Category Archives: Windows OS Musings

Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers

OK, then: here’s a “new-ish” behavior in Windows 11 that I don’t love. Once upon a time, you could use the update function in Device Manager to search the Internet for device drivers. No longer: if a driver is absent, the “Update driver” function can’t find anything to use. That explains why Windows 11 clean install overlooks certain drivers. If they’re not in the driver store built into the ISO image, they’re simply unavailable.

If Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers, Then What?

Take my recently clean installed Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga. I happened to notice a half-dozen items under “Other Devices” in Device Manager yesterday. “Hmmm” I thought to myself. “Looks like the installer didn’t find some drivers while bringing the machine up.” Too true, as it turns out!

Fortunately, none of what was missing was essential to the laptop’s operation. Thus, that meant identifying the missing drivers, then finding and installing them. At first look, I saw 7 such devices. A quick hop to the Lenovo Vantage app (the company’s maintenance-update platform, which generally works OK or better) took care of three of them.

On a whim, I looked up LifeWire‘s story on the best free driver updaters (Tim Fisher updated it on April 4, 2022). It gives Driver Booster 9 Free the best rating (but the free version only updates 15 drivers, then requires users to pay ~US$23 to get a paid-up, for-a-fee version). It found 24 (!) drivers in need of update, so I concentrated on updating those that showed up with a “Driver Missing” label in that program’s output. Once identified, I knew I could handle the others on my own.

Back in  the High Life Again . . .

Indeed, the free version of the program did the trick for me. You can see in the lead-in graphic from Driver Store Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) that I was able to update 7 drivers (they show outdated versions). Add in another 7 new drivers added to go from “missing” to “found” and my system is now fully up-to-date, with no remaining “Other” device entries. No Device Manager items with the yellow exclamation point, either.

The gurus at TenForums and ElevenForum generally recommend against driver scan/update tools. I generally concur. But this was a big enough kerfluffle that I was grateful for some automated search-and-update help.

I guess that means I’m willing to make an exception when the “don’t check the Internet for available drives” behavior in Windows 11 prevents the installer from providing a full slate of items. I understand why MS did this (to prevent driver changes from adversely affecting naive users). But as I said in my lead ‘graph: I’m not in love with this design decision and its impact on clean install completeness.

That’s life, here in Windows-World. I can live with it, and fix it myself, when I must. So that’s what I did. And now the clean install machine is nearly production-ready. Just a few more apps and applications to go!


.NET 3.5 Falls Outside Pending EoS

Last Friday, I posted about impending End of Service (EoS) dates for some particular .NET releases. As shown in the lead-in graphic, .NET Framework version 4.6.1, 4.6 and 4.5.2 are all slated to go EoS on April 26 (13 days in the offing, as I write this item). That said, .NET 3.5 falls outside pending EoS (the SP1 version, anyway) as shown in red in that same graphic.

What .NET 3.5 Falls Outside Pending EoS Really Means

It turns out there’s a LOT of software that still leans heavily on .NET version 3.5 SP1. Because older software — some dating back to Vista and Windows 7 eras — requires this .NET version to run, MS packaged this particular .NET version as a standalone product with its own release and support schedule. Again, a look at the lead-in graphic shows that version 3.5 SP1 doesn’t hit EoS until January 9, 2029, nearly 7 years later than any other known EoS dates.

From older versions of Visual Studio, to a wide range of older, but still-used applications, .NET 3.5 is apparently far from moribund. To me, the VS connection is particularly telling, because it speaks to custom apps — many built in-house at companies and organizations to meet specific or proprietary needs — that benefit from an extended lease on life.

Where’s Your Favorite .NET Version in This Mix?

If you look at the Microsoft Docs Lifecycle page for the Microsoft .NET Framework, you’ll find the source for the graphic at the head of this story. MS updates this info from time to time, adding new versions and obsoleting older ones. I’m a little bemused to see that my Update History makes reference to a “2022-04 .NET 6.0.4 Update for x64 Client” (KB5013437). Though I can find an MS Catalog entry for this update and a set of .NET Release Notes that mention versions 6 and 7, only this document provides EoS dates for 7 (November 2023) and 6 (November 2024). Makes me wonder why all this info isn’t also consolidated on the Lifecycle page. Go figure!

Bottom line: I was wrong in my Friday posting in presuming version 3.5 SP1 was also slated for EoS along with the other 4.x versions named above. As you can plainly see in the graphic, 3.5 is around for some while yet. Live and learn!


Various .NET Versions Facing EoS Soon

On April 4, an End of Support notice surfaced in  the MIcrosoft Message Center. Its initial text appears in the lead-in graphic for this story above. A quick summary of its contents is that various .NET versions facing EoS soon. The version numbers involved are 4.5.2, 4.6 and 4.6.1 runtime. MS recommends that affected PCs update to .NET Framework 4.6.2 before April 26, 2022. No updates or security patches will be issued for those versions after that date.

If Various .NET Versions Facing EoS Soon, Then What?

This is an issue only if certain applications still in use employ those older .NET versions, and they themselves haven’t yet been upgraded to use a newer one. As I look at the relevant folder in my production  Windows 10 desktop — namely:


these are the folders that I see

If I understand how this works correctly, all versions lower than 4.0 reflect older .NET versions currently installed on this PC. Thus by reading the version numbers for those folders you can see that 5 such versions are installed, from v1.0.3705 through v3.5.

On the other hand, if you display properties for any .dll file in the V4.0.30319 folder, you’ll see what version of .NET is currently present, to wit:The Product Version line reads 4.8.4084.0, and tells me that I’ve got the latest and greatest .NET version installed here, as well as the earlier versions already mentioned.

What To Do About Impending Retirements?

If you’re using no software that depends on earlier .NET versions, you need do nothing. OTOH, if some of your software does depend on them you must decide if you’ll keep using it and risk possible security exposure, or find an alternative that isn’t subject to such risk. For my part, I recommend the latter approach, unless there’s no other choice. And in that case, the safest thing to do would be to run such software in the MIcrosoft Sandbox as a matter of prudent security policy. ‘Nuff said!


Windows Ads Go Another Round?

On March 15, The Verge published a story that raised a familiar Windows spectre.Responding to a tweet from fellow WIMVP Florian Beaubois (it serves as the preceding lead-in graphic), MS spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc is quoted as saying “This was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off.” Indeed, it could be used in File Explorer to advertise the Microsoft Editor in future releases of Windows 11. If one ad is possible, others could easily follow. Is this cause for concern, or even ire? Whatever the case, it’s possible Windows ads go another round in upcoming versions.

If Windows Ads Go Another Round, So What?

There are several, hopefully worthwhile observations I can offer on the topic of Windows ads. Here they are:

  1. As the previously cited Verge story states, MS tried out ads in a 2017 File Explorer version. They were relatively easy to disable, and didn’t last very long.
  2. MS already uses ads on the Windows 10 lock screen, its Start menu, and in the taskbar. Once again, they can be disabled for those willing to search out related fixes.
  3. Other OS vendors — the Verge mentions Apple and Google specifically — also include ads on various products (e.g. iPhone, Apple TV and YouTube) that they bring to market.

Monetization Is Hard to Resist

What’s driving this phenomenon comes straight from what might be called “the capitalist imperative.” That is, seek out and exploit any and all opportunities to generate revenue. It’s what created Google, and what drives their biggest revenue streams. It’s what funds their search engine, and most other search engines besides.

I take comfort from knowing that there will be ways to turn off ads should they appear. If outright switches to disable them aren’t readily available, third parties will provide ad-blocker software to turn them off. I already use (and happily pay a voluntary “donationware” sum) for the “free” AdBlock Plus program to block web ads.

If I must, I’ll do likewise for Windows. I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that. But where there’s a will, there’s almost always a way to exert it as desired. Time will tell what happens with the ad capability recently shown to be possible in Windows 11. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy that OS in its present (mostly) ad-free state.

Note [Added 1/2 Day Later]

Kudos to Sergey Tkachenko who published a story at WinAero this afternoon entitled How to Disable Ads in Windows 11. it provides a nice overview of all of the settings changes and registry tweaks needed to put them out of sight (and hopefully, out of mind) — if you’re so inclined. ‘Nuff said…


911 Works Even With Low/No Coverage

In case you’ve wondered, I’ve been on a family vacation to points west. Our itinerary included great visits to White Sands (Las Cruces, NM), the Petrified Forest (Holbrook, AZ) and Tucson. While driving home on Friday, we found ourselves with a flat tire in a remote  area as night was falling. Our splendid E250 Bluetech is a great car, but does not sport a spare tire. Fortunately, I learned 911 works even with low/no coverage.

That’s extremely fortunate. Alas, I was unable to call out for local help. Mercedes roadside assistance needed to be dispatched from San Antonio, over two hours away from our then-present location. But dialing 911 on my iPhone 12, I was able to reach the local emergency response center.

Thank God: 911 Works Even With Low/No Coverage

At first, I was concerned that our situation didn’t count as a real “emergency.” Then my wife made several trenchant observations. We were nearly 20 miles from the nearest small town (the other, next closest was nearly 30 miles away). Night was falling. We were stuck on a narrow shoulder. Cars were zooming by, and our downhill stretch was a popular spot for faster vehicles to pass slower-moving ones. OK then: it was a bad spot to be in.

Her opinion: lack of local services, a bad location, and no outgoing cell or data connections meant it WAS an emergency. In less than a minute I was talking to a very friendly and helpful 911 operator. He agreed we needed help, and dispatched a tow truck from Brady, TX (about 40 miles away from our location).

Call Me Back, If You Hear Nothing…

Because the local signal was so weak, he asked me to call him back in an hour. When I did so, he said he’d tried to call me himself but couldn’t get through. A car carrier was on the way, and should be arriving in another half hour or so. Indeed, I’m glad 911 works to carry outgoing messages when other cellular traffic is impossible. Here’s an interesting explanation of what’s involved: How Can Mobile Phones Make ‘Emergency Calls’ When There’s No Network Coverage?

And indeed, about 90 minutes after my initial call to 911, a car carrier (my favorite brand: Jerr-Dan) appeared on the scene. Shameless plug: Henry, the helpful and skilled operator from Brady-based Back on Your Feet Towing had us loaded and back on the road in under 15 minutes. We would wind up negotiating a price to take our car to a tire repair center near our Round Rock home, over 200 miles away. It was infinitely preferable to spending the night in Brady, and waiting for repairs the next morning. As the ensuing repairs would prove, that was the right decision…

The Morning After

We wound up getting home after 1 AM that morning. Our flat occurred just before 8PM, with about 2.5 hours of driving time left to get home, But with several stops to refuel Henry’s truck, to check the tie-downs on our wounded car, and for bio-breaks, it ended up taking 3.5 hours to make the rest of the trek home.

At the tire repair place the next morning, I learned that the tread and the sidewall had started to separate on the passenger side front tire. I also figured out they were just over their 50,000 mile lifetime warranties. A new tire was immediately installed, and I’ll be ordering a new set this week. I have to imagine that in Brady we’d have waited hours for a replacement tire to come from Austin or San Antonio. In Round Rock, the whole repair took under half an hour!

We’re very lucky the tire didn’t fail more catastrophically. We’re also lucky that 911 works even with low/no coverage, even in the Texas boonies. That was an adventure I’d not wish to repeat any time soon.

Needless to say, we’re very, very glad to be home, safe and sound. A typical sentiment at any vacation’s conclusion, but more heartfelt than usual this time. And remember, when all else is unavailable, 911 is worth a try. Thank goodness it worked for us on Friday!

Note Added 1 Day Later: Worth Reading (and Remembering)

By default, the iPhone turns off Data Roaming (which lets a cellphone access other providers’ networks). Settings → Cellular Data → Cellular Data Options → Turn Data Roaming on. Had I done that on the deserted roadside, I’d have been able to tap into the same AT&T network my tow truck driver used to call from that location. Sigh: after talking to a friend who lives in Mullin, TX (also out in the boonies, not too far from our breakdown location, in fact) I learned that AT&T’s coverage in that part of Texas is much better than Verizon’s (the provider from whom Spectrum purchases their nationwide coverage). Good to know! Now you know, too…


Open With Gets 22567 Makeover

According to the 22567 announcement, the Windows team has “updated the ‘Open with’ dialog to use the Windows 11 design principles…” In case you’re not 100% sure what that means I’ve included a side-by-side comparison as the lead-in graphic for this story. Windows 11 “Open with” is on the left, Windows 10 on the right. This shows me (and you, too, hopefully) what has changed as Open with gets 22567 makeover.

What Open With Gets 22567 Makeover Means

There’s a lot to like about the new look. First and foremost, it shows the file extension under the gun. I really, really like the first line that reads “Select an app to open .jpg file.” I also like the more compact, fluid layout which shows more options, more easily. The “always use” control is a little more intuitive (as is the “just once” option).

Good stuff, in fact, all the way around. Though such improvements may seem minor or negligible in and of themselves, I see lots of improvement in the Windows 11 UI. To me, working with the new OS is getting increasingly familiar, but also increasingly fun and more intuitive. My hat’s off to the development team and its ever more compelling and interesting efforts.

Nay- and Doom-sayers, Look Out!

It’s always interesting to see the vituperation and scorn that some users heap on Windows 11. Indeed, as I see on both TenForums and ElevenForum (both of which get plenty of comments about Windows 11), a great many users are “NOT HAPPY” with the new OS. Apparently, there’s a lot not to like about Windows 11 from their points of view. That said, I’m puzzled and bemused by such reactions. Personally, I am learning to prefer and appreciate Windows 11 over Windows 10. As far as I can tell, Windows 11 just keeps getting better and better.

I wonder what explains the difference(s) between my take and that of others less intrigued with the new OS? I bet lots of folks at MS would like to know what causes such divergent reactions, too!


Windows 11 Watermark Warns Against Unsupported Hardware

OK, then. With the advent of Build 22557 (Dev Channel), MS is  testing a new watermark. It shows up on some PCs running Windows 11 that don’t meet hardware requirements. This Windows 11 watermark warns against unsupported hardware. It’s shown in the lead-in graphic above. The image source (shown at 200%  native resolution) comes from a story at WindowsLatest.

What If Windows 11 Watermark Warns Against Unsupported Hardware?

Rumors have been flying for weeks that MS planned an on-screen “nag” for non-compliant PCs. MS has been straight-up all along. Install and run Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, and you may be ineligible for future updates. MS won’t support PCs running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, either.

Even so, lots of people are doing it anyway. Consider the number of threads and posts on this topic at For example, there’s the “Let’s install Windows 11 on a incompatible hardware” thread. It’s up to 35 pages/697 posts as I write this ditty.

Clearly, certain intrepid do-it-yourselfers don’t care about Microsoft’s warnings. Personally, I think it’s a bad bet. The reason I had to turn to WindowsLatest for a screencap of the watermark is because I’m not running Windows 11 on incompatible hardware here at Chez Tittel .

The old saying goes: “You pays your money and you takes your chances.” But this is one chance I won’t take. I have other things that need doing…


Fixing MIA Advanced Startup Takes Time

Last Thursday (2/17), I wrote about how “Advanced Startup” had gone missing on all my upgraded Windows 11 PCs (5 of them). Though the repair was simple and straightforward, fixing MIA Advanced Startup takes time — lots of it, in fact. Though I was able to grab the latest production ISO with ease, I had to use UUP Dump to build ISOs for the Dev and Beta channel versions of Windows 11. All by itself, that took about an hour (or a bit more). Then came a series of repeated in-place repair upgrades to set things right.

Fixing MIA Advanced Startup Takes Time (and Plenty of It)

My maneuvers could have gone better, too. I had no trouble grabbing the latest files for the Dev Channel ISO. But I misidentified my target for Beta Channel, and ended up having to go through the ISO construction process twice for that Windows 11 version. Sigh.

And while the in-place upgrade repair install itself seldom takes more than 15-20 minutes to complete on any given PC, getting to that point takes longer than that. My average “build time” for the ISO ran about 30 minutes (so doing one over put a big ding in my afternoon).

All’s Well, and Ends Well Nonetheless…

Right now the final repair install is running on my Beta Channel X380 Yoga. I’ve gotten all three of the other machines installed and cleaned up now. I’ll do likewise for my straggler as soon as the install completes, and I get past the OOB (out of box) experience.

It’s interesting that this repair leaves a Windows.old behind, just like any other typical Windows install. I find myself turning to TheBookIsClosed’s excellent “Managed Disk Cleanup” to help sweep away the leftovers after the party’s over. Next, I’ll run Macrium Reflect on each of these PCs to catch a pristine image for possible future restoration. I pray I don’t need it, but better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!

Houston, We Still Have a Problem…

Turns out that the repair install on the Beta version did NOT fix the MIA Advanced Startup. For some reason, this X380 Yoga still does not show the Advanced Startup option along with “Reset the PC” and “Go back.” I’m filing this one with Feedback Hub, and glad to report further that the Shift+Restart key works, as does the shutdown command, to bring up the WinRE environment after a reboot.

The mystery continues…much to my ongoing interest and delight. It’s rare that an in-place repair upgrade fails to fix this kind of thing, but here’s a case in point for me to noodle at further. Love it!


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…


New Windows Experiences Coming February

It’s always fun to see Windows watchers read between the lines. Take, for example, Panos Panay’s January 26 blog post “A new era of the PC.” When I say new Windows Experiences coming February, I’m abridging this paragraph near the end of that piece (bold emphasis mine):

Next month we’re bringing new experiences to Windows that include a public preview of how you can use AndroidTM apps on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store and our partnerships with Amazon and Intel, taskbar improvements with call mute and unmute, easier window sharing and bringing weather to the taskbar, plus the introduction of two new redesigned apps, Notepad and Media Player.

New Windows Experiences Coming February Means?

Interestingly, WindowsLatest takes this wording to mean something more specific. That story’s author, Mayank Pamar, observes:

For those unaware, Microsoft made a change to the way it delivers updates with a new feature called Experience Packs.

With Experience Packs and Microsoft Store, Microsoft could release new features and update existing apps individually, rather than pushing out a major OS update. Microsoft hasn’t had much luck with large Windows feature updates, so the company wants to push some features independent of big Windows Updates.

I don’t see anything in Mr. Panay’s blog post to support these assertions. That said, this does make sense. I, too, have been waiting for MS to put Experience Packs to more strenuous and active use. So far, it’s mostly been a series of testing exercises, with little obvious change to apps and features in their wake.

Could This Be a “REAL” Experience Pack?

Gosh, I hope so. But official word is not available, so this possibility is something of a speculation. I’ll be watching to see what happens in February, and tickled indeed if the Windows Experience Pack brings real, noticeable changes to Windows 11 apps and features. Stay tuned!

Here’s a June 2021 Windows Feature Experience Pack release announcement. It explains a bit of what this kind of thing is intended to do , and support. Interesting reading!