Category Archives: Windows 11

Solving Advanced Startup Windows 11 Mystery

Here’s one to ponder. On all of the PCs I upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, a Settings option is missing. I’m talking about Start → Settings → System → Recovery  →Advanced Startup. As you can see in the lead-in graphic above, it does not show up under Recovery options. That’s what has me solving Advanced Startup Windows 11 mystery. All this said, here’s what shows up on my only “native Windows 11” PC — the Lenovo Yoga 7i — which I received last October with Windows 11 pre-installed.

Look! On the Yoga7i the option appears (it’s missing in the lead-in graphic above). Go figure…

Solving Advanced Startup Windows 11 Mystery Means…?

As I started poking around, looking for fixes, I quickly realized this missing menu item is on nobody’s radar. When I asked Shawn Brink (the chief moderator and tutorial magnate at he advised an in-place upgrade repair install to see if it would fix the problem. Other than that, I found no insight or wisdom online to lead toward a cure.

However, I did discover a bunch of workarounds, all of which still work:

  • Anyplace you can get to the Restart option in Windows 11 (the various Power menus available from Start, the lock screen and so forth), if you hold down the Shift key while clicking or touching Restart, it will call up the Windows Recovery boot screen
  • You can run a special version of the shutdown command in PowerShell, at the command line, or in Windows Terminal:
    shutdown /r /o /f /t 00

This has the same net effect as using Advanced Startup in the Settings/System/Recovery menu anyway. So even if the in-place update repair fails, I can still get where I need to be on the systems where the menu option is MIA. That repair is 90% complete right now on my X1 Carbon, so I’ll be able to report on results fairly soon.

And the verdict is…SUCCESS!

Needless to say, I awaited the results of the restart and further updates with more than usual interest. It took about 10 minutes to complete the GUI-based portion of the repair, and another 5 minutes to get back to the desktop, and another 3 minutes for the out-of-box (OOB) experience to complete. And when I did, my first move was to visit Settings → System → Recovery.

Bingo! There’s the missing menu item, complete with the “Restart now” button. Thanks a bunch, Brink. I’ve long known that the in-place repair install fixes many Windows ills. Now I know for sure that it fixes another Windows 11-specific malady. The mystery of the missing Advanced Startup menu item is now also solved.



Build 22543 Brings New Battery Info

I updated my Dev Channel PCs to the latest build recently. And, as reported at WindowsLatest, the Settings app gets a few interesting new wrinkles. Chief among these changes, Build 22543 brings new Battery info into System → Power & battery → Battery. You can see for yourself what it looks like in the lead-in graphic.

The most obvious feature is a time series chart of battery levels. Mine’s a boring 100% across the board, because this test PC stays plugged in via a Thunderbolt/USB-C dock that delivers 85W of charging power. BTW, the dock also delivers multiple USB-C and USB 3.2 ports, GbE, dual HDMI, and an audio jack port as well.

If Build 22543 Brings New Battery Info, Check It Out!

While Battery & Power (shown above) is the most obvious change to settings, I see minor tweaks throughout. Fonts and layout show minor changes (check out the Display info on PCs with multiple displays). The contrasts with earlier Windows 11 versions are minor, but compared to Windows 10 you can readily see Settings is slowly but surely getting a major makeover.

FWIW, I like what I see. Overall, Windows 11 Settings screens seem cleaner, more streamlined and modern than their Win10 counterparts. Looks also like “Add device” capabilities in Settings (Settings Bluetooth & devices Add device) are ramping up. It’s not hard to see the old-fashioned “Devices and Printers” facility fading away in its wake.

The Increasing Pace of (Settings) Change

We’ve known for years that MS is working its way into Settings and away from the old-fashioned Control Panel. It will still be a while before that changeover is complete, but its evidence is everywhere. I hope I can learn where things are, and how they work well enough to remain productive before the old gives way completely to the new.

Whatever happens along the way there’s no doubt it will be an adventure. Stay tuned, and I’ll do my best to provide some hopefully useful info and guidance.


Stacking Restartable Updates Works OK

It’s not a crazy question. It goes something like this: should users/admins install and restart after a single Cumulative Update, or can they allow multiple such updates in series? I just tried the latter on a couple of PCs, and everything turned out OK. I believe it may take a little longer to do them one at a time anyway (because of the time delay of the “extra restart”). But recent experience strongly asserts that stacking restartable updates works OK.

If Stacking Restartable Updates Works OK, Let ’em Rip!

This time around, Windows 11 got KB50100474 (.NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8) plus KB 5010414 (CU for Windows 11 x64…). I ran the drill on my Lenovo X1 Carbon (production Windows 11) and my Lenovo X380  Yoga (Beta/Insider Preview Channel Windows 11). Both got to the desktop through the reboot process in under 2 minutes. In my experience with various updates, that’s pretty fast in general for any single CU let alone 2 of them together.

Running DISM’s start component analyze and cleanup functions afterward, I found 2 reclaimable packages resulted from the updates. Cleaning them up regained affected PCs about 1.93 GB of disk space in the component store. It took about 8 minutes to complete. Worth doing, for sure!

Note: Don’t be disturbed by the “double progress bars” (see next screencap) for the /startcomponentcleanup bit. That always happens unless you reboot the PC before running this command after applying an update.

After stacking two CUs it’s no surprise that 2 reclaimable packages show up in DISM analysis of the component store.

I must say MS has Windows 11 working pretty well of late. I have yet to experience anything serious in the update/maintenance department since last October, when the official release emerged into public view. Good stuff!


New Ventoy 1.0.66 Version Available

Thanks to Martin Brinkmann at, I just learned there’s a new Ventoy 1.0.66 version available. Among other cool features, it now supports an “experimental” (beta) feature to boot most supported image formats from a local disk. Check out the GitHub page and its  documentation page at for a complete recitation.

With New Ventoy 1.0.66 Version Available, Grab One!

I’ve been writing about Ventoy since April 2020, when I first learned about this outstanding tool. Here’s my first-ever Ventoy item: Bootable USB Tool Ventoy (Win10.Guru). The Ventoy,net site has long since overcome its initial underprovisioning issues. Indeed, the tool is now available through both GitHub and SourceForge as well. It’s also added lots of bells and whistles along the way.

If you don’t already know and use this tool, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Be sure to check out the many content items on the Ventoy Document page for news, how-tos, explainers, and information about the tool’s growing collection of interesting plug-ins.

Make Ventoy Your Go-To Install/Repair Tool

Right now, I’m still using a 256GB SSD in a Sabrent NVMe drive caddy (USB 3.2 Gen 2) for my collection of tools and images. I have 29 images on the drive, which include many versions of Windows 10 and 11, plus the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT), the MacriumRescue ISO, BOOTPE.iso, various memtest utilities, and more.  I’ve still got 94 GB of disk space free on the drive and will no doubt keep adding to it over time.

It’s a great tool: worth downloading, using, and updating as needed. Cheers!




PowerToys 55.2 Fixes Things Up

If you read this blog regularly, you may be aware that in early January I reported about a fix for a strange Zoom issue. Seems that for some odd reason, the Mute Video Conference feature in PowerToys when enabled clobbers Zoom. Turn it off in PowerToys, and it works again. A workable, if not entirely satisfactory, repair. I’m pleased to report that PowerToys 55.2 fixes things up. I have a feeling it’s .NET related and comes thanks to the tool collections update to the .NET 6 framework and so forth.

But hey! I’ve been busy for the past two weeks. Cliff Rutkas and his team could’ve slipped an earlier fix past me. Be that as it may, I can now use both the Video Conference Mute feature in PT55.2 *and* Zoom on the same PC. Good-oh!

PowerToys 55.2 Fixes Things Up . . . and More!

While I’m on the subject of PT (any version) I’d like to extend my further thanks and appreciation to that team for the work they’ve done on the toolset lately. Installation has become much more routine. There’s been no need to stop mid-way through the initial “turn off old components” section lately, jump into Task Manager, and kill stuff before the installer can proceed. Instead, the process sails through to completion without human intervention — just the way I like it!

This tool is definitely gaining polish and capability. I had already liked it quite a bit. Now I like it even more. If you’re not familiar with PT be sure to check out (and read over) its documentation. It will definitely clue you in, and get you going with this terrific Windows toybox full of handy little tools.


Monitor 2 Blink Mode Gets Easy Fix

Talk about great timing. I just finished a marathon work engagement on Thursday, and was playing catchup yesterday. As I was beavering away at a mountain of email and phone calls, I noticed my right-hand monitor acting up. It started going into what I call “blink mode.” That means it would go black every 30-60 seconds, after which it would return to what looked like normal operation. As you can see from the lead-in screencap, the right hand monitor is labeled “2.” Fortunately, monitor 2 blink mode gets easy fix (this time, anyway).

Here’s How Monitor 2 Blink Mode Gets Easy Fix

From long experience I know that when Windows monitors/displays start acting up, there are two common causes. Most common is a misbehaving graphics driver. Second most common is some kind of hardware fault, out of which the cable running from PC to display is most likely.

“Hmmmmm” I found myself thinking “Didn’t I ignore a recent Nvidia Studio Driver update because I was too busy to mess with it?” And indeed, when I ran GeForce Experience, it updated itself right away. Next thing I noticed was a new release of the aforementioned driver (Version 511.65) was out with a February 1 release date.

Consequently, I grabbed and installed that driver right away. Luckily for me, it fixed the problem. The monitor hasn’t blinked once since the update (at least, not that I noticed). It’s a good thing that the obvious fix sometimes works. It’s a better thing that it worked this time. Better still, this problem didn’t manifest until AFTER my recent work marathon ended. It would have been problematic troubleshooting an issue in the middle of a deposition, with the clock ticking away.

What If The Driver Update Didn’t Fix the Problem?

I keep cable spares around as a matter of routine. Thus, my next attempt would have been to swap out the DisplayPort cable from monitor to GPU. If that hadn’t worked, I would have swapped the monitor from one of my test PCs (I have a spare, but I’m using it to check dual-screen behavior on Windows 11 Dev Channel). I’m pretty sure the GPU is OK, because Monitor 1 has remained rock steady throughout this situation. That said, I could always switch the second monitor to HDMI, on the chance that the GPU port itself was having issues.

That’s the way things go here in Windows World. I’m glad the simplest, most obvious fix did the trick. You would be too, if it happened to you.



Serious Zoom Shenanigans Make Meetings Interesting

Wow! It’s been a wild, wild two weeks. Attentive readers will have notice my blogging frequency dropped, and may have wondered why. I make a large part of my living working as an expert witness and I’ve recently testified at two depositions and attended a third. All were conducted over Zoom, and all lasted at least 10 hours. Around those “depos” as they’re called, I had lots of other side Zoom meetings. And indeed, serious zoom shenanigans make meetings interesting — and sometimes slow and frustrating. Let me explain…

What Serious Zoom Shenanigans Make Meetings Interesting?

There are two classes of issues that loomed large in setting the rhythm and pace of all my many recent Zoom encounters:

  1. Performance issues
  2. User interface driving issues

I’ll discuss each one under its own heading below, but I will observe that the three depos were capped at a certain number of hours (X) of recorded video time. Each one last at least 1.4X hours from start to finish; the longest one went 1.64X. Ouch!

Zoom Performance Issues Observed and Endured

I’m lucky. I myself experienced no Zoom performance issues at all coming from my Zoom PC (a 6-core 8th-gen Intel i7 8850H CPU with 32 GB RAM and dual NVMe SSDs running Windows 11). That was probably thanks to my reliable and reasonably speedy “Gigabit” level connection through Spectrum/Charter here at Chez Tittel. I did have a moment of panic yesterday while testifying when I saw I had inadvertently unplugged that unit’s wired GbE dongle. But the machine sits right next to my 802.11ax WAP (and supports 802.11ac at 160MHz). Apparently, it switched over from GBE to Wi-Fi (and back again) without any noticeable hiccups. Thank goodness!

Other participants weren’t so lucky. During a winter storm last week, another person found himself dealing with all kinds of glitches. These included voice issues (drop-outs, loss of volume, ringing, and so forth), stuttering video (turned off for a while to conserve bandwidth), and very slow uploads for materials he needed to share.

Thus, I couldn’t help but notice that performance issues can — and at least in once case, did — exert a powerful drag on productivity. As a result that particular meeting stretched out far longer than it needed to, or should have.

Driving the Zoom UI

Then, there were the usual issues in dealing with UI interaction that often come in Zoom meetings. Some attendees had to be instructed on how to perform certain activities (mostly surrounding uploading or downloading files). Others struggled gamely through learning how to use the environment’s features. A couple reported log-in issues, which were quickly resolved by the legal meeting service provider’s excellent tech support staff (though not without multi-minute delays here and there).

I myself had to call in once, which is how I know their tech support staff was superb. Meeting invitations arrive a day in advance, and include the notification “If you don’t get a meeting link by one hour before the scheduled start time, please call this number to obtain one directly.” I didn’t get a link to yesterday’s soiree by that time, so I followed those instructions. And indeed, the person with whom I spoke had me fixed up and into the Zoom meeting in under two minutes. Bravo!

Another Zoom Wish Pops Up

During one meeting another participant, when faced with a large number of items to download asked “Why doesn’t Zoom have a feature to zip up multiple items and send them in one file?” Good question! I hope the Zoom developers have this on their list of planned enhancements. It would certainly make it faster and easier to manage meetings where numerous documents have to be exchanged.

All in all, it’s been a trying and busy, busy, busy last two weeks. I’m looking forward to getting back on a more regular and predictable schedule. And it will be a while before I find myself missing marathon Zoom sessions…


WU Update Connectivity 8 Hours vs Minutes

OK, so it’s “Patch Tuesday” once again. I’m updating my fleet of 10 PCs. I’ve got one eye on the clock and the other on a recent article from WindowsLatest. It’s entitled Microsoft: Windows 10, Windows 11 need eight hours online to deploy updates. As I update my various Windows 10 and 11 PCs I’m seeing times in minutes, not hours. Why assert WU update connectivity 8 hours vs minutes?

Why Is WU Update Connectivity 8 Hours?

As I’m timing my various machines, the X1 Carbon took about 7 minutes to handle the updates from start to finish. My production desktop is at 11 minutes and counting. What does the story say? Here’s the most salient quote (emphasis mine):

Your device should be online for at least eight hours to process Windows cumulative or feature updates properly. This period is called ‘Update Connectivity’ and eight hours is necessary to get the latest updates from Microsoft’s servers and successfully install them.

I can only understand this one way. This is the interval that’s needed when the user doesn’t initiate updates. It sure doesn’t take that long when one requests an update from WU. My production PC (i7-6700) took 15 minutes to get to the “Restart required” notification. Prior experience says it will take another 5 minutes, max to the desktop. So why 8 hours? It gets more interesting, as recited next…

More Interesting Quotes

“The Update Connectivity period includes a minimum of two continuous connected hours and six total connected hours after an update is available for download.

Specifically, data shows that devices need a minimum of two continuous connected hours, and six total connected hours after an update is released to reliably update. “This allows for a successful download and background installations that are able to restart or resume once a device is active and connected,” Microsoft noted in a new blog post.

What does this mean?

It means it’s best to leave PCs connected to the Internet when the Internet is the source of updates for those selfsame PCs. Those who use their own servers to push updates (or other means of update distribution) won’t be subject to the same limitations. Fascinating, though: who knew?


MS Defender Preview Accepts Personal MSAs

Hoo boy! I’ve been checking in on the Store-based version of the Microsoft Defender Preview since last November. Until this morning, I had no luck getting this cross-platform, multi-device app working. After seeing a story in WindowsUpdate minutes ago, I zipped into the MS Store to try again. And indeed, now that MS Defender Preview accepts personal MSAs (Microsoft Accounts) it appears to be working!

If MS Defender Accepts Personal MSAs, Anybody Can Use It

In the next screencap you can see the dashboard screen from the Microsoft Defender Preview. One must, however, also install this app on other devices before they show up on this dashboard. So naturally, I dashed over to my other Dev Channel test machine (via RDP, no physical movement needed) and used the URL to go straight to the app in Store:

MS Defender Preview Accepts Personal MSAs.dashboard

The dashboard doesn’t look like much until you start adding devices. [Click image for full-sized view.]

After a quick  update, I opened the newest version to see the initial welcome screen I missed on my first MS Defender Preview encounter. I signed up with the same MSA (so both devices would show up on a single dashboard: IDs are deliberately obscured).

To see devices on the same dashboard, you must associate them with a common MSA. [Click image for full-sized view.]

With Time and Exposure, More to Come

That’s about all I have time to deal with this morning. I’m tightly wrapped in legal business this week, so my posts will be short and less frequent than usual. This opening up of the preview, however, was big enough news that I had to share. Check it out, and have fun!


Windows Insiders Will Get New Experiences

It seems that Windows Experience Packs remain atop recent Windows news. On February 3, Windows Insiders lead Amanda Langowski posted to the Windows blog. It’s chock full of interesting tidbits, and worth a read. Among those were a new Insiders logo (appears as this post’s lead-in graphic; click here for full-sized view). Another is quotable: “We will deliver updates to features and experiences in builds from the Dev and Beta Channels by releasing Feature, Web, and Online Service Experience Packs on top of these builds too.” (Emphasis mine.) Hence, my claim that Windows Insiders will get new Experiences in 2022.

If Windows Insiders Will Get New Experiences, Then What?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But there’s been plenty of talk about Experience Packs over the last year. Likewise, plenty of experiments with same, but nothing substantial or tangible by way of results. I think what Ms. Langowski said means that we will see such results via all three types of experience packs this year.

I, for one, can’t wait. I’ve been watching this phenomenon work its way into public view since it got started. I’m more than curious to see what will come of this effort. Because it’s intended to provide a pipeline to deliver new features and functions to Windows without having to wait for a now-annual feature update, I’m tantalized by what this could mean for — and bring to — Windows users.

As an Insider (and an Insider MVP) I have deliberately put myself in the line of fire to help MS get this working as well as possible. I’m trembling with anticipation to see how it all works. I’m curious to learn what kinds of hiccups or bumps in the road Experience Packs might bring. And I’m resolved to do my bit with Feedback Hub reports and hopefully helpful blog posts and articles to steer this effort to a successful conclusion.

Stay tuned: this should be fun!

[Note Added: January 6, 2022]

Mary Jo Foley has published a ZDNet article on this topic. It’s entitled Microsoft: Here’s how Windows 11 will get new features. In that story, she provides a great explanation of the three types of Experience packs, as best as MS prior statements will allow. Check it out for more information on feature experience packs, online service experience packs, and the still-mysterious web experience packs. Good stuff. Thanks be to MJF!