Tech Talk #104 – May 25, 2019

Windows XP security patch

Remember back in 2014, when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP? Meaning no more security patches or Windows Updates for computers running XP?

It turns out that Microsoft DOES still issue patches for XP, but only emergency security patches. In 2014 Microsoft issued a patch for vulnerabilities in all versions of Internet Explorer. Next, in 2017, there was another emergency patch to fix a hole used by the WannaCry virus to infect more than 200,000 computers.

This month, Microsoft issued a third emergency patch, this one for a “wormable” hole in the Windows Remote Desktop Services component. The patch is for Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.

So far, there aren’t any reports of new malware using the new vulnerability, but run Windows Update your system if you’re still using a computer running one of the operating systems listed above.

This problem doesn’t affect Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012.

Some users report that you need to run Windows Update twice to get the fix installed.

More Intel chip problems

In case that Windows XP problem wasn’t enough bad news for you, Intel central processing units (CPUs) have a few newly discovered technical bugs in their architecture. How technical? CPUs try to optimize performance by predicting and executing tasks before they’re required to do so, a process called “speculative execution.” The newly discovered bugs show that attackers can steal your encryption keys, passwords, and other information right out of the CPU while it’s “speculatively executing” an instruction. These bugs are present in every Intel CPU made since 2011. Oh, great.

These new bugs, (ZombieLoad, Fallout, Meltdown UC, RIDL, and more) are related to last year’s Intel CPU architectural flaws, Meltdown and Spectre.

But there is some good news. It’s fixed already. Yay!

Well, technically, Microsoft, Apple, and Google have released patches from Intel that fix the flaws. All you need to do is make sure your computer is updated. Here’s how:

Microsoft Windows 10

Make sure to save your work and close any tabs or windows you have open, then click Start, and start typing the word “Update.” When the “Check for updates” option pops up, click that. Windows 10 should automatically start checking to see if there are any new updates for your system. Whatever it finds, it should automatically start downloading and installing. Restart your computer when the updates finish. When your computer restarts, and here’s the important part, do check for updates again, just in case.

Microsoft Windows XP

Yes, this patch is for you, too. Click on Start > All Programs > Windows Update. There shouldn’t be very many but do all the Windows updates that show up.

Apple macOS

Make sure you’ve saved any work you’ve been doing and closed any open windows or tabs, then click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of your screen, select System Preferences, and click on the Software Update icon. Your system will start checking for updates automatically. If any are available, you’ll be able to start the process by clicking on the newly active “Update Now” button.

Google Chrome OS

Notifications for pending (or in-progress) updates for your apps and operating system show up in the lower-right corner of your Chromebook’s screen. To manually check for system updates yourself, click on this notification area and click on the smaller gear icon to pull up Chrome OS’ Settings. Now click on the hamburger icon in the upper-left corner of the window and click on “About Chrome OS.” From there, click on the “Check for updates” button.

Well, does it?

Since the Intel processor lineup is named Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7, does that mean Intel can’t even?

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at

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