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  • Windows 7 end of support: Separating the bull from the horns

    Posted on January 15th, 2020 at 14:18 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There are so many half-truths, mistakes, and simple lies floating around about Win7’s demise that I put together a lengthy list.

    Keep in mind that many of the people writing about Win7’s EOL haven’t been around long enough to remember the abstract beauty of an Aero desktop. At least, I think Aero was beautiful.

    Long list of Truths and Falsehoods in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Patch Lady – Windows 7 FAQs

    Posted on January 10th, 2020 at 22:45 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is a preview of the content in the next Patch Watch.

    Windows 7 is coming to the end of life.  What does that mean?  Here’s some “Patch Lady” answers:

    1.  If I rebuild my computer on January 15, will updates be available?  Yes, Windows 7 updates won’t go away, you just won’t get any new patches on that Windows 7 after next Tuesday. (The exception is for Windows 7 Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise versions if you are a small business.  Remember that for small businesses, Microsoft has made an exception and you can purchase Windows 7 extended support updates to be delivered via Windows update, WSUS or windows catalog.  If you need to know more, fill out this form and Amy and Ted will get back to you).
    2. I’ve heard from Comcast (or my ISP) that they will only allow Windows 10 on their network after next Tuesday, what does that mean?  No, Comcast is probably just letting you know that next Tuesday will be the last release of public patches for Windows 7.  Your computer will still work after next Tuesday.  However, you’ll want to be very careful and not do random surfing on any device that no longer receives patches.
    3. Will Microsoft release patches if there is some huge worm to unprotected machines?  Maybe.  Probably yes.  Historically speaking, Microsoft time and time again have showcased that when their customers are at risk they will do the right thing and release updates even when a platform is out of support.  Just this year they publicly released Windows XP patches when they thought a worm event might occur.  So historically, yes, when they think customers are at risk, they will release public patches.
    4. If I rebuild my computer after January 15, what’s the best way to get fully patched?  Remember that you will run into the slow scanning issue with Windows 7.  Follow this guidance and manually download certain patches first.
    5. Will AskWoody.com still cover the needed updates for Windows 7 so we know what we’re missing, or if I’m a small business and have purchased patches, I’ll know if it’s safe to install them?  Yes, I still plan to list all Windows updates and report on any side effects that may be seen.  I know that the rest of the AskWoody MVPs will still keep an eye out for side effects and issues as well.  Given that Microsoft plans to release the Windows 7 updates to all normal patching platforms, I fully anticipate being able to track the updates.  Furthermore I’ve purchased a single Windows 7 license in order to track issues myself.
    6. Can I surf and read email and do everything I need to do on my Windows 7 after January 14 as a home user?  I’m not comfortable at all saying that “oh sure, as long as you are paranoid you can be secure enough”.  On a daily basis I notice at the office that my firewall blocks phishing attempts from foreign countries, I see attempts to crack passwords, I see malicious banner ads in rotation on normal web sites that my firewall stops.  If you have an android phone, iphone, chromebook or some other operating system, I’d much rather you do general surfing on that device and limit your use of your beloved Windows 7 device for those applications that you know won’t work on a device or on Windows 10.

    ….stay tuned.  More FAQs to come

  • Dedoimedo: Straight talk about Windows 7

    Posted on October 30th, 2019 at 06:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I don’t agree with everything in the article, but @EP just pointed me to a remarkably well-written and, in my opinion, highly accurate guide to the end of Windows 7. Igor Ljubuncic, on his Dedoimedo blog, doesn’t mince any words:

    If you have a Windows 7 machine, you can continue using it past the operating system EOL date. I’ve laid down the recipe for good security, the hardware will work as long as it lasts, and the software won’t just vanish. You will have time to adjust, and this should coincide with hardware replacement. Once that happens, you should definitely leave Windows 7 behind, and get a modern up-to-date operating system to match the capabilities of your new machine.

    If you’re going to stick with Win7, he has a number of common-sense recommendations (and observations!) that ring true with me.

    I disagree with him on some nit-picking points:

    • I don’t like EMET because it borks too many programs that otherwise work just fine. You can try it, using his recommended method, but if you get too frustrated, don’t be afraid to turn it off.
    • Igor’s fond of Microsoft Office (or at least tolerates it). By and large, I’ve kicked my Office habit – moved to the free Google apps. Like Igor, I also have editors who need Word DOCXs, and I use Office for those, but I’d likely be just as happy using the free online version of Word. Books are a different story altogether, of course — it’s Word all the way with those. Not my choice.
    • He talks about Linux, but doesn’t touch on the most important Linux implementation for Win7 users — ChromeOS. You’ve heard me say it before, but for most people who aren’t overly concerned about snooping, a Chromebook should be your #1 candidate for a replacement computer. (And if you are concerned about snooping, you have a very long row to hoe with Win7.)

    As Igor says, this advice is for home users — if you’re running a 100-machine network, the considerations are quite different. But I still recommend the Chromebook. 🙂

    You’re going to hear a lot of fearmongering, tales of impending hell fire and damnation, from the mainstream press. Many of the people offering the sermons will have the best intentions. But they don’t know your situation, what you need, what you can afford (time and money)… and, ultimately, what’s best for you.

    Win7’s, uh, transition to EOL is not The End of the Universe as We Know It.

  • Worth considering: 0patch for Win7 after January 2020

    Posted on September 20th, 2019 at 16:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I just got a note from @Microfix that pointed me to an interesting discussion from Ionut Ilascu at BleepingComputer:

    After Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 on January 14, 2020, 0Patch platform will continue to ship vulnerability fixes to its agents.

    “Each Patch Tuesday we’ll review Microsoft’s security advisories to determine which of the vulnerabilities they have fixed for supported Windows versions might apply to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 and present a high-enough risk to warrant micropatching”

    Micropatches will normally be available to paying customers (Pro – $25/agent/year – and Enterprise license holders). However, Kolsek says that there will be exceptions for high-risk issues that could help slow down a global-level spread, which will be available to non-paying customers, too.

    Many of you know that 0Patch has been issuing quick fixes for bad bugs in recent patches. In all cases, I’ve refrained from recommending them, simply because I’m concerned about applying third party patches directly to Windows binaries. That said, to date, they’ve had a very good track record. Whether they can continue that record with patches-on-patches-on-patches remains to be seen, of course.

    I fully expect Microsoft to release patches for newly discovered major security flaws, even after January 14. Whether those will step on the 0Patch patches is anybody’s guess.

    Definitely something worth considering….

  • Woody’s Windows Watch: What to tell friends who use Windows 7

    Posted on April 1st, 2019 at 04:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    No, the earth isn’t about to tear asunder and demons aren’t poised to pounce. But there are some very simple, common-sense admonitions that every Windows 7 customer should know. Even your sainted Aunt Mabel.

    With 40%-of-so of all Windows machines running Win7, there’s a lot of FUD, plenty of marketing, and little clear, unbiased thinking.

    We’re taking this trip to Win7 End of Life together. Here’s how to get started.

    Out this morning to Plus members in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.12.0.

  • Microsoft issues KB4493132 Windows 7 SP1 support notification

    Posted on March 20th, 2019 at 04:54 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For those of you wondering how you will get the nag for Windows 7 EOL, Microsoft has released KB4493132 on March 19, 2019.

    @Cybertooth asks

    Windows Update is offering my Windows 7 box a patch released yesterday, KB4493132:
    Does anybody know anything about this update? A search here at Woody’s showed no results. Even a Web search via DuckDuckGo turned up nothing.

    KB4493132 is available through Windows Update if you want notifications during the next year that Windows 7 will reach end of support on January 14, 2020.

    After 10 years of servicing, January 14, 2020, is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates for computers running Windows 7 SP1. This update enables reminders about Windows 7 end of support. More information about Windows 7 end of support can be found here.

    This update is available through Windows Update. If automatic updates are enabled, this update will be downloaded and installed automatically. For more information about how to turn on automatic updating, see Windows Update: FAQ.

    Hiding this patch is suggested for those of you who don’t want multiple reminders during the next year.

    Details (which are few) in Computerworld. Seven Semper Fi!

  • Yes, Microsoft says Win10 has hit 800 million devices

    Posted on March 8th, 2019 at 15:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Gregg Keizer has a solid – and suitably skeptical – summary in Computerworld:

    Microsoft on Thursday said that 800 million devices are now running Windows 10, a 100 million increase in less than six months.

    Microsoft has regularly touted numbers for Windows 10, most of the time, although not always, by citing the active monthly devices, or those personal computers, tablets and other systems used within the last month.

    The 800 million number is sufficiently fuzzy that it’s hard to say if that’s monthly active devices, or just installs and/or activations, or some other metric. Microsoft’s number page says, simply, “There are more than 800 million devices running Windows 10,” dodging the definition quagmire. Says Keizer:

    Using the 12-month average change in user share, Computerworld recently forecast that nearly 41% of all Windows PCs will be running Windows 7 at the moment it falls off Microsoft’s support list.

    That’s an astonishing number.

  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Preparing for the Windows 7 winter

    Posted on January 21st, 2019 at 19:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yes, Ned Stark, Win7 winter is coming about a year from now, but there are steps you can take now to prepare.

    Even if you’re the kind of Win7 user who figures they’ll have to pull it from your cold, curled claws.

    See Woody’s nostrums, warnings — and sound recommendations — in issue 16.2.0 of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter