By - Woody Leonhard

Reverse engineering the Win10 1803-to-1903 forced upgrade — coming soon to a PC near you

After an initial comment that machines running Win10 version 1803 (the “Windows 10 April 2018 Update”) were about to be pushed to Win10 version 1903 (the “Windows 10 May 2019 Update”) in May, then in June, it now appears that the push is on in earnest.  Per the Release Status Information page: We are initiating the Windows 10 May 2019

By - Woody Leonhard

New Windows 7 ‘security-only’ update installs telemetry/snooping, uh, feature

Back in October 2016, Microsoft divided the Win7 and 8.1 patching worlds into two parts. Those who got their patches through Windows Update received so-called Monthly Rollups, which included security patches, bug fixes – and we frankly don’t know what else – rolled out in a cumulative stream. The folks who were willing to download and manually install patches were

By - Woody Leonhard

With Patch Tuesday arriving tomorrow, make sure you temporarily block Windows Update

It’s patch protection time again. Sometimes when Windows patches arrive, they need to be installed immediately. We saw that happen in May with the BlueKeep patches. But in most cases, you stand a greater chance of getting hurt by a bad patch (which are legion) than by getting zapped by a just-patched security hole. That’s an unpopular opinion, but one

By - Woody Leonhard

Microsoft Patch Alert: The Windows patching heavens buzz with silver bullets

How many bugs could a WinPatcher patch, if a WinPatcher could patch bugs? Ends up that June’s one of the buggiest patching months in recent memory – lots of pesky little critters, and the ones acknowledged by Microsoft led to even more patches later in the month. In June, we saw eight single-purpose Windows patches whose sole mission is to

By - Woody Leonhard

It’s time to install the June Windows and Office patches

May had a hair-raising threat from a worm that still hasn’t emerged, but if you’re using Windows 7, 8.1, XP, Vista, or one of the Server variants and skipped the May patches, you need to drop everything and get the May or June patches installed. BlueKeep is coming. Those of you who blocked a specific port to keep BlueKeep at

By - Woody Leonhard

Win10 1909 will be a Service Pack: Good news, but many unanswered questions

Conventional wisdom for Windows upgraders has always been, “Wait for Service Pack 1.” Microsoft generally screws up the first release of a new version of Windows (although I would argue it did a good job with the first release of Windows 7). We now have more-or-less official word that the latest version of Windows, version 1903, is going to get

By - Woody Leonhard

Windows 10 version 1803 customers: Brace for impact

If you’re running Win10 version 1803 — still, by far, the most common version of Win10 — Microsoft has a little surprise for you. Yesterday, a one-paragraph amendment appeared on the official Release Information page for version 1903: We are now beginning to build and train the machine learning (ML) based rollout process to update devices running the April 2018

By - Woody Leonhard

The case against knee-jerk installation of Windows patches

Heresy. Yes, I know. Any way you slice it, from my point of view anyway, Windows Automatic Update is for chumps. Just like the “users must be forced to change their passwords frequently” argument that’s no longer au courant, the “users must get patched immediately” argument is based on old, faulty, and totally unsubstantiated claims that make security people feel

By - Woody Leonhard

Microsoft is better at documenting patch problems, but issues abound

I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up on Microsoft’s ability to deliver reliable patches. Month after month, we’ve seen big bugs and little bugs pushed and pulled and squished and re-squished. You can see a chronology from the past two years in my patching whack-a-mole columns starting here. For the past few months, though, we’ve seen some improvement.

By - Woody Leonhard

Save yourself a headache: Make sure Windows automatic update is off

Much has changed in the past month. We’ve seen an emergency cry for all Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Server 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2 systems to get patched in order to fend off widely anticipated BlueKeep attacks. We’ve also seen Microsoft officially release Windows 10 version 1903, with unsuspecting “seekers” now the prime targets. If you want to avoid the