Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
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  • … and away we go …

    Posted on February 5th, 2015 at 11:12 woody No comments

    Sorry about the extended outage. I was changing domain registrars, and in the process of going from here to there, some pointers got pointed where they shouldn’t have gone. 

    Thanks to the folks at GreenGeeks, and a lot of extraordinary sleuthing by David Weinraub, we’re back up and running. There will be a few momentary hiccups over the next day or so as everything settles into its new location, but you probably won’t notice.

    I hope.

    Much happened while you were gone. I’ll try to get us caught up soon.

    Thanks for all the positive comments! Time will tell if I’ll be smart enough to avoid similar outages in the future.

  • Secrets of Office for iPad masters

    Posted on February 3rd, 2015 at 05:44 woody 2 comments

    If you’ve never tried Office for iPad, you should. The free version works amazingly well. You can’t build huge spreadsheets or write complex documents with the Office for iPad apps, but most stuff works just fine — and, as best I can tell, a trip through the iPad doesn’t clobber Office documents.


  • Windows 10’s aching Achilles’ heel: Patches

    Posted on February 2nd, 2015 at 06:49 woody 10 comments

    This has been bugging me for quite a while. New revelations about enterprise patching in Windows 10 are starting to reveal several disturbing congenital defects in Microsoft’s patching strategy.

    Have a look.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • Windows 10 build 9926 patch KB 3035129 teases new builds, throws benign error 0×80246017

    Posted on January 30th, 2015 at 11:26 woody No comments

    If you think Win10 builds 9933, 9934 are imminent, I have some sobering news.

    InfoWorld Tech Watch.

  • Hands on with the Windows 10 preview: What works, what doesn’t

    Posted on January 29th, 2015 at 11:14 woody 6 comments

    I think you’ll be surprised to see the dek on this post:

    With a few small steps backward and some giant leaps forward, Windows 10 is shaping up as a worthy successor to Windows 7

    Yep, you read that correctly. Win10 is shaping up to be downright usable. Still too early to know for sure, of course, but the chicken entrails are starting to line up.


  • MS-DEFCON 4: Two caveats, but install all outstanding Microsoft patches

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 20:34 woody 27 comments

    The two caveats:

    If you use Excel macros, you’re better off avoiding the December patches KB 2726958 for Office 2013, KB 2553154 for Office 2010, and KB 2596927 for Office 2007. Microsoft still hasn’t fixed the bug that breaks various aspect of Excel macro programming and execution, although it has issued a manual fix: KB 3025036.

    If you have an ASUS, Dell, or HP machines, check and see if it’s running an AMD processor. If so, Susan Bradley at Windows Secrets Newsletter — who’s my go-to authority on the subject — advises that you avoid KB 3004365, the January Windows Error Reporting fix. 

    With those two exceptions, Microsoft has either pulled or fixed all of the outstanding patches, as best I can tell. It looks like Avast has fixed whatever was dogging KB 3000850, from November, and the other problems mentioned earlier don’t seem to be generating the level of screams they once did.

    I’m moving us down to MS-DEFCON 4: There are isolated problems with current patches, but they are well-known and documented here. Check this site to see if you’re affected and if things look OK, go ahead and patch.

    My usual boilerplate advice:

    For those of you who are new to this game, keep in mind that… You should always use Windows Update to install patches; downloading and installing individual patches is a clear sign of impending insanity. I always install Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials updates as soon as they’re available – same with spam filter updates. I never install drivers from Windows Update (in the rare case where I can actually see a problem with a driver, I go to the manufacturer’s web site and download it from the original source). I almost never install “Recommended” patches (reader Marty suggests that you uncheck the Windows Update box that says “Give me the recommended updates the same way I receive important updates”). If Windows Update has a patch but the box isn’t checked, DON’T CHECK THE BOX. It’s like spitting in the wind. I use Chrome and Firefox, and only pull out IE when I feel very inclined — but even if you don’t use IE, you need to keep up with its patches.

  • Windows 10 can be installed on an HP Stream 7 tablet

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 11:58 woody No comments

    In spite of WIMboot.

    See this HP support thread.

    t/h AR

  • Still at MS-DEFCON 2 — but should have an update tomorrow

    Posted on January 28th, 2015 at 07:21 woody 1 comment

    For those of you who are still holding off on installing the December and January patches…

    Except for a few known problems, they’re looking OK. I’m going to wait and see what Susan Bradley says on Thursday in Windows Secrets Newsletter before giving a blanket go-ahead with warnings.

    The warnings will likely include as-yet-unresolved problems with Excel macros and several others.

    Let’s see how it shakes out. In the interim, rest assured that, unless you have state secrets or your work for a foreign intelligence organization, you don’t have much to worry about — there aren’t any mass clobberings going on with the December and January patches.

    Keep your powder dry and use Firefox or Chrome…