News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

Blog Archives

  • 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.

  • Patch Lady – ransomware attacks

    Posted on August 21st, 2019 at 22:42 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Have you seen the news about all of the small Texas towns hit with ransomware? Bobby Allyn at NPR has a good overview.

    Texas is the latest state to be hit with a cyberattack, with state officials confirming this week that computer systems in 22 municipalities have been infiltrated by hackers demanding a ransom. A mayor of one of those cities said the attackers are asking for $2.5 million to unlock the files.

    Scary, huh!

    So if you are a small business and you use consultants ask them if they use two factor authentication in order to access your resources.  If they say no, tell them to check out Duo.  And it’s free for up to 10 users.

    I had it recommended to me today (and no this isn’t a vendor plug, I’m just pointing out options to small businesses)

    Bottom line have a backup.  Have another one.

  • Patch Lady – two items of note in Chrome

    Posted on August 20th, 2019 at 00:05 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    First off I noticed tonight (I’m sure it was there before this) that Chrome is giving the official countdown notice to let us know that it’s disabling flash support as of December 2020.

    Next if you want to see if your passwords have been compromised, there’s a Chrome add in to check if you are in owned database (note that this add in also works in the Edge browser based on Chrome).

    Check it out (and start counting the days until Flash is dead)

  • Patch Lady – VBA errors

    Posted on August 16th, 2019 at 19:11 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    pps using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), VBA, and VBScript may stop responding with error

    After installing KB4512508, applications that were made using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), macros using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and scripts or apps using Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) may stop responding and you may receive an “invalid procedure call error.”
    Affected platforms:
    • Client: Windows 10, version 1903; Windows 10, version 1809; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019; Windows 10, version 1803; Windows 10, version 1709; Windows 10, version 1703; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2016; Windows 10, version 1607; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015; Windows 8.1; Windows 7 SP1
    • Server: Windows Server, version 1903; Windows Server, version 1809; Windows Server 2019; Windows Server, version 1803; Windows Server, version 1709 ; Windows Server 2016; Windows Server 2012 R2; Windows Server 2012; Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1; Windows Server 2008 SP2
    Next steps: Microsoft is working on a resolution and estimates a solution will be available late August. The ‘optional’ update will be available on Microsoft Update Catalog, Windows Update, Microsoft Update and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). As with any ‘optional’ update, you will need to Check for updates to receive the update once it is released.
    Note Windows Update for Business customers should apply the update via Microsoft Update Catalog or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).


  • Stop the presses: Notepad will be available in the Store

    Posted on August 16th, 2019 at 17:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Now that’s an improvement at least one person will appreciate. Here’s the official word on the latest Windows  20H1 beta build (due in the first half of 2020, possibly called 2003, but I hope not):

    Making Notepad store-updatable

    Notepad has been a well-loved text editor in Windows for over 30 years. Over the last few releases, we’ve been making a number of small improvements to Notepad based on your feedback (including expanded line ending supportwrap around search, and indicating when there’s unsaved content.) Starting with this build, we’re making a change so that future Notepad updates will be automatically available via the store. This will allow us the flexibility to respond to issues and feedback outside the bounds of Windows releases. As always, if you have any feedback for Notepad, we welcome it in the Feedback Hub under Apps > Notepad.

    Let’s hear it for rapid deployment.

    Gad, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • Why does nobody use Edge?

    Posted on August 12th, 2019 at 09:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Excellent rant/position piece on Quora from Jin Kim, who’s a Product Manager at Microsoft:

    Microsoft has had a history of trying to compete with other successful products and services and losing focus on making the core fundamentals of that product better, but instead, adding some “value-add” feature to out-spec our competitors. But seriously, we forget that we are not very good at addressing the core fact that we need to focus on the fundamentals.

    Oh yeah and look, we threw in the towel and now about to release the new EDGE built on CHROMIUM!!! Wow, whodathunkit!

    Give this guy a standing ovation. And a raise.

    Thx @rpodric.

  • Patch Lady – we have another Spectre/Meltdown

    Posted on August 6th, 2019 at 21:52 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So included in the July patches was another Spectre/Meltdown patch that the information about it is just coming out today.  I’m still not convinced that we’ve seen actual attacks using Spectre/Meltdown nor am I convinced that we will see it in the wild.  Rather it’s my opinion that it will be used in targeted attacks but not in widespread ones.  Nevertheless, once again there’s another variant that got patched in the July updates:


    08/06/2019 08:21 PM EDT


    Original release date: August 6, 2019
    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is aware of a vulnerability (CVE-2019-1125) known as SWAPGS, which is a variant of Spectre Variant 1—that affects modern computer processors. This vulnerability can be exploited to steal sensitive data present in a computer systems’ memory.

    Spectre is a flaw an attacker can exploit to force a program to reveal its data. The name derives from “speculative execution”—an optimization method a computer system performs to check whether it will work to prevent a delay when actually executed. Spectre affects almost all devices including desktops, laptops, and cloud servers.

    CISA encourages users and administrators to review the following guidance, refer to their hardware and software vendors for additional details, and apply an appropriate patch when available:

  • Win10 usage share surges

    Posted on August 1st, 2019 at 07:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Win7’s taking it on the chin.

    Source: Netmarketshare

    It only took ’em four years. </snark off>