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  • What we know about KB 3150513

    Posted on March 20th, 2017 at 10:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: More info in this InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

    On March 15, the Thursday after Patch Tuesday, Microsoft re-re-released KB 3150513. It’s innocuously titled “Latest compatibility definition update for Windows,” but it’s raised a lot of suspicion for those of us who prefer our Windows snooping overt, not covert.

    Microsoft’s description:

    This update provides the latest set of definitions for compatibility diagnostics that are performed on the system. The updated definitions will help enable Microsoft and its partners to ensure compatibility for all customers who want to install the latest Windows operating system. Installing this update also makes sure that the latest Windows operating system version is correctly offered through Windows Update, based on compatibility results.

    Which is enough to get my tinfoil hat twitching.

    We had a similar not-quite-documented appearance of KB 3150513 back in September.

    Here’s what we know for sure:

    The update includes files called Appraiser.sdb and Appraiser_telemetryrunlist.xml.

    It was offered on just about every version of Windows you can name. The KB article lists prerequisites, but there are versions for Win10 1607, 1511, Windows 8 (!) and 8.1, and Win 7 RTM (!) and SP1. In addition @ch100 documents that a version is also available for Windows Server 2016, for the first time.

    When it appeared in September, poster K hid it, but it re-appeared two additional times. At the time, I documented that it appeared twice, with two different dates, May 4 and May 11, 2016.

    In September, @abbodi86 viewed it as a precursor to upgrading to the Win10 Anniversary Update (released July 2016):

    it’s an update for the system’s compatibility database, which is related the famous schedule task “Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser”. This diagnostics is required to see if the current machine is applicable for RS1 upgrade through WU. Yes, it may involves sending “telemetry” feedback but isn’t whole Windows 10 is already telemetry-connected?

    With regard to the March 15 release, @PKCano says:

    This is being offered on all versions of Windows. It is a compatibility definition update. A new release for Win10, but Win7 and Win8.1 are seeing the earlier version appear if they installed KB2952664 (Win7) or KB2976978 (Win8.1) with the recent updates. The latter are prerequisites. It is also showing up in Win10.

    And @abbodi86 says

    Appraiser KB2952664 and Telemetry DiagTrack are built-in Windows 10 since RTM. Both KB2952664/KB3150513 are only needed for upgrade they have nothing useful for current Windows 7 (well, except providing MSFT with Appraiser statistics)

    And @ch100:

    Other versions were released in the past for Windows 10 1511.
    To me, without having the full details, it indicates that the functionality from KB2952664 in Windows 7 is built-in at least in Windows 10 1511 and 1607. Otherwise we wouldn’t see KB3150513 being on offer for those versions of Windows 10.
    There was no KB3150513 release for Windows 10 1507.

    Does anybody else have some definitive information on this beast? Is there any reason at all to install it, unless you plan on upgrading to the Win10 Creators Update version as soon as it’s available (which is an incredibly poor choice, but more about that later)?

  • Excel security patch MS17-014 for Excel 2010, KB 3178690, triggering crashes

    Posted on March 20th, 2017 at 07:20 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: A modified, updated version of this article was just published on InfoWorld Woody on Windows.

    I’m seeing lots of reports about Excel 2010 freezing after applying Tuesday’s security patch KB 3178690.

    On the Microsoft Answers forum, poster gneJim says:

    I have had to remove this update from approx. 4 machines (3x Win7, 1x Win10) this morning as Excel 2010 kept crashing out when trying to update SQL queries.

    (D-N) says:

    Further on the cut and paste issue.  We tested other excel procedures to see if anything else other than the cut and paste would cause a problem.  We discovered that if you use the bottom right black cross in a range of cells and drag it down to copy the range into new cells, excel instantly locked up.  No macro involved. These results didn’t happen to all sheets, only very large workbooks (19 mb).

    On the TechNet Excel forum poster Steve Stretch says:

    Since the update 2 days ago (KB3178690). The following section of code now freezes Excel. I guess the application may be churning over and over… This code has worked for 10 years without a hitch, now all 25 clients still running Excel 2010 have reported this freeze error.

    Microsoft acknowledges the problem, both in the KB article, and on the Office support forum.

    Known issues in this security update

    After you install this security update, Excel 2010 may crash or hang (stop responding or freeze) when calculations are performed in a workbook. The calculations may be triggered either by code or by user interaction.

    Microsoft is researching this problem and will post more information in this article when the information becomes available.

    At this point, the only known solution is to uninstall the security patch.

  • Looking for a stash of documents with VBA macros

    Posted on March 20th, 2017 at 07:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Vess Bontchev (whom many of you may remember from the early-early days of Word macro malware) is looking for a trove of documents:

    Anybody out there have a bunch of VBA docs that they’re willing to let go?

    Send me email!

  • The reason(s) people are leaving Windows PCs for Apple

    Posted on March 19th, 2017 at 13:22 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just got a great message from WW:

    What is the reason(s) people are leaving Windows personal computers for Apple personal computers, is it because of all of the computer viruses?

    Any of you care to tackle that question? 🙂

  • What happens when you install Internet Explorer updates automatically?

    Posted on March 19th, 2017 at 06:29 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I thought this was a pretty cut-and-dried topic, but there’s an amazing amount of nuance.

    IE has a check box that says “Install new versions automatically” and its effect on Windows Update is strange.

    Tests are under way in the Windows forum.

    [Modified this post to clarify/correct, tx to anonymous]

  • New beta build for Win10 – 10561

    Posted on March 17th, 2017 at 12:05 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s official. It’s out. It’s documented.

    Nothing new. Move along.

  • Win10 March cumulative update KB 4013429 breaks display of forms in MS Dynamics CRM 2011

    Posted on March 17th, 2017 at 07:00 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Confirmed. The latest Win10 cumulative update drives Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 crazy.

    The big question: How can Microsoft fix it? Bundled patches make life much more difficult.

    UPDATE: New info in InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    Looks like we have a solution. GT writes:

    We logged a Premier Support ticket with Microsoft and they were very responsive.

    During a remote session, they confirmed that data was being returned from CRM server side when clicking links, but it just wasn’t displaying.

    The issue is caused by inproper CSS.  Modifying the height attribute of CSS allowed the data to be displayed successfully during the remote session.  The suggestion was to change one line in CRM’s global.css which fixes the issue across all interfaces.

    Since then, our CRM developer has figured out that the issue goes away if you the following line to global.css.aspx: span[type=”subgrid”] {position:static !important}

  • Rumor: Win10 Creators Update build 15060 coming soon – and it’s the “for real” RTM

    Posted on March 16th, 2017 at 16:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: It ain’t a rumor. Build 15060 is out.

    There are some oddities, including the watermark returning to the desktop, but that’s likely transient.

    Now taking bets on Creators Update – build number, general availability date