USB4 Means Yoga Pro 9 Stays On

I have to apologize to the review team at Lenovo. I’d told them I’d be sending back their splendid Yoga Pro 9(i) last Friday. Then I got an assignment from AskWoody to write about external, USB-attached NVMe (and other SSD) storage devices. So of course I had to a buy a current-gen 40 Gbps USB4 drive enclosure. Also, its inbuilt USB4 means Yoga Pro 9 stays on here at Chez Tittel while testing is underway. Sorry, Jeff and Amanda: I need to keep this beast a bit longer…

Why USB4 Means Yoga Pro 9 Stays On

Short answer: it’s my only PC/laptop with USB4 capability. And I want to research and write about same. And on the Yoga Pro 9i the first thing I observe is that while it has two USB-C ports, only one of them supports 40 Gbps throughput (the other is USB-C 3.2 and tops out at half that). This makes a big difference in read/write speeds. Ditto for cables: for best results you need a cable marked 40 Gbps or Thunderbolt 4, too. The device info for the MAIWO 40Gbps enclosure shows what needs to appear for fastest I/O:

USB4 Means Yoga Pro 9 Stays On.Settings-USBdevinfo

The salient info is at the bottom: 40Gbps. It also detects a Gen3 NVMe SSD.

Over the next 10 days or so, I’ll be comparing enclosures, drives, and cables with related measurements. This should be interesting. But for now, let me observe that I paid US$70 for a 40Gbps NVMe enclosure yesterday. When I bought the previous generation (20Gbps) enclosures, the cheapest ones cost US$120 or thereabouts. It’s good that the technology is getting both faster and cheaper. I’m very interested to see how quickly Macrium Reflect can back up the Yoga Pro 9i with a fast SSD and this fast enclosure. Should be fun!

Top of the Heap? You tell me…

FWIW, Cale Hunt over at WindowsCentral just anointed the Lenovo Yoga 9i as the #1 best laptop for 2024. I’ve found it to be pretty stellar in my 5 weeks working with it so far. It’s been great at handling complex programs, lots of VMs, and both compute- and graphics-intensive workloads. Too bad it came out before Copilot + PC requirements were known. It’s close, but not quite at that level. Sigh.

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Reboot Clears Little White Box

Here’s an odd one. Yesterday afternoon — right after updating the beta NVIDIA app, in fact — the right-hand display on my production PC starting showing a  blank area at its dead center. It appeared to be about 100 pixels wide and 15-20 pixels deep. It wouldn’t go away, no matter which apps I opened or closed. Happily, a reboot clears little white box this morning, so it appears it was temporary.

When Reboot Clears Little White Box, Then What?

Of course, I’m pretty sure the box wasn’t actually white. I set my desktop background to solid white routinely, because it supports the best screenshots for my writing work. I’m pretty sure it would have reflected whatever the desktop looked like in that region.

My best guess is that the screen simply wasn’t updating that rectangular region, and it was displaying its default appearance. Hence its color, which matches the desktop background (see lead-in graphic). Whenever the graphics driver was updating the screen, it skipped whatever range of addresses that box represented for each update, like it wasn’t even there. Which is sort of true, but also annoying.

Seems like yesterday’s driver update may have dropped those addresses. In retrospect, I should have tried the graphics driver reset shortcut (WinKey+Ctrl+Shift+B ) to see if that brought the box back to life. A reboot also resets the graphics driver, among many other things that may have been unnecessary. But it did the trick.

And boy howdy, that’s how the mop flops here in Windows-World this morning. It’s always an adventure!

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Hub Disconnect Breaks IP Lease

I should have known. I took my Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Hybrid tablet upstairs with me on Saturday night for some couch-based reading. Perforce, I unhooked the device from its usual home: a CalDigit ThunderBolt 4 (TS4) hub. When I hooked it back in the next morning, the device threw an error when I tried to RDP in from my desktop. Why? It seems that a hub disconnect breaks IP lease, and forces the resumed connection to pick up a new and different IP address. It takes 24 hours or so for the machine name table to catch up with reality.

Proving That Hub Disconnect Breaks IP Lease

Open the lead-in graphic in its own window (right-click, then “Open image in new tab” or equivalent). Up top, it shows the results for 2 similar nslookup commands: one for the current IP address (ends in .41) and the other for the old, out-of-date IP address (ends in .22). You can see that the name in Remote Desktop Connection (X12Hybrid.lan, aka X12Hybrid) resolves to 192.168.1.22. Alas, as you can see in the lower part of the intro image, Advanced IP Scanner reports the current active IP address for the device as 192.168.1.41. Right now, that resolves to X12Hybrid-423.lan.

So, while I’m waiting for the name table to catch up, I’m using the actual current  IP address for the X12Hybrid to make an RDP connection. That still works, thank goodness. This is just one of the little quirks that makes Windows networking interesting from time to time. Fortunately, I have enough miles on me to recognize this when it happens.

That’ll teach me to take the laptop upstairs with me on a Saturday night, right? More fun, more fun, more fun in Windows-World!

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Snappy Misses Realtek UAD Drivers

My attitude toward Windows Update driver tools has changed a lot over the years. I’ve tried a lot of them. Indeed Tim Fisher’s “Best free” Lifewire guide mentions no fewer than 8 (May, 2024).  I’ve come to rely on an Open Source tool named Snappy Driver Installer Origin for driver checks and updates. But this morning, I noticed that Snappy misses Realtek UAD drivers — its “Universal Audio Driver” versions that work with newer devices– and wants to use HDA (High Definition Audio) drivers instead.

If Snappy Misses Realtek UAD Drivers, Then What?

I’ve long turned to the French website Station Drivers as my “driver source of last resort” when other sources come up dry. I don’t know where or how these guys get their downloads, but they usually have the very latest (and always virus-free) versions of device drivers available. Thus, for example, my updated UAD driver was version 9464.1 dated May 6, 2024.

As you can see in the lead-in screencap, Snappy correctly identifies that my aging SkyLake i7 Asrock Z170 Extreme4+ mobo has a Realtek audio device that needs a driver updates. But it insists that such a driver be the High Definition Audio (HDA) variety. That actually works, but not with the Realtek Audio Console (which pairs with UAD drivers by design).

So what I do when I see Snappy recommend a driver I don’t want is simple. I elect not to install it. Instead, I use it as a warning to update the UAD driver, then head on over to Station Drivers to see if what they’ve got for download is newer than what I’ve got installed. In this case, it turned out to be version 9464.1 (available) vs. 9618.1 (installed). Fixed that in a hurry, I did!

Supplement Tools with Experience

This is a general approach that works well with Windows maintenance of all kinds. Once you learn the foibles and limitation of your chosen tools, you can also learn when and how to over-rule them. That’s what I did with the Realtek UAD drivers this morning. As these opportunities present, I urge you to follow suit, because that sometimes the way things go here in Windows-World.

 

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Go 24H2 Outside Insider Program

i just learned something interesting. MS has added an ISO for Windows 11 Insider Preview (Release Preview Channel) – Build 26100.560 to its Preview Downloads page. As long as you access the page using an MSA that’s in the program, you can download, install and run 24H2 without future forced Insider updates. Long story short: if you want to get a head start on the next version, you can go 24H2 outside Insider Program. Neat-o (and thanks to Paul Thurrott for pointing this out).

How-to: Go 24H2 Outside Insider Program

Once you grab the ISO, mount it and run its top-level setup.exe to fire off an update or clean install. I’m doing mine in a VM because I don’t have a spare physical PC on which I’d like to run another copy of 24H2. And alas, my current one is enrolled in the Release Review channel of the Insider Program. FWIW, the download took about 15 minutes (it self-reported at 5.2 GB). The whole process took 40 minutes, give or take.

After all is said and 24H2 is running, I show winver and the Insider Program status. Because the latter starts with “Join the Windows Insider Program,” it shows that this is a 24H2 image. Ostensibly, it’s only available to Insider Program members in the Release Preview channel. But here ’tis outside that tender embrace. Thanks again, Mr. Thurrott!

Go 24H2 Outside Insider Program.visual-proof

Winver shows 24H2;Settings > WIP says “Join up!” QED.

Thurrott says this image will happily collect WU items as they’re issued going forward. I believe him. This seems like a stellar way to jump into 24H2 production mode a bit early. IDKYCDT Good stuff!

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PatchMyPC Still Rocks

In scrolling through X/Twitter this morning, I saw that fellow MVP Rudy Ooms (@Mister_MDM) has gone to work for PatchMyPC. It had been a while since I updated and used that tool, so I went and grabbed a current download from their Home Updater page. I’m pleased to report that PatchMyPC still rocks Windows updates: it found a whopping 9 items that needed a lift, even through I run WinGet pretty much daily on most of my PCs and VMs. You can see the tail end of that update cycle in the lead-in screencap.

More Reasons Why PatchMyPC Still Rocks

After searching for a successor to the now defunct SUMo (Software Update Monitor) after it went EOL last year, I’ve yet to find any other option that comes close to doing what PatchMyPC does. It’s silent (doesn’t require ongoing user interaction). The Free version is fully functional. It’s frequently updated. It’s pretty fast, too.

My only beef with PatchMyPC is that its scope is somewhat limited. WinGet covers more than 6K Windows packages of all kinds including Windows OS tools and utilities from Microsoft and third parties, apps and applications, SDKs and Runtimes, and more.  For a complete list run winget search “” > allpkgs.txt at the Command Prompt, then inspect the resulting text file. OTOH, PatchyMyPC tracks 224 items as “Main Software” and 35 items as “Portable Software.” I wish it covered more! It’s such a joy to use…

Nevertheless, PatchMyPC is well worth a try. For all the items it does cover it offers the best update experience around. Check it out!

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PowerToys Throws One-Time 24H2 RunDLL Error

When I logged into my newly-upgraded Windows 11 24H2 laptop this morning, I couldn’t help but notice something new. It’s reproduced as the lead-in graphic: it shows a missing app as the focus of a scheduled task. Upon digging into Task Scheduler, I learned that PowerToys throws one-time 24H2 RunDLL error as shown. But after ending the task, then rebooting, it doesn’t come up again. Weird!

Fixing PowerToys Throws One-Time 24H2 RunDLL Error

I right-clicked on the PowerToys entry, then right-clicked the PcaWallpaperAppDetect Task in the “All Running Tasks” pane overlaid at center right. Now, I can’t make it come back, so I can only show you where it was (I swear!). You can, however, find discussion and examples at Microsoft Answers, where I also posted info about the very fix I’ve just explained.

PowerToys Throws One-Time 24H2 RunDLL Error.Task Scheduler

I right-clicked the PcaWallpaperAppDetect task, then select “End task” from the pop-up.[Click image for full-size view.]

I was a little surprised by the outcome of my exercise. I’d expected the task to return after a reboot. But it did not, as you can see from the preceding screencap, captured after I rebooted the only 24H2 Preview PC I’ve currently got running. Go figure!

Given MS Answers Action, Going Thru Channels

Because numerous other folks are reporting the same RunDLL error online, I’m letting @ClintRutkas know about this. He’s the leader of the PowerToys dev team. That teamshas shown itself extraordinarily responsive to such reports in the past. My best guess is that they’ll fix it pronto!

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Default Browser Reset Rankles

It just happened again. I clicked a (safe) URL in an email message and found myself inside Microsoft Edge. Because my personal practice and preference is to run Chrome as the default, this was a back-handed way of telling me that my default browser had been reset. It probably came from some new VM I set up and filtered back into my MSA via OneDrive. Or I could’ve agreed to something in Edge to make that happen. However this change occurred, any surprise default browser reset rankles when it happens. I don’t like it.

Here’s Why a Default Browser Reset Rankles

I get used to things working a certain way on my desktop. When an update or a settings change affects that same old, same old, I get a little disturbed. Upon investigation, such things are mostly my own doing. I think what bit me this time I that I set up a VM a couple of days ago and just let all the standard defaults — including Edge for the browser — go through unaltered. It didn’t hit me in the chops, though, until I clicked a URL In an Outlook email yesterday  after which it opened in Edge. Ouch!

The right thing to do, obviously, is for me to use one MSA for work, and another MSA for testing and experimentation. I think I can avoid the issue through proper practices going forward. But it still rankles when a change in one place trickles down into the same change somewhere else.

Work Away from Unwanted Surprises
IS Working Smarter

As the old saying goes “Work smarter, not harder.” I will do my best to take that old saw to heart and make sure to steer clear going forward. Just another day here in Windows-World, and another case of IDKYCDT via OneDrive. Sigh.

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Digging Into Massive DISM Delay

If I needed proof that “no good deed goes unpunished,” I got that yesterday. I was revising a story for Tom’s Hardware about fixing an IRQL BSOD. By way of example I ran a pair of DISM commands and the system file checker (shown at the end of this post). The second DISM command took a LONG time to complete and hung up at 62.3% complete. Then, when I jumped to another PC it did the same thing again. That’s why I’m digging into massive DISM delay this morning.

What Digging Into Massive DISM Delay Tells Me

A quick online search tells me I’m not alone. Indeed, there’s a Reddit thread entitled “DISM Restore health stuck on 62.3%.” It  confirms what I’d observed on my own PC — namely, that the delay is NOT a hang, and the command will complete . . . eventually.

Next, I ran down the logs that get written when DISM /RestoreHealth is underway. First, I found a 10-minute gap between one timestamp and the next in the dism.log file. Then I used the same timestamp when that delay hit to look at CBS.log. Sure enough, the repair was mapping Windows Enterprise to the Professional Edition. This was followed by at least 3,371 files opened and examined (some lines open 1, others 2).

Based on a screen’s worth of entries summed and averaged it comes out to 3371 * 1.42 =  ~4829 files in all. Obviously, that can take some time. The end of this activity explains what’s going on: “Repr: CBS Store Check completes.” Then a bunch of missing manifests or catalogs come in, with a large number of update downloads after that. Poof! 10 minutes is gone.

When DISM Gets Going, It’s Busy, Busy, Busy

So even though DISM /CheckHealth found nothing amiss, DISM /Restorehealth found itself with a lot of work to do. And that’s where the “missing 10 minutes” went. Seemed like forever, but it’s apparently a well-worn routine — if the Reddit post is any indication.

And boy howdy, isn’t that exactly how things sometimes go here in Windows-World? And I suppose I should be glad that all the current public Windows 11 release PCs experience the same thing. At least, it’s consistent . . .

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Win10 VM Login Gotcha Manifests

Boy, I’m glad I’d seen this one before. I was setting up a Windows 10 VM this morning while researching an AskWoody newsletter story. When I’d gotten to the point of logging into the desktop I found myself unable to get the PIN or Password prompt from the lock screen to complete that maneuver. “Aha” I thought “I’ve seen this before, but on Windows 11.” Turns out the same Win10 VM login gotcha manifests when “Enhanced mode” view is turned on. Let me explain…

How the Win10 VM Login Gotcha Manifests

By default, Windows 10 and 11 both set the toggle for “Require Windows Hello sign-in for Microsoft accounts” in Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. For situations where users are logging in directly to a suitably equipped PC, that’s fine. But that doesn’t work for RDP sessions (my usual way to access other PCs here at Chez Tittel, including 3 desktops and up to 10 laptops).

The fix is to turn off Enhanced mode, sign in, visit Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and turn that toggle off. Then you can switch to Enhanced mode and get the login prompt from the lock screen. That’s on par in importance with the ability to cut’n’paste from a VM in an RDP session — another thing I do quite frequently. That also requires enhanced mode to work.

Keep an Eye on ComputerWorld

Fortunately I just finished an upcoming story for CW on “Building Windows 11 Virtual Machines” on May 5. I went into the whole RDP razzmatazz in getting that written so I was both forewarned and forearmed for today’s RDP gotcha with Windows 10. I hadn’t confirmed this shared little zinger beforehand, but now I know for sure. That made it super-easy to fix things, too. Good-oh!

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