Intermittent Mouse Needs New Battery

I have a kind of love-hate relationship with mice. Because I work on a desktop PC by choice, I’m more or less forced to use a USB-attached pointing device. I’ve switched back and forth between wired and wireless models because their weaknesses sometimes vex me. For the wired meese, the wire tends to snarl up with other cables on my desk. For wireless models, what frosts my jowls is intermittent or imprecise cursor stuttering or movement. I started to experience that on my current mouse this morning: a usually unflappable (and wireless) Microsoft Mobile Mouse 4000. Then I noticed a dimly pulsating red indicator light atop the device. Oho! This intermittent mouse needs new battery to work properly.

Why My Intermittent Mouse Needs New Battery

According this MS Community thread, the light is a battery life or status indicator. When you plug a new battery in, it shows green for 5 seconds, then turns itself off. Ditto when you power the mouse back on. When the battery is starting to fail, it shows red for the same interval upon power-up. And when battery levels are going critical — that is, it’s about to die — the dim red pulsations begin. Good to know!

We shop at Costco, so we always have lots of batteries around. As soon as I swapped out the old AA for a new one, I got the green glow for 5 seconds. Now it’s dark again. And presto! The mouse is no longer stuttering, and it’s tracking exactly where I want it to go. Yay!

The Best Issues Get Quick, Easy Fixes

Working with PCs in Windows-World means there’s always something in need of fixing or figuring out. Once you identify an issue, the troubleshooting process begins. Over my decades working with this stuff, I’ve learned to appreciate problems that are easy to recognize, diagnose and fix. Today’s successful battery swap definitely falls in that category, even if another one bits the dust as a result.

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Snappy versus Vantages Poses Sharp Contrast

In case you didn’t know, I’ve got a boatload of Lenovo laptops here at Chez Tittel (I count 6 in my office right now, with another upstairs). The company is kind enough to loan me the occasional unit (just over half that total) and I’ve purchased many more over the years than are currently on hand. That means frequent driver checks and hunts to keep those units up-to-date. I performed a clean install on the P16 Mobile Workstation  last eweek.  I also recognize extended procrastination on the X1 Extreme (both are ThinkPad models). Consequently, I’m observing that Snappy versus Vantage poses sharp contrast in items found and updates needed. Let me explain…

Why Say: Snappy versus Vantages Poses Sharp Contrast

For the P16, Vantage found 8 drivers in need of updating after I’d completed the clean install. For the X1 Extreme (running Build 22635.3858) Vantage says “nothing to see here.” From the Snappy Driver Installer Origin (SDIO) perspective, it found 61 drivers to update on the P16 (delta = 53), and 59 on the X1 Extreme (delta = 59). IMO, that’s a pretty sharp contrast. You can see it at work downloading packages prior to installing updates for the X1 Extreme in the lead-in graphic.

SDIO is an open source project, for which Glenn Delahoy is primarily responsible. It’s donation-ware, and worth supporting (I just anted up US$5 and thanked him for his work). I find it to be a reasonably accurate driver scanner and absolutely the least intrusive of all many and various ones I’ve tried over the years.

The download phase takes a while because that many drivers perforce means downloading a number of good-sized driver package files for SDIO to use. On the X1 Extreme, it just took about 15 minutes to download 8.4GB of stuff, then another 20 minutes or so to chunk through the 59 driver installs. I was bemused that each of the CPU’s 12 cores required its own download and install of an”Intel Dynamic Tuning Generic Participant” and another “Intel Dynamic Tuning Processor Participant,” but that’s apparently the way it rolls.

Indeed, there was lots of Intel stuff in the mix (I’d say around two-thirds of the components overall). But the updates went through and produced no blivits (Unknown Device entries) in Device Manager. Indeed, the X1 Extreme seems to be running faster and more smoothly, too. Go figure!

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Update and Check Windows Terminal Versions

When I checked over the PC fleet this morning WinGet let me know an  update for Windows Terminal was pending. It would take the program from version 1.20.11381.0 to 1.20.11781.0. Easy-peasey. But once is was done, I asked myself: what’s the best way to check that the new version is running. Thus, I found myself digging into how to update and check Windows Terminal versions. The lead-in graphic, in fact, shows two ways to version-check, captured from the colorful Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x Copilot+ PC.

For the record those two checks are:

1. Winget list Microsoft.WindowsTerminal shows the current installed version on the PC.
2. Click the down-caret in the WinTerm title bar, then click “About” from the pop-up menu to get the “About” mini-window atop the Windows Terminal application window.

How-to: Update and Check Windows Terminal Versions

The update part is easy using the general WinGet upgrade –all –include-unknown command. But if you want to target WinTerm explicitly, Winget upgrade Microsoft.WindowsTerminal will also work.

One thing to remember, as you’ll see in the next screencap: once you’ve updated Windows Terminal, you need to close the current session, then open a new one. Why? Because the process that’s running the old version won’t quit, and a new process to run the new version won’t take over, until you’ve done the “out with the old, in with the new” routine that this accomplishes. Good stuff!

Update and Check Windows Terminal Versions.ps-details

One more cool little detail: as soon as WinGet updates WinTerm, it bails back out to the command line. That’s so you can close/re-open your session and keep going…

Just another routine day here in Windows-World. I really enjoy working at the command line a LOT more, now that I’ve learned how to jazz things up and make best use of WinGet to keep them current.

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Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Gets Accolades

For over a week now (11 days, actually) it’s been my pleasure to work with the excellent and affordable Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Copilot+ PC. It’s got modest stats — Snapdragon X Elite X1E78100, 16 GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a gorgeous OLED display — but a modest MSRP of ~US$1,200. And it’s got Copilot support with a 45 TOPs NPU to take advantage of AI capabilities and planned support features. In short, it’s a pretty great ultrabook-style laptop with usable features and capabilities at the low end of the price spectrum for such devices.

Who Says Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Gets Accolades?

Lots of reviewers give it high ratings or rankings. Paul Thurrott has written about it 4 times in the last week with positive things to say in every piece. WindowsCentral says it has the “best bright screen,” and one of its other reviewers says it “may be his favorite Windows laptop ever.” Online reviews abound with phrases like:

  • Great bang for the buck
  • Hidden Gem
  • Everything you Need
  • Amazing Display + Battery Life
  • A solid graphic design laptop

Indeed, all of these breathless exhortations match my own recent experience working with the unit myself. I’ve reviewed a LOT of Lenovo laptops (probably around 100 or so, over the past 15 years) and this one is in my personal top 3, along with the still-amazing X12 Hybrid Tablet and the equally killer P16 (Gen 1) Mobile Workstation.

Still Looking for a Killer Justification

Because MS pulled its Recall feature owing to security concerns, I’m still trying to decide if the pre-loaded AI models on the Yoga Slim 7 –which account for  fair amount of its 100+GB on-disk footprint when delivered — provide enough added value to further tip purchase decisions in its favor. That’s nothing on MS or Lenovo: I need to learn enough to figure out how to use them and what they’re good for. So it’s on me!

But as a new laptop, I think the Yoga Slim 7 represents a great value for the money (I’ve seen prices — e.g. Best Buy — at $100 lower than Lenovo MSRP). So far it’s handled everything I’ve thrown at it with grace and dispatch. It won’t run Google Drive (no ARM support yet) but seems to run pretty much everything else. If I needed to buy a laptop right now, I’d be happy to buy this one. It’s a good value and should have enough oomph to carry users for 3-5 years with ease. Given AI (and Hyper-V/VM) appetites for RAM and storage, you might want to opt in for the 32GB RAM and 1 TB SSD model. That said, I don’t see it for sale in the Lenovo Store just yet…

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Font Handling Works Through Settings

OK, then: In the wake of the clean install on the Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstatation, I’ve been reworking some of my runtime stuff. Customizing Windows Terminal comes under that heading, near the top of my priorities. To take proper advantage of OhMyPosh, I have to add a so-called Nerd Font to that PC’s collection. Turns out this is way easy in Windows 11 because font handling works through Settings in that OS. Let me show you!

How Font Handling Works Through Settings

Once upon a time installing fonts in Windows meant visiting the C:\Windows\Fonts directory and dropping the various .ttf (typeface) files there. Then Windows could add them to its collection and display them in a variety of forms in the Control Panel element named Fonts.

And indeed, the Fonts CPL is still alive and well. But if you visit Settings > Personalization > Fonts you see the add fonts window there, with its “Drag and drop to install” instruction. Arguably this is exactly the same at using Control Panel > Fonts. But IMO it’s less work and more fun to use. At least it worked quite well for me.

What Came Out of My Visit to Fonts

Thanks to all the files in my personal account folders and their auto-backup to OneDrive, when I set up a new PC with the same MSA, it inherits all that stuff. So as soon as I visited Nerd Fonts, downloaded CakaydiaCove NF, and installed OhMyPosh on the P16, this is what Windows Terminal looks like (it’s using Jan De Dobbeleer’s eponymous theme named “JanDeDobbeleer” in its config file).

Font Handling Works Through Settings.winfetch

Windows Terminal showing winfetch and OhMyPosh at work, overlaid atop the Nerd Fonts download page. [Click image for full-size view.]

FWIW, I use the various Caskaydia Cove NF (Nerd Font) variants in Windows Terminal because they look great with OhMyPosh. But it’s both worthwhile and fun to poke around that collection to find something that you like and looks as good or better.

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P16 Blows Up, Requires Clean Install

Wow! I took an unexpected detour yesterday. Upon rebooting my Lenovo P16 Mobile Workstation after CU KB5039302, it got stuck in perpetual Restart. After about an hour wasted on the spinning balls and apparently going nowhere, I forcibly rebooted the PC. Bad idea! Long story short: soon thereafter the P16 blows up, requires clean install to restore to working order. Sigh: let me explain…

Why P16 Blows Up, Requires Clean Install

I’ve seen my share of Windows crashes since the 3.1 days. This was one of the scariest. Indeed, it is the first one I can recall where even the Macrium Reflect Rescue Media couldn’t bring the system back from the dead. I could boot up the restore environment but the trackpad was MIA (fixable with an external mouse) as was the external NVMe drive where the restore image resides (not fixable at all).

So I downloaded a fresh Windows 11 23H2 ISO, turned off secure boot, and fired off a bootable UFD created using the MS MCT. That got the PC running again. But I still found myself woefully short of device drivers. A quick install of Lenovo Vantage and a set of updates later, that defect was remedied: I went from 20-odd “Unknown devices” in DevMgr to zero (0). Good!

Right now, I’ve just reinstalled Macrium Reflect, and am rebooting to be able to make a snapshot of the rebuilt system (and create new Rescue Media). After that I’ll try the lone pending update for the P16 and see if it finally goes through. My best guess is that something went sideways after that update. Indeed the P16 automatically rebuilt its BIOS when I did finally get the machine to reboot after the CU hung on me. So whatever affected the system, it was at a pretty low level.

Fingers Crossed, I Try Again…

With a new rescue disk, and a fresh image backup demonstrably at hand (see next screencap), I once again tried CU KB5039302.

P16 Blows Up, Requires Clean Install.exp-list

Today (6/26) there’s a fresh backup available!

Downloading takes some time . . . but eventually, it gets to installing . . . and about 20 minutes later (!) I’m ready to restart again,  with appendages overlapping for as much luck as I can get. So I fire off the restart and watch it count down (or up) . . . reboot . . . restart . . . spinning circle . . . and a second restart?! . . . SUCCESS!!!

That was officially weird, and I’m glad it’s behind me now.

The News Catches Up

This morning, I came across a story about KB5039302 at WindowsLatest. The title says it all Windows 11 KB5039302 breaks PCs, MS pulls the update. It specifically mentions the very “boot loop” that I describe earlier, and ties to nested virtualization. (I’m a heavy user of Hyper-V VMs on that PC so: no joke!)

The recommended fix is what I guess I should’ve done, rather than a clean install (though without trackpad drivers or access to USB-attached NVMe drives, things were challenging):

You must use the WinRE page to access the troubleshooting tools, remove the update, or do a clean install.

OK, now we know. But here in Windows-World, there’s always something around the corner looking to bite  you if it can. It certainly bit me! But that’s what Windows Insiders are for, I think . . .

Concluding Unscientific PostScript

I also understand now why the initial application of KB5039302 blew up on the P16, but why the post-clean-install upgrade worked. In the former case, Hyper-V and nested virtualization was already present and active. In the latter case, I didn’t enable Hyper-V and VMs until AFTER I’d applied the update. Turns out that was exactly the right thing to do. Better sometimes, indeed, to be lucky than good!

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WinGet VPN Update Gotcha

I’ve seen it before, and I’ll see it again. In running routine WinGet updates yesterday, I noticed that my VPN (Private Internet Access, a paid-for subscription) wasn’t getting handled. I figured out why pretty quickly, too: it was because the VPN was running and WinGet didn’t want to mess with that connection. Although I’ve labeled this as a WinGet VPN update gotcha, it’s evidence of the program’s conservative outlook on interrupting something actively underway.

It’s Not Really a WinGet VPN Update Gotcha

Take a look at the lead-in graphic. You can see that WinGet knows an update is pending. You can also see that WinGet doesn’t apply that update. What you can’t see is that between the winget upgrade  command and the following winget list command, I opened PIA (Private Internet Access) and used its internal update function to perform that pending operation. Thus the winget list command shows the latest version number (3.5.7+08120). Indeed it’s the very same version number that shows in the preceding winget upgrade command as  “Available.” If you can’t see it on-screen, right-click that graphic and open it in a separate tab (it’s at bottom center).

In working with WinGet over the past few years  — it first appeared in May, 2020, and I started using it early in 2022 — I’ve observed that it will often skip over updates when the program involved is running. This happens pretty regularly with web browsers (e.g. Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, in my case), but with other applications, too.

I appreciate this approach because it minimizes the risk of lost connections or data resulting from an upgrade. It can be a little disconcerting when it happens, but quick investigation usually straightens things out in short order. Keep up the good work, people!

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Windows 11 on ARM IS Different

Gadzooks! It’s been an interesting last few days. Friday morning, a Snapdragon X Elite-based Copilot+ PC — the nifty Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 — showed up here at Chez Tittel. I’ve been working and messing around with it pretty much ever since, amidst occasional bouts of paying work. Among my observations so far: Windows 11 on ARM is different from its x86 counterpart. Let me explain…

Why Say: Windows 11 on ARM IS Different

Take a look at the intro screencap. I ran it on the Copilot+ PC immediately after updating that unit from WU. On an x86 PC, the progress bar would count to 10% on one line, then it would count to 100% on a second line before completing the component cleanup directive (middle portion of the image). On ARM, no such shenanigans. In general also, this also PC runs faster than x86 for all these intense DISM commands. But there’s more…

After I got going on this PC Friday afternoon, I tried to uninstall McAfee (one of the few bits of junk/gunk Lenovo throws onto its laptops these days). The uninstaller got to 10% and sat there . . . and sat there . . . and sat there FOREVER. At the time time, the Start menu became unresponsive, apps and applications wouldn’t load, and the machine in general ran like a wounded animal by fits and starts. WTF?

Then it dawned on me: I checked WU and, sure enough, a CU update for the .NET Framework (KB5037589) had been installed, and a restart was pending. I killed everything else, then restarted the unit to complete that update. Immediately afterward, the PC returned to speedy, fluent operation. I haven’t had a noticeable glitch since then.

My conclusion: if an update on an ARM PC requires a restart, it’s best done immediately after the update finishes installing. I could’ve saved myself oodles of wasted time and wondering what was wrong with the Yoga Slim 7 if I’d done that myself yesterday. Now I know: it won’t happen again. That’s a very different story on x86, where I’ve gotten away with postponing restarts for days sometimes…

More to Come, I’m Sure…

But I’m just getting started with this new AI-enabled PC. I’m sure I’ll have lots more to report in the days and weeks ahead. This morning, I started playing with Copilot and observed that it runs faster, but doesn’t seem any better-equipped to read my mind properly than it was before. I’m still learning how to build queries so I can get good answers. I’ve also tried out the AI-enabled version of MS Paint with varying degrees of success.

Stay tuned as I get myself oriented, and start learning how to take proper advantage of a Copilot+ PC. It should be interesting!

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Yoga Copilot+ PC Pops In Unexpectedly

When I sent an email to the Lenovo Reviews team earlier this week, I asked that they send me a Copilot+ PC at their earliest convenience. When “the Boss” told me “You have a package” this morning, I had no idea what it might be. But gosh: it’s  a brand-spanking-new Yoga Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14Q8X9. It’s still booting — during which it clearly recognized itself as a Copilot+ PC — so I can’t even say what’s under the hood just yet. But when a Yoga Copilot+ PC pops in unexpectedly, I’m happy to work through its OOBE and setup stuff. Wow!

Yoga Copilot+ PC Pops In Unexpectedly, Things Get Fun!

OK, I got far enough into booting that I can say a little about what’s what (thanks to System Information in the running OS):

  • Snapdragon X1E78100 CPU
  • 3K (2944×1840) OLED display (great, sharp colors)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 512 GB SSD
  • Windows 11 Home (!)
  • All 3 USB ports (2 left, 1 right) are USB 40Gbps

From what I can see about pricing on the product page, my unit as configured would cost US$1,200.00 (in round numbers). If I were buying one, I’d definitely spend the US$69 to bump it up to 32GB RAM, and US$45 to take it up to a 1TB SSD.

Apparently, I’ve got a lot of work to do on intake. I’ll be upgrading this to Windows 11 Pro, mostly so I can use RDP to get into the machine from my dual-screen desktop.

First Impressions

As with the Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i that preceded it, the Yoga Slim 7 shows up in plastic-free packaging. It took less than a minute to unbox and put things together. Interestingly, the unit wouldn’t boot until I plugged the brick into an AC outlet, and hooked it up. Normally, Lenovo sends review units out with a full charge. But not this time — probably because they put it in the pipeline for shipping as soon as I requested the unit on Wednesday. Again: I’m stunned and thankful.

The unit lives up to its slim moniker, but feels sturdy and high-quality in the hand. According to its product page, it weighs 2.82.lbs/1.28kg:  but it feels both light and powerful. The deck and outer surfaces are all a wonderful dark shade of midnight blue.

An Upgrade Wrinkle…

Interestingly, I couldn’t use a MAK Windows 11 Pro key to upgrade the unit (maybe that one doesn’t include ARM coverage?). I had to burn one of my MVP Windows 11 Pro retail licenses to get the upgrade through the Activation center in Settings. It shows the same screen as when using Recovery to perform an in-place repair install (unsurprisingly). I’ll report back in when this finishes.

Soon, I’ll also be able to report in on the Yoga Slim 7’s Snapdragon specific AI-based Copilot features. That should be a total gas. Right now, I’m still in the intake process, getting ready to put this PC through its paces. Stay tuned!

My next move will be to box up and send back the truly terrific Lenovo Yoga Pro 9i I’ve had since late April. It’s been a great (and powerful) PC especially for VMs in Hyper-V. I’ll be sorry to see it go. But I promised to send it back as soon as another USB4 capable unit showed up here at Chez Tittel. That means an outing to the FedEx storefront at 183A and 1431 later this afternoon. Good-oh!

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PowerShell Auto-Upgrade Abandonment Issue

I have to laugh. There’s a new version of PowerShell (7.4.3) in town, and WinGet is now picking up that update. As has been typical for some while, the upgrade goes A-OK until the last steps. Then, as you can see in the lead-in graphic, it says “Installation abandoned.” Skip a line, then it says “Cancelled” before the prompt returns. With tongue in cheek, I see this as a PowerShell auto-upgrade abandonment issue. The upgrade actually works: the text updates in Terminal don’t match up with reality.

Refuting PowerShell Auto-Upgrade Abandonment Issue

Here’s another, more colorful screencap from a different test PC. Up top it shows the same info as in the preceding screencap. But because I used the magic keyboard shortcut ALT+SHIFT+- (minus key), the Terminal window is split horizontally. Notice the PS self-ID at the top of the lower pane: PowerShell 7.4.3.

PowerShell Auto-Upgrade Abandonment Issue.split-screen

After the install, if I open another pane below, it shows version 7.4.3. Update success! [Click image for full-size view.]

Clearly the new install has neither been abandoned, nor has it been cancelled. The old 7.4.2 session simply can’t report successful completion of the upgrade because it’s running the older version, not the newer one. The fix is easy: close the old pane/session. All new panes or sessions will show the new version. But until that pane is closed, the old version keeps running.

It’s just one of those interesting things when a running program seeks to update itself (or to have the package manager inside its embrace do likewise). Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. The update works!

The GitHub Alternative

It takes a day or two after a new PS comes out before WinGet picks it up. For those who wish to jump sooner, a visit to the GitHub PS page — where you’d follow the Latest release link to get an .msi download (or whatever version your PC or VM requires) — makes sense. It also avoids the reported self-update shenanigans entirely.

But hey! Those shenanigans are exactly what I like to observe and try to understand. It’s just another one of the little things that makes life in Windows-World such a hoot.

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