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  • Now available .NET 4.7.1

    Posted on October 18th, 2017 at 10:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Yesterday Microsoft released .NET 4.7.1, an in-place update for  .NET 4, 4.5, 4.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, and 4.7

    Details on Martin Brinkmann’s Ghacks.

    I know that .NET 4.7 has all sorts of weird problems. Anybody conversant enough with 4.7.1 to point out where the bodies are buried?

  • “Something bad happened” error in the Microsoft Store

    Posted on October 15th, 2017 at 12:38 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Those of you futzing around with the RTM version of Win10 Fall Creators Update may have encountered this message when opening the Microsoft (Windows) Store. Looks like it’s caused by using an Office 365 Microsoft account to log in to Win10 FCU, and installing a (forced) Photos update called Photos Add-On. Ed Bott has a good rundown on ZDNet.

    More than 70 percent of the early reviews have given the mystery add-on a 1 star rating, with reviewers adding comments like these:

    • Installed without permission
      I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t approve this, I didn’t even know you were planning on installing this. When will you get it that people don’t want YOU to decide what gets installed on MY computer. Stop it already.

    • Forced install
      Not cool, MS.

    • Don’t install without asking
      I have no idea what this even does. Why do I have it and why didn’t I have a choice?

    The bogus “Something bad happened” note was reported by Ed on Oct 12, with details in this Twitter thread between Ed, Richard Hay and Tero Alhonen. Our own @PKCano reported the same error message earlier today.

    Can anybody pin down the exact sequence of events that causes “Something bad happened”? It’s a world-class error message.

  • R.I.P. WP, WMP

    Posted on October 9th, 2017 at 09:47 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Capping off a lackluster week of Windows non-news, the weekend brought two more headstones, hardly worthy of note. But I’ll note them anyway.

    First, MS Corporate VP for Windows Joe Belfiore confirmed in a series of tweets that Windows 10 Mobile is dead as a doornail. Zac Bowden, who’s been using Win10 Mobile far beyond its obvious expiration date, has details on Windows Central. (Formerly WPCentral, as in “Windows Phone Central” – a timely pivot.)

    I’ve never covered Windows Phone, and don’t understand why anyone would bother.

    I mentioned Edge’s coming metamorphosis to run on iOS and Android:

    Why would anybody use an also-ran browser just because it has Microsoft’s name on it?

    Then there’s the Microsoft Launcher on Android, now in beta. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

    Second, it looks like Microsoft is going to kick Windows Media Player out of the Win10 Fall Creators Update with a patch released to some folks yesterday called KB 4046355. I haven’t seen it on my FCU machines, but Günter Born and Martin Brinkmann both have full details. Says Born:

    Until now, the Windows Media Player was on board and pre-installed in Windows 10. If you enter Media in the search field of the taskbar, Windows Media Player will be found and displayed as a hit in the Start menu.

    Today I was suddenly offered a FeatureOnDemandMediaPlayer update (KB4046355) on one of my machines (a 64-bit Windows machine) running Windows 10 Build 16299.15.

    A search using the taskbar’s search box actually revealed that Windows Media Player had been removed from the machine as features. To use the WMP again, you have to add it as a feature.

    If you know anybody who’s still using Windows Media Player, encourage them to take short, deep breaths, and break the  news that there are myriad far, far better media players around, on all platforms.

    Of course, without any documentation, it’s anybody’s guess if this is an intended consequence or just a beta bug.

    Yes, I know, it’s not polite for MS to yank an app without warning. On the other hand, man, Windows has become so bloated and Byzantine, it has to be pulled into the 20th century at some point.

    UPDATE: Mary Jo Foley reports:

  • Experian will hand out your details to anybody

    Posted on September 21st, 2017 at 10:14 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is unbelievable, but it’s from Brian Krebs, so it must be real.

    The first hurdle for instantly revealing anyone’s freeze PIN is to provide the person’s name, address, date of birth and Social Security number (all data that has been jeopardized in breaches 100 times over — including in the recent Equifax breach — and that is broadly for sale in the cybercrime underground).

    After that, one just needs to input an email address to receive the PIN and swear that the information is true and belongs to the submitter. I’m certain this warning would deter all but the bravest of identity thieves!

    The final authorization check is that Experian asks you to answer four so-called “knowledge-based authentication” or KBA questions. As I have noted in countless stories published here previously, the problem with relying on KBA questions to authenticate consumers online is that so much of the information needed to successfully guess the answers to those multiple-choice questions is now indexed or exposed by search engines, social networks and third-party services online — both criminal and commercial.

    It’s mind-boggling. Read it, please.

  • Alexa and Cortana talking to each other….

    Posted on August 30th, 2017 at 07:32 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    … and why I don’t care.

    Here’s an overview from Paul Thurrott, if you’re interested.

    Microsoft’s sales pitch:

    Cortana users will be able to have Alexa shop on Amazon.com and manage their Amazon orders and access many of Alexa’s third-party skills by asking Cortana to open Alexa, just as Alexa users will have access to Cortana’s world knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance and location-based reminders simply by asking Alexa to open Cortana.

    I can envision some people, in some situations, wanting to use Cortana to get to Alexa. In very rare instances I can see using Alexa to get to Cortana. But for most people most of the time – and certainly for me – it’s a big meh.

    Cortana’s “world knowledge” doesn’t hold a candle to Google’s, as any seven-year-old can attest. As for calendar and location-based anything, Google’s way out ahead on those fronts, too.

    Microsoft’s losing the Augmented Reality wars. They’re losing the voice assistant wars. Personally, I use Alexa for home stuff and Google Assistant for everything else that’s voice-friendly. It works. And I don’t have to wait for 20-minute blackouts while my PC updates itself, or bob and weave through mediocre updates.

    Downright distressing for somebody who’s been with Windows since version 286.

    UPDATE: Great article from John Brandon in Computerworld:

    Cortana and Alexa can talk to each other, but it isn’t really a conversation or integration — simply a way for one bot to open the other. Yawn.

  • Microsoft Excel vs Google Sheets

    Posted on August 16th, 2017 at 06:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Preston Gralla puts them head-to-head and comes up with some startling (but not unexpected!) results. The write-up is “for business,” but the results are applicable to everyone.

    I’ve started using Sheets whenever I can.

  • .NET Framework 4.7 is now available for Win7 SP1

    Posted on June 14th, 2017 at 07:49 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This question from poster @CraigS526

    I upgraded not long ago to .Net Framework 4.6.2 JUST to get Longer File names and had No Issues. It never came up in Win Update to go from 4.6.1 — to ( .2 ) — so IF it is Not an option in June, is there any reason NOT to Install 4.7 Manually?

    .NET Framework 4.7 has just recently become available for Win7 SP1. Perhaps it would be a good idea to do some research on the problems with installation and use in Win7 SP1 before moving forward.

    Read here about the DirectX Dependency

    The DirectX dependency is now available in the Preview of Monthly Rollup released via Windows Update on May 16, 2017. The Monthly Rollup is also available for deployment via WSUS and the Microsoft Update Catalog under the following Knowledge Base Article ids:

    Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP2: KB4019265
    Windows Server 2012: KB4019218

    The DirectX dependency is also available outside of the Monthly Rollup as an independent/standalone package in the Microsoft Update Catalog. Due to its relatively smaller size as compared to the Monthly Rollup package, this standalone package may be preferable for ISVs that need to redistribute the .NET Framework 4.7 with their application.

    Please see the following for more information: The .NET Framework 4.7 installation is blocked on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012 because of a missing d3dcompiler update.

    And some information on known issues can be found here.

    .NET Framework 4.7 is also available for Win8.1 as a recommended update through Windows Update as of June 2017. It is also available for versions Win10, and as a part of Win10 Creators Update.

    Join us for further discussion on .NET Framework 4.7 on Win7 SP1 at Our .Net Framework 4.7 Upgrade Intentions

  • “2017-05 Update for Windows 10 version 1607” KB 3150513 appears over and over again

    Posted on May 8th, 2017 at 06:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    UPDATE: InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    I’m seeing it on my main production machine, too. It shows up on the list of installed updates (installed 2 May), but also appeared this morning on the list of updates ready to install.

    Poster Neil Hobbs on the Microsoft Answers forum says:

    If you have a look at the update in the Microsoft Update Catalog at the following URL, you’ll notice that it has been updated – the name and the KB reference has been updated;

    https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/ScopedViewInline.aspx?updateid=a9262201-26d9-464b-ab32-106e4652db0c

    Therefore the reinstall is due to this.

    Sure enough, the Microsoft Update Catalog shows it was last modified on May 4. If you go to the usual Update Catalog URL, you can see three different versions of the update, for 32-bit and 64-bit Win10 1607, and one for Server 2016 64-bit.

    On April 24, I wrote in InfoWorld about the new version of 3150513 being pushed onto all versions of Windows.

    Then on May 2 I talked about Günter Born’s discovery that there was a re-issue of KB 3150513 for 1607 only. A look at the KB page turned up key files dated April 27.

    Now, when I look at the KB page, I see that the key files were updated again, this time on May 3.

    The weird terminology — starting with “2017-05 Update …” throws off alphabetized lists of patches, as noted by NetDef yesterday.

    Günter Born has a rundown of more problems with KB 3150513 and KB 4015219 (the Win10 1511 cumulative update). According to the Update Catalog, both were re-issued on May 4. The last official cumulative update for 1511 appeared on April 11. This new one’s undocumented, as best I can tell.

    It would be interesting to know if this latest cumulative update for 1511, dated May 4, increments the build number above 10586.873 (which is the official build number for the release on April 11). If the number has been incremented, I don’t see any reference to it, anywhere, official or unofficial. If the number has NOT been incremented, somebody is playing fast and loose with the build numbering system.

    Sounds to me like somebody screwed this one up big-time.