Newsletter Archives

  • Watch out for fake ‘Windows Defender’ scare


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    My readers are reporting a new wave of fraudulent “security warnings” that freeze the screen, threaten to auto-delete users’ files, exhort victims to call what is supposedly a Microsoft phone number, and demand a fee for useless “virus removal.”

    Bogus messages from “Microsoft,” “Google,” and every other famous name in the tech industry are as old as the Internet, of course. But the frauds seem to be getting more intense and, unfortunately, more convincing all the time.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.23.0, 2023-06-05).

  • Which antivirus solution is the best?


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Once upon a time, antivirus was the only thing that kept the attackers on the outside and protected your data on the inside.

    Even though antivirus is still an important item in your security toolkit, it is by no means the only means of protection. These days, I look to security programs that provide a balance between protection, information, minimal or no performance impact, and rare false positives. In the days when Microsoft still released major Windows service packs, your antivirus solution often meant the difference between a successful upgrade and one that was painful.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.07.0, 2023-02-13).

  • Check the health of your systems

    newsletter banner

    ISSUE 19.36 • 2022-09-05


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    It’s time to ensure your computer is sound, the operating system is healthy, and your system is backed up.

    Why? Because a feature release is right around the corner: 22H2 for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 is due shortly. It’s not that I recommend that you move to those versions, at least not right away. But if you do decide to move ahead, it’s critical to be sure to do so safely, with your ability to retreat secured.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.36.0, 2022-09-05).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • The case of the missing Win10 antivirus scan results


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    Windows 10’s dialogs are sometimes laid out in funky ways and can lack headings and other visual cues to help you quickly locate what you’re looking for.

    That, coupled with Windows’ inconsistent and variable naming and labeling conventions, can be an annoyance to most of us — but can actually enrage some users, as you’ll see in today’s first item!

    Plus: An easy solution to a conflict between MS Office and LibreOffice. And: Finding a safe substitute for a laptop AC adapter.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.41.0 (2021-10-25).

  • Tracking down ominous noises in your PC

    By Fred Langa

    Strange sounds — especially abrasive or grinding noise — emanating from inside a PC are definitely cause for alarm! Here’s how to correct the two most common sources.

    Plus: What are the risks of relying on Win10’s built-in Windows Defender as your primary, front-line anti-malware tool?

    See the full story in the May 27, 2019, AskWoody Plus Newsletter (Issue 16.19.0)

  • Patch Watch: April patches plays a late joke on Win7 and 8.1

    Talk about April Fools….

    Patch Lady Susan Bradley takes you through the current sorry state of affairs with the April patches — catastrophic differences of opinion between Windows updates and several big-name antivirus packages. Win10 version 1809 is waiting in the wings. There are lots of creepy-crawlies out there.

    Details in this week’s AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.14.0, out this morning to AskWoody Plus Members.

  • Newbie question: How to get rid of antivirus in Win10

    I should repeat this more often. From AB:

    Dear Woody:
        When purchasing a Windows 10 laptop, I noticed that some manufacturers have installed their own antivirus software. How can I uninstall their software and install Windows Defender? Does Microsoft offer free technical support for Windows Defender?

    Bundled antivirus is a rip-off. The antivirus companies pay the hardware vendors to install their crapware on new machines. Antivirus is a multi-billion-dollar industry and their primary infection vector is through new machines.

    The method for getting rid of it varies depending on the vendor, but in general you just need to uninstall it – right-click Start, choose Control Panel, then at the bottom on the left choose Uninstall a program. Double-click on the antivirus program.

    Once you’ve gotten rid of the junk, Windows Defender will kick in. You don’t need to do anything.

    Microsoft does support Windows Defender and in most cases support is free, all the time. Start at

  • Antivirus in Windows 8.1

    I steadfastly recommend and use Microsoft’s built-in Microsoft Security Essentials on all of my machines, including my main machine, which is running Windows 8.1.

    Many of your disagree, though, particularly in light of Microsoft saying that MSE isn’t expected to lead the pack in new protection.

    With that as prelude, EP just sent this to me:

    Hey Woody. Now that Windows 8.1 is officially out there’s one serious issue that has to be dealt with – Antivirus/antispyware programs and Windows 8.1 compatibility. 

    Spybot Search & Destroy version 2.2 is fully compatible with Windows 8.1 as announced here:

     Avira antivirus programs version 2014 (the newly released ones) are compatible with Windows 8.1 as noted here:

    But the 2013 and earlier versions of Avira are not Win8.1 compatible. At least this time, Avira isn’t late to the party for Win8.1.

    Avast starting with version 9.0.2006 is fully compatible with Windows 8.1 as I saw somewhere in their forums site. The 2014 version of AVG is also Win8.1 compatible.

    Most major antivirus/antispyware products (like Symantec, Mcafee and ESET) have been recently updated to fully work on Windows 8.1 though some haven’t made official announcements on their web sites for Windows 8.1 compatiblity.

  • Windows XP at risk as antivirus vendors jump ship

    The latest Virus Bulletin VB100 results are troubling, for anyone clinging to XP.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.