SUMo Developer Pays Attention

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve complained — just a little — recently about the Software Update Monitor (SUMo) update utility. Over the weekend, the developer himself tweeted me to let me know he’d seen my input and fixed the issue. In fact, he agreed with me that SUMo shouldn’t be recommending a preview/beta version of ANY software. Hence my assertion that the SUMO developer pays attention. He does!

If SUMo Developer Pays Attention, Then What?

He obviously read my recent (Feb 27) post entitled “Update Semantics: Current versus Preview.” And indeed, SUMo is no longer recommending an update to pre-release versions of OneDrive. As you can see in the screencap at the head of this blog post, the current version is indeed recognized as the current version now. It’s highlighted in blue, and comes up with the same version I agree is the current one. Good-oh!

But What About CPU-Z?

I thought I’d caught him out again for asserting this week that CPU-Z needed an update. The download page reports it as version 2.0.5, but SUMo wants version And, sure enough, upon downloading and updating the latest version from the home page, it self-reports as version 2.0.5 (no fourth digit). But after updating and looking at the readme file, here’s what it says:

Sure enough, it really IS version Says so right there!

I’ll be darned. Sometimes the toolmakers know more than the owners/developers do — or what they report, anyway. Very interesting! My thanks to @KCSoftwares: it is nice to know somebody’s paying attention.


HDD versus SSD Widening Price Gap

I’m amazed at the relentless pace of technology growth and change. I can remember paying US$1,000 for a 300MB hard disk (Mac, SCSI) in the mid-1980s. I just saw some ads for NAS drives this morning, and compared them to NVMe SSDs. There’s a serious HDD versus SSD Widening Price Gap going on right now. It’s worth understanding (and watching) — at least, IMO.

Exploring the HDD versus SSD Widening Price Gap

First, let me lay out some price ranges for you. You can buy NAS drives these days in a range from 8TB to 20TB in size. The smaller ones cost under US$200 these days. (The one depicted is on sale at Newegg right now for a measley US$115 or so.) As NAS drive size increases, so does price. A monster 20GB drive will cost you upwards of US$340. (It’s on sale at Newegg, normally US$20 more.) Do the math, and per terabyte pricing falls between US$14.38 (8 TB) and US$18 (20 TB).

Now let’s look at NVMe SSDs. 8 TB is the biggest you can go with NVMe right now (though there are bigger PCIe card drives, I’ll skip them for the nonce). Most 8 TB drives at Amazon fall in a price range from US$1,000 to $1,120. Again, more math produces a per terabyte price range of US$125  to US$140.

The lead-in graphic shows a Seagate Exos 710 8TB NAS drive (below) and a Sabrent Rocket 4 8TB SSD NVMe drive (above). Prices were plucked from Newegg and Amazon this morning. The ratios is what gets me riled up here: on average it goes from 8.69:1 to 7.77: 1.

Price-Performance Pops!

What this all really means is that HDDs still reign supreme for backup and archival purposes where the fact of storage outweighs read/write times. But as somebody who creates daily backups on important PCs who also occasionally has to restore them, I’ll observe that there’s at least a 4:1 speed difference between the two types of media when restoring a backup (sometimes more).

For those with limited patience or time, and especially for those with limited time windows in which to return to full capability, SSDs are increasingly important for necessary backups and storage access.

One more thing: given the ability to put sizable amounts of blazing fast SSD storage as the near storage tier in a multi-tiered storage architecture means that savvy storage buyers can mix and match these two types of storage ever more effectively. That’s how they mostly do things in data centers for cloud and SaaS providers nowadays anyway (except they don’t balk at spending huge amounts on top-tier SSDs like those described in this mind-blowing TechRadar story).

At this bleeding edge of the storage market, it’s clearly a case of “you can’t afford to do this at home” (unless you’re a centi-millionaire or better). But it’s interesting to contemplate how all kinds of drives keep getting bigger, and how storage architects keep figuring out how to deliver ever-huger amounts of data ever more quickly. Again: amazing!


Enduring Konyead NVMe USB4 Drive Mystery

Wow! I’m really stumped. I’ve got a Konyead M.2 NVMe drive enclosure that works on only one computer right now. For a long time, I was unable to eject the drive safely. But after backing off the write caching setting for quick removal, and resetting the drive letter from F: to X:, I can now do that. But even so, if I then unplug the drive and plug it into another PC it’s unrecognizable. This enduring Konyead NVMe USB4 drive mystery is driving me nuts!

Showing Enduring Konyead NVMe USB4 Drive Mystery…

When I plug the Konyead into any compatible USB port on another PC (USB3.1 via Type A connector, or USB4 via USB-C connector) it won’t come up. If I go into Disk Management, it immediately throws an error message that says the drive must be initialized. Options offered are MBR and GPT. Choose either one, and the right-hand error box pops up citing a “fatal device hardware error.” Yet, the drive works fine on my Lenovo X1 Extreme (8th gen Intel CPU). What gives?

I’ve tried fixing it with MiniTool Partition Wizard, too. It shows me the device, but also shows it at zero length. Thus, it’s unable to access the raw disk data to find the partitions (and related tables ) that I know are on the drive.

I’ve checked the Crucial SSD’s firmware and driver: both pass the tests from Crucial Storage Executive (the maker’s diagnostic/mgmt tool for this drive). This mystery remains opaque to me. I’m galled that the device works in one PC, but not in others: what’s the point of a removable drive in those circumstances?

Next Steps…

I’ve not been able to find anything about this kind of problem via online searching. I’ll reach out to Crucial’s tech support operation and see if they’ve ever heard of anything like this before. Konyead is impenetrable: shows the NVMe enclosure, but all text is in Chinese, and the page for my device won’t come up. They do have a contact page, though, so I suppose I should give it a whirl.

Stay tuned. I won’t quit bulldogging this, but I’m afraid I’m up against what might be an intractable language and culture barrier. We’ll see.


X12 Hybrid Gets 25309 Clean Install

The late, great Gerald Weinberg is one of my “tech heroes.” He wrote a lot of great books. My personal fave is The Secrets of Consulting. One of its many gems is called “Rudy’s Law of Rutabagas.” Essentially, it boils down to “As soon as you solve one problem, another one pops up to take its place.” As I maneuvered — and maneuvered some more — yesterday so that my X12 Hybrid gets 25309 clean install, Rudy’s Law was ever on my mind. Let me explain…

Why X12 Hybrid Gets 25309 Clean Install

First, a bit of background. As I tried to upgrade to Build 25309 last week on the X12, I hit all kinds of snags. It kept failing at the FIRST_BOOT stage. Ironically this refers to the first reboot after the reboot that transitions from the GUI-based portion of a Windows install (where the running OS is in control) to the post-GUI portion (where the WinPE for the newly-emerging OS is in control).

I kept getting error codes 0XC1900101 and 0XC1900131 while attempting WU-based updates. After building an ISO for 25309 at, I elicited a more informative error message after that installer failed during an in-place repair install, as part of its post-fail reporting (see lead-in graphic). This usually means there’s a device driver conflict or incompatibility of some kind. But I’ll be darned if I could figure out what it was.

All in all, I attempted to install 25309 four times on the X12. And when 25314 appeared yesterday, I tried that one, too via WU. None succeeded. Nor could I get any tips or tricks for working around this from the MS Insider Team after reporting my woes to Feedback Hub.

The Upgrade of Last Resort: Clean Install

When all upgrade attempts fail, you can always wipe the system disk clean on a Windows PC, then overwrite everything with a fresh, clean install of your chosen OS version. Most people (including me) shy away from this technique because it requires re-installing all applications and apps added to the PC since it first booted up, and re-adjusting all preferences and settings. That takes TIME, and lots of it. But it is something of a silver bullet for fixing munged Windows installations. It seems pretty clear that’s what I had, so in this case a clean install made good sense.

Remembering Rudy’s Law…

I ran into plenty of obstacles along the way to achieving a clean install yesterday afternoon. Let me simply list them briefly along with my response(s):

  • Couldn’t get the X12 to boot to a USB drive. Response: turn off BitLocker, suspend Secure boot.
  • Couldn’t provide the proper BitLocker key to enable boot process to complete. Response: boot into running image, use Control Panel Bitlocker utility to print BitLocker keys.
  • Couldn’t get the X12 to boot to the USB NVMe drive enclosure with Ventoy and the 25309 image. Response: use RUFUS to build a bootable USB flash drive with that image installed.

Eventually after 3.5 hours or so of kibitzing around, I got to setup.exe on the USB flash drive, and fired off installation. After all that prep work, the process took less than half an hour to get me to a desktop. But those various gyrations (bulleted above) reminded me that indeed, solving any one problem inevitably leads to solving the next one.

Where’s the X12 Install Now?

Because a new Canary channel build — namely 25314 — emerged while I was still grappling with 25309, I had upgrades to apply once 25309 was clean-installed. I fired off the reboot for the next iteration last night before heading off to bed, with fingers crossed for its success. When I hit my desk this morning, 25314 was ready to run on the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Hybrid Tablet. What a relief!

X12 Hybrid Gets 25309 Clean Install.winver

As proof of workability, the feature upgrade to 25314 succeeds. Good-oh!

Now the REAL Fun Begins…

Over the next days (and probably weeks) I’ll find myself putting the X12 together again. I’ve already set up Remote Desktop. I can see I need some changes to Power Options, File Explorer options, and more. Plenty of apps and applications to install, too. That’s what always follows in the wake of a clean install. Here we go!


Caldigit Hiatus Finally Illuminated

A little over two weeks ago, I found myself dealing with a suddenly non-functional Caldigit TS4 dock. This morning, I finally figured out what I’d been doing wrong. There’s one and only one high-wattage USB-C connector on the TS4. And there’s one and only one USB-C connector on most of my Lenovo laptops that will accept power and signals. The short explanation is: I hooked the wrong “gozouta” into the wrong “gozinta.” Net result: signals, but not enough power to make things work. Doh! Thus, this gets my recent CalDigit Hiatus finally illuminated.

Caldigit Hiatus Finally Illuminated, Literally

If you look at the lead-in graphic, you’ll see that the leftmost USB-C port on the back of the CalDigit is labeled “Computer.” It’s the port that delivers up to 98W of power to a PC, along with TB4/USB4 capability. I had somehow gotten my ports wrong, and used the middle one instead. Not paying sufficient attention? Guilty as charged. The red-boxed USB-C is the proper gozouta for the Caldigit hub.

Likewise on my Lenovo Yoga 7 14ITL5 (specs are PDF formatted), the left-hand USB-C port is also the only one that accepts TB4/USB4 and power together. Thus it’s the proper gozinta for the laptop in question.

Sigh. Put the right ports together and everything works just fine. Put the wrong ones together, and the PC doesn’t get enough power to run properly, nor for the TS4 dock connections to work as expected. Sigh again: it’s not hard to get the obvious wrong, but it can be challenging to recognize the obvious if one’s wits aren’t entirely engaged.

For This, I  Contacted Tech Support?

Yes, I admit it: I did that. And we all assumed I was using the right ports. Thus, they were as baffled as I was by what the lack of a power light really meant. Now I know: the light comes on when you use the high-wattage USB-C port to run power into a PC or laptop. And when you set the connections up as they should be, everything works likewise. Go ahead: laugh! Once I got over my astonishment at missing the obvious, that’s what I did too.



MS Adds Insider Canary Channel

Yesterday, MS announced a new addition to its Insider Program channel lineup. The Canary Channel, in that announcement’s own words: “is going to be the place to preview platform changes that require longer-lead time before getting released to customers.” Examples provided include major changes to the kernel, new APIs, and so forth. Thus, as MS adds Insider Canary Channel it should become the focus for more blue-sky, further out stuff that has until now been part of what’s been playing on the Dev Channel.

MS Adds Insider Canary Channel.showing

Amazing! There it is, in all its glory leading the line-up: The Canary Channel lives. [Click image for full-sized view.]

As MS Adds Insider Canary Channel, What Else?

MS shares the following Canary Channel (CC) observations in its March 6 fanfare:

  • CC will support preview builds for platform changes
  • Try-outs may appear in the CC that never ship, along with stuff that “could show up in future Windows releases” when ready
  • CC will bear higher build numbers than other channels, starting in the 25000 series (current Dev Channel Build = 25309)
  • Current Dev Channel Insiders will be moved to CC starting March 6 (announcement day)
  • A channel switch opportunity will be presented for those who’d like to leave the CC
  • CC releases will follow a “hot off the presses” approach — meaning “very little validation and documentation”
  • CC will offer limited documentation and will not get a blog post for every flight (only when new features appear)
  • Other channels will continue to get blog posts for each build

This is very interesting. It also helps me understand why I’ve been struggling with upgrading one of my test PCs to 25309. It is Canary now, and subject to situations where an occasional clean install may be required. I wonder if one of those occasions might be soon?


Windows Application Update Rhythms

Last week, I ran an experiment Monday through Friday. Each day, I made sure to use winget upgrade and Software Update Monitor (aka SUMo) to check updates on 9 PCs here at Chez Tittel. I kept track of how many updates each tool found in tabular form. In each daily data cell, the first value counts updates winget found, and the second value counts updates SUMo found. It was interesting and unexpectedly time-consuming (averaged 75 minutes each day). It does give me a better sense of Windows application update rhythms, though.

Checking Windows Application Update Rhythms

The  9 machines in my sample included 1 4th-Gen CPU and 1 6th-gen Intel CPU (both perforce running Windows 10). All but one of the other machines run Windows 11, and all but one are 8th Gen Intel CPUs or higher (the hold-out runs a Ryzen 7 5800X). Each machine runs anywhere from 24 applications listed in SUMo to as many as 62. In the results table, an “at sign” (@) means that either Winget or SUMo recommended an update that I couldn’t install (winget) or find (SUMo). That latter one proved time consuming indeed.

Table of Results

Daily Updates Found/Installed
Name 27-Feb 28-Feb 01-Mar 02-Mar 03-Mar
 LY7i 2/4  0/2 0/0 0/0 0/3@
 P16 1/0 1/2 1/1 2/0 1/3@
SP3  0/0 0/0 0/0 1/1 0/1
Dx380 3/2 0/2@ 0/2@ 2/1@ 0/1
Bx380 4/4  0/6@ 0/1@ 1/4@ 0/5@
X12 0/0 0/1 0/2@ 2/1  0/3
X1C 3/2 0/1@ 1/1@ 1/1@ 1/2@
D7080 3/2 1/3 2/0 0/0 0/3@
i7Sky 2/2@ 0/3@ 1/4@ 3/3@ 0/1@
Ry7 3/3@ 1/3@ 2@/1 1/1 0/4@
 @ bogus update

A total of 131 updates were put forward by one or the other tool last week, for an average of about 14.5 for the week for each PC. The range of values went from a low of 8 to a high of 24.

What this tells me is that tracking updates could be a constant effort, were one minded to invest the time and energy. It also shows that the pace of updates is pretty brisk, and somewhat relentless. This makes it very clear why, except for emergency security patches, most organizations of any size prefer to limit updates to scheduled windows of fixed duration.

Otherwise, it’s the kind of rabbit hole into which admins could disappear, never to be seen again!


Installer Borks PowerPanel Program

Here’s an interesting one from the trenches. In working my way though today’s round of software updates, I found myself unable to get info from the CyberPower CP1500D uninterruptible power supply. It protects my primary production PC, so that’s a concern. I did some online research into the far-from-transparent error message “PowerPanel Personal Service is not ready.” I learned I was dealing with a documented bug. Turns out a rogue installer borks PowerPanel program . That said, it’s easily fixed. Let me explain…

When Installer Borks PowerPanel Program, Then What?

A search on the error string “PowerPanel Personal Service is not ready” took me to Woody Leonhard’s (in)famous AskWoody website. I learned that it wasn’t the installer that broke the service connection to the UPS, but the immediate reboot that it advised upon completion. Go figure!

But the recommended fix worked like a charm. Basically, it’s a remove-and-replace operation. That is, uninstall the CyberPower utility, remove all traces, then reinstall. Upon completion, don’t reboot immediately. Everything works!

Revo Uninstaller Recommended

The advice from AskWoody MVP “bbearren” recommends using Revo Uninstaller (the free version is fine: it’s what I used). It offers clean-up after it runs the program’s own installer and gets rid of leftover files and registry entries. (I used the middle “Moderate” clean-up setting.)

Then, I reinstalled the latest version of the CyberPower PowerPanel Personal software (2.4.8) from the download I’d already made for the update. It chunked through to a happy completion, after which I did NOT reboot my PC despite the installer’s recommendation. You can see the working results in the lead-in graphic for this story.

Problem solved! It’s nice when they go down easy and quick. That actually happens sometimes, some days here in Windows-World.


MS Phases iPhone Support into Phone Link

In early January, I wrote about Intel’s Unison app as a possible “killer app” for Windows 11. Why? Because it provides an app that (sort of) integrates the iPhone with a Windows PC. Now, MS is jumping into the game. Tuesday’s “Moment 2” announcement includes mention of a new connection for iPhones into the previously Android-only Phone Link app. And wouldn’t you know it? MS phases iPhone support into Phone Link for Dev Channel Insiders, and I’m not among those to whom this capability is currently extended.

Waiting as MS Phases iPhone Support into Phone Link

If you check the lead-in graphic, you’ll see that iPhone is now mentioned in an early Phone Link setup screen. But unless your PC is offered that functionality, that entry reads “iPhone® – Coming soon” in greyed-out text (see red box at lower right). Indeed, that means I’m waiting for one or both of my Dev Channel test machines to get the offer, so I can try things out.

Like Intel Unison, what I read about this capability is that it uses a Bluetooth link (and works only on Windows 11). Thus I make the same plea to MS I made to Intel: “Fix the app communications stack so it can use a wired connection — e.g. Lightning or USB-C cable — as well as Bluetooth.” To my dismay, I observed that Unison would quit working as soon as I plugged into my iPhone 12 by wire.

Other limitations include no support for MMS or SMS attachments. Those, I guess I can live with. I can always move stuff over after the fact for such things if I plug in a cable, right? LOL

Tick … Tock … Tick … Tock

But for now I’m waiting for the offer to hit my test PCs. It’s welcome news in a Windows-iPhone household like the one here at Chez Tittel. Soon, I hope to be able to see how well it works. Stay tuned!



KB5022913 May Break Customization Tools

Some people learn to live with Windows and make the best of it. Others refuse, and turn to third-party tools to bring back bits and pieces of prior capability that MS has removed. Ditto for adding functionality missing but desired in Windows. When MS released its “Moment 2” updates on February 28, it announced that KB5022913 may break customization tools in common use.

If KB5022913 May Break Customization Tools, Then What?

If an update breaks a third-party tool, users have two choices:
1. Remove the third-party tool, and continue forward with the update.
2. Uninstall the update, and keep using the third-party tool.
Of course, neither option is perfect but sacrifices are sometimes necessary here in Windows-World.

Here’s what the announcement says, verbatim (emphasis mine, for easy identification of possible offenders in the first paragraph; emphasis in the second paragraph is Microsoft’s):

After installing KB5022913 or later updates, Windows devices with some third-party UI customization apps might not start up. These third-party apps might cause errors with explorer.exe that might repeat multiple times in a loop. The known affected third-party UI customization apps are ExplorerPatcher and StartAllBack. These types of apps often use unsupported methods to achieve their customization and as a result can have unintended results on your Windows device.

Workaround: We recommend uninstalling any third-party UI customization app before installing KB5022913 to prevent this issue. If your Windows device is already experiencing this issue, you might need to contact customer support for the developer of the app you are using. If you are using StartAllBack, you might be able to prevent this issue by updating to the latest version (v3.5.6 or later).

Notice that MS puts the onus for figuring things out if Windows doesn’t work properly with such a third-party tool on that tool’s developer. This could make life extremely interesting for related tech support operations.

To Tweak, or Not to Tweak?

With apologies to Hamlet (and Shakespeare), the real question is how much, how often and what kinds of tweaks Windows users can safely make to their own installations? I’m of the opinion that “less is more” because it involves fewer things that could go wrong, and fewer such things to keep track of.

That said, I do indeed enjoy tinkering with Windows. I don’t see what MS is doing here as a general injunction against such efforts. Instead I see it as a warning against “unsupported methods” that some developers use. I agree with MS that on principle such tools are best avoided. But that puts an interesting burden on users to figure out what’s working and what’s not. I can tell you from copious personal experience that diagnosing and pinpointing trouble can be difficult and time-consuming. Indeed: the MS workaround seems like a well-intentioned way to shortcut that work, and bypass related problems.

Note Added March 2 AM

This morning, the first thing I saw on WinAero was a story entitled “A new version of ExplorerPatcher fixes issues with Windows 11 “Moment 2” Update.” According to WinAero principal Sergey Tkachenko, at least one set of already-identified problems is addressed. I guess that’s the kind of response you’d hope for, if you were an ExplorerPatcher user. While I am not, I see plenty of people over at ElevenForum who use (and praise) it.

Another item has joined the list of offenders, though: Stardock’s Start11 (says Neowin). That one, I do use, on some of my Windows 11 PCs. Guess I’ll have to watch closely and take evasive action as needed.

Stay tuned: this looks like it could get increasingly interesting…


Author, Editor, Expert Witness