Newsletter Archives

  • Known Issue Rollback


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Patches that fix themselves

    Every month we receive updates to keep us secure, but sometimes they cause other side effects. If only Microsoft had a mechanism to roll back the side effects of any update. But wait — at least for some updates, it does.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.13.0 (2021-04-12).

  • It’s time for 20H2


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Are you ready for 20H2? I am!

    If your computer hasn’t yet been offered 20H2, you aren’t alone. I’ve seen several laptops, including high end Dell gamer-style models, that haven’t been offered 20H2. A notification is shown in the bottom corner indicating that the system is coming to the end of support but when you click on the notice, nothing happens.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.12.0 (2021-04-05).

  • Finding working drivers for an older PC


    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    Drivers are the software ‘glue’ that connects your PC’s hardware to its operating system. Without drivers, nothing works.

    Once a PC is no longer supported by the manufacturer, its abandoned drivers can become incompatible as new versions of Windows roll out.

    Here’s one known-good way to track down a still-working driver for an older PC.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.9.0 (2021-03-08).

  • MS-DEFCON 4 – February updates trigger few issues


    MS-DEFCON 4 – February updates trigger few issues

    By Susan Bradley

    All-clear for February patches

    It’s that normal time of the month when I’ll urge everyone to get the February security updates installed. For consumers, I’m not tracking any major issues. l also recommend that those of you still on 1909 consider installing 2004 or 20H2, unless they are not yet being offered on your PCs. I’ve now installed 2004/20H2 on enough systems to be comfortable recommending either one on your machines. Remember, the complete list of February updates that I recommend — or not — can be found at any time on the Master Patch List.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.8.0 (2021-03-01).

  • The latest vulnerabilities in the network stack


    The latest vulnerabilities in the network stack

    By Susan Bradley

    Focusing on business risk

    For this week’s security focus, I’m going to home in on the impact of three security vulnerabilities considered by Microsoft the most critical security issues of the month and on their impact on businesses. Microsoft even released a specific blog post to focus on these risks; it urges installation as soon as possible. But I disagree with that assessment. I urge you to test first, ensure there are no issues with your systems, then patch as normal. I’m not yet ready to give the go-ahead for consumers to patch just yet.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.7.0 (2021-02-22).

  • When the patch is worse than the attack


    When the patch is worse than the attack

    By Susan Bradley

    .NET releases include known bugs

    I was dismayed to see that Microsoft had released several .NET patches that have known interactions with a major developer software platform and could potentially have wider impact on those of us with line-of-business applications. Because .NET updates have been very well behaved for so long, I was finally feeling that .NET updates were trustworthy on their face, with no risks to my applications, and could thus be recommended without fear.

    But not this month. It’s very disturbing to see Microsoft release a security update that has a known problem, one that had been identified even before the security patch was released.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.6.0 (2021-02-15).

  • Kicking the Win10 2004 tires

    Windows 10

    By TB Capen

    The newest Windows is trickling out to a PC near you — or maybe not.

    The mystery with Version 2004 is why it’s been offered to some systems but not others. That was the case on three of my PCs. So to get a look at the newest Windows, I forced an upgrade. Here’s what I found.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.37.0 (2020-09-21).

  • A Win10 guide for Windows Update settings



    By @PKCano

    For most PC users, the basic task of keeping Windows up to date involves a bewildering pantheon of terms.

    To make the process of patching Windows and Office a bit easier, here’s a simple summary of Microsoft’s updating system. This article isn’t aimed at business users who have the support of IT departments. It’s dedicated to consumers and small-business owners who strive to keep their machines safe from malware, operating-system flaws, and other threats. The descriptions below apply to Windows 10 Versions 1903 and 1909. I’m still looking at the updating-process changes in the new Win10 2004.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.25.0 (2020-06-29).

  • Update to AKB2000016 Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10

    For those of you that have upgraded to (or been pushed into without forewarning or your permission) Win10 v2004, there will not be much difference dealing with Windows Update if you are running the Home Edition. “Pause” and “Metered connections” remain the best built-in controls. And, of course, there is always wushowhide.diagcab and third-party software.

    But those running the Pro Edition have lost one of the major means of Windows Update control. The pulldown settings for deferral of Quality and Feature updates have gone missing from the GUI at Windows Update\Advanced options.

    AKB2000016 Guide for Windows Update Settings for Windows 10 has been revised to reflect the changes between v1909 and v2004. Previous setting suggestions have been differentiated as applying to v1909 and earlier. And possible suggestions have been made for dealing with Windows Update in v2004 and later(?).

    So, those of you with v2004 (voluntary, or otherwise) who want to try one of the methods (you don’t need both), please let us know how well they work.

  • Coming to a PC near you: Win10 2004, the ‘May 2020 Update’



    By Woody Leonhard

    Two weeks ago, Microsoft started rolling out the latest Windows 10 feature update — to little enthusiasm from customers.

    Yawn   another Win10 release?

    If you’re running Win10, you may have already seen an offer to “Download and install” version 2004. Or you might’ve seen a notice that your machine isn’t yet ready. As usual, the situation’s a bit complex — unnecessarily so.

    But as with every new release of Windows, you’re well advised to avoid Version 2004 for now on any production or personal system.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.22.0 (2020-06-08).

    UPDATE: Tero Alhonen reports on Twitter that a Surface Pro 4 is getting Win10 version 2004 through Windows Update.

  • All roads lead to Win10 1909 — but you can take your time


    By Woody Leonhard

    For a change, Microsoft is letting everybody decide when to upgrade to the latest release of Win10 (Version 1909) — provided they’re already running the penultimate version, Win10 1903 (and in some cases Version 1809).

    That’s good news, and it represents a sea change in Microsoft’s pushiness.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.42.0 (2019-11-18).

  • When Windows 10 Feature Updates don’t go smoothly

    Last weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and update a Win10-1803 Pro machine to Win10-1809, using Windows Update. I’d taken a system image backup, and as it wasn’t my production machine, I wasn’t too worried.

    This machine is under a year old, a purchase necessary when a hardware failure put paid to my trusty Win7 Pro laptop. It allows me to work more than I can manage at my desktop, and does most of the hard yards online, especially here.

    Windows Update installed 1809 x64 2019-10B – this was before Woody changed MS-Defcon from 4 to 2. It took 20 minutes to Prepare to Install, and nearly 2 hours to download, and several hours to install.

    Needless to say, it didn’t go to plan… The first indication of a problem was after several hours of installing, when a blue screen appeared bearing the words “Stopcode” and “Bad Pool Header”. It restarted, still on 1803, pending install. It continued installing. Eventually it restarted, and I was able to see KB 4521862 and KB 4519338 had installed – along with a bunch of drivers being updated, when the Pro settings were not to download drivers from Windows. I also noticed I hadn’t had to reset the Metered Connection settings to allow the update to download!

    After it finished its update, it wasn’t working properly. It looked fairly normal, but restarting started problems – none of the visible desktop items actually worked – not the Start button, any of the TaskBar icons, or anything other than the Ctrl>Alt>Del routine.

    I tried Sign Out. It took ages. It caused a loop of: Hi; We’re getting everything ready for you; This might take several minutes – don’t turn off your PC (that part remained until it got to Hi again); Leave everything to us; Windows stays up to date to help protect you in an online world; Making sure your apps are good to go; It’s taking a bit longer than expected, but we’ll get there as fast as we can. This loop took 5 minutes to restart, again, and again, and again.

    It had been over 12 hours since the process started at this point. As I had to do my day job, I just left it chugging away in the background while I got on with earning an income. Over 5 hours later, it finally came up for air – a desktop, but still not functioning.

    Along the way, I saw various errors:
    Error 0x80072EE7
    The gpsvc service failed the sign-in – access is denied
    windows\system32\config\systemprofile\desktop is unavailable

    To add to my woes, it wanted to restart itself again, where it re-entered the 5+ hour loop. I still had work to get done, so I just let it be. No stopcodes this time, but still it didn’t work.

    I couldn’t access safe mode, even with Recovery Tool USB access. Start Up Repair “couldn’t fix [the] PC”. Using the Recovery Tool, I was able to access the Command Prompt, where SFC /SCANNOW reported “Not enough memory resources are available to process this command” the first time, and then, after it went through 100%, “Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation”. Attempting to use Restore Points was another failure – they were listed, but “unavailable”.

    At this time, I decided it was time to try to restore the system image. Again, the gpsvc error. Apparently there had been some issue prior to the update attempt? I had to put it aside for a few days, until I got time to address it properly. By this stage, I was heading for an ISO file on a USB stick. This laptop now needs to be reset from the ground up, going back over all the metered connection, deferred updates, Customer Experience, Start Menu apps settings etc. etc. etc. – and I’m sure there’ll be something important I forget!

    Having got the ISO installed, I was able to run SFC / SCANNOW and DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth. All 100% clear, thank goodness.

    There are only 5-6 programs to reinstall. If this had been a production machine, I’d have dozens of programs to have to reinstall. It’s still going to take another day or two until I get it back to normal, as I have other things I need to prioritize. If I’m a bit cranky this weekend, you now know why!

    I’m really lucky I have a wealth of knowledge, support and expertise here at my disposal. A normal home user would have ended up paying for professional technical support, and if it had been my production machine, would have resulted in a loss of chargeable hours. I’m counting my blessings!