Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On

I have to laugh. When I wrote yesterday about Winget moving up to version 1.4, I should’ve known it would carry items in its wake. Hence my update to the GUI front-end for Winget this morning — namely, the Github project known as WingetUI. I might have guessed, but did not, that updating WingetUI brings follow-on packages in its wake.

Instead I simply fired off the update process for WingetUI this morning, and moved onto another open window. I was happily surfing some traffic at ElevenForum.com when outta nowhere an install window for the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2022 Redistributable popped up on my screen. You can see the trace it left behind in “Programs and Features” (dated 1/31/2023) in the screencap above.

If Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On, Then What?

I guess it makes sense that if Winget is updated, WingetUI should follow suit. I’m not sure if the new C++ Redistributable is a natural consequence of the update, or just a coincidence. But gosh! I’m of the opinion that if one program needs to install other stuff so it can work, it should at least notify you beforehand. Or even, ask permission.

But what do I know? Thus, I was a bit taken aback when the install window for the C++ Redistributable popped up today. It seemed kind of random and unexpected to me. Maybe it’s my fault for covering up the WingetUI install window with something else. Maybe it’s just one of those things that sometimes happens when you update software here in Windows-World. You tell me!

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Windows 10 EOS Hits January 31

First, an explanation of what may be a purely idiosyncratic acronym. In the preceding headline “EOS” stands for “End of Sales.” Indeed, the EOL (“End of Life”) date for Windows 10 remains unchanged at October 14, 2025. But EOS impacts those who want to build new systems, and for Windows 10 EOS hits January 31 of this year.

MS hasn’t commented on whether or not this means OEMs won’t be able to ship their PCs with Windows 10 installed after this date, either. But as you can see in the lead-in graphic, MS itself will no longer offer Windows 10 downloads for sale after this month ends. Note: despite the mention of Windows 10 Pro at top, the price shown — $139 — is for Windows 10 Home (Download). For my purposes here, the “More about Windows 10” text block is what matters most.

After Windows 10 EOS Hits January 31, Then?

First things first: I don’t see any similar warning on the official MS Download Windows 10 page. Apparently, users who already have valid Windows 10 license keys (unused or otherwise) can keep grabbing Windows 10 ISOs for installation and repair after January 31. That’s a relief!

So who’s really affected? Those who build their own PCs, or buy barebones models and elect to do their own OS installs (along with whatever else they do completing such builds). For such folks, buying a new, virgin Windows 10 license key (and download) from MS will no longer be an option. Undoubtedly, the aftermarket will remain awash in valid copies of same for some time after this cutoff date. That’s because plenty of such stuff is (or will be) in inventory when MS EOS hits.

What About the OEMs?

Again there’s no official word on this from MS. Ditto, AFAICT from the OEMs. But I can’t see MS stopping fleet or bulk sales to big buyers after January 31, even though they’re apparently halting small-scale retail sales of Windows 10 at that point. Too much potential business and revenue could be impacted, so no…

This raises an interesting question: Why do this now? My best guess is that MS is signalling end users — pretty strongly, in fact — that it’s time to target Windows 11 (and only Windows 11) on new builds. Given that Panos Panay talked about a Windows 12 successor at CES this year in Las Vegas, January 3-8, this timing is surely no coincidence.

Two predictions:
1. MS resellers will stock up on Windows 10 media and key combinations, to cover upcoming demand as they project it.
2. OEMs will continue to build Windows 10 PCs on order from customers, even after January 31.

As always, it should be interesting to see how this turns out. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you informed!

 

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Windows 11 Power Options Oddity

OK, here’s one for the “Stranger Things” file. I was checking Power Options on a test laptop yesterday. In fact, it’s one of a pair of nearly identical machines: both are Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yogas that differ only in SSD brand and OS variant (this one runs Beta Channel, the other one Dev). Yet this machine will show only two power plans under Power Options (see lead-in graphic). The other one shows all default items just as it should, and then some (see below) .

Windows 11 Power Options Oddity.devchannelx380

The Dev Channel X380 lets me view or hide additional plans; the Beta Channel X380 does not. What gives?
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Working Around Windows 11 Power Options Oddity

To attempt to fix the issue, I worked my way through the various — and terrific — Power Options tutorials over at ElevenForum.com. These include the following items:

Of those items, the first put the X380 in a state where I could restore missing power plans. The GUIDs for other plans remained available, but I couldn’t get the utility to offer an “Unhide” option so it would only show two Power Plans at any given moment. That said, having made other Power Plans accessible that workaround proved good enough for me.

Even the Master Remains Baffled

I exchanged a series of private messages with Shawn Brink, fellow WIMVP and a primary operator and tutorial writer at Eleven Forum on this mystery. We ended up concluding that a Lenovo OEM power management driver might be impacting the built-in Power Options control panel widget. I found and installed a new (Nov 29, 2022) Lenovo Power Management Driver for Windows 11.

At first, it made no difference in Power Options behavior. Following a reboot, though, while I still could not unhide other power plans in the initial Power Options pane shown as the lead-in graphic, when I click “Create a power plan,” it now shows all three default items correctly — namely Balanced, Power Saver and High Performance.

Windows 11 Power Options Oddity.partial fix

Here’s progress, of a sort. All the defaults show up when creating a custom plan. [Click image for full-sized view.]

I still have to work around the lack of an unhide capability to access invisible power plans using PowerShell. But at least I can now access and use all  such power plans. This time, close enough is also good enough. Sigh. And that’s how things sometimes go, here in Windows-World.

Note Added January 23

I built an ISO to match the currently running beta image (22623.1180) from UUPDump.net. Then, I performed an in-place repair upgrade. I’d hoped this would fix the Power Options oddities. No dice: apparently, this is among the few problems that a prair install won’t fix. Sigh again.

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Windows Will Gain Added AI-Based Capabilities

Interesting news from Microsoft at CES recently. This comes thanks to a “guest slot” from Panos Panay in tandem with AMD’s CEO Dr. Lisa Su. It seems that Windows will gain added AI-based capabilities, courtesy of increasing proliferation of AI engines in hardware. (Case in point: cutting-edge AMD Ryzen chips working with added, Azure-based AI engines in the cloud). The initial impact will be to improve user interaction via language models, eyeball tracking, and more.

Here’s what Panay actually said, as quoted at Neowin:

AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows, quite literally. Like these large generative models, think language models, code gen models, image models; these models are so powerful, so delightful, so useful, personal. But they are also very compute intensive, and so we haven’t been able to do this before. We have never seen these intense workloads at this scale before, and they’re right here. It’s gonna need an operating system that blurs the line between cloud and edge, and that’s what we are doing right now.

What Windows Will Gain Added AI-Based Capabilities Means…

This is happening as Microsoft continues doubling down on AI investments and technologies. Its support for the Open AI initiative is ongoing. It announced an Azure Open AI Service on January 17, along with a ChatGPT API for developers (source: Thurrott.com). The joint appearance with AMD at CES underscores the importance of integrating local hardware support and AI workloads in the cloud. Reading between the lines,  that’s how Windows 12 ups the ante for what an OS can be and do for users.

At the same time, this draws another “dividing line” for PC hardware. Indeed, it may very well limit (or restrict) who can use (or make the most of) upcoming Windows 12 capabilities. MS drew a “security line” for hardware capable of upgrading to 11. This may also draw an “AI line” for 12. That should be interesting to watch, and follow as things play out over the next couple of years.

Wishing Upon an AI Star

While MS is building out this AI-based and -integrated future, I’d like to ask them to think about building lots of AI user agents (if they’re not already so engaged). What does this mean?

As users interact with the OS, especially in the context of PowerShell (and related platforms, such as MS Power Apps) I’d like to see MS apply AI technologies to assist and automatically automate use of those tools. This could really help to boost productivity, and guide users and admins to desired results more quickly and easily.

Likewise, MS apps could (and probably should) gain AI user agents to observe how users put their capabilities to work. They can also support simple, basic automation, and provide input and insight on how to use such apps more efficiently and effectively as well.

I see great things coming from AI right now. I see even better things coming from AI in the future, especially as local PCs gain enhanced abilities to handle and coordinate AI workloads in edge computing fashion. This could provide the impetus to move users away from Windows 10 to more modern versions, even if another hardware upgrade is required — but only if the gains provided offset the costs and learning curves involved. Fingers crossed!

I was around for for one “AI wave” in the 1980s that involved Xerox Dolphin machines with LISP processing. I watched two other such waves roll out in the 90s and 00s for various niche markets and applications. Today, it seems like this wave is a tsunami that could change everything. Hopefully, in a good way. We’ll see…

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WIMVP Award Extended for 2023

I’m so tickled! At the tail end of yesterday, official word arrived in my inbox from Microsoft. My Windows Insider MVP (WIMVP) status goes on for another year. That’s right: with the WIMVP award extended for 2023, it’s now been six (6) years since I joined the ranks of elite Windows advocates and insiders. Woo hoo! The lead-in graphic shows the header and the first paragraph from the official notification.

First things first: I’d like to thank Microsoft for adding another year to my WIMVP tenure. I’d also like to express my particular thanks to Brandon Patoc and the rest of the Insider Team for their ongoing help, information and support. Thanks also to the Lenovo Global Technology Communications team — most notably, Jeff Witt and Amanda Heater — for sending me the many evaluation and loaner units that have provided much of the fodder that drives my analyses and investigations. I couldn’t do it without ya, so thanks again!

WIMVP Award Extended for 2023: Next?

I’ll be keeping on with my daily blog posts here at edtittel.com. I’ve got upcoming and ongoing assignments for Windows coverage with ComputerWorld, various TechTarget outlets, and am preparing to pitch Tom’s Hardware for an ongoing series of troubleshooting reports. (Fingers crossed, it will be accepted!)

Topics of ongoing interest for 2023 will include:

  • Tracking and reporting on Windows Insider and production releases, updates, issues and fixes for Windows 10 and 11.
  • Continued investigation and testing of USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 tools and technologies, particularly those for docks and related peripherals (mostly USB-C).
  • Ongoing reporting on PowerShell approaches and techniques for managing Windows updates, clean-up and troubleshooting. Special emphasis on Winget and related third-party update tools.
  • Daily reports from the Windows trenches, as things happen and I figure out how to fix or work around them.
  • Other observations and ruminations on Windows growth, change and topics of interest and concern.

To some extend, it will be more of the same. But new things are always happening and popping up in Windows World. As I figure out what’s important or noteworthy, I’ll be sure to comment and point out useful, relevant resources from MS and third parties.

More About the WIMVP Program

To learn more about this program, which “recognizes technology experts and community leaders who are passionate about Windows and positive Windows advocates within their communities…” visit the WIMVP home page. Find my updated entry in the program amidst the WIMVP award holder listings (scroll down to “Get to know Windows Insider MVPs” and look around from there). Cheers, and thanks yet one more time.

 

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2023 Gets Underway For Real

OK, then. The family is back from our later-than-usual winter vacation. On Saturday we returned from San Diego. This morning, son Gregory hopped another silver bird to return to school in Boston. So now, I’m catching up my modest PC fleet as 2023 gets underway for real here at Chez Tittel. As usual, there are numerous interesting items to report.

Once 2023 Gets Underway for Real, Then What?

First things first: I’m checking and updating all the Windows PCs around here. Here’s what things are looking like by some numbers — namely Winget updates and SUMo items:

PC Name         Winget     SUMo Items
i7Skylake          4           6
Surface (Pro 3)    1           3
X380Test           6           3
X380              12           9
P16 (Mobile WS)    1           4
X12 Hybrid Tablet  3           3
X1 Extreme         2           9
Yoga 7i            5           9
D7080 (wife PC)    1           4
AMD5800X           6           8

Of course, the time these various systems spent untended before the break affects the number of updates they need. It’s no exaggeration to observe that those with more updates in both columns (Winget and SUMo) had been idle longer than those with fewer (especially X380 and the AMD box).

Total time required to get everything caught up (except for the Lenovo P360 Ultra, which is still in the closet upstairs) was just under 3 hours. I learned a few interesting things along the way, too.

Update Lessons Learned

Zoom won’t auto-upgrade to the latest version in one jump. I had to upgrade several systems twice, to work through the sequence of updates since they were last accessed. Sigh.

I did finally find the new versions of Asrock App Shop, RGB Sync, and Restart to UEFI. I haven’t tried them on my Z170 mobo yet, but am curious to see if old and new are still close enough to work. And indeed, the new B550 targeted software still works on the old Z170 motherboard. Go figure…

For some odd reason, SUMo wants users to upgrade to beta versions of Firefox and SpaceDesk. I’m NOT going there, because I want my production PCs to run production software. If you make use of this otherwise excellent tool, be sure to check the provenance of recommended updates (like those two) before blindly following along.

2023, here I come. Stay tuned…

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Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated

Here’s an interesting tidbit. I checked for upgrades this morning on my production PC. Winget informed me “1 package has a version number that cannot be determined.” It recommends using the “–include-unknown” parameter. And presto! Winget Upgrade include unknown gets illustrated nicely in forthcoming results. See the lead-in graphic…

When Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated…

An abstract explanation that Winget may not recognize an update’s version is one thing. But the example in the preceding graphic is clear and unmistakable. First, Winget finds no installable packages. It recommends using –include-known. Once used, an upgrade is found — and installed — without difficulty. How clear is that?

I’ve been using Winget daily on most of my PCs for more than six months now. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about how (and when) it works best. Winget is now essential for my maintenance regimen. The foregoing illustration explains nicely why using –include-unknown is customary. It’s a peach!

Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated.SUMo

SUMo sees things that need updates (applications mostly, but also some apps) that Winget does not.

Where Winget Comes Up Short

Please examine the preceding screencap. It shows 4 updates and upgrades that Winget misses. That same shot also shows why I still use KC Softwares’ Software Update Monitor (SUMo, depicted).

Indeed I also use PatchMyPC updater as well. That’s mostly because while it doesn’t catch everything that SUMo does, what it does catch it also updates automatically. SUMo only does that if you use the for-a-fee version (and even then, it doesn’t always do it automatically, either). Sigh.

In addition to the items shown, other things occasionally pop up that Winget misses. Other browsers (e.g. Chrome) may appear, as do some apps/applications, including Kindle, Nitro Pro, and more. I’ve learned how to handle all of them by now — or not, as is sometimes a good idea. For example: I’ve never been able to find the version of ASRock APP Shop (2.0.0.3) that SUMo claims is current. There are a few other such “false positives” but nothing too major. Please read my December 28 item “Windows 10 OCD Update Stymied” for further ruminations on this topic.

‘Nuff said, for now!

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Intel Unison Brings Windows 11 iPhone Link

Well, well. well. This may just be the “killer app” that induces more users to upgrade to Windows 11. Thanks to fellow WIMVP @_sumitdhiman and Windows Central, I learned yesterday that an exciting new Intel app was out and available through this Windows Store link. It showed me that Intel Unison brings Windows 11 iPhone link previously missing from that lineup. Then, I spent most of the afternoon learning my way around this new tool.

Unlike the Microsoft Phone Link app, which works only for Android devices, Intel Unison serves Android, iPhone and iPad devices. As a long-time iPhone user, this “missing link” has vexed me on and off for years. No longer!

What Intel Unison Brings Windows 11 iPhone Link Means

First, some limitations. Intel says Unison is “currently only available on eligible Intel Evo designs” running Windows 11. I found the Windows 11 requirement valid. Indeed, trying to download Unison on Windows 10 produces an error message. It reads: “The version of Windows on your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for this product.” That said, I was able to run Unison even on non-Evo 8th Gen Intel  CPUs (and a Ryzen 7 PC as well).

That said, the app works only when the device is accessed directly. In fact, it quits as soon as an RDP (or other remote client session — e.g. TeamViewer) is established. Remote access breaks things enough that I had to “forget” the target iPhone device. Then, I re-established the Bluetooth-based link between PC and phone.

Likewise, the link also collapsed when I used a USB-to-Lightning cable to establish a direct link between the same PC and phone pair. Alas, that means you can’t currently use the targeted PC to charge the iPhone and link to it simultaneously — at least as far as I could tell. That’s also a potential issue…

Unison does work well when these limitations are scrupulously observed. Note to Intel: it would be helpful if the PC-to-iPhone connection could persist into an RDP session from the standpoint of remote manageability, support, and troubleshooting. I also urge Intel to support USB links between PC and iPhone to allow ongoing interaction and charging.

Exploring the Unison UI and Capabilities

If you look at the headline graphic, it shows the “Messages” interface. You can see I was able to send a text message to my son directly from my PC keyboard. As somebody who dislikes typing on the iPhone this is a terrific boon. It’s also convenient as well.

The other options at left in that image include (in order of appearance):

  • iPhone: shows the device to which Unison is connected.
  • File transfer: supports a mechanism to copy files to and from the connected device. Works with drag and drop.
  • Gallery: provides access to the iPhone’s photo folders. Intel says “Experience your phone gallery on your big screen.”
  • Calls: enables the PC user to make and break phone calls on the PC via the connected device.
  • Notifications: shows iPhone notifications through the Unison UI.
  • Settings: controls Unison App settings and appearance.
  • Downloads: shows the contents of "%userprofile%\Downloads\Intel Unison" folder (?Intel downloads for the app?).

I’m still figuring my way around this app, and learning its ins and outs. But because it supplies a long-missing and useful set of functions to tie Windows and iPhone together, I’m already glad to have it. And indeed, there will be some users for whom this app tips the balance more heavily toward Windows 11. All I can say is: Good!

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SFF Upgrade Opportunities Maximize Value

Last October, I wrote a review of a tiny and terrific SFF PC entitled “P360 Ultra Is Beautiful Inside.” This morning, I’ve been thinking about that review while reading about best of breed small form-factor (SFF) PCs across a broad range of vendors. My conclusion: SFF upgrade opportunities maximize value in a chassis that’s easy to open, access and upgrade. Let me explain…

Buy Low-end So SFF Upgrade Opportunities Maximize Value

In the P360 Ultra, for those who aren’t disinclined to swap out parts, I suggest purchasing a model with the highest-end CPU one can afford (the CPU is not listed as a field-replaceable unit, or FRU — see Manual). Then, one can hold the initial cost down by purchasing minimal memory and storage, and swapping out components purchased separately.

Thus, for example, a minimally configured unit with i7-12700K CPU costs ~US$1,500, while one with an i9-12900 goes for US$1,675. This comes with built-in GPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe X4 SSD. Generally, you can purchase additional memory and storage for less than half what the vendor charges (e.g. Amazon sells compatible 2 x 32 GB memory modules for US$260-280, where Lenovo charges US$700). Similarly, you can purchase an excellent 2 TB top-of-the line SSD from Newegg for about US$229, where Lenovo charges US$30 more for a “high-performance” 1 TB SSD.

Things Get Dicier with Graphics Cards

The P360 Ultra uses a special, compact interface to host graphics cards such as the Nvidia T400 4 GB GDDR6, the Nvidia RTX A2000 12 GB GDDR6, and Nvidia RTX A5000 mobile 16GB GDDR6. You can buy the first two of these three on the open market (I can’t find the mobile version of the third for sale anywhere). Lenovo sells the T400 more cheaply than I can find it online, and you may be able to save a little on the A2000 on the open market.

All this said, buying down and self-upgrading remains a good way to buy into an SFF machine. You can decide how much oomph you want to add vs. how much you want to spend, and save vis-a-vis preinstalled prices. Think about it for upcoming desktop/workstation purchases, please.

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Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 Mystery Masticated

This was a weird one. The lead-in graphic shows that although I plainly installed version 15.9.51 of the Visual Studio Tools 2017, it reports in as version 15.8.9. No amount of uninstall/reinstall (aka R&R for “remove & replace”) made any difference. I finally solved my Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 mystery by installing the latest version of Visual Studio Enterprise. (That came free, thanks to my WIMVP privileges and its attendant VS subscription.)

Workaround Solves Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 Mystery

Take another look at the lead-in screencap. It shows me uninstalling version 15.8.9 using Winget. Then I force-install version 15.9.51 explicitly. But even so, Winget list still reports version 15.8.9 as clear and present. Sigh.

Thus, I resorted to a total workaround. Because I have access to a VS subscription — thanks to my 2022 WIMVP status (I’ll be finding out next week if it gets extended for 2023) — I installed a full-blown VS version. This was enough to kill the VS.2017.BuildTools update messages in Winget (at least, after I uninstalled same).

What Gives?

Because I can’t find any definitive explanation, I can only speculate. I’m guessing it’s either (a) a  mistaken version tag  for what is really version 15.9.51 or (b) a unreported install failure that leaves the Build Tools at version 15.8.9. Whatever that case might be, I switched from the free version to the for-a-fee version. That made my apparent problems disappear. I’m grateful!

Sometimes, solving Windows problems requires resorting to creative workarounds. I would definitely include today’s odd situation, and its equally odd solution, in that category.

Happy New Year 2023 to one and all. May the coming year bring you joy, prosperity, good health and plenty of interesting Windows issues to solve (or read about here). Best wishes!

 

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