Category Archives: Cool Tools

Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On

I have to laugh. When I wrote yesterday about Winget moving up to version 1.4, I should’ve known it would carry items in its wake. Hence my update to the GUI front-end for Winget this morning — namely, the Github project known as WingetUI. I might have guessed, but did not, that updating WingetUI brings follow-on packages in its wake.

Instead I simply fired off the update process for WingetUI this morning, and moved onto another open window. I was happily surfing some traffic at ElevenForum.com when outta nowhere an install window for the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2022 Redistributable popped up on my screen. You can see the trace it left behind in “Programs and Features” (dated 1/31/2023) in the screencap above.

If Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On, Then What?

I guess it makes sense that if Winget is updated, WingetUI should follow suit. I’m not sure if the new C++ Redistributable is a natural consequence of the update, or just a coincidence. But gosh! I’m of the opinion that if one program needs to install other stuff so it can work, it should at least notify you beforehand. Or even, ask permission.

But what do I know? Thus, I was a bit taken aback when the install window for the C++ Redistributable popped up today. It seemed kind of random and unexpected to me. Maybe it’s my fault for covering up the WingetUI install window with something else. Maybe it’s just one of those things that sometimes happens when you update software here in Windows-World. You tell me!

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Obtaining Winget Version Info

A couple of weeks ago, a new version of Winget popped up on Github. Pretty much since then, I’ve been slowly but surely making sure all 11 of my Windows PCs are running this latest and greatest version (e.g. 1.4.10173). For me that naturally raised the question: How does one go about obtaining Winget version info? That led me back into the MS Learn documentation, about which I’ll now report.

Obtaining Winget Version Info Is Dead Easy

Turns out that winget is just another package, like all the others that the tool can download, install, upgrade, delete and otherwise manage. Thus a simple and basic winget command told me what I wanted to know:

winget –info winget

The lead-in graphic for this story shows this command and its resulting output. Note the first line after the command reads:

Windows Package Manager v1.4.10173

That matches the “Latest” version number at Github, so it’s the most current version around AFAIK (not counting previews). And indeed, I’m pleased to report that using standard winget upgrade commands has ensured that winget is current on all my PCs.

More than One Path to Enlightenment

I also noticed that winget syntax errors will report the version running before conveying its error message info. Thus, omitting the dashes before “info” in the preceding command will also tell you its version number (after which a pageful of syntax guidance follows). I guess you could deliberately mistype a command to produce the version number. But heck, I’d rather do it the right way if I can remember how.

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16 Month Pause Between Audio Updates

Whoa! I finally hit paydirt yesterday. I’ve been checking for updated drivers for my RealtekĀ® Audio (UAD) device for some time now. As I’ve just calculated, there’s been a 16 month pause between audio updates on my production PC. Undoubtedly that’s because it’s an i7 Skylake (Intel Gen 6) CPU that made its debut in 2016. Could this be another sign that it’s time to retire this PC? Probably!

Why a 16 Month Pause Between Audio Updates?

Please look at the intro graphic. Because I just updated the ASRock Realktek audio driver yesterday, you can see two versions of the corresponding setup information (INF) file, hdxasrok.inf. Note the dates: the newer one reads 12/27/2022 while the older reads 8/3/2021. Do the math, and that’s 16 months plus over 3 weeks. Wow!

I’d been visiting the ASRock Support website and my favorite alternate driver source — namely station-drivers.com— for a long, long time before I finally struck gold. Before I dug into this ZIP file and realized it covered my audio chipset, the vast majority of recent updates were for Nahimic audio chips, not the plain-vanilla Realtek chips in my now-aging motherboard.

Frankly, I don’t know why it took so long to find a newer version. My best guess is that older motherboards (and chipsets) don’t get the same love and attention that newer ones do. I have to guess that’s because driver updates require time and effort to create, and older stuff is less likely to be in demand than newer stuff. The just the way of Windows-World: older hardware eventually gets no love at all. Mine is pushing that envelope, clearly.

Thanks Again, RAPR!

The Driver Store Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) once again comes in handy for inspecting driver status on my Windows 10 production PC. It’s the source of the screencap at the head of this story. It does a stellar job of showing Windows drivers, including their number and status on targeted PCs. This search proved an excellent stimulus for me to update RAPR itself, too. Thus, I’m now running v0.11.92 (uploaded to GitHub on 1/6/2023). Previously, I’d been running v0.10.58 (internal file date: 4/10/2020).

Thus, the need to upgrade one thing (the Realtek driver) also reminded me to upgrade another (RAPR). Now, I’ll need to distribute this around my entire PC fleet. Good stuff!

 

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Obvious Fix Addresses 0xC1900101 Install Error

I run two Dev Channel test PCs. Yesterday, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Hybrid failed to upgrade to Build 25284. And it threw a familiar error code — one I’d just written about on ElevenForum just two days ago. Fortunately, the obvious fix addresses 0xC1900101 install error, as I will explain. But gosh! What a coincidence to have dispensed advice about this error only to experience it myself shortly afterward.

What Obvious Fix Addresses 0xC1900101 Install Error?

First let me share the text from my ElevenForum post (from which a screencap appears above):

Check out this MS Learn article: it asserts that an incompatible driver is present when this error code presents: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/troubleshoot/windows-client/deployment/windows-10-upgrade-resolution-procedures

So what I did next was to review all of the device drivers on the problem PC, and to upgrade those that weren’t current. To that end, I used a 3rd-party tool from IObit called Driver Booster (available in both free and for-a-fee versions). It found over 20 drivers in need of updating, and I updated all of them.

Long story short: two reboots later (one from the drivers the program found, another from a Lenovo Vantage update) I retried the 25254 install. And this time it completed successfully, sans the driver-related error. As I poke around online, I also see this is a fairly common install error where the obvious repair strategy is most often effective.

Shoot! It’s nice when things work the way they’re supposed to. Luckily, that does happen here in Windows-World from time to time.

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Winget Install Technology Hiccup

When I ran Winget to check for updates on the Lenovo P16 Workstation yesterday, something interesting happened. As you can see in the lead-in graphic, Winget found 2 packages in need of update. But it installed only one of them upon command. I discovered why when I attempted to force install the missing item. Indeed it produced what I’m calling a Winget install technology hiccup. Let me explain…

Overcoming the Winget Install Technology Hiccup Is Easy

The error message that resulted when I tried to force install RingCentral told me everything I needed to know. It reads:

A newer version was found, but the install technology is different from the current version installed. Please uninstall the package and install the newer version.

So that’s exactly what I did in the next two commands shown–namely:

winget uninstall ringcentral

winget install ringcentral

Luckily for me, the simple name “ringcentral” is sufficient to identify the unique and actual package name (“RingCentral.RingCentral”). Otherwise, I’d have been compelled to use that full, complete nomenclature to pull off the remove/replace maneuver that saw the hiccup overcome. That happens when multiple packages share common nomenclature, and a unique string for the desired package must be fully specified.

In this case, everything was easy-peasey. Just the way I like it: hiccup fixed!

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Intel Drops iGPU OEM Warning

Once upon a time, the Intel Driver & Support Assistant (IDSA) used to warn laptop owners about its built-in GPU driver updates. There’s even an Intel Support Note on this topic. It reads in part “Installing this graphics driver from Intel may overwrite customizations from your … OEM.” Recently, Intel drops iGPU OEM warning. Why? Because it’s been reworked NOT to overwrite customizations. No more need, no more warning, I guess.

When Intel Drops iGPU OEM Warning, Then What?

If you look at the latest finding inside the IDSA in the graphic up top, you’ll see the warnings are gone. Nothing loath, I tried it out on my Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga Dev Channel test laptop. It spun away for a bit before throwing up a “Begin installation” pane from the installer.

Intel Drops iGPU OEM Warning.begin

Next, it displayed the phases it would walk through, starting with a huge honkin license agreement to which installers must accede before the process gets underway. Click “I agree” to continue, as I just did.

Intel Drops iGPU OEM Warning.agree

Setup says it will install a driver and a graphics command center, after which one clicks start. Install shows progress bars for said driver and command center, with an option to “Show details” (lists changes as they’re made including registry entries, installing files, and so forth). Driver install takes several minutes to complete.

A reboot is required for changes to take effect. Once I had done so, I didn’t find the Intel Graphics Command Center (IGCC) installed. Thus, I visited the Microsoft Store to download and install same. It had me uninstall the apparently now-unnecessary Intel Graphics Control Panel.

Post Reboot, Things Get Interesting…

Once the PC restarted, the unit booted normally (the shut-down phase, when it was presumably writing new driver stuff did take a bit longer than usual). After the reboot the graphics look and work enough like the preceding iteration that I can’t see or tell anything different.

But when I tried to open the IGCC, it hung in “loading mode” (a line of balls moving from left to right at the bottom of the window). It never went anywhere. Turns out running two user sessions, each trying to start up IGCC isn’t a good idea. As soon as I killed one, the other started working. From there I was able to explore and play with the IGCC without further difficulty. Looks like I’ll have fun digging in and learning more. Stay tuned: I’ll report back.

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Dev Channel 22H2 Notepad Gets Tabs

Another small step for a Windows app, another instance of tabbing inside its window. With Build 22623, Windows 11 Dev Channel 22H2 Notepad gets tabs. You can see them in the lead-in screencap. There, I’ve got a trio of program output files open: dberr.txt, ar.txt, and dxdiag.txt. (That last item shows DirectX detections for one of my Dev Channel test PCs.)

Good! Dev Channel 22H2 Notepad Gets Tabs

I manipulate a lot of text files in my work, across simple notes, quotes, log and trace files, program outputs, and more. I really appreciate the ability to open a single instance and multiple tabs to bounce around among them. It had been a “minor irritant” to have to right click on the Notepad icon and force it to open a fresh instance when I wanted multiple text files open at the same time.

This latest change makes all that fooling around moot. Now, I can open as many text files as I’m likely to use without issue. In practice, I seldom have more than 5 or 6 open at any given moment. It seems like this latest version of notepad has no problems with that. (MS Store identifies it as version 11.2212.33.0 with an 8/5/2019 release date; latest update occurred on 1/20/2023.)

Not As Much Notepad++ Now…

Multi-tabbing is just one of the many cool things that the Open Source Notepad++ (GNU General Public License) can do. I also like its automated formatting, language sensitive auto-completion, search and smart editing functions. But I won’t have to switch to it anymore simply to use multiple tabs for open text windows. I’m convinced that’s a good thing.

On your Dev Channel Windows 11 PCs, Notepad should auto-update to the latest (tabbed) version through the Microsoft Store. If not, visit that app, click the Library item on the left margin and force all updates to be applied. That should do it!

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2023 Gets Underway For Real

OK, then. The family is back from our later-than-usual winter vacation. On Saturday we returned from San Diego. This morning, son Gregory hopped another silver bird to return to school in Boston. So now, I’m catching up my modest PC fleet as 2023 gets underway for real here at Chez Tittel. As usual, there are numerous interesting items to report.

Once 2023 Gets Underway for Real, Then What?

First things first: I’m checking and updating all the Windows PCs around here. Here’s what things are looking like by some numbers — namely Winget updates and SUMo items:

PC Name         Winget     SUMo Items
i7Skylake          4           6
Surface (Pro 3)    1           3
X380Test           6           3
X380              12           9
P16 (Mobile WS)    1           4
X12 Hybrid Tablet  3           3
X1 Extreme         2           9
Yoga 7i            5           9
D7080 (wife PC)    1           4
AMD5800X           6           8

Of course, the time these various systems spent untended before the break affects the number of updates they need. It’s no exaggeration to observe that those with more updates in both columns (Winget and SUMo) had been idle longer than those with fewer (especially X380 and the AMD box).

Total time required to get everything caught up (except for the Lenovo P360 Ultra, which is still in the closet upstairs) was just under 3 hours. I learned a few interesting things along the way, too.

Update Lessons Learned

Zoom won’t auto-upgrade to the latest version in one jump. I had to upgrade several systems twice, to work through the sequence of updates since they were last accessed. Sigh.

I did finally find the new versions of Asrock App Shop, RGB Sync, and Restart to UEFI. I haven’t tried them on my Z170 mobo yet, but am curious to see if old and new are still close enough to work. And indeed, the new B550 targeted software still works on the old Z170 motherboard. Go figure…

For some odd reason, SUMo wants users to upgrade to beta versions of Firefox and SpaceDesk. I’m NOT going there, because I want my production PCs to run production software. If you make use of this otherwise excellent tool, be sure to check the provenance of recommended updates (like those two) before blindly following along.

2023, here I come. Stay tuned…

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Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated

Here’s an interesting tidbit. I checked for upgrades this morning on my production PC. Winget informed me “1 package has a version number that cannot be determined.” It recommends using the “–include-unknown” parameter. And presto! Winget Upgrade include unknown gets illustrated nicely in forthcoming results. See the lead-in graphic…

When Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated…

An abstract explanation that Winget may not recognize an update’s version is one thing. But the example in the preceding graphic is clear and unmistakable. First, Winget finds no installable packages. It recommends using –include-known. Once used, an upgrade is found — and installed — without difficulty. How clear is that?

I’ve been using Winget daily on most of my PCs for more than six months now. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about how (and when) it works best. Winget is now essential for my maintenance regimen. The foregoing illustration explains nicely why using –include-unknown is customary. It’s a peach!

Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated.SUMo

SUMo sees things that need updates (applications mostly, but also some apps) that Winget does not.

Where Winget Comes Up Short

Please examine the preceding screencap. It shows 4 updates and upgrades that Winget misses. That same shot also shows why I still use KC Softwares’ Software Update Monitor (SUMo, depicted).

Indeed I also use PatchMyPC updater as well. That’s mostly because while it doesn’t catch everything that SUMo does, what it does catch it also updates automatically. SUMo only does that if you use the for-a-fee version (and even then, it doesn’t always do it automatically, either). Sigh.

In addition to the items shown, other things occasionally pop up that Winget misses. Other browsers (e.g. Chrome) may appear, as do some apps/applications, including Kindle, Nitro Pro, and more. I’ve learned how to handle all of them by now — or not, as is sometimes a good idea. For example: I’ve never been able to find the version of ASRock APP Shop (2.0.0.3) that SUMo claims is current. There are a few other such “false positives” but nothing too major. Please read my December 28 item “Windows 10 OCD Update Stymied” for further ruminations on this topic.

‘Nuff said, for now!

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Intel Unison Brings Windows 11 iPhone Link

Well, well. well. This may just be the “killer app” that induces more users to upgrade to Windows 11. Thanks to fellow WIMVP @_sumitdhiman and Windows Central, I learned yesterday that an exciting new Intel app was out and available through this Windows Store link. It showed me that Intel Unison brings Windows 11 iPhone link previously missing from that lineup. Then, I spent most of the afternoon learning my way around this new tool.

Unlike the Microsoft Phone Link app, which works only for Android devices, Intel Unison serves Android, iPhone and iPad devices. As a long-time iPhone user, this “missing link” has vexed me on and off for years. No longer!

What Intel Unison Brings Windows 11 iPhone Link Means

First, some limitations. Intel says Unison is “currently only available on eligible Intel Evo designs” running Windows 11. I found the Windows 11 requirement valid. Indeed, trying to download Unison on Windows 10 produces an error message. It reads: “The version of Windows on your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for this product.” That said, I was able to run Unison even on non-Evo 8th Gen IntelĀ  CPUs (and a Ryzen 7 PC as well).

That said, the app works only when the device is accessed directly. In fact, it quits as soon as an RDP (or other remote client session — e.g. TeamViewer) is established. Remote access breaks things enough that I had to “forget” the target iPhone device. Then, I re-established the Bluetooth-based link between PC and phone.

Likewise, the link also collapsed when I used a USB-to-Lightning cable to establish a direct link between the same PC and phone pair. Alas, that means you can’t currently use the targeted PC to charge the iPhone and link to it simultaneously — at least as far as I could tell. That’s also a potential issue…

Unison does work well when these limitations are scrupulously observed. Note to Intel: it would be helpful if the PC-to-iPhone connection could persist into an RDP session from the standpoint of remote manageability, support, and troubleshooting. I also urge Intel to support USB links between PC and iPhone to allow ongoing interaction and charging.

Exploring the Unison UI and Capabilities

If you look at the headline graphic, it shows the “Messages” interface. You can see I was able to send a text message to my son directly from my PC keyboard. As somebody who dislikes typing on the iPhone this is a terrific boon. It’s also convenient as well.

The other options at left in that image include (in order of appearance):

  • iPhone: shows the device to which Unison is connected.
  • File transfer: supports a mechanism to copy files to and from the connected device. Works with drag and drop.
  • Gallery: provides access to the iPhone’s photo folders. Intel says “Experience your phone gallery on your big screen.”
  • Calls: enables the PC user to make and break phone calls on the PC via the connected device.
  • Notifications: shows iPhone notifications through the Unison UI.
  • Settings: controls Unison App settings and appearance.
  • Downloads: shows the contents of "%userprofile%\Downloads\Intel Unison" folder (?Intel downloads for the app?).

I’m still figuring my way around this app, and learning its ins and outs. But because it supplies a long-missing and useful set of functions to tie Windows and iPhone together, I’m already glad to have it. And indeed, there will be some users for whom this app tips the balance more heavily toward Windows 11. All I can say is: Good!

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