Windows 11 User Count Tops 1B Worldwide

This news comes from the Microsoft Windows Blogs dated May 26. It’s entitled “Delivering Delightful Performance for More Than One Billion Users Worldwide.” That’s the day after Build 2023 concluded, and the first time that MS has publicly disclosed user count data for Windows 11 in about a year. It’s also the first time they’ve proclaimed that the Windows 11 user count tops 1B worldwide.

These are the four instances in the afore-linked item where the “billion” word occurs:
1. In the title of the blog post, as quoted in the preceding ‘graph
2. In a sentence that reads (in part) as “... with over one billion users and a rich PC ecosystem…
3. Diagnostic data includes “…over 70.4 billion scenario performance data points per year.”
4. Final paragraph, penultimate sentence reads (in part) “…thanks to our Windows Insider community for helping us continue to improve Windows for the over one billion users worldwide.

What Windows 11 User Count Tops 1B Worldwide Means

According to Statista, as of June 2023, the company expects a ratio of 68.6% for Windows 10 vis-a-vis 18.12% for Windows 11. Thus, if there are 1 B Windows 11 users, there must also be  around 3.78 B Windows 10 users. To me this means one of two things:

(a) The ratio of visitors that Statista tracks doesn’t accurately model the Windows population of active users
(b) Microsoft’s claimed 1 B figure does not translate to active users 1-to-1 (makes sense, given that one active user can run multiple instances of the OS, especially VMs)

In January 2023, for example, Jason Wise reported at EarthWeb that MS claimed 1.4 B active devices running Windows 10 and 11 monthly in January 2022. They use this data, plus additional insights, to assert that “Windows, new versions and otherwise, run on more or less 1.6 billion devices around the world” as of January 2023.

Even assuming a monthly growth rate of 3% that puts the global Windows population at 1.85 B in May, 2023. How can there be at or over 1 B Windows 10 users and a similar number of 11 users with a total that’s arithmetically lower? Something here doesn’t make sense…

It should be interesting to see the pundit corps chew this over. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you posted…

Note Added 1 Hour Later…

It’s got to be devices, counting both physical and virtual machines as individual devices. I use 10 PCs here at my house, and I have at least another dozen VMs across various Windows versions at my disposals. That’s over 20 “devices” but only one user. That leaves room for a tangible “muliplier” between users and devices, IMO.



Updating Intel Processor ID Utility

Hmmmm. Here’s an interesting one. SUMo just told me that the Intel Processor Identification Utility (Legacy Model) needs an update. Poking around on the Intel site, I found a download page that covers Intel processors by generation: the new one goes Gen 12 and up; the old one Gen 11 and down. The old one appears beneath the new in the lead-in graphic, so it’s the one I downloaded and installed. That got me through Updating Intel Processor ID Utility on my i7 Skylake.

Why Bother Updating Intel Processor ID Utility?

The latest version of the new utility is 5/22/2023. The legacy one that works for my i7 Skylake shows a date of 5/17/2023 on the General Properties tab for the ProcID.exe file. That means it’s the latest and greatest of such files. I’m not aware of any security or other issues that the new version fixes. I’m just in the habit of updating as new versions come out. It runs just fine on the production PC. Here, for example, is the “CPU Technologies” info from that tool:

Updating Intel Processor ID Utility.CPU-tech

CPU Technologies show instructions, virtualization, sleep and other state info support (or not).

Intel Always Makes Updates Interesting

I feel lucky this morning that the landing page for Processor ID Utility took me to the update I needed. Sometimes, they don’t make it totally easy or simple to find the latest versions. Indeed, searching on version number ( didn’t work all that well for me. But this tool has an “Update” button subordinate to its Help menu. Now that I know this is an option, I bet it will work immediately next time around. That’s what makes updates interesting in general (and Intel in particular): there’s almost always a way to get a boost from the developer, if you know where and how to look for same. Sigh.


Old-School Gadgets Still Rule

I read a Windows Latest story yesterday with interest and bemusement. It proclaims that MS is “bringing … Vista-like gadgets to Windows 11…” Of course, these are widgets (not gadgets, per se) and I don’t see them in the same light, either. I’m still happily using Helmut Buhler’s excellent 8GadgetPack, as you can see in the lead-in graphic. For me, these old-school gadgets still rule — as they have done on my desktops since Vista appeared in early 2007 (16 years ago).

Why Old-School Gadgets Still Rule

The range of still-available gadgets is large (61 total on the “Add Gadget” display). It offers elements for time, CPU, GPU, storage, and networking status and activity. Lots of pop-ups for news, weather, games, media and other interesting services. There’s more here, in fact, than I want or need on my desktop.

Here are the four elements I use all the time on nearly all of my Windows 10 and 11 PCs and laptops (they appear in-line at the right-hand side of my left-screen’s desktop; here I stack them 2×2):

Clockwise from top left, these are:
1. Clock gadget: shows machine name and time (with seconds)
2. Control gadget: provides ready access to shutdown and restart, even in RDP sessions (very handy)
3. Network Meter: shows int/ext IP addresses, in- & out-bound network activity (on graph and numerically)
4. CPU Usage: shows overall CPU and memory consumption, along with per-core activity levels.

So far, I haven’t seen Windows 11 widgets that come close to matching this kind of capability with minimal overhead and effort required for installation and use. I’ll keep my eyes on widgets as they develop and evolve. But so far, the old-school gadget still beats the new-school widget three ways from Sunday. Stay tuned: this may change!


Canary Dev Gain Enhanced Webp Support

Here’s an interesting change in the bleeding edge versions for Windows 11. Indeed, Canary Dev gain enhanced Webp support for images of that type. It does require visiting the MS store on one of those platforms to download and install the Webp Image Extensions app shown in the lead-in screencap. After that, a number of interesting options present themselves. Let me explain … and illustrate!

What Canary Dev Gain Enhanced Webp Support Means

Thanks to Sergey Tkachenko at WinAero, I learned about this yesterday. What I didn’t realize was how widespread webp support has already become across the Windows 10 and 11 landscape. As you can see, the following image — prosaically named bunny.webp — shows up just fine inside WordPress (and by extension, most web browsers).Canary Dev Gain Enhanced Webp Support.bunny

Say hello to bunny.webp!

Indeed, it turns out that in addition to Photos and Edge, webp also works in Corel PaintShop, Snagit Editor, Paint, IrfanView (though I did have to download and install a plug-in DLL for Webp) and more. And it worked on Windows 10 as well as 11. It’s just that the Windows Photos app (and possibly Edge for some users) couldn’t handle webp before installing the afore-mentioned Store app “Webp Image Extensions.”

What Is Webp Anyway?

Webp is yet another compact, accurate image format. A Google design, it made its debut in 2010 but didn’t go widely public until April 2018 (when the vendor released a stable “supporting library” for the format — See Wikipedia). Looking at the bunny above, I see that Webp has some characteristics in common with the XML-based SVG graphics format. That said, it also supports captured photos, animation, tiling, advanced meta-data and more.

Visit Google’s WebP page for the official line on this format, which is gaining wider acceptance and use. As Google explains “WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that make the web faster.”

This was an interesting exercise for me, and a good learning experience. Worth digging into for IT and web professionals alike, if you haven’t dug in here already…

Note: Webp does NOT work in Photos in Windows 10 or Window 11 (versions with numbers lower than those for Canary or Dev channels, 25357 and 23451, respectively). Outside the OS umbrella, though, Webp seems to work in browsers and image apps and applications of all kinds.


Missing Advanced Startup Gets Explained

Here’s a real Homer Simpson moment for you: Doh! I just figured out why I can’t find the Advanced Startup option on some of my Windows 11 PCs (see lead-in screen-cap, then compare to the next one below). It came when I checked a reference on running that ability from the command line. Simply put: the missing Advanced Startup gets explained as a local-remote distinction. It shows up when accessing a device directly, but not via Remote Desktop.

Now you see it, now you don’t (vice-versa, actually…)

Quick Note Means Missing Advanced Startup Gets Explained

I referred to a pureinfotech story to figure out how to get to advanced startup when it didn’t show up as in the lead-in graphic. Turns out the explanation appeared in a “Quick Note” in a discussion of accessing Advanced Startup via Settings → System → Recovery. It reads:

Quick note: The Advanced Startup option in the Settings app isn’t available through a Remote Desktop Connection.

And wouldn’t you know it? I was accessing a test PC via RDP (Remote Desktop Connection) at the time. Sure enough, as soon as I broke the remote session and logged into that same machine via the local keyboard, the Advanced Startup entry made itself available. Doh again!

Command Line Method Works Remotely, Tho…

The old standby shutdown command at an administrative command prompt still works, even in a remote session. For the record, that syntax is:

shutdown /r /o /f /t 00

Those switches work as follows:
/r  Restarts the computer after shutdown
/o  Goes to Advanced Boot options menu
/f   Forces running applications to close sans user warnings
/t   Waits 0 seconds before restart (works immediately)

So now I finally understand why the Advanced Startup item under Recovery sometimes goes missing on me. It MUST be run locally to work. Can I get one more Doh!?


X390 Network Return Requires Discovery Tweaks

Son Gregory is back from college for the summer, bearing his Lenovo ThinkPad X390 Yoga laptop. Its 8th-gen i7-8565U CPU, 16 GB RAM, and 500 GB Intel SSD are entirely adequate for his mobile computing needs. But I couldn’t see his device on the LAN when he first joined back in. Indeed, an X390 network return required discovery tweaks to make itself entirely visible. A couple of quick, minor toggles in “Advanced sharing settings” made everything OK.

Understanding X390 Network Return Requires Discovery Tweaks

I’m still getting used to digging into Advanced sharing settings inside the Windows settings app. That’s where I made sure the following toggles were in the “On” position:

Once I made sure discovery was working, Presto! the X390 (computer name = “DinaX390” as shown in the lead-in graphic) appeared. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean alot.

The X390 Gets a Thorough Once-Over

I’m glad to see the machine is running Windows 11 22H2 (Build 22621.1702). SUMo also gives its paltry 17 identifiable programs a clean bill of health, update-wise. I have to say that it looks like Gregory took excellent care of his laptop while away at school. Good for him!

Now that it’s showing up inside Advanced IP Scanner, I can see what it’s doing on the network, too. All’s well that ends well.


Intel DSA Version Confusion

OK then, I’m back in the office after a 10-day hiatus. Natch, after meeting today’s writing deadlines, I started updating all 11 of my Windows PCs. Along the way, I found myself caught up in Intel DSA version confusion for that company’s Driver & Support Assistant software.

Look at the lead-in screencap. The Intel download page shows version is the latest and greatest version. Yet the details for the download file show it as version And indeed, when you install or repair DSA using the file the lower-numbered version is what’s installed. Go figure!

Overcoming Intel DSA Version Confusion

After handling over 100 updates, the Patch Tuesday and incidental WU stuff, I didn’t want to find myself troubleshooting a bogus update problem. But that’s what I’ve got going on. Until Intel puts the update for version in the “Latest” position on its download center, there’s not much I can do to fix this.

C’mon Intel: please fix this issue so OCD updaters — like yours truly — can get caught up. I’ve already got (the version that actually appears in the Properties window for the download) installed. I can’t catch up until the right file gets posted to the download center.

It’s Always Something, Right?

Just goes to show you that here in Windows-World there’s always some kind of gotcha lurking to make life more interesting. In some cases, my issues are of my own making. In this particular case, it looks like something odd is up with the Intel download page itself.

Just for grins, I went to an alternate download source. Much to my surprise, that installer shows the correct version number for this file, to wit:

Intel DSA Version Confusion.alt-source

An “alternate download source” DOES have the right file.
Go figure again!

I wish I knew how the other source got the right file, when I couldn’t grab it myself directly. As Mr. Churchill said of Russia, that makes this “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry.


30 Problem-Free Upgrades Since July 2022

Every now and then, I step back from the day-to-day Windows routine. I like to reflect on what I’ve seen and done. Looking at my Update History, I see 30 problem-free upgrades since July 2022. It’s end-of-April, so that means 30 updates in 9 months (3.33 updates per month). And nary a lick of trouble with any of them either in the Dev or Canary channels. Remarkable!

What 30 Problem-Free Upgrades Since July 2022 Means

This is on the 2018 vintage Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga. It’s an 8th-gen Intel i7-8650 CPU, 16 GB DDR4, 1 TB (nominal) Toshiba SSD. On my newer X12 Hybrid ThinkPad (11th-Gen i7-1180G7, 16 GB DDR4, 1TB (nominal) WD SSD), I had to clean install Canary after my initial attempts to upgrade from Dev Channel to Canary failed. That was a pain!

But the X380 Yoga keeps chugging along. It’s a little slower than the X12 hybrid — as you’d expect, given the age difference (2018 vs 2020) — but it’s proved rock-solid and completely reliable. My son has an X390 Yoga (2017 model,  i7-8665U CPU, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) that’s been equally reliable as his carry-around, note-taking machine for use in class.

ThinkPad, ThinkPad, All the Way…

Looking around the house right now, I have 6 laptops here (plus the one in Boston with son, Gregory). 5 of 7 are ThinkPads, one’s a Lenovo Legion, and the last (and soon-to-be-retired) is a 2014 vintage Surface Pro 3. I have come to be a big believer in ThinkPads because:

1. I like the keyboards
2. The maker provides easy access to technical manuals for DIY upgrades
3. These laptops have handled everything I’ve thrown at them and just keep working
4. Shopping around delivers amazing buys (I paid under $1K each for the two X380 and one X390 Yoga I currently own; ditto for my former X220 Tablet and T25 Notebook machines, now retired).

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you certainly can judge a notebook/laptop brand on a decade-plus of mostly stellar experiences. I’m completely sold on the ThinkPad brand.

Personal Note…

I’ve been quiet since April 28 for good reason. We flew to Boston on May 1 to pick son Gregory up after his first year at college (move-out day was May 4). Then we spent the next 4 days in NYC on a family adventure that included more walking than I thought I could handle. It was great! We’re all glad to be back at home, and I’m glad to be resuming a normal work schedule tomorrow. I wrote this blog post just before I left to have something to post immediately upon my return home. Let the games resume!!!


Another Interesting PowerShell Clean-up

Wow! What a ride… I was working on my Lenovo P16 Mobile Workstation this morning. Winget kept finding two versions of PowerShell — namely and — when I ran an open-ended upgrade command. That said, I couldn’t find the older version anywhere. Ultimately, this would lead me to another interesting PowerShell cleanup. Let me walk you through what I had to do to come clean, as ’twere…

Starting Another Interesting PowerShell Clean-up

I’ll begin by explaining where I started from. I was running the Preview version of PowerShell. The complete name string (FQDN equivalent): Microsoft.Powershell.Preview. The list command for that string was showing two versions in winget output, as described above. Upgrade attempts had no effect on the older version, despite reporting success. Sigh…

Also, when I searched all the folders where the software should be lurking (from the PowerShell environment variable), I found it nowhere. Likewise, my usual fallback trick — searching for filename pwsh.exe (the PowerShell executable) — showed only one instance.


Ending the Clean-up Conclusively

When all else fails, remove/replace still does the trick. I ran the following commands to fix things so that only one version shows as in the lead-in graphic for this story:

1. winget uninstall -q Microsoft.PowerShell.Preview -v
2. winget uninstall -q Microsoft.PowerShell.Preview -v
2. winget install –id Microsoft.Powershell –source winget

That replaced the Preview with the Production version, and did away with the elusive (unfindable, even) older Preview version. Problem solved. Sheesh!

Note: Here’s a handy article from MS Learn “Installing PowerShell on Windows” that supplied me with number 3 above. Works well, but I did have to close my open PowerShell window for the install process to complete. Can’t have the old stepping on the new again, can we? Sigh again…


Achieving Intel Driver Update Silence

I’ve been writing a fair amount lately about updating the Windows OS, apps, applications and drivers. On that last subject — drivers — Intel has an outsized impact on most of my PCs (11 of 13 use Intel CPUs; all of them include at least some Intel chipsets). I’ve been updating Bluetooth, LAN (Wireless and GbE), and Graphics over the last couple of days. I counted anywhere from 5 to 9 mouse clicks needed to work through the various installers. This has me thinking: “What’s Involved in Achieving Intel Driver Update Silence?”

All this said, I’d also like to observe that I use the Intel Driver & Support Assistant (aka DSA) to drive most of my Intel driver upkeep activities. Overall, it does a pretty good job.

Is Achieving Intel Driver Update Silence Even Possible?

To some degree, yes. If you search the Intel site for “silent Intel X install” (where X = one of Bluetooth, Wireless, LAN, Graphic, …) you’ll find articles on how to run installers at the command line in silent mode. I’ll provide a list below, but here’s a discouraging disclaimer from the  Graphic driver how-to (bold emphasis mine).

s, –silent A silent installation that uses default selections in the place of user input. Not all visual indications are disabled in silent mode.

There’s the rub, in the bolded text. Running silent does away with most, but not all, visual indications.

Here’s a list of some very popular how-to’s that cover silent installation:

1. Graphic driver how-to
2. Bluetooth driver how-to
3. Base Driver & ProSET how-to (GbE, etc.)
4. Wi-Fi driver how-to
5. Chipset Installation utility how-to
6. USB 3.0 eXtensible Controller how-to

That’s all I could think of, off the top of my head. Looks like my earlier search formula works pretty well on the Intel site, though. If you need something else, chances are good it will work for that, too. If not, please drop me a line to let me know what else you found or figured out.


Author, Editor, Expert Witness