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  • Langalist: Common reasons for backup and imaging failures

    Posted on May 20th, 2019 at 02:10 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So your backup didn’t, you know, back up. Why?

    As Fred Langa points out, that isn’t always an easy question. But he has answers.

    The latest LangaList out this morning in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.18.0.

  • “Side channel” vulnerabilities and Windows

    Posted on May 19th, 2019 at 12:07 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve avoided talking much about Spectre, Meltdown and the like because there’s an endless succession of patches to Windows and the hardware – and registry changes to go with them – and we still haven’t seen a real-world exploit.

    If you’re running a high profile server, though, you should keep up on this stuff.

    Karl Wester-Ebbinghaus (@alqmar) has come up with an exhaustive list of patches, patches to patches, BIOS updates and registry settings, all related to the “side channel” vulnerabilities. Click on the comment link at the top to see the results of his extensive investigation.

  • Patch Lady – the battery problem

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 22:57 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Technology and batteries have a love hate relationship with each other. We need batteries to power many of our laptops and devices. Yet we still rely on battery technology that when it’s not working right could lead to dangerous conditions. A year ago Amazon contacted me proactively about several USB battery blocks I had. The batteries could explode. So they send me prepaid shipping boxes to safely send back the batteries and refunded me in full for my purchase. I had purchased my bricks several years before so I was surprised with out Amazon handled the recall. It was efficient and quite frankly, given the age of the battery bricks, generous.

    Surface devices are not immune to battery issues. There are numerous threads in various forums about bulging screens that are as a result of battery issues. While there are threads about successful resolutions with units swapped out for refurbished units, there are also other threads where customers have been given conflicting information and some have had to pay to fix the issue. The tell tale signs of an impacted system is a screen that no longer fits well with the rest of the unit.

    Calling up support appears to be a bit of Russian roulette. Depending on your location, support may tell you that you have to pay for the service. Or they may fully replace the unit at no charge. Some will even tell you that there’s no problem at all with a bulging battery:


    However as Barb Bowman points out, other tech companies like Best Buy inform their customers that bulging batteries are indeed a problem and they should be handled very carefully. If you are impacted by or suspect you have a unit that has a bulge, the best way to handle the issue is to immediately stop using the device. If you have a Microsoft store near you, take it back to the Microsoft store. If you do not have a Microsoft store near you (the closest one to me is four hours away), the best thing to do is to call Microsoft during business hours and discuss the issue of the bulging screens. If you receive a support personnel that does not handle the bulging screen issue seriously, call back and try with another support personnel or better yet ask to speak to a supervisor. You may also try to get service online.

    Surface devices are notoriously hard to repair. So much so that the ifixit site indicates they are difficult to get into and cannot be upgraded. The Surface Pro 6 has a repairability of 1 out of 10.

    Surface devices aren’t the only ones with battery issues. Even Macbooks have had to start a replacement program to deal with their bulging problems. Lenovo’s had to replace impacted batteries that failed. HP had to expand a recent recall due to battery issues.

    Bottom line, take a look at your laptop. No matter the brand, no matter the price tag. If you start to see your screen bulge, or see a yellow tint on the screen, don’t try to fix the computer yourself, contact the vendor of the laptop and see what they can do for your issue. Batteries shouldn’t fail. And when they do, it can be dangerous. Sign up for notifications from your laptop vendor or keep an eye on recall notices.

    If your device is under warranty, or in the case of Surface devices, less than three years old, chances are very good that you will get a replacement.

  • Phone support: Pairing your Android or Apple phone with Win10

    Posted on May 6th, 2019 at 02:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We’re finally seeing some robust and worthwhile reasons to pair your phone to your PC. Yes, you can pair your phone to your PC in order to look at photos and text messages from your phone.

    Now we have something different – and worthwhile. The Dynamic Lock capability lets you tell Windows that it should lock your PC whenever your phone drifts out of range.

    Cool stuff from Lance Whitney in this morning’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.16.0.

  • LangaList: “I know to de-fragment my HDD and not to de-fragment my SSD. Do I de-fragment my hybrid drive?”

    Posted on April 26th, 2019 at 07:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Interesting question – without a simple answer.

    Follow Fred’s advice on

  • Surface Pro 2017 firmware updates – there’s a potful of them, and they’re confusing

    Posted on April 11th, 2019 at 13:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Barb Bowman has the best explanation I’ve seen:

    Here’s the link to the Surface Pro (5th Gen) update history

  • The Hard Side: Fixing Wi-Fi problems with a mesh network

    Posted on April 1st, 2019 at 03:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Lincoln Spector steps you through the reasons for buying and installing a mesh network. If you’re still struggling with pulling wires, dyspeptic routers, signal boosters and coathangers, you’re in for a treat. The units are small, install like a charm, and cost less than you think. Probably.

    Lincoln steps us through installation of both the AmpliFi MeshPoint and the Linksys Velop — two different kinds of mesh networks, both of which work like a-ringin’ a bell. (Personal note: I installed a Google Mesh network years ago and it’s been a lifesaver. One of the best computer buys I ever made.)

    Out this morning to Plus members in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.12.0.