• February 2024 patches for Windows

    Ready or not, here comes the February updates for Windows.

    Will we see a fix for our  KB5034441 for Windows 10 22H2 and in KB5034440 for Windows 11 woes? (so far, the answer is no)

    What we will see is “Highlights for Windows 11, versions 22H2 & 23H2 (cont.) •The Copilot in Windows icon will appear on the right side of the system tray on the taskbar. Also, the display of Show desktop at the rightmost corner of the taskbar will be off by default.”

    Ugh. And double Ugh.

    I’ll be adding more links to this post as I digest the info.

    And of course it’s a “dribbled” change

    • Note Windows 11 devices will get this new functionality at different times. Some of these new features roll out gradually using controlled feature rollout (CFR) to consumers.

    Remember if you get Copilot and don’t want it, we’ve got your back here and here.

    Grrrrrrrrrr and double grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Zero day blog on the updates released today.

    Exchange getting patched again today. SQL client fixes released in the OS patches so check those line of business database connections.  Not seeing any automated patch for the Windows RE issues. Office and specifically Outlook is getting fixed for a preview pane security issue.  Defender for endpoint getting fixes for zero day that led to malware being installed.

  • Replacing WordPad (and more) with Office Online

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    ISSUE 21.07 • 2024-02-12

    MICROSOFT 365

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Anyone can view and even edit a Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote file on a computer by using Office in a browser. It’s free for anyone.

    Word for the Web is Microsoft’s recommended replacement for the soon-to-be-deleted WordPad app in Windows. The browser-based apps are worth keeping in mind. They let you keep working with Word, Excel, or PowerPoint docs if Office isn’t working or you’re at another computer. All you need is:

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.07.0, 2024-02-12).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • How to link your smartphone with Windows 11

    WINDOWS 11

    Lance Whitney

    By Lance Whitney

    Connecting your iPhone or Android phone to Windows 11 lets you make phone calls, send texts, and view notifications directly from your PC.

    As an iPhone owner and Windows user, I’d like to be able to access my phone from my computer at times. Maybe I want to make or answer a call, or send or view a text message, but my phone isn’t handy. Or maybe speaking or chatting with someone feels easier when I’m already using my PC for other tasks. Whatever the scenario, this is a capability I often need. And it’s all doable with the right tools.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.07.0, 2024-02-12).

  • Sandboxie-Plus — A safe place for apps to run

    FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    Whether trimming the rose bushes, pulling weeds in the garden, or watering the hanging pots, and when needing to take my eyes off my tiny twin girls, I just plopped them down in the sandbox.

    It’s hard to do real-world damage to a castle when it’s only a castle in a sandbox. You can treat programs the same way.

    In the sense of software, a sandbox is a way of running software in a protected space (virtualized) so that it can run as normal but can’t do any harm to the host computer.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.07.0, 2024-02-12).

  • The annoyances of a new computer

    WINDOWS 11

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    There is a dirty little secret in corporate technology — we don’t care about your operating system.

    If it misbehaves, we blow it off. If your computer doesn’t work, we issue you a new one. Don’t like that keyboard? Throw it away. Get a new release of Windows? We redeploy the entire operating system, using one of our various methodologies.

    It’s my opinion that this mentality — that the desktop doesn’t matter and can be easily wiped away — persists inside the Microsoft organization.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.07.0, 2024-02-12).

  • Want to see the world darker?

    This question came up the other day – someone wanted to know if we could offer a button to flip the site to dark mode. Do you know that you can do it with an Extension? Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, etc, whatever is your favorite browser – just go to the extension store and look for a reputable extension. What’s a reputable extension? One that has lots of users, and good reviews. The one I tried out is called darkreader.org

    The one application that I never do dark mode on is Excel. The dark borders do not work with the white cells. I also recommend good light bulbs when working with computers. I prefer a brighter daylight lightbulb when working with computers. Mind you I work with documents AND computers so often I’m reading tax documents or other information.

    What about you? Do you use tools or techniques to deal with contrast issues?

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Microsoft and compliance

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    ISSUE 21.06.1 • 2024-02-08

    MS-DEFCON 2

    By Susan Bradley

    An international company must deal with the jurisdictions in which it operates. Microsoft is no different.

    February is always marked on my calendar as the month in which Microsoft is back in full force, holidays behind them. That means we’ll see a rash of updates. I’m raising the MS-DEFCON level to 2 as a result.

    Some of those updates will deal with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Economic Area (EEA). Microsoft published a post in the Windows blog on this subject. The necessary changes to bring Windows into compliance will be dribbling out until the deadline — March 6, 2024 — and will be seen in updates to Windows 10 22H2 and Windows 11 23H2.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (21.06.1, 2024-02-08).

  • February 2024 Office non-Security updates are now available

    PK's Office update info
    Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, February 6, 2024. They are not included in the DEFCON-3 approval for the January 2024 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Project 2016 (KB5002530)

    Office 2016 reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • Edge Workspaces for work and play

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    ISSUE 21.06 • 2024-02-05

    Mary BranscombeBy Mary Branscombe

    Given how often we all share links to webpages, it’s past time for some tools to manage that better. Workspaces is Microsoft’s latest attempt to share and organize Web links with a group of friends or colleagues.

    Tab groups in the Edge browser are great for organizing yourself, especially now that you can sync between your different desktop devices. But they don’t help with organizing Web links you need to send to someone else, or the ones other people send to you.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.06.0, 2024-02-05).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Do you need a password manager?

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    It seems we all have to deal with different usernames and passwords for every website we visit and every device we own. The situation is rapidly changing, as I’ll explain below. But at the moment, the need for you to remember or juggle all these credentials can strain your brain.

    One approach that many pundits recommend is to invest your time and money in a password manager. The best of these apps can store for you hundreds of passwords, make up ridiculously strong password strings that are impossible to guess, alert you if one of your passwords was exposed in an Internet security breach, and more.

    My column today is the first in a four-part series. In this multipart analysis, I’ll explain the pros and cons of the highest-rated password managers and, most importantly, whether you need one at all.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.06.0, 2024-02-05).

  • The state of OneDrive

    ONEDRIVE

    Ed Tittel

    By Ed Tittel

    Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based file storage service that dates all the way back to 2007.

    It has become more tightly integrated into Windows since the Vista days, through Windows 7, 8.x, 10, and now 11. OneDrive is also available for MacOS, iOS, Android, and Xbox.

    And, of course, Microsoft 365 apps also work directly and automatically with OneDrive.

    This article seeks to describe OneDrive’s status as of early 2024 and to illuminate some specific issues or potential gotchas that OneDrive can present — at least, for some users.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.06.0, 2024-02-05).

  • Taming BitLocker and other encryption methods

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Our audience consists of several different segments. As a result, there are many different risk levels.

    My risk tolerance may not be the same as yours, and vice versa. Ultimately, it comes down to your specific comfort level in your specific environment. And, of course, risk levels change over time.

    Once upon a time, we would authenticate to our mail providers in plain text, with usernames and passwords clearly visible, and send all emails in the same fashion. You could “tap” the line with special equipment read every email – in the clear. That’s no longer considered secure, so now nearly all mail providers offer some sort of protection, especially for the credentials.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (21.06.0, 2024-02-05).