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  1. It’s official. In the mind-bending (and internally inconsistent) quagmire that has become Windows updating terminology, Win10 version 1809 is now in 'phased rollout' but not yet in 'Semi-Annual Channel (not Targeted).' If you don’t want Win10 1809, get your machine locked down. Microsoft / IDG Looks like Microsoft has upped its game on deploying the September-October-November-December 2018 Update for Windows 10, with forced upgrades on the menu. Yesterday evening, Microsoft updated the status of Win10 1809 to say: Current status of Windows, version 1809, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server, version 1809 Windows 10, Version 1809 Rollout Status as of January 16, 2019 We are now starting our phased rollout to users via Windows Update, initially offering the update to devices we believe will have the best update experience based on our next generation machine learning model. Fully available for advanced users who manually select “Check for updates” via Windows Update. At the same time, however, the official Win10 Release Information page says that Win10 Version 1809 is “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” — which means that Microsoft has not yet determined that Win10 1809 is suitable for deployment in businesses. No doubt you recall Win10 1809’s truly abysmal history — yanked for deleting data, then blocked for interfering with all sorts of hardware and software, and taken back to the woodshed, er, workshop repeatedly for retooling. Now, it seems, Microsoft is going to start forcing the upgrade, particularly on Windows 10 Home users, and on Pro users who haven’t learned how to turn it off. Starting today, it isn’t sufficient to avoid clicking “Check for updates.” You’re now on notice that you have to actively block Version 1809, or you’re going to get it. I’m sure that the “next generation machine learning model” will do a much better job of picking targets. It looks like the timing’s linked to a resolved bug in Cisco AMP. Per Günter Born: The background for the announcement on the Windows 10 Update History page is probably the cicumstance that Microsoft and Morphisec announced that they solved the issue with the Morphisec Protector as of January 15, 2019. Software created with older versions of the Morphisec Software Development Kit (SDK) (e.g. Cisco AMP for terminals) caused problems. This protection software may have caused trouble saving documents via Save As in Microsoft Office applications. To be fair, though, Win10 1809 is the first version of Windows 10 that’s gone through a thorough testing process. The. First. Version. In three and a half years. Right now, there’s a cumulative update for 1809, KB 4476976, going through testing in the Insider Preview Ring. Presumably Microsoft has determined that the cumulative update isn’t dire enough to warrant holding back on pushed Win10 1809 upgrades. With a little luck, we may be witnessing the beginning of a much improved relationship between Microsoft and its, uh, customers. For now, though, if you don’t want version 1809 and its marginal feature improvements — a clipboard that works almost as well as decade-old third party add-ons, a new screenshooter with markup, a slightly better disk-cloud arbitrator — the old blocking method still works. Grab a box of popcorn and join us on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Microsoft starts its 'phased rollout' of Win10 1809, now controlled by a next-generation machine-learning model (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  2. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it wouldn’t push Win10 1803 upgrades onto 1709 machines if the machine has a .Net app (such as QuickBooks Desktop) that relies on TLS 1.2 security. Now it looks as if there’s a fix — but there’s no documentation. Thinkstock/Microsoft Microsoft’s KB 4458166, released on Tuesday, explains that the push to Win10 version 1803 has been halted for machines running .Net applications that use the TLS 1.2 security protocol. Presumably, effective Tuesday, if you have a Win10 1709 or 1703 machine that’s running one of those programs (including, notably, QuickBooks Desktop), Microsoft won’t try to push 1803 on it. It isn’t clear if the bug arose from the recent .Net updates to Win10 1803 or if it’s been there all along and Microsoft’s testers took four months to figure out that upgrading to 1803 hoses QuickBooks. Late last night, without fanfare, Microsoft put two “Critical Updates” in the Windows Update Catalog that likely solve the problem. Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 for x86-based Systems (KB4458166) appears to be a solution for 32-bit 1803. Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 for x64-based Systems (KB4458166) appears to solve the problem for 64-bit machines. I say “appears” because, other than the title of those (obscure!) Microsoft Catalog entries, I don’t see any indication what they’re supposed to do. The KB article, in particular, has not been modified to point to the new patches. It still says: Microsoft is working on a resolution, and will provide an update in an upcoming release. We have temporarily suspended offering the Windows 10, version 1803 update to customer systems that run applications for which this is known to be an active problem. Do you still think Win10 1803 is ready for businesses? Thx to an anonymous AskWoody poster. Join us on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: 2 undocumented patches from Microsoft may solve the 1803 TLS 1.2 blocking problem (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  3. A flurry of recent headlines report that Microsoft's latest Windows 10 feature update has been installed by half of all eligible PCs in a mere three weeks. A closer look at the data suggests this is highly unlikely. This week, a flurry of headlines from leading tech news sites announced that the latest Windows 10 release is rolling out at breakneck speed. Peter Bright of Ars Technica reported the news matter of factly: "The Windows 10 April 2018 Update, version 1803, is enjoying the fastest rollout of any Windows 10 major update thus far... [A]s of the 29th of the month, it's now being used on just over half of all Windows 10 machines." ZDNet's Liam Tung offered a similar conclusion: "The Windows 10 April 2018 Update is the fastest Windows rollout of Windows 10 since it was first released in 2015, [reaching] 50 percent market share in one month..." Paul Thurrott added some caustic commentary: "Microsoft is spewing this update out at an unprecedented rate. Why they are doing so is unclear, given the many problems that users have had with this update. (Not to mention the internal issues that delayed the original release.) But there it is, even worse than I had expected. Much worse. Irresponsibly worse." All three of these stories include accurate summaries of a third-party report released this week. But a closer look suggests that the data behind that report is, to put it charitably, weak. The report comes from AdDuplex, which bills itself as the "leading cross-promotion network for Windows Phone and Windows applications." On a separate web page, the company says it's the "leading user acquisition platform for Windows Phone and Windows." The inclusion of Windows Phone, a now-defunct product, on those blurbs should be a red flag. And calling this a "leading ad network" is also a stretch. Here's how AdDuplex describes its core product: What is AdDuplex? AdDuplex is a cross-promotion network specifically targeted at Windows Phone and Windows Store apps and games. It empowers developers and publishers to promote apps for free by helping each other. For each 10 ads displayed in your app you get 8 impressions of your ad. Promote your app for free by helping fellow developers. If you read the AdDuplex report, don't be distracted by the pretty charts. Instead, look for the details, which are slim. While they no doubt accurately reflect the user base of the developers who use AdDuplex, they simply can't be extrapolated to the Windows 10 installed base of PCs. A footnote in the report says "This report is based on data collected from around 5,000 Windows Store apps running AdDuplex SDK v.2 (and higher). The raw data analyzed was collected over the day of May 29th, 2018 (UTC time) unless otherwise stated." I asked Alan Mendelevič, who owns and runs AdDuplex, how many unique Windows 10 devices are represented in this sample. "The total number of devices sampled is over 100,000," he told me via email. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 has an installed base of 600 million devices (almost all of them PCs but also including Windows Phone diehards and Xbox One users). It's reasonable to conclude that this data set represents less than 25/1000 of 1 percent of the Windows 10 device population. That's a small sample, but it might be statistically acceptable if it constituted a representative cross-section of the worldwide PC market. It doesn't. As Mendelevič confirmed for me, the numbers in his report come only from devices running apps from the Windows Store whose developers have joined the AdDuplex ad-sharing network. He declined to share the names of any of those apps with me but acknowledged that the list "consists of mostly casual games (card games and alike) and some utility apps." A review of the AdDuplex website shows that the "App of the Month" spotlighted on its home page hasn't changed since August 2016. That app, Digfender, is available on Windows 10 Mobile and doesn't run on Windows 10 PCs. Similarly, of six additional "Featured apps" on the AdDuplex home page, only two run on PCs. and one is no longer listed in the Store. That's not surprising, given the history of AdDuplex, which originally focused on the Windows Mobile market. The company's history page goes from 2011 to 2015 and then stops. Microsoft doesn't share any details regarding the percentage of Windows 10 PCs that have installed apps from the Microsoft Store, but the consensus among Windows analysts I have spoken with is that the number is extremely small, probably in the low double-digits. Most PCs still rely on desktop apps, and few PC users install obscure casual games from the Store. What we have, then, is a microscopic sample, gathered over a single day, that doesn't represent the overall population of Windows 10 PCs. Extrapolating from that data set to the 600 million Windows 10 PCs in use is simply not statistically valid. Microsoft declined to comment on their deployment rate for the April 2018 Update. After diligent searching, I can't find any evidence that Microsoft is rolling out this update faster than, say, the version 1709 release from six months ago. Based on my experience, however, I would find it literally incredible to believe that half of the Windows 10 population had been updated a mere three weeks after the release of version 1803 to Windows Update. If the AdDuplex data were genuinely applicable to the Windows 10 installed base of PCs, that would mean Microsoft had successfully upgraded more than 100 million PCs each week for three weeks, including a long holiday weekend. Sorry, that's not how it happens. (And if the Windows team had really managed that feat, the company would be bragging about it.) In an interview last fall, one of Microsoft's top engineers told me that the company's overarching guideline for rolling out a new feature update is "as fast as is safe." At a bare minimum, it typically takes two months to identify issues that can cause a "negative experience" for upgraders. It's an iterative process, with Microsoft engineers watching telemetry data and expanding or slowing down the update volume based on issues it identifies via that telemetry data. Those issues typically get resolved in the cumulative updates that appear on the second Tuesday of each month, and at a bare minimum you can expect two and probably three such monthly updates before a feature update is widely available. Source: Has Microsoft accelerated its latest Windows 10 rollout? Not so fast. (ZDNet - Ed Bott)
  4. Avast says it has fixed the problem that triggered Win10 April 2018 Update installation blue screens and dysfunctional 'boot to another operating system' options. Paul Fenwick (CC BY-SA 2.0) Looks as if we have a solution for the Avast-related blue screens in Win10 1803 upgrades that I talked about earlier this week. Avast heavyweight Ondrej Vlcek chose his words carefully but threw lots of shade at Microsoft for the upgrade installer’s bug. Posting on the Avast forum, Vlcek says: In cooperation with Microsoft we have identified an element of the latest Windows 10 1803 update that is incompatible with the Avast Behavior Shield, causing the aforementioned update to fail in some instances (related to a timing issue, Internet connectivity issue, etc). “Fail in some instances” is polite shorthand for the symptoms originally described quite accurately by gcdrm on Reddit: Upon restarting, the computer boots to a blue screen asking the user to choose a keyboard language. After doing so, a few options are given, including to 'boot from another operating system'. Clicking here will take the user to another blue screen with three options to continue "booting" to: Windows Rollback Windows 10 on Volume [x] Windows 10 on Volume [x] The lower two options are identical. Running around to get ahead of the band, on May 23, “Microsoft Agent” Freddrick Pal posted on the Microsoft Answers forum: Windows 10 April 2018 Update may boot to a “Choose your keyboard layout” screen or to a blank screen with a Recycle Bin During the upgrade to Windows 10 version 1803, Windows automatically restarts and one of these two conditions might be experienced: The upgrade appears to complete, but after signing in, you observe a blank screen with only a Recycle Bin and a taskbar. The mouse cursor is present, but the Start menu may not function. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del runs the Task Manager, but the Task Manager may not be helpful. During the upgrade, Windows restarts to a screen that prompts you to “Choose your keyboard layout”. From there, troubleshooting options can be selected, but none of them appear to resolve the issue. For example, if Windows Rollback is selected, the entire process repeats. As is becoming increasingly common on the Answers forum, especially on posts by "Microsoft Agents," comments to the post are shut off. No discussion possible. It's not an answer, it's a diktat. Vlcek goes on to say: Luckily, we have found a way to prevent the problem and are now automatically pushing a VPS update to all customers which makes sure that the problem doesn't happen. The VPS number is 180524-08; all users running this version (or later) should be 100% safe. (A VPS is a full update of Avast Behavior Shield.) He then gives a complex 18-step procedure for manually getting your computer back if you got zapped by the bug. It’s not for the faint-hearted. And it’s not from Microsoft — Avast picked it up from The Computer Cellar. Worth noting: There’s no mention of this bug, or its possible solution, in the second May cumulative update for Win10 version 1803, released two days ago, KB 4100403. Vlcek ends with an interesting barb: In the meantime, we continue to investigate this issue which appears to affect only a small subset of our customers. BTW at this stage, we know it's not an Avast-specific issue as the problem affects other software as well. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, and some of Avast’s comments, I’d be willing to speculate that we’re seeing another timing-dependent bug in the Win10 1803 installer. Why this bug took out so many copies of Avast — and what “other software” mentioned by Vlcek may be affected — remains a mystery. Of course, Microsoft isn’t saying anything. Gcdrm on Reddit wraps up his coverage with this statement: In response to all the people who have written comments with their thanks and success, and all the people who have emailed my business with similar thanks, including those who have offered to donate to us or to charity in exchange for the free advice, and so on: <3 pay it forward support small and independent businesses Here, here. Thx to @Microfix, Günter Born and Martin Brinkmann. Got problems with 1803? Don’t we all. Join us on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Avast blames Microsoft for Win10 1803 upgrade blue screens, nonsensical options (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  5. We saw it happen three times with Win10 1709. Now we’re getting reports of Win10 1803 being pushed to Pro PCs with “branch readiness” set to Semi-Annual Channel -- the setting that’s supposed to specifically keep 1803 away until it’s ready. Thinkstock/Microsoft If this weren’t so infuriating it’d be heartbreaking. According to multiple reports, Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 version 1803 onto PCs that are specifically set to bypass the upgrade until it’s declared fit for business use. Susan Bradley has details. We saw forced upgrades three times with Win10 version 1709. In mid-November 2017, Microsoft pushed many Win10 1703 customers with “Current Branch for Business” selected onto 1709. In mid-January 2018, the company pushed many Win10 1703 customers onto 1709, even though they had “feature update” deferrals set to 365 days. In early March 2018, Microsoft pushed Win10 1703 customers onto 1709, based on the company's contention that it has a right to do so if telemetry is turned off (Diagnostic Data level set to zero). In particular, the people Microsoft Users complaining of a forced 1803 upgrade have set the “Choose when updates are installed” advanced update option to “Semi-Annual Channel." .” In Microsoft’s mixed-up world of update terminology (which has changed at least three times in the past year), “Semi-Annual Channel” – formerly “Current Branch for Business” – is supposed to delay upgrades until Microsoft determines that the new version of Win10 is fit for human consumption, or, presumably, paying business customers. This comes on the heels of the original rollout three weeks ago, when those with the temerity to “Check for updates” were deemed seekers and treated to an upgrade with no option to stop it. It seems “Check” has a different meaning in Win10 update terminology. Those who don’t have branch readiness set to “Semi-Annual Channel” – including all Win10 Home customers, who can’t set branch readiness – are considered cannon fodder, ready for the unpaid beta testing phase whenever Microsoft sees fit. In the past, Microsoft has said that it takes about four months to get their final, best version of Win10 debugged to corporate standards. Now, the length of delay – and the method for notifying folks that the new version has passed muster – is open to debate. The method and delay have changed with each of the Win10 versions (1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709) that we’ve seen. It isn’t clear at this point if those being upgraded to 1803 have set their Diagnostic Data level to zero. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more. Microsoft, of course, isn’t saying a word. Bradley recommends that you use wushowhide to search and destroy the upgrade before it gets installed. Of course, you have to remember to run wushowhide prior to clicking the “Check for updates” button. Every. Single. Time. Scratch that upgrade itch on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Microsoft pushing Win10 version 1803 to PCs specifically set to avoid it (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  6. If you shelled out $3,000 to $4,500 for a Surface Studio, you may be a bit disconcerted to discover that many don’t work with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, version 1803. Mice and keyboards keep disconnecting. Gordon Ung/Rob Schultz/IDG Microsoft made Windows 10 version 1803 available for download - and pushed to “seekers” - on April 30. It started sending the OS out to the unprotected masses on May 8. Shortly after, we started hearing complaints from Surface Pro (2017) owners that the upgrade to 1803 froze their machines. By May 11, we figured out that Surface Pro (2017) hardware with Intel SSD6 solid state drives were failing because, somehow, somebody at Microsoft forgot to test them. In a case of deja vu, it now looks like the version 1803 upgrade is failing on at least some of those expensive Microsoft Surface Studio all-in-ones. ChrisCork posted on the Microsoft Answers forum: Has anyone else experienced the mouse keep disconnecting on their Surface Studio since the April 2018 update? It's so annoying. If I touch the screen when it happens a few seconds later it comes back. Does Microsoft not test their premium devices with new updates or something?! Many Surface Studio users have chimed in with similar experiences. David Bader posts: I have also noticed that when the mouse stops working, the keyboard also stops working, but like you stated, if you touch the screen, the mouse and keyboard start working again. David Bader, a “Microsoft Agent,” appended this to a post: We are currently working on a solution that will be provided in a future Windows Update. Please continue to check for Surface and Windows Updates to ensure your device has the most current firmware and software available. That’s a great thing to tell someone who’s shelled out a premium price for a Surface Pro, and wants to upgrade to the latest flagship version of Windows. Poster Marius has a different (possibly related?) problem: When I paring an Fitbit Ionic the Bluetooth was completely away. Only with a restart I can work and the paring of Ionic i must disconnect the Ionic. In the Log I seen an entry "Low Energy" was not supported. I have to ask: Is anybody at Microsoft testing this stuff? Thx Bogdan Poppa at Softpedia. Don’t you just LOVE your Surface Studio? Join us on the AskWoody Lounge. Source: Yet another bunch of Microsoft Surfaces don’t work with Win10 version 1803 (Computerworld - Woody Leonhard)
  7. Waiting for Windows 10 1803 / RS4 / Spring Creators Update final? Sounds like nope, not today Although it’s been widely reported that the ready-for-the-world Windows 10 Redstone 4 (1803) release would begin today, it’s now appearing that it’s not to be, not today anyway. Both Paul Thurrott and Zac Bowden have tweeted today that the release has been “delayed,” although the April 10 release date has come from Microsoft watchers and not Microsoft itself. Normally these announcements would come with a 6am blog post, which did not happen. One possible reason for the “delay” may well be all in a name. A number of Microsoft watchers have been tweeting in recent days and weeks that the almost foregone conclusion name “Spring Creators Update,” which was mentioned in a Feedback Hub reference and also showed up in at least one of the latest RS5 builds. However, and possibly with the reorganization of the Windows teams within Microsoft, the “Spring Creators Update” name appears to be out. Nobody seems to know what the new name is, and it could well be that getting marketing materials together for a new name could be slowing things down. It’s even possible that Microsoft has hit a last minute bug or two, either in the OS release itself or in the release mechanism for rolling out the latest Windows 10 update around the world. Last week, Microsoft announced that a version of Windows 10 build 17133, thought to be the final build, was released first to the Slow Ring and then to the Release Preview Ring, a signal that the build was at least a candidate for an “RTM” version. The Release Preview was slated to have completed rollout by yesterday, but as you can see by these updates to that blog post, those plans have changed: Releasing an update to millions and millions of daily driver PCs can be a daunting task, and it’s not surprising that everything’s not running like clockwork. Of course Microsoft could surprise us all and release 1803 today after all, but our Magic 8 Ball signs point to no. Of course we want Microsoft to release Windows 10 1803 when it’s ready, and not before. We’d also like to see a well thought out, updatable naming convention, where we’re not held back waiting for marketing to get the signs made. If those take some time, so be it, and we’ll be waiting and watching to bring you all the latest when Windows 10 version 1803 / Redstone 4 / Spring Creators Update is actually released. Source
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