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  • 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

  • Microsoft fixed the bug that prevent Surface Go users from switching out of S mode

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

    Remember the complaints that Surface Go owners couldn’t switch from S mode to Win10 Home?

    Looks like they were fixed. ‘Softie Greg says on the Answers forum:

    Thank you for your feedback. We have completed our investigation and have published an updated version of the Microsoft Store app which includes a fix for this issue. To install this update:

    From the taskbar, open Microsoft Store. Select More   > Downloads and updates > Get updates. Install available updates, including Microsoft Store version 11906.1001.24.0 (or later). For more help installing Microsoft Store updates, see Get updates for apps and games in Microsoft Store.

  • Surface firmware/driver updates galore

    Posted on August 5th, 2019 at 15:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I see new firmware/driver updates for:

    Surface Pro 6

    Surface Pro without a version number (which is to say, 5)

    Surface Laptop (version 1)

    Surface Laptop 2

    Surface Book

    Surface Book 2

    There doesn’t appear to be any specific theme, just a big bunch of fixes.

  • Patch Lady – Choosing a home backup solution

    Posted on July 28th, 2019 at 20:15 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    First in a series of life beyond posts about my journey of tech solutions in the post Small Business Server era.

    For many years I used a product originally designed by Charlie Kindel who built a product to make it easier for home users to share data, back up home workstations and stream local content from anywhere in my home setting.  It was called Home Server.  The backup code used in Home server got a really big black eye early on when it was the source of data loss.  Word was they had to pull back in a key NTFS engineer to get to the bottom of the deduplication that also lost data.  The platform never recovered and times changed.  But the backup software (once fixed) stayed and moved on to be used in Essentials Server platforms.

    As an aside after he left Windows Home Server team at Microsoft, Charlie Kindel went onto Windows phone and then onto Amazon home services.  Now he’s moved onto a firm called Control4 for home automation.  Things change fast in media and as we’ve moved to streaming services, most normal people don’t want or need to stream media from a home server.

    But the writing is on the wall about the Essential servers.  Essential Server 2019 doesn’t have the backup or remote web access that Small Business Server and Essential servers were best known for.  And every (and I do mean EVERY) time there is a feature release, something in that client connector gets mangled so that while the add/remove programs shows that the client connector is still there, the code is not on the box.  At this time the only workaround is to uninstall and reinstall the client connector after upgrading to 1903.

    In this era of ransomware, one of the things that even home users need is a good windows backup.  I will disagree greatly with our Redmond overloads regarding their idea of a “backup”.  In their eyes you don’t care about the operating system, don’t care about the programs, all you need is synchronization.  As long as you can get onto the web in some shape or form, you should be able to get to your data and thus you could sync back everything.

    Well.  That works in theory but in my reality world, I want, I need a complete image of my computer so that getting it back to functional level again as fast as I can is the best way to protect my computers.  I often have desktop software with specific settings and licensing that isn’t easily sync’d back.  I see people ask for ways to get back their data from a ransomware attack looking for a magic bullet of a unencryption key.  There is a fundamental truth:  You can’t get an unecryption key unless the good guys have taken over a command and control computer and have access to the private key.  In encryption there is a public key and a private key.  The public key is on your encrypted computer, the private key is in the hands of the attackers.  Encryption algorithms being what they are now, one can’t magically crack an encryption key even if you had all the computing power in the world.   Unless the good guys have posted the private key here (or similar sites), your best method to recover is to either a. have a good backup or b. negotiate down the ransomware price

    The other thing you need to keep in mind in setting up a backup is to make sure that the ransomware attackers don’t have access to your backup files.  Merely sticking a usb external drive in your computer and setting up a Windows build in backup of folder copying means that the attackers have EXACTLY the same access to that folder and can encrypt it as well.  Furthermore you need to ensure that synchronization settings for OneDrive consumer doesn’t sync encrypted versions to the cloud (Note OneDrive for business is based on SharePoint and has much more robust features to ensure you can roll back)

    I’ve been looking around for various consumer backups and one thing to keep in mind is that free software doesn’t always have all the features you need.  For example one I’m currently testing, Macrium doesn’t offer a setting that I like (Image Guardian) in their free version.  Image Guardian ensures that the account used to write the backup files is not the same user rights as you, so that it’s not exposed to ransomware attackers who often come in via phishing attacks and use YOUR access to get to anywhere you have access to and encrypt the files.  Some backup vendors like Acronis are offering up free ransomware protection that monitors a system for files that suddenly become encrypted.

    Also make sure that when you set up your backup software that you look in the settings to set up alerts.  Ensuring that you get an email alerting you that a backup has failed so you can take action, is key to keeping your systems protected.  In that, the consumer backup software I’ve seen are a little more cumbersome to set up alerts and notifications.  Finding one with a centralized console (I have four Windows based computers at home) at a reasonable price tag has also been an interesting experiment.

    Personally I think the move to consumers using more and more ipads and android tablets means that running a Windows PC in a home setting is getting to be only for the …uh… older crowd like me.

    So did I find a home backup solution that met my needs?  Kinda.  I found one that does a full image backup, that ensures that it’s saved in a way that the attackers can’t get access to it.  However I didn’t find one that had a centralized console for a home settings.  Clearly I am in the minority in that need.

    What are you using for client backup in your home network?

    Next week…. where do I store my stuff at home and how do I store it?  Stay tuned for more in this journey of life beyond .

  • Internet Explorer and Edge send the full URL of every page you visit to MS, plus your unique account ID

    Posted on July 22nd, 2019 at 06:30 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I didn’t know that.

    It all has to do with the “SmartScreen Filter,” designed to keep you away from malicious sites. Chrome, Firefox and Safari solved the phone home problem years ago with techniques that vet bad sites locally, on your computer, without leaving a trail in the sky.

    Thx Catalin Cimpanu, @campuscodi, who adds “this has been known since 2005. Documented in official MSFT FAQ pages.”

  • Patch Lady – a slap in the face to Partners

    Posted on July 5th, 2019 at 14:31 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you are a Microsoft Partner be aware of two upcoming changes.  First off for those that are action pack or silver or gold partners, normally they get 10 (or more) free support cases that can be used to open up a case when you have an issue with a Microsoft product.  They will be removing the free support cases for on premises products.  Going forward if you need to open a support case it will be $499 (US) to open a support case for an on premises product (assuming that fee doesn’t increase).

    Then they are removing what is called “internal use rights”.  Partners had the ability to purchase something called “action pack” and this provided licenses to various Microsoft products including server and desktop uses.  When partners USE the software they understand and feel their customers pain points.

    As you can see in the above link this is not going over well, especially for those partners that service small and medium business customers.

  • SharePoint Online in Office 365 down. Azure SQL databases down. Microsoft Dynamics down.

    Posted on May 2nd, 2019 at 15:35 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Anybody out there still getting in to OneDrive? Skype? Xbox online?

    Azure status page is all green. No problems here.

    I like this suggestion from Wes Miller:

  • Bing Ads rebrands as Microsoft Advertising

    Posted on April 30th, 2019 at 12:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Be still my beating heart.

    It’s official. MS Corporate VP Rik van der Kooi, posting on the Microsoft Advertising blog, notes:

    In the next year, we’re introducing more advertising products with built-in AI, more connected to your data and your business.

    Ginny Marvin has a good take on SearchEngineLand:

    The AI backbone that powers Bing has given the company the “right to innovate,” David Pann, general manager of global search business at Microsoft said during a keynote discussion at SMX East last year. He cited MSAN (MS Audience Network) and LinkedIn integrations as one example… Microsoft started integrating the audience data graphs of LinkedIn and Microsoft in 2017 and made LinkedIn data available for targeting in Microsoft Audience Network and then search ads last year.

    Lemme fire up that LinkedIn entry…

    Thx, @PKCano