• Group policy is cool but….

    Stumbled across this video tonight from Linus Tech Tips (not Linux but Linus). The video is about enabling Group policy editor. BUT on a Home PC even enabling Group policy editor  on Home doesn’t necessarily make Group policies work on Home skus. Some settings will work, some will not.

    The video is a bit hard to follow but the command(*) to enable group policy editor can enable group policy editor on Windows 10/11 Home skus but that doesn’t mean that if you enable a setting that it actually WORKS on a Home sku.

    Also be aware that you will need to have a computer that can support virtualization in order to run Linux on Windows (WSL).

    There is a Github group policy editor tool but I honestly haven’t tested to see if it works.

    Okay I’m a critic tonight because he’s glossing over a lot of the system requirements and details in this video. That said, it is showcasing that under the hood of Microsoft they aren’t just doing “Windows” but actively putting cross platform features into Windows 11.

    What key tip or trick would you recommend others should know and probably don’t?

    (*) Commands below:

    FOR %F IN (“%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientTools-Package~*.mum”) DO (DISM /Online /NoRestart /Add-Package:”%F”)

    FOR %F IN (“%SystemRoot%\servicing\Packages\Microsoft-Windows-GroupPolicy-ClientExtensions-Package~*.mum”) DO (DISM /Online /NoRestart /Add-Package:”%F”)

  • How to set up a local account in any edition of Windows 11

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    ISSUE 20.03 • 2023-01-16

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Yes, there is a way to create a local account in Windows 11, if you know the right tricks.

    With Windows 11, Microsoft has certainly made it more difficult to use a local account, especially if you’re running Windows 11 Home edition. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. There is one clever way to sneak past Microsoft’s restrictions and create a local account in any edition of Windows 11.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Windows Menu Editor — This is the last day I search for “Delete”!


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    I switch between versions of Windows a lot.

    Most of the computers I repair are Windows 10, but most of the ones I build are Windows 11. Two of the desktops I use in the office are Windows 10, but my office laptop is Windows 11. I don’t know how many times a day I right-click to cut, copy, paste, rename, or delete something — but if it’s on Windows 11, it takes time for my brain to stop searching for the words “Cut,” “Copy,” “Paste,” “Rename,” or “Delete.”

    I don’t have the time nor the will to adapt!

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • Saving history


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Nothing lasts forever. Or does it?

    The readership of this newsletter is old enough to have used, if not embraced, a host of analog technologies for documenting memories. Today we’re taking photos and videos using our omnipresent “phones,” but as recently as two decades ago magnetic tape and film were our primary tools.

    We know this to be true because in our attics, basements, and closets we have trays of 35mm and Instamatic (127) slides. We have strips of black-and-white negatives, and perhaps strips of color negatives. We have boxes of video tapes in Sony Video8, Hi8, Betamax, VHS, VHS-C, and the crossover format MiniDV. We have albums of printed photos. We have quarter-inch audio tapes, cassette tapes, and maybe even the elusive 8-track cartridge format. We may even have vinyl LPs, and older 45s and 78s.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • January’s patching cyclone


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We’re a bit soggy and wet at the AskWoody Tech LLC Global Headquarters here in central California.

    We’ve had nearly a week of rain, and more is coming. I shouldn’t complain — severe drought has brought our state’s water supply down to historically low levels, so the water is needed and much appreciated. But when Microsoft rains down upon us at the same time, the total deluge is a bit much.

    For January, Microsoft fixed 98 security vulnerabilities, said goodbye (for the final time) to the much-beloved Windows 7, also said goodbye to the less used (but popular among its buffs) Windows 8.1, and actually released updates to Microsoft’s on-premises mail server, Exchange.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.03.0, 2023-01-16).

  • Thinking of moving to Apple?

    Now that Windows 7 is at it’s end of life, if you are thinking about moving to a different platform remember that if your data is filled full of basic stuff like Word documents, Excel files, music files, photos and what not all of this will be able to be viewed and opened on platforms like Apple or even Linux. But if you use the native apps in these platforms, remember to export or save as PDF or back to a Microsoft centric file format if you plan to share with others.

    Often the built in applications in these other platforms save in a file format that isn’t able to be natively opened on a Windows machine. So that person will need to find a converter or ask you to export it to a Microsoft format. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do.

    I’ve done a video showcasing the Apple versions of Word and Excel as well as the native applications that can save in the .doc and .xls format.

  • Attack surface reduction rule triggers a mess on Friday the 13


    Microsoft 365 Status on Twitter: “The revert is in progress and may take several hours to complete. We recommend placing the offending ASR rule into Audit Mode to prevent further impact until the deployment has completed. For more details and instructions, please follow the SI MO497128 in your admin center.” / Twitter

    If you set up the Attack surface reduction rule to check Office macros, you have woken up to missing shortcuts. It appears to have been triggered after a defender update. Note this will only occur IF you have attack surface reduction rule enabled. On machines where this is not set, no issues will be seen using Defender.  It is just those with ASR rules enabled.

    The specific rule causing this is

    Block Win32 API calls from Office macros

    Rule-ID 92e97fa1-2edf-4476-bdd6-9dd0b4dddc7b

    In Intune or group policy set the rule to audit if Microsoft hasn’t done it for you already.  Now how to deal with the missing shortcuts?

    Emin reports that “If you’ve volume shadow copy enabled, you can find these shorcuts in a VSS snapshot. I still use nowadays this code whenever I’ve to mount/dismount VSS snapshots. https://p0w3rsh3ll.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/mount-and-dismount-volume-shadow-copies/

    Alternatively you can get the shortcuts from Onedrive if the Desktop synchronization was enabled.

    Microsoft’s guidance here:

    I’ll also note this on the Master Patch list – but it’s NOT exactly patch related side effect.

  • Master Patch list updated as of January 10, 2023

    #PatchTuesday #DeadBodyWedneday #KeepaneyeoutforissuesThursday

    Consumers:  Defer updates at this time.

    I’ve updated the Master Patch List for Tuesday’s releases.

    It’s too soon at this time for consumers to be making recommendations, I’m still watching for issues.

    For businesses, the impact to look out for and keep an eye on are any Exchange on premises server you are still patching.

    As a reminder

    • Windows 11 22H2: Not recommended
    • Windows 11 21H2: If you have a Windows 11 PC, recommended
    • Windows 10 22H2: Recommended
    • Windows 10 21H2: Recommended (if a vendor won’t support 22H2)
    • Apple Ventura – tentative. Check with the applications you rely on if they recommend this release.

    As always, thank you all for supporting the cause! Remember a donation will give you access and if you donate $50 or more you’ll get a special code to enable text messages sent to your phone each time the Master Patch List gets updated and when I change the MS-DEFCON level.

  • Batten down the hatches for January updates


    As the wind blows in California where I live, we’re trying to batten down the hatches (as the trite saying goes).  So batten down the hatches on your computer as here comes the January Windows patches

    98 updates.

    1 publicly disclosed.

    11 critical

    Stay tuned and remember to defer at this time and I’ll be reporting on any side effects and issues.

    Remember it’s the end of the road for Windows 8.1 and the last of the updates for Windows 7 ESU.

    I’ll be discussing options you can take for these two platforms (yes once again 0patch is coming to the rescue)

    Don’t forget the OTHER needed updates:  Chrome, Firefox (14 critical), Citrix, Foxit, VMware.  As always don’t forget to check your browser updates.

    Edit of 1-12-2023.  I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or not but I’ve had to run the QB tool hub tool to fix printers on two of the three test machines at the office. All other printing was fine, it was just printing a report from INSIDE of QuickBooks that wouldn’t print. Ran the printer fix up tool and all was well.

  • Welcome to our twentieth year

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    ISSUE 20.02 • 2023-01-09


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Time flies.

    It seems like only yesterday. Out of the blue, I got an email from Brian Livingston, asking to meet with him while I was in Seattle attending a Microsoft event. Over dinner, he explained that he wanted me to write a column in the Windows Secrets Newsletter that would track issues with Microsoft patches and analyze their impact on PCs and their users.

    It was the dawn of “The Patch Lady.”

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.02.0, 2023-01-09).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Make Windows 11 as cool as your phone with Android apps


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    After many, many requests, Microsoft finally added the capability to run Android apps when it released Windows 11.

    Every iPhone and Android phone user knows how convenient it is to carry in your pocket or purse any number of apps that bring you weather, traffic, emails, texts, games — even rocket science, if that’s your thing.

    However, unlike the ease of use of a smartphone — where you can install virtually any app with just a few clicks — Windows 11 presents you with a series of “gotchas” that can discourage even the biggest Microsoft fanatic from adding an Android app.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.02.0, 2023-01-09).

  • Note to Congress: Please try to keep up


    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    That’s a big ask.

    In a previous column, I explained why law always lags technology.

    To summarize, case law is by definition reactive. Courts don’t go out and look for cases; they wait for someone to be upset enough to bring one to them. Legislatures can be proactive, but they can’t act until they realize there’s a problem to be acted upon. So it is not surprising that new issues will arise, and we will need to be patient while solutions are agreed upon.

    But …

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.02.0, 2023-01-09).