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  • MS-DEFCON 4: Get those June updates installed

    Posted on June 24th, 2021 at 02:50 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.23.1 • 2021-06-24
    MS-DEFCON 4: Get those June updates installed

    MS-DEFCON 4

    By Susan Bradley

    It’s time to deal with “News and Interests.”

    Consumer and home users

    If you’ve been procrastinating with the June updates so you didn’t have to deal with the new “News and Interests” feature and its side effects, the time has come.

    Microsoft has released KB5003698 to fix issues with blurry images in 1909 for Enterprise. Windows 10 2004/20H2 and 21H1 received KB5003690 to fix the blurry text on the News and Interests button for some screen resolutions. KB5003690 also fixes a problem with search box graphics on the Windows taskbar, which occurs if you right-click the taskbar and turn off News and Interests. This graphics issue is especially visible when using dark mode. If it is a problem for you, install this optional update.

    There are other issues to work out, such as interactions with the desktop if you are using Classic Shell or other menu programs. AskWoody readers have noted cases in which sign in to customize the news selections did not work. If you have problems with the News and interests feature, try setting it to icons only instead of icons and text.

    For Office updates, open up any Office software application, click on File, Account, Office Updates, and enable updates. Then click on Update Now to trigger their installation.

    Business users

    This month’s releases showcase that timing is everything. If you apply updates to workstations before applying them to servers and then attempt to use remote event-log tools, you will find that you cannot access the event logs. As noted by Microsoft, affected apps are using certain legacy Event Logging APIs. Ensure that you apply the updates for both workstations and servers before attempting to use such software.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.23.1 (2021-06-24).

  • MS-DEFCON 4: It’s quiet out there

    Posted on May 27th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.19.1 • 2021-05-27
    MS-DEFCON Level 4

    By Susan Bradley

    This month has been relatively quiet with respect to patching side effects. It’s now time to install the May updates.

    Consumer and home users

    Most of the issues and complaints have not been about the May update. Instead, there has been dissatisfaction with a new feature called News and Interests. As this feature rolls out, more and more people are asking how to remove it. I have provided a registry update file that will automatically disable News and Interests. The only known side effect is audio issues in some machines; these can be bypassed by using stereo settings.

    More details will be provided in my upcoming Patch Watch article.

    Business users

    For small businesses that still have an on-premises Exchange email server, make sure you install this month’s Exchange patches, as described in KB 5003435.

    Note that some users reported issues if they had manually removed the new version of Edge, proving once again that Microsoft doesn’t test the edge cases (pun intended).

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.19.1 (2021-05-27).

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Pause on patching

    Posted on May 10th, 2021 at 12:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.17.1 • 2021-05-10
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    It’s time for both business users and consumer or home users to pause Windows updates.

    Accordingly, I’m changing the AskWoody MS-DEFCON level to 2. Patch reliability is unclear. Unless you have an immediate, pressing need to install a specific patch, don’t do it.

    Consumer and home users

    If you are a home/consumer user, I recommend two actions to ensure you do not get inadvertent updates. First, select Start, Settings, Network & Internet, and then Wi-Fi or Ethernet (whichever connection you are using). Next, click Manage known networks; click on the network that you use, click Properties, and turn on Set as metered connection. This “tricks” the computer into thinking that your Internet connection is not unlimited (i.e., you might incur charges) and thus will download patches only after you approve the process.

    The second action is picking a deferral date after May 11, when Microsoft will push out the next Patch Tuesday security releases. Click on Start, Settings, Update & Security; then click on Advanced Options. Pick a date far enough in the future to give you comfort. I always wait at least a week, usually more. I’ll be re-evaluating the update situation closer to the end of the month, but for now choosing May 28 should be safe enough.

    For those of you with an Office click-to-run (CTR) edition, I strongly recommend that you change to the semiannual channel rather than the monthly one because it will keep you from the Autocomplete bug.

    Business users

    Coming this month in the May Security releases, Microsoft will be including a new “News and Interests” taskbar item featuring items of interest to your users. Remember, if you want to proactively block it, there are registry keys and group policy to control it.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.17.1 (2021-05-10).

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Patching is approved

    Posted on April 30th, 2021 at 01:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.15.1 • 2021-04-30
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Proceed to update.

    I’m separating my patching guidance into two categories — one for consumer or home users and one for business users. And I’m changing our MS-DEFCON level to 4. At this time, I’m not seeing major issues with updating.

    Consumer and home users

    The April updates have been much better behaved and I’m not seeing any major issues with the releases. Problems identified in 2004/20H2 as impacting performance in games have been automatically mitigated by Microsoft, using its Known issue rollback process. The April updates also resolved the lingering issues with printing triggered with the March updates. Importantly, the April updates install the new, Chromium-based Edge as the default browser and remove the old, “legacy” Edge. Be aware that this update will reset default programs, such as your PDF reader, to the new Edge; you’ll need to make manual adjustments to restore your preferences.

    Note: Going forward, when AskWoody mentions “Edge,” you should assume we mean the new, Chromium-based Edge. Otherwise, we will refer to legacy Edge.

    If you are still using Windows 10 Home or Pro 1909 you have only until May before that version is no longer supported. If you have not already upgraded to 20H2, I recommend taking this opportunity to do so. Remember, my favorite way to upgrade is to use the Update now button on the Software download page.

    Business users

    Coming with the preview releases for Windows 10, and included in the May Security releases, Microsoft will be including a new “News and Interests” taskbar item that will feature topics of interest to your users. If you want to proactively block it, use the Group Policy editor or adjust registry keys.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.15.1 (2021-04-30).

  • MS-DEFCON 2 – Deferring the April Updates

    Posted on April 11th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.12.1 • 2021-04-11

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Brace yourself for April updates

    It’s the time of the month to pause for updates. You will recall that the March updates were very disruptive and many of you decided to not install that round. The April releases are cumulative so you won’t have to go back and install the March updates. Instead, we’ll take a long pause to see what April brings.

    If you are a home/consumer user, I recommend two actions to ensure you do not get inadvertent updates. First, select Start, Settings, Network & Internet, and then Wi-Fi or Ethernet (whichever connection you are using). Next click Manage known networks, click on the network that you use, click Properties and turn on Set as metered connection. This “tricks” the computer into thinking that your Internet connection is not unlimited (i.e., you might incur charges) and thus will only download patches once you approve the process.

    The second action is picking a deferral date after April 13, when the next Patch Tuesday security releases will be pushed out by Microsoft. Click on Start, Settings, Update & Security, then click on Advanced Options. Pick a date far enough in the future to give you comfort. I always wait at least a week, usually more. I’ll be reevaluating the update situation closer to the end of the month, but for now choosing April 30 should be safe enough.

    Remember: For those of you running Windows 10 1909, support is coming to an end. After May 11, 2021, 1909 will not receive security updates. In accordance with prior advice, update to 20H2; 21H1 is just around the corner.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.12.1 (2021-04-11).

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Patching is unclear

    Posted on March 26th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
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    ISSUE 18.11.1 • 2021-03-26
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Proceed with caution.

    I’m separating my patching guidance into two categories: one for business users and one for consumer or home users. And I’m lowering our MS-DEFCON level to 3. We’re not out of the March woods yet, but things are a bit better.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.11.1 (2021-03-26).