Newsletter Archives

  • Is your next PC a cloud?

    Alex in the forum posts about Microsoft’s latest announcements about their “Windows 365” product.

    (yes yet another groaner of a name from Redmond, let’s not confuse it with Microsoft 365 that is merely the suite of Office apps, Windows 365 is a hosted desktop running Windows that includes Microsoft 365 apps)

    This week is Microsoft’s partner event called Inspire and they often make announcements and product releases.  Mind you in this era of cloud nothing is really “RTM” or in the old days “release to manufacturer and thus code complete, now days it’s called public or private previews and then later on general availability.

    Windows 365 is a hosted desktop that you can log into from anywhere/anything … sort of like Remote desktop protocol/RDGatewaying into your desktop at home or the office. It remains to be seen if this is offered to consumers. It will be interesting to see how this patches up on a monthly basis. Similar to Surface machines where in theory this should be the BESTEST/MOSTEST/FANTASTIC patching experience EVER, we shall see how well this goes. These machines should have ZERO patching issues.  None.  Zilch. In theory at least.

    Other announcements impacting small businesses – or rather the Managed service providers that support small businesses – Microsoft Lighthouse.  A remote tool for a partner to manage many clients.  Yes, right now attackers are sooooooo going after the consultants that manage lots of businesses because it’s easy picking. Just the other day the remote management company Kaseya had their product used as a means to launch ransomware against consultant’s customer base.

    Another tool is called Project “Orland” and is touted as “…. is a new experience in Partner Center to help cloud solution provider (CSP) partners grow their cloud businesses by sharing Microsoft-powered insights about their customers to improve account management. CSP partners will get recommendations from their existing customer base such as customers with trial conversion potential, customers who may need follow-up engagements or customers ready for new workloads to deploy.”  I raised my eyebrow a bit on that description. Okay Mr. or Ms. Consultant, you are explaining to your customer that you are spying on them, yes? It will be interesting to read that eula.


  • Windows 11 announced

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.24 • 2021-06-28
    Watch for our special issue on July 5!


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Why this? Why now? And what the heck is going on?

    On June 24, 2021, Microsoft announced Windows 11. I have no idea why. It is surely not for the cobbled-together reasons the company gave during its rather brief briefing on Thursday.

    Windows 11 Bloom Visit our new Windows 11 section in the forums and these topics:
    Questions about Windows 11
    Hardware questions relating to Windows 11

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.24.0 (2021-06-28).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.24.F (2021-06-28).

  • Reminder: What’s next for Windows?

    Microsoft’s live event entitled “What’s next for Windows” is set for Thursday, June 24 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Watch here. You can also visit that page to get a reminder.

  • The Next Windows


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    What is it? We don’t really know.

    By now, the news is out that Microsoft will host a livestream event on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The event does not have a title; the livestream page on Microsoft’s site just says, “Join us to see what’s next for Windows.”

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.21.0 (2021-06-07).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.21.F (2021-06-07).

  • Windows 7 “not dead yet”

    Nearly a year after Win7’s EOL, Ed Bott has been diving into how many might still be using the OS. He hints it’s a big number.

    …as December 2020 draws to a close, the proportion of PCs running Windows 10 has gone up 12%, to 87.8%; the Windows 7 count has dropped by more than 10 points, to 8.5%, and the population of Windows 8.x holdouts has shrunk even further, to a minuscule 3.4%

    If my calculations a year ago were on the mark, that means more than 100 million Windows PC were retired, recycled, or upgraded in the past 12 months.

    It is somewhat reassuring to hear that WinXP is now in the region of a “fraction of a rounding error”. And of course, that doesn’t quantify how many of those Win7 machines are or aren’t enrolled in the ESU program.

    You can read Ed’s write-up on Zdnet here.

  • SolarWinds impact getting a bit larger

    As someone just said… 2020 is turning out to be lovely….  I’ll post more tonight

    Statement from Microsoft….  “Our investigations, which are ongoing, have found absolutely no indications that our systems were used to attack others”

    So first off…. what does this mean?  SolarWinds is an enterprise monitoring tool that is used by Government systems and by a who’s who of businesses.  Assuming this post is right, you’ll see quite a few names on this list of clients that you recognize.  A piece of code with an intentional backdoor was inserted into the development of this monitoring software.   This monitoring software was then installed on networks.  So that – in theory – as the bits and bytes flew by this attacker could see everything on the network.   As the CISA document spells out, someone was hiding inside the networks of major companies for many months.

    Does it mean they are in your computer – that they’ve compromised EVERYONE’s computer?  No.  And most of the big a/v vendors have put in detection for this backdoor code, so if you did have it in your system you’d be getting a strange notification from your antivirus.  But it is disturbing to say the least that an attacker (theorized to be Russia at this time) had potential access for months into many key systems and we are only finding out about it now.  More as we know more….


  • Is Firefox in danger?

    From Zdnet: 

    After looking at the numbers, I really don’t know how long Mozilla can make it. Oh, the revenue stream is there for now, but with fewer and fewer Firefox users can Mozilla count on it tomorrow? The company also had, at the end of 2019,  $785 million in cash and investments. But, with its ever-shrinking market share and vastly smaller development teams, you have to wonder how long Mozilla can keep going with its current leadership and plans.

    Cuts alone of infrastructure and its best developers won’t save Mozilla. And, with Firefox’s ever-shrinking market share, it won’t be able to count on future hundred-million-dollar annual advertising deals to save it. For Mozilla to continue to matter it needs new management and a new strategic plan.


    So?  What browser do you use?  Do you think Firefox is near death?

  • Edge and Trend Micro are fighting one another 

    Günter Born shares that Trend Micro is having issues with Edge.

    There are other users there who have the problem that the Chromium Edge 87.0.664.52 will not start. In the course of the thread it turns out that affected users have installed Trend Micro OfficeScan, which blocks the start of the browser. Addition: Trend Micro is aware of the problem, by the way, because they answered the following to a user who opened a ticket there:

  • It’s official 20H2 is now out

  • Microsoft experiments with pushing Office progressive web apps onto Win10 machines – without your permission

    I like PWAs, but this is no way to get the ball rolling. (There’s a good discussion of Progressive Web Apps on Wikipedia.)

    Microsoft has PWA versions of five apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. You can manually install the PWA versions of those apps on your Win10 machine by using Edge (navigate to the app in the Windows Store, click Settings, Apps, Install this site as an app). You end up with Start menu entries for each. Click on one of the Start entries, and the web-based version of the app appears, inside a minimal browser shell.

    Mayank Parmar over on Windows Latest noticed:

    Microsoft now appears to be experimenting with a new feature that will add [the PWA version of] Office apps to your Windows 10 device without your permission.

    The rollout isn’t happening on all machines. Says Parmar:

    Over the weekend, Microsoft updated the Chromium Edge (Stable) for Windows 10 to quietly install four Office web apps on some devices. This ‘feature’ appears to be rolling out to select testers in the Windows Insider program, but it could also show up on non-Insider machines.

    Günter Born calls them “Windows 10 behavior as a malware?” He’s got a good point – although, to be fair, it looks like the only machines being targeted right now are actively in the Insider Program.

    Lawrence Abrams at BleepingComputer says:

    Those who do not wish to have these PWAs installed can uninstall them directly in Microsoft Edge through the edge://apps URL or via the Programs and Features Settings page [in Windows 10].


  • Patch Lady – issues with consumer support?

    Just the other day some of my fellow geeks were asking where people went to ask questions.  We lamented that it was getting harder and harder to find good locations for IT pro support.

    For some unknown reasons the support venue is showing a bar at the top indicating that “due to high volumes…” and I can’t think of why they would have high volumes right now.  20H2 isn’t out.

    But clearly something is up…

    “I’ve have been trying to speak”

    “I got disconnected”

    “Chat not working’

    Edit:  I just opened up a business support case and they are saying the same thing…

  • Dear Microsoft, could you make Edge a little more obnoxious?

    So I’m sitting here plunking away on one of my production Win10 version 1909 machines, when a new update appears.

    2020-08 Microsoft Edge Update for Windows 10 Version 1909 for x64-based Systems (KB4576754)

    I needed to reboot the system – it had been running for almost two days without a reboot (sarcasm alert) – and when Windows came back up for air, Edge appeared full-screen. I tried clicking lots of things, but it wouldn’t disengage. In the end I navigated through a four-screen “tutorial” that, by default, wanted me to log Edge in to my Microsoft Account and oh-so-helpfully retain Edge surfing information to, you know, make my shopping experiences more tailored.

    When I finally got through unchecking all of the snoop settings, and closed Edge, it showed this on my Taskbar:

    And that didn’t go away until I clicked the “X” in the upper right corner.

    It’s entirely possible that Edge is the greatest browser ever – that it’ll make me brighter, more productive and definitely debonair. But it really twists my gizzard when an app takes over my machine and forces me through a series of privacy search-and-destroy questions.

    I’ve been playing with Edge. I think I’ll give it a pass for a while.

    UPDATE: I see that Shawn Brink on Tenforums has a registry hack to keep Windows Update from installing Chredge. Far as I’m concerned, MS can install it — after all, it is their machine (cough) — but I’m not going to use it for a while.