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  • MS-DEFCON 4: The printing issues continue

    Posted on September 28th, 2021 at 02:45 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    AskWoody Plus Alert Logo
    ISSUE 18.37.1 • 2021-09-28

    MS-DEFCON 4

    By Susan Bradley

    Printing or security — you decide

    We’re back to reasonable levels of safety and of understanding the nature of recent updates, so I’m recommending the resumption of update installation — but not without some major caveats. Sadly, there are still some side effects with printing, which is getting to be an annoying trend. It’s been months now.

    These updates also include new and expanded categories plus registry keys that allow you to officially defer Windows 11 and then choose to push off the upcoming 21H2 release. More about that later.

    Consumer and home users

    I haven’t seen printing problems with directly attached printers, the most likely scenario for home users. Therefore, I recommend applying the September updates now. The reason is that this month’s updates include expanded sections to choose various versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11 and specifically block what you don’t want.

    For those of you on Windows 10 Professional, after installing the September updates you’ll be able to click on the search box and type in “edit group policy.” Next, scroll down to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Update, and Windows Update for Business. Find the setting for Select the target Feature Update version. Click on Enabled, fill in the product version in the first box (“Windows 10”), and then the feature release version you want to keep.

    Of course, Windows 10 Home can’t do group policy. Instead, use registry keys to defer Windows 11 and stay on the version of Windows 10 you want. You’ll be adding a value under

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

    Manually add the values “TargetReleaseVersion”=dword:00000001, “ProductVersion”=”Windows 10”, and “TargetReleaseVersionInfo”=”21H1”.

    I’ve made it easier for you by including links to download these registry keys. If you want to stay on 21H1, click on this link and install it on your system. If you plan to let your machine upgrade to 21H2, click on this link. And if you leave the setting alone and do nothing, and your computer does not have the hardware capabilities for Windows 11, you will not be offered the upgrade. If you do have hardware that can handle Windows 11, you’ll be offered — but not pushed to — Windows 11.

    Business users

    First the good news: Microsoft has finally acknowledged what we’ve known for weeks now — its updates trigger issues if your users do not have administrator rights. The bad news is that it hasn’t yet acknowledged the issues we’ve seen this month, nor are any fixes planned. Microsoft will only urge us to

    Verify that you are using the latest drivers for all your printing devices and where possible, use the same version of the print driver on the print client and print server.

    Microsoft indicates that the trigger is

    … caused by a print driver on the print client and the print server using the same filename, but the server has a newer version of the file.

    But here’s the problem: We never installed a newer driver on the server. We did nothing but install the software update to the server. I know that many of these notifications are triggered by the use of v3 (older) printer drivers versus v4 printer drivers. If you cannot upgrade to v4 drivers, you have a couple of options to “re-push” out drivers to fix this issue.

    Unfortunately, in this era of cumulative updates you can’t break out the parts of the update you want from the parts you don’t want. So if you don’t install this update this month, you put your business at risk from MSHTML-based ransomware attacks (CVE-2021-40444).  If you make the decision to not install these updates, make sure you use the registry keys I wrote about earlier to block the MSHTML vulnerabilities. Don’t go unpatched and unprotected.

    References

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.37.1 (2021-09-28).

  • PrintNightmare still a nightmare for patchers

    Posted on September 13th, 2021 at 02:41 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    As we start to ready ourselves for the September updates, we’re still haunted by the PrintNightmare issues from the August updates.

    The good news for home users and consumers is that we haven’t seen the August updates triggering side effects with printers. For business users, there are still issues requiring vigilance.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.35.0 (2021-09-13).

  • Is it safe to print again?

    Posted on August 16th, 2021 at 02:41 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Is Print Nightmare finally fixed?

    The August updates are out and finally include a fix for the fix for the earlier fix for Print Spooler issues that allow attackers to take control of your system via rights elevation. While the good news is that we finally have a fix for the current Print Spooler issue, I’m seeing in various tweets that an issue still exists. If you want SYSTEM (beyond admin) rights on any supported version of Windows, there is a way to use a remote/cloud malicious print driver to get them.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.31.0 (2021-08-16).

  • Freeware Spotlight – Three tools to make your printer print

    Posted on August 9th, 2021 at 02:42 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    BEST UTILITIES

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    The last few builds of Windows 10 have not played well with LAN and Wi-Fi printers. It’s not as if our printers didn’t have enough problems with just a USB connection.

    I spend a lot of time fixing customers’ printing issues and the networking issues caused by Windows updates. It seems like half of what we do at our shop these days.

    How do we fix our printer woes on a tight budget? Freeware to the rescue!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.30.0 (2021-08-09).

  • MS-DEFCON 1 – Blue screens of death triggered by patches

    Posted on March 10th, 2021 at 17:23 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    ISSUE 18.9.2 • 2021-03-10

    Logo

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Don’t patch!

    I’ve moved the patching alert status to DEFCON 1.

    I don’t do this lightly but we are seeing issues with printing after the March updates are installed. Ghacks reports blue screens of death (BSOD) are being triggered after printing. At the moment, it is unclear whether this is the result of the March operating system updates or just the Windows 10 versions, but for sure the Windows 10 releases are triggering these blue screens of death.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Alert 18.9.2 (2021-03-10).
    Learn more about MS-DEFCON!

  • Freeware Spotlight — Graph Paper Printer

    Posted on June 10th, 2019 at 02:00 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you provide IT services to schools, here’s a utility that should make teachers very happy!

    Graph Paper Printer is a tiny, flexible, and portable app that lets you print all sorts of graph-paper styles, from simple squares to music manuscripts — to other’s … well, we don’t know what they’re used for.

    See the full story in the June 10, 2019, AskWoody Plus Newsletter (Issue 16.21.0)

  • Office for iPad (finally!) supports printing

    Posted on April 29th, 2014 at 13:14 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It works pretty well. Hands on.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.