Newsletter Archives

  • SMB security changes in Windows 11 might affect your NAS, too

    WINDOWS 11

    Mary BranscombeBy Mary Branscombe

    It’s going to get harder and harder to connect to your NAS as a guest with SMB. That’s a good thing for security, but it could be a problem if your hardware is older.

    The Server Message Block (SMB) network file-sharing protocol lets Windows applications read and write files stored on servers in your network, including Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems. SMB underpins a lot of Windows network technologies, such as Storage Spaces Direct and even network printing. The print spooler is essentially just a file, after all.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.35.0, 2023-08-28).

  • Dynamic or Static? Which do you choose?

    First off – if you are in the Northern Hemisphere – Happy spring.

    The tulips are in full bloom at my house.

    Speaking of houses – and more specifically, of home networks: The other day where I have a peer to peer network at home consisting of hard wired computers, a scanner/printer and another dedicated printer along with wifi, laptops, ipads, iphones, iwatches, kindles, an galaxy tablet, roku devices, rachio sprinkler device… well you get the idea. And for most of these devices I’ve left them to pick up their IP addresses from the router I have that sits between me and my Comcast modem. Until the other day. When I was trying to scan something from the scanner to my computer and it kept failing. The scanner is not set up via USB, rather it’s set up via a wired connection. So is my computer. And most of the time these two devices pick up the same IP address over and over again even though, in theory they can pick up any available IP address.

    This is also how I set up my network at the office, but there at the office there is a server called a domain controller that handles a specific role (called DHCP server) that hands out the IP addresses to each workstation or device. Once again most of the time each computer picks up exactly the same IP address it has had in the past, or you can exclude that IP address from the range being handed out and statically assign an IP address – as I typically do for printers at the office.

    Well you can probably see what’s coming next. The Lexmark MC2426 scanner/printer was working just fine and finding my computer to scan to, just fine, until it didn’t. I realized that the scanning shortcut I had built into the interface of the scanner was pointing to what I THOUGHT was the IP address of the computer. Clearly a reboot of the router had caused it to move the IP address on that computer. So I went into the settings of both the computer and the printer and set a static IP address to make sure it wouldn’t “move” on me again.

    So how do you know what settings to put into your computer?

    It’s pretty easy to figure out what your router is handing out to your computer.

    Open a command prompt on your computer and type in ipconfig /all

    In the window you will get a listing of all of the potential network connections on your computer. If the wireless port is active, that’s where the IP address will be.

    Typically in a home setting it’s based on a range with the router probably being at the or position in your home network.

    In my case my router is at (see that Gateway setting?)

    The main IP address that I’ve assigned to it is

    The subnet mask is a setting that tells the computer how big of a network it can talk to. Normally in a home private network you limit your IP range to 253(ish) devices (I say 253 because at least one is going to be your router itself taking up one of the spots.)  If that subnet mask is set to that means it will “talk” to a larger pool of devices.  You then go into the ethernet settings, change adapter options and manually set the ip4 address to a static IP address.

    Note I don’t recommend this for most home configurations, it’s MUCH easier to let your router do it’s thing, but I happen to mention it because when you start adding on a bit of home tech like printers, sometimes setting things statically does help especially in a peer to peer setup.

    Also note that the setting of the DNS server comes down to personal preference and sometimes recommendations from your ISP. Some ISPs mandate that you use their DNS, I have moved around over the years to various DNS providers based on various recommendations and speed.  Currently that is Cloudflare’s DNS servers.

    Also go into the control panel/network connections and make sure all of your computers in a home setting see that they are on a private network.

    There has been a couple of times I have been trying to do something shared on a peer computer only to find that our Microsoft patching overlords have sometimes flipped that to public. Whenever you can’t do something on a peer to peer network – check that “private network” setting in the control panel just to make sure.  Monthly patching does NOT normally touch this, but on rare occasions I do see that flipped, so make sure it says “private network”.  If it says public, just change the setting to private.

    So what about you? Do you use the IP addresses set up by your router or do you set up static IP addresses on your home computers? What DNS setting do you use? Share in the comments why you set up your home network the way you do.

  • Surf the Web — even when your ISP is down



    Surf the Web — even when your ISP is down

    By Brian Livingston

    It’s a well-known subset of Murphy’s Law: Your Internet service provider will go down at the worst possible time for you.

    When my ISP goes dark, whatever boat I was trying to float becomes pretty much dead in the water. On occasions like this, my usually sympathetic friends become singularly unhelpful: “Just go outside and take a walk for a while.”

    But if you’re hosting a video conference, moderating a hot stock-tips forum, or preparing a report for presentation to your board in an hour, your participants aren’t going to accept excuses such as, “I decided to take a walk instead.”

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.5.0 (2021-02-08).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.5.F (2021-02-08).

  • Hackers are running your smart home


    Hackers are running your smart home

    By Brian Livingston

    I never thought it would get this bad. But it has.

    There are now more Internet of Things (IoT) devices than there are people on the planet. And the vast majority of those IoT gadgets are wide open, easily taken over by malicious hackers and used against you, your community, and the world.

    Almost half of all technology managers have let IoT gizmos — printers, HVAC systems, protocol gateways, etc. — into their corporate networks without changing the default passwords, according to a ForeScout survey.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.3.0 (2021-01-25).