WServerNews: Is Microsoft finally giving Windows a reboot?
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In this week's newsletter
Windows does a reorg. Status of Win10 versions. Patch this TeamViewer vulnerability! Problem modifying Windows 10 HOSTS files. MS Word tip: Please don't welcome me back! FACTOID: Getting a good shave on the cheap. Plus lots more -- read it all, read it here on WServerNews!
And stay tuned for our August issue of FitITproNews which is coming to your inbox this Wednesday with a feature article on Ultrarunning for those of readers who are gnarly enough to handle it! 😉
Enjoy this week's newsletter and feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we've covered -- we love hearing from our readers! And please tell others about WServerNews! It's free and always will be free -- and they can subscribe to it here. Thanks!!!
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This week's observations and ruminations from Mitch Tulloch our Senior Editor...
Windows does a reorg
Paul's headline might be sensational but the essence of his article is important for all of us who deploy Windows in our environment:
Windows Rocked by Major Reorg (Thurrott)
In his article he quotes from an internal Microsoft email by Chief Product Office (hmm is that CPO? Reminds me a bit of Star Wars) Panos Panay who indicated that a reorganization will soon be taking place to create a new division called Windows + Devices (hmm why not Windows and Devices? What's with this increasing trend towards using + instead of & or and in brand and business names? Like the trendy downtown restaurant Deer + Almond we have downtown here in Winnipeg that serves neither deerburgers nor almond cookies) that will have several new teams such as a Windows, Developers, and Experiences (WDX) Engineering team, a Windows, Developers, and Experiences PM team, and maybe others.
What does this signal? Hopefully (and I mean HOPEFULLY) it means that Microsoft is finally getting the message they've been hearing from many of their customers that the Windows release program or servicing model -- which includes both feature updates (new versions of Windows 10) and quality updates (cumulative updates containing bug fixes) -- basically sucks. Why? Because too many updates are buggy and cause more problems than they solve.
In other words, the quality of Microsoft Windows has gone down over the last five years since Microsoft laid off their entire Windows Test team to make Windows development more agile. As a result of this a lot of Software Development Engineer in Test (SDET) employees suddenly had to look for new work.
Now listen carefully because I'm not trying to dis Windows 10. I actually *like* Windows 10 and think it's terrific, it's definitely a step up in many ways over Windows 7 (which itself was terrific -- remember that I was the lead author of the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press -- and by the way, Amazon still has one copy in stock so buy it before it's gone LOL!) and I've never -- well, rarely -- had any problems running Windows 10 in our environment.
Still, the problems many users (and admins) have had with patching Windows have been frustrating to say the least! See for example this TechGenix article that I wrote two years ago. And from what I've been reading since then on various forums like AskWoody, it's only gotten worse.
So will the current reorg make Windows more reliable? Will updates for the platform have fewer bugs? I don't know. I *hope* so of course. I hope that what's motivating this reorg is recognition that Microsoft needs to improve the *quality* of Windows, especially in regard to updates.
What are our readers' thoughts on this matter? Does Windows need a reorg? Or maybe a kick in the pants? Email me at [email protected]
Status of Win10 versions
And speaking of feature updates a.k.a. different versions of Windows 10, there's a page on Microsoft Docs that provides info on the status of the rollout of the latest Windows version along with any known issues for that version. And lately it appears that Microsoft is actually making an effort to maintain this page and keep the info up to date, yay! Here is the page for the latest version v.2004:
And you can find the above page plus the pages for earlier versions of Windows 10 in the left-hand column of this starting page:
And if you're *really* interested in learning about how Microsoft blocks feature updates from being installed or even showing up in Windows Update if there are known compatibility issues with applications, drivers or devices on targeted machines, read this post by Adam Gross which goes into a gross (!) amount of detail:
Patch this TeamViewer vulnerability!
MITRE reports that a new vulnerability has been discovered in TeamViewer Desktop for Windows earlier than 15.8.3:
As the Center for Internet Security (CIS) reports, this vulnerability could allow for offline password cracking:
In response TeamViewer has released some updates for TeamViewer 8 through 15, see the TeamViewer Community site for info:
Best practice is to always update TeamViewer to the most recent version to benefit from the latest security patches.
Problem modifying Windows 10 HOSTS files
Bleeping Computer reports that beginning at the end of July Microsoft has started flagging as hacked any modifications you've made to the HOSTS on your Windows 10 PC to block Windows from sending telemetry to Microsoft:
This issue may affect users who have modified their HOSTS file to block ads and other annoyances and included Windows telemetry as well.
FYI if you want to implement other approaches to turning off telemetry in Windows 10, check out this recent article on TechPout:
Note also that enterprise customers who use Windows will soon have a new option for controlling which diagnostic data is sent to Microsoft from their machines. This new feature is in preview and is described here on Microsoft's EU Policy Blog:
GHacks also has more info concerning this new feature:
It's no wonder I suppose that this new feature is being announced in Europe given the GDPR legislation and so on.
And finally, while you're at it you might also want to take a look at Pi-hole which provides network-wide ad blocking:
Got more thoughts about anything in this newsletter?
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Tip of the Week
>> Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
MS Word tip: Please don't welcome me back!
An anonymous reader sent us this tip for those who use Word 2013 or Word 2016:
I was annoyed some years ago when I upgraded from Word 2010 to 2013 becuz everytime I opened a document I had previously saved I got this displayed for several seconds:
The trouble is the PgDn key didn't work until this disappeared! This slowed down my workflow which annoyed me lots.
Then recently I found a solution: When the doc opens and this stupid Welcome Back message appears, immediately press the Windows key TWICE and then press PgDn rightaway afterwards.
Pressing the Winkey the first time opens the Start menu and makes the Welcome Back message disappears. The second time Winkey is pressed, the Start menu is retracted and focus goes back to Microsoft Word which responds now to PgDn keypress. Yay.
Got an admin or productivity tip you'd like to share with the almost 200,000 IT pro readers of our newsletter? Email us at [email protected]
>> Got any admin tools or software you'd like to recommend to our readers? Email us at [email protected]
MailStore Server is an email archiving solution which helps you and your colleagues to find emails quickly - regardless of their age. Have a look at the vendor's website to learn more:
ShadowProtect backup and disaster recovery software ensures on-prem business systems and data are fully protected and always available:
This PowerShell module gives access to the Kerberos ticket cache. It can read and purge tickets of the current logon session.
O&O ShutUp10 givers you full control over which comfort functions under Windows 10 you wish to use, and you decide when the passing on of your data goes too far:
Factoid - Getting a good shave on the cheap
Our previous factoid and question was this:
Fact: While minimalism has its fans, this popular architectural trend has its downside when it comes to building public spaces.
Question: Have your feelings towards minimalist architecture changed during this pandemic?
The previous factoid actually linked to an article on The Atlantic that was about how the trend towards minimalist architecture in restaurants was making them so noisy you couldn't carry on a conversation with someone sitting across the table from you. One of our readers Michael Hallsted agreed with this and said:
Howdy, I totally agree! The problem, that I have with noisy restaurants, is finding one that is acceptable to my Mom. She likes to eat out once a week, and over the last couple of years, the list of restaurants gets shorter and shorter. My Mom has hearing aids in both ears, and half the time, she ends up turning her hearing aids off due to the excessive background noise in restaurants. So, any dinner time conversation is rather pointless, and eating out is no longer an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, due to the current world situation, I can not imagine restaurants returning to "opulence" any time soon, due to the cleaning and sterilizing requirements, which is sad because "opulence" is so much nicer when eating out. Thanks again! Michael Hallsted
Unfortunately that's probably spot-on that the pandemic will kill any attempt to return to opulence and may actually accelerate the trend towards bare minimalism in public spaces. But adding some acoustic tiling to the ceiling and upper walls (which no one ever touches) could still help in my opinion and would not detract significantly from the appearance of the building's interior. But I guess practitioners of minimalist architecture would object to even that on grounds of disharmoniousness or whatever…
Now let's move on to this week's factoid:
Fact: A team of engineers at MIT have finally discovered why steel razor blades go dull even though steel is 50 times harder than human facial hair.
Question: Assuming you use a blade razor to shave your face (or legs or whatever) which brand of blade or disposable shaver do you recommend that gives you a good shave, can be reused many times, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
Email your answers to [email protected]
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European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference - Nov 9-12 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
DevOpsCon - Nov 30 - Dec 3 in Munich, Germany
Enterprise Class WiFi Security with Avril Salter (RunAsRadio)
Packet Pushers Roundtable: SD-Branch, BGP Over QUIC, Bandwidth Avoidance (Heavy Networking)
Back to Basics: iSCSI (Virtually Speaking)
Introduction to 5G with Andrew Von Nagy (Clear To Send)
Introducing Edgevana - Mark Thiele (The CTO Advisor)
How ESNIs will change censorship and NDR (Risky Business)
Teams Client Updates (Microsoft Cloud IT Pro Podcast)
TikTok & SpaceX Geek Out (Microsoft Cloud Show)
The Start of Something Different, Part 1 (Windows Insider)
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Product Of The Week
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