ISSUE 17.51.F • 2020-12-28


The AskWoody Newsletter

In this issue

CHANGES: Signing off from AskWoody

BEST OF THE LOUNGE: Moving day for

Additional articles in the PLUS issue

LANGALIST: Drive-dense system suffers from sub-par performance

PATCH WATCH: Windows 10 and chkdsk issues?


Signing off from AskWoody

Tracey Capen

By TB Capen

The smartest call you can make in business is knowing when it’s time to leave.

After some thirty years in tech journalism, it’s time I put the cap on the old digital inkwell. To wit, this is my last issue as editor of the AskWoody newsletter.

It’s been a fun and interesting ride. Back in 2010, Brian Livingston convinced me and Riley the cattle dog to move 1,000 miles up the West Coast and become the editor of Windows Secrets. I retired from the newsletter seven years later during the Penton years.

In late 2018, Woody let me know that he was acquiring Windows Secrets and asked whether I’d be interested in recreating the newsletter — essentially from scratch. At the time I was living in a 12-by-20-foot cabin with my wife and two dogs. Despite being in the middle of a major construction project (our new house), I set up my ThinkPad and went to work.

In my case, retirement is, as they say, relative. My wife and I are now living full-time on our small Winter Creek farm in the Olympic Peninsula. We’re managing 62 acres of commercial forest: big-leaf maples, alders, and fairly young Douglas fir trees. As my wife likes to say, our forest in its awkward phase.

Our neighbors include several bears, a pack of coyotes that need singing lessons, the shy cougar that passes by in the night, and a myriad of other residents.

I also have numerous other projects waiting in the wings, such as finally finishing our rebuilt farmhouse and various other structures, sorting through 50 years’ worth of photographs, and rehabilitating several long-neglected personal websites. We also want to spend more time with our two new grandsons.

I leave the publishing seat in capable hands. Starting with the first issue of the new year, January 11, AskWoody contributor-turned-editor Will Fastie will be cranking out the newsletter. Will has been in the industry longer than I have. He and Da Prima Boss Susan Bradley are laying out plans for making AskWoody even better. Stay tuned.

Thanks your support! And a special “thank you” to our highly esteemed copy editor, Roberta Scholz, and to my numerous contributors.

Best wishes, and stay safe.

Questions or comments? After splitting a few more logs, I’ll try to check in with the AskWoody Lounge.

TB Capen is the soon-to-be ex–editor in chief of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.

Best of the Lounge

Moving day for

If you missed the memo on the homepage, you might be wondering why the site was up and down throughout this past Wednesday.

Moving the website to a new hosting service proved not as smooth as hoped. Da Boss Susan Bradley kept up a running post on efforts to fine-tune the servers — and give the forums a bit more zip.


Windows 10 offers a simple tool in Task Manager for managing startup apps. But a better tool is the classic Sysinternals Autoruns. Plus member dmt_3904 received excellent advice from fellow Loungers on how to apply the utility’s information.


You take your chances with public Wi-Fi. Plus member krism used Gibson Research Corporation’s ShieldsUP!! to test a business hotspot and found potentially vulnerable open ports. So what’s the best way to protect yourself with a connection you don’t manage? Use a virtual private network (VPN) service, is the reply from the forum.


The ability to quickly replicate data in a spreadsheet is one of Excel’s classic features. But it doesn’t always work as you might wish. Lounger WSk32rem wanted Auto Fill to copy values rather than simply create a series, and so turned to the forum for help. More than one Lounger learned an old trick.


Switching to a different OS always brings some hurdles — especially when moving from Windows to macOS. Plus member ArtistAnn needed some clarification on how Windows stores user files, and on how to move said files onto a new Mac mini. That launched a lengthy but informative discussion about file formats.


Da Boss Susan Bradley passes along a statistic that shows the increasing use of Windows Hello sign-in options over passwords. What ensues is a debate on the pros and cons of PINs. How do you manage Windows security?


Some of us get a tad wacky during the holiday season and need a bit of focused mental stimulation. Can you decipher the puzzle submitted by Plus member lylejk?

If you’re not already a Lounge member, use the quick registration form to sign up for free.

Stories in this week’s PAID AskWoody Plus Newsletter
Become an ASKWOODY PLUS member today!


Fred Langa


Drive-dense system suffers from sub-par performance

By Fred Langa

The final LangaList for 2020 takes a look at a subscriber’s PC with a strikingly unusual configuration.

It’s a high-capacity machine, but the owner reports slow boots and RAM use that never drops below about 17 percent — even at idle!

Susan Bradley


Windows 10 and chkdsk issues?

By Susan Bradley

Yikes! Say it isn’t so!

Günter Born reports that a small number of Windows users whose systems have solid-state drives ran into serious trouble with the classic chkdsk tool after installing KB 4592438, the December cumulative update for Win10 20H2. When they kicked off chkdsk c: /f, their systems crashed with a blue screen of death. The problem appears to be limited to machines with SSDs.

Publisher: AskWoody LLC (; editor: Tracey Capen (

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