News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon

We're community supported and proud of it!

Newsletter Archives

  • What would you suggest?

    Posted on May 1st, 2021 at 19:31 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patrick writes…..

    At the present, I am running a desktop 11 year old Dell Studio 540 with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 at 2.50 gHz (purchased in 2009). The HDD is beginning to run less than quietly. It is running Windows 10 20H2 (OS Build 19042.964). I just took almost 2 days (not full time, but agonizing anyway) to get iCloud for Windows working again with my Outlook 2016 after a Windows Update.

    When we recently got AT&T Fiber installed, I tried to connect with the Cat 5 cable installed in the house – to no effect, so I added a Mesh system. It works, but the signal is pretty low where the computer is installed.

    Which would be the better choice for me – (1) replace the HDD (I’ve been using a Seagate Portable 2 Gig SCSI disk to image the internal drive which is partitioned into C:,H, and J), or just buy a new computer and start over?

    So what would you do?  I’ll add my recommendation in the comments.

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Patching is approved

    Posted on April 30th, 2021 at 01:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.15.1 • 2021-04-30
    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Proceed to update.

    I’m separating my patching guidance into two categories — one for consumer or home users and one for business users. And I’m changing our MS-DEFCON level to 4. At this time, I’m not seeing major issues with updating.

    Consumer and home users

    The April updates have been much better behaved and I’m not seeing any major issues with the releases. Problems identified in 2004/20H2 as impacting performance in games have been automatically mitigated by Microsoft, using its Known issue rollback process. The April updates also resolved the lingering issues with printing triggered with the March updates. Importantly, the April updates install the new, Chromium-based Edge as the default browser and remove the old, “legacy” Edge. Be aware that this update will reset default programs, such as your PDF reader, to the new Edge; you’ll need to make manual adjustments to restore your preferences.

    Note: Going forward, when AskWoody mentions “Edge,” you should assume we mean the new, Chromium-based Edge. Otherwise, we will refer to legacy Edge.

    If you are still using Windows 10 Home or Pro 1909 you have only until May before that version is no longer supported. If you have not already upgraded to 20H2, I recommend taking this opportunity to do so. Remember, my favorite way to upgrade is to use the Update now button on the Software download page.

    Business users

    Coming with the preview releases for Windows 10, and included in the May Security releases, Microsoft will be including a new “News and Interests” taskbar item that will feature topics of interest to your users. If you want to proactively block it, use the Group Policy editor or adjust registry keys.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.15.1 (2021-04-30).

  • 21H1 is getting closer

    Posted on April 29th, 2021 at 20:55 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You’ve probably seen the news that the release of 21H1 is getting closer.

    You know how I feel about the initial release of feature releases. I prefer to hold back a bit. Remember we have ways now to better control when feature releases are installed. The good news is that even for “seekers” the 21H1 release won’t automatically install. You’ll have to approve it being installed.

    The updated features included in it are underwhelming even for businesses. Windows Hello improvements and Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) performance improvements are the two often touted.  For me the big advantage is the  life cycle support.

    But bottom line, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and will let you know when it’s safe.

  • So can you fix line spacing please?

    Posted on April 28th, 2021 at 14:23 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You can always tell when the Microsoft marketing department comes into full swing. There is something in the news that makes you raise an eyebrow.

    Today’s edition is “Microsoft wants to know what font you prefer as the new default for Word”. You can even vote on it.

    Seriously. You can read about it on the Thurrott blog or straight from their site.

    I have always said that Word can take 10% of your time to compose a document and 90% of the time to get it formatted and printed. Here’s some things I’d love to have Microsoft work on before a new font:

    Stop autocorrecting certain things like HSA into HAS. If I typed in HSA because it’s an accounting term for a Health savings account, I really meant HSA.  You need to be smarter about autocorrect. Many times you are not helpful.

    My fellow peeps often fondly remember PFS write.  It allowed you to type and got out of the way. There needs to be a PFS write mode – something that would make it not autocorrect, not try to be helpful in formatting and numbering and just let us type.

    Numbering: OMG the number of times I have to fix formatting of bulleted lists because things get indented in such weird ways that make no sense.

    Line spacing: Sometimes Word is just possessed in how it things you want things spaced. Often we need things double spaced and oh no Word thinks I want instead EXACTLY  18.5PT stuff that pops up every now and then? The number of times I have to use the format paint (the paintbrush icon) to copy the format that works to a place where it’s not …. well just say I’ve done it a lot.

    What about you? What drives you insane about Word?

  • Computing should adapt

    Posted on April 26th, 2021 at 01:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Even though the 21H1 version of Windows is not yet officially released, Microsoft is already planning on changes for the next feature release.

     We’re getting hints of what Microsoft has in store for 21H2. BleepingComputer reports that many of the changes will be in the Start Menu, Taskbar, Action Center (notification center), and File Explorer, among others. One of the most visible changes will be to icons, as Microsoft itself has hinted. In fact, if you want to obtain the icons without going through the insider program process, there are websites where you can download the bundle of icons and install them on your computer running 20H2 and perhaps earlier versions.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.15.0 (2021-04-26).

  • Tasks for the Weekend – April 24, 2021 – changes to New Edge

    Posted on April 24th, 2021 at 22:47 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here

    Included in the April updates is the installation of New Edge and the removal of old Edge. But already Edge has changed: The download location has moved from the bottom left to the top right. Now for those of you that are Firefox and Chrome users you’ll say… yeah? And? As that’s where it’s been for you. But for Edge, this wasn’t where the download used to be. Unfortunately there’s no way to change it back to the bottom left.

    Also you may have had your PDF reader changed to Edge. You’ll want to click on the search box, then type in default apps, scroll down to find file type, now file PDF and change it to what program you want it to be. (It will make more sense if you watch the video).

     

  • Windows 10 gaming issues fixed with known issue rollback

    Posted on April 24th, 2021 at 12:32 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    “A small subset of users have reported lower than expected performance in games after installing KB5000842 or later updates. Most users affected by this issue are running games full screen or borderless windowed modes and using two or more monitors,” Microsoft stated in the Windows 10 2004 and Windows 20H2 known issues and notifications site.

    This fix is being rolled out using Microsoft’s Known Issue Rollback (KIR) feature to send out a minor fix via Windows Update, which should propagate to affected users within 24 hours.

    “This issue is resolved using Known Issue Rollback (KIR). Please note that it might take up to 24 hours for the resolution to propagate automatically to consumer devices and non-managed business devices. Restarting your device might help the resolution apply to your device faster.”

     

    AH that Known issue rollback is kicking in.

  • Coming soon to a Windows 10 near you

    Posted on April 22nd, 2021 at 15:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is the time of the month that we normally see preview updates for Windows 10.

    Per the ITpro blog, included in the preview updates will be a new “News and interests” on the task bar.  The official announcement is here, but the IT pro blog gives a bit more information about the timing and roll out….

    News and interests on the taskbar will begin rolling out to Windows 10 users today. We are taking a measured approach starting with the April 2021 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10, and broad availability will occur in phases. Devices running Windows 10, version 1909 (and later) who have installed the May 2021 Windows monthly update (or later) will be included in this phased rollout.

    So as I’m reading between the lines, if you have the April preview or main May update installed, this new task bar will start showing up.

    For the record I have a person in the office that I STILL find the Vista era gadgets and install them on his Windows 10 because he prefers the date and clock in his sidebar. Which if you remember they got rid of because they found that attackers could sneak things in there and they were vulnerable.

    Bottom line know that your task bar will change. Don’t know when…. but it will…

    P.S. I will be investigating if there is a registry key available for Home users to turn it off, stay tuned.

    TenForums has a tutorial on how to disable the taskbar “News and Interests” via group policy or registry key file. (Thanks to Bruce for pointing that out)

  • How big is your hard drive?

    Posted on April 21st, 2021 at 23:56 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Recently I did an article for ComputerWorld about how Windows 10 has increased what I consider “normal” hard drive space.

    No longer do I think 100 gigs is enough for Windows 10. What size of hard drive do you have in your Windows 10? Pick the one closest to what you have.

    I also don’t consider anything other than a SSD drive is acceptable for Windows 10. Just a kind reminder, if you finally get to the point where your Windows computer is getting wheezy, remember you can take the plunge with Linux and resident Linux guru Sandra will be here to help. Bottom line the “bare minimum” of Windows keeps edging up over time.

    (Apologies in advance if the poll isn’t scientific, I just find them fun and educational to get your views)

    How big is the hard drive in your Windows computer?
  • End of the road for old Edge

    Posted on April 19th, 2021 at 01:08 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

     

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.14 • 2021-04-19

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The April 13 updates bring a close to “old”  or “legacy” Edge and force us to say hello to “new” Edge. The Windows 10 updates released in April will remove legacy Edge and replace it with new Edge.

    I’ve noted before that when I’ve set a default PDF viewer and then installed new Edge, it has been necessary to reset the preference. Resetting default applications always has been problematic in Windows 10; it has often taken several feature releases before things settled down and defaults were respected.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.14.0 (2021-04-19).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.14.F (2021-04-19).

  • Tasks for the weekend – April 17, 2021 – How to best ask a question

    Posted on April 17th, 2021 at 23:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Youtube here

    Here are just some quick tips on how to ask a question to then get the best and quickest response. Note that this is just some suggestions of mine and I’m sure many of you have better recommendations on how to ask a question.

    First start off by searching for an answer: Put in your “exact” error message and try searching first. You may be surprised that someone else had your same problem and someone else has helped them find the answer.

    A kind reminder: There are no dumb questions. If you think it’s a dumb question, it’s just dumb because you can’t find the answer. Always ask, as someone else probably has the same question that you have.

    Next location, location, location: Find the proper venue and post. Clicking on the links on the right hand side gets you into the the best section for the version of Windows you have.

    Including details helps us to understand what happened:

    Include the following details about the Computer exhibiting the Problem:
    Version installed:
    Feature release
    Other applications on the box:
    Antivirus Software / Version:
    Processor:
    Memory:
    Was something recently installed?

    Details about the Network, if applicable:
    Wired or wireless:
    Firewall or Network particulars?

    Full, complete error message wording or screenshot:
    When did the issue first occur?
    What changes were made around that time?
    Steps to reproduce if any:
    Any Additional Information you think would be helpful?

    Any other tips you’d recommend that I’ve forgotten to post here?

  • Edge appears to be having a Friday meltdown

    Posted on April 16th, 2021 at 10:54 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Over on Gunter Born’s blog he’s confirming the same thing… Edge and Edge’s updating server appears to be having a Friday meltdown.

    Some report that rebooting fixes the issue. Bottom line if you are seeing this, it’s not you, just let’s wait this out and see if it fixes itself.