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  • Welcome to Windows Secrets Lounge transplants

    Posted on March 6th, 2019 at 10:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We haven’t yet “swallowed the whale” — moved the 40,000 Windows Secrets user accounts and 1 million posts over to AskWoody — but (I’m assured) it’ll be happening soon.

    In the interim, hundreds of Windows Secrets Loungers have already signed up here with AskWoody accounts, and hundreds of additional Windows Secrets Newsletter subscribers have made the leap. Just a reminder: If you’re trying to log on to this site with a username that’s also your email address, you need to go through the (easy!) steps to set up a “proper” AskWoody account. Your old subscriptions will come across with you. You have my word on that — and you know where to reach me.

    If you’re new to AskWoody, check out the Welcome! tab at the top. Some of the information there may help you make the transition.

    So dive in and post away. We have a large group of very helpful people here who just love taking on new challenges.

  • Aren’t you glad you don’t live in San Francisco?

    Posted on March 5th, 2019 at 08:05 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I knew the rents were soaring, but this is ridiculous. From Ian Sherr on CNet:

    The median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco has reached a new peak of $3,690

    That’s the median rent for a one bedroom.

    The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said last year that a family of four earning up to $117,400 qualified as “low income” in the city.

    Crazy. Just crazy.

  • Getting Started

    Posted on March 1st, 2019 at 04:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    With all of the new AskWoody Loungers brought in by way of the Windows Secrets Newsletter, I get lots of questions about getting started on the site. Here are three just right off the bat:

    TP: I cannot find any way to post a question in the forum. I have searched for my topic and do not find an answer so I would like to post a question. Can you help me?

    Excellent question. As you say, the first step is to look for your question, to see if it’s been asked (and answered!) before. You can use the Search box down on the right side. Or you can use your favorite search engine — in Google, you could say something like “sound doesn’t work”

    If you find a topic that’s close to yours, you can add a post (called a “reply”) to that topic by scrolling down to the bottom of the page, filling out the “Reply To” box, and clicking Submit. The first few replies you Submit are moderated – reviewed by a living, breathing human – before they appear on the site, so be patient.

    If you have something that’s a completely new topic (“What is the effect of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigolds?”), you need to find a home for it – a forum. Scroll down the list of forums on the right and click on the link to a likely-sounding forum (“Android for Windows Wonks”?). You see a list of topics. To add your own question – your own topic – to the list, at the bottom, type a short title, then describe your problems in the box. When you’re done, click Submit. Again, your first few posts will be moderated before it appears, and that can take time.

    GL: How do I change my password?

    In the upper right corner, click on your username or your picture (“avatar”). Then click Edit. The password change boxes are under “Account.” by the way, you can see the status of your Plus Membership subscription there, too, under

    WB: How do I put a picture on my account?

    Go to Gravatar, sign in, upload a pic, and you’re done. That’s all it takes. Gravatar (which is owned by the same people who own WordPress) links your WordPress account’s email address to their database on Gravatar. If the email addresses match, your picture appears — and not just on this site, but on every WordPress site.

    HI: Why can’t I use my email address as a username?

    You can.  After seeing some feedback from our more attentive readers, I’m not going to allow posts from accounts where the account name is an email address. There are GDPR considerations. Read on.

    The accounts we imported from the Windows Secrets Newsletter mailing list all had usernames that are email addresses — that’s the only identifier we could pick up. There’s a danger in using your email address as a username. First, even if you try to mask it (by setting a Display name, for example), your email address appears every time you post something on AskWoody. All anyone has to do is hover their mouse over a post. Second, it’s not a good idea to spread your email address all over the place. Spiders — which very helpfully crawl the web and index things — may pick up your email address. Also, there’s lots of confusion when it comes time to change passwords — a “Who’s on First” experience when your username is also your email address.

    I strongly recommend that you change your account if you have a username that’s also your email address. Since you can’t change your username directly (WordPress doesn’t allow it, for good reason), the only way is to contact me at I’ll step you through the changes. Your current subscription goes along to the new account. I guarantee it.

    Your privacy is very important. To me.

    UPDATE: Some of you are sending messages to CustomerSupport that come from email address that look like outlook_8350261C1BB1228. When I reply, those messages are bouncing back. If you haven’t heard from me in a couple of days, send me mail from a “real” email address! It’s Microsoft’s problem, but it’s knocking me out for several of you.

    Now it’s your turn. Have a burning newbie question? Or an answer or recommendation? Click on the “Comment on the AskWoody Lounge” link up at the top of this post and fire away….

  • If you’re having trouble logging in, you aren’t alone

    Posted on February 25th, 2019 at 14:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Credit: Papafox on Pixabay

    We’re seeing a huge backlog in new accounts and new posts. Today will probably go down in AskWoody history as the busiest day ever. We’re roping in all the AskWoody_MVPs to lend a hand.

    Please be patient. I’m still doing all of the Customer Support personally – I don’t want any of you to get the ol’ runaround – and it’s going to take a while to catch up.

    To repeat: If you have a problem logging in with a user account that looks like an email address, or if you can’t register a new one because the email is already taken, it’s not your fault.

    It’s a symptom of the dueling database problem we’ve been grappling with since absorbing the old Windows Secrets Newsletter into the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.

    If you’re having problems, please email me at Don’t send mail to my usual address. Then patience, please, as I wade through many hundreds of messages.

    We’ll get there. Promise.

    P.S. To answer the most frequent questions:

    • Just because you can log on to the site here doesn’t mean you have a “proper” AskWoody account. If your account name is also your email address, I strongly recommend that you change it. Shoot me mail at Customer Support.
    • All of the account renewals are for a year. If you’ve already paid for part or all of a year, never fear, I’ll pick it up in the database.
    • Unfortunately, there’s no way to simply change a username. WordPress protects them for many reasons, most of which have to do with site security. Instead, we’ll wipe out the old username and get you set up with a new one. Don’t worry. It’s easy.
    • It’s also easy to change your password – and highly recommended if I set it manually. Sign in then click on your picture in the upper right corner. Choose Edit and change your password there. By the way, the “Subscriptions” link right there does NOT show you your Plus Membership status. We’re working on coming up with a single place that’ll show you the status of everything.
    • If you want to test your new account, just click on the “Comment on the AskWoody Lounge” link above and post something worthwhile. Be aware of the fact that comments from new accounts are moderated — reviewed — before they’ll appear on the site. We do that for lots of reasons, but mostly to block spammers (of which we get hundreds every month).
    • To change your picture, “avatar,” see the instructions here.
  • Woody’s Windows Watch: How to get real help with Windows, Office, and more

    Posted on February 25th, 2019 at 04:08 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yer lookin’ at it. Welcome to the best unbiased source of advice and help for Windows, Office, and other tech things that go bump in the night. And it’s free. AskWoody Plus members — the folks with gold ribbons on their pictures — are the ones who pay for it.

    Here are the details you need to get set up with a “proper” AskWoody account. Ask questions wisely. Get (or give!) help. And it doesn’t cost a penny.

    So get your account going and jump in with both feet. Invite your friends, too. We’re here to help everybody in an environment that’s at the higher end of the gene pool.

    Out this morning in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.7.0.

  • Security Alert: Internet home rentals: Staying secure as a guest or host

    Posted on February 25th, 2019 at 03:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter editor in chief Tracey Capen looks at travel fraud from a personal point of view. What can you do as, say, an Airbnb host to protect yourself? How do you dodge a dodgy rental offer on Craigslist?

    As your options for renting homes increase so, too, do the chances of getting stung.

    More advice in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.7.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • New 7-Zip version 19.00

    Posted on February 22nd, 2019 at 08:02 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Igor Pavlov just released a new version of 7-Zip. He’s bumped the version number up from 18.06 to 19.00.

    Details coming from

  • Getting to know the Windows Update History KB articles

    Posted on February 22nd, 2019 at 07:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s easy to be snarky about Microsoft’s documentation — I do it all the time, when it’s warranted — but this strikes me as a genuine attempt to both extend and explain the documentation.

    Christine Ahonen on the Windows IT Pro blog talks about the Windows Update History pages, particularly the ones with update histories for Win10, Win8.1, and Win7. I visit them several times a day — and lambaste them at least a few times a month.

    Ahonen talks about the structure of the pages, tosses in a bit of marketing jargon, but then she gets to the heart of the matter, without addressing it directly.

    Somehow, in the past year or so, the Update History pages have become much more useful. Where they used to hide descriptions of bugs or coddle them in language that required substantial parsing, they’re considerably more forthright these days. Not perfect, mind you, but much better.

    We’re seeing more frank discussion of bugs, and the acknowledgments are appearing a day or two (or three or four) days after discovery, instead of seeing them buried in various forums, including this one, and languishing for weeks.

    We’re also seeing (recently, with Win10 1809) notes about version change hangups that Microsoft’s customers can identify with — “we blocked 1809 rollout on such-and-such because of so-and-so, and it’ll get fixed sooner-or-later.”

    That kind of openness — call it “transparency” if you must — goes a long way toward making me feel better about the inevitable mayhem of supporting 8 or 10 versions of Windows simultaneously and sending out hundreds of separate patches every month.

    I just wish MS would acknowledge less-common bugs, give us more details about changes in the patches, and… turned out better patches in general, eh?