Newsletter Archives

  • Why File Explorer keeps me on Windows


    Josh Hendrickson

    By Josh Hendrickson

    I own both a fairly powerful Windows PC and a Mac Studio.

    Technically, the Mac Studio, with its M1 processor, far outstrips my desktop PC. And yet my PC continues to be my daily driver. Why?

    File Explorer.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.39.0, 2023-09-25).

  • Can I install that on that?


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I’m going to see how well the applications and tools I regularly use work on vastly different platforms.

    Can we install a contemporary Linux distribution and still run our favorite Windows applications? What about Windows applications on a Mac? Do you think we can?

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.34.0, 2023-08-21).

  • When should you retire your Apple device?

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    ISSUE 19.47 • 2022-11-21
    Look for our BONUS issue on November 28!


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Apple’s recent releases encourage new hardware.

    There are several people at my office who constantly purchase the latest iPhone or iPad, turning in their old devices in the process. I’m not that adventurous — I don’t recommend updating quite that fast.

    However, I do recommend an upgrade if your phone is an older model, such as iPhone 8. Why? Because the best security is provided on the newest hardware, and because Apple has become more like Microsoft in requiring newer hardware to protect against snooping, zero days, and other risks.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.47.0, 2022-11-21).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Tracking the larger Microsoft ecosystem


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    With Microsoft 365 making inroads onto platforms other than Windows, it’s increasingly important to track versioning and patches elsewhere.

    For example, it’s not enough to talk about Microsoft 365 as if it existed only on Windows PCs. We know our readers have more than one device, including phones and tablets. So while my focus with Patch Watch will continue to center on Windows, you’ll hear more from me about the broader Microsoft universe.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.44.0, 2022-10-31).

  • Take control of your Mac’s privacy

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.16 • 2021-05-03


    Nathan Parker

    By Nathan Parker

    Apple’s emphasis on privacy is focused on personal devices, such as iPads and iPhones. But Macs have privacy settings, too.

    In my recent article “Take control of your privacy — iPhone & iPad” (AskWoody 18.12, 2021-04-05), I discussed many of the settings provided by iOS and iPadOS to control the privacy and security of the device and the apps running on it. Although one might think all Apple systems would be in lockstep, I have noticed that the settings in macOS are not quite as granular, not quite as detailed, as those in iOS/iPadOS.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.16.F (2021-05-03).

  • How to create a bootable macOS installer



    How to create a bootable macOS installer

    By Nathan Parker

    Once included with macOS, installers are now available only for download.

    In the past, macOS X installers were available on a DVD. This changed with OS X Lion in 2011. The only way to get the installers today is to download them (at no charge) from the Mac App Store.

    Despite this minor inconvenience, the process to create an installer is quite simple.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.7.0 (2021-02-22).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.7.F (2021-02-22).

  • Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple – Part 2


    By Nathan Parker

    With the end of free support for Windows 7, some users are weighing whether it might be a good time to jump to Apple’s Mac.

    If you’re thinking about making the switch but are new to Apple, we’ve provided a two-part quick guide to the Mac environment.

    In Part 1 (2020-03-09 AskWoody Plus Newsletter) we discussed the various types of Mac desktops and notebooks. We also included an overview on setting up a new Mac. In Part 2, we’ll examine the macOS desktop, provide a brief description of the Mac keyboard, and discuss system backup and security.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.11.0 (2020-03-16).

  • Switchers: Taking a bite of the Apple – Part 1


    By Nathan Parker

    With the end of free support for Windows 7, many users are looking at alternatives to Windows 10. And some are considering jumping to Apple’s Mac platform.

    This two-part series is an introduction to the world of Mac for those thinking about making the switch from a Windows PC. (A more-detailed verion of this article can be found in the AskWoody forum.)

    In this installment, we’ll cover the various types of Mac desktops and notebooks. We’ll also give tips for setting up a new Apple system. Part 2 will provide a general tour of the macOS operating system, discuss keyboard differences, and delve into Mac security concepts.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.10.0 (2020-03-09).

  • New AskWoody support for Apple products

    Nathan Parker has assembled, and PKCano has posted, a new AskWoody Knowledge Base article, AKB 2000014: Ongoing List of Apple Operating System Updates. It’ll keep you updated on the latest Apple patches, and our recommendations about installing or waiting on each. Given the recent problems, particularly with iOS13, it’s a must-read for anybody with an Apple product.

    Our approach to Apple is the same as our approach to Microsoft (and Google, too, for that matter): We calls ’em like we sees ’em. Don’t expect any pulled punches or marketing pablum.

    Thanks, folks!

    And while you’re at it, wander through the MacOS for Windows Wonks Forum. Nathan has added many interesting topics to the list.

  • Apple’s case of Microsoft-itis

    If you’ve been following along with the “root” patch debacle, it may warm your heart to know that Apple’s having the same kind of Keystone Kops patching experience all of us have grown to know and love.

    Andy Greenberg at Wired has an observation:

    When a company like Apple rushes out a software patch for a critical security bug, it deserves praise for protecting its customers quickly. Except, perhaps, when that patch is so rushed that it’s nearly as buggy as the code it was designed to fix…

    Apple’s fix for that problem has a serious glitch of its own. Those who had not yet upgraded their operating system from the original version of High Sierra, 10.13.0, to the most recent version, 10.13.1, but had downloaded the patch, say the “root” bug reappears when they install the most recent macOS system update. And worse, two of those Mac users say they’ve also tried re-installing Apple’s security patch after that upgrade, only to find that the “root” problem still persists until they reboot their computer, with no warning that a reboot is necessary.

    Have we reached the point where both Windows and macOS have become so big, bloated, and just plain old that they’re not worth the effort any more?

    Lest you feel smug with iOS, take in this bug notice from Sam Byford at The Verge:

    A bug in iOS 11.1.2 is causing iPhones to crash repeatedly once the clock hits 12.15am on December 2nd… iOS 11.2 has been released just hours after this issue was discovered, and includes a fix for this date bug.

    Tom Warren at The Verge has a succinct overview:

    • macOS High Sierra critical flaw with root admin access
    • macOS High Sierra update released, but breaks file sharing
    • iOS 11 crashing on some iPhones due to a date bug
    • macOS High Sierra fix not installing correctly on some systems
    • iOS 11.2 released early to fix iPhone crash bug


  • Win10 patch KB3200970 may cause MacOS network share failures

    Noel Carboni sent me an interesting note. Apparently, one of the Nov 9 Win10 patches (most likely KB 3200970, the patch that brings version 1607 up to build 14393.447) resets a setting that can gum up MacOS network shares.

    Here’s Noel’s observation:

    I just came across this interesting post on

    I haven’t verified it myself, as I don’t have the exact mix of systems he has online right now.  But if I’m interpreting it right, beyond a specific unwelcome side effect of applying Windows 10 updates, it catches Microsoft at resetting policy preferences a user had made, and in doing so breaking his network.

    Microsoft overriding user preferences is something serious that they seem to be doing more and more of lately – apparently in the name of “WaaS” – and it is something we just cannot accept!

    Having Microsoft manage people’s systems config may be a laudable goal, and may even benefit a lot of folks, but it has to be done right on EVERY system – not in an oversimplified way that makes things just stop working for some people!  The preferences were provided by Microsoft precisely because the software cannot work in all situations without user-chosen options…  Policies are the most carefully provided and managed options.

    And now we see a report of a security policy just being reset out of the blue?  Who at Microsoft made the decision to do that?  Who thinks user preferences are no longer the most important?

    As with so many technical things, the devil is in the details, and the details have to be gotten right every time, or the whole basis for WaaS falls apart.  The “we know better” vibe from Microsoft needs to be kept in the public consciousness and questioned, because apparently they don’t, at least not always.   This is of course especially true now, in light of Microsoft reducing users’ control of updates.

    Windows 10 cumulative updates have a long history of resetting things that they shouldn’t. Microsoft’s been working hard to find and fix the problems.

    Like Noel, I don’t have the right setup to verify the problem. By any chance, do you know of someone who does?