Newsletter Archives

  • Chrome moves download indicator

    Susan BradleySo my 95 year old Dad calls me up this morning and says “I need help”.  He was on his computer and working on a tax return (yes he still works on returns at 95 years of age) and says “The zip file download isn’t working”.  He’s on the cloud version of tax software which downloads zip files of pdfs and he uses Chrome.

    Well as you can guess recently as I’m sure many of you know, Chrome moved the download indicator from the bottom left to the top right. Now if you are used to using different browsers you’ll know that many of them use top right (Edge) as well as bottom left.

    You CAN change it back.

    You can also merely deal with the change and cuss at software developers that love to change things as my Dad did when I pointed out that the zip file REALLY was being downloaded but now look for that bubble in the top right.

    “Dumb a-……s”  is what Dad muttered. I figured many could relate to my tale. And yes, just a reminder, you CAN change it back.

    Public service announcement for the day:

    Launch Chrome and go to chrome://flags/.
    Search for “Download Bubble” or “Download Button”.
    Disable both flags.
    Click on “Relaunch” to restart Chrome.
    After following these steps, the downloads bar should be moved back to the bottom of the Chrome window.

  • Ready to retire your servers?


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Last week, I urged users to review their software needs and consider options other than sticking with outdated and unsupported operating systems for their personal PCs.

    This week, I’m going to discuss what businesses need to think about when it comes to server operating systems. They have a lifecycle that should be reviewed, just like workstations. For example, October represents the end of the road for Server 2012 and 2012 R2. It’s time to look ahead and plan accordingly.

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

  • Streaming is an absolute mess

    Susan BradleyInspired by this. The other night my Sister wanted to CONTINUE watching something she started to watch on Amazon prime. We have access to it via our Comcast interface. She couldn’t find it in her recently viewed items. I ended up going online on a computer which had the right recently viewed items and then manually add it to the “my stuff” section. It seems like nightly we have to go “hmmm where was that being streamed on? And do we have a subscription to that?”

    Of course you can go the antenna route and watch various old shows on rerunned networks. What I’ve been doing lately is seeing if I can add a streaming service inside my Amazon subscriptions so they are – in theory – all on one interface. These days you can even find old movies and shows online on youtube.

    What about you? Do you find yourself struggling to find things you like to watch? And where and what to watch it on?

    P.S. as an aside we are now hooked on “Murder in…” and fortunately I can link it under my Amazon video account.

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Patch carefully

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    ISSUE 20.34.1 • 2023-08-22


    By Susan Bradley

    August can be a weird month where patching is concerned.

    I’m lowering the MS-DEFCON level, but with caution. I usually hope to give time near the end of the month for patches to be applied, by lowering the level to 4 and sometimes 5. This time, I’m wishy-washy. Caution is the order of the day, so I’m lowering the level to just 3.

    In my house, August represents a tradition — things occur that make me think technology wants to take a vacation, just like the rest of us.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.34.1, 2023-08-22).

  • 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).

  • Vulnerabilities everywhere

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    ISSUE 20.33 • 2023-08-14


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Another month, another series of updates for seemingly everything on the Windows platform.

    But this isn’t just any month. Patch Tuesday once again coincided with the week of the annual security conference, Black Hat. The Windows-based topics range from “Hacking (and much much more) with Azure Active Directory” to a briefing titled “Defender-Pretender: When Windows Defender Updates Become a Security Risk.”

    In addition, there is a talk called “Single Instruction Multiple Data Leaks in Cutting edge CPUs aka Downfall.” Better known as CVE-2022-40982, the flaw is a transient execution side-channel issue and impacts all processors based on Intel microarchitectures from Skylake through Ice Lake. Not to be left out, Apple and Android bugs have their own talks.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.33.0, 2023-08-14).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Are you gettng more spam in your inbox?

    Susan BradleyRecently at the office I had to go in and edit the spam settings because I got tired of all sorts of spam and email threats coming into the office.

    If you are on Microsoft 365 you can edit the spam levels by following this.

    If you using Desktop Outlook you can also adjust the spam filters inside the Outlook application.

    I’ve always been convinced that unsubscribing from something doesn’t work it just showcases to the firm that you exist.

    We’re also seeing emails that clearly are doing investigation and background checking – for example an email was sent supposedly from one employee of the firm to another. So clearly they harvested information from the web site and the email information posted there.

    So what about you?  Are you seeing more spam?

  • Exchange patchers – August heads up

    Still in the process of testing and evaluating updates but be aware that I am seeing failures to install the Exchange updates potentially on German language servers — unsure if it’s other languages see the comments in this post.

    Normally I would be urging you to patch Exchange mail server (Microsoft’s email server) updates as soon as possible but I’m seeing patching admins indicate that on some  machines it’s failing to install the patch. Note that when Exchange fails to properly install it will often turn the services off completely and then fail to turn them back on. Bottom line don’t panic, just go into your Exchange server and turn the services manually back on. Chances are it will recover.  Note it MAY be that this just impacts German language servers. Note that it is impacting all non English versions of Exchange. Seeing indications in the blog that it may be that locale only?  But given the time zones they may be the ones patching and those of us in North America are still testing. Bottom line, be aware of potential installation issues.  You may want to hold back a bit and see what happens.

    More on this in the Newsletter on Monday. I will also keep the Master Patch List page up to date on the latest.  In the meantime I would keep an eye on the Exchange blog site.

  • What’s up with the August office updates

    Did I miss a month in the calendar?

    I thought Office 2013 was no longer under support as of April.  Not August but A-P-R-I-L.

    OH I see what they are doing…. it’s a “defense in depth” patch which is shorthand for saying that we clearly still see that a lot of you are using Office 2013 so we’d better fix it so it’s not used in more attacks.

    Proving once again that bugs will always be with us.  Once again more full analysis of what the risks are coming in the newsletter.

    Microsoft Office 2013

    Product Knowledge Base article title and number
    Excel 2013 Description of the security update for Excel 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002451)
    Office 2013 Description of the security update for Office 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002439)
    OneNote 2013 Description of the security update for OneNote 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB4022167)
    Outlook 2013 Description of the security update for Outlook 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002449)
    PowerPoint 2013 Description of the security update for PowerPoint 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002399)
    Project 2013 Description of the security update for Project 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB4484489)
    Publisher 2013 Description of the security update for Publisher 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002391)
    Visio 2013 Description of the security update for Visio 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002417)
    Word 2013 Description of the security update for Word 2013: August 8, 2023 (KB5002445)
  • August 2023 updates are out

    For Apple devices, while 16.6 was released back on July 24, your device may not have received them yet – or will be installing it shortly. As always, if you see any weirdness try turning the device off and then back on again.

    August is BlackHat and Defcon – the big security conferences held in Las Vegas and this month is a BIG release for security patches as well.

    We STILL do not have a patch for all affected version of Office/wordpad for last month’s security vulnerability in Office/html (if you remember it was patched in the M365 versions but not all) instead we have an advisory.

    Exchange mail servers have a patch.

    .NET’s have security updates.

    More in next weeks newsletters.  For now I start testing on my canary machines and you – you just hang tight and defer those updates.

  • Wrapping up July’s updates


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We’re at the dividing line. We are working on getting July’s updates installed and reviewing whether we have Windows 10 22H2 installed. Meanwhile, that window of opportunity for installing updates is closing soon.

    But that’s just the Windows side of the patching world. On the Apple side, we’ve had to deal with zero-day patches this month. Not to be left out, Android is doing last-minute beta testing on Android 14 beta 4.1.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.32.0, 2023-08-07).

  • Getting stuck on an old wives tale

    Years and years ago I had a hard drive die.  I was working on a paper for college at the time and hadn’t made a backup. And of course, the computer hard drive died.  I nearly cried. But then I stuck the hard drive in the freezer and froze it for several hours. For a short time the hard drive worked, long enough for me to get into the documents folder and grab the word document. While the freezer trick worked back then, it’s not as likely to work now. To be fair it’s more likely that me not using the drive let it temporarily work once I stuck the drive enclosure back in the computer.

    For one SSD drives won’t be saved with this trick. For another, mechanical based hard drives are more likely to be better protected than that hard drive I had years ago.

    With SSD drives one thing I do is keep a spare SSD hard drive around. You never know when you might need to replace a hard drive. The older your computer is, the more likely it will be that someday you’ll find that SSD drive will fail.  SSDs tend to not warn you, they just fail. Thus always (and I cannot stress this enough) always have a backup of your data. It doesn’t matter if that backup is local or in the cloud, just absolutely make sure you know how to get your Office subscription or installation back (i.e. where are the product keys or login information) and how to get your key information back.

    So how many times has a hard drive failed on you? Were you prepared?