Category Archives: Cool Tools

Canary 26002 Gets Energy Saver

Once upon a time, if one wanted to manage laptop batteries intelligently, one needed the OEM to provide a utility. No more. With the latest Insider Preview, Canary 26002 gets Energy Saver capability built in.

You can see this on display in the lead-in screen shot. It shows the notification area expanded to include a new “Energy Saver” entry (right). What’s more. if you right-click that item, it will open Settings for you. There you can easily get to the Power & Battery display (left) that shows Energy saver is turned on and always running.

Why Canary 26002 Gets Energy Saver Is Good News

Many, many years ago — I think it was in the early 2000s — I translated an article for Toms Hardware from German into English. It dealt with the issues involved in keeping batteries alive as long as possible. This could be a problem for units whose chargers remain plugged-in more than running off battery.

Indeed, it had long been the case that laptop makers had to furnish a special utility that would monitor battery charge levels, usage patterns, min/max for charge and discharge (and more) to keep track of things. You can see evidence of this even in my 2021 vintage Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 6 Mobile Workstation. Here are its Battery Details (from Lenovo Commercial Vantage):

Canary 26002 Gets Energy Saver.battery-details

Lenovo tracks all kinds of battery levels and stats.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

With this latest addition, the OS can keep track of this kind of thing for any and all battery-powered PCs. It can also manage charge levels and energy consumption to ensure long batter life while also minimizing actual energy consumption. This is a great step forward, and a good thing for laptops, users and the environment. I approve!


PowerShell Install Method Changes

When a new version of PowerShell comes along, it’s always interesting to see whether or not winget can field that update correctly. This time around — with version 7.4.0 — it reports a “different install technology” as you can see in the lead-in graphic. When the PowerShell install method changes, winget won’t handle the update without an uninstall/reinstall maneuver. So I CTRL-clicked the link shown above the WT pane (from the GitHub link that’s helpfully provided) and used the MSI file to update PowerShell instead.

When PowerShell Install Method Changes, Use GitHub

That Microsoft Installer File is under 65MB in size. On my test PC, that takes less than 10 seconds to download. That opens the “SuperHero” PS installer (see next screencap), after which install takes half-a-dozen mouse-clicks to configure as I like it. Another minute or so, and the job is done. MS is doing better at getting new versions of PowerShell to circulate. I like it!

PowerShell Install Method Changes.installer

The only time you actually see the PS superhero avatar is when the installer runs.

Watching Out for Certain Winget Shenanigans

So, I’m learning to be wary of three specific installs when using winget inside Windows Terminal and PowerShell — namely:

  • winget itself: if the tool doing the updating gets updated, interesting things can — and do — sometimes happen. This is another case when I’ve sometimes seen the “Cancelled” error message that really reports a loss of interaction with the updater (the update actually succeeds, but can’t report success).
  • Windows Terminal: same principal as before, write large when the entire Windows Terminal runtime has to change. When this occurs, WT usually writes a message into the active terminal window to say “Restart the window/session to run the changed version.” Good -oh!
  • PowerShell: and again, if PowerShell is updating itself it must be ready to handle those changes. As we see in this particular case, something has changed that requires an uninstall/reinstall. My preference: using the GitHub installer instead. Easy-peasey.

And that, dear Readers, is how I often keep myself entertained, here in Windows-World. Great fun…


Learning About UpdateStar

With the shutdown of the SUMo database on November 1, I’ve been casting about for a new update scanner that covers my bases. I had been considering UpdateHub, UCheck and UpdateStar. Based on the number of items that each program finds, and the ease of working with them (free versions only), I’ve now pretty much settled on UpdateStar freeware (make sure you can down to the button that reads “Download” under the Free of charge heading). It’s not without its foibles, though…mostly, that learning about UpdateStar involves completely do-it-yourself updates.

Learning About UpdateStar Means DIY  Updates

Unless you want to pay US$34.95 (first year)/$19.95 (subsequent upgrades, with discounts for 3 PC packages), working with UpdateStar means it scans only for what’s out of date. It doesn’t help you find or install new stuff. It will, however, uninstall specific versions of software, which can be helpful when updates aren’t smart enough to uninstall their predecessors. That happens pretty regularly.

Most of the time searching for “update splat” where splat is the name of the program you wish to update will tell you what you need to do. It mostly works for me, anyway. And many of the odd and interesting tricks I’ve learned while working with SUMo transfer over to UpdateStar reasonably well, too.

The Current UpdateStar Situation

Right now,  on my production Windows 10 PC (it’s the with the most apps and applications installed: 113 in all) I’m getting reasonable results from the program. It shows me 9 programs in need of updates and I was able to take care of all of them. For 8 of them, that meant finding and installing the necessary updates (2 of them left old versions behind and UpdateStart uninstalled them for me quite happily). For 1 of them, I decided an uninstall was a good idea, because I have a better tool (Micosoft Update Health Check, to which I greatly prefer Brink @’s Reset_Reregister
_Windows_Update_Components.bat script).

That said, UpdateStar did produce some false positives. These were current programs that were indeed up-to-date, but for which the program incorrectly claimed newer updates were available (Revo Uninstaller and Snagit 2024). Easily checked and ignored, however.

By and large this program works pretty well. I’m still figuring things out, so will probably learn and report more over time. For the moment, I give it “one thumb up” (a positive, but not ringing, endorsement). Let’s see what happens next… I’m still on the upward slope of that learning curve!



Another Great UUPDump.Net Use Case

Monday-Wednesday I was working on an article for the AskWoody newsletter. Among a variety of tasks, one that I found interesting hinged on working with and taking screenshots of a Windows 10 app around a certain date (late July 2022). This makes for another great use case. Let me explain…

What Makes For Another Great UUPDump.Net Use Case?

It took me a while to figure out the right date before which I had to stand up Windows 10. And because a Microsoft Store app was involved, I also had make sure the VM didn’t have Internet access. Otherwise, because the Store does auto-updates it would have replaced that point in time’s version of the app with something else. Because I was interested in seeing that specific version (or something older) at work, updates were a no-no.

Another ingredient was also key to my research: An MS Support note entitled “Windows 10 update history.” This handy document lets one see all Windows 10 releases and their dates of issue. Because I knew what date I had to hit, I wanted something as close to but still prior to it to show me what I needed. Ultimately, that worked!

Getting Past a Few Little Details

Setting up the VM also posed a handful of minor challenges. Because I set up a Type 2 VM I had to use the Restart button in the Hyper-V window to forcibly get the ISO I built for my test image to boot. I also had to remember to turn off enhanced mode to login via RDP (a known issue). And finally, I had to do some creative rooting around my file system to find a usable Windows 10 key (I persevered, and succeeded). Other than that, things went off just as I’d hoped.

Using my approach, I was able to run and screencap the target app. Luckily for me the date I picked still had the right (older) version installed. Once I brought it up, it told and showed me what I was looking for.

Great fun — and like the title says — it really is a great use case for, thanks to its complete historical record of Windows 10 and 11 release, including Insider Previews. Glad my heretofore unsubstantiated theory about using historical versus current Windows versions worked out.


Winget WT Update Workaround Needed

In going through update maneuvers yesterday, I observed there was a winget WT update workaround needed. That is, my attempt to upgrade Windows Terminal (WT) using winget failed. You can see what happened in the lead-in screencap. It shows that an initial attempt to install a dependency for WT — namely Microsoft.UI.Xaml — failed because a higher-numbered version is already installed. Whoa!

What Is the Winget WT Update Workaround Needed?

What to do? Fortunately, there are always multiple ways to update or upgrade in Windows-World. This time around, I went to the WT GitHub page and checked the version number on the latest release. As you can see in the next screencap, it’s the very same version that winget tried, but failed, to install as shown in the lead-in graphic.

Winget WT Update Workaround Needed.github

Funny thing: latest version matches winget’s target. That means there’s another way…

Given that GitHub has the same version, there should be some kind of Windows installer amidst its list of downloads. When I see it’s named Microsoft.WindowsTerminal…msixbundle, realize it’s targeting a Store version of WT. So off I go to check updates in the Store first. Nothing there, so I download and install the afore-mentioned msixbundle file. It works, as you can see in the About info from WT on that PC.

Winget WT Update Workaround Needed.about

Click the down-caret in the title bar in WT, then select “About” in the drop-down menu. Here ’tis!

As shown, the manual update using the msixbundle file did the trick. I could have waited, and the Store would have (eventually) handled the update automatically. But if I could have waited, I probably wouldn’t be the rabid Windows Insider I’ve always been, since day 2 of that program’s launch. LOL!

Feedback Followup…

I’m pretty sure winget should be smart enough to keep going if it finds a higher-numbered version of a dependency already in place on a target update PC. I’m going to share this blog post with the nice folks on the winget team. I bet they’ll fix this muy pronto! TIA, people…

Just Checked In … And It’s Fixed

I sent feedback to the team yesterday and got a reply that the dependency check should be a “min version check.” That is check to see that version is “greater than or equal to” versus “equal to.” And indeed, it now seems to be fixed. Thanks, guys: hope you all have a marvelous holiday break.


Windows 11 Canary Grants Wi-Fi List Refresh

Here’s a good, if subtle, addition to Windows 11’s bag of networking tricks. In Build 29997, Windows11 grants Wi-Fi list refresh capabilities. Let me explain, starting in pictorial form.  Take a look at the lead-in graphic. There’s a refresh button (a circular arrow) at the lower right (cursor is perforce parked on it; you’ll need to right-click the image and show it in its own tab so see what I’m talking about). But the “Refresh network list” button is the real key. That means the Wi-Fi interface is forcibly scanning its locale to rebuild a current list of available Wi-Fi resources. Very handy, to get this right from the Taskbar.

When Windows 11 Canary Grants Wi-Fi List Refresh, What Then?

This is always a good thing to do when searching for networks. MajorGeeks does a good job of explaining the “old regime” — namely: “How to Reset Network Settings In Windows 10 & 11.

That means clicking through the following sequence: Start → Settings; → Network & Internet (Win10) or Advanced network settings (Win11) → Scroll down, then select “Network reset.” I count 5 mouse clicks required.

The new ways take 3 clicks if you’re using wired Ethernet, 2 if already using Wi-Fi. For wired Ethernet, that’s Select Network icon in taskbar → Select Caret to left of Wi-Fi “Available” button in network pop-up → Click on “Refresh list” button at lower left of network list pop-up. For those using Wi-Fi, clicking the Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar skips the first wired step. Easy-peasey.

Does This Change Matter?

To those who switch Wi-Fi networks regularly, it is a nice little touch. For everybody else, it’s mostly nugatory. But hey, improving Windows is most definitely a matter of “little by little, step by step.” FWIW, I really like this change and think it makes Wi-Fi networking more usable on Windows 11. What’s your take?

Here’s a shout-out to Sergey Tkachenko at WinAero. His November 16 story brought this nice but subtle change to my attention. Spacibo, Sergey!



Windows 10 Copilot Is Coming

OK, then. Rumors have been swirling for weeks, but MS made things official on November 16. To see that, please check the “firstPublishedDate” field in this MS Support note: How we are maximizing value in Windows 10. It also tells us that Windows 10 Copilot is coming, initially in the Release Preview channel for Insiders.

What Windows 10 Copilot Is Coming Really Means

MS puts things this way in the afore-linked Support note:

We are hearing great feedback on Copilot in Windows (in preview) and we want to extend that value to more people. For this reason, we are revisiting our approach to Windows 10 and will be making additional investments to make sure everyone can get the maximum value from their Windows PC including Copilot in Windows (in preview).  We are also adding the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” toggle to Windows 10.

Aside from seeking a larger audience (there are 1.0-1.1 B Windows 10 monthly active users, versus around 400 million such users for Windows 11), what else does this change do for Microsoft? Good question! It certainly confirms their commitment to integrating AI into the desktop and its supporting apps and platforms on as many levels as possible.

What Else Does Windows 10 Copilot Tell Us?

Methinks it says MS has learned from history, and does not necessarily expect the world to turn on a dime when Windows 10 EOL comes in October 2025. Taking Windows7 as a case in point, that tide didn’t really turn until 2-3 years after its EOL came along. And in the interim, a lot of customers (especially the US DoD and other government agencies) paid big for “extended support” to keep Windows 7 alive and secure while the migration got underway.

Could it be that MS wants to make the productivity advantages of Copilot available to its largest user base? Definitely. Could they recognize that it is likely to stay in the lead position until 2027. Absolutely. Could this move lower the impetus to migrate, or does it simply acknowledge the most likely outcome in the marketplace? You tell me!


PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes

Whoa! No sooner had I updated PowerShell from version 7.3.9 to 7.3.10 than came the 7.4.0 in-window notification. You can see all this in the lead-in graphic, as a rare but not unheard-of PowerShell Update twofer strikes my local Windows 10 and 11 desktops.

When PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes, Keep Going

I had to chuckle after I patted myself on the back for updating PowerShell inside Command Prompt (the best way to avoid odd update behavior that can occur when PowerShell attempts to update itself). The very next thing I saw in a new PS window was the “black text against white background” notification shown in the lead-in graphic.

That notification reads:

A new PowerShell stable version is available: v7.4.0
Upgrade now, or check out the release page at

That URL links to the named release page at GitHub, where one can download an installer that matches OS, architecture and so forth. I ran the file named PowerShell-7.4.0-win-x64.msi. It worked like a charm!

And unlike other, earlier attempts at running the MSI installer to move up a PowerShell version, this one successfully cleaned out the just-updated 7.3.10 version without difficulties. Looks like the PowerShell team is getting its act together…

This does raise the question: when will winget update start targeting v7.4.0 instead of v7.3.10? Looks like that’s already taken care of. Look at this output from winget upgrade from a Windows 11 test machine: it literally got fixed while I was writing this blog post. LOL!

PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes.winget-check

Winget now knows it needs to target v7.4.0 as the current PS version. [Click image for full-sized view.]

As you can see, winget upgrade is not recommending 7.3.10 anymore. Now it’s aware of, and ready to upgrade to, 7.4.0. Good-oh!



Start11 v2 Familiarization Blivets

Among lots of other stuff, I just learned that there are many, many more whimsical definitions for the word “blivet” than I ever imagined. Check out this Google Search to see what I mean. The term popped up in connection to several annoying, ridiculous and useless (or at least, unintelligible) things that just happened to me while working further with Stardock’s mostly terrrific Start 11 utility. I call them Start11 v2 familiarization blivets because they popped up as I continue to work with and get to know this program’s latest incarnation. Let me explain…

Enumerating Start11 v2 Familiarization Blivets

Here are two blivets I’ve just run into:

1. Search for Start11 in the Windows Start menu, and multiple hits appear. One of them is Start11 v2, another is Start11. I had to screw around a bunch to figure out that Start11 is right entry to select to launch the Start11 v2 controls. The only way you can do the latter, actually, is to “Run as administrator” (and it only works sometimes). Suggestion to Stardock: drop the other entries and stick with only Start11. This was both frustrating and vexing, and non-obvious.

2. Start11 v2 does indeed offer rounded corners on the taskbar. But you must first enter its Taskbar controls, turn that rounding feature on (Under the “Advanced rounded taskbar settings” heading), then restart. After that, there ’tis — but only on local displays. Doesn’t show up in a Remote Desktop (Connection) window. Suggestion to Stardock: see if this is indeed a remote access phenomenon. I see only square taskbar corners in Remote Desktop Connection. Using the Remote Desktop app, I may see rounded taskbar corners in a less-than-full-screen view, but they’re squared off in full screen view. I really can’t tell if they’re working or not…

And That’s the Thing About Blivets

They’re just mostly annoying and somewhat outside normal expectations. I still like Start11 (even the v2) version. I just have to vent when things get a little odd or annoying. And is that ever the way things must go in Windows-World, particularly when dealing with beta, new, and/or preview software. What fun!


PowerToys Needs Specific .NET Runtime

I saw with some interest that Microsoft released .NET 8.0 earlier this week. As I was running winget yesterday, I also noticed that Microsoft Windows Desktop Runtime needed an update from version 6.0.24 to 6.0.25 (see lead-in graphic, where it shows up second from the top). “Hmmm…” I thought “I wonder if something will blow up if I delete this older version.” So I did. And indeed, when I went on to update PowerToys later that afternoon, I noticed it was smart enough to install version 6.0.25 during its own install process. Hence my claim: PowerToys needs specific .NET runtime.

Why PowerToys Needs Specific .NET Runtime…

There’s obviously some dependencies in the code that link to this specific version of .NET. Even though I installed 8.0 (and you can also see a current 7.0 version in the lead-in graphic as well) there’s something in the 6.x versions that PowerToys needs to do its thing properly.

Please take this as an illlustration of why one so commonly finds multiple generations of the various .NET runtimes (Core, Desktop, SDK and Framework) running on a single Windows instance. Different apps, applications, and even OS built-ins need different ,NET runtimes and so forth to do their jobs. And that’s the way things go on desktops and servers here in Windows-World. Get used to it!

Meet the .NET uninstall tool

All this goes to explain why there’s a special tool named dotnet-core-uninstall that lets you get rid of those .NET elements for which no current dependencies exist. See this terrific MS Learn document “.NET uninstall tool” for all the gory details. It runs inside PowerShell or Command Prompt, and helps you find and remove obsolete .NET components. Good stuff!