• What happened to Windows Secrets?

    Home » Forums » Newsletter and Homepage topics » What happened to Windows Secrets?


    Just got an email from GW: This has gone on so many days, that I thought I’d ask you (even though this is the Askwoody address): When I try to access
    [See the full post at: What happened to Windows Secrets?]

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    Viewing 44 reply threads
    • #168793
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #168797

      I am getting an ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error for Windows Secrets according to DNS look up). The DNS information seems to indicate the site is still active.

    • #168805

      FWIW, their Twitter feed, which used to contribute multiple tweets a day, has been silent since February 12.


    • #168808

      Yes, their Twitter feed is still up but, as Cybertooth mentioned, silent since Feb 12. Their Facebook page https://web.facebook.com/pg/WindowsSecrets/posts/ is also still up but seems to be inactive except for a number of commenters complaining. I was a free subscriber to WS for a long time having been brought there by Gizmo’s TechSupportAlert. It was great while it lasted but the best thing is that it brought me to AskWoody!

    • #168795

      My understanding, there was a hardware failure and they are working to bring the servers back online.  That said this process is taking a long time.  (anyone heard of cloud servers as a temp measure?)  At least some sort of redirect with a notification of what is going on would be nice.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #168816

      I’m one of the volunteer admins in the Windows Secrets Lounge forums. I’ll tell you what I can.

      The WSL forums went down on Monday 12th Feb (at ~1436 GMT, where I’m based) and this was reported to our Penton contact very soon afterwards. A couple of hours later I learned that the problem also affected other Penton websites.

      I’ve been asked to keep internal communications private so can’t really say a lot more except to pass on that the backend IT teams have continued to work on the sites throughout this period.

      The latest news – coincidentally just an hour ago –  is that windowssecrets.com is apparently the closest to recovery. I don’t know a timescale but it sounds hopeful the site will be back up again shortly.

      Hope this helps…

    • #168854

      I was a subscriber for many years (though not now), the articles were well written, technical and well informed, and the forums were a very useful and busy resource.

      Sadly it declined once Pentone acquired it, the newsletter became a lightweight version of its former self and although the forums are still relatively active its nothing like it was a few years ago.

      Hopefully they’ll get it back up and running, but even if they do, personally I think its probably had its day now

    • #168823

      Maybe, it’s related to the Meltdown and Spectre patches, ie buggy patches and the CPU performance hit (= servers).

    • #168864

      Hmmm.  A sterling example revealing one or more weaknesses in backup and contingency planning.  Need I say more?

    • #168872

      Firefox can’t connect to WindowsSecrets, probably for the reason Rick Corbett mentioned. As for ITPro (www.itprotoday.com), I get a totally blank page. Again, if it’s a Penton/Informa site, it’s probably farther down on the restoration totem pole & down for the same reason as WindowsSecrets.

      Bought a refurbished Windows 10 64-bit, currently updated to 22H2. Have broke the AC adapter cord going to the 8.1 machine, but before that, coaxed it into charging. Need to buy new adapter if wish to continue using it.
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

    • #168895

      I remained loyal to WS after the takeover by Penton mainly because of Patchwatch, although that has been increasingly less relevant unless you’re on Windows 10, especially with monthly rollups meaning you no longer have the option to be selective in your patching. Yes we have Group B here but even that is becoming more difficult to sustain.

      I’ve also noticed recently that the newsletters are almost exclusively geared to articles about MS Office and Word.

      I hope the site returns and that the newsletters are also resumed, but both need some improvement without which I’m unlikely to renew my sub later in the year. If they do not get back to normal then I shall of course pursue Penton (the site and newsletter are still run by them no matter that they are only a subsidiary company these days) for a refund for this year’s sub, and given the amount of downtime thus far they really ought to be extending the sub period anyway.

      Meanwhile, this site here is where it’s at!

      Talking of which, did the upgrade happen on Sunday night? I haven’t noticed any improvement in performance since then and when I initially submitted this comment  it appeared in the middle of the page timed an hour and a half before the following comments, so something would seem a bit awry.

    • #168904

      Currently the site belongs to Penton Business Media, Inc according to the whois query. Their domain is due for renewal 2018-02-23, but taking a look at the corporate site (penton.com) that too is down. Most likely a major outage on their behalf taking down a few things on the way.

      is not that 2019 2 23 ?


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #168906

      I used to subscribe to WindowsSecrets but stopped after switching to Linux. There used to be so many magazines that supplied us with info but most users don’t care for that level of info anymore. I come to Woody’s site to see what’s going on in the Windows world but I really don’t care, life is so much easier now.

    • #168844

      After finding their site down for more than several days, a quick search brought up a couple of threads here at AskWoody, where I was reminded of how Woody came to move on, and create this site (one being https://www.askwoody.com/2017/windows-secrets-newsletter-promotional-mailing-vs-reality/ — which contains a link to https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/windows-secrets-forum-is-having-problems/ ).

      Susan Bradley’s Patch Watch (along with columns by Fred Langa and Tracey Capan), were the essential draw for me; of course, only Susan Bradley had hung-on.

      @Kirsty pointed out in reply to my comment that Susan Bradley is heavily involved with http://patchmanagement.org/ (in addition to her own company).  Still, if she should be looking for a new home for Patch Watch… .

    • #168843

      Currently the site belongs to Penton Business Media, Inc according to the whois query.

      Their domain is due for renewal 2018-02-23, but taking a look at the corporate site (penton.com) that too is down.

      Most likely a major outage on their behalf taking down a few things on the way.

    • #168846

      I remember a week or so ago Thurrott mentioned something about his old site as he referenced a old article he wrote back then. He casual said something to the effect that he didn’t have much good to say about the group that took over that site. I noticed to that WinSupersite had switched over, didn’t know when because I don’t go there much. Had not been on Windows secrets but their Facebook page shows paid subscribers upset about lack of access for over a week. No explanation or reply on their Facebook page?

    • #168966

      Looks like ITPro is taking over. I got this when I went to see if Fred Langa is planning on starting up something. Note: he quit the WindowsSecrets in late December 2016 0r early January 2017.



      Perhaps Woody is still listed there.

      Got coffee?

      • #171546

        If Fred Langa is now the Senior Editor of Windows Secrets, they landed a good Senior Editor. That’s a very positive sign. Of course, that could be old news.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #168976

      Just received an email from WS:

      Hello to subscribers –

      First, we’d like to apologize for the delay in reaching out. We had hoped that our service interruption would be only a day or two long, and we could resume publication last week. We were wrong.

      Here’s why you haven’t gotten a newsletter and you can’t access the site: There was an unprecedented hardware failure across several systems. The IT department has been working to remedy the failure and restore the affected sites from backups. We don’t have a timeline for restoration – but we don’t want you to think we’ve completely disappeared.

      You’ll receive double editions of the newsletter after the IT department has restored the site.

      Again, our apologies for not reaching out sooner. We’ll keep you informed of future developments.


      (Note to Da Boss: received to my Outlook.com address… .)  🙂

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #169025

        They are not running Microsoft software on their servers by any means?

        *strolls away whistling innocently*

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #169198

          A lot of corporate servers run Linux. The corporate desktop is where there isn’t much Linux.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #169829

          I seem to remember reading or hearing that Google used Unix.  This was some time ago so they may have switched to Linux by now.

          Have you seen the price of Tums? It's enough to give you heartburn.
      • #169230

        > Just received an email from WS:

        Hmm, haven’t received this email yet. I wonder how much of their subscriber list got hosed.

        > You’ll receive double editions of the newsletter after the IT department has restored the site.

        What do you suppose this means?

      • #169828

        At last!  Finally some news from them.  I was really beginning to wonder if we’d ever be getting back onto the WS Forum site (sometimes called the WS Lounge).

        Have you seen the price of Tums? It's enough to give you heartburn.
        • #169832

          Before that, it was called Woody’s Lounge (as in Woody Leonhard).

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #169860

            Yep, and I think I found it by a link on Woody’s site.  Found Woody’s site from a link in a book of his I bought on Windows XP way back.  WSL used to have a different logo with a green “Lounge Lizard”in it.  Brings memories of happier days when things weren’t messed up like they are today.

            Have you seen the price of Tums? It's enough to give you heartburn.
    • #169006

      I wonder if they will come back with ‘Windows’ in the site name. I thought Microsoft had a law firm chasing down people using the Windows trade mark name and demanding they cease and desist. Does it not apply to companies, just products?

      Windows Secrets seem to have a close relationship with Microsoft (I have no proof, it is just an assumption), so maybe they will get a pass if they get the letter. The new name, if it goes that way could be WinSecs (no, that’s no good, sounds too much like insects), so how about SecWin (as in second wind). Now I’ve lost it – time to quit.

      Way back in time I used to access their site but have not checked them out in several years. For those who work there, I hope they get back online soon.

      • #169153

        I hope the chap who cleans my windows doesn’t get a letter – he does mention windows on his business card!

        • #169199

          Bring it back as the “Langa List” — that’s how I got introduced to Windows Secrets; I was a long-time member of the Langa List.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #170268

            I was also a Langa List subscriber and was introduced to Windows Secrets in the same way! I hope Fred’s doing well these days, as I haven’t heard anything about him since his departure from Windows Secrets a few (2 or 3?) years ago by now. I do recall it was said he was absent due to either personal or family issues, like taking a sabbatical of sorts.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #170643

              Naw, Fred decided to leave Windows Secrets and try something new. He’s doing fine – lots of volunteer work. Sounds like he’s happy!

              I keep wondering if he’s going to jump on that big hog of his and ride around a bit.

              2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #169064

      Not just Windows Secrets (AKA Office Secrets), but everything Penton Media has touched, digital libraries disappeared, while print magazines are still available?? I did not renew, either

      • #169159

        I paid for another year early January and my last edition came in on 17th January. Feeling a wee bit sick.

      • #170644

        Windows Secrets Newsletter and Office Watch are two entirely different animals. Office Watch (formerly Woody’s Office Watch) is still going, although I had a rather contentious split with its current owner a decade ago.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #169416

      As a subscriber to WS for several years, I’ve been disappointed by the current problems with the website.  Whenever I try to access the site, I get the following message:

      This site can’t be reached

      windowssecrets.com refused to connect.

      Neither Penton or WS have sent me an email explaining what the problem is and when I can expect it to be resolved.  This makes me wonder if they’ve lost my (and that of others) account information.  On top of this current lack of communication, attempts to contact the editor several months ago were fruitless.

      Last summer I subscribed again largely because of Ms. Susan’s Patch Watch.  Her column this month on askWoody was great, and made me glad I support this site.  Probably, I will continue to read askWoody and lose interest in WS.

      [edited to remove HTML]

      • #170099

        They do seem to have their problems.  Did you read post #168976 above by AJNorth?

        They (Penton) went through something like this about seven months ago but it wasn’t nearly as bad as this time.  The Windows Secrets Forum, etc. didn’t go completely down before.

        Have you seen the price of Tums? It's enough to give you heartburn.
      • #170282

        I’ll top that: even though I also had found their issues becoming lighter on useful content for a while, I reflexively paid for a yearly renewal in EARLY December, got my last Email from them in MID-December, and have now taken action through PayPal to get a refund (if that’s still possible).  Before I took this action, an Email to “Editor@WindowsSecrets.com” went unanswered, although it was accepted by their mail server.


        FWIW, the PayPal “dispute” confirmation Email refers to “margaret.mccartney@penton.com” as being associated with that account.  But there has been no sign of life from that person, or anyone else at Windows Secrets or Penton…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #170092

      With the length of time it is taking to resolve the issues – I am glad I don’t have any other business with the Penton IT department.

    • #170207

      My paid subscription to WS ran out in October 2017, and I renewed it to October 2018.  As from the expiry date in 2017, I ceased to receive the newsletters.  I sent an email explaining that I had paid up front for another 12 months but was not receiving anything.  This email elicited a “Read” response, but nothing further, still no newsletters. 

      I did find the Forums useful, and have contributed from time to time, but now they too have gone away.  A once great resource, especially when Fred Langa was around, but now sadly in the trash can.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #170247

      I renewed my subscription last June, but the last newsletter I received was last November.   I have repeatedly sent them notes, they have repeatedly said that my subscription is on track… Now, I asked for a refund and they say that their servers are down so they can’t send newsletters and can’t refund anyone for newsletters they aren’t receiving.   After paying for this for more than 10 years I’m shocked at the lack of professionalism.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #170299

      I just Googled the term “windows secrets down” and scrolled through the listings until I came to their (WS’s) twitter feed listing. Clicked on that to see what’s listed there to see if I could find some kind of update on the site being down. Instead, I found a little teaser at every tweet of WS’s for another site called myitforum.com. Going to that site produced a statement saying

      Our sites are currently under maintenance.

      Please try back later.

      We apologize for any inconvenience.


      So, this makes me think that Penton is wrapping things into one neat package for everyone to use instead of having four or five different sites for each group. I.E. I think Windows Secrets may be folded into this new site, myitforums.com, and any newsletter subscriptions passed on to the new site somehow.

      BTW, I’m a former WS subscriber, having migrated to it from the Langa List when Fred folded it into WS.

    • #170372

      I’ve had a reply back that work is still progressing and that a ‘text mode’ version of Windows Secrets Lounge is being tested.

      It would be unfair for me to post more except to say that one company taking over another is invariably painful for all concerned, and nearly always results in ‘lessons learned’… particularly when people with account details (like Twitter and Facebook) move on.

      I’m positive that nobody at Penton or Informa had any idea how badly a ‘catastrophic’ hardware failure would affect Windows Secrets Lounge.

      Hindsight’s a b****.

      If I get any more info then I’ll pass it on (if allowed… sorry).

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #170377

      I’ve had a further reply. Penton (people) is/are aware of this thread, but (from my read of it) are constrained from replying.

      I could be wrong but I guess that means that there’ll be no corporate reply any time soon.

      No worries… it sounds like the backend IT dept is still working hard… so, fingers crossed.

      7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #170393

      Thanks for the updates Rick.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #170427

      You don’t need hindsight to have a backup plan that gets you running in a limited way a day or two after an issue. Two weeks without even a status message is just incompetence IMO.

      cheers, Paul

    • #170506

      This morning the site changed from not being able to connect, to “Your information is not private” on Chrome. Not much help but at least it’s different, LOL.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #170509

      They have a new certificate but it’s a wildcard certificate for sub-domains of windowssecrets.com, so it doesn’t actually work for windowssecrets.com. Sad 🙁

      cheers, Paul

    • #170501

      It’s showing signs of coming back to life; just tried it.

    • #170547

      I’m seeing a 404 Page not found for the forums’ home page but it looks like the old HTTP version has been restored. I’m guessing the next day or two will show further restoration.

      Apparently a second newsletter was sent to subscribers last Friday as an update to the situation.

    • #170555

      The last email I received was the one AJNorth posted on 2/20/18. My dedicated tab on chrome for WS forums shows that the site is not safe due to not being https.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #170556

      I’ve been reminded that subscribers experiencing problems with the Windows Secrets newsletter (non-delivery, etc.) can email the customer support department for help, i.e. customersupport@informa.com.

    • #171049

      This is BAD..Real Bad.

      I would have thought:

      – Day 1 We are having problems

      – Day 2 Yes, we had a catastrophic server failure. Restoring to backup hardware now. Back in few hours.

      – Day 3 – Sorry about that. We are back and alive and kicking. We are running on backup. New hardware ordered. Will fully recover after the weekend.

      Maybe I am crazy, or have crazy ideas, but this is NOT a way to run a datacenter. Where is the backup? Where is the restore plans? Where is open/honest communication?


      • #171095

        I just tried to access WS on IE 11.  The following message appeared: “Error 503: Back End Fetch Failed.”  I have to agree with Anonymous that this no way to run a data center.

        Since June of last year, I have received no letters by email.  Interestingly, Penton did not send me a letter apologizing for the shutdown.

        My subscription is good through the end of June 2018.  Given the level of care for subscribers, I won’t be renewing.

        Image result for animated images

        • #171098

          Yup, it’s back to the original message again “Error 503: Back End Fetch Failed.”

          My newsletter subscription is up in July so I doubt if I will renew. I certainly hope that the Lounge keeps going since I have a feeling that a lot of subscribers are going to drop the newsletter after this debacle.

          Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
          All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #171086

      Well, a new message when I try to get to WS forums on chrome
      “Error establishing a database connection”

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #171443

      My latest exchange with customersupport@informa.com

      I sent the following:

      A) When will the site be back? This has been going on for WAY TOO LONG!!
      B) Will there be compensation for the unavailability?
      C) I haven’t been receiving newsletters since December?
      D) What the h*** is going on ?  We had a great newsletter and GREAT RELIABLE SERVICE for years
      E) I worked in a datacenter for years. If we had been down for more that 24 hours. someone else would be doing recovery?
      F) Have you considered outsourcing your data center to someone who knows what they are doing?
      G) You would have thought that there was a disaster recovery plan. Obviously not!
      H) It is not hard to put up a ‘dummy’ landind page, that keeps customers up to date!!
      At this point I am disgusted with your service. I would be ashamed to even call it service.

      They replied with:

      The website is currently down  due to a server being broken, We are working to get it back up and working. We do not have an ETA at the moment unfortunately.  All of our servers are down so the newsletter probably never was sent out. . Once the site comes back up I can access your account to check on what the problem is.

      Note the words “All of our servers are down”

      Something very strange is going on, and IMHO, we are being fed a shovel of ….

      Anyone else’s thoughts???

      Edit to remove HTML from cut/paste.

      • #171467


        Copy/paste makes reading the informa response very tough. copy/paste adds the code.

        I agree that it is very strange that there was no backup whatsoever.

        Edit to remove HTML. Please convert to plain text before cut/paste

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

    • #171525



      The website is currently down  due to a server being broken, We are working to get it back up and working. We do not have an ETA at the moment unfortunately.  All of our servers are down so the newsletter probably never was sent out. . Once the site comes back up I can access your account to check on what the problem is.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #171537

        I’ve just tried to access the Windows Secrets site and get the following response (using IE11):

        There is a problem with this website’s security certificate.

        The security certificate presented by this website was issued for a different website’s address.

        Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server.


    • #172743

      WS Lounge seems to be up and running!

      • #172861

        Running a backup from the middle of last year looks like.
        New posts are being accepted. Progress is being made!


    • #172853

      If you have a shortcut to the forums, it’ll still give the 404 error as the URL has changed. Instead, go to the home page and follow the link.

    • #172866

      The WS forum is back online, but in most sub-forums the most recent posts are from May or June 2017.


    • #176186

      I can access the windows secrets site but find few newsletters from Jan – March. There are postings in the Lounge (Forums) upto and including today.

      My main issue at this point is that I have not received newsletters in my email since late Jan.

      Dick Blaine

      [Edited email address, no need to invite spam]

      • #176320

        I’m receiving the newsletters OK, so why not follow Paul’s suggestion and email them.

        Although there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a meaningful response; I’ve emailed a couple of times and only ever get a pro forma response.

        Also, the links in the newsletter, to the article(s) on the web, site are broken, so all you’ll get is a “whoops” message – “Error 404 – Page Not Found”.

    • #176189

      The troops are still there answering questions, but no-one is holding their breath for a full return.

      If you want the newsletter then I suggest you email them – or just stay here for the latest. 🙂

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #176547

        It seems to be running fine except for not having the https security.  I was able to log in and post there with no problems.  You might need to save a new bookmark of the new URL –


        My old Firefox bookmark changes to that automatically.

        Have you seen the price of Tums? It's enough to give you heartburn.
        • #181326

          I just tried now to log into Windows Secrers …and all was good.

          Latest article was 03/29

          Having some problems with Lounge. Could see it when NOT logged in. When I log in, I get 404 Not Found

    • #181316

      I have tried to log on to the forum and Windows Secrets and got an error both times. Phone numbers have been disconnected and my email bounced backed to me. Have a paid up subscription but no newsletter. I have a feeling they have gone by the wayside and closed up shop. Well another one bites the dust….sad I really liked that newsletter and I got a lot of good useful information from it.
      OH! Well! Live and learn.

      • #181344

        This is the url to the forums now / which is running.

        Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
        All W10 Pro at 22H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

      • #181399

        Any problems accessing your Windows Secrets Lounge account, please use the Contact Us link at the foot of each page to give full details, that goes directly to the forum staff, who should be able to fix you up manually.

    Viewing 44 reply threads
    Reply To: What happened to Windows Secrets?

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use all available BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information: