Category Archives: Insider stuff

Windows 11 Keeps Strange Component Store Cleanup Behavior

Since June 28, Windows 11 has been available  to Insider Preview program participants. Those willing to devote a VM or PC to running the new OS may do so. Needless to say, I’ve got it running on multiple PCs (2 Dev Channel, 1 Beta Channel). As I’ve been getting to know the latest OS version, I noticed that Windows 11 keeps strange component store cleanup behavior. Let me explain…

What Windows 11 Keeps Strange Component Store Cleanup Behavior Means

Check out the lead-in graphic from this story. It comes from PowerShell v7.1.4. It shows results after running a specific command –namely DISM /online /cleanup-image /analyzecomponentstore under a special set of conditions. One: the target PC has recently had a Cumulative Update (CU) installed. Two: the target PC has not been rebooted since that install occurred.

If you look at the image, you’ll see there’s a progress line that ends at 10.0% (above). A second progress line shows 44.2% complete on its way to the 100% mark. Believe it or not, Windows 10 also shows this very behavior. I’d kind of hoped that MS would have noticed, and made sure that Windows 11 didn’t manifest the same. As the screencap shows, apparently not.

If you reboot the PC after installing the CU, this doesn’t happen. Either way, component store cleanup proceeds as it should and gets rid of no-longer-needed backups and disabled features.  Here’s what the whole thing looks like on my Lenovo X380 Yoga Beta Channel test machine:

Windows 11 Keeps Strange Component Store Cleanup Behavior.entire

[Click image for full-sized view.]

Notice that the initial “analyze” shows 7.94 GB/7.52 GB as the reported and actual size of the component store before cleanup. After cleanup (bottom of screencap) those numbers drop to 7.06 GB/6.81 GB for a savings of 0.88 GB/ 0.71 GB from the 2 reclaimable packages cleaned up during the process.

It’s Only a “Flesh Wound”

To recall the famous gag line from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with all apologies due to the artistes, this little oddity is neither terribly worrisome nor significant. That said, I do find it interesting that at least some of the eccentricities present in Windows 10 persist into Windows 11 as well.

Please post a comment here, or send me an email through my contact form if you know of any other Windows 10 oddities that carry over into Windows 11. Inquiring minds want to know, mine most definitely included.


New Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool Available

It’s not just “yet another Windows 11 requirements check tool.” Prosaically enough that’s how it’s named, though. But with this new Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool available, curious PC users can get more insight into their upgrade situations. The tool is available from a site/author I hadn’t run into before. But thanks to Martin Brinkmann at I’m reasonably comfortable using — and recommending — this tool.

Where Is New Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool Available?

Looks like the site is based in Europe, possibily in the Netherlands (see this NSlookup output). The home page includes reasonably complete Release Notes (bottom of page) that show 9 releases in the period from July 21 through September 8 (that’s today, as I write this item). That latest version is numbered v.1.1.0 at present.

The tool resides in a standalone executable file named Win11RCT.exe. It is 647 KB in size (File Explorer value). It runs extremely quickly and is easy to use (no installation required). I like it more than any of the three such tools I covered yesterday — namely, Microsoft’s PC Health Check Tool, JB Carreon’s Win11CompChk.bat script, and the GitHub WhyNotWin11 project. I’d put the MS tool and WhyNotWin11 tied for second place now.

What Win11RCT v1.1.0 Has to Say

The tool goes through all of the Windows 11 hardware requirements. It reports on minimum requirements (upper portion of output, as shown in lead-in graphic), and on feature specific requirements (lower portion of display). Among other things, the tool informed me that the  Samsung NMVe driver is not Windows 11 compatible, and that the generic MS “Standard NMVe Express Controller” must be present to support DirectStorage (I was unaware of this, as some readers here may also be likewise unaware).

Interestingly, I also observed one downside for running the tool via RDP. It reports on display characteristics for the RDP output rather than the built-in or primary device monitor. That said, it does mention the built-in display as you can see under the minimum reqs “Display” field as “3840×2160, 15 inch” (which does meets HDR requirements, FWIW).

At the moment, I’d recommend Win11RCT.exe as the best of the bunch. Be sure to check it out. Thanks, Martin!


Checking Target PC Windows 11 Readiness

I’ve found 3 tools useful in checking my PCs — mostly laptops — to see whether or not they’ll run Windows 11. When it comes to checking target PC Windows 11 readiness, I turn to one of:

1. Microsoft’s PC Health Check* (re-released August 30). Its output serves as the lead-in graphic for this story from my 2018 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (8th gen i-7 CPU, etc.)
2. GitHub project WhyNotWin11
3. GitHub/ElevenForum project Windows 11 Compatibility Check

Please note: Microsoft’s tool is currently available only to registered members of the Windows Insiders program. Knowing that some readers may not want to register simply to get the tool, I also provide links to the other two as alternatives.

Checking Target PC Windows 11 Readiness Is Easy

PC Health Check is the only one of the three that needs installation. It downloads as a Microsoft self-installing file (extension: .msi). Of the other two tools, one runs straight from the executable download (WhyNotWin11.exe). The other consists of a batch file named Win11CompChk.bat: it runs in an administrative command prompt.

Of these three tools, all do an adequate job or better. Were it not for the Insider program membership requirement, PC Health Check would get my highest accolades. That status won’t last long though: it should soon go into general release (probably no later than the official GA date for Windows 11 itself, October 5).

Right now, WhyNotWin11 gets my top vote because it requires no installation, runs quickly, and delivers accurate results.

Win11CompChk.bat has a few rough spots still, but experienced users can steer around them pretty easily:

  • For one thing, it treats support for WDDM 2 as a must-have (it’s only required for those who want to wirelessly project to an external monitor).
  • For another thing, it won’t pass Secure boot capable systems unless secure boot is turned on (both other tools pass systems, whether or not secure boot is enabled or disabled, so long as it’s present).

Be sure to check them out, and see which one(s) you like best. Cheers!


Windows 11 Dev Channel Goes Nickel

Just yesterday, September 2, the MS Windows Insider team re-forked the Beta and Dev Channels for Windows 11. The Windows 11 Dev Channel goes Nickel. Thus, it picks up a new release branch where experimental features not tied to specific upcoming releases can be exposed and explored. Note the major Build number in the lead-in graphic. It jumps to 22449, far ahead of other build numbers of any sort.

The Beta Channel, on the other hand is still tied to 21H1 and Build 22000.  As the upcoming Windows 11 release date — October 5 — edges ever closer, that should remain constant. Beta will be the focus for bug hunts and ongoing fixes. The run-up to that GA date (32 days away as I write this story) should be interesting.

Finally, these two release forks now diverge. I predict Beta will continue to track “the next, upcoming Windows 11 release.” Dev will show us what’s possible but not inevitable for future releases .

When Windows 11 Dev Channel Goes Nickel, What to Expect?

MS has already warned Insiders about future Dev channel releases. They will be less stable and more subject to gotchas and bugs. The 22449 release blog says (emphasis mine):

These builds are from the earliest stage in a new development cycle with the latest work-in-progress code from our engineers. These aren’t always stable builds, and sometimes you will see issues that block key activities or require workarounds while flighting in the Dev Channel. It is important to make sure you  read the known issues listed in our blog posts as we document many of these issues with each flight.

And please: if you participate in the Dev Channel, I urge you to follow Microsoft’s advice. That is: “read the known issues” as each new upgrade emerges. More than once, I’ve been bitten because I jumped first, and read the issues list second. Thus, I’ve learned from first-hand experience, little of it positive, to heed that warning.

I’m glad to see this happening. I look forward to what emerges in  Dev Channel releases going forward. That’s why I joined the Insider Program to begin with. It’s why I look forward to bashing bugs, reporting (and learning from) issues, and making things work. For some of us in Windows-World — including me — this passes as entertainment!


Managing Windows 11 Defaults Gets Tricky

Oho! I just learned something interesting from Martin Brinkmann over at Ghacks.Net. It seems that in Windows 11, MS has re-jiggered the way default application selection works. In Windows 10 one could grab an application and associate it with all typical file or link types in one go. Alas, managing Windows 11 defaults gets tricky, because you must now choose them one at a time.

MS also supplies various defaults by default so to speak, which explains why Microsoft Edge shows up so persistently when opening web-related file types. Thus, for example, I count 22 such entries in Settings → Apps → Default apps → (Browser name here). I chose Google Chrome as my example in the lead-in graphic above. If you really want to make Chrome the overall default, you must jump into each of the 22 associated file or link types and pick Chrome from the pick list for each one.

Why Say: Managing Windows 11 Defaults Gets Tricky?

Maybe I should have said “labor intensive” instead. But “tricky” makes for a more compelling headline, so I’ll admit to taking just a wee bit of artistic license here. Truth is, as long as you know that this is how Windows 11 works, it’s the kind of thing you need to do once for those applications you want to make default when Microsoft supplies something different. This takes time and a little effort, but it’s not the end of the world as we know it by a long shot.

I’m hoping Nir Sofer reads this blog post, though, and whips out a Windows11Default tool to help automate this task. Seems like it should be fairly straightforward for someone with the right understanding of Windows internals to make this happen. I see a fascinating thread on this topic in the Spiceworld Forums that explains that GPOs and an XML file can do the trick. I’ll be noodling around with this for a while and see if I can figure something further out. Hopefully, Windows 11 and 10 work the same way in this regard. Stay tuned, and I’ll find out…


Out-of-spec PCs Lose Windows 11 Eligibility

We knew it was coming, but not when it would come. Just today (September 1) out-of-spec PCs participating in the Dev or Beta Insider Preview channels found out. They’re seeing a “Sayonara” message in Windows Update, Windows Insider Program settings pages. The lead-in graphic above shows what that says, as out-of-spec PCs lose Windows 11 eligibility.

Why Do Out-of-spec PCs Lose Windows 11 Eligibility?

It’s a matter of MS policy, based on a desire to boost security for users of the new OS . It also means MS can count on more advanced graphics functionality, 64-bit operation, and other odds and ends designed to improve the overall user experience.

In a recent Tweet, Paul Thurrott summed this up humorously as “Thanks for Testing Windows 11, Now Leave…” Senior Program Manager of the Windows Insider Team at MS Brandon LeBlanc responded with “We communicated this would be the case back via this blog post on June 24th…” (Note: I’ve provided links to both tweets and that blog post so readers can see for themselves what’s at issue.)

I Hate to Say It, But “I told you so!”

Just the other day I raised the question of why somebody would want to push their luck on an out-of-spec PC when updates could go bye-bye at any time. I have refused to play that game wishing to avoid the uncertainties involved. Now those crows have come home to roost. Good thing I’m still planning to refresh the hardware on my production PC before October 5 to make it fully compliant, eh?

Sure, it’s fun to try to run a new OS on old hardware. At TenForums, for example, the Let’s run Win10 on really really old hardware thread currently runs to 93 pages, with a total of 928 posted items therein. People obviously enjoy this kind of challenge. But MS is forcibly asserting that those who want to mine this vein will have to do so without support from the company, including access to Windows Update. I predict this is going to get a lot more interesting in the months ahead, as creative people purposely beat their heads against a wall somewhere “because it feels so good when they stop!”

And indeed, that’s life for a certain obsessed element of the population here in Windows World. Why else would one find ongoing stories about running Windows 10 (and even 11) on now-ancient Windows Phones (e.g. this Lumia 950 XL item at The Verge)? Good for them, but this is not my thing, not by a long shot!

Note Added September 2

Windows Insider Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc has clarified that out-of-spec PC will receive CUs until October 5, but no further upgrades to new Windows 11 versions. On and after that date, out-of-spec PCs running Windows 11 will be asked to downgrade to the Windows 10 Insider Preview Release Preview channel via a clean install of the appropriate OS image.


Windows 11 Release Commences October 5

It’s not often I’ll just lift a headline from the Windows Blogs as my lead graphic. But today is a notable and valid exception. You can read Microsoft’s own words on this for yourself: Windows 11 available on October 5. The biggest take-aways from this promise are pretty interesting. But when Windows 11 release commences October 5, I suspect we’ll be learning more about what all this really means.

Windows 11 Release Commences October 5 via Trickle-Out

As with other Windows feature upgrades in recent memory (back to 1909 and perhaps earlier), WU will offer the upgrade to the safest machines first. Over time, it will expand the scope of its offer. But that offer will NOT include machines that don’t meet Windows 11 system requirements. In fact, here’s what WU tells me on my Insider Preview Surface Pro 3 under the Windows Insider Program heading:

Windows 11 Release Commences October 5.SP3-WU

With its 4th-generation Intel CPU, the Surface Pro 3 does not meet Windows 11 CPU requirements.

WU Should Provide Upgrade Status Info to All

By the time October 5 rolls around — usually called the GA date (for General Availability) — some broader Cumulative Update (CU) will add compatibility checks to all older and still supported Windows releases. These will inform users about their PC’s eligibility for a Windows 11 upgrade. I imagine the language will be same as in the 21H2 Insider Preview screencap shown above.

I guess it’s nice to know that GA is coming soon. As I write this post, it’s exactly 32 days in the offing. I need to accelerate my production desktop refresh plans. I imagine I’ll order those parts today. Just another glorious day, here in Windows-World!


Check Windows TPM Status 2 Ways

What with Windows 11 looming ever closer on the horizon, more Windows 10 users will want to check TPM status on their PC. TPM is, of course, the Trusted Platform Module that provides hardware-level credential caching and encryption to protect systems from snooping and takeover. Today, I’ll show you how to check Windows TPM status 2 ways. One way uses a PowerShell cmdlet, the other way runs a Microsoft Management Console snap-in (an .msc file).

How to Check Windows TPM Status 2 Ways

Naturally, both methods require admin privileges. That is, you must run the cmdlet in an Administrative PowerShell session. Alternatively, you must be logged into an administrative-level account to access the proper MMC snap-in.

Way 1: PowerShell

Prosaically enough, the necessary cmdlet is named get-tpm. As its name portends, it provides detailed information about the presence and state of TPM on the target system upon which it is run. Go ahead, take a look:

Check Windows TPM Status 2 Ways.get-tpm

Note all the details about TPM presence and status. Source: my i7-6700 PC, which has no TPM.

Way 2: Run TPM.MSC (MMC Snap-in)

To take this path, simply type tpm.msc into the run command box or the Windows search box. It does not provide as much detail as the PowerShell cmdlet, but it is a little faster and easier to run. That said, here’s what its output looks like:

Check Windows TPM Status 2 Ways.tpm.msc

The TPM plug-in for the MMC just provides basic presence/absence information, though more data appears when a TPM is present (see next screencap below)
[Click image for full-sized view.]

TPM Info from Win11-Ready System

For comparison purposes here’s a side-by-side rendition of the PowerShell cmdlet (left) and MMC snap-in (right) from my 11th generation Lenovo X12 Hybrid Tablet PC. It meets the Windows 11 hardware requirements and tells its story about the TPM capabilities present on that machine. Note: 11th generation Intel CPUs provide TPM 2.0 emulation in firmware, rather than in a separate TPM chip.

Click image for full-sized view.


New BIOS Defaults Target Windows 11

In the process of bringing up a B550 motherboard with AMD Ryzen 5800X CPU, I found myself wondering about Windows 11 hardware requirements. Specifically about Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 support, both mandatory to meet those requirements. Looks like Asrock, and probably other mobo makers, are thinking along those lines, too. On August 6, that company released version 2.10, in which that new BIOS defaults target Windows 11. The lead-in graphic specifically states “Enable AMD CPU fTPM in BIOS default.”

Things Get Easier When New BIOS Defaults Target Windows 11

Before flashing the mobo to the new BIOS I’d started messing with the firmware TPM (fTPM) settings therein. Amusingly, to flash the BIOS one must first disable fTPM settings. More comforting, the post-update version enables fTPM by default and no longer requires such contortions for subsequent re-flash operations.

I just learned some new and interesting factoids about the Ryzen 5800X CPU — namely:

  • The part has a TDP of 105W, well within my new build’s power budget of 750W.
  • The part runs a Vermeer core at 3.8 GHz with 4MB of cache.
  • Memory speeds of up to 3200 MBps DDR4 are supported. I purchased 2667 to save a little on cost.

When to Take the Upgrade Plunge

The current build is running Windows 10 21H1 Build 19043.1165. I plan to keep it at the current Windows 10 production build level until MS formally releases Windows 11 upgrades via WU. If this PC doesn’t get an offer by the time an official ISO appears, I’ll download same and forcibly upgrade that PC through an in-place upgrade. I paid good money to make the machine ready for Windows 11. Thus, I want to take it to Windows 11 as soon as a production version is available.

Next, I’ll be planning my own production desktop upgrade. Before bringing the 5800X/B550 build up, I’d been thinking about taking the other desktop down the Intel upgrade path. But now, seeing how fast and fluidly this system runs, I’m increasingly inclined to do the same thing again inside my bigger Rosewill Blackhawk case. I still have a month or so in which to make my buy. Count on me to keep you posted in the interim. Cheers!

New BIOS Defaults Target Windows 11.WnyNot11

Output from the WhyNotWin11 program after flashing the BIOS shows the system 100% ready for Windows 11.
[Click image for full-sized view.]


First Windows 11 ISOs Now Available

OK, then. It was on June 28 that the first Windows 11 Insider Preview release made its debut on the Dev Channel. Mid-day yesterday I learned that MS had finally added Windows 11 ISOs to the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page. That’s right: the first Windows 11 ISO now available are ready to download. The lead-in graphic shows my selection of Dev Channel for Build 22000.132 (the number is truncated).

First Windows 11 ISOs Now Available: Grab One!

Because my Ventoy UFD doesn’t have a Build 22000.132 image amidst its collection, I did just that. I next had to confirm language (English, more properly EN-US). Then I had to click the “64-bit download” button shown here:

First Windows 11 ISOs Now Available.button

64-bit download button shows full details for Win11 version ISO.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

As is often the case when making MS downloads, it took a while to wind up. But eventually I started seeing download speeds ranging from just over 200Mbps to as high as 410 Mbps. The whole shebang took just over 3 minutes to complete.

Final file size, according to Explorer: 5,358,902 KB. That equals 5,233 MB or 5.11 GB. That makes this ISO too large for FAT-32 (which has a maximum file size of 4 GB). Good thing I’m using Ventoy: it will mount the ISO from its own EFI FAT-32 partition, even though the file resides on an exFAT partition (not subject to the 4 GB max filesize limitation). Good stuff!

One More Thing…

For some odd reason my ususal WIMVP MS account wouldn’t give me access to the Windows 11 ISO download. I had to sign out and sign back in under what I thought was an obsolete MS account. Not only did it please me to find a way to grab the ISO, it also gives me an important clue about why I’ve been unable to access my WIMVP benefits lately. Just another bonus as I live the dream here in Windows-World!