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Get the March Windows and Office patches installed, but watch out for known bugs

It’s been another Keystone Kops month, with a reasonably stable Patch Tuesday, followed by a hasty Patch Thursday to cover a security hole Microsoft accidentally blabbed, then the usual buggy “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patch, finishing with a fix for yet another bug introduced by earlier patches.

Plus ça change …

Along the way we got a quiet fix for a bug in Windows Defender. And a warning about yet another bad-font-takes-over-your-PC security hole. Microsoft has toned down its original warning about that Type 1 Font Parsing security hole, and now says it’s mostly a less-severe problem with Windows 7 and related servers.

All the while, in spite of loud sirens from many corners, there have been exactly zero emergencies, where a Microsoft patch fixed a hole that’s being widely exploited.

Which means it’s a good time to make sure you have the March patches installed, in preparation for what awaits in WFH April. Here’s how to do it.

Make a full backup

Make a full system image backup before you install the latest patches.

There’s a non-zero chance that the patches — even the latest, greatest patches of patches of patches — will hose your machine. Best to have a backup that you can reinstall even if your machine refuses to boot. This, in addition to the usual need for System Restore points.

There are plenty of full-image backup products, including at least two good free ones: Macrium Reflect Free and EaseUS Todo Backup

Install the latest Win10 March Cumulative Update

If you haven’t yet moved to Win10 version 1909 (in the Windows search box type winver and hit Enter), I recommend that you do so. The bugs in version 1903 are largely replicated in 1909 and vice versa, so there’s very little reason to hold off on making the switch — although, admittedly, there’s almost nothing worthwhile that’s new in version 1909. I have detailed instructions for moving to 1909 here.

To get the latest March Cumulative Update installed, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. If you see a Resume updates box (screenshot), click on it.

1903 updates paused Woody Leonhard/IDG

That’s all you need to do. Windows, in its infinite wisdom, will install the March Cumulative Update at its own pace. If you don’t see a Resume updates box, you already have the March Cumulative update and you’re good to go.

If you see a come-on for the “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patch KB 4541335 (screenshot), simply ignore it. There’s absolutely nothing in that patch that you need or want, and it’s causing all sorts of problems.

1909 optional update available 2 Woody Leonhard/IDG

There’s a reason why Microsoft is discontinuing these step-in-the-mess “optional” patches.

When your machine comes back up for air, don’t panic if your desktop doesn’t look right, or you can’t log in to your usual account. You got bit by the “temporary profile” bug, which we’ve known about — and complained about — for more than a month. We have three separate threads on AskWoody about solving the problem (1, 2, 3) and if you need additional help, you can always post a question. (Thx @PKCano.)

Also, don’t be overly surprised if you discover that, after installing the March patches, your internet connection disappears when you connect to a virtual private network. Yep, that’s another bug introduced by this month’s patches. For a change, Microsoft has actually documented the bug — and released a fix. You should only install the manual-download-only patch of a patch KB 4554364 if you’re getting knocked offline when connecting to a VPN. If your internet stays connected, simply ignore this warning. You’ll get updated in April. At least, theoretically.

While you’re mucking about with Windows Update, it wouldn’t hurt to pause updates, to take you out of the direct line of fire the next time Microsoft releases a buggy bunch of patches. Click Start > Settings > Update & Security. Click “Pause updates for 7 days.” Next, click on the newly revealed link, which says “Pause updates for 7 more days,” four more times. That pauses all updates for 35 days, until early May. With a little luck that’ll be long enough for Microsoft to fix any bugs it introduces in April. And the March stragglers, for that matter.

Patch Win7, Win8.1, or associated servers

If you’ve paid for Win7 Extended Security Updates and you’re having trouble getting them installed, Microsoft has a new article called Troubleshoot issues in Extended Security Updates that may be of help. We’re also fielding questions on AskWoody. 

0patch continues to provide patches for Win7, going so far as to fix the announced new font parsing bug, which Microsoft itself hasn’t even fixed as yet. 

If you’re running Win7 and haven’t been able to get Extended Security Updates working (there are lots of reported problems!), @abbodi86 offers a script that’ll let you install the latest Win7 security patches, bypassing the ESU restrictions.

Several high-profile security guri, including Patch Lady Susan Bradley, have called on Microsoft to open up its March 2020 Win7 patches to everybody, particularly considering the number of people who are working from home, on older machines, through no fault of their own.

Windows 8.1 continues to be the most stable version of Windows around. To get this month’s puny Monthly Rollup installed, follow AKB 2000004: How to apply the Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups. You should have one Windows patch, dated March 10 (the Patch Tuesday patch). No, you don’t want the Preview of Monthly Rollup.

After you’ve installed the latest Monthly Rollup, if you’re intent on minimizing Microsoft’s snooping, run through the steps in AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Win7 and 8.1 snooping. If you want to thoroughly cut out the telemetry, see @abbodi86’s detailed instructions in AKB 2000012: How To Neutralize Telemetry and Sustain Windows 7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollup Model.

Thanks to the dozens of volunteers on AskWoody who contribute mightily, especially @sb, @PKCano, @abbodi86 and many others.

We’ve moved to MS-DEFCON 3 on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Tim Cook keeps promising new health features, probably for Apple Watch

The digital health sector should think deeply about what happens next as Apple CEO  Tim Cook has again spoken out about his company’s focus on wellness technologies.

Prevention is good for business

Cook talked up Apple’s plans for digital health with IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. His focus is very much on prevention, above cure – perhaps reflecting the depth of research and the huge burden of proof required before new technologies can truly be declared lifesaving.

“I think you can take that simple idea of having preventive things and find many more areas where technology intersects healthcare, and I think all of our lives would probably be better off for it,” said Cook.

He’s basically arguing that technology can be developed that can provide early warnings of big health problems, empowering people to take better care of themselves.

Can wearables make you well?

His argument is being picked up on by health practitioners worldwide, particularly as millions succumb to relatively preventable conditions such as obesity or diabetes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that diseases such as these, cancer and heart disease together account for around 70% of deaths worldwide. Air pollution, drug resistance and global pandemics such as flu are among the biggest problems. Mental health issues are also becoming endemic.

While Cook wasn’t specific in his promises, he did say:

“Most of the money in healthcare goes to the cases that weren’t identified early enough. It will take some time, but things that we are doing now – that I’m not going to talk about today – those give me a lot of cause for hope.”

Reading between the lines of what Cook said, it seems clear that when it comes to preventative health Apple is focused on Apple Watch. That’s as big a hint as we’re going to get about the company’s digital health product development.

Apple Watch: exploring digital health frontiers

We can already guess this means the company is developing new health sensors, new activity sensors and enhancements to its already life-saving heart monitoring tools.

When it comes to software, Apple will certainly be looking to develop health-focused machine-learning systems capable of monitoring how we live – and offering up useful advice to help people stay well. That’s effectively the kind of thing Activity already does, with the addition of new tools likely developed using the company’s digital health research solutions.

It remains to be seen whether anything more comes of Apple’s investment in primary care clinics for its employees, though it is likely company employees already contribute test results for its research teams. Apple’s swimming Activity tech used extensive data from real swimmers, after all.

It is important to note that many of America’s larger corporations are bringing elements of employee health provision in house, so perhaps nothing will become of the investment. Earlier reports said the company has hired designers tasked with implementing programs to prevent disease and promote health behavior.

That’s even before you consider the potential for more sophisticated Apple-developed health solutions.

What’s happening in the industry?

Some recent headlines may help explain the kind of digital health opportunities that are already available for Apple and others to explore through wearable devices such as Apple Watch:

  • The Lancet recently reported on a study that showed real-time flu prediction may be possible using wearable heart rate and sleep tracking devices.
  • Research is also taking place that uses digital devices and sensors to help monitor and manage some mental health diseases.
  • Caspar Health, a provider of a digital patient aftercare that enables patients to manage their own care remotely recently pulled in $5.3m in Series A funding.
  • Stanford Medicine’s 2020 Health Trends report confirms the data gathered by smartphone apps and wearables “more often than not” provides “clinically valuable” information.

It seems logical to think Apple might explore any of these sectors. Each one relates strongly to Cook’s hints about “preventive” care. While there is no evidence at all that Apple is involved in any of the industry research that is taking place, Cook’s statements make it clear the company is definitely watching the space. In the future, if an Apple Watch can detect it, and Apple’s software can analyze the information it picks up, the company will probably make something from it.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Top 3 enterprise tech trends to watch in 2020

If blockchain felt more like hype than reality in 2019, prepare for that to change. Industry watchers expect 2020 to be the year the distributed ledger technology matures and we see use cases that go beyond cryptocurrency.

Areas where experts envision growth include data security, the supply chain and electronic health records.

“Someone’s gonna hit me, but I think blockchain as it relates to data security (think access management) is going to have some landmark use cases in 2020,” Siobhan Climer, science and technology writer at Mindsight, said during a recent IDG TECH(talk) Twitter chat.

Ed Featherston, a technologist at Cloud Technology Partners whose expertise includes blockchain, big data, machine learning, IoT and cloud computing, agreed, saying he still believes in the potential of blockchain and predicts its use will grow in 2020.

“One of the biggest areas in which blockchain is growing is supply chain and provenance,” he said during the Twitter chat. “Pharma (and healthcare in general) are also looking and investing heavily in blockchain options: drug supply chain — opiates especially — clinical trial data, electronic health records. Chain of custody/chain of events is always a potential use.”

Climer concurred: “Anything that involves tracking of a noun – person (law enforcement/government/travel), things (medicine, products, packages), ideas (patents, perhaps) – so much potential there.”

In writing about the expectations for blockchain in 2020, Computerworld‘s Lucas Mearian said that while the technology “has not lived up to expectations to drive new societal and business models” – and most projects remain in experimental mode – it is far from being a failure.

“Its promise to deliver a single version of data truth over a secure, distributed and immutable ledger remains compelling, and as it matures, many see it becoming a ubiquitous platform for financial services, ecommerce and other markets,” he wrote.

As blockchain begins climbing out of the hype cycle, pragmatic use cases will arise. Some of those include payment processing, data sharing, equity trading, and contract/document keeping and tracking, Mearian wrote. We can also expect the technology to be used to thwart fake news, for digital securities exchanges, and to manage consumer identities.

More AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be used more in 2020, experts say. In particular, they’re looking forward to their use in cybersecurity, collaboration technology and telepresence, and production quality.

“I am excited to see AI and ML being used more fully in the world of cyber. Much of this will initially be offered as a services,” said Schott Schober, a cybersecurity and wireless expert and author of the book Cybersecurity Is Everybody’s Business, during the IDG TECH(talk) Twitter chat.

In fact, a recent Computerworld poll about technology trends for 2020 found 43.9% of people are most looking forward to AI-enhanced cybersecurity. It’s no wonder, considering increases in the number of cybersecurity incidents. In 2019, at least 5.3 billion records, including credit card numbers, home addresses and phone numbers, were exposed through data breaches. Organizations need help identifying threats and preventing breaches, and given the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, AI can help them bridge that skills gap.

enterprise technology trends 2020 poll IDG Communications, Inc.

Look for AI and ML to be used to detect threats and other potentially malicious attacks and for AI to be used with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to provide access to users, Schober said. ML is also effective for learning/analyzing mobile endpoints.

For Steven Prentice, whose expertise includes implementing business technology across a range of industries, it’s the use of AI and ML in collaboration technology and telepresence that has him most excited.

Using AI and ML in enhanced meeting/collaboration management allows you to calculate floor space needed for meetings, as well as “power usage and general viability in brick-and-mortar spaces. It serves as a catalyst for justifying robots and telepresence,” he said.

IoT, IIoT, edge computing and automation rise in importance

Expect the internet of things (IoT) and industrial internet of things (IIoT) to grow in 2020. And as they do, edge computing and robotic process automation (RPA) will gain traction, said Moin Shaikh, senior web analyst at Intelligent Online Solutions Pty. Ltd.

“OEMs and manufacturers have started harnessing the power of RPA and AI to improve product quality and fasten production cycle,” he said. “Logistics is another area where IIoT robotics are helping.”

Those applications are going to need the fast network speeds that edge computing provides to process the zettabytes of data the IoT devices are going generate.

“Edge can reduce latency for critical applications, for example, and improve the speed of alerts while easing network loads,” Sandra Gittlen wrote in her Network World article, Enterprises tap edge computing for IoT analytics.

Enterprises are already investing in compute, storage and networking gear at the edge, including IoT gateways and hyperconverged infrastructure. And in 2020, Joanne Friedman, IT industry analyst and CEO of ConneKted Minds, expects more will do so.

“I’m looking forward to enterprises adopting edge as a means to absorb real-time/situational or contextual data from cobotics, IIoT, or customers (IoT) to improve the accuracy and quality of insights used to inform their decisions,” she said.

Other enterprise tech trends for 2020

Industry experts are also watching these enterprise technology trends:

  • 3D printing advances;
  • Organizations focused on agile and a DevOps culture;
  • Higher adoption of low-code and no-code solutions;
  • Entire organizations – not just IT – focusing on reducing technical debt and legacy debt;
  • Improved IoT security;
  • Privacy by design and security built into products/software.

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What do you think? What enterprise technology trends are you looking forward to in 2020? Leave a comment on our poll.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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7 Android trends to watch in 2020

Ah, a new year. What better time to step back, fire up our rusty ol’ noggins, and think about what exciting and/or exhausting mobile-tech movements await us in the months ahead?

It’s a level of contemplation that can be challenging to focus on — especially in this rowdy Android-centric domain, where Incredibly Important Information is constantly spewing forth and splashing into our moist, open eyeballs. (That’s at least part of why I wear industrial strength swimming goggles whenever I’m consuming mobile tech news.) Sometimes, it’s all you can do to stay afloat and avoid drowning in the fast-moving stream of “revolutionary” developments from companies you’ve never heard of.

Lemme tell ya, though: Stepping back and thinking about that bigger picture view can be the best way to grasp what’s actually going on with these ever-evolving gadgets of ours and the software that surrounds ’em. Trends tell us so much more than any individual announcements being shouted from a filthy Vegas floor, and they definitely tell us more than the meaningless but confidently stated predictions so many folks love to bellow into the ether this time of year. (There’s just one exception to that rule.)

So as most of the internet scrambles to keep up with an endless spray of CES screeching, let’s zoom out and look at some of the broader trends that are bound to dominate this domain in the coming months. There will almost certainly be unexpected twists and yet-to-be-revealed surprises, but it seems safe to say we’ll be spending plenty of time talking about these seven subjects.

Ready?

1. Foldables, foldables, every which way

2019 was supposed to be the “year of the foldable,” but in reality, it was just the tip of the folding iceberg — the year a couple of companies started dipping their eager tootsies into the water to see if they could convince anyone to join ’em for a splash.

The results? Well, they weren’t exactly spectacular, but they were enough to get everyone and their mother interested in chasing the same virtual genie and trying to claim their share of the (neatly folded) pie. The technology may still be nowhere near ready for advisable ownership, but its reason for existence — the answer to the pesky question of “What problem is this solving, anyway, outside of making expensive phones seem new and exciting and worth buying?” — is getting closer to being defined.

With multiple foldable Android phones already on the horizon and even more under development, there’s little question this’ll be an area we’ll be watching, erm, unfold as the year wears on.

2. More silly screen-related gimmicks

Like it or not, a Pandora’s box has boastfully been opened when it comes to silly screen-related gimmicks — and believe you me, that’s only gonna become more apparent as we weave our way through these next dozen months.

These sorts of gimmicks generally serve the same basic purpose — that is, absolutely no legitimate purpose. They address a non-problem that was created mostly just to justify their existence: the notion that we need phones with smaller bezels, damn it, because…uh, well, they look cool? (And thus also, y’know, make expensive phones seem new and exciting and worth buying. Funny how it always ultimately comes back to that, isn’t it?)

And so in pursuit of that manufactured goal of having less space around our screens, we accept all sorts of laughable compromises — like having ridiculously awkward cutouts within the actual active areas we look at on our screens, having worse speakers on our phones than what we enjoyed a few years back, and having a wildly unnecessary mechanical system to tuck the front-facing camera away into a phone’s body and then raise it back up every flippin’ time it’s needed.

Well, my dears, the silliness won’t be stopping anytime soon. As 2020 progresses, we’re certain to see more clumsy screen cutouts in otherwise commendable phones — phones that could have had full, uninterrupted displays if only they’d had a few extra millimeters of (gasp!) bezel — along with other practical-downgrade delights. Get ready for a fresh wave of subpar in-screen fingerprint scanners, a new series of attempts at putting a phone’s camera lens beneath its frame for no apparent reason, and maybe even some attempts to extend a screen all the way onto a phone’s sides (perhaps the best example yet of form at the expense of function).

In short, get ready for a bunch of stuff that looks cool but ultimately acts against your real world, 10-fingered-human interests. And speaking of which…

3. A move away from ports and buttons

With the headphone jack already on its way to extinction, phone-makers have been angling to further reduce our device’s orifices and protrusions for a while now. We’ve seen phones without any physical buttons before, and more recently, we’ve seen some concept-level phones with nary a hole to be found (yipes!).

Between that general trend toward “simplifying” hardware (an insulting euphemism if I’ve ever heard one) and recent rumors that Apple is eyeing a port-free iPhone for 2021, it’s hard not to expect some manner of movement in this direction from Android device-makers over the coming months.

Someone’s bound to make a physical-interruption-free Android phone, if not this year then sometime soon thereafter. The only real question in my mind is who it’ll be — and how many other yahoos will follow.

4. 5G, 5G, everywhere (except where it counts)

You knew this one was coming, right? Yup, no way around it: 5G will be everywhere in 2020, at least in terms of marketing. Carriers and device-makers have made that abundantly clear. What’s less clear is how this will in any way be beneficial to the vast majority of us — and how it won’t be yet another practical downgrade in our mobile-tech user experience.

To wit: 5G networks remain extraordinarily small-scale and limited in America. Even in cities where they’re present, the nature of the technology means areas with actual 5G coverage are few and far between. What’s more, early signs suggest that even in places where 5G is present, the experience of using it is often roughly comparable to or sometimes even worse than what you’d get from using the regular ol’ 4G networks you know and loathe.

For now, at least, 5G service will also require the use of specialty (read: extra-expensive) phones that come loaded with compromises like bad battery life, unusually warm surfaces, and awkward antenna workarounds.

Yay, 2020!

5. More expensive phone options

Guess what? All of the trends we’ve talked about so far lead to the same end result: the presence of high-end phones that, for one reason or another, require you to fork over more dough to own ’em.

From foldables to fresh-seeming form gimmicks and, of course, that futile 5G support, carriers and device-makers are gonna have a whole new range of reasons to demand more dollars for your next mobile device. And you’d better believe they’re ready to jump on that opportunity.

I mean, think about it: After years of slumping smartphone sales and extending ownership periods for existing devices, there are finally some shiny new tools to entice us all to open our wallets again. And boy, goodness, are we gonna be hearing about ’em endlessly. (It’s probably no coincidence that Motorola has already said it’s ready to re-enter the “premium smartphone market” with its first series of truly high-end products in a while.)

On the other hand, though…

6. More emphasis on affordable devices

Google’s experience with the Pixel 3a is a reminder that sometimes, a decidedly muted and mundane model of a phone is the one people actually want to buy — especially when its compromises are limited and its price is right. (It’s a lesson Motorola also learned with its Moto G line some years earlier, incidentally — when, perhaps not coincidentally, the company was owned by none other than Google.)

All eyes are once again on Google as the likely launch of its midrange Pixel 4a follow-up draws nearer — and a new series of leaks has parts of the internet already calling the phone an improvement over the higher-end Pixel 4.

Add into that recently revealed plans for a first-ever Galaxy S Lite series and Note Lite series from Samsung and rumors of a similarly branded midrange phone option from OnePlus, and it sure seems like all that high-end attention will be nicely complemented by a new emphasis on affordable midrange devices that don’t completely suck.

7. Renewed attention for some Android-adjacent platforms

This time last year, Google’s then-new manager of Android TV said the company was working on a significant redesign of the TV-based platform and suggested that after years of neglect, it was finally ready to give Android TV the attention it deserved.

And then — well, not much happened in 2019. Those promises are still pending.

Assuming Google hasn’t done one of its classic flip-flop abandonments, this seems to suggest something is still a-cookin’ — and maybe, just maybe, this’ll be the year it’s fully baked and ready for our tasting.

Let’s not forget, too, that Google is still in the process of attempting to buy Fitbit. While that acquisition (if approved) isn’t likely to result in any immediate Googley gadgets, Google also spent $40 million to buy some “top-secret smartwatch technology” from Fossil nearly a year ago —  something that was at the time described as a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.”

And that deal wasn’t just about technology, either: It also brought a dedicated research-and-development team into Google’s Wear OS department. Again, the signs sure seem to suggest that something is still a-cookin’ and that Google’s got some intriguing ingredients for a wearable that could be pretty different from what we’ve seen before.

We may not know the specifics just yet, but between all these areas and the inevitable ongoing march of Assistant alongside ’em, we’ve got plenty of interesting questions to ponder — and plenty of intriguing possibilities to observe.

2020, here we come. Let the games begin!

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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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The 10 Best Christmas Movies on Netflix to Watch This Year

Watching Christmas movies on Netflix can be a great way to enjoy the holidays, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the season.

However, with the amount of content available on Netflix, it can be difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. To help you relax, have a good laugh, or feel a bit sentimental during the holidays, we’ve found the best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a great movie for when you just want to sit back, relax with your family, and watch something that the kids can enjoy while staying within the Christmas spirit.

In this film, the Christmas-hating Grinch ruins the holiday for the inhabitants of Whoville, but when one thing leads to another, he learns that Christmas is about more than just shallow gifts and selfish consumerism. We all need such reminders every once in a while, don’t we?

Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Netflix
Buy the How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

Starring Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd, Christmas with the Kranks is a hilarious holiday tale.

When their daughter leaves for the holiday season, Christmas just won’t be the same. So the Kranks decide to forget Christmas altogether and sail away on a cruise. But last-minute plans change, and their daughter decides to come home after all. Unfortunately, the Kranks aren’t prepared for that and what ensues is a Christmas comedy your whole family will love.

Watch Christmas with the Kranks on Netflix
Buy the Christmas with the Kranks DVD on Amazon

A Very Murray Christmas features the one and only comedic genius that is Bill Murray, among a whole host of other Hollywood A-listers. The movie, pitched as a fake documentary, is hilarious and an “irreverent twist on holiday variety shows.”

The trailer should be all you need to know whether you’d like to check this one out for yourself. However, George Clooney is in it, so we’re guessing that’s half the population sold on it already.

Watch A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix

When Christmas Eve rolls around, no one likes to be stranded in an airport. But when it’s a group of Unaccompanied Minors, it can turn into quite an adventure.

Watch as this cluster of mischievous kids bond as they do their best to entertain themselves until they can make their way home to their families. You’ll laugh as they try to outsmart an airport official and laugh even harder as they outrun the airport security guards.

For a jolly good giggle this holiday season, gather the family, and check out Unaccompanied Minors.

Watch Unaccompanied Minors on Netflix
Buy the Unaccompanied Minors DVD on Amazon

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is certainly a classic. The movie features Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye who start up a song-and-dance routine after the war and become wildly popular. The two then join a sister act, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, and head to Vermont to finally experience a White Christmas.

What makes this movie great, aside from the movie itself, are the nostalgic memories you may enjoy while watching it, as it has been regularly broadcast for many, many years during the holidays.

Watch White Christmas on Netflix
Buy the White Christmas DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

For another classic story in Whoville, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch is a great animated story for kids of all ages.

Follow the grumpy, green Grinch as he tries to steal Christmas by turning himself into Santa and sledding his way through Whoville with his faithful sidekick Max. It’s the same Dr. Seuss traditional story you love with beautifully colored animation, upbeat and fun music, and the main character you love to hate every Christmas.

Watch Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch on Netflix
Buy the Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch DVD on Amazon

Get Santa is a British movie with British humor. The movie was released in 2014 and features a top notch group of actors and actresses, including Jim Broadbent, Kit Connor, Warwick Davis, and Rafe Spall.

What makes this movie eminently watchable is that it can be enjoyed by kids as well as adults. It also features an interesting plot that will really get the kids in the family cheering for Santa. As if they weren’t doing so already.

Watch Get Santa on Netflix
Buy the Get Santa DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon

Tired of the usual Christmas cliches? Then you’re in for a treat. While The Spirit of Christmas has its flaws, you’ll be able to overlook them for its unique spin on what a Christmas film can be.

Follow the hard-working lawyer, Kate, as she attempts to appraise and sell an old bed and breakfast before the year ends, only to find that it’s “haunted” by a cursed spirit. Figuring out how he died could be the key that unlocks the secrets of his curse.

Yes, there’s a romance subplot, but it’s mixed in with an interesting mystery—not of the thriller variety, just straight up drama.

Watch The Spirit of Christmas on Netflix
Buy the Spirit of Christmas DVD on Amazon

Christmas is a time for family, but family meetups aren’t always something to look forward to—especially if your family tends to hound you about your life choices and singlehood.

In A Holiday Engagement, Hillary hires an actor to pose as her fiance as she returns home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s an unoriginal premise we’ve all seen plenty of times before, sure, but the execution here is better than you’d expect. At the end of the day, it’s a fun little romantic comedy with some holiday cheer. Isn’t that all that matters?

Watch A Holiday Engagement on Netflix
Buy A Holiday Engagement DVD on Amazon

A Christmas Prince is the perfect movie to watch if you’re feeling down, want to shut off your brain, and sink into a sappy movie with a tub of ice cream by your side.

When a young journalist travels across the pond and goes undercover to report on a prince who’s turning king, she gets tangled up in more than she expected. It’s silly, it’s bright, it’s uplifting—all the right emotions for the most wonderful time of the year.

Watch A Christmas Prince on Netflix

What Christmas Movies Are You Watching on Netflix?

So, there we have it, the best Christmas movies on Netflix. And if you want to watch these movies with someone who’s in another city or country, see our article explaining how to watch Netflix with friends far away.

And if you’d rather not pay for Netflix, you’ll find more Christmas movies to watch on the best free movie streaming sites


The Best Free Movie Streaming Websites




The Best Free Movie Streaming Websites

If you want to watch movies legally and for free, you have lots of options online. Here are the best free movie streaming sites…
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