All posts by Ed Tittel

Full-time freelance writer, researcher and occasional expert witness, I specialize in Windows operating systems, information security, markup languages, and Web development tools and environments. I blog for numerous Websites, still write (or revise) the occasional book, and write lots of articles, white papers, tech briefs, and so forth.

PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes

Whoa! No sooner had I updated PowerShell from version 7.3.9 to 7.3.10 than came the 7.4.0 in-window notification. You can see all this in the lead-in graphic, as a rare but not unheard-of PowerShell Update twofer strikes my local Windows 10 and 11 desktops.

When PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes, Keep Going

I had to chuckle after I patted myself on the back for updating PowerShell inside Command Prompt (the best way to avoid odd update behavior that can occur when PowerShell attempts to update itself). The very next thing I saw in a new PS window was the “black text against white background” notification shown in the lead-in graphic.

That notification reads:

A new PowerShell stable version is available: v7.4.0
Upgrade now, or check out the release page at

That URL links to the named release page at GitHub, where one can download an installer that matches OS, architecture and so forth. I ran the file named PowerShell-7.4.0-win-x64.msi. It worked like a charm!

And unlike other, earlier attempts at running the MSI installer to move up a PowerShell version, this one successfully cleaned out the just-updated 7.3.10 version without difficulties. Looks like the PowerShell team is getting its act together…

This does raise the question: when will winget update start targeting v7.4.0 instead of v7.3.10? Looks like that’s already taken care of. Look at this output from winget upgrade from a Windows 11 test machine: it literally got fixed while I was writing this blog post. LOL!

PowerShell Update Twofer Strikes.winget-check

Winget now knows it needs to target v7.4.0 as the current PS version. [Click image for full-sized view.]

As you can see, winget upgrade is not recommending 7.3.10 anymore. Now it’s aware of, and ready to upgrade to, 7.4.0. Good-oh!



Start11 v2 Familiarization Blivets

Among lots of other stuff, I just learned that there are many, many more whimsical definitions for the word “blivet” than I ever imagined. Check out this Google Search to see what I mean. The term popped up in connection to several annoying, ridiculous and useless (or at least, unintelligible) things that just happened to me while working further with Stardock’s mostly terrrific Start 11 utility. I call them Start11 v2 familiarization blivets because they popped up as I continue to work with and get to know this program’s latest incarnation. Let me explain…

Enumerating Start11 v2 Familiarization Blivets

Here are two blivets I’ve just run into:

1. Search for Start11 in the Windows Start menu, and multiple hits appear. One of them is Start11 v2, another is Start11. I had to screw around a bunch to figure out that Start11 is right entry to select to launch the Start11 v2 controls. The only way you can do the latter, actually, is to “Run as administrator” (and it only works sometimes). Suggestion to Stardock: drop the other entries and stick with only Start11. This was both frustrating and vexing, and non-obvious.

2. Start11 v2 does indeed offer rounded corners on the taskbar. But you must first enter its Taskbar controls, turn that rounding feature on (Under the “Advanced rounded taskbar settings” heading), then restart. After that, there ’tis — but only on local displays. Doesn’t show up in a Remote Desktop (Connection) window. Suggestion to Stardock: see if this is indeed a remote access phenomenon. I see only square taskbar corners in Remote Desktop Connection. Using the Remote Desktop app, I may see rounded taskbar corners in a less-than-full-screen view, but they’re squared off in full screen view. I really can’t tell if they’re working or not…

And That’s the Thing About Blivets

They’re just mostly annoying and somewhat outside normal expectations. I still like Start11 (even the v2) version. I just have to vent when things get a little odd or annoying. And is that ever the way things must go in Windows-World, particularly when dealing with beta, new, and/or preview software. What fun!


PowerToys Needs Specific .NET Runtime

I saw with some interest that Microsoft released .NET 8.0 earlier this week. As I was running winget yesterday, I also noticed that Microsoft Windows Desktop Runtime needed an update from version 6.0.24 to 6.0.25 (see lead-in graphic, where it shows up second from the top). “Hmmm…” I thought “I wonder if something will blow up if I delete this older version.” So I did. And indeed, when I went on to update PowerToys later that afternoon, I noticed it was smart enough to install version 6.0.25 during its own install process. Hence my claim: PowerToys needs specific .NET runtime.

Why PowerToys Needs Specific .NET Runtime…

There’s obviously some dependencies in the code that link to this specific version of .NET. Even though I installed 8.0 (and you can also see a current 7.0 version in the lead-in graphic as well) there’s something in the 6.x versions that PowerToys needs to do its thing properly.

Please take this as an illlustration of why one so commonly finds multiple generations of the various .NET runtimes (Core, Desktop, SDK and Framework) running on a single Windows instance. Different apps, applications, and even OS built-ins need different ,NET runtimes and so forth to do their jobs. And that’s the way things go on desktops and servers here in Windows-World. Get used to it!

Meet the .NET uninstall tool

All this goes to explain why there’s a special tool named dotnet-core-uninstall that lets you get rid of those .NET elements for which no current dependencies exist. See this terrific MS Learn document “.NET uninstall tool” for all the gory details. It runs inside PowerShell or Command Prompt, and helps you find and remove obsolete .NET components. Good stuff!


Happy 17th Birthday PowerShell

In reading about the run-up to the MS Ignite conference — getting underway in Seattle — I learned this morning that November 14 is the anniversary date for PowerShell. That’s why I expressed the sentiment in the title — namely “Happy 17th Birthday PowerShell!”

Why Say: Happy 17th Birthday PowerShell?

Since its inception in 2006, PowerShell (PS) has slowly and steadily taken over the lead role at the command line for Windows admins and enthusiasts. Probably more importantly, PS became open-source and cross-platform in August 2016 with the debut of PowerShell Core. According to Wikipedia, as of Windows 10 Build 14971 (November 2016) PS took over the default role as primary command line shell for Windows.

What makes PS worth getting to know? Unlike the Command Prompt (which traces all the way back to DOS days) it’s a fully featured runtime environment. Thus it handles task automation and configuration management. And it does so in an environment that’s got most of the capabilities of a full-blown programming environment. Shoot: you can create interactive scripts using PS, and you can embed PS within other applications. Then, too, PS supports an extensive library of built-in cmdlets (“commandlets”) to support all kinds of specialized, focused operations. It also works both locally and remotely. IMO, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

The Journey to PS Nerdvana

I’ve been working with PS increasingly since it initially became available around the same time that Windows Vista appeared. But it’s only in the last 3-4 years I’ve really started working with it more extensively. It is very much the case that the more I’ve used it, the more I’ve come to like PowerShell.

Indeed, I’ve got a TekkiGurus story coming sometime soon that provides a PS script to show how I customize Windows Terminal and PS on my PCs. (I’ll link to it when it goes live.) It includes:

  • Download, installing and configuring OhMyPosh, along with a Nerd Font is uses for prompt customization in PowerShell
  • Download, install, and add a ColorTool to the PS environment
  • Install and use Winfetch to show off current WT/PS look and feel

So again: happy birthday, PowerShell. You’ve made my job in setting up and taking care of Windows images and installations much, much easier. Thanks a bunch!


Key Combo Kills Screen Toggle

I’ve been here too many times before. Part of my morning routine is a the daily challenge at the Microsoft Solitaire Connection. Occasionally my right hand screen (my playing field, so to speak) will flicker on and off while I’m playing. If it persists more than a few times, I know I need a fix. Over time, Ive learned that a certain key combo kills screen toggle (on-off) effects. For the record that combo is WinKey+Ctrl+Shift+B. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This morning, it did the trick quite nicely.

Which Key Combo Kills Screen Toggle?

Interestingly enough, Mayank Parmar wrote a story about the Winkey+Ctrl+Shift+B key combo at Windows Latest this morning. I suppose since I was running Windows 10 (not 11 as in the title of that item) I should observe that this trick works there, too. In fact, as he reports there correctly, this combo has been part of Windows since Vista made the scene in 2006.

I’ve been in situations like the one I described above (e.g playing MS Solitaire and the screen starts blinking on and off) when the key combo does NOT fix things. Oddly enough when that has happened in the past, it’s been readily rectified by running GeForce Experience to determine that a new graphics driver is available. And so far, when those two things are true (screen is toggling; new driver is ready to download) switching from the old to a new driver has fixed the problem.

For More Serious Graphics Issues…

If neither the WinKey+Ctrl+Shift+B combo, nor a new driver, fixes things life suddenly gets more interesting. Trying the driver version prior to the one that was running will sometimes work (and sometimes not). After that, it usually requires checking the GPU and making sure it’s seated properly, checking and possibly swapping graphics cables from GPU to monitor, and checking the monitor itself. On a laptop that all happens internally (and for many folks, may require a trip to the repair shop or an OEM depot).

For all our sakes, I hope things don’t go that far if the display starts acting a little flaky. FWIW, the key combo almost always works for me. May it do the same for you!


OneDrive Quit Flap Flopped Magnificently

I have to laugh. In the past week-plus, a huge to-do has emerged around OneDrive. Seems that MS decided not to let users quit the program without providing a reason. That is, users had to pick from a list of options to explain why they were exercising the “Quit OneDrive” option shown in the lead-in graphic before the program would cease operations. Today, MS removed that requirement as this OneDrive Quit flap flopped magnificently with users. They didn’t buy in!

Why OneDrive Quit Flap Flopped Magnificently

Simply put, the overwhelming consensus from users varied between “WTF!” and “You can’t make me do that!!!” MS was testing this survey and got savaged by respondents. According to Sergey Tkachenko at WinAero “Following negative customer feedback, Microsoft has decided to revert the OneDrive exit confirmation.” Again: LOL!

Here’s the list of options that MS presented to users as they attempted to exit OneDrive (screen-capped from the afore-linked WinAero story, since I missed to the whole shebang):

OneDrive Quit Flap Flopped Magnificently.quitlist

7 Ways to Leave Your OneDrive.(Credit: WinAero)

Now the quit option has reverted to its former less vexing version, as shown here:

So Quit, Already…

Case closed, I guess. Somebody, somewhere is surely thinking: “Let’s not do THAT again for a while, OK?” And boy bowdy, is that ever the way things go in Windows-World from time to time. The last laugh is the best one, they say — so let it rip! Still chuckling…


WU Finally Proffers 23H2

OK, then. The wait is over — for the Ryzen 5800X system anywho. I just checked WU on that machine and got an offer. Now that WU finally proffers 23H2 on that system, it’s kind of an anticlimax. Took less than 3 minutes to download and install, reboot and everything.

As WU Finally Proffers 23H2, I Install It!

I’ve been deliberately waiting on this offer, to see how long it would take for WU to make it happen. Now I know: this time, it took 9 days after the original info came out for WU to come knocking at my door. One wonders, sometimes, how these things happen. I’m just glad the new release is finally arriving through “official channels.”

On my “big beast” test PCs — most notably, the P16 and P1 Gen 6 Mobile Workstation Thinkpads — I wasn’t inclined to wait. I simply grabbed the MSU file that Shawn Brink posted at, and had at it right away. I could be patient where the Asrock B550 (Ryzen 5800X, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) and Dell Optiplex 7080 (11th-gen i7, 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) were concerned.

So, whatever the holdup may have been, it came off sometime in the last 24 hours (I last checked these PCs in the morning yesterday, so it could be more like 30 hours, but no more). And now, things are upgraded.

Known Issues Sez…

I’d wondered if the BitLocker or Intel Smart Sound Technology issues on the Known Issues list might have been involved. I see they’ve both been “Mitigated.” But neither has been updated since October 31. So neither is an obvious culprit for the hold on those two PCs, either.

Sigh: I may never know what slowed the offer, or what eventually made it come through. Can I live with that? Heck, yeah! That just the way things sometimes go, here in Windows-World. By now, I’m used to it…




November Windows 11 Deprecation Includes Tips

For some, this may be good news. For others, not so much. MS announced a raft of “Deprecated features for Windows Client” on November 7. Among them is one of my personal pet peeves. That’s right November Windows 11 Deprecation includes tips app amidst its number, along the Computer Browser, WebDAV, and Remote Mailslots, atop a list of older items. See the afore-linked MS Learn item for all the details.

If November Windows 11 Deprecation Includes Tips, Then What?

First of all deprecated doesn’t exactly mean “dead.” Instead, it means something more like “while it’s on its way to oblivion, you’d best learn to live without it.”  Microsoft positions this status as follows:

The features in this article are no longer being actively developed, and might be removed in a future update. Some features have been replaced with other features or functionality and some are now available from other sources.

That’s OK with me, because I was never a huge fan of the Tips app. I seldom, if ever, turned to it explicitly. And when MS fired it in my direction thanks to defaults or settings I didn’t (yet) know about, I would invariably turn them off when they made themselves known.

Tips app info from the Windows 11 Start Menu.

But that’s just me. For all I know, there are plenty of people left in the lurch with the immanent departure of Tips from the scene. All I can say is; I’m glad not to be a member of that no-doubt disconsolate group.

For Me, Opting In Beats Opting Out

In general I’m of the opinion that if MS wants to make information services available to users, they should introduce and explain them. Then, after demonstrating their costs and benefits, they should give interested users an opportunity to opt in. Those who want to use those services can do so, but those who don’t want them need do nothing to keep them at bay.

Indeed, there’s a whole class of emerging Windows built-ins called System Components (see my October 27 post for deets) for which the same treatment makes good sense (Tips is among them, in case you wondered). Ditto for things like the new Windows Backup app, now included in ALL Windows 11 distros, over the vehement and vociferous objections of Enterprise and Education license holders.

Gosh! If MS were to adopt an opt-in philosophy for all stuff that’s not strictly necessary for Windows 11 to function properly, it would make life easier for the admins who handle images and their deployment and the people who use them. Something to consider, eh? Hope somebody high up at MS takes this to heart…


SUMo Is Turned Off

I have to laugh, so I don’t cry. Despite rumors that its developer, Kyle Katarn, might republish his dandy Software Update Monitor (S U Mo) utility as Open Source code, the supporting servers shut down on November first. Notice the company slogan for KC Softwares (Katarn’s company, and the program’s maker) reads: “We are here to stay.” Now that SUMo is turned off, there’s some irony there, eh?

When SUMO Is Turned Off, Then What?

I had a general inkling that things might go sideways on November 1. Why? Because the website reads:

KC Softwares activities are to be terminated by end of October 2023.
All products are to be considered as End-Of-Life (EOL) on October 31st 2023.

And indeed, when I tried to run the program on November 1, I got an error message as it tried to scan its database for the first item in its inventory (7-Zip, by virtue of its position at the top of the alph sorting order).

SUMo Is Turned Off.server-error

Trying again later is not going to help. The server is off.

Other, Less Palatable Alternatives

LifeWire has a September 11, 2023 story “11 Best Free Software Updater Programs.” At this point, I’ve tried them all. I’m a big fan of Patch My PC, but it doesn’t cover enough of my installed software base to do the job on its own. And so far, none of the others have really captured my fancy or regard.

Why is that? Most of the free versions have paid-for counterparts. And most of them also qualify as “teaseware” — that is, they tell you about things they could do for you if you purchased the paid-for version. For now, I’m getting by with winget (and WingetUI), Patch My PC, and a bit of elbow grease. Hopefully, a real contender will emerge (and sooner is better than later).

Stay tuned! I’ll keep you posted. But don’t hold your breath, either. This could — and probably will — take a while…


Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux

Back in June, I posted here about an odd issue regarding Teams updates. With a new app version of Teams out, it’s back again but in a different form. Simply put, winget wants me to upgrade from the standalone version  to the app version. The old version (which MS labels “Classic” online) is ID’d as Microsoft.Teams. So is the app version, but it is named “Microsoft Teams (work or school)” rather than just “Microsoft Teams.” In this distinction lies an interesting rub.

Why There’s a Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux

Turns out the “work or school” distinction matters to those who want to use Teams with an MSA that is NOT part of an Azure or Active Directory domain. That would be me, with the MSA I use for my WIMVP access to an online community that MS itself set up for this group. You can’t use the app version to login to this community because MS isn’t exposing the the right kind of alternative authentication outside the Azure/AD umbrella. When I try to use the app version with the MSA I need, it doesn’t work. If I switch to an MSA that works, I can’t access the communities I wish to see and use.

So I have to keep the classic version around, even though I typically log in to the WIMVP and other communities through the Web interface to classic teams. Indeed, I haven’t been able to access my non-Azure/AD MSA-based communities in Teams except through the classic version. This is interesting, and a bit frustrating, because the app version only works for my old Win10.Guru (AD-based) MSA, but for none of the other Teams communities to which I belong.

Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux.classic

When I type “teams” into the Start menu, the default is to open the app. Alas, I MUST use the “classic” version.

It’s just one of those things. I guess. I’ll be happy when Microsoft gets the work done to permit such MSAs to use the app version. Only then can I uninstall the classic version. Until that happens, I’m stuck with the “winget nag” phenomenon. Sigh.