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  • GWX Redux: We’re going to get “upgrade to Win10” nag notices in Win7

    Posted on March 12th, 2019 at 13:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Any of you remember the GWX insanity – “Get Windows 10” and its associated deceits?

    I’m assured that Microsoft has learned its lesson. Microsoft has just released the first volley in its new, improved “Get Windows 10” campaign. According to Matt Barlow, on the Windows Blog:

    Beginning next month, if you are a Windows 7 customer, you can expect to see a notification appear on your Windows 7 PC. This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you’ll be able to select an option for “do not notify me again,” and we will not send you any further reminders.

    Y’all remember how well that worked with the GWX campaign.

    Mary Jo Foley threaded the needle gently:

    Just closing the pop-up using the X in the right corner won’t prevent users from getting more of these notifications, however…. My guess is Microsoft is alerting users about the coming pop-up several weeks early so they’re not surprised — or worried that the coming pop-ups are malware — once they start appearing in April.

    Guess it depends on your definition of “malware,” eh?

  • Quick Tip: How to overcome a stuck Default apps list

    Posted on March 11th, 2019 at 03:33 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Win10’s Default apps list associates certain file types with programs designed to open that particular kind of file. Usually it’s pretty easy — tell the Default apps list to use Firefox as your default browser and it’ll take over the tasks usually relegated to Edge.

    Sometimes the Default apps list gets stubborn. Try as you might, changing apps in the list doesn’t “take.”

    Editor in chief TB Capen found a quick, reliable way to knock Win10 upside the head.

    Details in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.9.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • Windows 10 Tips: Making sense of Win10’s Storage Sense

    Posted on March 11th, 2019 at 03:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Windows 98 introduced the disk cleanup routine – where Windows would reach into your machine and clean out temporary files, downloads, and clear out your Recycle bin.

    Starting with Win10 version 1703, disk cleanup became fully automated with a utility known as Storage Sense. More recent versions of Win10 have added to the utility’s features and usefulness.

    Michael Lasky brings an inside look at what Storage Sense does, and how to control it.

    Details in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.9.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • Deanna’s Freeware Spotlight: DeviceTool

    Posted on March 11th, 2019 at 03:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Now you can control Device Manager on any of your networked machines. DeviceTool, from Lugrain Software’s Bjoern Schmidt, lets you take control of devices on all of your computers. Whether you need to selectively fire up a hard drive on your second machine, or shut down a Wi-Fi adapter to bring the late-night YouTube sessions upstairs to an abrupt halt, this absolutely free utility gives you complete control.

    Details in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.9.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • Yes, Microsoft says Win10 has hit 800 million devices

    Posted on March 8th, 2019 at 15:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Gregg Keizer has a solid – and suitably skeptical – summary in Computerworld:

    Microsoft on Thursday said that 800 million devices are now running Windows 10, a 100 million increase in less than six months.

    Microsoft has regularly touted numbers for Windows 10, most of the time, although not always, by citing the active monthly devices, or those personal computers, tablets and other systems used within the last month.

    The 800 million number is sufficiently fuzzy that it’s hard to say if that’s monthly active devices, or just installs and/or activations, or some other metric. Microsoft’s number page says, simply, “There are more than 800 million devices running Windows 10,” dodging the definition quagmire. Says Keizer:

    Using the 12-month average change in user share, Computerworld recently forecast that nearly 41% of all Windows PCs will be running Windows 7 at the moment it falls off Microsoft’s support list.

    That’s an astonishing number.

  • The highest customer satisfaction in the history of Windows

    Posted on March 8th, 2019 at 06:15 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m just going to drop this here, gently, and tip-toe away without comment.

  • Win10 1903 Pro Windows Update advanced options — WUH?

    Posted on March 6th, 2019 at 05:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Somebody strap me down. I’m about to have a foaming-at-the-mouth episode. The kind only Windows can provide.

    First, an apology. I’ve been very busy swallowing a whale and haven’t looked at the latest beta test builds of Win10 version 1903 — the version that’s due to go RTM any day now. The builds tend to get very boring at this point — all bug fixes and no interesting new features.

    Early this morning, I was looking at Windows Update in the latest beta build of Win10 version 1903 Pro. And I’m about to hit the roof.

    Last time I looked, which was in mid-February, Windows Update had an Advanced Options pane that looked like this:

    At the time I noted that MS had banished the “Choose when updates are installed” selection, which is where you specify “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” or “Semi-Annual Channel”. That’s how  you tell Windows 1809 update to keep its mitts off your machine until a new version is declared Ready for Business. Of course, we know that the terminology has changed, and right now we don’t have any idea when/if Microsoft will ever declare Win10 1809 ready for business. That’s a different can of worms, which Susan Bradley talked about in her Monday AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.8.0 column.

    But at least we had the “feature update deferral” setting, which is something.

    I took that screenshot on Feb. 15.

    Early this morning, while poking around the latest beta release, I found this Advanced Options dialog:

    What in the chicken-fired HAIL is going on here?

    All of the old deferral settings are gone, replaced by a stunted “Pause for 7 days” option.

    I was expecting that kind of neutering on Win10 1903 Home. Paul Thurrot warned us about it in a Premium article in January:

    It is now possible—or, will be possible when Windows 10 19H1 ships—on Windows 10 [Home] to pause Windows Updates for 1 to 7 days.

    I filed that in my mind’s “good to know but not terribly helpful” bucket. While this seven day max “Pause” button is better than what Win10 Home has now — which is to say, diddly squat — it’s little more than a fig leaf for the horribly flawed Windows patching juggernaut. As I said in Computerworld last month:

    The current beta test version of the next (“19H1” or “1903”) version of Win10 Home includes the ability to Pause updates for seven days. While that’s certainly a step in the right direction, it doesn’t help much in the real world:

    • You can only Pause once, and only for seven days
    • You can’t Pause again without accepting all backed-up updates in the interim
    • You have to know in advance that a bad update is coming down the pike –  there’s no warning

    All of which makes Win10 Home “Pause updates” a really nifty marketing setting (“Look! You can pause updates in Win10 Home!”) that’s basically useless. Unless you’re Carnac the Magnificent.

    Now, unless I missed something obvious (please tell me if I did!), it looks like Win10 Pro is going to get this same 7-day Pause Updates fig leaf, and the real settings are only accessible in Group Policy (type gpedit.msc, hit Enter, navigate to Computer Configuration >Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business).

    Note that “Semi-Annual Channel” has been neutered — it takes gall to put those settings in a folder called Windows Update for Business — but at least the feature deferral setting is still there.

    Soooooo…. Is this how 1903 will ship? What happened in the past month? What did I miss? Somebody please help before I start going into paroxysms of Windows Update angst.


  • LangaList: Windows Update errors cause OS-version problems; What’s going on with TrueCrypt; Windows Repair All-In-One

    Posted on March 4th, 2019 at 04:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft’s massive, four-month-long series of Windows update screw-ups and outages has left some readers’ PCs in the weeds. Here’s how to see if you’re affected.

    Plus: Whole-disk encryption options now that TrueCrypt is dead

    Plus: Windows Repair (All In One) — a free collection of 16 automated fixes for a variety of Windows issues.

    Out this  morning to AskWoody Plus members in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.8.0.