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  • New forum opening up

    Posted on May 12th, 2021 at 14:22 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We just officially opened up the May 2021 Windows 10 feature release forum.

    Since the official release date is coming soon we wanted to open it up a smidge early in case you had any questions.

    We know you </sarcasm on> can’t wait for it to be released to your computer </sarcasm off>, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask away!


  • …..annnnnd they are out – Patch Tuesday for May 2021

    Posted on May 11th, 2021 at 13:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As usual we will be watching for the issues.

    Businesses:  If you are a small to med business with Exchange – you have work again as there’s Exchange bugs being fixed including one that’s been publicly disclosed.

    Consumers and home users – obviously too early to tell if there are side effects this month. All of the documented known issues at this time are “leftoverisms” from prior months or only impact Enterprises. I’ll be starting my personal testing on my spare machines and will report in.

    There are some patches impacting wireless networking and bluetooth that I will be keeping a close eye on to see if they cause any interactions.

    Remember 1909 has reached it’s end of life, when we flip back to Defcon 4, you need to take action to be on 20H2 as soon as the all clear is given.

    While you are in wait and see mode, don’t forget to update your iphones and android phones and tablets. As always let’s be extra careful out here as we wait to see the impact.

    Outlook click to run is the first having issues. Microsoft is aware and investigating. Note I am on the semi-annual channel and not seeing this.


  • MS-DEFCON 2: Pause on patching

    Posted on May 10th, 2021 at 12:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.17.1 • 2021-05-10
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    It’s time for both business users and consumer or home users to pause Windows updates.

    Accordingly, I’m changing the AskWoody MS-DEFCON level to 2. Patch reliability is unclear. Unless you have an immediate, pressing need to install a specific patch, don’t do it.

    Consumer and home users

    If you are a home/consumer user, I recommend two actions to ensure you do not get inadvertent updates. First, select Start, Settings, Network & Internet, and then Wi-Fi or Ethernet (whichever connection you are using). Next, click Manage known networks; click on the network that you use, click Properties, and turn on Set as metered connection. This “tricks” the computer into thinking that your Internet connection is not unlimited (i.e., you might incur charges) and thus will download patches only after you approve the process.

    The second action is picking a deferral date after May 11, when Microsoft will push out the next Patch Tuesday security releases. Click on Start, Settings, Update & Security; then click on Advanced Options. Pick a date far enough in the future to give you comfort. I always wait at least a week, usually more. I’ll be re-evaluating the update situation closer to the end of the month, but for now choosing May 28 should be safe enough.

    For those of you with an Office click-to-run (CTR) edition, I strongly recommend that you change to the semiannual channel rather than the monthly one because it will keep you from the Autocomplete bug.

    Business users

    Coming this month in the May Security releases, Microsoft will be including a new “News and Interests” taskbar item featuring items of interest to your users. Remember, if you want to proactively block it, there are registry keys and group policy to control it.


    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.17.1 (2021-05-10).

  • Is the cloud unsafe?

    Posted on May 10th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Using the cloud isn’t always a bad thing.

    During this year of the pandemic, we’ve pivoted from doing many things in person to many things online. In my industry, one of the key changes is moving from in-person meetings to online meetings via services such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Another is doing more and more financial transactions online, including accounting for them.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.17.0 (2021-05-10).

  • Tasks for the weekend – May 8th – Should I remove KB4023057?

    Posted on May 8th, 2021 at 23:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here

    KB4023057 is an update that comes out normally before a feature update is released. In theory it’s supposed to help a machine get the feature update installed by ensuring that there’s enough hard drive space, that the system won’t snooze and that the windows update components are “healthy” to then install the feature release.

    Now if it really wanted to help machine get a feature release installed, it would check drivers, flag which ones would cause issues and warn you in plain English what issues you would face. If  I were coding it up, I would make it so that when it found a machine with Conexant drivers it would remove them and ensure it was set to install 2004. But I digress…

    Because it doesn’t have a reputation of being well behaved, you’ll see it recommended to either block the  install (use Wushowhide from Oldergeeks or your favorite hiding tool of choice), or if it sneaked in while you weren’t looking, to uninstall it. If it snuck in, look for “Microsoft Update Health Tools” in the classic control panel/programs and features and remove it.

  • Conexant and the 2004 saga continues

    Posted on May 8th, 2021 at 09:10 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m scratching my head a bit this morning reading the post on Bleeping computer.

    Microsoft has addressed the last remaining known issues affecting Windows 10 computers with Conexant or Synaptics devices causing errors and problems when updating to Windows 10 versions 2004 or 20H2.

    But when you go to the underlying Windows Health dashboard item it still is the same lousy resolution as before:

    Resolution: The safeguard hold with safeguard IDs 25702617, 25702660, 25702662, and 25702673 has been removed for all devices as of May 7, 2021, including devices with affected drivers. If updated drivers are not available for your device and you are offered Windows 10, version 2004 or Windows 10, version 20H2, a small number of devices might roll back to the previous version of Windows 10 when attempting to update. If this occurs, you should attempt to update to Windows 10, version 2004 or Windows 10, version 20H2 again.

    I don’t read “gee, we scan your computer, see that it has an impacted driver, remove it DURING the 2004 install so that you have a nice install process”, I still read that you will have a horrible upgrade experience and you’ll have to try it several times before it completes.

  • Should we trust our routers?

    Posted on May 7th, 2021 at 19:49 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Michael Horowitz has a story about how the Asus GT-AC2900 router had THREE password bypass flaws….

  • Dell computers put at risk

    Posted on May 6th, 2021 at 14:21 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So today’s headline that I wrote above is one that I see too often. It gets you to be worried about something that I honestly don’t think attackers will use as a means to attack us.

    Here’s the background (thanks to reader RougeSec58 for the links:)

    Dell support article

    Reddit thread with N-Able script to remove it.

    So the other day I read this twitter post….

    Due to the introduction of Driver Signature Enforcement & Kernel Patch Protection, it’s become increasingly rare for attackers to create and execute #Windows rootkits.

    All of these firmware/rootkit headlines make me ponder… gee… why is it that attackers use phishing lures so much? Because that’s the low hanging fruit. It’s not easy to attack us to go after Spectre style attacks. I see this Dell issue in the same way. It’s way easier to get us with phishing lures and click baits than it is with these sort of attacks.

    “there is no evidence at this time that its flaws have been exploited in the wild.”

    Just because there is a possibility of attack doesn’t mean it is probable that it’s  being attacked.

    As always, feel free to disagree with me and educate me that I’m in the wrong. That’s what security is all about anyway ….weighing the risks and trying to determine if THAT is going to get me or if it’s just headlines to make me worry.

  • Ghacks report Defender bug

    Posted on May 5th, 2021 at 11:38 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Martin reports postings about defender scan files filling up hard drives. I’m plain old Defender here and not seeing this issue so it appears like it’s an interaction between Defender and possibly Sophos? Note that to see that location you’ll need to have “Show/hide” box ticked to show Hidden items and then you’ll have to click through a UAC prompt to see into that Store folder.

  • Office current branch triggers Outlook Bug

    Posted on May 4th, 2021 at 14:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    @b pointed me to several threads in the answers forums where in Version 2104 ” quite a few home users and companies have found that Version 2104 (Build 13929.20296) of April 29 introduces a bug which causes To: field autocomplete dropdown to go up off screen instead of down. Not everyone is affected; It probably depends on screen resolution and text scaling”  He said he has that version but is not seeing the bug. Rolling back to the prior version 2103 (Build 13901.20462) of April 23, does seem to work for everyone (including Office 2019).

    This is why I recommend moving back to the semi annual branch  where you don’t get quite as many bugs.

    You can read the threads here:

    Outlook 2016 Autocomplete is doing something weird

    Outlook 2019 autocomplete view changed after update

    Outlook 2019 Address Autocomplete Broken

    You seeing anything?

  • Last call for 1909

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    All’s clear for updating. Plus, I bid farewell to the man who saved the Internet.

    As noted in my Alert last week, I’ve given the all-clear to install updates this month. The printing bugs have been squashed, and no other issues are apparent.

    If you have still not installed updates, review your deferral settings. If you’ve chosen to defer updates to a specific date, click on Start, Settings, Windows update. If updates are deferred, you will see a bold notice that updates are paused plus a Resume updates button. Clicking that button will clear any deferrals you have set.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.16.0 (2021-05-03).

  • Tasks for the weekend May 1, 2021 – How to remove IE

    Posted on May 1st, 2021 at 23:48 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (YouTube video here)

    So now that new Edge is out you may ask yourself … “Self? Is it wise to keep Internet Explorer 11 on my Windows 10?”

    Some people have indicated that they proactively have removed IE from their systems and then realized some applications demand – even now – that Internet Explorer is still kept on the system. The biggie in the small business space is QuickBooks. Yes indeed, it still demands that Internet Explorer is installed.

    IF you want to proactively remove it here are the steps:

    20H2 instructions:
    Open Settings.
    Click on Apps.
    Click on Apps & features.
    Then on optional features.
    Click on Internet Explorer 11 option.
    Click to Uninstall.
    Click the Restart now button.

    Consider this an “optional” task for the weekend for those that have a backup and are in a beta testing mood. If you find a key application needs it just go back through the steps above and this time click to add features and choose Internet Explorer 11. Reboot again and it’s back on your machine. Remember to not have the “metered connection” trick enabled otherwise the reinstallation will fail.