dell ain’t the only one. Apparently PC-Doctor Toolbox is also part of

    CORSAIR ONE Diagnostics
    CORSAIR Diagnostics
    Staples EasyTech Diagnostics
    Tobii I-Series Diagnostic Tool
    Tobii Dynavox Diagnostic Tool

    You may recall that Dell SupportAssist had a big security breach back in May, 2019. Beats me why anyone would continue to use crapware like it.