Newsletter Archives

  • Dear Microsoft, don’t give up on this please!

    I’m guessing that big businesses pushed back on this.

    But Microsoft? Don’t give up on making this default.

    We need macros to be off by default and let the IT pro/admins turn it on based on their needs. We STILL need help on ransomware. This STILL would be a really good thing.

    Don’t give up on this, please, Microsoft. This needs to be the default. We need Office excel files that we receive from the Internet to not infect us. Ensuring that Macros are not enabled in Excel documents that we receive emailed to us will go a long way to keep us safe.

    From the Microsoft 365 announcement:

    Updated July 07, 2022: Based on feedback, we’re rolling back this change from Current Channel. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received so far, and we’re working to make improvements in this experience. We’ll provide another update when we’re ready to release again to Current Channel. Thank you.

    The original post where they planned to block macros in files received from the Internet:

    VBA macros are a common way for malicious actors to gain access to deploy malware and ransomware. To help improve security, we are changing the behavior of Office applications to now block macros in files from the internet. Learn more in this blog post.

    This change only affects Office on devices running Windows and only affects the following applications: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word.

    Key points:

    Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 88883
    Timing: We will communicate a new timeline via Message center.
    Action: Review and assess impact
    How this will affect your organization:

    Previously, it was possible for end users to enable these macros by simply clicking a button on the Trust bar.

    Now, with this change, once a user opens an attachment or downloads from the internet an untrusted Office file containing macros, a message bar displays a Security Risk that the file contains VBA macros obtained from the internet with a Learn More button.

    VBA Macros Blocked Trust Bar
    View image in new tab
    The Learn More button goes to an article for end users and information workers that contains information about the security risk of bad actors using macros, safe practices to prevent phishing and malware, and instructions on how to enable these macros (if absolutely needed).

    What you need to do to prepare:

    Enterprises should evaluate their use of macros in files obtained from the internet to determine how this new default behavior will affect their users.

    To learn more about how to get ready for this change and recommendations for managing VBA macros in Office files, read this article for Office admins.

  • Today’s edition of things that annoy me

    Today’s edition of things that annoy me in Microsoftland:

    1. Whom did you get your feedback from?

    Peter Deegan writes on Microsoft’s latest huh move. In a recent post to their alerts, they indicate that they are going to move people from the semi-annual enterprise channel to the monthly channel because people in the monthly channel “Customers on a monthly feature update cadence, such as those on Monthly Enterprise Channel, have reported higher satisfaction than those receiving semi-annual feature updates.”  I don’t know about you but I hardly ever click on Office smiley face feedback so exactly whom did you speak to?  Note this does not impact consumer 365 subscribers, just business subscribers.

    2. The dribble changes

    Microsoft announces changes in their platform but then doesn’t push things out right away. So weeks go by and suddenly things change for some – but not all – of your computers and you have to figure out what change occurred. If you suddenly see your search results change, remember I wrote about this a bit back.

    Right-click the Windows taskbar, select Search from the popup menu, and then click Show search highlights.

    I prefer the second option, setting a Registry key because options set like this in the Registry tend to stick — further updates to this “feature” should not turn them back on. To block the external content, add the key Windows Search, add another dword key called EnableDynamicContentInWSB, and set it to 0. This is represented by the following:

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\EnableDynamicContentInWSB=0

    To make it easier for you, I’ve coded up an easily installable registry key to place the block in your system. To install the block, merely click here and then click on Open file in your browser’s download dialog. Click to run the program, and then click yes to install the registry key.

    Bottom line, every day there’s something new to be aware of.  We try to keep you informed!

  • Office (er, Microsoft) 365 authentication heads for the hills

    If you’re trying to log in to Microsoft 365, and can’t get past the authentication step, you aren’t alone.

    Per Brad Sams:

    Microsoft is aware of the issue but at this time there is not an ETA for a fix. Amusingly, the support account for Microsoft 365 on Twitter recommends that you check your account dashboard for MO222965 but when you try to authenticate, it fails… If you are already logged into an app or dashboard, you should be safe to utilize that feature but do not log out.

    I expect it’ll be fixed in short order.

    Here’s the official notification:

    Man, if Microsoft itself can’t install patches to its key service without blowing things up….

  • Outlook went down for four hours yesterday. What happened? How did Microsoft fix it?

    Spoiler: No, there was no buggy update. No emergency patch. Just sheer incompetence.

    Microsoft promises to give us details in five days, after the rage has died down. (I bet it takes that long for the PR folks and Legal to give an OK to whatever excuse is offered.)

    Here’s what apparently happened, based on an anonymous post and some great sleuthing by @NetDef.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Patch Lady – issue with Outlook

    To those of you in the Ask woody forums that have been hitting this (see this and this ) read on..

    A bug in the June updates is causing “Something is wrong with one of your data files and Outlook needs to close” as noted in

    To workaround the issue, follow that post:

    Right Click the Windows Start button, and then choose Run.

    In the Open box, type regedit, and then select OK.

    In the left pane, expand Computer and then expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\PST

    Under the PST key delete the registry keys below and then restart Outlook:

    “LastCorruptStore”=”C:\\Users\\user.REDMOND\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\Outlook\\look for your email address here


    If that’s too much for you Diane Poremsky has an automatic registry fix download here.

    This appears to be impacting those mostly with PST files.

    Thanks to PK Cano for pointing me to those threads and to Diane Poremsky of

    <and ugh>

  • Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365: Less here than meets the eye



    By Woody Leonhard

    Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that, as of April 21, the “rented” version of Office known as Office 365 will henceforth be known as Microsoft 365.

    Other than a bewildering array of new names and vague promises of future features, very little will actually change on that day.

    Mostly, if you’re currently subscribed to Office 365, you’ll soon be seeing (and paying for) Microsoft 365.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.14.0 (2020-04-13).

  • Office 365 mutates into Microsoft 365

    There’s a whole lotta chaff flying around — and we haven’t yet played with The Real Thing — but here are the basics of Microsoft’s announcement earlier today:

    New Office features start rolling out to Office 365 subscribers today.

    Microsoft 365 Personal (one person, $70/yr) and Microsoft 365 Family (up to 6 people, $100/yr) available on April 21.

    If you’re an Office 365 renter, er, subscriber, you’ll become a Microsoft 365 renter automatically.

    Microsoft has a lengthy official list of new features here.

    Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic

    Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard

    Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium

    Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

    Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

    Expect to see lots and lots (and lots and lots) of articles about the new features shortly. Remains to be seen how many will be useful for you.

    Mary Jo Foley has an excellent roundup on ZDNet.

  • Bill Jelen: Microsoft just released a fledgling version of TypeScript in Excel that will, in 20 years or so, supplant VBA

    Bill Jelen has just posted a fascinating video of the “Excel VBA Killer” known as TypeScript.

    For 16 years, people asked me if Excel VBA will be around forever. I always said, “Don’t worry – they can’t kill it until there is a viable replacement with a macro recorder.”

    Today, Microsoft released a public preview of Office Script, which offers a macro recorder that works. More or less. Most of the time. It’s hard to find, but if you have an E3 or E5 Office 365 subscription (can’t try this at home, folks), you can use the new macro recorder to create functioning TypeScript code.

    Jelen figures it’ll take 27 years or so before VBA Excel gets replaced entirely, but this most definitely looks like the way of the (far) future.

  • Microsoft backtracks on Office search changes

    According to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has backed off its plans to change the search engine to Bing for its Office 365 Pro Plus customers. See [url=]Microsoft backtracks on ‘Bing-jacking’ Chrome with its Microsoft Search extension[/url] for more details.

  • Will Microsoft forcibly change the Chrome default search engine to Bing?

    Is this “Office as a Service,” or just another poorly worded Microsoft announcement?

    I’m getting lots of questions about a bizarre but official post from ‘Softie Daniel Brown entitled Microsoft Search in Bing and Office 365 ProPlus. In it, Microsoft seems to be saying that everyone who installs the latest patch for Office 365 ProPlus will have their default search engine in Google Chrome changed to Bing.

    Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser. This extension will be installed with new installations of Office 365 ProPlus or when existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus are updated.

    Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

    By making Bing the default search engine, users in your organization with Google Chrome will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Search, including being able to access relevant workplace information directly from the browser address bar. Microsoft Search is part of Microsoft 365 and is turned on by default for all Microsoft apps that support it.

    First of all, “Version 2002” is Microsoft’s incredibly stupid way of saying the February 2020 update to Office 365 Pro Plus. It’ll be available to the bleeding edge in February, but normal folks (on the “Semi-Annual Channel branch,” you gotta love the terminology) won’t see it until July.

    After the extension for Microsoft Search in Bing is installed, your users will see a Welcome screen. For example, the Welcome screen in Google Chrome looks similar to this:

    Can they do that?

    Not all devices with Version 2002 or later will receive the extension right away. That’s because we’re gradually rolling out this change, first to new installations and then to existing installations. So if you’re installing or updating to Version 2002 or later, and the extension isn’t installed, that is probably expected and not necessarily an error. It’s likely a future installation or update will install the extension and set Bing as the default search engine for Google Chrome.

    That’s either the worst Microsoft announcement I’ve seen this year — or it’s an incredible overstepping of antitrust proportions that deserves fire and brimstone.

    Do you read the announcement any differently? Is this perhaps an opt-in kind of thing, where you have to activate the extension (which is dirty pool, too, don’t get me wrong)? Or is Microsoft going to roll out Bing as the default search engine in Chrome for everybody who’s getting Office ProPlus … as a Service, of course.

    UPDATE: Catalin Cimpanu, over at ZDNet, is under the impression that this is for real — that Office 365 ProPlus will hijack your Chrome browser search engine. He goes over MS’s published methods for preventing the hijacking.

    Where’s the outrage? Or is this the new normal?

  • Microsoft 365 status update

    Günter Born has additional details.

  • Office 365 global outage is now fixed

    A tale in three tweets…. (all times are US Central)

    Of course the Microsoft Office Status site requires a logon with an active Office 365 account.