Category Archives: Recent Activity

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.


KB5014023 Speeds File Copies

It’s not often I’ll recommend a Preview CU (Cumulative Update). This is one time, however, when I can get behind one of its fixes. Simply put, for some PCs, KB5014023 Speeds File Copies. As it says in its announcement, “Addresses an issue that causes file copying to be slower.” For my local PCs, that translated into about a 20% improvement. Across the network between two M.2 SSDs, speeds went up from about 40 MBps to about 50 MBps, with typical variations during the copy maneuver.

If KB5014023 Speeds File Copies, Apply It!

I’m not seeing anything by way of known issues for this KB, so individuals and small businesses can try it out immediately. Larger businesses can use it as a test subject to see if they want to include the upcoming monthly update (due on June 14) in their next round of scheduled updates.

As far as I’m concerned, anything that speeds up file copies is a good thing. That said, not all PCs will benefit from this update. But you can’t know until you try. In my mind, that makes the try worthwhile. So far, the lack of reported issues means you’re not risking much, if anything. And you just might improve file copy speeds on your target machine. I say: go for it!

Note: OOO Week of June 6-10

I’ll be away from my desk, traveling on business all week next week. I won’t be posting to the blog as usual. Look for me to return to the usual schedule on Monday, June 13. Try to survive without my verbiage in the interim, as best you can. Cheers!


Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe

Last week, I recited my adventures in reworking my LAN to improve stability in the wake of a line of thunderstorms. This weekend, I’m off to Waco on a legal project. The boss — my wife, Dina — asked me to provide instructions on how to bring the Internet back up should it go down while I’m away. Here, then, is the Chez Tittel Internet restore recipe. I hope other readers find the various contortions involved interesting, if not amusing.

Steps in the Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe

Basically, the first step is to unplug and restart all of the key devices in the Internet chain here at the house. I usually check (and if necessary, reset) items in this order:

1. The main link to the Internet is the Spectrum boundary device: A Spectrum Wave 2 RAC2V1A router/WAP/4-port switch device. It obligingly shows a red light when its Internet link is down. That’s my signal to unplug power from the device. The device, with an “A-OK” blue light is shown as the lead-in graphic for this story.

2. I’ve got a second such device on the LAN in my office. It’s an ASUS AX6000 router (AKA RT-AX88U model number) that I use purely as a WAP for 802.11ax (and lower) Wi-Fi access in the house. I show a rear-end view, because resetting the device involves unplugging the power brick from the port at the far right.

Chez Tittel Internet Restore Recipe.asus-reset

3. I’ve got two Netgear unmanaged GS108 8-port switches in my office, too. One sits on the baker’s racks to the left of my desk, the other on the windowsill at the right of my desk. Here again, the quick’n’easy reset technique is to unplug the barrel connector for the incoming DC power from its brick. Once again, my guiding image includes a rear view of the device, where the barrel connector for power plugs in at the far right.

Putting the Recipe to Work

I always check the color of the light on the Spectrum device first. If it’s red, I know I need to unplug and wait for it to come back up to see if that helps. If it stays red after two full power cycles, it’s time to call Spectrum to ask for help on their end. This pretty much demonstrates the problem is theirs.

If the Spectrum device is blue, but the in-house Internet isn’t working, this can be on of two things:

1. The Wi-Fi from the ASUS device isn’t functioning. This manifests as networks that start with an Arb… name string lacking Internet access (“No internet”). When this happens, I unpower the AX6000, wait a minute or two, then power it up again. That has always worked so far.

2. The local Ethernet isn’t functioning. That’s definitely a switch problem. If this happens, I disconnect power first from the switch on the baker’s racks, wait a minute and try again. Most of the time that does the trick. But if not, I do likewise for the switch on the windowsill. So far when the former hasn’t worked to restore the wired LAN, the latter has always done so.

And that’s how the network gets brought back up here at Chez Tittel most of the time. Especially after power glitches occur. Over the years I’ve only had to bring Spectrum in for tech support a handful of times (and the phone app now obligingly reports outages, often before I notice them if they occur after hours). Cheers!


Fighting Off Update OCD

I’ve been whipping my PCs into shape, preparing for a trip away from home. I’ll be OOO for all of next week, attending a legal process in Waco. Naturally, before I go, I’m making sure all the PCs here — especially production ones — are entirely up to snuff. I must be getting close to my goal, because I’m currently fighting off update OCD. Let me explain…

What Fighting Off Update OCD Really Means

As you can see from the SUMo listing for my production desktop (in the lead-in graphic above), I still have three items that appear to be obsolete or outdated. At least one of them is a false positive.

I just checked on FileZilla. And while no update was available yesterday, one is  indeed available today. Fixed! Here’s how I found that out just now by asking the app to check for updates:

Fighting Off Update OCD.FileZilla

When I checked yesterday inside the app: nada. Today I found — and installed — 3.60.1. Notice: It bears today’s date (6/1/2022). Go figure!

When I check on status for voidTools Everything (sometimes called Search Everything), it still reports itself current. That’s good enough for me, so I’ll quit looking for the putative version that SUMo recommends. Here’s what the program tells me when I tell it to check for updates:

Fighting Off Update OCD.everything

If the auto-checker says “OK,” I’ll take it at its word.

The last item is the sometimes tricksy Intel ® PROSet Adapter Configuration Utility. It’s easy to go round and round on this one. I’ve learned to search on the first two digits of the version number — that is, 27.3 — along with the utility name at If it comes up, I’ll try it; if not, I’ll wait until next time around. I did find such a version, and thus I downloaded and installed it.

Two False Positives, One Gone

Even though I got to a new version of FileZilla, it wasn’t new enough to satisfy SUMo (it shows up in the app as version rather than, despite its own self-labeling). But that’s close enough for me.

AFAI can tell, there is no such Everything version as — or at least, I couldn’t find it. Again, given the auto-updater’s response in the application, good enough for me.

Downloading and installing the file did clear the PROSet warning, though. Again: good enough for me.

I’ll waste no more time obsessing, and let my OCD find something else to obsess about instead. Basta!


Settings Accounts Presents Subscriptions Info

I’ve been reading about it for months, but until Build 25126 (Dev Channel) I never saw it. But finally, I can see the Services & Subscriptions info for my logged-in MS in Settings → Accounts. Hence my claim that Settings Accounts presents subscriptions (and product) info, as shown in the lead-in graphic.

Until this finally hit my Dev Channel test PCs, I’d been accustomed to a “pointer display” like the one shown in the next screencap (from a production Windows 11 PC running Build 22000.708). It just provides a quick link to the logged in MSA’s “Microsoft Account” web page, with its subscriptions, rewards and other details.

What Does Settings Accounts Presents Subscriptions Info Deliver?

It means you can see your purchased products, subscriptions and services right inside Settings, without having to jump onto the MS website. But that seems to be about it. To manage services or subscriptions, the website is the place.

For purchased products, it shows product name and purchase date. For subscriptions, it shows product name, and pending expiration/renewal date. For expired subscriptions and other such data, little reminders appear in the initial Settings Accounts screen, as shown above. It’s handy, but it’s neither earth-shattering nor life-changing.

Other Lesson Learned

I was reminded, while conducting this exercise, that you have to ADD other accounts. Indeed, even MSA based ones must go to the list of authorized users for them to login. Even to a a Windows 11 PC. That finally allowed me to see multiple accounts when I used the CTRL-ALT-DEL key combo to bring up the “Switch user” option on the pop-up menu.

I did this so I could check the info from the perspective of multiple accounts. I also had to (temporarily) turn off the security setting “Allow Windows Hello logon only” so I could get in to a newly-added account that didn’t yet have that stuff set up.

Sigh. Live and learn (or remember), I guess…


School PC Catch-up & Cleanup

Earlier this week, the school year ended. Thus, I regained access to my Lenovo X390 Yoga laptop, which my son used as his in-school PC. As such things go, it wasn’t in terrible shape. But it had missed out on plenty of updates, including the upgrade to Windows 11. With all that effort behind me now — and a couple of interesting war stories to share — here’s the tale of a school PC catch-up & cleanup.

Tales of  a School PC Catch-up & Cleanup

I was pleasantly surprised with the machine’s state upon its return. It wasn’t even that dirty. A quick wipedown with a wet-wipe sufficed to get the fingerprints and etcetera gone. A microfiber cloth did likewise for the screen and keyboard deck.

But boy, did it need a LOT of updates. And then there was the Windows 11 upgrade, which brought me face-to-face with at least one recurrent RDP gotcha, amidst some other interesting stuff.

What Didn’t Need an Update?

I ended up using three tools to cover most of the application updates. Of course,  a visit to the Microsoft Store did likewise for the apps on this PC. Those three tools were KC Softwares Software Update Monitor (SUMo), PatchMyPC, and the built-in PowerShell winget utility. In the end, all 16 applications installed on the PC were updated, along with 54 (!) apps via the MS Store. Wow!

It was on the OS side of things where life got more interesting. After I caught up on the Windows 10 installation on the X390, I noticed that numerous prior upgrade attempts to Windows 11 had failed. Upon essaying same, I quickly realized why: Start10 was installed on that machine.

The MS installer apparently now requires that Start10 be uninstalled before the upgrade can proceed. Interestingly, earlier versions would let it through. (I had a couple of machines where Start10 would happily run on Windows 11, in fact). Uninstalling the application required some Task Manager shenanigans. I had to kill its parent process. That’s because uninstall otherwise requires a reboot and the upgrade install process was ready to fire off if the hurdle could be cleared.

A Few Bumps on the Upgrade Road

Then came the Windows 11 upgrade, which proceeded without issues this time. However, once again I could not use an MSA (Microsoft Account) to RDP into the upgraded PC. I had to set up a local account (with admin privileges). I also had to use the PC’s IP address as the target, because the machine name wouldn’t resolve. That’s interesting, because the names DO resolve in Nirsoft’s NetBScanner, as shown here:

School PC Catch-up &

As you can see both RyzenOfc and DinaX390 resolve inside NetBScanner, but neither name resolves inside RDP. Weird!

I’ll be filing feedback hub reports on those glitches later today. That’s it for now on “The Return of the School PC.” More will follow as I observe and learn more along the way…

Note Added 1 Day Later

I have gotten machine names to resolve on both problem PCs now. The Ryzen PC was affected by the recent lightning strike, and lost its network sharing settings and name resolution upon the next reboot. After running DISM /restorehealth and turning RDP off, then back on, it started working again.

On the X390, after I used RAPR to forcibly delete obsolete and duplicate drivers, then rebooted, the name resolution starting working there again, too. They now show up in positions 2 and 4 in the following set of File Explorer network PC icons:

I still can’t log into either machine using RDP with an MSA (Microsoft Account). Thank goodness the local account workaround (admin level accounts only, please) still does that trick! I’m guessing this is a separate issue and will report it to Feedback Hub accordingly.



Lightning Storm Prompts Network Rework

My son, Gregory, graduated from high school on Tuesday night. After we got home a big line of thunderstorms rolled through, and we experienced a quick half-dozen power interruptions. It wasn’t enough to toast anything, thank goodness. But that lightning storm prompts network rework here at Chez Tittel. Long story short, I’ve added a new GbE switch. I’m also keeping an eagle eye on my Asus AX6000, currently serving purely as a Wi-Fi Access Point (WAP) on my LAN.

Why the sudden vigilance and rework? Because the network starting crashing constantly the day after the T-storms rolled through. I think I’ve got things under control now, but only time will tell. For a while, though, I grew increasingly convinced the AX6000 had been damaged: the network stayed up with it out of the loop, and started crashing when it was added back in. After a factory reset and a recopy of the old configuration, though, it seems to be back in the pink. Perhaps the firmware got discombobulated?

If Lightning Storm Prompts Network Rework, Then What?

As I said before, I’m watching my network more closely than usual right now. My attempted cure — a factory reset on the WAP — seems to be holding up so far. I’m thinking about adding a second UPS to my office, so I can plug my networking gear in. This will not only let it run for a while on battery power, it will also provide added circuit protection.

What with family activities and a fast press at work right now, I’m definitely not down for extended, ongoing network troubleshooting. Hopefully my fix will hold. If not, I will purchase a new WAP. I may also swap out my two 8-port GbE switches for a 16-port model with more professional features. Given that time is money, I’d rather spend a little extra in exchange for improved reliability and availability.

And, that’s the way things go here in Windows-World, especially when the T-storms start rolling through…


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…