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  • Win10 updating terminology is changing again – but this time maybe it’s tied to a major improvement

    Posted on February 14th, 2019 at 19:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    In retrospect, I’m not convinced the terminology change is tied to anything worthwhile.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    Here’s my earlier, rosier take…..



    At least I have my fingers crossed.

    First, John Wilcox announced on the Windows IT Pro blog:

    IF YOU USE WINDOWS UPDATE FOR BUSINESS: Beginning with Windows 10, version 1903 (the next feature update for Windows 10), the Windows 10 release information page will no longer list SAC-T [Semi-Annual Channel Targeted] information for version 1903 and future feature updates. Instead, you will find a single entry for each new SAC release. In addition, if you are using Windows Update for Business, you will see new UI and behavior to reflect that there is only one release date for each SAC release. If you use System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), or other management tools, there will now only be one feature update published to WSUS, and this will occur at the time of release.

    That’s a major change to the meaning of SAC-T. I’ve long used the promotion of a Win10 version to SAC (from SAC-T) as an indication that it may be ready, in a few months, to install. Wilcox shows a screenshot of the new Win10 version 1903 Windows Update Advanced options pane, and it’s substantially different from what we’re seeing now.

    Reason to be cynical – Oh gawd, they changed the terminology again.

    Reason to be hopeful – maybe this means that when a new Win10 version is released it’ll be, you know, tested.

    Combine that with more unexpected news. People in the Windows Insider Program Skip Ahead ring were expecting to start testing version 19H2 (for lack of a better term, probably destined to become Win10 version 1909). But earlier today, Microsoft released Skip Ahead build 18336. According to Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc:

    These builds are from the 20H1 development branch. Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time. We will begin releasing 19H2 bits to Insiders later this spring after we get 19H1 nearly finished and ready; once 19H1 is “nearly finished and ready” we’ll also use the Release Preview ring for previews of drivers and quality updates on 19H1.

    Which is an incredibly convoluted way to run a beta program, unless….

    … unless the talk of 19H2 is a smokescreen, and Microsoft’s finally going to start releasing new versions of Win10 every year.

    Hey, a guy can hope.

  • Fred Langa: How do I unfreeze my laptop? I’ve pressed ctrl-shift-del but it did not work

    Posted on February 14th, 2019 at 06:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You’d be surprised how few people know that they may need to take the battery out… if they can…

    More words of classic wisdom from Fred Langa on his web site.

  • Patch lady – Make sure your 1099s are private

    Posted on February 11th, 2019 at 22:31 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A bit off topic to patching – and very much USA centric at this time.  I’ll urge you to review your tax notices (or 1099s) (**) that you should have received – or are receiving – at this time.  Make sure that if they are mailed to you that your bank or sender has blanked out the tax identification number so that only the last four digits are listed.  Make sure that the entire social security number is not listed – especially if you get your tax documents emailed to you insecurely or mailed to you.

    I live in a neighborhood where the mailboxes are out on the street in unlocked mailboxes.  I have recently installed an alert on my mailbox that sends me a text message and email alert every time the door to my mailbox is opened.  Twice since I have installed it, I’ve seen people early in the morning and late at night go down the street opening the doors of the mailboxes obviously looking for tax documents and or refund checks.

    (On a geek note they use Amazon web services notification to send an email and text with the circuit of the magnet is broken when the door to the mailbox is open.  It hooks to my wifi so that I can get the alerts.  Obviously now I need to install a camera that can grab the car license number as someone opens the door to the mailbox as stealing mail is a crime.) 

    Also make sure anything emailed to you doesn’t include your full social security number.  If anyone sends you a document and doesn’t demand that you go through a slightly annoying process of logging into something, or providing a password, or touching your toes, or something else annoying and instead just emails you a pdf of sensitive information that you can read immediately after opening the pdf, so can the attackers.  Complain to any vendor, bank, financial institution and accounting firm and hold them accountable to doing a better job to keeping your identity secure.

    And if you think adding a four digit pin to a pdf helps to make it secure, there are a number of tools that will remove passwords from pdfs in a short amount of time.

    My sister has had tax identity theft and she has to provide a PIN number when she files her tax return.  Unfortunately those of us who have not had our identity stolen through the IRS system can’t get this same multi factor authentication process because the tax computers are a bit too archaic and there isn’t enough funds set aside to afford multi factor authentication for all of us taxpayers (I’m not kidding).

    So my recommendation is to file as early as you can as the person who files earliest (either the identity thieves or you) gets first into the system.

    Remember that the IRS never ever calls you.  Ever.  Nor do they email you.  They also don’t call demanding payment or a credit card number and say that they will be there soon to arrest you.    The IRS audit process is a slow slow process and you will get many things mailed to you over time.  And especially they do not call with a thick foreign accent pretending to be from an area code that could be an IRS center (VOIP can be made to look like it’s from a USA number even when they are calling from overseas).

    So take a look at those tax documents you are getting and see how private they are.  Complain when they aren’t.


    (**)  1099’s is the number of the form that the USA government requires that businesses send to recipients of bank interest, dividends, non employee compensation.  You may also receive your salary on a form W-2 that has your tax identification number.  For anyone overseas, think about any document that gets sent to you that has sensitive information on it.  Do you want it emailed to you just as an email attachment?  If no, take the time to reach out to the sender and ask them that they do something better to protect your information.

  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Where we’re headed with Windows Secrets

    Posted on February 11th, 2019 at 05:21 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The migration has begun. It’s just that… you can’t see it yet. Soon, the massive Windows Secrets Lounge will merge into the AskWoody Lounge. We’re gonna swallow that whale.

    Here’s what you need to know — and what you can do to prepare — to make the move.

    Short version: You don’t have to do anything, but it’ll be easier for Windows Secrets Loungers to register a new account here on AskWoody (if you don’t have one already) now, in preparation.

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are never easy. But I think this one will be very worthwhile, for all of us.

    In the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter issue 16.5.0 – out this morning.

  • LangaList: Three somewhat unusual, but interesting, reader queries

    Posted on February 11th, 2019 at 05:15 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Fred Langa’s back in the groove. This week he tackles three strange reader questions:

    • Getting rid of unnecessary language files
    • When you plug a smartphone into a PC, they used to act like dumb flash drives. Now they don’t. Why?
    • Is a drive heavier, by a tiny amount when it’s full?

    Fascinating stuff about fentograms and MTP.

    In the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter issue 16.5.0 – out this morning.

  • Best Practices: Ten tools and tips for better (and cheaper!) printing

    Posted on February 11th, 2019 at 05:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Michael Lasky returns with insider information about printers, how they (mis)behave, and what you can do about it.

    Let me say it for you, “Hey! I didn’t know that!”

    In the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter issue 16.5.0 – out this morning.

  • When the universe BSODs

    Posted on February 10th, 2019 at 05:44 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I found this image on Pinterest. I’d love to attribute it, but don’t know where it came from, although the description says it’s from Odessa, Ukraine.

  • Fred Langa: How do I safely transfer files from an old, possibly infected laptop to an external HDD?

    Posted on February 5th, 2019 at 06:50 admin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Give them a double washing.

    More great advice from Fred Langa on his website.