Category Archives: Cool Tools

Chrome Signals Busy During 114 Update

Here’s something I’d never run into before. Yesterday, while attempting to upgrade Chrome from a 113.x to the latest 114.y version, I got a “servers busy, try again later” error message. That’s why I’m saying Chrome signals busy during 114 update. Interestingly, this meant that even downloading and running the installer didn’t work. It couldn’t get anything from the servers, either.

If Chrome Signals Busy During 114 Update,
Then What?

Wait for the condition to clear, of course. The denial of service lasted for under half and hour as far as I could tell. But that made me chuckle at the slogan from the download page that appears in the lead graphic. Indeed, there was no place like Chrome yesterday at all. You couldn’t get there from here — at least, not for a while.

Once the servers started responding to download requests as usual, the update went through without difficulty. I guess that’s just the way things sometimes go, here in Windows World. The old saw that begins “If at first you don’t succeed…” somehow comes to mind in this context.

Poking Around Inside Chrome Settings…

While waiting for the DoS to clear, I started poking around inside Chrome settings to see what was new. In turn, this led me to the “chrome web store” where I found some interesting themes and extensions to look at and play with. Given the prevalence of JSON in Windows Terminal, PowerShell, WinGet and other tools, I’m definitely going to take the JSON Formatter for a spin.

Sounds like fun, in fact. So yesterday’s dithering and delay was by no means a total wast of time. And now, the latest Chrome version has made its way onto all of my Windows PCs. Cheers!



Winget Zip Support Is Uncertain Right Now

I have to laugh, because that beats crying. Upon reading about built-in support for ZIP files added to winget v1.4.0.1071, I had to try it (note: it works in some Preview 1.5.1081 installs as well). I ran into issues on various PCs,owing to a missing dependency item. You can see what that error looks like in the lead-in graphic. It worked on some of my PCs but not all of them. Hence I say: Winget Zip support is uncertain right now. It works in some cases, in others it doesn’t.

Exploring Winget Zip Support Is Uncertain Right Now

If you look at the winget output in the lead-in figure, you’ll see the problem isn’t really with the unZIP process. That completes OK as the output line “Successfully extracted archive…” indicates. It blows up after that as it attempts to use the extracted files to drive actual installation. I’ve reported this to team lead Demitrius Nelson, and he suspects some additional framework package is needed. Seems likely given that “dependency missing” is explicitly cited in the last line of the error message.

I did succeed on a few of my systems whereas several others failed with the error message shown above. Here’s how success looks:

Winget Zip Support Is Uncertain Right

When things work, it simply installs from the (temporarily) unzipped archive’s contents. Good-oh!

The Store Version Works Around the Issue

If you don’t want to wait for MS to fix this particular — and quite minor — gotcha, download and install the MS Store version instead. I already know that works just fine because I blogged about it last Thursday: Exploring Windows 11 Dev Home. As a member of the “I have to see it working” club, I’m glad I tried winget to take an alternate install path this morning. That gave me the opportunity to report an interesting gotcha to the dev team. And indeed I got a response back within minutes when I reported my findings to them.

Further, I’m pleased to report that I just tried the MS Store technique on one of my affected PCs, and it worked. The Preview version of Dev Home is now running on that machine. Good stuff!

Note Added June 5 Late Afternoon: Fixed?

I reported the issue this morning and got an immediate response with an explanation and a workaround. Just now, I successfully installed DevHome on two more PCs, with no issues. My sample size is waaaaaaaaay too small for me to say “Fixed” But I can say that perhaps it has been addressed. Thus, fixed? No further direct from the WinGet team means I cany guess, but my guess is — I hope — a good one.



Winget Upgrade May Require Cleanup

OK, then: yesterday dev lead Demetrius Nelson and his Winget team pushed an upgrade to winget. This comes courtesy of the Microsoft Store, and shows up as part of the App Installer and/or Windows Terminal packages. I noticed also that winget would occasionally throw the error “Failed in attempting to update the source: winget” as you can see in the lead-in screencap. What made it interesting was that it happens on some, but not all, of my Windows PCs. Now, let me explain why this post says that the “Winget upgrade may require cleanup.”

Why Say: Winget Upgrade May Require Cleanup?

When I saw this pop up in the wake of the new release, I figured the changes involved in pushing it out the door might have been involved. So I contacted Mr. Nelson and sent him (among other info) the screencap that leads this piece off. He responded this morning and explained how I could fix the issue, using the commands:

winget uninstall Microsoft.Winget.Source_8wekyb3d8bbwe
winget source reset --force

The first string removes the winget package from the PC. The second resets the winget environment, which is why the user must agree to Terms again before winget will run. After that it shows no upgrades are available (“No installed package found matching input criteria” with no accompanying error message (“Failed in attempting to update the source: winget”).

Problem solved; case closed. It’s always good to get the fix right from the source. Had to laugh about the “It won’t break while the engineer is watching” comment he sent me, too. Isn’t that just the way things go in Windows-World (and elsewhere in life)? LOL

See the whole thing here:

The fix is in — and working! Good stuff…


Exploring Windows 11 Dev Home

Last week, MS released Windows 11 Dev Channel Build 25375.1 (May 25). Having finally gotten a little ahead of my workflow, I visited the MS Store to download Dev Home (Preview). This afternoon, I’ve been exploring Windows 11 Dev Home (Preview) to see what’s what. So far, it’s pretty interesting…

When Exploring Windows 11 Dev Home, Try These…

In the Dashboard, the “+Add Widget” button lets one add widgets for things that include Memory, Network, CPU and GPU. Of course, as a long-time 8GadgetPack fan, I had to try them out. Here’s what they look like:

The various hardware subsystem widgets aren’t too bad — but not equal to gadget counterparts, either.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Other elements of Dev Home — as you should expect from the name — are distinctly developer focused. You can interact with GitHub and other development platforms, and configure devices for development using XAML or YAML configuration files (just like the newly-added winget capabilities, through no coincidence whatsoever).

The Official (Store) Word Sez…

MS describes Dev Home (Preview) as follows:

Dev Home is a control center providing the ability to track all of your workflows and coding tasks in one place. It features a streamlined setup tool that enables you to install apps and packages in a centralized location, extensions that allow you to connect to your developer accounts (such as GitHub), and a customizable dashboard with a variety of developer-focused widgets, to give you the information you need right at your fingertips.

This is an open source project and we welcome community participation. To participate, please visit

This makes for some interesting and potentially useful capability under a single umbrella. So far, I’m having fun looking around and messing with the widgets. Later on, I’ll get more serious about the dev side of things, and bring Visual Studio and other elements into play. Stay tuned!



Windows 11 Beta Shows OneDrive Holdings

OK, then. Here’s a minor –but nice — addition to Windows 11 that shows up in Build 22631.1825. That’s right, Windows 11 Beta shows OneDrive Holdings, as you can see in the lead-in graphic. Start → Settings → Accounts takes you where you need to go. It’s right up top, under a heading named “Microsoft storage” as shown in the image.

If Windows 11 Beta Shows OneDrive Holdings, Then What?

I’ve been wary of using OneDrive as a shared file store across multiple PCs. Why? Mostly because things sometimes show up in OneDrive without my specific knowledge or intent. I’ve learned, for example, to explicitly target screencaps in the Pictures folder under my user account folder hierarchy rather than defaulting to the Pictures folder in OneDrive. I shoot tens to hundreds of MB of screencaps monthly (mostly to write about them). I don’t necessarily want them to follow me around to all of my PCs. Ditto for other common Windows File Explorer library folders (Documents, Downloads, Videos, etc.).

But now, I may have to rethink how and when I use OneDrive. It’s now much easier to see when things grow (or worse, mushroom out of control) in that shared store. It occurs to me, for example, when updating apps across my mini-fleet (about a dozen PCs) it might just be easier to download once, stick it in OneDrive, then use it where needed. Just a thought…

Managing OneDrive … Carefully

Searching Google for “OneDrive Manager,” I see numerous third-party tools — and lots of tutorials — aimed at keeping this unruly beast tamed. Methinks I need to spend some time digging, learning, and thinking. I already use Google Drive, Box, and DropBox to good effect (particularly with legal clients). I believe I can and now, should, learn to do likewise with OneDrive. Stay tuned!


RingCentral Requires In-app Upgrade

In checking over my mini-fleet (1 dozen) of Windows PCs this morning, I came across an interesting winget gotcha. The tool cheerfully informed me RingCentral needed an upgrade. But neither a general upgrade (winget upgrade –all …) nor a targeted upgrade (winget upgrade RingCentral.RingCentral-v …) did the trick. Today, at least, it seems that RingCentral requires an in-app upgrade to bring itself up to snuff.

Why RingCentral Requires In-App Upgrade Is Anybody’s Guess

The whole story plays out in the lead-in screencap. It shows winget upgrade, as it includes RingCentral in its list of item in need of same. Then it shows the general upgrade (winget upgrade –all –include-unknown) updating 2 of those 3 items (excluding RingCentral). Then it shows a general RingCentral command (winget upgrade RingCentral.RingCentral), and a version specific invocation both failing with “No applicable upgrade found.” (If you can’t see it as-is, open the lead-in graphic in its own tab, please.)

So I opened the app and — guess what? — it cheerfully updated itself as part of its startup behavior. I searched the RingCentral knowledge base for insight, but found none.

Installed Apps Tells a More Nuanced Story…

In checking the target PC (one of my road laptops: a Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation) I found not one — but TWO — instances of RingCentral installed on that machine.

RingCentral Requires In-app Upgrade.2instances

In addition to version — which winget told me I needed — I also found version Interesting!

I uninstalled the older version, and RingCentral no longer needs an upgrade but still launches. But alas, it no longer shows up in winget, either. Even more interesting. So I just went into the app and made sure it is working (it is) and that it’s running the advertised most current version (it is).

But winget still shows “No installed package found matching input criteria.” Looks like this version does not register with winget. It doesn’t show up in SUMo, either. But the version DID show up in “winget list ringcentral” in the earlier screencap. So I think we’re dealing with something new from the developer for which a winget package is not yet defined. Again: interesting! My first time to see something like this.


Zoom Restores Unpaid Update Capability

Let me first confess: I don’t know exactly when the change I report here actually occurred. What I do know is that I reported last October (2022) that the free version of Zoom no longer offered a “Check for Updates” option in its free version’s user menu. It’s highlighted in the red box in the lead-in graphic at right. Because my son is back home from college, I accidentally logged into Zoom on his (free) account yesterday, and saw that the same update item was present. Good-oh!

Glad Zoom Restores Unpaid Update Capability

If you read my earlier post, you’ll see I dinged the Zoom developers for making update a paid-only capability. Why? Because that approach fosters the possibility of security exposures for the class of users that stick to the free version. I took it as a deliberate strategy to force that class to trade security against cost. That’s not good.

Given what I discovered yesterday, I take it all back. Zoom is now doing the right thing. It may have been doing so for some time without my knowledge. That IS good, and I thank them for reversing the earlier development decisions that made users choose between more cost, better security and lower cost, lower security (or more work, to get around that limitation).

Indeed, as I mentioned in my October 2022 post, users could always uninstall an outdated version, then install the current one. This would bring them back to par, and let them benefit from any security patches or fixes in the newer version. Now, thanks to Zoom’s decision to reinstate the “Check for Updates” menu item — and its supported auto-download and -install capabilities — such contortions are unnecessary. Once again: good! And thanks again to Zoom for taking the right path, regardless of exactly when that occurred.


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!


Deciphering PowerShell History Commands

Whoa! I just spent an enjoyable half-hour learning about the various PowerShell command line history viewing and editing tools. This comes courtesy of OhMyPosh creator Jan De Dobbeleer (@jandedobbeleer) on Twitter. Deciphering PowerShell history commands, in my case, involved a fair amount of interesting play and learning in a Terminal session. As you can see from the lead-in graphic, I had fun manipulating my command history (and then, updated OhMyPosh to catch up my test system).

When Deciphering PowerShell History Commands, Do This…

The operative way to understand PS history management is as a series of prefixes to “-history” at the command line — namely:

  • get: shows current PS command line history as stored for display
  • clear: clears current PS command line history
  • add: allows you to import a predefined command history from a file

There’s a lot more to managing history than you might think, as described in this MS Learn reference on the Clear-History command. Indeed you can tailor the history based on commands by number (from top or bottom of the history list, using -Count and other options) or by content (using the -CommandLine option and string-matching facilities).

Wait! There’s an Add-History, Too

You can save a representative command history by piping get-history into a CSV file. Later on, Add-History lets you import that file’s contents to imbue the current command history into your current PowerShell context. See this reference for more info.

Working with PowerShell history commands is great fun, actually. I’d suggest visiting the afore-linked references to take things for a spin. I find it useful to clear the history after such learning adventures (or after making mistakes at the command line that I’d just as soon forget…).