Category Archives: Insider stuff

Overcoming RDP Access Hurdles

Here at Chez Tittel, I’ve got 9 PCs in my office. 2 Desktops and 7 laptops, to be more specific. I like to access most of them from my primary desktop. That’s because it sports a couple of aging but still decent Dell 2717 Ultrasharp monitors. Over the years, I’ve encountered interesting issues in making RDP (remote desktop protocol) connections to my “Other PCs.” For me, overcoming RDP access hurdles usually involves one or more of three workarounds.

Three Workarounds to Overcome RDP Access Hurdles

These workarounds help to address a list of problems that include:

  • Can’t find remote PC
  • Can’t authenticate login credentials
  • Password error despite known, good working account/pwd pair

Workaround #1: Try the device IPv4 address

When the Remote Desktop Connection (or Remote Desktop app) simply can’t find a machine name, it’s always a good idea to try the target PC’s IPv4 address instead. As shown in the lead-in graphic for this story, it worked to get me into a Lenovo X380 Yoga I just put through a bunch of Windows 11 upgrades.

Workaround #2: Try a Different MSA

On occasion, when I try to login to a remote PC using my current Microsoft Account (MSA) it just won’t get past authentication. This is often a symptom of difficulty in getting MS authentication to work properly. When that happens, I will try another one of my known, good working MSAs (I have three, as I write this story). That does occasionally work, especially if I’ve already used that MSA on the target machine already. Go figure!

Workaround #3: Try a Local Account Instead of MSA

Sometimes, RDP will strenuously resist allowing you to establish an RDP connection over the LAN using a Microsoft Account (via its associated email address). In fact, it generates an account name/password error, even though I’m using a known, good working MSA account name and its associated password to try to login.

When that happens I’ve found that setting up a local admin account — one named, LocalU, for example — will get me right into the target PC. That’s also on display in the lead-in graphic where I had to use both workarounds at once to get into that PC. Sigh.

Remember: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

If you need to establish an RDP session on a remote PC, you can usually figure out a way to make such a connection work. If the preceding workarounds don’t do the trick, try the other tips in this 2021 WindowsReport story: it offers pretty good tips, tricks and advice.



25145 Gets File Explorer Tabs

OK, then. It’s been a gradual roll-out, so I can’t know if everyone running Dev Channel can see this. But once I got it running, Build 25145 gets File Explorer tabs on both of my test PCs. It’s pretty cool, too, as I hope to show in the ensuing discussion.

To get this party started, you can see File Explorer in the lead-in graphic. It’s got the default tab (“Home”) open at left, the UUPdump folder from my D: drive open at right. The latter shows the various files left over after an .ISO file is created (~4GB item, 6th from top).

When 25145 Gets File Explorer Tabs, Then What?

Why, you mess around with them to see what they can do. So far I’ve discovered multiple techniques to open such tabs, including:

  1. Click the Plus sign (“+”) to the right of the rightmost open tab, and an open tab set to the default appears. Navigate anywhere you want from there.
  2. Right-click a folder inside the main File Explorer pane, and a new option labeled “Open in new tab” appears. I *like* this one! Here’s what it looks like (annotated for easy recognition).

3. I remember reading about a keyboard shortcut to open such a tab, but I can’t find the reference. Winkey+E still opens a new File Explorer window, and WinKey+T doesn’t do anything. I’ll keep poking about on this front, and see what I can learn. So far, the best third-party coverage of the feature I’ve found is at WindowsLatest.

This is a cool and helpful new feature. As I learn (and find out) more about it, I’ll either update this post, or write a new one. Stay tuned!


Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks

The last two Dev Channel builds are 25145 and 25140. For both of them, my Start Menu has been munged when first accessing the desktop. On 25140, a restart set things back to rights. On 25145, I launched File Explorer, then restarted the process in Task Manager. That worked, too. So while recent 25145 Dev Channel hijinks have been irksome, they’ve been by no means insurmountable.

Limits to Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks

Interestingly, this phenom occurs only my Lenovo X12 Hybrid Tablet. It does not pop up on the Lenovo X380 laptop. I don’t see any interesting errors in Reliability Monitor on the X12 that could point to possible causes. Once again, I find myself wondering if it might be related to 8GadgetPack, which has wonked around for a while lately  in the wake of new Dev Channel builds.

Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks.relimon

This time Relimon doesn’t have much useful to say (the SearchHost item is a known gotcha, unrelated to my issue).

Frankly, it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of this trouble without more data to go on. But now that I know how to work around it without a restart, I’ll keep plugging away as new Dev Channel builds keep coming. Either the problem will get fixed in the background, or I’ll get enough data to identify — and hopefully deal with — the actual cause.

FWIW, I’ve sent feedback to the hub about this. It’s entitled “Build 25145 start menu nonresponsive on first boot.” Please upvote if you encounter the same thing on one of your Dev Channel PCs or VMs. Cheers!


Windows Insider Page Gets New Look

Upon visiting the Windows Insider info page in Settings → Windows Update → Windows Insider Program, I just noticed some interesting changes. That’s right: there, the Windows Insider Page gets new look. You can see what’s up in the lead-in graphic. First, there’s a link to “Latest build notes” (very handy). Second, information labels the insider account in use (I blanked it out on the screenshot). Third, there’s clear status info available. In this case it reads “You’re on the latest build for your device.” Good-oh!

Why Is Windows Insider Page Gets New Look Nice?

Upon checking Dev Channel Build 25140, I see the exact same look and feel there also. Going back to the Release Preview on Windows 10, however, shows the old look and feel is unchanged there.

Windows Insider Page Gets New Look.win10

Windows 10 Release Preview Insider Stuff remains unchanged.

In general, I prefer the new “dress” for the Windows Insider stuff in Windows Update in Windows 11. The info is more readily accessible, more compact, and more usable. I especially like one-click access to the release notes for the latest build. Checking those notes, I don’t see any info about changes to the Windows Update and Windows Insider program pages in Settings.  Kind of makes me wonder how long this has been going on without my noticing.

Sigh. That’s the way things go in Windows-World — for me, sometimes, at least. Good changes can happen, but they don’t really hit home until they’re noticed. Hopefully, this notice, however late, remains welcome to you, dear readers. Sigh again…


DISM Component Store Cleanup

This morning, I recalled the value of occasional “check-and-clean” operations on the Windows Component Store (aka WinSxS). Check the “Before and After” screencap at the top of this story. It shows that applying updates can leave old components behind. Checking the component store tells you what’s up. Performing a DISM component store cleanup recovers wasted space. To wit: 1.72 GB in reported size, and 1.47 GB in actual size.

How to run DISM Component Store Cleanup

What you see in the before (left) and after (right) image is syntax to check the Windows Component Store. Run it in an admin cmd or PowerShell session, like so:

DISM /online /cleanup-image /analyzecomponentstore

Two notes. One, the output from the before (left) tells you how many reclaimable packages are found (2, in this instance). Two, it tells you whether or not component store cleanup is recommended (yes, this time around). Running the check and report syntax shown above takes 1-2 minutes on most Windows 10 and 11 PCs.

Performing the Actual Cleanup

As with the check and report DISM command, the cleanup command must also run in an administrative cmd or PowerShell session. That syntax is slightly different:
DISM /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup
Depending on how many reclaimable packages are found, and how big they are, cleanup can take upwards of 5 minutes on most Windows 10 or 11 PCs. That wait goes up, as the number (and total) size of packages increases. Be patient! I’ve only had this fail a handful of times over the years I’ve been using this tool (and many of those failures were self-inflicted because of prior use of /resetbase, which locks existing packages into place in the Component Store).

Nevertheless, this is an excellent and recommended Windows cleanup technique, which I try to run after each month’s Cumulative Update (CU) is installed. The check and report command doesn’t always find something to cleanup, but when it does, I follow up with the /startcomponentcleanup to trim down the Component Store footprint. It’s a great technique for regular Windows image management, in fact.


MS 365 Brings New Defender Aboard

OK, then. Now I finally understand what’s up with the Store-based version of Windows Defender. It’s been “out there” for while now for Insiders. Called “Microsoft Defender for individuals,” it’s available to anyone with an active Microsoft 365 subscription. (Either Personal or Family subscriptions qualify.) That’s why I say “MS 365 brings new Defender aboard” in today’s title. The lead-in graphic shows the dashboard (in part) from my production Windows 10 desktop. Both “other devices” run Windows 11.

When MS 365 Brings New Defender Aboard, Then What?

According to the tool is built on Microsoft Defender Endpoint technology. Thus, it brings the same cloud-based security to end users already available to Enterprise customers. A June 16 Microsoft Security blog post confirms this assertion. It describes this new Defender version as “an exciting step in our journey to bring security to all.” The tool works on Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS devices to provide family-wide protection across whole households.

MS explains Microsoft Defender for individuals as enabling the following capabilities (also including “continuous antivirus and anti-phishing protection for your data and devices”):

  • Manage your security protections and view security protections for everyone in your family, from a single easy-to-use, centralized dashboard.
  • View your existing antivirus protection (such as Norton or McAfee). Defender recognizes these protections within the dashboard.
  • Extend Windows device protections to iOS, Android, and macOS devices for cross-platform malware protection on the devices you and your family use the most.
  • Receive instant security alerts, resolution strategies, and expert tips to help keep your data and devices secure.

I’m giving it a try on my production PC which still runs Norton 360, along with a couple of my Defender-only test machines running Windows 11. Should be interesting to see how it all turns out! If you’d like to check it out for yourself and your devices (and your family’s, if applicable) visit the Microsoft 365 Defender page for a download link.




WingetUI Offers Useful Update Capability

Lately, I’ve been using the Winget PowerShell applet to assist with updating my Windows 10 and 11 PCs. Thanks to Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks, I’ve found a GUI front end for that tool. Indeed, the aptly-named WingetUI offers useful update capability.

Winget.UI does other things, too. It let you explore all 3460 packages under its purview (“Discover Software” tab). It also shows a complete list of all packages already installed on your PC (“Installed applications”). On first blush, Winget.UI looks like a good tool. Its GitHub page provides the lead-in graphic for this story.

Winget.UI Offers Useful Update Capability.updates

“Available updates” quickly identifies and provides ready access to item-by-item update launch. [Click image for full-size view.]

What WingetUI Offers Useful Update Capability Means

To update an item from the Software Updates tab in Winget.UI (shown above), simply double-click its corresponding Winget entry under the “Installation source” heading. Personally, I find this prefereable to the winget upgrade --all command. Why? Because it provides item-by-item control. That lets me skip elements (such as MS Teams), which experience has taught me isn’t really amenable to winget updates.

The double-clicking takes a little getting used to, but by and large the update function works well. It worked well for third-party packages, including Kindle, Python 2, and Revo Uninstaller. It hit errors on some built-in MS components, such as the WADK and Edge Runtime. Based on prior history, I didn’t even try the Teams components.

Good, But Not Perfect

I’ll need to spend more time with WingetUI to fully understand and appreciate its foibles and strengths. For now, it’s much like other update tools I use: good — indeed, pretty helpful — but by no means either great or perfect. Perhaps that’s just the way that update tools work here in Windows World!

[Note: Nochmals Danke schoen to Mr. Brinkmann for an interesting find.]


No Tabbed Explorer Folders Here

Earlier this week, MS announced gradual release of tabbed folders in Windows 11 for both Beta and Dev Channels. That is, for Builds 22621.160 (Beta) and 25136 (Dev). However, as is so often my experience with such things — gradual releases — none of my three test machines will show me this exciting “new” feature. Thus, no tabbed Explorer folders here at Chez Tittel. Sigh. Thus, I grabbed the illustration from WindowsUpdate to show what this looks like.

Why No Tabbed Explorer Folders Here?

I wish I knew the answer to this question. It’s happened to me so many times I can’t say I’m surprised to be somewhere behind the leading edge. But I can say: I’m curious to try them out myself; I’m frustrated to be on the outside looking in; and I’m on the “honor system” NOT to use ViveTool to force it onto a test system to take it for a test drive. So sigh, and sigh again.

Of course, sooner or later this will show up on one or more of my systems. Later rather than sooner,  in fact, if prior experience is any guide. In the meantime I’ll just continue my practice of launching multiple File Explorer windows instead of switching among tabs in a single such window. I know I can live with that option, because that’s how I’ve been doing things for years.

How Long Will It Take to Show Up?

Again, I wish I could say. It all depends on how well the feature works and how much telemetry it generates that indicates potential issues in need of remediation. That’s why MS does the whole gradual release thing, anyway.

My only fervent wish is that MS might allow an opt-in for such features, especially for active Windows Insiders. That would be nice, don’t you think? I do!


KB5014023 Speeds File Copies

It’s not often I’ll recommend a Preview CU (Cumulative Update). This is one time, however, when I can get behind one of its fixes. Simply put, for some PCs, KB5014023 Speeds File Copies. As it says in its announcement, “Addresses an issue that causes file copying to be slower.” For my local PCs, that translated into about a 20% improvement. Across the network between two M.2 SSDs, speeds went up from about 40 MBps to about 50 MBps, with typical variations during the copy maneuver.

If KB5014023 Speeds File Copies, Apply It!

I’m not seeing anything by way of known issues for this KB, so individuals and small businesses can try it out immediately. Larger businesses can use it as a test subject to see if they want to include the upcoming monthly update (due on June 14) in their next round of scheduled updates.

As far as I’m concerned, anything that speeds up file copies is a good thing. That said, not all PCs will benefit from this update. But you can’t know until you try. In my mind, that makes the try worthwhile. So far, the lack of reported issues means you’re not risking much, if anything. And you just might improve file copy speeds on your target machine. I say: go for it!

Note: OOO Week of June 6-10

I’ll be away from my desk, traveling on business all week next week. I won’t be posting to the blog as usual. Look for me to return to the usual schedule on Monday, June 13. Try to survive without my verbiage in the interim, as best you can. Cheers!


Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe

Last week, I recited my adventures in reworking my LAN to improve stability in the wake of a line of thunderstorms. This weekend, I’m off to Waco on a legal project. The boss — my wife, Dina — asked me to provide instructions on how to bring the Internet back up should it go down while I’m away. Here, then, is the Chez Tittel Internet restore recipe. I hope other readers find the various contortions involved interesting, if not amusing.

Steps in the Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe

Basically, the first step is to unplug and restart all of the key devices in the Internet chain here at the house. I usually check (and if necessary, reset) items in this order:

1. The main link to the Internet is the Spectrum boundary device: A Spectrum Wave 2 RAC2V1A router/WAP/4-port switch device. It obligingly shows a red light when its Internet link is down. That’s my signal to unplug power from the device. The device, with an “A-OK” blue light is shown as the lead-in graphic for this story.

2. I’ve got a second such device on the LAN in my office. It’s an ASUS AX6000 router (AKA RT-AX88U model number) that I use purely as a WAP for 802.11ax (and lower) Wi-Fi access in the house. I show a rear-end view, because resetting the device involves unplugging the power brick from the port at the far right.

Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe.asus-reset

3. I’ve got two Netgear unmanaged GS108 8-port switches in my office, too. One sits on the baker’s racks to the left of my desk, the other on the windowsill at the right of my desk. Here again, the quick’n’easy reset technique is to unplug the barrel connector for the incoming DC power from its brick. Once again, my guiding image includes a rear view of the device, where the barrel connector for power plugs in at the far right.

Putting the Recipe to Work

I always check the color of the light on the Spectrum device first. If it’s red, I know I need to unplug and wait for it to come back up to see if that helps. If it stays red after two full power cycles, it’s time to call Spectrum to ask for help on their end. This pretty much demonstrates the problem is theirs.

If the Spectrum device is blue, but the in-house Internet isn’t working, this can be on of two things:

1. The Wi-Fi from the ASUS device isn’t functioning. This manifests as networks that start with an Arb… name string lacking Internet access (“No internet”). When this happens, I unpower the AX6000, wait a minute or two, then power it up again. That has always worked so far.

2. The local Ethernet isn’t functioning. That’s definitely a switch problem. If this happens, I disconnect power first from the switch on the baker’s racks, wait a minute and try again. Most of the time that does the trick. But if not, I do likewise for the switch on the windowsill. So far when the former hasn’t worked to restore the wired LAN, the latter has always done so.

And that’s how the network gets brought back up here at Chez Tittel most of the time. Especially after power glitches occur. Over the years I’ve only had to bring Spectrum in for tech support a handful of times (and the phone app now obligingly reports outages, often before I notice them if they occur after hours). Cheers!