Finding New Windows 11 Shutdown Dialog Box

Here’s an interesting bit of administrivia. Upon reading at OnMSFT that MS had snazzed up its Dev Channel dialog box for Windows 11, I went looking for same. That proved a bit more challenging than I initially expected. But I eventually got past finding new Windows 11 Shutdown dialog box, and made it appear. It serves, in fact, as the lead-in graphic for this very story (see above).

It Was Tricky, Finding New Windows 11 Shutdown Dialog Box

The usual method is to employ the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut. But on my Lenovo X12 hybrid tablet PC that did precisely nothing. Then I found a source with something like this tell-tale sentence:

On some laptops it may also be necessary to press the Function (Fn) Key as well.

That turned out to be just the trick I needed to get the keyboard shortcut to work. Indeed, it’s what allowed me to produce — and then screen capture — the lead-in image for this story.

What IS New in Dev Channel Shutdown Dialog Box?

It’s kind of hard to tell just from the screenshot what’s new. For comparison, here’s what the Windows 10 version looks like:

Notice it prominently features the Windows 10 logo at the top of the dialog box. Notice also its corners are squared, not rounded. AFAIK that’s about it for what’s new.

That said, in keeping with a sparer and more spacious UI in Windows 11, it’s a bit easier on the eyes. IMO it’s also a bit easier to read and understand. For me, the learning came from producing the dialog box more than its contents. But hey, that’s why I have so much fun messing around with Windows. Cheers!

 

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Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over

It’s not often I get to say this. That’s why I’m going to celebrate an unusual occurrence. What does “Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over” mean? Glad you asked! It means all three of my test machines updated themselves without any effort on my part. That hasn’t happened in quite some time, so I’ll say “Hurrah!”

Is Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over Good?

You bet! It means that a Dev/Beta release is solid enough to get past my admittedly tiny gauntlet with nary a glitch nor hiccup. And, at the same time, I got all of my production Windows 11 PCs (of which I currently also have three) past the KB5012159 update without issue as well.

It’s not often I get to pat MS on the back for a job well done. Honestly, I’m tickled to see things working just the way they’re supposed to, even if it’s just for today. What a treat! Good work, you guys, especially the whole @WindowsInsiders team.

Other Problems Manifest and Persist, Tho…

That doesn’t mean everything with my PC fleet here at Chez Tittel is sunshine and roses. It’s just that MS isn’t currently on the hook with me right now. Just yesterday I had a fascinating but frustrating encounter with Nvidia trying to make my login to GeForce Experience work. I had to go through three rounds of password reset before I could login to the dag-blamed application.

Of all the issues I fight regularly, logins, passwords and account management are probably the most time-consuming and pointless uses of my time. Indeed, I will confess that there are certain sites or services I can’t login into using Chrome that work in Firefox (same account, password and originating IP address), and vice-versa. I’ve never been able to figure that one out. I just hope to remember which one to use to get things right ASAP.

As anybody who’s tilled the PC patch for any length of time knows, “It’s always something.” Stay tuned: I’ll keep documenting my issues and learning as things go forward. But today, MS gets my thanks and a weekend pass to the fleshpots of its choosing. I’ll buy the beer!

About Mr. Holmes and The Curious Incident

That occurred in Doyle’s 1892 story “The Silver Blaze which included this bit of dialog between himself and a Yard detective, to wit:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Thus, my point with the reference was that nothing odd, weird or negative happened with 22616. And again, a pat on the back and thanks to the MS developers for that very thing.

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Checking Windows DotNET Versions Installed

A recent Windows news story reports that “KB5012643 for Windows 11 breaks .NET Framework 3.5 apps” (WindowsReport). This raises some interesting questions for Windows 11 users. For some, it apparently renders certain apps inoperable. Indeed, the bug highlights the value of checking Windows DotNET versions installed on a given PC.

So I did a little research, and learned there are at least two methods to run this info down. In fact, MS offers a multi-page Docs item that explains how to do it using PowerShell. Belgian-based software developer (and former MVP) Nick Asseloos’ ASoft company goes another way. It offers a free download named .NET Version Detector. Its output provides the lead-in graphic for this story.

What Checking Windows DotNET Versions Installed Tells You

As you can see by examining the lead-in graphic. the detector provides information of several kinds, conveniently listed in order from top to bottom by row:

Row1: Versions of the MIcrosoft .NET Framework Installed. In my example, it shows older versions to the left (2.0, 3.0, and 3.5, with SP levels),and current versions to the right (4.8, with latest update level).

Row2: Extra Details show the folder locations for the various frameworks installed. It also shows names and levels for frameworks installed as well (mostly relevant to 4.x versions), plus languages and updates (mostly a bunch of KB article identifiers).

Row3: .NET Core versions installed for 64-bit (left) and 32-bit (right) enviornments. Given my machines all run Windows 10 or 11, 32-bit is mostly MIA.

How ‘Bout Going the Other Way ‘Round?

OK, we know now how to determine what .NET versions are installed on a Windows PC. What about figuring out which applications use some specific .NET framework? That’s a bit trickier. The only sure-fire method I could find was to fire up SysInternals Process Explorer. There’s a tab named “.NET Assemblies” that shows up whenever a process that includes same gets highlighted.

This means you can find out which .NET versions are in use primarily by observation and inspection. Stack Overflow has an article that explains how to automate this process for managed processes using C# or PowerShell. I’ll leave that as an “exercise for the reader” for those inclined to work out to that extent!

[Note: this story gives a shout out to the redoubtable Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks, whose 2014 story (updated 2018) introduced me to ASoft .NET Version Detector. Nochmals vielen Dank! (Thanks very much again!)]

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Yoga 7 BIOS Confusion

Looking over Windows news this morning, I was concerned to read reports regarding BIOS problems on some Lenovo Legion laptops. For many such devices, the Lenovo Vantage app is the tool of choice for BIOS, firmware, driver and other system updates. Even though I own no Legion-labeled Lenovos, I’ve got 5 other Lenovo laptops in my office right now. Indeed, I found my own small issue amidst that pack: let me call it Yoga 7 BIOS confusion, so I can explain what’s up.

If you look at the lead-in image above, you’ll see that Vantage wants to update the BIOS. However, upon closer inspection the version of BIOS it wants to install (box at center right, from Vantage Device details) is the version already in place (Speccy info at bottom right). What gives?

Explaining Yoga 7 BIOS Confusion

If  I click on the details that Lenovo provides with the Vantage update recommendation, I get this pop-up message: Oho! It’s not because the wrong version is installed; it’s because the tool can’t detect the version info. But Speccy cheerfully — and accurately — found that data (see lead-in graphic). Thus, I have to conclude there are unknown but obvious issues with BIOS update functions in Lenovo Vantage. I’m reporting this to Lenovo through their bug reporting channels.

Just for grins, I checked the Store to see if a Vantage update might be available. It was. And upon running the tool again, it also upgraded its underlying services. Another check for updates took some time to complete, but eventually produced the same recommendation shown above.

Knowing Why Helps, But Not Enough…

It’s great to understand why the tool is recommending a spurious update. It saves from spending the same to apply same unnecessarily. On the whole, I’d rather it were fixed by the most recent update to version 10.2204.14.0. But that’s the way things sometimes go here in Windows-World. I hope my little exercise can help to shed a little light on how to check if the updates that Vantage recommends are really needed.

I won’t be updating my BIOS until a version comes along that’s different from the one that’s currently installed. FWIW, I recommend you do likewise. Cheers!

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Build 22610 Brings Explorer TaskMgr Changes

Very interesting. I’ve taken some time to explore and play with the latest Dev Channel build. Mostly notably Build 22610 brings Explorer TaskMgr changes to look and feel. You can see this pretty strongly in the Explorer screencap above, and in the Task Manager screencap that follows.

Build 22610 Brings Explorer TaskMgr Changes.taskmgr

Task Manager gets a cleaner, less cluttered look (Details view on display), but… [Click image for full-sized view.]

Build 22610 Brings Explorer TaskMgr Changes Explored

On the Explorer side of things, I see no toolbar ribbon in a sparser toolbar overall. Mouseover pop-ups require clicking a menu item before they’ll appear (I’m almost fluent in the new iconography, but occasionally need a reminder). The new look of the Details pane (far right) is pretty neat, IMO: I like the look and layout. That makes me more inclined to use it. Check out the new thumbnails view for a LOT more of the same kind of thing, too (icon at far lower right).

Switching over to Task Manager, the same sparse and spare look also comes into play . Navigation switches from a tab bar at the top to left nav icons. Again, I’m going to have to master the iconography, but mouseover pop-ups appear without doing anything to prompt them. There’s a new “Efficiency mode” right-click item on the Details pane that lowers power allocation and warns of potential resulting instability. Could be good for laptop/tablet users runnning on battery.  Lots of interesting changes so far. I need to explore further and learn more before I feel like I really understand all the differences. That should be fun!

Net-Net Nut

Overall, I’m liking what I’m seeing quite a bit. I’m coming to prefer the look, feel and behavior of Windows 11 over Windows 10. It’s been slow but steady coming on. These latest changes make the newer OS more compelling, visually, and two of its most common and important tools a little easier to work in and use. As far as I’m concerned, I give the latest version two solid thumbs up!

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KB5012643 Safe Mode Bug Gets KIR

What on earth does this article title mean? Glad you asked! KIR stands for Known Issue Rollback. Once a Windows 11 PC gets the cited KB installed, it may not run properly if booted into Safe Mode (no networking). MS suggests in its Known Issues discussion  that users boot into Safe Mode with Networking. This avoids looping Explorer crashes that otherwise cause screen flickering. Hopefully, the title now makes sense. KB5012643 Safe Mode bug gets KIR means MS will automatically apply a rollback of the offending feature to PCs that tag WU servers. A reboot is required for the fix to do its thing.

When KB5012643 Safe Mode Bug Gets KIR, What Happens?

You can learn more about Known Issue Rollback in a Windows IT Pro Blog post from March 2021. It’s entitled “Known Issue Rollback: Helping you keep Windows devices protected and productive.” Here’s what this item states.  KIR “… is an important Windows servicing improvement to support non-security bug fixes, enabling us to quickly revert a single, targeted fix to a previously released behavior if a critical regression is discovered.” In simpler terms, MS can tell WU to back out individual update package components.

Behind the scenes, policy settings either enable or disable code paths for “before” or “after” versions of code. If the “after” version is enabled, the update applies; if the “before” version is enabled, it reverts to the previous version.

Here’s how it works, quoted from the afore-linked post:

When Microsoft decides to rollback a bug fix in an update because of a known issue, we make a configuration change in the cloud. Devices connected to Windows Update or Windows Update for Business are notified of this change and it takes effect with the next reboot.

This is depicted in the lead-in graphic for this story.

Read the Post for More Deets…

There’s lots of great discussion in the Known Issue Rollback blog post. If you remain curious about its workings and capabilities, check it out. There’s also a much more technical exploration of KIRs from annoopcnair.com available for those who really want to get into the weeds. It covers details about managing and filtering group policies, and working with the KIR Policy Definitions Setup Wizard.  I didn’t know you could do that, so that makes this good stuff!

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Overlapping Taskbars Get Easy Fix

Here’s an interesting one. In running RDP sessions on my Windows 10 (Build 19044.1682) desktop, the local taskbar suddenly started covering the remote session taskbar. This happened immediately after I installed the latest Preview CU (KB5011831), and proved mildly bothersome. Once I figured out how to properly describe the problem, such overlapping taskbars get easy fix. This is another case where restarting Explorer in the host session’s Task Manager does the trick.

As often happens, finding a solution requires a proper problem statement. I used the search string “taskbar from windows 10 host session covers RDP session taskbar.” It was close enough for me to find numerous discussions, and to find a fix posted in January 2017.

How-to: Overlapping Taskbars Get Easy Fix

For those not already in the know, here’s  a step-by-step recitation of the “Restart Explorer” drill:

1. Open the Taskbar on the host PC (on Windows 10, right-clicking the taskbar produces a pop-up menu that includes Task manager; on Windows 10 or 11, CTRL-Shift-ESC opens it right up).

2. On the Processes pane find an instance of Windows Explorer. Right-click the item and Restart appears in the resulting pop-up menu. Click Restart to shut down and restart the Explorer process.

3. Wait a while: the taskbar will disappear. Then, its contents will reappear, sometimes rapidly, sometimes more slowly (never takes more than 20 seconds on any of my PCs, though).

When that process is complete, the host taskbar should obligingly disappear when you work in the RDP session window. At least, that’s how it works on my Windows 10 production desktop now. If the problem recurs, repeat the foregoing steps.

Not much to it, really. But good to know, should you ever find yourself in that situation. Cheers!

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Windows 11 Start Menu Video Ignites User Fury

Earlier this week, MS sent an email to Windows Insiders. It included a link to a YouTube video. It’s dated June 28, 2021. It’s entitled “Windows 11 Insider Story — How We Made the Start [Menu].” Alas, this revived but older piece about the Windows 11 Start menu ignites user fury worldwide. I mean: people are seriously aggravated.

Note: The comment obscured in the lead-in graphic by category data reads “It’s really easy to design something that you like…” A small part of the flap is that this sentiment is contrary to prevailing responses from actual Windows 11 users. While I’m not as taken aback as many on this topic, I’ve had my own issues with the Start Menu over the past 10 months, for sure.

Why Windows 11 Start Menu Video Ignites User Fury

Paul Thurrott’s coverage of this item makes a good example. In fact, it’s something of a nonpareil in its incredulity and scorn.  Thus, I quote the first bit to illustrate the reactions it’s provoking:

If you have any hope at all that Microsoft put any thought into the design of the Windows 11 Start Menu, do not watch this video. If on the other hand, you hate yourself and everything you care about, this is a fantastic way to develop a drinking problem.

I cannot believe they published this video. It makes what was bad even worse.

You can find similar stories at other Windows news and info outlets, including Windows Latest. In the current climate of misinformation, Microsoft’s blithe assertions about listening to and learning from user input is almost scary. But it’s a year old, people. And it’s based on the earliest version of Windows 11 ever previewed. Come on!

Houston … err, Redmond … We Have a Problem

Indeed, the Start Menu in Windows 11 has been a constant source of consternation, upset and sometimes outright hostility pretty since Day 1. Remember: the Windows 11 Insider Preview also went public on June 28, 2021. I’m a daily reader of all the active threads on ElevenForum.com. Thus, I can personally attest that the Windows 11 start menu is a constant and ongoing cause for chatter, comment, complaints and more.

This same impression is pretty consistent across all the public feedback channels I can easily access, including Microsoft Answers and various Microsoft forums. Ditto for chatter on the MS news and info sites. Thus, the video comes off as either disingenuous or seemingly, from some alternate reality.

All this said, the situation is somewhat a case of “Much ado about nothing.” The feedback from users is pretty consistent that the Windows 11 Start Menu still needs work, and reasonably specific about what kinds of things are needed or wanted. I have to believe that MS really is listening and that they will get it right over time. But they’re not there yet, however much this year-old item might imply otherwise. I’m sure the tempest will soon die down, and we can all get back to work.

I did find Thurrott’s comments darkly funny, and hope you got a chuckle from them, too.

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Windows 11 Uptake and Deployment March 2022

Though the numbers vary between AdDuplex and StatCounter, the growth rate for Windows 11 for March 2022 shows only slight change.  For the former, share went from 19.5 to 19.7%; for the latter, from 7.89 to 8.45%. Not much growth in Windows 11 uptake and deployment March 2022, in other words. What does it mean? I have some ideas, so please let me share them.

Windows 11 Uptake and Deployment March 2022 Is Consumer Driven

Aside from Microsoft’s own in-house deployment of 190K-plus copies (see this Thurrott.com story with MS pointers for more info), major corporate or organizational migrations to the new OS are mostly still pending. This is no surprise, because migrations usually take a year or more to plan, and at least 6 months to complete. Double those numbers for the largest organizations. Simply put: business use of Windows 11 for medium-sized businesses and larger is slim to none.

So who’s using Windows 11? Aside from pilot projects and evaluations (which are ongoing in business or organizational circles), there are two major populations running Windows 11:

  1. Enthusiasts, power users and Windows aficianados (in which group I count myself) who have upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, or performed clean installs on new builds or wiped systems. I’m guessing there are 100-200 million such users globally, with somewhere between 250 and 500 million PCs involved. With 11 PCs here at Chez Tittel, I’m an outlier on the high end, but nowhere near the top of that heap.
  2. PC buyers who purchase systems with Windows 11 pre-installed. With 340 million PCs purchased in 2021, and north of 350 million projected for 2022, at least 40% are likely to include Windows 11. That’s 300M-plus PCs!

This is my foundation for claiming 500M PCs could be running Windows 11 by the end of 2022. Right now, I’d be surprised if that number exceeds 300M. But it’s still a consumer/end-user thing, and likely to stay that way until 2023 and beyond.

The Long Tail Goes On and On…

I had my eyes checked late last month. Last year, all of the shop’s systems still ran Windows 7. Now, the front of the house (receptionist, sales staff, technicians) are on Windows 10. Both of the on-staff ophthalmologists, however, are still on 7. I have to guess that for most small-to-midsize operations that’s a pretty normal thing. Bigger companies are more likely to be on 10 now that EOL support for Windows 7 is so expensive, and “running naked” (i.e. unsupported) so dangerous and unattractive.

With EOL for Windows 10 not until October 2025, there’s still plenty of time to start thinking about Windows 11 migrations . . . next year!

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Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes

OK, then. I just installed optional/preview update KB5012643 on my Windows 11 X1 Extreme laptop yesterday. This morning, I’ve been fighting camera frame server crashes. You can see the traces of this contest from Reliability Monitor in the following graphic.

Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes.reli-errors

You can see an ongoing sequence of repeated “Windows Camera Frame Server” errors at semi-regular intervals. Each one follows a “test reboot.” [Click image for full-sized view.]

Registry Hack Aids Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes

In researching this error, I came across a registry hack in the HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows Media Foundation/Platform key. It required creating a DWORD value named “Enable Frame Server Mode.” When that value was set to 1, the Frame Server crash ceased. Instead, I got a crash on Windows Biometrics. And when I restored my camera’s and fingerprint scanner’s ability to support Windows Hello, the Frame Server error popped back up again. I had to laugh!

Choosing the Lesser of Two Weevils

Dispelling the Frame Server error not only turned off the PC’s webcam, it apparently also messed with Windows Biometrics in general. Given a choice between a non-fatal (and only mildly annoying) Frame Server error at startup versus being unable to use Windows Hello, I choose the latter. I’m reporting the error to Feedback Hub, and hoping for a fix. But I’m continuing to use my camera and fingerprint scanner for login/authentication purposes.

Go figure! In Windows-World one must sometimes trade off one thing against another. This time around (and in most cases) easier security via biometrics won the toss…

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Author, Editor, Expert Witness