Category Archives: Windows 11

P1 Mobile Workstation Uptake & Intake

OK then: the day before we left on vacation, the Boss looked out the door and asked me: “Are you expecting something?” I hadn’t been exactly, but Jeff Witt from Lenovo had indeed promised to ship me another business laptop. So here ’tis: a ThinkPad P1 Gen 6. Its Lenovo Commercial Vantage info serves as the lead-in graphic. I’ll now share some details from the P1 Mobile Workstation uptake & intake here at Chez Tittel.

More About P1 Mobile Workstation Uptake & Intake

When you fire a review unit up from Lenovo, it goes automatically into a predefined account. So usually, the first thing I do is to check for OS and Vantage updates. Next, I add my MSA as a second, password-protected admin account. Then, I set up Remote Access. That lets me use my dual-monitor production desktop PC for some serious rooting around.

I find myself occasionally re-learning how to set up Remote Access on the LAN. To begin, enable Remote Desktop. I also have to make sure the LAN is designated a private network. Next — at least temporarily — Discovery for Public Networks and All Networks gets turned on. Otherwise, the first remote desktop connection attempt just doesn’t work. Go figure!

Other Set-up and Configuration Tasks

It always comes as a shock to me on a new install that I have to download and install the latest PowerShell version (7.3.6 as I write this). Then I have to change the default profile to that version in PowerShell Settings/Startup. Finally, leading-edge PS comes up instead of the built-in version (5.1.22621.1778). No thanks!

Next, I install Winfetch, OhMyPosh, import nerd fonts, edit my OMP profile and get PowerShell where I want it to be. The new approach to ZIP files in Windows 11 hides their true nature, so I also had to remember to unblock the ZIP file, extract its contents, and then copy the nerd font files into C:\Windows\Fonts. Sigh: it’s always the little things… That will get corrected in the next phase (see below) when I actually install 7Zip and let its default behaviors take over…

After that, I download PatchMyPC Home Updater to grab all the apps and tools I like to have installed on my PCs. That list of 12 items appears in this next screencap, following installation (takes about 3 minutes altogether, much faster than I could do on a one-off basis). Notice it comes from SUMo (Software Update Monitor) and shows 18 items (OneDrive, Edge, GeForce, and X-Rite came pre-installed; CrystalDiskInfo and CrystalDiskMark get counted for 32- and 64-bit versions separately: go figure!)

P1 Mobile Workstation Uptake & Intake.sumo

4 items pre-installed, and CrystalDisk stuff counts double, for 12 actual items added.

Initial Observations

This is my first exposure to Gen13 (Alder Lake) Intel CPUs. This CPU is a smoker with 14 physical cores, of which 10 run dual threads (i7-13800H). The 2800MHz DDR5 RAM (32 GB, single module) ain’t bad, either. I’m not familiar with Raptor Lake-P/PX Integrated graphics (Raptor Lake-P GT2) but it seems pretty snappy as well. This laptop even comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTC 4060 GPU which is likewise robust when run locally. The KXG8AZNV1T02 LA KIOXIA 1TB PCIe x4 NVMe SSD speeds along quite handily, too. All in all, it specs out — and acts — like a pretty formidable laptop.

I’m going to have to spend more time with this system but I’ve liked everything it’s shown me about itself so far. As equipped, this unit lists for around US$2,750 on the Lenovo website. All I can say for now is: So far, so good — I like it! Stay tuned, I’ll report back with more info later this week.


Extra C++ Redistributable Must Go

Here’s an interesting winget puzzle. Over the past couple of days, I noticed winget was reporting success in upgrading a Visual C++ Redistributable from version 14.36.32532 to 14.38.31919.0. Yet, each time I ran winget after that the same thing would reappear. Good thing I know what’s up with that: it means the new install doesn’t remove the old, now obsolete version. Thus, that extra C++ Redistributable must go.

Accomplishing Extra C++ Redistributable Must Go

In the lead-in graphic I show the two versions side by side inside Revo (bottom of image). I used that same tool to uninstall the other one manually. If you look at the sequence of commands therein, you’ll see I check upgrades. It shows me a new Visual C++ version to install. I install it, and check again: oops! Same old version of the redistributable still needs an update.

Or does it? Actually, it needs to be uninstalled. I could’ve done it with the winget syntax:

winget uninstall Microsoft.VCRedist.2015+.x86 -v 14.36.32532.0

But instead because I had Revo already open I simply right clicked the old version, chose uninstall, and let it do its thing. Gone!

What Happened Next?

As expected, the next time I ran winget upgrade to see if any updates remained pending I got back this mysterious but welcome message. “No installed package found matching input criteria.” In winget-speak, that means it didn’t find anything that needed an update. In other words: removing the obsolete Visual C++ Redistributable took care of my previously persistent version 14.36.32532.0.

Good-oh! Glad I’ve seen this kind of thing before. It told me that I probably had to kill the old version manually, to keep it from provoking a reminder to upgrade to the new. Even though it was present already…


Beta Build 22631 Loses Update Button

It’s not the first change I encountered in this new release. But as soon as I visited the Windows Update page in settings (see lead-in graphic) I couldn’t help but notice that Beta Build 22631 loses Update button. It’s not just gone either — it’s also resistant to restoration according to all known fixes. I felt a little better when I tuned into the ElevenForum discussion for the release and learned that my problem was pretty common. So now, I just chuckle when I think about things.

One of the recommended fixes was to pause (then unpause) updates. As you can see from the lead-in graphic as well, I did that. But there’s no button to turn the updates back on, either. So while I’m chuckling again, I’m down another button. Sigh.

Getting Updates, When Beta Build 22631 Loses Update Button

Even as the obvious approach to updating goes MIA, there are ways to make Windows 11 check for and install updates. I found two pretty good methods that do the trick.

The Windows command USOClient StartInteractiveScreen will actually run WU just as if you’d clicked that missing button. Indeed, if you open WU and watch the top of the screen after you fire off this account you’ll see the panning progress bar as it performs its check.

Beta Build 22631 Loses Update Button.uso-fix

Even though WU is paused, running the USOClient command as shown above still runs the update check anyway.

There’s also a PowerShell Module named PSWindowsUpdate you can install from the PowerShell Gallery (a favorite or at least recurring haunt of mine lately). To add it to your PowerShell environment run this command string:

Install-Module -name PSWindowsUpdate -force

This provides access to the Get-WindowsUpdate and Install-WindowsUpdate cmdlets. As the names suggest, the former shows you what updates are available, while the latter provides a variety of means to install updates by KB ID or name (both values appear in the Get-… output which is handy).

Where There’s a Will…

While we’re waiting for MS to fix this odd little deficit in this Beta release, there are workarounds available to keep things going. It gave me a chance to learn a few new tricks while working around the missing button. And that’s just the way things go sometimes, here in Windows-World.

Note Added September 7: It’s Baaaaaaack!!

OK then: I’m back from a 10-day hiatus for some cool weather in Maine and getting son Gregory moved into his Boston-based college dorm. I just checked WU and the “Check for updates” button is not only back — it also works as expected. Knew this couldn’t last long. Cheers!


Inconsequential Windows Errors: Remove or Ignore?

In refreshing my recollection of what I thought was called “Berkeley’s paradox” — but isn’t — I have to raise the question: If a Windows PC throws an Xbox error and you don’t use an Xbox, does it really matter? In my case, the answer is a resounding “No!” Thus when handling inconsequential Windows errors: remove or ignore are my primary strategies. Let me explain…

Handling Inconsequential Windows Errors: Remove or Ignore?

I repeat: I don’t use an Xbox, so I don’t call on the associated complex of Store apps that offer Xbox connections, controls and capabilities. Interestingly, the Store Library shows only Xbox Game Bar. But if you search Apps on the Store Home page, you’ll find dozens of qualifying hits. Interestingly Xbox Identity Provider isn’t among them.

With a little research, I found a website named “Best Gaming Tips” that directly addresses my issue: Xbox Identity Provider Not Working. It includes a helpful PowerShell command sequence to nix this stubbornly uncooperative beast:

Get-appxpackage Microsoft.XboxIdentityProvider | Remove-AppxPackage

It now seems to be gone, too. If I use winget to search for that package name, it finds nothing. And yet, the entry still shows up in Store. I’m restarting and will try again after that… And indeed, that took care of things. Looks like if you change the underlying app structure (or the packages in which they live) you need to stop/restart the Store to let it continue to reflect current reality correctly. Go figure!

For the nonce, the problem is gone. Should I ever have need of the Xbox Identity Provider, I’ll figure out how to re-install it. That’s a bridge to burn some other day. Here in Windows-World, there are always plenty of such opportunities.


Sideload Brings Windows 10 New Photos App

Here’s something interesting. Thanks to eagle-eyed software maker and reporter Sergey Tkachenko, I’ve just learned you can grab the new Windows 11 version of the Photos app and install it on Windows 10. On 11, it comes from the Windows Store; if you’re left out, a sideload brings Window 10 new Photos app. See the WinAero story Windows 11 Photos app now supports Windows 10 for pointers and such.

How Sideload Brings Windows 10 New Photos App

If you examine the lead-in graphic closely you’ll see the About info for the Windows 11 version of Photos (lower left). Once you download and install that version, the Store offers a renamed version of its predecessor as “Photos Legacy” (right, with about information at bottom). I installed that also to keep my existing (and enormous) trove of meta-data and image info available. Just for grins, I superimposed winver.exe at right center to show it was all indeed running on Windows 10. Good stuff!

One thing: you will visit the mirror of the Microsoft Store downloads to grab the Windows 11 version of Photos for Windows 10. When you do, scroll down to the first Microsoft.Windows.Photos entry that ends with the extension .msixbundle. That’s the one you need to actually perform the install.

It will ask you if you want to update Microsoft Photos? Click the Update button.

Then it will go through the update process and actually install the Windows 11 version on your Windows 10 PC. As soon as it’s done the Store will offer you the Photos Legacy app as well.

So now, I have both the old version (Photos Legacy) and the new version (Photos) running on my Windows 10 PC. As I watch what happens with this new addition to my app stable, I’ll report further if I see anything noteworthy. So far, it all seems pretty routine.


Backing Up P16

I’ve recently swapped out the Lenovo loaner unit for the ThinkPad P16 Mobile workstation here at Chez Tittel. In the same recent period, I’ve written stories for AskWoody about using USB and Thunderbolt versions 3 and 4 for a variety of purposes. When it comes to using any of those technologies with USB-C attached NVMe drives, backup looms large. And boy, are the results for faster storage hookups compelling when it comes to backing up P16. Let me explain…

TB4 Shines When Backing Up P16

The lead-in graphic shows a 1:03 completion time for an image backup on that device inside Macrium Reflect. That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen a full image backup complete on that (or any other) PC, whether to an internal or an external drive. Why doesn’t everybody do it that way?

Let me count the reasons:

  1. Not all PCs or Laptops have fast Thunderbolt4 ports.
  2. TB4 NVMe enclosures are expensive: US$130 and up. Count on spending at least another US$70 or so for a 1 TB NVMe to put inside same. In contrast, you can buy a portable 1 TB NVMe right now for about US$70 (but it’s not TB4, nor even TB3).
  3. One *MUST* use TB4 cables to get those results. Nothing else will do.
  4. USB-C ports can be scarce, so it may be necessary to acquire a TB4 dock. That’ll set you back another US$200-400 depending on ports and features.

But Hey! Look at Them Snappers…

All those caveats said and understood, 1:03 remains a remarkable timeframe for a full image backup. WizTree reports that the P16’s C: drive currently stores 82.8 GB’s worth of stuff. If I’m doing the math correctly that’s 10.48 Gbps as a backup speed. I’ll take it!

I spent over US$200 to put the NVMe enclosure to work, and another US$25 for a year’s worth of access to Macrium Reflect. Is is worth it? IMO, it is. IYO perhaps not…



Using Get-WUHistory Requires Finesse

I’m a big fan of PowerShell. That’s why I was excited to learn about a collection of cmdlets from the PowerShell Gallery named PSWindowsUpdate. Chief among its constituents is a cmdlet named Get-WUHistory that I’ve been finding both helpful and vexing. I say that using Get-WUHistory requires finesse because it works well on Windows 10, but hangs on PCs with longer “history trails” in Windows 11. Let me explain and illustrate what that means…

Why Using Get-WUHistory Requires Finesse

I’m only running Windows 10 on one actual PC (not counting VMs). By chance, that’s where I started working with the PSWindowsUpdate cmdlets. To begin with, you’ll need to install this collection, using this command:

Install-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate -Force

If you haven’t visited the PowerShell Gallery before, you’ll be asked to grant various permissions so your PC (or VM) can access and use its contents. If necessary, please do so. Then, your installation will complete. After it’s done, you can use the Get-WUHistory command (among others — see a complete list of all 25 cmdlets from this package).

There’s something going on in Windows 11 that will sometimes cause Get-WUHistory to “hang.” How can you tell? The output won’t complete, you won’t get a prompt back, and the cursor keeps blinking. Indeed, it doesn’t even respond to CTRL-C to terminate the command. You must close the open PowerShell window (or tab) to regain control over Windows Terminal.

What’s the Trick to Make Things Work?

For some odd reason limiting the scope of output keeps the Get-WUHistory cmdlet working. Thus, in Windows 11 instead of simply entering Get-WUHistory at the command line, try this version instead:

Get-WUHistory -last 1000

This tells the cmdlet to limit its output to only the first 1000 entries it finds in the update history. Notice that on one of my test PCs, the actual number of entries in the update history is only 157 items, yet the command hangs anyway — except when it’s scoped. Go figure!

Unless scoped [-last 1000] Get-WUHistory hangs on Windows 11.

The lead-in graphic shows the first screen of output from a scoped version of the Get-WUHistory cmdlet. Notice that most of the updates relate to Windows Security (Windows Defender intelligence updates, antimalware platform updates, and so forth). Too much chaff, not enough wheat, IMO. Here’s a way to turn down the volume…

Reducing Get-WUHistory Output Volume

One can, of course, filter Get-WUHistory Output — in addition to limiting its scope — to reduce the output volume. Here’s a command string I found to be incredibly helpful in seeing what’s there, sans security-related stuff:

Get-WUHistory -last 1000 |
Where-Object {$_.Title -notlike "*Security*"}

What you see broken across two lines (or more) in the preceding is actually a single (if complex) PowerShell command string. Be sure to remove or ignore any internal line breaks when running this inside Windows Terminal. You’ll get back a mercifully much shorter list of items, mostly cumulative updates (CUs), MSRTs, Update Stack Packages, and the odd antimalware platform update. As you can see, this cuts 157 items down to a more manageable 12. Good stuff!

Eliminating the word security in the “Title” field filters out most of the dross. [Click image for full-sized view.]


Persistent Windows Intelligence Update Failure

For the past two weeks and more, I’ve had a recurring problem on one of my Canary Channel Insider Preview test PCs. On that Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga, each time I run WU the same error appears upon completion. It reports a specific installation error  — namely 0x80070057 for a so-called “Windows Intelligence Update.”  And despite all my research and repair attempts — including use of TenForums excellent reset/re-register batch file — nothing has cleared this error message. That’s why I see it as a persistent Windows Intelligence Update failure mystery.

Handling a Persistent Windows Intelligence Update Failure

I’ve been hoping — perhaps against the odds — that some new feature update would fix this issue. But so far, it hasn’t. What makes this whole thing a mystery is that you can find these failures in Update history, they still don’t help illuminate things much.  Here’s a snapshot, which I’ll explain afterward as best I can:

Persistent Windows Intelligence Update Failure.other-history

Turns out this update shows up under “Other Update” but it references no related KB number.

Notice that the error repeats thrice (3) on both reported days. Though it’s been going on far longer than August 10 and 11, that’s all the information about this error that shows up in this update history view. Even checking alternate views using the old-fashion wmic command or the Get-WUHistory PowerShell cmdlet fail to shed further light What really vexes me is that this type of update includes no corresponding Knowledge Baase article number to explain what it is and what it does.

About that Error Message

If you look up the error code online, you’ll find a MakeUseOf story that includes these suggestions (I have bolded the one I think applies here):

Error 0x80070057 usually occurs when:

  • You are trying to back up your files, and there is corruption.
  • You are trying to install a Windows operating system and the System Reserved Partition is corrupted.
  • Corrupt registry or policy entries are interfering with the Windows Update process.
  • There were some problems installing updates, and the system will attempt to try again later.

Alas, this doesn’t tell me much about how to fix the underlying issues which have now persisted through two feature updates. I’ve attempted to fix the disk structure, run both dism /restorehealth and sfc /scannow, used the TenForums reset-reregister-WU batch file, and even run an in-place repair install. Nothing has worked. This remains a mystery despite my various attempts to find and fix things. If I can’t come up with another strategy soon, I may just perform a clean install and start over. Time will tell.

And that’s the way things go here in Windows-World. Sometimes you fix the error, and sometimes you have to extirpate it by starting over afresh.

Note Added August 18

Sometime earlier this week, this mysterious failure disappeared. I’m now able to run WU sans error messages of any kind. My WU update history shows no more failure messages either — but I do see two successful “Windows Intelligence Updates” therein. One’s on August 11 (the very day I filed this item); the next is on August 17 (yesterday). Even a more detailed examination with Get-WUHistory fails to turn those earlier issues up (but then, it got upgraded a couple of days ago. I think that clears earlier update history).


Winget Version Numbering Hiccup

Here’s an odd, but interesting, Winget situation. While setting up the replacement Lenovo  ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation, I installed CrystalDiskMark (standard “free” version). As you can see in the lead-in graphic, the maker’s website gives it a version number of 8.0.4c. This causes an interesting winget version numbering hiccup, because its manifest contains numbers only (8.0.4) rather than the complete version designator (8.0.4c). This causes an error when running the “do-everything” winget command — namely:

winget upgrade --all --include-unknown

The upgrade command grinds along for a good long while — several minutes, in fact — before it fails with an unexpected error, like so:

Winget Version Numbering Hiccup:c-error

Apparently, the manifest points to a badly-formed or MIA URL, so the upgrade can’t proceed.

Overcoming Winget Version Numbering Hiccup

Attempts to specify an version number (8.0.4), along with an explicit ID (CrystalDewWorld.CrystalDiskMark) likewise fail to complete  (same error message). Then it gets more interesting:

Winget is happy to uninstall the 8.0.4c version, as long as I specify it explicitly.

But winget won’t install CrystalDiskMark, so the only option is to download and install the maker’s version — which doesn’t work with winget right now. I’m communicating this to the winget team (via Demitrius Nelon). Hopefully they’ll figure out a fix. I figure the version number mismatch between the manifest (8.0.4) and the maker’s actual number (8.0.4c) is what’s causing the issue. As soon as that gets resolved, I image things will start working as they oughter.

We’ll see!


Foiling False Upgrade Positives

I use a collection of tools to keep my Windows fleet updated. These include winget (in PowerShell), plus KC Softwares’ Software Update Monitor (SUMo) and PatchMyPC Home Updater. Occasionally one or more of these tools will throw a “false positive” — that is, report an update that doesn’t exist. When that happens I have my way of foiling false upgrade positives to prevent wasting time. Let me explain…

About Foiling False Upgrade Positives

This is a case where one tool can occasionally backstop another, so that one tool’s claim of an existing upgrade can be challenged successfully. Case in point: the item SUMo reported this morning, which refers to a new version of Microsoft PC Manager numbered — look at the lower right in the lead-in image above. A quick hop to the home page for Microsoft PC Manager (Beta), a download (you’ll find two buttons there), and display of Properties details from that  download shows:Foiling False Upgrade Positives.pcmgrproperties

Notice the version number reads Compare that to the “Version” column in SUMo: same!

Likewise, when I turn to winget inside PowerShell, I use its “list” command to show me what’s on my machine, then use its “show” command to show me the latest manifest in its public database. Again, both agree. That tells me pretty unequivocally that the latest version is indeed — and that’s the one I’ve already got. SUMo, in asserting that version is the most current, is somewhere off the beaten track.

What Now, Young Jedi?

I’ve got Kyle Katarn’s email and twitter feed at my disposal. So when something like this happens with SUMo I send him a message saying what SUMo reports and what the software maker (MS in this case) tells me. He’s usually very quick about fixing false positives (on a same-day basis, in fact). Ditto for issues with winget (I likewise interact with Demitrius Nelon, Winget Team Lead at MS). He is also responsive to feedback, and often provides same-day fixes as well. So far, I’ve not yet had a false positive experience with PatchMyPC (but it covers far fewer software items than SUMo’s 400+ and winget’s 2000+ manifests).

Good stuff!

Note Added August 9 Afternoon

At 4:15 PM Central (-05:00 GMT) Mr. Katarn sent me a message this item had been fixed. Ran SUMo again, and sure enough: the false positive is gone. THAT’s what I call customer service…