Archive for News

Windows Update Advisory

Last week Microsoft rolled out a large set of updates that cover both the Windows operating system and Microsoft Outlook. In my testing, the updates have installed fine. However, Microsoft has indicated that they have since removed some of the Windows OS updates from distribution on Friday – based on early feedback from users that they may cause a “Blue Screen of Death” (BSOD) situation.

The most sever case is with MS14-045. For details on the updates in question, check out this ZDNet article.

For I.T. personnel, Ed Langley (Naked PowerShell) has written a  series of PowerShell scripts (click here) to determine if any of the relevant updates are installed on a system.

  1. If you, tend to periodically run Windows Updates on your own workstations, I would advise against doing so until I hear more from Microsoft.
  2. The Microsoft Office updates are not involved, and can be applied as desired.
  3. Finally, it’s because of situations like these that I recommend that servers are NOT configured to have updates automatically applied.

There is nothing you need to do as a response to this email. This is simply an advisory – unless of course you have encountered a workstation that has had a BSOD.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms14-045.aspx

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2982791

Windows 8.1 August Update Rollup

Microsoft released the August 2014 update rollup (KB 2975719) on Tuesday August 12, 2014. This is an optional update, but does provide two new feature enhancements:

  • Precision touch pad improvements
  • More information on the Windows Update tab in PC Settings

Although these don’t seem to be significant at first reading, they are certainly improvements that I have been waiting for.

More importantly, this appears to indicate a change in how new features are released. Until now, new update rollups might come out a couple of times a year, containing a slew of new features and enhancements. But, it looks as if Microsoft will release new features and enhancements on a monthly basis, in smaller chunks.

I like that!

If you want to read more about the August update rollup, check out Ed Bott’s writeup on ZDNet.

Fix for Windows Server Essentials 2012R2 and Multi-DC released

Microsoft released an update (KB 2974308) today to address the issue where integrating Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 with Microsoft Office 365 or Windows Azure Active Directory is blocked when you are in a multiple domain controller environment.

Until now, you could only integrate Windows Server Essentials with O365/Azure AD in a single domain controller environment.

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Attempting to run the integration in a multiple DC environment would fail:

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I’m proud of the work that our MVP group did in identifying this issue soon after the release of Essentials 2012 R2 last year.

Netgear Backup Appliance using StorageCraft ShadowProtect

imageStorageCraft and Netgear are teaming up to release a new set of products called ReadyRECOVER Backup Appliance. It’s designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and leverages the legendary reliability of StorageCraft ShadowProtect to simplify backup and recovery of Windows systems.

With ReadyRECOVER, incremental snapshots, taken as often as every 15 minutes, generate full backups instantly.  Each point in time backup is ready to quickly and reliably recover Windows systems, including Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint servers, into production mode on any platform – physical or virtual.  Each backup is also ready for fast, simple recovery of files or folders.

Cloud-based Web Protection from GFI now available

imageGFI recently rolled out their new Web Protection solution allowing KW Support & Consulting to deliver web security, web filtering and web bandwidth monitoring to its clients. Web Protection is integrated into the GFI RemoteManagement dashboard and is based on GFI’s award-winning GFI WebMonitor product.

Features include:

  • Web security – stop client’s end-users from accidentally visiting malicious sites pushing malware, phishing, proxies, spyware, adware, botnets, etc.
  • Web filtering – help end-suers stay productive with common-sense web browsing policies designed for the workplace. Protects the business from legal liability and reduce the risk of a security breach through proactive internet access controls.
  • Bandwidth Monitoring – automatic alerts when excessive bandwidth activity on a network is identified, so you can remediate quickly and maintain productivity.

With Web Protection integrated into the GFI RemoteManagement platform, there is no software to install at the client site, no DNS name records to create or modify, and all settings and policies are managed right from the RMM dashboard.

If a user goes to a malicious web site, this is the type of warning screen they will receive:

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Download Microsoft free eBooks (nearly 300 are available)

For the past two year Eric Ligman, Micorosoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager, has been making various Microsoft eBooks available for free download. These books are available in PDF, EPub and MOBI formats. He announced yesterday the availability of another 130 free eBooks for download, bringing the total number of free eBooks to nearly 300!

These books cover Windows (8.1,8,7), Office (365, 2013, 2010), Sharepoint, Lync, Exchange, PowerShell, Azure Cloud, SQL and many more.

Click here to go to Eric’s Microsoft blog page for download links

 

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Microsoft includes XP in fix for recent IE security issue

Microsoft has released today (May 1, 2014) a security update (MS14-021 / 2965111) that addresses the recent Internet Explorer (IE) issue that was first discussed in Security Advisory 2963983. More importantly, Microsoft has decided to make this patch available for Windows XP users, although XP is officially no longer a supported operating system.

If your computers are set to receive automatic Windows updates from Microsoft, then this patch will be automatically installed.

Read more here:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/msrc/archive/2014/05/01/out-of-band-release-to-address-microsoft-security-advisory-2963983.aspx

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/ms14-may 

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/security/ms14-021

IT Camp: Windows 8 in Tampa

Microsoft will be hosting a Windows 8.1 IT Camp on Friday May 9, 2014 from 9am-4pm. The day long session is titled “Empowering People-Centric IT with Windows 8.1 for Professionals”. The audience for this hands-on event is geared for IT Decision Makers and IT Managers.

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This event takes place at the Microsoft Office in Tampa Florida. The address is: 5426 Bay Center Dr, Suite 700, Tampa FL 33609

Click here to register

Windows XP End of Support coming this Tuesday

In case you have missed it, Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system will not receive any new security updates beginning Tuesday April 8th.  

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Yes, this is a true statement. So, how does this impact you?

WINDOWS XP

Keep in mind that Windows XP will continue to run after Tuesday. It just means that Microsoft will not be pushing out any new security updates for the product after this date. Nor will Microsoft provide technical assistance. This could be an issue for people using Windows XP in regulated industries, such as legal, financial or medical. Microsoft, of course, is recommending that you to move to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

MICROSOFT SECURITY ESSENTIALS

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is Microsoft’s free anti-virus software. If your XP computer has MSE installed, you may already have seen popup windows warning you support for the XP operating system is ending. These warnings may lead you to believe that MSE will stop working on April 8th and that your computer will not be protected. But that is a false assumption.

If you already have MSE installed, Microsoft will continue to upgrade anti-virus definitions for that product for another year! However, after Tuesday, if you have Windows XP, and you try to install MSE, you will be blocked from doing so.

THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE

Since Windows XP will no longer be a “supported” operating system after Tuesday, it is possible that various third party software companies may also choose sometime in the future to stop supporting or selling their product on Windows XP. If you have a specific concern about a particular product, you should contact the vendor of your software.

SHOULD I UPGRADE?

Eventually, yes.

Windows XP was released 14 years ago. A lot has changed in that time. Look at it this way: perhaps you have a 14 year old TV or car or washing machine. Not only does it still work, but you’ve grown to accept and understand it’s little quirks. It’s become familiar to you, and you would like to keep it for as long as you can.

The thought of getting a new TV or Washer or car may be frightening to you because all these new items have all sorts of fancy new features and gadgets that you’re not sure of. Moving from Windows XP to Windows 7/8 will be a similar challenge.

Yes, it is possible to install Windows 7/8 onto your current Windows XP computer, and not lose any data. However, if your XP computer is more than 3-4 years old, I would NOT recommend doing so. It’s like putting new wine into an old wine skin. That old wine skin is apt to break sooner than later!

The other issue is to determine whether the various software programs you are using on your XP workstation will run under Windows 7/8. To help you in this process, Microsoft does provide a Windows Upgrade Compatibility tool that will check all your software and hardware, and let you know which will work and which may need to be replaced or upgraded if you move to Windows 7/8.

Read more from Microsoft:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

If you have questions, please contact me and we can determine the best solution for you.

Roboform for Windows 8 Phone

I’ve used Roboform on my main desktop for years to store and manage my logins and passwords to web sites. So, when I purchased my Windows 8 Phone (Lumia 920) back in November 2012, I was disappointed (to say the least) when I discovered that Roboform did not have an app for my phone.

Lo and behold, after waiting for more than a year, Roboform finally released version 1.0 of their Windows 8 Phone app. I will let you read all the complaints and criticisms from people about this first release.

For me, it installed and worked without a hitch. Intuitive? No, but if I can figure out how to make it work, I’m sure you can. Here are some actual screenshots of my first attempt at using the new Roboform app v1.0:

Step 1

Go to the Windows Store on your phone, and search for Roboform and download the app.

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Step 2

Next, login using your Roboform login name and password. The settings page is pretty sparse, and I did not change them from the default.

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Step 3

For my first attempt, I decided to see if I could access my Twitter web page, which I hardly do. Type in the Twitter URL, and it then takes me to the mobile version of their login page.

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Step 4

Look down at the bottom of the screen, and when I press the left icon (highlighted by the arrow), it displays for me the two Twitter login accounts that I have previously saved in Roboform from my desktop.

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