(Tech Sites We Love)

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 18, 2019
29 offers news, tips, and support for Microsoft Windows, Office, PCs and other tech. It is run by Woody Leonhard and one of the prime news sources for Windows administrators and users on the Internet.

This is the fourth part of the "Tech Sites We Love" series. We gave shout outs to Majorgeeks, Nirsoft, and Donationcoder in previous parts of the series.

Woody Leonhard created back in 2004 (one year before I created Ghacks) and has been running the site ever since.

Read on to find out why we love the site and consider it one of the must go-to sites when it comes to Microsoft Windows patching, updating and issues.

Latest articles are displayed on the homepage. The content focuses on Microsoft products, especially Microsoft Windows and Office, and here especially on patching, updates, and issues that users or administrators may experience.

Woody Leonhard is the top poster on the site but other authors have found permanent residence on the site as well; this includes Susan Bradley who writes the Patch Watch column on AskWoody.

Just like it is the case here on Ghacks, it is not just the articles that make AskWoody a great resource. The community plays an equally big part in it; if you check the comment section of forum, you will get different perspectives, additional information and tips, and other things that add value to the site.

You may sign up for an account on the site to participate actively. Note that you may publish anonymously as well if you prefer that just like you can do here on Ghacks.

Users who donate get a plus membership. Donations help keep the site up and running. One interesting aspect of being a Plus member is that you get access to the Plus Newsletter which is the official successor of the Windows Secrets newsletter. The newsletter offers great articles by industry veterans.

Closing Words

AskWoody looks like many other tech blogs out there on first glance. If you just glance, you may not realize what a jewel it is.

Stick around, and you will see that it offers great content, especially about Windows updates and issues that users may experience.

It is a must-visit site in my opinion as a system administrator, regardless of whether you administrate a single Home PC or PCs in a company network.

Now You: What is your take on AskWoody?

Summary (Tech Sites We Love)
Article Name (Tech Sites We Love)
Description offers news, tips, and support for Microsoft Windows, Office, PCs and other tech; here is why we love the site!
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. JohnBH said on January 21, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Among those who take on the extraordinarily tough task of guarding the guardians for the rest of us, Woody Leonhard, Susan Bradley and Martin Brinkmann are in the front ranks. They are of immense value to the broader community of tech users who (like me) are just informed users.

  2. muser said on January 20, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Hi (longtime lurker, sporadic commenter),

    After reading this (I go on Askwoody and other sites from time to time), I was just randomly googling something about windows 10 for my new laptop (I love windows but it is a continous process that you love to hate and sometimes frustrating; the sometimes funny comments and drama on ghacks community helps) and discovered (lol I have never come across this site; ghacks and reddit are my main). I spent a couple hours on the site (while still re-reading ghacks) and went back up to 1yr reading all her posts. The best thing about the site was the simplicity (also why I come to ghacks), not stalling my hand me down 20yr old desktop comp (ugh. until it dies, I will be using it), and a variety of post topics but mostly discovering new apps and also different perspective on apps that have also been reviewed on ghacks. At first I was leary of the site, because I had never come a across it before, and there was almost no comments on the posts so I couldn’t figure out what the site’s purpose was, but after reading some posts and liking the voice of the author, I then started going through it’s archive.

    Over the years (I am a search-a-holic) of random googling stuff about windows10 and other platforms, I have only come across 2 female sites (I think this site is the 2nd or 3rd) dedicated to reviewing apps, windows 10 etc. It’s sad to think about in the wider perspective but it’s life. I appreciate you doing something like this (I wish you would highlight lesser known/unkown sites) Martin and have always respected your voice and the purpose of this site, even when I got frustrated a couple years back and kinda gave up on ghacks (there’s a comment in a previous post–I’m forgetting at the moment because I am re-reading some ghacks articles and some other reviews–about how ghacks posters cannot STAY ON THE TOPIC OF THE ARTICLE POSTED, and there’s always endless drama and quick tempers and pendantry etc…my series of complaints about the community is endless but I laugh and appreciate the thorough advice and some of the inventive paranoia and witty responses).

  3. Ken Saunders said on January 19, 2019 at 6:22 am

    So then, we don’t need you anymore.
    Nice knowin’ ya!

    Not a bad site at all. The forum seems pretty cool, and I like that they have an accessibility related one.

    I don’t have any reason to blow smoke up your etc, and you know that I like this site and your work and that I’ve been around a while, but, this is still my go-to tech site. It has been for many years. I guess when ZDNet and CNET turned into chaotic garbage with auto-playing crap, very biased articles, Firefox is Dead stories every few months, and more tracking and ad serving than content.

    If I could financially contribute again, I would.
    I’ll work on that, but, right now it’s too cold outside to sell lemonade and I’m too out of shape to sell my body.

  4. supergirl said on January 19, 2019 at 2:34 am

    For those of you who are RIGHTLY paranoid about Microsoft Spyware
    Win 7-10 Data collection etc.

    Please do me a favor buy a cheap old laptop from Craigslist or somewhere
    & install linux on it.
    Any core 2 will be slow but an 1st gen i5 will run medium weight Linux distros like a champ.

    I would recommend starting with Linux Lite or MX-18.
    They are all about EASY!!!!
    Get started now…. so when W7 is kaput you will not be..LoL
    No anti-virus needed,plenty of free software in quite safe repositories that are watched.

    In my MX Package installer I have 2 click installs to 10 Web Browsers :

    Palemoon ,Waterfox firefox
    Chrome,chromium,opera Vivaldi & More.

    Free yourself from the oppression of the dark side.
    No Money grubbing, no treachery, & you too can then laff at the foolish
    Micro-softies & their insipid whining.

    Its intoxicating.
    I have never used win10 & its unlikely I ever will.

    Oh yeah & updates are nearly flawless…

    Linux has upped its game now ..Up Yours!!!!!

    1. Uncensored said on January 19, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      The Linux story since begining of time… Still cannot compete with Win or Mac OSes. Total lack of specialised software like CAD and of non existent gaming. And good luck with the drivers, you ain’t gonna run those on WINE.

      One click installs exist on every OS, nothing new there.

      Please get rid of “no antivirus needed” statement, it’s just false. There are less viruses for Linux because of almost non existent market share.

  5. WoodyWho said on January 18, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Fan boys won’t realize, but all their ‘gurus’ are just talking heads selling horse dung.

    If there is any serious tech blog around, it’s ghacks[.]net, but certainly not askwoody[.]com. In fact, askwoody[.]com is a dangerous site and should be ignored. Don’t get fooled by Woody and the likes!

    1. Clairvaux said on January 19, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Martin and Woody seem to respect each other, judging by the way they quote each other. There’s probably a reason for that. Preposterous accusations such as yours need, at the very least, to be backed up with facts.

      People dispensing advice at Ask Woody’s are not “gurus”. That’s a strawman. They are just experienced IT professionals sharing their experience. Of course, maybe you don’t need other people’s experience, and you already know everything since you were born.

  6. Clairvaux said on January 18, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    It’s a very good site, and verging on the professional, really. If you don’t do IT for a living, you might get overwhelmed at times.

    Woody is a good man, and he’s doing a terrific job with his community. There are many expert commentators there, sharing highly valuable experience.

    I left the blog however, due to the fact that while Woody has a very strict policy of no politics or religion, he can’t keep to himself how much he loves the left and all associated PC beliefs. And then, when you avail yourself of the rule having been paused in order to voice a slightly dissenting opinion, you get whacked on the head by the double standards of some of his minions.

  7. exjnb said on January 18, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Askwoody is my goto site for information Windows updates

  8. Stan said on January 18, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Yeah, but it’s amusing, who doesn’t love good hearted lovable nut jobs? I do :)

    Keep doing what you do Woody!

  9. itsaunixsystem said on January 18, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    2005 called, they want their CSS back.

    1. seeprime said on January 18, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      1990 called. They want their humor back.

      1. Peterc said on January 22, 2019 at 7:19 am

        “Hey, George, the ocean called. They’re running out of shrimp.” —Seinfeld

        “Ted Nugent called. He wants his shirt back.” — Ocean’s Eleven

        I would go on, but those are actually the only ones I remember… ;-)

    2. Apparition said on January 18, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      Agreed that the site looks severely dated, but it is the content that matters.

  10. Tom Hawack said on January 18, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Tech Sites We Love, and so do I : AskWoody is a reference and maybe ‘the” reference when it comes to Windows insides.

    2015/Q1 (Win10 staring to buzz) –> 2015-07-29 (win10 launch) -> 2016/Q3 (Win10 dropped, here)

    About 18 months where I’d be a regular AskWoody reader and occasionally participant. Less now and since I’ve definitely abandoned the idea of shifting from Win7 to Win10 (October 2016 when I also stopped Windows updates all the way).

    During that year and a half not only have I had over at ‘Woody’s place’ all the elements to forge my opinion about Windows 10, but also, because Win10 was already what it never ceased to be, a concentration of inquisition and user tracking, did Windows and Microsoft become focused on their policies regarding all versions of Windows (at least Win7 up).

    I discovered then that I had been focusing on privacy everywhere on the Web except on my very OS, Win7. Users at Woody’s started evoking “Win 10 issues, but not only….” and those “not only” brought to me a hell of information regarding Win7 itself. If it hadn’t been for Win10 and the focus that OS led to Windows privacy policies in general I’d still be unwillingly sharing with Microsoft quite an amount of my privacy.

    Now with Win7; with Win7 and no longer Windows Updates, I admit a lack of curiosity for what I don’t use is a bad reason to not keep interested in an odyssey i’ve escaped from. But there’s so much on the web we have no choice than to prioritize our centers of interest. When I think of the time I spend with OS maintenance which could be spent with non-digital topics I feel a comparison with State Defense departments and their expenses. The amount of brain storming devoted to defending ourselves is stunning.

  11. dmacleo said on January 18, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I read it quite a bot and have been doing so for years.
    petri is another good resouce especially if you run windows servers

  12. Mark Hazard said on January 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    It’s too paternalistic and paranoiac for my taste.

    1. Peterc said on January 19, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      @Mark Hazard & @Judy Thornton:

      I run Windows 7 and normally apply security updates only, and I *always* check them out on AskWoody beforehand.

      That being said, I agree with both of you to the extent that AskWoody tends to put too much emphasis on the potential consequences of buggy patches (which can be bad but are *usually* reversible or fixable, with adequate backups) and not enough on the potential consequences of *not* patching (which can be catastrophic and irreversible). When a serious vulnerability is being actively exploiting on a massive scale, AskWoody steps up to the plate and recommends patching anyway, but in general, I’d say the site doesn’t give adequate consideration to the potential fallout from leaving vulnerabilities unpatched.

      As a result, I try to read the specifics of bug reports from Woody, Susan, and commenters and then make my *own* decision as to whether and when to patch, using my *own* assessment of risks on either side. But *my* assessment is indeed a *personal* assessment that won’t be shared by everyone. I bet the unpatched computers at the NHS, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Taiwan Semiconductor, Hitachi, Boeing, FedEx, DHL, Deutsche Bahn, Russian Railways, Honda, Renault, Nissan, Petrobrás, PetroChina, Maersk, Saint-Gobain, Mondelez, Merck, and DLA Piper (to mention only the most prominent) were *purring like kittens* before they got taken out by WannaCry, Petya, and NotPetya. ;-)

      1. Clairvaux said on January 20, 2019 at 3:47 pm

        Consequences of not patching are not irreversible. Not if you have proper backups. Backup is the magic wand, not patching.

        I guess you’re an individual user. You’re conflating two very different things : businesses, even large corporations, and individual computer users, highly technically-literate (that’s the only sort who reads either Ghacks, or Ask Woody).

        Corporations (or public entities) are highly at risk for two reasons. They are actively and specifically targeted. They have tens or thousands of members whose main purpose is not to enforce digital security, but getting their work done ; and among those many, many people, there’s bound to be a sizable fraction who will do reckless things online.

        Also, if you’re a hospital and you can’t access your data, I don’t need to explain the consequences. If you’re Joe Blow and you can’t write nonsense on Facebook and watch porn, well, that’s highly annoying of course, but still.

        So the level of danger from ransomware (or even cyberwarfare) to those professional entities is far higher than to individual users reading Ask Woody or Ghacks.

        And even then, it’s precisely large businesses and big organisations which have persistently asked Microsoft to be able to delay patches for a while, in order to test them first in-house. And Microsoft complied.

        Actually, Microsoft uses its pool of millions of home computer noobs as guinea pigs, for the only clients that matter to them : business clients. They happily break noobs’ computers in droves, in order for businesses to be slightly less inconvenienced (and they are still breaking business computers with abandon in the process).

        Ask Woody is precisely interesting because there are IT professionals there who make a living maintaining others people’s computers, people who are individual users or even maybe small business owners, who are explicitly forbidden from patching and from upgrading. As a result, they have satisfied clients with computers purring along, they themselves are not being bothered to make repairs, their own IT business is profitable, and everybody is happy as a result.

      2. Peterc said on January 22, 2019 at 7:10 am


        I agree that big, prominent outfits with technically proficient enemies are at much higher risk of being *specifically targeted* than ordinary, non-institutional users are. However, not all attacks are specifically targeted (worms and browser-mediated exploits, for example), and a lot of ordinary, non-institutional users have important things — things *other* than Facebook access and porn — that they’d like to keep intact and secure.

        I also question whether the simple, easy, inexpensive type of backup scheme you need to recover from buggy updates is deep and isolated enough to reliably recover from logic-bomb (aka time-bomb) malware without risking a recurrence.

        Anyway, I take your point: an average schmoe like me is at lower risk of being attacked than a government ministry or big corporation. But the risk is still there, the consequences can be as bad (subjectively, scaled down to an individual level), and individuals often (usually?) don’t have the wherewithal to recover as effectively as the big guys.

        No quibble with you on Microsoft’s using home users as guinea pigs.

        Anyway, the tradeoff between buggy Microsoft updates and security is one reason among many that I’m migrating to Linux.

    2. Jody Thornton said on January 18, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      @Mark Hazard:

      I was just going to say that. There’s a lot of love for Woody here, but his tendency to blow things out of proportion over the years, and to exude an almost “conspiracy-like” tone to some of his opinions gets overlooked.

    3. satrow said on January 18, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Join up and add some balance?

      1. Mark Hazard said on January 18, 2019 at 7:06 pm

        Nah, not worth the bother. Besides, I probably would be kicked off for not agreeing with
        “da boss” or the rest of his gang.

      2. satrow said on January 19, 2019 at 8:12 am

        That event would be exceptional, opposing views are very welcome:

        “Dissenting opinions welcome – encouraged! – as long as they’re coherent.”

      3. OldNavyGuy said on January 22, 2019 at 2:17 am

        Agree with Mark Hazard.

        Over-dramatic Windows bashing on AskWoody, and power-tripping moderators on WindowsSecrets.

        I’d check out BleepingComputer.

  13. ZeN said on January 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Woody is a good lad!
    I really appreciate his no-nonsense approach when it comes to Microsoft, it’s refreshing to say the least.

  14. LTL said on January 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    @Jojo It’s not a take over but a merger.

    AskWoody has been my goto website regarding (how to avoid) Windows update (dramas).
    Its emphasis lies on users commenting on the articles and the suggestions Woody & crew make, and reporting about their own experiences on employing particular updates.
    It’s a great source of information, but because most updates are discussed in different articles and comments, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with the latest and most relevant info.
    However, if you’re into deferring updates, is the place to be.

  15. RossN said on January 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Never heard of AskWoody – but adding it to my RSS subscriptions now.

  16. Jojo said on January 18, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Ask Woody is taking over Windows Secrets and the Windows Secrets forum. See info here:

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