It's time to block Windows Automatic Updating

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2019 05:15:00 -0800

Those of you who feel it’s important to install Windows and Office patches the moment they come out – I salute you. The Windows world needs more cannon fodder. When the bugs come out, as they inevitably will, I hope you’ll drop by AskWoody.com and tell us all about them.

For those who feel that, given Microsoft’s track record of pernicious patches, a bit of reticence is in order, I have some good news. Microsoft’s Security Response Center says that only a tiny percentage of patched security holes get exploited within 30 days of the patch becoming available.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: January patches include a reprisal of KB 4023057 and a swarm of lesser bugs

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 09:12:00 -0800

In general, the January patches look relatively benign, but for some folks in some situations they can bite. Hard.

On the surface we’ve seen the usual Patch Tuesday Cumulative Updates and secondary Cumulative Updates for all versions of Windows 10. Microsoft calls the secondary Cumulative Updates “optional” because you only get them if you click “Check for updates.”

Windows 7 and 8.1 got their usual Monthly Rollups, but there’s a problem. Specifically, this month’s Win7 Monthly Rollup has a couple of bugs that are only fixed if you install the preview of February’s Monthly Rollup. Which makes no sense at all, but that’s Microsoft. There’s another Win7 Monthly Rollup bug that’s fixed by installing a different “silver bullet” patch.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: Mystery patches for IE and Outlook 2013 leave many questions, few answers

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2018 08:21:00 -0800

Just when you’re ready to settle in for some egg and nog and whatever may accompany, Windows starts throwing poison frog darts. This month, a fairly boring patching regiment has turned topsy turvey with an unexplained emergency patch for Internet Explorer (you know, the browser nobody uses), combined with an Outlook 2013 patch that doesn’t pass the smell test.

Mysterious bug fix for IE

Microsoft set off the shower of firecrackers on Dec. 19 when it released a bevy of patches for Internet Explorer:

Win10 1809KB 4483235 – build 17763.195

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Microsoft delivers emergency patch for under-attack IE

Credit to Author: Gregg Keizer| Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2018 17:26:00 -0800

Microsoft rarely mentions Internet Explorer (IE) anymore, but when it does, it usually means bad news.

So it was Wednesday, when Microsoft issued a rare emergency security update to plug a critical vulnerability in the still-supported IE9, IE10 and IE11. The flaw was reported to Microsoft by Google security engineer Clement Lecigne.

According to Microsoft, attackers are already exploiting the vulnerability, making it a classic “zero-day” bug. Because of that, the company released a fix before the next round of security updates scheduled for Jan. 8.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: After months of bad news, November’s patching seems positively serene

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2018 08:30:00 -0800

By far the most important reason for this month’s relative patching calm: Microsoft decided to wait and get the Windows 10 (version 1809) patch right instead of throwing offal against a wall and seeing what sticks.

What remains is a hodge-podge of Windows patches, some mis-identified .NET patches, a new Servicing Stack Update slowly taking form, a bunch of Office fixes – including two buggy patches that have been pulled and one that’s been fixed – the usual array of Flash excuses and Preview patches.

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Amid calls for a Windows bug status dashboard, Microsoft belatedly agrees to build one

Credit to Author: Gregg Keizer| Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2018 02:59:00 -0800

A Windows expert this week urged Microsoft to put its money where its mouth is and produce a status dashboard or website that reports and tracks problems with the operating system.

Coincidentally or not, on Wednesday Microsoft said it would launch a “Windows update status dashboard,” but did not name a timetable except for a broad “in the coming year.”

“I can go to this page and see if something happening with Office 365 is just a me thing or if everyone else is seeing the same,” said Susan Bradley in a Nov. 13 email reply to questions, referring to the Office 365 Admin Center. (Note: Only those with administrative credentials have access; it’s not meant to provide information to end users.) “(But) if I want to find out if something is a known issue with Windows 10, I have to dig through – and monitor for changes – these pages,” she continued, listing two separate support documents for one such known issue.

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Get 90% Off Your First Year of RemotePC, Up To 50 Computers for $6.95

Credit to Author: DealPost Team| Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 09:46:00 -0800

iDrive has activated a significant discount on their Remote access software RemotePC in these days leading into Black Friday. RemotePC by iDrive is a full-featured remote access solution that lets you connect to your work, home or office computer securely from anywhere, and from any iOS or Android device. Right now, their 50 computer package is 90% off or just $6.95 for your 1st year. If you’ve been thinking about remote access solutions, now is a good time to consider RemotePC. Learn more about it here.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: October’s been a nightmare

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:30:00 -0700

This month’s bad patches made headlines. Lots of headlines. For good reason.

You have my sympathy if you clicked “Check for updates” and got all of the files in your Documents and Photos folders deleted. Even if you didn’t become a “seeker” (didn’t manually check for updates) your month may have been filled with blue screens, odd chicken-and-egg errors, and destroyed audio drivers — and Edge and your UWP (“Metro” Store) apps might have been kicked off the internet.

You didn’t need to lift a finger.

Worst Windows 10 rollout ever

Hard to believe that Windows 10 version rollouts could get any worse, but this month hit the bottom of a nearly bottomless barrel. Some folks who clicked “Check for updates” wound up with a brand spanking new copy of Win10 version 1809 — and all of the files in their Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos and other folders disappeared. I have a series of articles on that topic, arranged chronologically:

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Apple's dropping Back To My Mac Remote Access. Here's an Alternative, Currently Discounted.

Credit to Author: DealPost Team| Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:10:00 -0700

Apple is dropping the Back To My Mac remote access feature, and in a recent support document they urge you to be prepared by looking for alternatives.

RemotePC by iDrive is a full-featured remote access solution that lets you connect to your work or office computer securely from anywhere, and from any iOS or Android device. Right now, their 50 computer package is 90% off or just $6.95 for your 1st year. So if you need an alternative to Back To My Mac, or have been thinking about remote access, now is a good time to consider RemotePC. Learn more about it here.

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Microsoft Patch Alert: Despite weird timing, September’s Windows and Office patches look good

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 08:40:00 -0700

As we near the end of patching’s “C Week” (which is to say, the week that contains the third Tuesday of the month), there are no show-stopping bugs in the Windows and Office patches and just a few gotchas. As long as you avoid Microsoft’s patches for Intel’s Meltdown/Spectre bugs, you should be in good shape.

Why a Patch Monday?

On Sept. 17, Microsoft released two very-out-of-band cumulative updates for Windows 10:

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Microsoft Patch Alert: Mainstream August patches look remarkably good, but watch out for the bad boys

Credit to Author: Woody Leonhard| Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2018 14:01:00 -0700

So far this month we’ve only seen one cumulative update for each version of Windows 10, and one set of updates (Security only, Monthly Rollup) for Win7 and 8.1. With a few notable exceptions, those patches are going in rather nicely. What a difference a month makes.

We’ve also seen a massive influx of microcode updates for the latest versions of Windows 10, running on Intel processors. Those patches, released on Aug. 20 and 21, have tied many admins up in knots, with conflicting descriptions and iffy rollout sequences.

Big problems for small niches

At this point, I’m seeing complaints about a handful of patches:

  • The original SQL Server 2016 SP2 patch, KB 4293807, was so bad Microsoft yanked it — although the yanking took almost a week. It’s since been replaced by KB 4458621, which appears to solve the problem.
  • The Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 patch, KB 4456688, has gone through two versions — released Aug. 14, pulled, then re-released Aug. 18 — and the re-released version still has problems. There’s a hotfix available from the KB article, but you’d be well advised to avoid it.
  • Outlook guru Diane Poremsky notes on Slipstick that the version of Outlook in the July Office 365 Click-to-Run won’t allow you to start Outlook if it’s already running. “Only one version of Outlook can run at a time” — even if the “other version” is, in fact, the same version.
  • The bug in the Win10 1803 upgrade that resets TLS 1.2 settings persists, but there’s an out-of-the-blue patch KB 4458116 that fixes the problem for Intuit QuickBooks Desktop.
  • The Win10 1803 cumulative update has an acknowledged bug in the way the Edge browser interacts with Application Guard. Since about two of you folks use that combination, I don’t consider it a big deal. The solution, should you encounter the bug, is to uninstall the August cumulative update, manually install the July cumulative update, and then re-install the August cumulative update — thus adding a new dimension to the term “cumulative.”
  • The Win7 Monthly Rollup has an old acknowledged bug about “missing file (oem<number>.inf).” Although Microsoft hasn’t bothered to give us any details, it looks like that’s mostly a problem with VMware.

The rest of the slate looks remarkably clean. Haven’t seen that in a long while.

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