22621 Takes RTM Role

OK, then: I was pretty much on the money yesterday when I speculated about Windows 11 22H2. A May 24 Windows Hardware Compatibility blog post — shown as the lead-in graphic above — totally confirms this. Indeed, Build 22621 takes RTM role for OEMs in the run-up to its release later this year.

If 22621 Takes RTM Role, Then What?

Here’s a quote from my May 24 piece Windows 11 21H2 Hits Broad Deployment:

As I’ve already reported on May 16, Beta Channel Build 22621 is very likely to RTM as 22H2 in a short while. That makes 22H2 GA likely in September or October.

The lead-in graphic (see red boxed text) confirms that Build 22621 is the “Windows 11, version 22H2 certfication build.” That makes it the starting point for the images that OEMs will build to load onto machines sold after the 22H2 GA date whenever that might be.

And, as for that date, later on in the afore-cited Windows HCL blog post it says:

Partners looking to achieve compatibility for systems shipping with Windows 11, version 22H2 Release may use drivers for components that achieved compatibility with Windows 11, Version 21H2 until Sept 5th, 2021

To me that puts GA date sometime after September 5, and seems to confirm my speculation that this would occur in September or October of this year. Unless something unforeseen occurs — and it could — September 6 is suddenly looking possible. Stay tuned, though: as usual, I’ll keep tracking this and let you know what I learn.


Windows 11 21H2 Hits Broad Deployment

Does anybody else see irony in this? If you check the lead-in graphic for this story, you’ll see it captures the header of the Windows 11 known issues and notifications document. The section I show is dated May 17. It reads (in part): “Windows 11 is designated for broad deployment.” Thus, when I claim that Windows 11 21H2 hits broad deployment that’s almost verbatim.

So, where’s the irony? We’re taking about 21H2. It has an RTM date of June 24, 2021, and a GA date of October 5, 2021. This is late May 2022. As I’ve already reported on May 16, Beta Channel Build 22621 is very likely to RTM as 22H2 in a short while. That makes 22H2 GA likely in September or October. To me, the irony is strong. As the older version gets fully broadcast, the new one is entering the pipeline, heading in the same direction.

What Windows 11 21H2 Hits Broad Deployment Means

Simply put, this means MS is not longer withholding an upgrade offer of Windows 11 21H2 to any qualified PCs. Previously, they’d been holding back on machines with known issues such as device or driver incompatibilities. Now, it’s open season for anyone with an eligible PC. In part, this tells business users that “Windows 11 is ready for prime time.”

This comes at roughly the same time that Panos Panay delivered a Computex keynote in which Windows 11 figures strongly. In that address, he touted Windows 11 in a string of superlatives. Windows 11, he avers, is MS’s highest rated, highest quality OS ever, with faster business adoption than “in any previous version of Windows.”

Interestingly, Panay also mentioned that “Windows 10 had that great moment” (emphasis mine). He went on to say that “But Windows 11 in its moment …[is]…driving in the right direction for our customers every day.” Paul Thurrott interprets this to mean “…you shouldn’t expect any meaningful updates to Windows 10 going forward.” FWIW, I agree.

Too Much Windows 11 Drama

Lots of news outlets online are expressing dismay and disbelief in reaction to Panay’s keynote. I’m not upset, and I think I understand what’s going on. Panay is working to move the business base to dig into 11 and to get the long, slow, deliberate migration process going. Given that business usually waits for the first “real upgrade” to a new OS to start its processes forward, I see this more an an announcement that “The upgrade is coming. Time to get serious about migration.” more than anything else.

Hyperbole is to be expected in trade show keynotes. I see a more serious and not at all sinister purpose at work. Call me naive, or even a Polyanna, but this looks like a calculated wake-up call to me.


X12 Hybrid Tablet 25120 Issues Continue

OK, then, I just updated from Build 25120.1000 to 25120.1010 on both of my test machines. In what’s becoming an emerging pattern, the X380 Yoga sailed through the process. OTOH, the X12 Hybrid tablet PC did not. Hence my assertion that my X12 Hybrid Tablet 25120 issues continue unabated. They’re weird, but they don’t last long. Let me explain…

Why Say: X12 Hybrid Tablet 25120 Issues Continue

This time around, I saw similar weirdnesses with 8GadgetPack after the reboot to the desktop on 25120.1010. But because I RDP’ed into that PC anyway, it looks like things fixed themselves as a result of that maneuver. Makes me wonder if my earlier repairs were really necessary. I’m killing my RDP session right now to check the desktop locally…

Indeed, everything looks normal from both a local and an RDP vantage point. But getting to the desktop this time around was time-consuming. The post-GUI restart took 25-30 minutes to complete vs. a more typical 5 minutes or 20. Post-GUI seemed to take the same amount of time, though — about 5 more minutes.

Where Things Get Weird

In fact, the post-GUI reboot didn’t complete until AFTER I’d disconnected the Thunderbolt 3 dock I use on that PC for external storage and a wired GbE connection. Once the PC got to the desktop, I reconnected the dock. Immediately, the OS recognized the dock and its drives. As the following graphic shows, it also reports what it sees correctly:

X12 Hybrid Tablet 25120 Issues Continue.winver

Eventually, after disconnecting the Thunderbolt dock, post-GUI reboot completes, as does the update

Of course, there’s only one way to show my possible diagnosis is correct. When the next CU or upgrade comes along in the Dev Channel, I’ll disconnect the dock before I start that process. If it completes normally, that’ll demonstrate the dock is a potential culprit. If I still have problems, I’ll know it’s something else. Stay tuned: I’ll let you know. It’s interesting and weird, whatever it is…


Windows 11 Dev Beta Channels Diverge

OK, what had been joined is now put asunder. Yesterday, Windows 11 Dev Channel went to Build 25115, and Beta Channel to Build 22621. This means that the two Insider Previews are now different. In fact, when Windows 11 Dev Beta channels diverge, it means they have different goals. According to WindowsLatest, 22621 represents a big push toward the first feature update for Windows 11. OTOH, 25115 shows that MS is still pushing forward into future releases looking into 2023 and the “next” feature update upcoming.

When Windows 11 Dev Beta Channels Diverge, Then What?

Among other things, this explains why MS broadcast an email warning to Dev Channel Insiders last week that “unstable and buggy preview builds will soon begin rolling out in the Dev Channel” (source: WindowsLatest,  May 8). In other words, the Dev Channel is returning to its primary role as a “first exposure” to new features, functions, and whatnot making its way into limited circulation for testing and feedback. Frankly, I’m looking forward to this.

As for the Beta Channel, it’s gearing up for progressively more locked down snapshots of what will become the 22H2 release for Windows 11. Thus, it should become an increasingly accurate rendition of the next production Windows 11 release. Again: I look forward to this, too.

You can see the Winver output from these two different versions in the lead-in graphic for this story. The Dev Channel release (Build 25115.1000) is to the left.The Beta Channel release (Build 22621.1) is to the right.

Fun and Foibles A’Comin…

With a more freehwheeling and experimental take on Windows 11 coming to the Dev Channel, life is about to get more interesting. Who knows? There may be bugs or hiccups to detect and report, and trouble to shoot. That’s why I signed up for the Insider program, and why I’m looking forward to more new stuff ahead. Sure, there may be instability and bugs. But that’s a good thing in the interests of getting things out there, and then getting them right. Cheers!


RDP Goes MIA Following KB4014650 Update

Yesterday (May 10) was Patch Tuesday. A plethora of updates hit for Windows 10 and 11 across most versions. Right now, various Windows news outlets are reporting issues with some of the updates just released. Naturally, I wanted to check to see if any of my PCs were affected, In reaching out to my various systems, I noticed RDP goes MIA following KB4014650 update to at least one of my Windows 11 Dev Channel PCs.

FWIW, that’s different from issues reported elsewhere (see this WindowsLatest story for an example). Most revolve around issues related to .NET Framework 3.5 problems.

Fixing RDP Goes MIA Following KB4014650 Update

On my Lenovo X12 Hybrid, the symptoms of trouble were easy to spot. Even though the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock remained plugged in, the system saw neither its GbE connection, nor the nominal 5TB HDD plugged into one of its USB-C ports. Thus I knew something was up with peripheral connections. Fortunately, an unplug/re-plug operation brought both the dock and the drive back into service.

One of my X380 Yogas was unaffected by the update, and RDP kept working as always. Amusingly, the second instance (both machines are identical except that one has a Toshiba/Kioxa SSD, while the other has a Samsung, of which both are OEM varieties) did not come up right away. A visit to Settings → System → Remote Desktop to turn Remote Desktop off, then turn it back on, did the trick for this machine.

Neither fix was a big deal: each was obvious and thus easily identified, and likewise easy to fix. I can only wish all my Windows problems were this lacking in subtlety and amenable to repair. Long experience teaches me otherwise.

Shades of Other Days & Other Fixes

I can remember days when Windows 10 updates would routinely mess with my Network and Sharing Center settings. Advanced sharing settings for Private, Guest or Public, and All Network elements would routinely revert to their defaults. So then, I would have to re-set them to the way I wanted them to be. This latest set of issues strikes me as something in that vein. Hopefully, it will be just a one-time blip rather than a new continuing gotcha. Time will tell: I’ll keep watching, and report what I find. Stay tuned!


Windows 11 OS Purchase Follies

OK, then: MS is making Windows 11 available for purchase in the form of boxed USB flash drives for both Pro and Home versions. Take a look at this Amazon Search and you’ll find prices all over the place. This could easily lead to Windows 11 OS purchase follies for those willing to shop around . . . and around . . . and around. The lead-in graphic shows one instance for US$149 for Windows 11 Pro, despite MSRPs of US$199 for that same version, and US$139 for Home.

What Makes Windows 11 OS Purchase Follies Likely?

A quick look at the search results show that prices range from a low of US$112 or so to a high of US$199 for Pro, and US$99 to a high of US$139 for Home. Given that it’s new to the market, I’d expect the range to widen and the number of options to skyrocket.This could make shopping overly interesting, if you ask me.

On the other hand, VG Soft is currently offering Windows 10 Pro in boxed, USB form for a mere US$85 on Amazon. The tag line on the product listing itself says: “free upgrade to Windows 11.” Why on earth pay more for native Windows 11 (either flavor) when you can get Pro for US$27-115 less?

I can’t think of a single good reason, either. As long as Windows 10 is cheaper than 11, and the free upgrade offer stands, this is surely the best way to go. That is, unless you have unused, valid Windows 7 or 8 keys around: those you can still upgrade to 11 as well, entirely for free.



Easy Start Menu Search Repair

Although I use Stardock’s alternative menu programs on Windows 10 and 11, I also use the built-in Start menu, too. it’s especially good at taking me straight to Windows 10 apps through its search box. That’s true, however, only as long as that search function is working. This weekend, I ran into a situation where it quit doing its thing. Fortunately, I found an easy Start menu search repair technique. Let me share it with you…

What’s the Easy Start Menu Search Repair Technique?

Once again, it’s a matter of jumping into Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer. Note: this also means a restart works equally well (though it takes longer). Why? Because it, too, automatically resets Explorer as part of that overall process.

Here are the steps involved:
1. Open Task Manager (on Windows 10, you can right-click the taskbar and select the Task Manager entry or use CTRL-SHIFT-ESC key combo; on Windows 11, only the latter works).

2. Look for Windows Explorer on the Processes tab. If absent, open an instance from the Taskbar (or your favorite other means). Right-click the entry, then select Restart from the pop-up menu.

That’s it. It won’t work 100% of the time, but it does work most of the time. If it fails, then it’s time to start considering other, more serious windows repairs. These include using DISM and SFC, running the Windows Troubleshooter, an in-place upgrade repair install, and other tried and true repairs.

Fortunately, none of those proved necessary for me this weekend. AND I was able to resume my Solitaire session without having to find the App alphabetically instead. (Note: even when search was munged, that still worked…)


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.


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!)]


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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