WServerNews: Whatznewmindedness

In this issue:

Editor’s Corner – Soapbox: A deluge of features. This Week in IT — future of GDPR, data center industry. News on Windows, Windows Server and cloud. Need a Zero Trust solution? Forgot your Windows password? Tips and Tutorials (NEW SECTION!) More freebies!! IT Bookshelf: AI vs Humans. Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

“Hey, what’s new?” (Why, just about everything!) “Yes that’s my question—WHY?!?” Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


We received the following email from a reader named “Dolphin Woman” earlier this week:

Hello, just wondering whatever has happened to your fun youtube vids you guys used to have? I don’t see them in your newsletter anymore? L

Our reply to Dolphin Woman was:

We got bored with them and wanted to try something new i.e. the new And Finally section at the end of our newsletter. But you can still get those videos daily in your inbox by subscribing to the Flixxy newsletter, see

Be sure to check out our new And Finally section at the bottom of each newsletter, and send us links for this section if you have some—thanks!

Ask Our Readers (solved!): Spell checking for webmail?

We’re closing the circle on this email that reader Michael Hallstead sent us back in early March:

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.

It turns out that Michael himself has found a solution to his problem and he shares it with us here:

Hello Mitch, I appreciate this week’s response from another Michael. I originally phrased my question as a pure IT question… how to spell check in a web mail client, without giving all of the surrounding circumstances, well, because it would just sound like I am rationalizing “bad behavior” sort of thing. I fully know what the “proper” responses would be, but I was hoping that once those proper warnings/responses were said, then an unconventional solution might be offered.

Those rationalizing surrounding circumstances: The city my company is in, geographically, is rural agricultural. One needs to go about 60 miles north of the city, to get to the next ( very small ) town. Going east, there’s literally nothing. Going south and west, 15 to 20 miles will get one to civilization. But the city is large enough that there is one of each national chain store; they even have a Costco. So any available labor pool, to draw from, is small. One of the company’s core product lines is farming equipment: mulchers, bed shapers, and various other tillage equipment. The older gentleman, in question, is actually hispanic, and is fluent in both english and spanish; and, as one can imagine, the farming equipment product line brings in a lot of people whose first language is spanish. So, in a company with only 8 employees, he is invaluable. But is any of this information relevant to figuring out how to spell check in a web mail client?

And speaking of the elephant in the room, I figured out a solution. I went to our web hosting company’s web site -> support area -> FAQ’s -> email -> and had a hashtag facepalm moment. They had a very detailed FAQ on how to use a free gmail account as a standard, normal, POP3 email client, so one can receive and send email, with our domain name, through our web hosting company’s mail servers. My company had an unused gmail account, I followed the instructions, and it just works. So the older gentleman now uses gmail to send and receive company email, and now has both spell checking and grammar corrections, courtesy of gmail. Also, to do all of this setup, I sat at this gentleman’s win xp computer, and used his firefox v52. There were no issues, set up went smooth, sending and receiving went fine, and gmail did not complain about me using an older version of firefox. So life is good. Anyway, Thanks again!! Michael Hallsted

So all’s well that end’s well—just another day in the life of an IT professional J

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Editor’s Corner

Welcome to this week’s issue of WServerNews! Before I get on my weekly soapbox I want to alert readers to a new section in our newsletter. We come across so many cool tips and tutorials each week that we decided to change our Tip of the Week section to a new section called Tips and Tutorials so we can give our IT pro readers more useful stuff each issue. We hope you like this enhancement to our newsletter, and if you have any other changes to suggest you can always email us.

OK now for my weekly soapbox routine…

Earlier this week I learned that Microsoft just released version 100 of their Microsoft Edge browser to insiders in the Beta channel. You can read about it here on the Release Notes page for Microsoft Edge Beta Channel where, if you scroll down the page, you can read about all the different features Microsoft has been adding to Edge with each new release.

I confess I came down with a bad case of “feature-itis” after I read that page. And while I’m now in recovery mode from that latest infection, I fear my condition this time may be permanent. In other words I’m *sick-and-tired* of being continually assaulted by vendors who are constantly releasing an endless stream of new features and so-called improvements for their products.

Let’s take Microsoft Azure for instance. Now, I like Azure a lot. And we’ve even used Azure in the past for certain aspects of our business, though not at present. But I’m totally befuddled by what Microsoft is doing with Azure these days. For example, consider the recent announcements from Microsoft about Azure Cognitive Service for Language, Azure Computer Vision + Python, AWS Microservice Extractor for .NET, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI, Azure Maps Power BI Update, Azure Percept, Azure Form Recognizer, Azure Front Door, and a zillion other “Azure Thingies” that Redmond has been developing lately. Who can possibly keep up with all this stuff? And how much of it is driven by actual customer need?

Or is it just Microsoft trying to compete with Amazon’s established superiority in some cloud areas? If that’s the case, they’ll have a hard time convincing many of us because “AWS Thingies” seem to be proliferating even faster than Azure ones. For instance there’s AWS Proton, Amazon GameSparks, Amazon Polly, Amazon…oh, heck—just go to What’s New with AWS and read it all there, or subscribe to the RSS feed on that page and watch your newsreader choke.

Then there’s the AI craze that has infected the Big Three cloud vendors Azure, AWS and Google. If anyone is doing it right it’s probably Google, because the average person is making use of Google AI every time they search for something. But in reality AI is overhyped and is potentially a double-edged sword—see my review of AI vs Humans from CRC Press in the IT Bookshelf section of this week’s newsletter for a book you should buy if you want to learn more about the achievements and limitations of AI.

All this is just too much for the average IT professional like me to understand or keep up with. Most of us have an actual job to do, and filtering out unnecessary information is key for maintaining our sanity—or as they say nowadays, to safeguard our mental health.

If the vendors whose solutions you use are inundating you with too much news about exciting new features and product improvements you neither want nor need, speak to them before you come down with your own case of feature-itis. Ask them to not be so “whatsnew-minded” and to focus their efforts instead on listening to customer suggestions for new features and on addressing ongoing customer complaints. A good vendor is one who listens more than they talk. There aren’t many out there, but there are some. If you find one, hold on to them.


Got comments about anything in this issue?


Email us! We *love* hearing from our readers!

WServerNews loves feedback. Send us some. Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

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.

GDPR is back in the news this week, it’s a topic we’ve covered frequently on TechGenix. Social media giant Meta has been hit with a 17 million euro fine by the Republic of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) over multiple GDPR breaches (CSO Online). And the UK government’s newly appointed Information Commissioner has revealed plans to replace GDPR with laws that prioritize innovation (ITPro).

Outside the UK it’s refreshing to hear that the EU and US have finally reached an agreement (at least in principle) on replacing the EU-US Privacy Shield mechanism that was invalidated in a 2020 court ruling with a new arrangement for ensuring privacy protection for transatlantic data flows (Redmond Channel Partner). On the other hand, it may be disturbing news to privacy-minded vendors that the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) announced by EU governing bodies could undermine hard-won gains in messaging encryption (The Verge).

Kinks forming in the global supply chain are starting to be felt by the data center industry (Data Center Frontier). If any of our readers are seeing supply chain problems impacting their own datacenters, feel free to reach out to us with some details. Large tech companies like Meta are of course happy about this and hope the nitty gritty details get ironed out soon (Data Center Knowledge).

As for what’s been happening in the realm of cybersecurity, we’ll catch up on that topic next week.

Windows news

The rapid growth of Windows 11 market share looks like it has started to plateau around 20 percent as the second graph in this report from AdDuplex. That’s probably to be expected however with the ongoing chip shortage affecting new PC sales and the constrained hardware requirements for upgrading existing Win10 PCs to Win11.

A new feature consumers will appreciate in Windows 11 is a new much simpler way of choosing their default browser (The Verge). Not so much appreciated however may be the new feature called Search Highlights (Ghacks). Fortunately however there’s a way for administrators to turn off this feature using Group Policy (Microsoft Tech Community).

Both Windows 11 and Windows 10 can now benefit from the ability to block potentially dangerous device drivers by utilizing Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) in conjunction with a vulnerable driver blocklist (BleepingComputer). And stepping even further back in time to Windows 7 for a moment, Microsoft reports that “After installing the Windows updates released January 11, 2022 or later Windows versions on an affected version of Windows, recovery discs (CD or DVD) created by using the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) app in Control Panel might be unable to start” (Microsoft Support). This last news could have significance to any readers still using Windows 7 though hopefully under Microsoft’s Extended Security Update (ESU) program for the platform which expires in less than a year (Microsoft Docs).

Windows Server news

Just a few things to report on the Windows Server front. We’ll cover them quickly in bullet form:

·         Recent Windows Server updates cause DNS issues (BleepingComputer)

·         Microsoft Previews Delaying Brute-Force NTLM Logon Guesses in Windows Server (Redmond Magazine)

·         Windows Admin Center version 2110.2 is now in Public Preview (Windows Admin Center Blog)

Cloud news

Microsoft’s focus on the cloud continues to gain force and accelerate under CEO Satya Nadella with a new emphasis being pushed upon the Microsoft Partner Program to sell cloud services (Microsoft Partner Network). Redmond Channel Partner evaluates these changes in an article on their blog. Get ready for the phone to start ringing nonstop at your business.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) reports that they’re launching twelve new cloud services on their GreenLake platform. ITProToday reports that Oracle is adding improved compute, networking, and storage services to its public cloud platform. Amazon reports that customers can now launch Windows Server instances on Amazon EC2 up to 65% faster than previously (Windows on AWS).

And customers who use Microsoft Intune for managing devices across their environment may want to learn about Microsoft’s recommended approach for offboarding users (Intune Customer Success). The linked post outlines several use cases where businesses can benefit from this enhancement.

Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences

Got an event, conference or webcast you want announced in our newsletter? Email us!

SANS Risk Quantification Surveyjoin the discussion on April 5th.

Microsoft Azure Modernize and Migrate with Hybrid Cloud Flexibility digital event on April 13th, register here.

DeveloperWeek Europe 2022 is the largest software developer conference & expo connecting 3,000+ engineering professionals across Europe – Online event April 27-28, more info on Eventbrite.

Red Hat Summit 2022 coming up on May 10-11, all the details here.

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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IT Workshop – tools, whitepapers and more

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 FSLogic, software from Microsoft that enhances and enables user profiles in Windows remote computing environments and can be used to create portable computing sessions for physical devices. Version 2201 has now been released with fixes and enhancements.

ANY.RUN is an online malware sandbox that you can use for detection, monitoring, and analyzing threats. Find out more about it in this article from The Hacker News.

Interested in implementing a Zero Trust solution for your enterprise? Start by reading Nine Best Practices for Zero Trust by DataCenter Knowledge.

Forgot your Windows password? A colleague recommends this utility which can reset the password of any user that has a valid local account on your Windows system. It’s been around since Windows NT and is totally unsupported and comes with no warranty whatsoever, but he tells me it works on any Windows system unless it has BitLocker configured on it. Good luck!

Tips and Tutorials (NEW SECTION!)

We come across so many cool tips and tutorials each week that we decided to change our Tip of the Week section to this new section so we can give our IT pro readers more useful stuff each issue—enjoy!

Want to use Windows Update properly for managed devices running Windows 10 version 20H2 or later? First read thru the following article by Aria Carley from Microsoft: Why you shouldn’t set these 25 Windows policies and then read her just published follow up article: The Windows Update policies you should set and why (Microsoft Tech Community).

Windows Update for Business (WUfB) can now be used to perform gradual rollouts in environments where this is needed. Microsoft’s Windows IT Pro Blog has the details.

Is your organization using Microsoft Teams? The following articles may be helpful:

·         Best practices for successful large meetings in Microsoft Teams (Microsoft Teams Blog)

·         Mute Notifications on Teams during meetings (Cloud Avenue)

·         Is your network infrastructure ready for Microsoft Teams? (TechGenix)

·         Getting Started with PowerShell for Microsoft Teams (TechGenix)

·         more articles

Windows Defender can sometimes stop working for different reasons. See this article on ITProToday for tips on how to troubleshoot.

Need to create a Linux virtual machine running on Windows? This TechGenix articles shows you how.

From eWeek comes this summary of five key backup practices for protecting your Azure-hosted desktop.


Got a freebie you want to offer our readers? You can reach almost 200,000 IT pros worldwide with our newsletter—email us!

Check out these free tools from KnowBe4 that you can use to test your network security.

Free eBookDevOps Adoption Strategies: Principles, Processes, Tools, and Trends – a $34.99 value free for a limited time courtesy of The Hacker News.

Does your environment use Active Directory? Check out Purple Knight 1.4 Community Version, a free Active Directory security assessment tool from Semperis that provides a report of actionable items to enhance the security of your AD environment.

Host static web sites for free in Microsoft Azure – learn how in this article on Microsoft’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Blog.

IT Bookshelf: AI vs Humans

If you’re looking for one book that can inform you on all the amazing advances in AI that have been happening and what AI might be able to do for us in the…or what AI may do *to* us in the…excuse me, what *we* might be able to do—or not do—with AI technologies in the future, then this book is it.

Interestingly, AI vs Humans (CRC Press, 2022) isn’t written by a bunch of machine-language specialists like most AI books today are. Instead, it’s authored by two psychologists which makes it much less mathematical but also highly thought-provoking. And entertaining! The mix of topics covered and fascinating stories about how AI is currently being used is a revelation even for myself who has been a follower of this field for some time now.

The book starts with a brief history of AI and robotics, recounting stories from the Gary Kasparov vs Deep Blue chess match to the incredible impetus that Krizhevsky’s deep neural network imaging system had on AI funding around the world. AI dominance is explored next, discussing areas where AI systems are clearly superior to humans for performing certain tasks. Examples include games such as Chess, Go, Shogi and—gasp—Poker! I had been totally unaware about the human-AI poker competition staged five years ago with some of the top Poker players from around the world. Once it had been fine-tuned by learning the different Poker strategies used by the human players, Libratus, the AI Poker system, ended up winning the pot hands down. When I read this story, the truth immediately hit me that the growing business of online sports betting is doomed, because AI betting systems will be able to *easily* beat all humans placing their bets on the teams they think will win various sporting events. You can expect this “sports betting apocalypse” to occur in the next 3-5 years, or maybe sooner if some smart teenagers get into the act with their bedrooms full of Raspberry Pi clusters hiding under their beds. 

In addition to stories of where AI succeeds magnificently, the book also presents a penetrating analysis of the limitations and deficiencies of AI, where it’s intelligent and where it’s not. And being psychologists, the authors also explore deeply the question of what “intelligence” actually is and whether it even makes sense to call a computing machine “intelligent.” But to be fair—to AI systems, I suppose, as they look down upon us condescendingly from their lofty sites—the authors also explore the limitations of human thinking and intelligence, and here they lose me sometimes, especially as I disagree with the Theory of Mind and other models of cognition presented in the book. The distinction cognitive psychologies make between consciousness and meta-consciousness is a red herring in my opinion. If intelligence is not just selective attention to things in one’s environment but conscious awareness of such attention, what’s to stop me from being aware that I’m thinking about consciously being aware of such attentiveness? It sounds to me like something similar to Cantor’s hierarchy of infinities Aleph-zero, Aleph-1, Aleph-2 and so on, which leads to the obvious question of where humans (and AI systems) are positioned on a similar hierarchy for intelligence or cognition. Or where most humans may be positioned, since as the authors point out certain forms of mental illness can dramatically affect an individual’s conscious awareness. This stuff is all too nebulous and philosophical for a hard-sciences guy like me who has a degree in Physics.

But the rest of the book is beyond marvelous, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the strengths and limitations of AI in our modern world. And also it’s pitfalls and potential dangers. In fact the final sentence of the book left an unpleasant feeling in my gut as the authors concluded their view of AI’s future by saying, “The optimistic point of view (and one to which we subscribe) is that the future will involve progress based on humans + AI rather than humans vs. AI.” Such a viewpoint may be possible in times of stability and prosperity, but with what’s between happening in the world during the last couple of years with COVID and today in the Ukraine, one might do well to question such an optimistic view of the possibly outcomes of marrying AI’s power with human nature.

You can buy AI vs Humans here on Amazon.

Factoid: Wow, that’s old!

Our previous factoid was this:

Fact: Toshiba expects to sell 40 TB hard disk drives within 5 years.


Question: What’s the largest HDD you currently have in the PCs or servers at your company? And what’s the largest HDD you ever used as a system disk on Windows Server and mistakenly scheduled chkdsk to run on reboot? How many days did you end up having to wait for chkdsk to finish running?

Martin Urwaleck from Vienna, Austria was willing to share his story with us:

Hi Mitch, I don’t remember the disk size – but in the old days we rebooted a crashed NetWare Server in the morning. It was the main fileserver and took 8 hours for the NetWare file system check. Staff was sent home after two hours…

What I remember is my first hard disk – it was a NEC 20 MB 5,25″ half height drive with a WD RLL controller (that gave me 33 MB). I had to work for two months in summer to pay that off…

Ah yes, I do remember that in the early days of computing hardware cost an arm and a leg!

Moving on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: Cloud Platforms Say Servers Living Longer, Saving Billions


Question: What’s the *oldest* PC or server hardware you still have running at work or in your home? C’mon, ‘fess up, we know you’re cheap 😉

Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!

And Finally

The odd, the stupid and the remarkable. Good for your mental health.

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About GIFs (How-To Geek)

[Did I really need to learn all that stuff?]

How to Remove Stickers From Your Laptop (How-To Geek)

[Now *that’s* useful, thanks. I *really* needed that.]

Statistics Canada is Changing How it Monitors Food Prices and “It Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time”: Expert (Retail Insider)

[Brilliant move! Now everybody can understand that the rapidly rising rate of inflation here in Canada is simply an illusion!]

Complaints mount after GitHub launches new algorithmic feed (The Register)

[Please oh please let’s stop applying the social media paradigm to software we use for getting our work done!]

FSP Offers 2000W Power Supply For Upcoming Nvidia, AMD GPUs (Tom’s Hardware)

[Hey, why did the lights just go out?]

Hey reader! Got an amazing or weird or funny link you’d like to suggest for this section of our newsletter? Email us! But please make sure that it’s G-rated as in “Gee whiz”, “Golly!”, Good grief!”, “Gaaahh!!” and so on. Thanks!

Please tell others about WServerNews!

We hope you enjoyed this issue of WServerNews! 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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