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  • Should we rush to install Windows 11?

    Posted on December 6th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    WINDOWS 11

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The other day, a reader took me to task for my doom-and-gloom perspective about Windows 11.

    He said he was on the Windows Insider program on the developer channel and that he’d had no issues whatsoever using Windows 11. He said he’d “installed 11 on 2 towers and 2 laptops and [that] he had a brand-new tower and immediately installed 11 on it the day it was delivered.” He added that he’d not had any issues on any of the machines he had installed it on.

    He also thought we were Chicken Little, claiming the sky was falling.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.47.0 (2021-12-06).

  • Do you know about the known issues?

    Posted on December 4th, 2021 at 23:33 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Here’s a tip for the weekend.

    Video here.

    There’s an interesting spot on the Microsoft web site to track acknowledged issues with Office software.

    Fixes or workarounds for recent issues in Outlook for PC (microsoft.com)

    I normally bookmark that and see what side effects are happening with Outlook, Word and Excel.

    You’ll notice some things about that page. Firstly, someone needs to get a bit of spelling and grammar lessons (Know issues instead of Known issues) and then how there is a lot of “workarounds” and “investigating”.

    Have you had any recent issues with Office applications?  What bugs have you seen lately that aren’t listed on that page?

  • You are being investigated

    Posted on November 29th, 2021 at 21:57 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A female friend of my Dad (he’s 93) called tonight and relayed to him that she got a call from someone indicating that she was under investigation and that as part of the process she needed to buy and provide them the codes from gift cards.  The scammers were able to get $1,000 out of her before she finally realized that something was wrong.

    Please warn anyone that you interact with and talk to that NO ONE asks anyone for gift card numbers. No one is calling from the IRS, the Social Security, or any other agency to ask for payment via gift cards.

    Don’t fall for this, and warn anyone you know not to fall for this either.

  • So Edge? One step forward but…

    Posted on November 29th, 2021 at 19:24 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just a reminder, this week’s newsletter is a special edition and the full contents can be viewed by both Plus and Free subscribers as well as anyone who merely clicks on the links in the post. As a special holiday gift to our readership everyone gets the full newsletter contents this week.

    While Brian was researching Brave browser in this week’s Holiday newsletter, I was looking at Edge. And while I’m very happy with their Super Duper mode, I’m NOT so happy with their planned Buy now Pay later offering that is in beta. There had better be a way to block this on ALL platforms and not just Enterprises. (116 responses so far and hardly anyone is a fan).  Not to mention most financial folks indicate that the Buy now Pay later isn’t the greatest thing for you to do.  “But generally speaking, if you don’t have the cash now, you probably shouldn’t be doing this.”

    What do you think?  I think Microsoft really needs to rethink this.

  • Can you install Windows 11 home without a MS account?

    Posted on November 28th, 2021 at 00:30 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    In a word YES.

    There are several ways to do it.

    The key way around the issue is to either close down a certain screen at a certain time using Alt-F4 to close the window right after it asks you for Ethernet access.

    On Windows 11 pro this process is easier because you don’t HAVE to have your computer connected to the Internet, whereas Windows 11 home gets you to this Ethernet screen and won’t let you go past this.

    As the link above explains …”However, for Windows 11 Home Edition users, this operation cannot bypass OOBE, because there is no “I don’t have Internet” option on the interface. User Adam provided a simple and practical method, which is both interesting and surprising; when Windows 11 Home Edition prompts the user to connect to the network, a simple Alt + F4 shortcut key will close the prompt and the screen will directly enter the local Account creation page. This is never provided to the user in the usual process.”

    I personally found that if I unplugged the Ethernet right at the point it asks for the Microsoft account and then clicked the upper arrow back at the top, it then went onto the next screen where it wanted to ask for a user. You must have Internet to start the install process. Windows 11 home will get to an Ethernet connection screen and unless you have a connection, it won’t go forward. BUT. And this is the key here:  After it checks for Internet, asks you for the name of the computer and reboots and then gets to the spot where it asks you for a Microsoft account, disable the Internet connection right then and there. At that point in time it will then allow you to click the big arrow key at the top of the windows back and it will bypass the setup for the Microsoft account.

    Let’s see if I can capture this process here in this video that is my tips for the weekend.

    I did!

    Click the video here to view the process.

    But bottom line, there are SEVERAL ways to set up a Windows 11 Home without a Microsoft account.

  • Small business Saturday

    Posted on November 26th, 2021 at 14:24 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Here at Askwoody.com we’re a small business. So in the United States we have a tradition of supporting local small businesses on “Small Business Saturday”.  So rather than ordering from that smile box retailer, spend your funds tomorrow at a local business!

    What are you doing to support Small Business Saturday in your city or town?

    If you do online shopping this year, follow the guidance from the Australian Cyber Security center has some tips for you. Online shop on a device that is up to date with it’s patches – especially your browser.

  • Thanks to our subscribers

    Posted on November 24th, 2021 at 20:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Ransomware warning – the holiday season is the time for attacks

    As we enter the American Thanksgiving time, everyone at AskWoody would like to wish you a happy and healthy holiday season … unless you are an attacker.

    And if you are an attacker, we wish you clumps in your turkey gravy and coal in your Christmas stocking.

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reminds us not to let our guard down.

    Just recently Edge added the “Super Duper secure mode” to their stable channel. (I wrote about this a bit back). Always review your settings in your browser to ensure it’s as secure as you can be and when in doubt, don’t click. Sometimes picking up the phone or using an alternative method to get the information you need is wiser.

    For home users, be extra careful of scams. Gift cards are not always the greatest gift to give someone. Just ask my Dad who had to buy his own Ruth’s Chris steak house dinner when the gift card we bought him was already used by someone else. Buy from the stores directly, not from the card hanging up at the aisle in your grocery or convenience store.  Of course, I think a perfect gift idea is a subscription to the AskWoody newsletter, but I’m very biased.

    Stay safe this holiday season and click carefully.

  • MS-DEFCON 3: We’re not out of the printing woods yet

    Posted on November 23rd, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.45.1 • 2021-11-22

    MS-DEFCON 3

    By Susan Bradley

    The big news last week was Microsoft’s finally releasing Windows 10 version 21H2 and aligning the Windows 10 and Windows 11 annual feature release cadence.

    Changing the feature release cadence for Windows to an annual schedule is long overdue. From the first moment Microsoft announced that Windows 10 feature updates would be released on a semiannual basis, I’ve felt that the constant release process was too often, too fast. It’s good to see Microsoft finally listening to the feedback. Granted, it was pushed into this decision by the release of Windows 11, but I’ll take the win nonetheless.

    Now that 21H2 is officially out, I recommend sticking with 21H1 for the moment. That said, 21H2 will be a relatively easy and fast update with very few side effects. But I’m a cautious patcher and never install feature releases during the first week they are out.

    As November comes to a close, it’s again time to evaluate whether you can perform the basic process we all call “printing.” I discussed the annoyance of these constant and seemingly intractable printing problems in yesterday’s On Security column. The ongoing issues with printing force me, once again, to set our MS-DEFCON status at level 3. Exercise caution.

    Consumer and home users

    If you install the updates for November and can still print, pat yourself on the back and relax until next month. If you are still having issues with printing, I recommend installing the preview updates listed in the Master Patch list.

    For certain shared printers in peer-to-peer networks, we are still seeing issues triggered by the November 9 updates. While Microsoft has released out-of-band updates for authentication issues, they have not put the same priority on printing issues triggered by the updates.

    Business users

    Already, we’ve seen the out-of-band update KB5008602 to fix a known issue triggered on domain controllers and single sign-on that might cause authentication failures related to Kerberos tickets you acquired from Service for User to Self (S4U2self). This issue occurs after you install the November 9, 2021, security updates on domain controllers (DCs) that are running Windows Server, and you need to install this update on your domain controllers to fix this issue.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.45.1 (2021-11-22).

  • Why is printing so hard to get right?

    Posted on November 22nd, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.45 • 2021-11-22
    Look for our special issue on November 29!

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I work in an industry that keeps promising we are going paperless, but we still find ways to kill trees. Even though I regularly print to PDF, I continue to print to various desktop and network printers.

    Physical printing is still very important to me and many other professionals. Any problem with printing will affect productivity. Each month, when new updates come out, one of my top priorities is to test printing. Can I print? If I can, then I know I can keep the new patches installed. But why are we constantly fighting issues with printing, and why are we constantly patching our systems for printing?

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.45.0 (2021-11-22).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.45.F (2021-11-22).

  • Tasks for the weekend – Nov 20, 2021 – It’s the annual geek clean up

    Posted on November 20th, 2021 at 21:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (Youtube here)

    This week’s Tasks for the weekend is brought to you by MuscularPortfolios.com.  Brian Livingston brings his tech mind to the Investing world. Sign up for his free newsletter to learn more.

    It’s that time of the year that we start planning to visit with family and it’s also the time of year that I recommend reviewing the computer systems of your loved ones and make sure their browsers are not riddled with extensions they don’t use, notifications they don’t want. See if they want to try out the Brave Browser or the Duckduckgo search engine.

    Review for new programs you don’t recognize added to the Programs and features section. Make sure their antivirus is up to date and if they use a third party program, that the subscription is current. (I’m still a fan of defender. Even now Windows is fighting with third party antivirus vendors like Kaspersky). Check what feature release they are on and make sure they are not on Windows 10 2004 soon to be out of support.

    See if they are being offered Windows 11 and if you want to use the targetreleaseversion to block it or use the gui opt out. It will look like the image below in the Windows update panel.

    You can click on that “stay on Windows 10 for now”.

    So when you visit loved ones, do you end up fixing their computers?  What are your tasks that you do?

     

     

     

  • Know where your data is

    Posted on November 18th, 2021 at 14:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So the other day I was needing to get a backup of a QuickBooks file from someone for a project. In my office we get a copy for purposes of forensic analysis.  Even when the QuickBooks is online, there is a third party app that allows us to convert the online data to a desktop version (it’s called Exportmybooks for anyone interested). We do this in my business even with online QuickBooks to ensure that we have a copy of exactly what the accounting books were at a specific time.  Too often with accounting systems people move information around or things get changed and thus this ensures we can showcase (in court, in meetings, etc) what it was at X date in time. Long story short this is for analysis and forensic work and the data I obtain isn’t necessarily from clients that I work with on a regular basis.

    So the other day I contact someone to get a backup of the QuickBooks and I ask them “Do you know if you have Desktop QuickBooks or Online QuickBooks”? They say “It’s on my laptop”. No problem I have a Splashtop SOS subscription so I can reach out remotely to people using a process of having them get a link and then giving me a one time code for this very need. So I log into their computer and I don’t see an icon on the desktop for QuickBooks. “Can you open your QuickBooks” thinking they hid the icon or something. They then launched a web browser and went into online QuickBooks.

    It just hit me funny because that’s not “on your laptop”. That’s actually saved in the cloud and your laptop can get it it from the browser. I was reading a post the other day that was talking about how as we pivot more to cloud services (and trust me, I can see this over time that more and more businesses ARE moving such services to cloud offerings even if you personally won’t be) that we really need to rethink how we protect things. We can’tjust assume because something is up there that it’s automatically protected.

    1. Authentication – make sure multifactor is enabled
    2. Got a backup of that cloud? – We often rely on the vendor for cloud backups but should you?
    3. Security and monitoring of the cloud  – recent case in point is this Microsoft security blog post regarding Azure Active Directory (AD) keyCredential property Information Disclosure in Application and Service Principal APIs (say that three times fast).  How can I as a consumer of cloud services know that my vendors are up on protecting their cloud services? For those folks with small businesses – the one in particular that you may need to review with you or your IT provider is the Azure Site recovery service that takes cloud backups/sets up virtual machine fallover service.

    Bottom line, your data is “not just on your laptop”.  Act accordingly, and start thinking of better ways to protect it.

  • 21H2 is finally out

    Posted on November 16th, 2021 at 12:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    FINALLY.  So let me do the Susan translation for you:

    Today marks the time that I consider 21H1 as being the version you need to be on. 21H2 just came out and I always like to be cautious and hold back a bit. If you want to ensure that you stay on 21H1, remember to use the Group policy or registry key methods posted here.