In this issue:
Mailbag. Ask Our Readers (answers): Spell checking for webmail? Editor’s Corner. This Week in IT – phishing, IPS, ICANN and Amazon Echo. Windows News. Windows Server News. The Workshop – tools, whitepapers and more (NEW SECTION!) Factoid: Roombahumbug! And Finally.Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!
In last week’s newsletter we mentioned that if you’re currently running Windows 10 on your home PC and are debating whether to accept Microsoft’s offer of a free upgrade to Windows 11, you should be aware of that Microsoft says their free upgrade offer “does not have a specific end date for eligible systems” and that “Microsoft reserves the right to eventually end support for the free offer” and also that the end date “will be no sooner than October 5, 2022.” One of our alert readers named Jeffrey Harris read this and saw an opportunity to remind other readers of the following:
Mitch, I want to point out that six years after the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 ended, it is still possible to do a free upgrade of Windows 7 to Windows 10, as long as one has a Windows 7 product code. I upgraded my last Windows 7 machine last year. I am sure that Microsoft knows this is still being done, and has done nothing to stop it.
Thanks for this. Any readers still interested in finally getting rid of those Win7 machines still hanging around can learn how to perform this free upgrade from Ed Bott’s article on ZDNet. As usual be sure to perform all preliminaries as listed by Bott in his article.
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Ask Our Readers (answers): Spell checking for webmail?
Last week Michael Hallstead sent us the following asking for help from our readers on a problem he’s facing with a small business customer he provides IT support for:
Last Saturday, the boss wanted to know if there was a way to do spell checking in a webmail client. Here’s some background info. There’s 8 people in the whole company. Still uses a netware server for 22 year old MRP software. Everyone is on a new computer, with a virtual machine to handle the MRP program, and everyone has 2 monitors, one for the virtual machine, and one for everything else. However (and there is always a however) there is an older gentleman there, who is not that computer savvy, and not the best speller around. You put him in front of one of these workstations and he freezes up and is totally confused. So the boss keeps him on a win xp computer because he is Ok with that. He uses firefox v52 for webmail, and that works just fine. He’s the nicest guy one could meet, knows our products, knows the community, knows the customers, and is invaluable to the company, just don’t ask him to spell.
So, I’m not really sure what to do for him. There are no spell checking browser extensions for v52 of firefox (well, there was one, but it did not work)and trying to find a universal spell checker for win xp, that gives an interface similar to gmail’s spell checking — red squiggly underline/popup correct word, within the webmail client… just haven’t found anything. Normally, one could just compose the email in a word document, spell check it, and copy and paste into the webmail client, but he doesn’t get that somehow either. And yet, he understands the MRP program and can use that fine. Go figure.
This drew several responses from our helpful readers. First comes the following very sensible advice from Craig Hollins who runs a MSP in Australia:
Re the spell checking for webmail. My advice would be encourage the customer to update the XP machine – not only is it out of support but so is its successor. Keeping an out of support computer creates multitudes of problems:
- Obvious unpatched security holes
- Inability to run newer software
- Inability to run management agents from Kaseya, Labtech etc.
- Your requirement to keep reminding yourself of the limitations of the older OS.
- Antivirus software probably won’t run.
The list goes on. But more to the point, as a trusted IT advisor, I would be strongly suggesting that this user either upskill or retire – and I say that as someone rapidly approaching retirement age but having no intent to do so. Putting the entire company at risk is, in my book, too high a price to pay for any worker.
Craig’s advice is rock-solid of course, but for various reasons sometimes a small business—especially when it’s been around for a long time and the owner is getting old—simply may not want to do this. Their mentality in this situation can be described as “I’ll just drive it until the wheels fall off” and nothing reasonable you try to tell them can change their mind.
Craig did however did offer one additional suggestion that could possibly be of help to Michael in his situation:
Or you can find the soft approach and try and find a Windows XP skin for 10 or 11.
Now that’s an interesting idea and it might be worth exploring!
Mark Longfellow who is a Test Analyst for a software company also had an interesting suggestion for Michael:
On the user that has issues spelling, if technology fails (and the fact that the user is still on an XP box and all that entails for the company), it may be time to insert a helper inline. Any mail this user wants to send out needs to go to someone within the company that can take care of the spell-checking, send back to the user to then send out to whomever it needs to go to. It is obvious that the user is important to the company that they would go to this level of extremism to help facilitate and that the user is fully aware of their spelling shortcomings, they may just need to bite a bullet and work with others on this.
Great suggestion, thank you!
Here’s one more comment on this matter, this one comes from Mads Lomholt who lives in Norway:
On the old guy on the WinXP/FireFox 51 and spell checking for webmail: Edge does a wonderfull job in correcting Norwegian, Danish, US and UK English here and are about as «generic» as any other browser. I’m not a Firefox-user or know/remember FF51, but is it so far away from any browser of today to make it a show-stopper?
Does this guy drive a car, or did he? Even back to the Model-T Ford the «interface» is pretty much the same today. The T-Fords are not around in traffik anymore, but the drivers are, in varying ages 🙂 So don’t under-estimate your own or others ability to renew!
Yep, I’ve been in end-user support and client health a while, and «lubricating» small changes are possible and important J
Good idea but not sure if Microsoft Edge is supported on XP. In addition this article says “Microsoft Edge does not have spell-check settings built into it. The spell check-settings rely on the settings that have been enabled or disabled in Typing Settings from within your Windows.” So AFAIK this would only work on Windows 10. Still, it’s helpful to know that Edge can leverage the spell-checking capabilities of Windows 10 as I wasn’t aware of that previously. Thanks!
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Last week I was watching some online presentations from NANOG 84 the 84th community-wide meeting of the North American Network Operators’ Group. NANOG was founded in 1987 and it’s goal is the advancement of an open, secure, and robust Internet. One session in particular caught my attention, it’s a presentation by Paul Coggin called “Pwned in Space” which discusses theoretical and real-world examples of cybersecurity issues concerning space systems, particularly satellites. In other words it’s about hacking satellites. I recommend that interested readers watch Paul’s fascinating presentation which can be found here on YouTube:
You can also download the PDF of his slide deck here. Pay attention especially to slides 11 through 14 which deal with unencrypted satellite communications. If you watch to Paul’s presentation concerning these four slides you can learn that many, and possibly most, satellite communications traffic with ground stations is transmitted in unencrypted form. Paul explains that the reasons have to do with ensuring reliable communications in the case of solar storms and similar disruptive space radiation events, and because of the excessive cost of hardening satellites against such events.
This is very interesting stuff when you consider recent news headlines like these:
Anonymous says Russia’s spy satellites are now hacked. But the nation denies everything (Interesting Engineering)
Russia Denies Satellite Hacking and Warns of Wider War (Infosecurity)
If Russia Hacks a U.S. Satellite, Then What? (Nextgov)
Very interesting times we live in. But time to get back to work, so let’s see what else has been happening in the IT world…
This Week in IT
A compendium of recent IT industry news compiled by Your Editors. Feel free to email us if you find a news item you think our newsletter readers might be interested in.
Lots of interesting cybersecurity news to try and digest this past week. Big in the news is that NVIDIA’s stolen code-signing certificates are being used to sign malware which would allow malware to bypass Windows security to get installed on targeted machines (BleepingComputer). Windows admins need to take note of the difficulties NVIDIA and Microsoft together face on how to resolve this problem—see this article on Penetration Testing for more info. The NVIDIA breach apparently also enabled hackers to breach Samsung’s defenses and Samsung confirms that some of the source code for their Galaxy mobile devices has been stolen. So maybe it’s time for me to ditch my Galaxy phone and go back to using an iPhone again, rats—and just when I was finally getting used to Android.
With everyone’s eyes glued to their screens these days watching and wondering what’s going on in the Ukraine, it’s no wonder that hackers are now using phishing themes that leverage people’s interest in the Ukraine situation (BleepingComputer). So beware of unsolicited news on this topic entering your inbox or other forms of digital communications. And then there is the recent huge uptick in phishing attacks that impersonate LinkedIn communications (KnowBe4). It’s getting harder to sort out what’s real and what’s luring you into a trap that your company may have a hard time getting out of. Making sure you have cyberinsurance coverage against phishing attacks is pretty essential nowadays, though the news that insurance giant AON was recently hacked does make one pause for thought—hmm (Insurance Journal).
Is your organization’s network currently protected by intrusion prevention system (IPS) software? If it isn’t you should check out the review of the best IPS software of 2022 on our TechGenix website. And while you’re at it read this article on the the importance of having a good IT vs. IT Security relationship between these parties at your company (TechGenix).
Last week we mentioned that Ukrainian government authorities had asked ICANN to shut down root name server instances they operated within Russia and take other steps to isolate Russia from the Internet. ICANN has now responded to them with the following letter (PDF). We’re actually glad that ICANN has taken this stance because we believe a free and open Internet is essential for mining truth in a world deluged by spin, misinformation and fake news from many different sides.
And finally, aren’t you glad you didn’t buy an Amazon Echo (Ars Technica)?
Windows 11 is getting a makeover and TechGenix author Brien Posey has some details concerning this. Even the much-loved Notepad app is being refreshed (Thurrott) though personally I’d rather they had left it alone because of its usefulness in stripping out unwanted non-ASCII characters when cutting/pasting text. More disturbingly perhaps is that Microsoft appears to be sneaking subscription info into the Settings app on Windows 11 (PCWorld) and if they do so then this will probably also happen in a future update to Windows 10 as well. On the other hand their new Windows 11 security feature called Smart App Control (SAC) which blocks untrusted / potentially dangerous applications sounds like a useful addition. Here’s a description of this feature from the Windows Insider Program on Microsoft Community:
Smart App Control (SAC) is a new security feature for Windows 11 that blocks untrusted or potentially dangerous applications. SAC can only be enabled on Windows devices that have performed a clean install with the latest Insider Preview build (Build 22567 and higher). SAC is first configured in evaluation mode. While SAC is in evaluation mode, it will learn if it can help protect you without getting in your way too much. If so, it will automatically be turned on. Otherwise, it will automatically be turned off. While in evaluation mode, a user can manually turn on SAC in the Windows Security app under the App & Browser Control section. More details on this feature will be shared in the future.
Finally probably nothing to worry about unless you’re gifting your recycled PCs to charity, but it seems that when you use Intune to wipe a Win10 or Win11 device it seems there’s still some stuff that’s left behind (Call4Cloud). The lesson is probably that it’s safer, privacy-wise, to blow up a PC instead of recycling it (Dave’s Computer Tips). LOL.
Windows Server news
On the enterprise end of the equation, Microsoft has explained why one of their January updates caused domain controllers to restart unexpectedly (Microsoft Docs). Hopefully they have learned from their mistake and won’t let it happen again. On the cloud side of forest authentication, check out this deep dive on how Kerberos works in Azure AD (ITOps Talk Blog). And to help keep your small or medium business secure see this announcement from Microsoft about the general availability of Microsoft Defender for Business for Microsoft 365 Business Premium customers, or for MDfBfM365BPc’s for simplicity’s sake—yeah.
Tip of the Week
Want to hide that annoying “System requirements not met” message when you’ve upgraded an unsupported Windows 10 system to Windows 11? BetaNews shows you how:
How to hide the ‘System requirements not met’ warning in Windows 11 (BetaNews)
Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences
Got an event, conference or webcast you want announced in our newsletter? Email us!
Cynet will host a Live Webinar: Key Lessons Learned from Major Cyberattacks in 2021 and What to Expect in 2022 each day from March 22 thru 25. More details can be found here (The Hacker News).
Microsoft 365 Conference from April 5-7 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, details here. Note that proof of vaccination is required for in-person attendance of this event.
Also be sure to check out Redmond Channel Partner’s calendar of upcoming Microsoft conferences for partners, IT pros and developers!
Got comments about anything in this issue?
Email us! We love hearing from our readers!
Meet the Editors!
MITCH TULLOCH is Senior Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written more than a thousand articles and has authored or been series editor for over 50 books for Microsoft Press and other publishers. Mitch has also been a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the technical category of Cloud and Datacenter Management. He currently runs an IT content development business in Winnipeg, Canada that produces books, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, courseware, documentation, newsletters and articles for various companies.
INGRID TULLOCH is Associate Editor of both WServerNews and FitITproNews. She was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press and collaborated on developing university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. Ingrid also manages Research and Development for the IT content development business she runs together with Mitch.
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The Workshop – tools, whitepapers and more (NEW SECTION!)
Got a product or solution or some other resource you’d like to tell our readers about? Email us!
Our TOOL OF THE WEEK is GFI MailEssentials which helps make email safe and productive for your business with 14 anti-spam filters, 4 anti-virus engines plus malware scanning in one email security package. With billions of emails sent and received each day, email is frequently an intruder’s means to attack your organization. GFI MailEssentials is easy-to-use and offers a comprehensive set of defenses to protect your company and improve email productivity. Check out some screenshots here and be sure also to check out our review of this product on the TechGenix website.
Here are some MORE TOOLS our IT pro colleagues have recently recommended for us:
- Need to set up a kiosk computer that purges all user data upon restart? Check out Faronics Corporation’s Deep Freeze, a reboot to restore solution for every workstation platform. Read the datasheet here (PDF).
- Infinio from IgniteTech is VMware caching software that delivers lightning-fast I/O for any storage — for the world’s fastest VMs.
- NTLite lets you integrate updates and drivers into your Windows deployment and remove unwanted components.
WHITEPAPER – Network troubleshooting: A how-to guide for modern businesses – The goal of this whitepaper is to provide network troubleshooting guidance for IT administrators of modern SMB environments, including the new challenges posed by the transformation to hybrid and cloud-first networks. Download your free copy today (requires registration). [EDITOR’S NOTE: This whitepaper was written by Yours Truly so you better go download it right now! J]
CYBERSECURITY GUIDANCE – The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has just released some guidance for organizations on how they can protect their network infrastructure from cyberattack. It’s mostly basic best-practices stuff but worth a quick review if you’re in charge of protecting your organization’s network. You can download the PDF here.
FREE EBOOK – A SysAdmin’s Guide to Azure IaaS, 2nd Edition – Written by Microsoft MVP Robert Smit and published by Altaro. Read the description of the book in this post on Robert Smit’s blog which includes a link where you can download the ebook after entering your email address.
This section will return as soon as we receive more books from publishers for us to review.
Our previous factoid and question was this:
Fact: Oracle’s Red Bull Deal Highlights the Power of Data-Crunching in Formula 1
Question: What’s your favorite energy drink, and why?
Ray Schmidt who works for the IT Client Services team for Corrections Canada/Parole Board of Canada responded to this one:
Hi Mitch, my favorite energy drink, hands down, is Beaver Buzz and more specifically the Green Tea flavor. I always found that most energy drinks tend to taste quite medicine-y but this one tastes just like iced tea (at least to me) and it’s not carbonated either, which as I continue to get older, is becoming more and more of an issue. It’s also a Canadian company and I just get a kick out of the name J
As a loyal Canadian I’ve definitely gotta try that one next time we go shopping at Sobeys!
Let’s move ahead to this week’s factoid:
Fact: While robot vacuum cleaners sound great in theory, they don’t always work out well in practice.
Question: What’s your own experience if any using robot vacuum cleaners? And if you don’t have one, what is your reason? Is it because you fear it might eavesdrop on your conversations (Forbes)?
Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!
The odd, the stupid and the remarkable. Enjoy.
Drones as Big as 747s Will Fly Cargo Around the World With Low Emissions, Startup Says (SingularityHub)
DeLorean Making a Comeback with New EV Model, San Antonio HQ (Greater SATX)
Elon Musk: Tesla Aims to Get All Steam Games Working in Its Vehicles (Tom’s Hardware)
Want fast internet? Move to Liechtenstein (BetaNews)
Raspberry Pi Powered USB4VC Connects Modern Peripherals to Retro PCs (Tom’s Hardware)
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