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  • Seattle had….

    Posted on February 12th, 2019 at 04:08 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s supposed to turn to rain today. Just what Redmond needs…

  • The Windows Update servers are having hiccups

    Posted on January 31st, 2019 at 08:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Bogdan Popa at Softpedia has the skinny.

    It looks like many DNS servers are mis-routing Windows Update connections. At this point, it looks like the problem ISN’T with Microsoft.

    Bogdan’s solution is to use the Google DNS server. A bit of irony in that, but hey, if it works….

    Thanks to @b for pointing it out to me:

    I’ve been unable to connect to Windows Update for the last 12 hours via Comcast in US, but I can reach Windows Update after connecting via VPN.

    The method for changing DNS servers varies depending on which version of Windows you’re using, and whether you’re on a wired (Ehternet) or wireless (W-Fi) connection. For Win10 users, do this:

    Step 1. Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet >Ethernet > Change adapter settings. (If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, click Wi-Fi > Change adapter options.)

    Step2. Right-click on your adapter (if you have a Hyper-V virtual switch set up, that’s the one you want), choose Properties, then double-click Internet Protocol Version 4. You see a dialog box like this one:

    Step 3. Depending on which DNS server you trust, enter and to use Cloudflare’s DNS server. Or you can use and for Google’s, or and for OpenDNS’s.

    Step 4. Click OK and, for peace of mind, reboot. (It should work if you just restart your browser, but if you have many browsers open, hey, it won’t hurt.)

    UPDATE: Looks like the problem was solved overnight.

  • Unable to access Microsoft 365 services

    Posted on January 29th, 2019 at 18:55 admin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yep. Looks like Microsoft 365 is down again.

    The official report (as of this moment):

    Affected users are unable to authenticate to and access Microsoft 365 services… Dynamics 365, LinkedIn, and other services that leverage Azure Active Directory (AAD) are or were also affected by this event… This issue may potentially affect any of your users attempting to access Microsoft 365 services.

    Start time: Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 9:15 PM UT. [That’s 4:15 pm in New York.]

    Preliminary root cause: A portion of third-party managed network infrastructure that facilitates authentication requests and access to Microsoft 365 services was degraded.

    Can’t help but wonder if this is related to the sporadic Microsoft Update Catalog outages we’re seeing.

  • Here’s what’s really new in the next version of Win10, probably called version 1903

    Posted on January 28th, 2019 at 14:11 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek has a very thorough review of the new features coming in the next version of the last version of Windows 10.

    The coming version has been known as “version 19H1,” as the “April 2019 Update,” and as “Gravestone 6” (OK, I made that one up – long ago it was called Redstone 6, but there aren’t any more Redstones). There’s no official name yet, but internal hints point at “version 1903.” (Thx, @teroalhonen)

    Here’s the shortlist:

    • Less obtrusive Spectre Fixes
    • 7 GB reserved for updates on all machines
    • Win10 Home gets “Pause updates” — not much but arguably better than nothing. “Pause updates” isn’t all that useful — you have to know in advance that you want to pause; you only get 7 days — no extensions — after which all of the pending patches install in a whoosh; and there’s no warning that the storm’s coming. A sop to Cerberus. Microsoft hasn’t announced the feature, but it’s still in the beta, which is now long in the tooth.
    • Sandbox – which is great if you’re testing software, but I doubt that it’ll see much use for normal people.
    • Redesigned Start menu – Candy Crush is still there.
    • The ability to uninstall a few more built-in apps without using PowerShell
    • Cortana and Search are getting a long-overdue divorce.
    • Phone based 2FA for logins
    • Better Mary Jo mode. Er, Notepad.

    … and at that point I fell asleep.

    Take a look and tell me, honestly, if this list of features is worth the pain of a complete re-install.

  • January Patch Podcast

    Posted on January 23rd, 2019 at 17:36 Tracey Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patch Podcast

    By Susan Bradley

    January is a busy and confusing month for Windows patching. Win10 Version 1809 is being rolled out — again. And we also enter the last year of support for the venerable Windows 7.

    Windows 10 users should check out Susan Bradley’s January Patching Podcast. And if you’re one of the many still on Windows 7, you can download Susan’s Master Patch spreadsheet.

  • Is Microsoft replacing defective Surface Pro 4 machines with good (but used) ones?

    Posted on December 14th, 2018 at 16:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Leonard Klint on German-language site WindowsUnited reports that Microsoft has finally, finally fessed up to screen defects in Surface Pro 4 tablets and (Google auto translate):

    When I bothered the support with my problem, they knew directly. I did not need to refer to any threads, just to mention briefly that the problem was caused by the firmware update in July and the error code. In Device Manager , the following items are displayed with the error code 10 :

    Surface ME (code 10)
    Surface Embedded Controller Firmware (Code 10)
    Surface UEFI (code 10)

    Jez Corden at Windows Central goes on to say:

    If you were impacted by the firmware problem, Microsoft is reportedly allowing users to get a replacement via the Surface Support website by talking to a member of staff and describing the above driver issues, although further details about exactly what caused the error are still elusive.

    Poster ArrunBairu on the original Microsoft Answers forum gripe thread said on Dec. 11:

    I just contacted them via get help app where in you can chat with the support. I gave them the link to this forum and explained the issue. They created a support ticket. After following up on the ticket status again on the same get help app they agreed to send me a replacement.

    If true, this is a major breakthrough in an ongoing problem that’s been stonewalled for years.

  • Three years later, Surface Pro 4 problems persist. Isn’t it time for Microsoft to do something about it?

    Posted on October 26th, 2018 at 07:46 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The old Surface Pro 4 defects keep, uh, resurfacing. There are even more complaints than before about bad TypeCovers and, now, mysterious battery drains in the middle of the night.

    Barb Bowman recommends that Microsoft solve the problems by offering refurbished Surface Pro 5s (which is to say Surface Pro (2017)s) to SP4 owners. I think that’s a great idea — and would actually save Microsoft money in the long haul.

    Computerworld Woody Rants on Windows.

  • Reviews of the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2

    Posted on October 16th, 2018 at 09:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The embargo must’ve been lifted overnight. You can see reviews all over the web.

    Bottom line:

    Surface Pro 6 is a little faster that the “Surface Pro (2017)” but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB and a keyboard for about $ 1,350.

    Surface Laptop 2 is a little faster than the Surface Laptop (1) but not that much. i5, 8GB RAM, 256 GB storage for $1,300.

    No USB-C.

    Compare with any Chromebook for a small fraction of the price. The ultimate Chromebook, the Google Pixelbook with i5, 8GB RAM, 128 GB storage runs half the price. Admittedly the Pixelbook lacks some key Surface features: Bluescreens, bugs, malware, slow reboots.

    Disclaimer: Unless it isn’t patently obvious, no, I’ve never held either a Surface Pro 6 or Laptop 2 in my hands. This isn’t a review. I wasn’t under embargo. Microsoft didn’t give me a test machine.

    But I have held a Pixelbook. In fact, my son still uses my original Pixelbook almost every day. Built like a brick spithouse.