Category Archives: Cool Tools

Change Dev Channel Task Manager Default View

Here’s a nice little addition that’s popped up in the Dev Channel version of Task Manager. If you visit its Settings page, you will see a “Default Start Page” pull-down menu there. This makes it easy to change Dev Channel Task Manager default view. My preference is Details, as shown here:

Change Dev Channel Task Manager Default View.details

Because it’s my go-to view, I set “Details” as the default in Task Manager.

Why Change Dev Channel Task Manager Default View?

For convenience, mostly. It’s not a huge deal in terms of added functionality. But anything that saves a mouse click is helpful, when it comes to getting down to work, eh? In general, MS seems to be moving to a move open, less cluttered layout for Task Manager in the Dev Channel version. It takes a little getting used to, but I like it.

My eyeballs are still better trained to make sense of the old-fashioned Task Manager that’s still visible in Windows 10 and other Windows 11 versions (for me that mostly means production version, Build 22000.778). The contrasting yellow shades for data cells are still more recognizable to me.

But, as with all things Windows, changes spur us on to learn and appreciate new things. That’s how I’m going to play the evolution of Task Manager. We’ll probably have side-by-side versions for Windows 10 and 11 for some time anyway, what with Windows 10 EOL not until October 2025.

But Wait, There’s More…

Turns out you can change the default tab for older Task Manager versions, too. The menu fiddling is a bit different though, as shown in the next screencap:

A different sequence of menu picks changes the default view in old Task Manager iterations.

As you can see in the preceding screenshot, click Options → Set default tab → and then any of the items shown (Processes, Performance, App history, Startup, Users, Details, Services) to make your selection. Good stuff!

[Note] Here’s a shout-out to Mauro Huculak at Windows Central, whose July 8 story clued me into this new wrinkle on an old favorite Windows tool. Thanks, Mauro!


More WingetUI Interactions

OK, then. I’m using WingetUI as an element of my Windows PC update toolbox. Along the way, I’m finding some areas where it shines, and others where it doesn’t. But as I gain familiarity with this tool, more WingetUI interactions convince me it’s worth using. That said, it’s no silver bullet for Windows updates, either. Let me explain…

After More WingetUI Interactions, Another Status Report

If you look at the lead-in graphic, I can point to elements where WingetUI shines, and those where it doesn’t. It handles most third-party apps perfectly (e.g. 7-Zip, Kindle, SUMo, Python 2, and Spacedesk). Not so for MS components, except for C++ runtime elements. It failed (or I didn’t try based on prior failures) with Edge WebView2, Teams, and the WADK. This is not a huge problem for me.

SUMo also catches the follow items that did not show up on the WingetUI radar: Chrome, Firefox, CrystalDiskInfo, Intel PROSet utility, MyLANViewer, Nitro Pro, Notepad++ (a false positive, IMHO), Snagit and Winaero Tweaker. Thus I must continue to use a collection of tools to get through my entire update roster. But I knew that already.

All’s Well That Ends Well

I was able to use PatchMyPC to handle the routine updates that WingetUI didn’t see. SUMo led me to fix everything except Intel PROSet, Nitro Pro, and Snagit. I got the first and last myself, and skipped Nitro Pro for the moment (though I did find install syntax for the latest version using winget itself, which I’ll try again later…).

[Note added 1 Day later…] Eventually, I jumped to the Nitro Pro download page (Product Updates) to grab and install the latest version ( That got me completely caught up. What I now can’t understand is why winget will sometimes update Nitro Pro for me, but why I must do it manually at other times. I’m guessing it depends on package prep and info…



25145 Gets File Explorer Tabs

OK, then. It’s been a gradual roll-out, so I can’t know if everyone running Dev Channel can see this. But once I got it running, Build 25145 gets File Explorer tabs on both of my test PCs. It’s pretty cool, too, as I hope to show in the ensuing discussion.

To get this party started, you can see File Explorer in the lead-in graphic. It’s got the default tab (“Home”) open at left, the UUPdump folder from my D: drive open at right. The latter shows the various files left over after an .ISO file is created (~4GB item, 6th from top).

When 25145 Gets File Explorer Tabs, Then What?

Why, you mess around with them to see what they can do. So far I’ve discovered multiple techniques to open such tabs, including:

  1. Click the Plus sign (“+”) to the right of the rightmost open tab, and an open tab set to the default appears. Navigate anywhere you want from there.
  2. Right-click a folder inside the main File Explorer pane, and a new option labeled “Open in new tab” appears. I *like* this one! Here’s what it looks like (annotated for easy recognition).

3. I remember reading about a keyboard shortcut to open such a tab, but I can’t find the reference. Winkey+E still opens a new File Explorer window, and WinKey+T doesn’t do anything. I’ll keep poking about on this front, and see what I can learn. So far, the best third-party coverage of the feature I’ve found is at WindowsLatest.

This is a cool and helpful new feature. As I learn (and find out) more about it, I’ll either update this post, or write a new one. Stay tuned!


WingetUI Offers Useful Update Capability

Lately, I’ve been using the Winget PowerShell applet to assist with updating my Windows 10 and 11 PCs. Thanks to Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks, I’ve found a GUI front end for that tool. Indeed, the aptly-named WingetUI offers useful update capability.

Winget.UI does other things, too. It let you explore all 3460 packages under its purview (“Discover Software” tab). It also shows a complete list of all packages already installed on your PC (“Installed applications”). On first blush, Winget.UI looks like a good tool. Its GitHub page provides the lead-in graphic for this story.

Winget.UI Offers Useful Update Capability.updates

“Available updates” quickly identifies and provides ready access to item-by-item update launch. [Click image for full-size view.]

What WingetUI Offers Useful Update Capability Means

To update an item from the Software Updates tab in Winget.UI (shown above), simply double-click its corresponding Winget entry under the “Installation source” heading. Personally, I find this prefereable to the winget upgrade --all command. Why? Because it provides item-by-item control. That lets me skip elements (such as MS Teams), which experience has taught me isn’t really amenable to winget updates.

The double-clicking takes a little getting used to, but by and large the update function works well. It worked well for third-party packages, including Kindle, Python 2, and Revo Uninstaller. It hit errors on some built-in MS components, such as the WADK and Edge Runtime. Based on prior history, I didn’t even try the Teams components.

Good, But Not Perfect

I’ll need to spend more time with WingetUI to fully understand and appreciate its foibles and strengths. For now, it’s much like other update tools I use: good — indeed, pretty helpful — but by no means either great or perfect. Perhaps that’s just the way that update tools work here in Windows World!

[Note: Nochmals Danke schoen to Mr. Brinkmann for an interesting find.]


Windows Docking Rules Legal Computing

OK, then. I just spent the last week in Waco, at the courthouse for the US Western District of Texas. A few blocks away, the law firms I worked with rented office space at Legal Lawfts on 4th street. In both locations I noticed (and used) a key technology for computing. When I say “Windows docking rules legal computing” I mean that 90-plus percent of the PCs in use ran Windows (10 mostly). And even the lone Macintosh I saw also used a dock for extended functionality.

What Windows Docking Rules Legal Computing Means

When lawyers, witnesses and support staff go to trial, that’s essentially an “away team” exercise. But nowadays when they rent office space, desks come with one or two monitors, external keyboard and mouse, and — you guessed it — a USB-C/Thunderbolt dock of some kind. Thus, I too was able to benefit from a 27″ monitor along with a decent Logitech keyboard and wired mouse, while keeping on working on my trusty and powerful Lenovo X1 Extreme laptop. It rocked!

I also noticed in the courtroom that the “mobile clerk” — that is, the person who is in and out of the courtroom on the judge’s orders — also used a docking station. When he left he would disconnect a single USB-C/Thunderbolt cable and take his laptop with him. Upon his return to his desk, one plug reconnected and he had access to two 27″ screens, plus his own external keyboard and mouse. Good stuff.

Productivity Benefits Power Through

At the offices, we all mostly used cheapo, unpowered hubs with a single HDMI/DP port for video, two USB-C ports, and two or three USB3 Type A ports. That’s where the wired Logitech keyboard and mouse already consumed two of the latter. I actually had to plug the HDMI cable into my laptop because the underpowered hub in the office didn’t work with my X1 Extreme. I did see others using them for video without issues, so something odd was up with my rig.

Thing is: it all worked. We were all much more productive with 2 (and in some cases, 3) screens at work with our laptops. And even on a conventional bar-shaped keyboard (not ergonomic as I use at home) I’m still a lot more productive typing on same rather than the more condensed and taller layout on my laptop’s keyboard deck.

I also have to hand it to my office-mate Jeff, an appellate specialist from Austin.He came prepared with his own, externally powered high-end USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 dock, plus wireless ergonomic keyboard and mouse combo. Heck, he even brought a seat cushion for the comfortable Herman Miller Aeron chairs with which the desks were also endowed. Good stuff, and a valuable learning experience.


Kindle Update Problem Solved

Huh! In past discussions of update handling tools such as PatchMyPC and SuMO, I’ve complained about the difficulties that keeping Kindle up-to-date posed for me. Ha! Ha! The joke’s on me this time, because there really is NO such problem. There are a few wrinkles, however, even though I now find my Kindle update problem solved. Let me explain…

How I Got My Kindle Update Problem Solved

As it turns out, Kindle will happily update itself for you. But you have to go about it the right way. And you must keep at it until you get to the latest version. This requires understanding how Kindle update works, which is something it took me some experimenting to learn. Let me share:

1. As you can see from the lead-in graphic for this story, Kindle includes an automatic update feature amidst its various options. That said: YOU MUST LAUNCH the Kindle for PC application before the update function will run. Duh!

2. Kindle does not automatically or necessarily update to the latest and greatest version. It seems to update incrementally from the current installed version to the next available version. That just happened on my X12 Hybrid Tablet, where it took me from version 1.34.63103 (Jan 2022) to 1.35.64251 (Apr 2022), even though version 1.36.65107 (May 2022) was also available.

3. If you find yourself trailing behind the latest and greatest version after an auto-update, open and close the Kindle for PC application again. This will repeat the auto-update process. In my case that got me caught up. My guess is that this could take multiple iterations for those running more seriously out-of-date Kindle for PC versions.

This sure beats my previous approach, which had me visiting the Amazon store to “buy” (it’s free) whatever version was current then, and then to install it over the older version on my target PC. This is a whole lot easier…

The Secret: Run the App!

All this said, the secret to keeping Kindle for PC updated is to run the app as part of your update check cycle. Because the default setting is to “Automatically install…” as it shows in the lead-in screencap, the software does the rest. Wish I’d known this sooner, but glad to know it now. Case closed!

Now, if only Nitro Pro worked the same way I’d be free of my last hold-out “must update manually” program. Sigh.

Note Added One Day Later

As the following screencap shows, the PowerShell winget command is “smart” enough to update Kindle without opening the app. Check this out!

Another great reason to use winget for updating Windows PCs: it will update Kindle without opening the app!
[Click image for full-size view.]


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!)]


Sold-out CalDigit TS4 Offers Amazing Power

I’m a big fan of Thunderbolt docks, especially for high end laptops. These days, Thunderbolt 4 stuff can be especially hard to buy. I was “wildly excited” to learn about CalDigit’s new 18-port 98W charge capable TS4 dock. I was also unsurprized to learn it was out of stock. Indeed, the sold-out CalDigit TS4 offers amazing power and capability (view next graphic full-size for complete front and back view of ports). That said, its most outstanding attribute at present is to frustrate my ability to say “Shut up, and take my money!”

Sold-out CalDigit TS4 Offers Amazing Power
Sold-out CalDigit TS4 Offers Amazing Ports and Power (click image for full-sized view; use Back button to return to story)

If Sold-out CalDigit TS4 Offers Amazing Power, When Can I Get One?

According to CalDigit’s latest “Update on availability,” more TS4s will come off the line in mid-May. Assuming the second batch is as popular as the first, it’ll sell out in days, if not hours. I may still try to buy one anyway. But I’m not expecting to score on the upcoming round either.

Why not? Because there aren’t that many good Thunderbolt 4 docks on the market right now. And because the TS4 is sufficiently compelling to elicit the famous “Shut up and…” response I uttered earlier.

Sigh. On the plus side, it’s fun to get excited about computing gear for good reason. On the minus side, it’s sad to understand that demand will continue to outstrip supply for some time to come.

Waiting for the Perfect, or Buying What’s for Sale?

OTOH, I could always succumb to the almost as nice, but less capacious and powerful Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element hub. There are other alternatives available, too. See this WindowsCentral story for a nice survey of what’s on the market in this space right now.

I’m torn, but will probably keep trying to score a TS4 through the next round. After that, I’ll either post a review, or reconsider a change of plan. Stay tuned!


Printer IPv4 Address Produces Reports

Here’s something I just learned that I should’ve known years ago. Turns out that if you type in a specially formatted version of any printer’s IP address into a web browser, you’ll go straight into a report interface. To be more specific, the Printer IPv4 address produces reports on the resulting web page. Let me explain…

How Printer IPv4 Address Produces Reports

Of course, three things are essential for this technique to work. They don’t pose a big hurdle, though, as you can see here:

Thing1: The printer must be network-attached and have an assigned IP address (that’s how most printers work nowadays, though many home users still use USB-attached devices).
Thing2: You must know the printer’s IP address (I explain two handy ways to get that info in a following section).
Thing3: You must format the URL for the printer as follows:
http://xx.xx.xx.xx, e.g.
Secure HTTP (which puts https:// at the head of the URL string) does NOT work, as I confirmed by experiment.

When I tried this technique for both printers on the LAN here at Chez Tittel, it worked in Edge, Chrome and Firefox. One is a Dell color laser 2155cn MFP; the other is a Samsung monochrome laser ML-2850. I can’t say from sure knowledge that it works in ALL browsers and all printers, but I can assert it works in all the browsers and printers I use.

Under the hood, there’s a reporting API for network-attached printers. It produces report data as HTML formatted output when this kind of connection gets made. Works nicely, so it’s good enough for me!

Finding Printer IP Addresses

I can describe two ways to get this info, though those with their own IP scanning tools can use them instead. The first way is to open Devices and Printers, right click the printer of interest, then select the Printer Properties item from the pop-up menu. Select the Ports tab, then find the currently selected port in use (hint: it’s the only one whose left-hand checkbox is checked). Highlight that port, then click the “Configure Port…” button. You’ll see something like this:

Note that the IP address appears in the second field from the top (Printer name or IP address). Works every time!

I am also fond of Nirsoft’s NetBScanner utility. If you scan your local LAN segment it will report and describe all IP addresses it finds in use. For me, it’s a little faster and easier than the foregoing tactic, so it’s the one I use most often myself. Other scanners will do the same for you, so if you’re already familiar with another one, use it with my blessing.

Always nice to learn something new. Even better is to learn something new and useful. Here ’tis!

[Note added early afternoon: Thanks to ElevenForum member and fellow WIMVP @stormy13 whose off-hand remark in this thread pointed me into this topic.]


Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers

OK, then: here’s a “new-ish” behavior in Windows 11 that I don’t love. Once upon a time, you could use the update function in Device Manager to search the Internet for device drivers. No longer: if a driver is absent, the “Update driver” function can’t find anything to use. That explains why Windows 11 clean install overlooks certain drivers. If they’re not in the driver store built into the ISO image, they’re simply unavailable.

If Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers, Then What?

Take my recently clean installed Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga. I happened to notice a half-dozen items under “Other Devices” in Device Manager yesterday. “Hmmm” I thought to myself. “Looks like the installer didn’t find some drivers while bringing the machine up.” Too true, as it turns out!

Fortunately, none of what was missing was essential to the laptop’s operation. Thus, that meant identifying the missing drivers, then finding and installing them. At first look, I saw 7 such devices. A quick hop to the Lenovo Vantage app (the company’s maintenance-update platform, which generally works OK or better) took care of three of them.

On a whim, I looked up LifeWire‘s story on the best free driver updaters (Tim Fisher updated it on April 4, 2022). It gives Driver Booster 9 Free the best rating (but the free version only updates 15 drivers, then requires users to pay ~US$23 to get a paid-up, for-a-fee version). It found 24 (!) drivers in need of update, so I concentrated on updating those that showed up with a “Driver Missing” label in that program’s output. Once identified, I knew I could handle the others on my own.

Back in  the High Life Again . . .

Indeed, the free version of the program did the trick for me. You can see in the lead-in graphic from Driver Store Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) that I was able to update 7 drivers (they show outdated versions). Add in another 7 new drivers added to go from “missing” to “found” and my system is now fully up-to-date, with no remaining “Other” device entries. No Device Manager items with the yellow exclamation point, either.

The gurus at TenForums and ElevenForum generally recommend against driver scan/update tools. I generally concur. But this was a big enough kerfluffle that I was grateful for some automated search-and-update help.

I guess that means I’m willing to make an exception when the “don’t check the Internet for available drives” behavior in Windows 11 prevents the installer from providing a full slate of items. I understand why MS did this (to prevent driver changes from adversely affecting naive users). But as I said in my lead ‘graph: I’m not in love with this design decision and its impact on clean install completeness.

That’s life, here in Windows-World. I can live with it, and fix it myself, when I must. So that’s what I did. And now the clean install machine is nearly production-ready. Just a few more apps and applications to go!