Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • Is Microsoft preparing a new “Get Windows 10” campaign?

    Posted on January 21st, 2017 at 13:40 woody 64 comments

    With Win10 adoption stalled, recent events have me wondering if we could see a resuscitation of the much-maligned GWX effort. In case you’ve forgotten, “Get Windows 10” or GWX is what Microsoft called its year-long malware assault on Windows 7 and 8.1 machines, trying, tricking and in some cases forcing folks to move to Windows 10.

    Several recent developments have me wondering if Microsoft’s poised to do it again. Certainly, nobody in charge would repeat the boneheaded mistakes of the original GWX – especially with Joe Belfiore now charged with making money from Windows 10. (Protip: Joe’s much too savvy to run something as stupid as GWX.)

    Consider what’s happened since Microsoft rescinded its free Windows 10 upgrade offer six months ago:

    Upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 is both easy and free. Still. Ed Bott wrote about that two weeks ago – complete with a blueprint for upgrading. While Ed doesn’t speak for Microsoft, his articles are examined in detail by many people inside Microsoft. If there were any lapses in that article, we would’ve heard about it by now. Bottom line: A nod and a wink, and you can upgrade to Win10 for free. If you really want to.

    Microsoft’s pushing driver updates to make it easier to upgrade from Win7 or Win8.1 to Win10. That was the source of the “INTEL – System – 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM – 10.1.2.80” driver problem – and many other weird drivers – that have gone out via Windows Update over the past month.

    Microsoft just made upgrading free for enterprise customers who have subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider program. Here’s the most important part of the free CSP upgrade, explained in the official description:

    The Windows 10 upgrade licenses issued as part of this process are perpetual and associated with the device. This means the license will not expire or be revoked if the customer chooses to end their Windows cloud subscription in the CSP program.

    It looks like the Creators Update is going to give Win10 Pro (and maybe Win10 Home) customers the ability to “Pause updates” for 35 days. If that comes true, one of the major objections to Windows 10 will melt away. Forced updating is a huge issue among the people I know – for good reason. Microsoft has a horrible record of botching security patches (and non-security patches, too).

    It looks like the Creators Update will have additional controls over Microsoft’s snooping. I’m not at all convinced the additional controls will do much to allay the fears of those who don’t trust Microsoft’s ability and willingness to play fair with gathered data (and, no, this isn’t privacy FUD). But it looks like the concessions are genuine, and Myerson’s privacy manifesto certainly represents a step in the right direction.

    So I’m going out on a limb here, but I’ll make a prediction: I bet sometime in the next few months, Microsoft will re-institute its “Get Windows 10” free upgrade program. This time, I bet there’s a whole lot more carrot and a whole lot less stick.

  • Win10 machines with 1607 upgrade hidden are getting upgraded

    Posted on January 20th, 2017 at 07:59 woody 97 comments

    I’ve seen several reports now. Will keep you posted.

    Microsoft officially released the v 1607 “CBB” bits yesterday. According to @teroalhonnen, the build being distributed is 14393.447, which is the Nov. 8 2016 version of v 1607, including KB 3200970.

    I can understand why having the 14393.447 build available could trigger hidden 1607 upgrades to become unhidden. After all, that’s what happens with earlier versions of Windows – when a new version of a patch rolls out, it’s usually automatically taken off the hidden list.

    But this is the first time I’ve seen it for Win10, and it seems disconcerting that folks who have intentionally hidden the 1607 upgrade are now getting it installed silently – on both Win10 Home and Win10 Pro machines.

    If you see or hear anything, please post here!

    UPDATE: Many of you are reporting that you have to run wushowhide again to re-hide the 1607 upgrade.

    The upgrade cycle is a very complex topic and, as you can see, it caught me flat-footed. I’ll try to make some sense out of it and publish my findings.

  • Surface Pro 4, Surface Studio firmware patches out

    Posted on January 19th, 2017 at 06:05 woody 3 comments

    The patches were initially rolled out, undocumented, about 24 hours ago.

    Surface Pro 4 changelog:

    https://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/install-update-activate/surface-pro-4-update-history?os=windows-10

    Surface Studio changelog:

    https://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/support/install-update-activate/surface-studio-update-history

    TechNet post that apologizes for pushing the firmware upgrades without documenting them. No, not really.

    Updates for Surface Studio and Surface Pro 4 (18 January 2017)

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Time to get patched, but watch out for a few gotchas

    Posted on January 18th, 2017 at 17:23 woody 114 comments

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

    In many ways it’s easier getting up to date this month than at any time in recent memory. There wasn’t any patch for Windows 8.1 in January!

    In other ways, though, it’s the same-old, same-old. Lots of little twists and turns and, in particular, dicey driver updates.

  • KB 3212646 is missing

    Posted on January 18th, 2017 at 16:35 woody 33 comments

    Can somebody tell me why the “January 2017 Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7”, KB 3213646, isn’t available? I get “this page doesn’t exist.”

  • How would you install Win7 from scratch?

    Posted on January 18th, 2017 at 14:44 woody 100 comments

    Getting more email questions that all boil down to:

    I have Win7 SP1 installed. I want to get it up-to-date, without installing the snooping stuff. How do I do that?

  • No previews of Monthly Rollups

    Posted on January 17th, 2017 at 15:34 woody 32 comments

    The English translation is up on InfoWorld Woody on Windows, Signs point to Microsoft’s imminent release of Windows 7 “Service Pack 3”

    As MrBrian notes in the comments, there’s an error in the chronology listed in the article. Office Security patches arrive on the second Tuesday. The non-security patches are on the first Tuesday.

    Previously:

    If you’re just following along because you want to, you know, get your system patched and be done with it, you can skip this whole announcement. Look for an MS-DEFCON level change shortly.

    Those of you who follow along with all the gory patching details will be happy to know that there are no Previews of Monthly Rollups today, the “C” week Third Tuesday.

    The same thing happened last month – there were no Previews of the January Monthly Rollups for Win7 or 8.1. Which is good because there wasn’t any January Monthly Rollup for Win7, outside of a single security patch – and there wasn’t any January Monthly Rollup for Win 8.1, period.

    Microsoft has just posted that there is no Preview of the February Monthly Rollups. That’s probably because the February Monthly Rollups will only include security updates.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22801/windows-7-sp1-and-windows-server-2008-r2-sp1-update-history

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/24717/windows-8-1-and-windows-server-2012-r2-update-history

    I’ll try to translate all of this into English for InfoWorld, tomorrow morning.

  • Has Microsoft (finally!) solved the Windows 7 slow-update problem?

    Posted on January 14th, 2017 at 12:16 woody 159 comments

    Volume Z just posted a link to this report from Microsoft employee Karthikeyan Kesavan :

    This has been fixed and it should take less than 30 minutes now.

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-update/windows-update-problem-scanning-for-20-hoursand/6fe94dea-f1a3-43c7-b91b-472ed2ffad06

    Can anyone corroborate?