Windows Enterprise Desktop

March 2, 2018  9:31 AM

MS Offers Spectre Meltdown Updates Via Catalog

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Firmware, Windows 10, Windows Security

Funny that I posted status about the Spectre Meltdown firmware updates yesterday. No sooner had I finished my post than word appeared that MS had released KB4090007. Entitled “Intel microcode updates” it provides a round of microcode fixes for these infamous vulnerabilities. This particular code targets 6th generation Intel processors in particular — namely, desktop and mobile Skylake processors. Right now, MS offers Spectre Meltdown updates via Catalog only, in fact. Of course, that means the Microsoft Update Catalog, where the 32- and 64-bit versions of KB4090007 are currently available.

If MS Offers Spectre Meltdown Updates Via Catalog, Should You Grab Them?

If you have a Skylake system, by all means grab this update. I did, for my production PC with its i7-6700 CPU. The download, install, and reboot process all took less than 5 minutes, all told. I don’t notice any degradation of performance, either. Both boot and startup took the usual amount of time, and performance on the desktop seems dramatically unchanged. So much for dire warnings about the runtime consequences of the firmware update — at least for the moment. We’ll see how things fare over time.

But I ran both a new Ashampoo and the old intel SA-00086 Vulnerability checker after applying the update, and here’s what I got in response:

MS Offers Spectre Meltdown Updates Via CatalogMS Offers Spectre Meltdown Updates Via Catalog

The Ashampoo item (top) is brief and to the point, buth the intel item (bottom) has more “geek chic!”

What’s Next?

Given foot dragging from OEMs as the rule rather than the exception, I’m glad to see MS jumping in with updates to help out. I’m hoping that somebody will come out with firmware updates for my other Asrock motherboard Z97 Fatal1ty Killer and its Haswell i7-4770K CPU. If not Asrock (as seems increasingly possible) then perhaps Microsoft? Go for it, guys, say I.

March 1, 2018  1:19 PM

Firmware Update Proceeds at Glacial Pace

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Firmware, Windows 10, Windows Security

I’ve been blogging about firmware updates to address the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities since early January. Today’s the first of March, so it seems appropriate to report back in on what’s happening. Some vendors — most notably, Dell and Microsoft, in my case — have been pro-active and forward about posting solutions. Others — like Lenovo — have done a great job of announcing their intentions to post upgrades. Alas, they haven’t actually posted much of anything just yet. Too many — which includes Asrock and Jetway in my case — have been more or less mum on the topic of updates until now. And that, my friends, is why I say that firmware update proceeds at glacial pace where these vulnerabilities are concerned. Sigh.

Firmware Update Proceeds at Glacial Pace

Here’s what Lenovo says about my two laptops (edited down from their monster-sized original).

More Details on How Firmware Update Proceeds at Glacial Pace

Now I’ll get into the details of the systems I’m taking care of these days, by the numbers

  1. Surface Pro 3 (Haswell): MS rushed out a firmware patch within a few days of the early  January announcements. It worked OK for a while, but then I started having frequent GSODs. A newer firmware patch released in early February took care of that.
  2. Dell Venue Pro 11 7139 (Haswell): Dell released one BIOS update in late January. It worked OK but I had to pop out the battery to get the machine to boot, either from shut down or restart. A newer patch in mid-February fixed that issue.
  3. Dell XPS 2720 All-in-One (Haswell): Dell released a firmware update for this earlier this week (some reported finding this yesterday; I installed it this morning). Working OK so far.
  4. Lenovo T520 laptop (Sandy Bridge): Lenovo now includes this laptop on its list of platforms for which a firmware update is scheduled, but there’s no telling when that’s going to occur. I’m not holding my breath, but I am tickled they’re going to support a CPU this old.
  5. Lenovo X220 tablet (Sandy Bridge): Although this unit has the same CPU as the T520, Lenovo included it on their platform list about a week sooner than it added the T520. Both of these machines, though 6 years old, remain total workhorses. I use them all the time.
  6. Two Asrock motherboards grace my household: a Z170 Extreme7+ and a Z97 Fatal1ty Killer. So far, Asrock is mostly mum on the subject of firmware updates. No idea when this is going to occur, but I’m hopeful that both of these newer systems will get a firmware update someway, somehow.
  7. Jetway Mini-ITX (Ivy Bridge): Now we’re getting out there in the mists of time. I haven’t checked JetWay’s website because I don’t expect they’ll be issuing any patches for this mid-2012 vintage CPU. If intel issues a microcode patch, and I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll work my way through the BIOS patching info at and do it myself.

What’s the Current Score?

Let’s see 8 systems: 3 have been patched, and 5 are still waiting. That’s a 0.375 batting average. For baseball, that’s pretty good. For achieving protection from what’s supposed to be a dire set of vulnerabilities, I’m disinctly unimpressed. But because I have to say on top of this stuff, I will. And I’ll keep reporting back on it from time to time. My next expected return to this topic should occur when — mirabili dictu! — Lenovo gets round to posting its firmware patches. You probably don’t want to hold your breath, either…

February 28, 2018  12:52 PM

Fixing Missing Mouse or Keyboard

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, Windows 10

In the wake of the recently-released KB4074588, lots of PCs with this update installed have resbooted to “lost” USB peripherals. In particular, many users have reported neither mouse nor keyboard present. Because a mouse and a keyboard are usually necessary to do anything on a Windows PC, this poses something of a conundrum. Consequently, I herewith provide what I hope are helpful tips for fixing missing mouse or keyboard. Better to skip such problems entirely, but if you get stuck, try these!

Fixing Missing Mouse or Keyboard

As the top (and current) results from this TenForums search show, this situation is far from uncommon.

Tip 1: Fixing Missing Mouse or Keyboard via Device Substitution

Try a different mouse and keyboard. Seriously. MS explains this gotcha as a driver omission. Here’s chapter and verse

After installing this update, some USB devices and onboard devices, such as a built-in laptop camera, keyboard or mouse, may stop working.  This may occur when the windows update servicing stack incorrectly skips installing the newer version of some critical drivers in the cumulative update and uninstalls the currently active drivers during maintenance.

Presumably, the hopes driving this maneuver are two-fold. First, MS hopes that Windows will recognize the keyboard. Second, MS hope that it will successfully download the correct driver. If you find yourself with a working keyboard and mouse, you can skip a heading and jump to “DISM to uninstall KB4074588 at the command line.”

Tip 2: Fixing Missing Mouse or Keyboard via OS Substitution

The problem is that the update removed the old (working) drivers and didn’t supply any new ones. If the OS lacks drivers, another way to fix the issue is to try a different OS to make repairs. That’s why MS recommends booting into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), where mouse and keyboard drivers should be both available and working. There are lots of different ways to access WinRE, so I’ll share two of them (for a more exhaustive treatment try this excellent TenForums Tutorial)

  1. If your system fails to boot 2 times in a row, AND your system has a built-in recovery partition (installed by default for most Windows 10 systems), it will automatically boot into that partition on the 3rd try.
  2. If that doesn’t work out, you can boot to the Windows 10 installer and access the “Repair your computer” functions to make your way into WinRE.

Either way, you want to make your way to the command line so you can work on the affected OS. That’s covered in the next section.

DISM to Uninstall KB4074588 at the Command Line

If you’re using a substitute mouse or keyboard, you’ll need to get into an administrative command prompt. If you’re running WinRE,  its command prompt is already privileged. Once there, you’ll want to enter one of the following commands, depending on whether your Win10 installation is 32- or 64-bit:

32-bit: dism /online /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_RollupFix~31bf3856ad364e35~x86~~16299.248.1.17

64-bit: dism /online /remove-package /packagename:Package_for_RollupFix~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~16299.248.1.17

Once that command completes, you’ll have removed the trouble-causing update. You must then reboot Windows 10 to restore your computer to normal operation (with access to the missing mouse and/or keyboard restored).

In general, this approach works any time mouse or keyboard goes missing. The details of which package you need to remove may change. Or, you could try to find and install the missing drivers on your own. It’s up to you!

February 27, 2018  7:14 PM

Win7 Still Activates Win10 2/27/18

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
activation, Windows 10

I’m working my way through a box of failed laptops right now. My sister sent them to me over the holidays, so I could make necessary repairs, where feasible. Right now, I’m batting one for three, but hopeful that I might make progress on the other two soon. I just upgraded one of them from Windows 7 to 10. It’s an HP Pavilion Dv6 with a quad-core mobile CPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 128 GB SSD. This is the machine that tells me that Win7 still activates Win10 as of 2/27/18.

How I Know Win7 Still Activates Win10, Even Today

How do I know this? I just used the Win7 key from that laptop’s COA sticker to activate Windows 10. Just for grins, I tried a few old Windows 7 keys I have laying around from older test machines. Same result: they worked, too. For some odd reason, this pleases me no end!

I’m now in the process of rebuilding the runtime environment on the HP to put it somewhat back to rights. I’ve already run Ninite to install Chrome, Firefox, 7-Zip, CCleaner, IrfanView, Java, and various other odds’n’ends. I’ve just added 8GadgetPack to bring my beloved gadgets back, and will probably tinker with it a bit more before I pack it back up to send it back to my sister. So far, while the Dv6 does run pretty warm, it seems to be working just fine. Not bad, for an 8-year-old PC, if somewhat underpowered by today’s standards. I’m going to open it up and blow the innards out with compressed air, in hopes of bringing those temps down somewhat. It’s also going to get as thorough a wipe down/clean-up as I can give it, too.

What About the Other Machines?

One of them is a 2010-vintage MacBook Air, for which I have a “Genius Bar” appointment on Thursday afternoon. I can’t really say much about it one way or another, because I haven’t messed with any Macs since I sent this one to my niece for her birthday 4 years ago. Here’s hoping that those geniuses live up to their appelations when I come calling at the Apple Store in a couple of days. We’ll see.

The other PC is a 2010-vintage Dell XPS 12. I haven’t been able to make it run an OS or boot into WinPE or the Win10 installer (any installer). I just got an error message that says it can’t recognize the power brick, so I’m starting to imagine we’ve got juice problems. I’ve tried WinPE, WinRE, the Win10 installer, Kyhi’s rescue disk, and the Macrium rescue media, and have never gotten past the spinning balls. I’ve ordered a new power brick (for a whopping $27, I can afford that experiment) and am hopeful that when I plug it in, it might do something helpful or useful. Again: we’ll see!

I’ll keep noodling away at this stuff until I convince myself it’s not worth the effort, or I get things working. That’s the way the family IT service generally goes, here at Chez Tittel. If any of you fellow nerds have some tips for me to make the XPS 12 work, post your comments here. I’m definitely in need of some inspiration or suggestions. Whaddya got?

February 25, 2018  1:32 PM

Win10 Upgrade Repair Install Tips

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Troubleshooting, upgrade, Windows 10

Last Friday afternoon, I went ahead and did what’s called an “upgrade repair install” (URI) on my production desktop PC. For historical reasons I’m running the current production of Windows 10 Enterprise, x64, EN-us (US English). Recently, the machine has been acting up a bit, primarily with issues related to the Windows UI. I’ve noticed interesting and odd behaviors on the tool/notification bar, some flakiness in IE, Edge, Chrome and Firefox, and more. Nevertheless, file checks with SFC and integrity checks with DISM turned up clean. Under those circumstances, says conventional wisdom, this system is a prime candidate for a URI. Now that I’ve just finished one, I’m pleased to share some Win10 Upgrade Repair Install tips. And, just for the record, a URI simply involves using the upgrade facility built into the Windows 10 installer to re-install (upgrade) the same OS on top of itself. This replaces older, possibly corrupted OS files with brand spanking new ones while leaving applications and user files alone and untouched.

Setting the Stage for Win10 Upgrade Repair Install Tips

There are several conditions one must meet before an upgrade repair install can do its thing. First, a URI won’t work unless the target Windows 10 image still runs well enough to launch setup.exe. (That’s the Windows 10 program that oversees and coordinates OS installation). Second, you must use an installer for the same version of Windows in need of repair. That’s version, so that means a 1703 image for the Creator’s Update version, 1709 for the Fall Creator’s Update, and ultimately 1803 (if the rumors are correct) for the upcoming spring update. In my case this was 1709, which I grabbed using the excellent Windows ISO Downloader from Also, please note that the base language (EN-us in my case) and bittedness (64-bit in my case) must also match.

I used Rufus to build a bootable USB Flash Drive (UFD) installer for this Windows 10 version. But that wasn’t strictly necessary. I could’ve simply mounted the ISO file instead, and run setup.exe from that mounted virtual CD drive. This time, I accessed setup.exe from the root of the bootable UFD and off things went without too much muss or fuss. Just for the record it took me 5 minutes to download the Windows Enterprise ISO, and another 8 minutes or so to build the UFD for that ISO using Rufus. Finally, I was ready to start the URI process for real.

Win10 Upgrade Repair Install Tips

Once you get past the preliminaries, you can keep working while the installer does its thing in the background. When the progress meter gets to 30% or thereabouts, that’s when to expect that first reboot to occur.

Doing the URI Thing

It took another 37 minutes to get through the whole Windows 10 URI process, up to the first boot into the newly upgraded OS. (At this point, Windows says “We’re getting a few things ready” as it applies updates and makes last-minute adjustments.) After another 4 minutes, the first boot into the new environment completed, giving me complete control over Windows 10. Total time not including download and RUFUS setup was 41 minutes; add those other items in for a total of 54 minutes, or just under an hour.

I’d like to assert that my situation represents the high side of a continuum of times to perform a URI.

First, it’s well-known that if you run the URI with the target PC disconnected from the Internet, the URI completes much faster. While the URI was underway, it took 11-12 minutes to download updates.

Second, it’s also well-known and widely recommended that one disconnect all peripherals from the target PC except for the boot drive, a mouse and keyboard during the install. This ups the odds of a successful upgrade greatly. It also speeds the install time somewhat (fewer extraneous devices and their drivers to deal with during installation). I didn’t do that, because I’d already successfully done a URI on the same hardware last year.

Third, my production PC has somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 applications installed. Time for an upgrade is directly proportional to the amount of “other stuff” that the installer must accommodate when building a new Windows image and its supporting registry and configuration data. I’ve seen URIs on less heavily-burdened machines, with no Internet access, and all extraneous peripherals removed complete in 15 minutes or thereabouts.

Reaping the Benefits of a URI

Since the URI completed on my PC last Friday afternoon, it’s been much better behaved and more stable. I’ve noticed none of the toolbar or web browser weirdness I’d been dealing with beforehand. Certain applications — most notably Nitro Pro 11, Corel Paintshop Pro 2018, and Snagit Editor 2018 — now launch and run much more quickly than they had been prior to the URI. Ditto for system startup and shutdown, too.

The real benefit of a URI is that, for a modest investment of time (half an hour to an hour), IT pros can restore balky, misbehaving, or even semi-broken Windows 10 installs to normal, stable working behavior. I’ve experienced its ability to address minor (but vexing) UI and performance issues. I’ve also read (mostly at, where I spend 1+ hours a day answering such user and member questions as I can) that it fixes Bluetooth and USB device issues, network access problems, difficulties accessing and downloading Windows Update, and more. A URI is no panacea for all Windows 10 ills. But as general cures and tune-ups go, it ain’t at all bad, either!

February 21, 2018  3:07 PM

Win10 Safe Mode Breakout Technique

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
CMD, command prompt, Safe Mode, Windows 10

There’s been a rash of issues lately with Windows 10 updates and Insider Preview upgrades. Some of these have left PCs with boot problems. I read about a particularly interesting case in point on TenForums this morning. Its title “Caught in safe mode” tell us the author wants to break out of a vicious cycle. It seems that his or her attempted repairs have left the PC in a state where it lacks a mouse and keyboard. All the user can do is reboot. This provides no relief at all (because there’s no mouse or keyboard when the next reboot completes). Ouch! No wonder a Win10 Safe Mode breakout technique is needed.

Readying the Win10 Safe Mode Breakout Technique

To begin, because boot isn’t currently working, an alternate boot source is needed. A Windows 10 bootable installer, or a rescue or recovery disk of some kind, meet this need nicely. Normally, this will be a USB flash drive (UFD) that includes a bootable version of the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) or the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE). For the following examples, I used a Windows 10 installer for 1709. Aka the Fall Creator’s Update (FCU) I grabbed it using the Media Creation Tool. You could use a recovery disk (which Win10 will build), or something like Kyhi’s Rescue Disk instead, if you like.

Next, you need to boot your PC from that alternate source. This usually requires changing the boot order, to over-ride the normal selection and force the PC to boot from the repair or rescue media. That means accessing the BIOS or UEFI at boot-up. In turn, this often involves striking a Function key (F12 on many of my PCs and laptops), then choosing the UFD as the boot source to get repairs underway.

Running the Win10 Safe Mode Breakout Technique

After that, you’ll want to get into the Command Prompt interface on the repair or rescue disk you just booted into. (If you’re not clear on how to do this: I just blogged on this Monday in “Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems.” Get those details there.) Once you get into the command window, type the bcdedit command there. You should see something like this appear in response:

Win10 Safe Mode Breakout Technique

Running BCDEdit with no arguments shows you the Boot Configuration Data for the OS you’re running and the one you’re repairing.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

The second block of text is where the key info resides. You want to check the identifier value at the top of that block. In the foregoing example, it reads {default}. The general syntax for your next command is:

bcdedit /deletevalue {identifier} safeboot

Because the identifier in this case is {default} the literal command here (and for many other readers of this blog post who will find that same identifier in their command prompt windows after running the first command) is:

bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot

That’s all there is to it. Of course if your identifier is different, you should use that one instead. But hey! You’ve just deleted the setting that turns on safeboot the next time the PC boots. That’s why the next boot should occur normally. Of course, you will have to exit the command prompt window, and then turn off your PC (or reboot) to get back into a more normal mode of operation. From there, you should be able to start fixing anything else that needs your attention…

February 19, 2018  1:33 PM

Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
command prompt, Windows 10

For those who regularly install, upgrade, update or repair Windows 10 installations, the occasional boot problem is inevitable. When such things occur, don’t panic. Turn to your trusty repair kit instead. And fortunately, the basic Win10 install media — and the vast majority of bootable repair, recovery and rescue media — includes command line access as part and parcel of WinRE. That’s the Windows Recovery Environment fully expanded, which looks like the following screenshot when booted into. Accessing that (or similar) environments provides access to the command line, and is where Bootrec fixes Win10 boot problems.

Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems

You need to get to the Troubleshoot options to start dealing with boot-up issues or problems in Win10.
[Click image for full-sized view]

Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems

Hang in there: the command prompt appears beneath the “Advanced options” item here.
[Click image for full-sized view]

Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems

Both Startup Repair and the Command Prompt offer potential relief.
[Click image for full-sized view]

Getting to Where Bootrec Fixes Win10 Boot Problems

Once you see the options that read “Startup Repair” and “Command Prompt” you’ve now got tools at your immediate disposal. There’s nothing wrong with clicking “Startup Repair,” but it’s important to understand it doesn’t always work. When you next attempt to boot Windows (it runs automatically), your error may repeat. If that happens, step through the same sequence again, but choose “Command Prompt” instead. That’s where you’ll make direct acquaintance with the bootrec command. (It’s covered in great detail in the Microsoft support article “Use Bootrec.exe in the Windows RE to troubleshoot startup issues“.)

Bootrec.exe supports the following options (listed here in alphabetical order):

/Fixboot: writes a new boot sector to the system partition using a boot sector compatible with Windows 10. Use this option when a boot sector has been replaced with a non-Win10 boot sector (as when dual- or multi-booting older Windows versions or non-Windows OSes), or when the boot sector is damaged or missing

/FixMbr: writes a Windows 10-compatible Master Boot Record (MBR) to the system partition. Does not overwrite an existing partition table. Use this to fix MBR corruption, or to remove nonstandard code from the MBR.

/RebuildBcd: Scans all disks for installations compatible with Windows 10 (and earlier Windows versions). Lets you select installation you may wish to add the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store. Use this option to completely rebuild and replace an existing BCD store. See the MS support article for details on addressing the “Bootmgr Is Missing” error message that you may sometimes encounter.

/ScanOs: Scans all disks for installations compatible with Windows 10 (and earlier Windows versions back to Vista). Use this option to show Windows installations that the boot manager menu omits or skips over (and to check for a valid Windows installation on the system disk).

[Note: This NeoSmart article offers additional bootrec information and insights, especially for Windows 10: “bootrec — Guide for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10.” Be sure to check it out, if you’d like more information on this great command and its options. Their troubleshooting section is especially informative.]



February 16, 2018  10:52 AM

Do Try Microsoft Teams

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Office 365, Windows 10

If you’re an Office 365 subscriber with a company email address enrolled, you owe it to yourself (and your company or organization) to give Microsoft Teams a try. It’s the new “teamwork hub” for the Office 365 environment. It’s likely to replace Skype for Business in the next year or two, too. To that, I say “Hooray!” because my experience in working with Microsoft Teams over the past couple of months has been entirely positive. So please, do try Microsoft Teams at your earliest convenience!

Do Try Microsoft Teams

There are so many reasons why MS Teams beats Skype for Office, I’m having trouble remembering them all!
[Click image for full-sized view]

Why I Say: Do Try Microsoft Teams

The short and sweet of it is that MS Teams beats Skype for Business three ways from Sunday. Here is what Kari (my partner) and I agree are its most beneficial and superior attributes:

  • Easier to collaborate with others online, especially for sharing documents and working on them simultaneously, in parallel.
  • No issues (none!) with transferring files or posting screenshots/image in the chat window.
  • More intuitive UI that is easier to learn, understand, and use.
  • Starts — and runs — much faster, and is more reliable in every way. Even running over a VPN from Germany to Texas, works quickly and well.
  • Terrific integration with the rest of Office, especially Outlook. Automatically logs, then emails chat sessions to Outlook via “regular mail.” No need to dig into Conversation History in Outlook to see old chats.
  • Excellent screen sharing, with the ability to jump around various session members’ screens. Also easy to grant, take, and surrender control of screens for remote access. Personally, I like it better than RDP/Remote Desktop Connection.
  • Outstanding meeting capabilities, with full Outlook calendar, invite and management capabilities. Also supports HD video, VoIP call-in/out, and a variety of audio conferencing options (including dial-in or computer headset-based sound).

And we haven’t even explored the advanced VoIP/phone management capabilities it delivers quite yet. If you like (or regularly use) Skype for Business, you’ll LOVE Microsoft Teams. If you don’t like (or use) Skype for Business, you’ll probably still like Microsoft Teams anyway. Give it a try! Learn more at the Microsoft Teams home page.

February 14, 2018  12:32 PM

Update 7-ZIP to 18.01 NOW

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Windows 10, Windows Security

You might not think that a compression tool like 7-Zip could pose security problems for Windows. If so, you’d be wrong. I just  learned — courtesy of a January 31 post from Woody Leonhard — that older versions of the program are vulnerable. Vulnerable as in having been issued CVE-2017-17969 for buffer overflow attack potential. This leaves PCs open to denial of service attacks (not so good) or the ability to “potentially execute arbitrary code via a crafted ZIP archive” (BAD). That’s why you want to jump up to Igor Pavlov’s 7-Zip page, grab a new copy, and install it right away. As the blog post title proclaims, you should “Update 7-zip to 18.01 NOW!!”

Update 7-ZIP to 18.01 NOW

You want to get to version 18.01 (released Jan 18, 2018) or higher, ASAP!!

More About Update 7-ZIP to 18.01 NOW

This comes with one gotcha. Courtesy of its tight integration with File Explorer (7-Zip installs multiple shell extensions by default) you’ll have to reboot PCs once the update has been applied. OTOH, because there still aren’t any known exploits (none that I can find, anyway), you could wait until your next code refresh if you wanted to take a chance. I’m not sure that’s a good idea, though: I just upgraded all my copies of 7-Zip. Woody seems plenty insistent that you wanted to do this on January 30, when he issued his warning. It sure hasn’t gotten any safer in the meantime, either.

I feel strongly enough about this, in fact, that I just opened Secunia PSI to check 7-zip status therein. Sure enough, it shows the older 16.0 version of 7-Zip as “Up-to-date.” By extension that means they think it’s still safe. I’m writing them an e-mail now to inform them otherwise. I’ll also be observing that I kind of expect to hear about this kind of stuff from them via their software, rather than the other way ’round. Wonder if that’ll spur a reaction. If it doesn’t I’m going to have to find a replacement for Secunia PSI. Sigh.

Update 7-ZIP to 18.01 NOW

I thought the whole reason I use Secunia PSI is to have it warn me about stuff like this?

February 12, 2018  5:54 PM

No Win10 Means No Office 2019

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Office 365, Windows 10

There’s an interesting development on the Windows landscape. It’s also perhaps a “killer reason” for Win10 upgrades. Here ’tis: MS has confirmed that Office 2019 will only be available on devices running Windows 10. Ouch! Those using older Windows versions can’t upgrade. This info appears in a blog post innocuously entitled “Changes to Office and Windows servicing and support.”

Now here’s a blog post that punches way beyond its title’s apparent significance.

Here’s how MS dropped this bomb , and delivered its “No Win10 means no Office 2019” message:

Effective January 14, 2020, [Office 365] ProPlus will no longer be supported on the following versions of Windows. This will ensure that both Office and Windows receive regular, coordinated updates to provide the most secure environment with the latest capabilities.

  • Any Windows 10 LTSC release
  • Windows Server 2016 and older
  • Windows 8.1 and older

That leaves only Windows 10 standing. Not even the oldest versions, witnessed by exclusion of the LTSB, now known as the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) is included. All I can say in response is “Wow!”

If No Win10 Means No Office 2019, Then What?

Obviously, this means that companies that want to stick with Office 365 or standalone installs are going to have to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10. According to the afore-linked blog post, the next Office release will ship in H2 2019, with previews of the new apps and  servers (which include Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business) appearing sometime in Q2 2018. Furthermore, here’s the second salvo in MS’s bombing run (emphasis mine):

The Office 2019 client apps will be released with Click-to-Run installation technology only. We will not provide MSI as a deployment methodology for Office 2019 clients. We will continue to provide MSI for Office Server products.

Again: “Wow!” Things are changing big-time in the world of MS software and subscriptions. Methinks the vision of “Windows/Apps as a service” takes another giant leap forward, too. My partner, Kari the Finn, insists that MS will steer its customers of all scales and sizes to Azure AD as well. That makes for a Windows/Office/Azure AD trifecta which, coupled with AutoPilot and InTune, recasts the MS landscapre entirely. I  agree. All this stuff lines up far too nicely to be a simple coincidence.

Life in the MS world has just gotten a lot more interesting. Just how interesting remains to be seen. Stay tuned!

PS: Make of this recent MS announcement naming former MS public face of  “Windows as a Service” Michael Niehaus to principal program manager on the “modern deployment team” what you like. Notice his emphasis on InTune and AutoPilot in the article. I think it simply proves my point, don’t you?

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