Category Archives: Thoughts & concerns

Build 25300 Restores Taskbar Clock Seconds

OK, then, they’ve been gone for some time now. But Dev Channel Build 25300 restores Taskbar Clock seconds to its display capabilities. The lead-in graphic shows that Settings checkbox, next to Winver for the build.

Note: we’ve not had access to seconds readouts in the Windows 11 taskbar clock since Day 1 of the release. It popped in — and then out again — in a recent Insider Preview. And right now, it’s only available in the Dev Channel release fork. Just sayin…

Find this by clicking through Settings → Personalization → Taskbar. Then, open the Taskbar behaviors pane. That’s where you’ll find the checkbox labeled: “Show seconds in system tray clock…” Notice that it comes with this caveat: “(uses more power).” MS has long put this theory forward (it recommended against turning on the second hand in Vista-era clock gadgets for the same reason) but doesn’t really present actual data to report how much more power is used — or battery life lost — as a consequence of turning this on. Sigh.

If Build 25300 Restores Taskbar Clock Seconds, Then…

I can only interpret the MS caveat as a warn-off of sorts. I guess we should be grateful they’ve deigned to restore this capability to those bold (or stupid) enough to use it. Count me among that number, and decide for yourself its potential significance. Here’s what it looks it, after you turn seconds back on:

Build 25300 Restores Taskbar Clock Seconds.clock-showing

Even at the cost of a bit of power, glad to get those seconds back!

Small though this change may be, I am glad to have the choice as to whether or not I get seconds with my time readout on Windows 11. It’s been that way in Windows as far back as I recall. And now, it’s back again.

Sometimes, those little things do make a difference. I count this as a minor victory for the small people, here in Windows-World.


MS AI Survey Shows Strong Appetite for Automation

Hmmm. A story today at MSPowerUser pointed me to a recently published (but infuriatingly, undated) survey from Microsoft. It’s entitled Four Ways Leaders Can Empower People for How Work Gets Done. Notice, AI appears nowhere in this string. Even so, this MS AI survey shows strong appetite for automation.

That is, the survey documents increasing demand from rank-and-file workers for technology based empowerment. What does this mean? Workers want low-code tools to DIY basic software so they don’t have to wait on the IT/development backlog. They also want “artificial intelligence tools that let them focus on what’s important” to quote from the survey’s tag line. Wow!

How MS AI Survey Shows Strong Appetite for Automation

I’m just going to gloss over some of the survey results in this piece. Those seeking more depth or details will definitely want to read the original MS Briefing. Here are some key elements:

  • To make workforces more efficient and flexible, workers need tools that deliver maximum results from minimal effort.
  • MS surveyed 2,700 employees (in-house) and 1,800 business decision makers (out-of-house) in the US, Japan, and the UK.
  • Questions posed included: (quoted verbatim)
    • Do people feel empowered by the tools they currently have?
    • Are teams equipped to collaborate effectively in a world of flexible work?
    • Can new technology like AI and low-code and no-code tools help solve their challenges and open up new opportunities?
  • 9 of 10  respondents want simpler ways to automate daily tasks, to focus on more important work.
  • 4 key principles to guide business leaders to empower workers: (paraphrased for brevity)
    1. Empower people with more say in choosing new technology
    2. Use collaborative apps to connect workers so  they can share info in workflows
    3. Equip everybody with low-code tools to accelerate innovation
    4. Implement AI to automate busywork: this improves worker satisfaction and engagement

There Is No East or West in AI Empowerment

The most interesting findings show that the majority of workers (and mostly a supermajority, at that) agree that AI and automation can help them do more, better and faster. I have to believe this “AI dividend” is what’s driving MS to invest tens of billions into AI tools and technologies. They’re already convinced — in large part because of their own experiences and observations in-house — that the payoff will more than justify their investment.

Personally, I can’t wait to start seeing more of that payoff for myself in my own daily life and work. For more insights and info, though, please read this survey brief for yourself.



Windows 10 EOS Hits January 31

First, an explanation of what may be a purely idiosyncratic acronym. In the preceding headline “EOS” stands for “End of Sales.” Indeed, the EOL (“End of Life”) date for Windows 10 remains unchanged at October 14, 2025. But EOS impacts those who want to build new systems, and for Windows 10 EOS hits January 31 of this year.

MS hasn’t commented on whether or not this means OEMs won’t be able to ship their PCs with Windows 10 installed after this date, either. But as you can see in the lead-in graphic, MS itself will no longer offer Windows 10 downloads for sale after this month ends. Note: despite the mention of Windows 10 Pro at top, the price shown — $139 — is for Windows 10 Home (Download). For my purposes here, the “More about Windows 10” text block is what matters most.

After Windows 10 EOS Hits January 31, Then?

First things first: I don’t see any similar warning on the official MS Download Windows 10 page. Apparently, users who already have valid Windows 10 license keys (unused or otherwise) can keep grabbing Windows 10 ISOs for installation and repair after January 31. That’s a relief!

So who’s really affected? Those who build their own PCs, or buy barebones models and elect to do their own OS installs (along with whatever else they do completing such builds). For such folks, buying a new, virgin Windows 10 license key (and download) from MS will no longer be an option. Undoubtedly, the aftermarket will remain awash in valid copies of same for some time after this cutoff date. That’s because plenty of such stuff is (or will be) in inventory when MS EOS hits.

What About the OEMs?

Again there’s no official word on this from MS. Ditto, AFAICT from the OEMs. But I can’t see MS stopping fleet or bulk sales to big buyers after January 31, even though they’re apparently halting small-scale retail sales of Windows 10 at that point. Too much potential business and revenue could be impacted, so no…

This raises an interesting question: Why do this now? My best guess is that MS is signalling end users — pretty strongly, in fact — that it’s time to target Windows 11 (and only Windows 11) on new builds. Given that Panos Panay talked about a Windows 12 successor at CES this year in Las Vegas, January 3-8, this timing is surely no coincidence.

Two predictions:
1. MS resellers will stock up on Windows 10 media and key combinations, to cover upcoming demand as they project it.
2. OEMs will continue to build Windows 10 PCs on order from customers, even after January 31.

As always, it should be interesting to see how this turns out. Stay tuned, and I’ll keep you informed!



Where Windows 11 Business Use Stands

Here’s an interesting question to ponder: what is business doing with Windows 11? Data on general Windows 11 use (e.g. StatCounter, Statista, and so forth) shows that for every copy of Windows 11, around 4 copies of Windows 10 are in use. Determining where Windows 11 business use stands is a whole ‘nother story. That’s because there’s very little solid intelligence about the proportion of business to home/hobbyist/”other” users available. Frankly, I’m a little frustrated…

Where Windows 11 Business Use Stands Is Mysterious

For years now, MS has been careful about what kinds of numbers it discloses about Windows, particularly where business versus other uses are concerned. We know that roughly 1.8B copies of Windows are in use worldwide. If the breakdowns from still-available desktop marketshare analytics are relevant — I’ll use StatCounter (the source for the opening graphic here, as of November 2022) for reference — that means roughly the following:

1. With 69.75% of the total count, that grants 1.25B copies to Windows 10.
2. With 16.13% of the total count, that confers 290M copies to Windows 11.

Those observations may or may not be relevant, because the foregoing count may only include Windows 10 and 11, not the earlier versions (7, 8 and 8.1, as well as XP and “Other”) that StatCounter tracks. If that’s true — then the copy counts for Windows 10 and 11 increase to 1.46B and 330M, respectively.

The Key Known Unknown

With all due respect to Dick Cheney, what’s missing from these numbers is  sense of how each count breaks down across the “business versus all other users, by type” category. My best guess is that the ratio is no greater that 1:1 (that is, for each business user there is one or more other users). It could be less than that, though.

So far, business users haven’t found hugely compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 11. Indeed, it’s only the last year or so that I’ve seen most businesses I patronize or work with (including a great many law firms and medical practices and clinics) make the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

With Windows 10 facing EOL in just under 3 years (2 years 10 months and some change, as of my most recent reckoning last week), there’s not much driving businesses to migrate sooner rather than later. It will be fascinating to see how things unfold. A lot will depend on when “Windows Next” (version 12, perhaps?) starts to appear on the horizon.

To me, it’s looking increasingly likely that many businesses may leapfrog from Version 10 to “Windows Next”, skipping Windows 11 in the process. I see this as in part a function of combining hardware refresh with OS migration, and in part as a function of inertia (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Time will tell!

A Bump May Be Coming

If I’m right about the reasons for delaying migration and hardware refresh, there could be a pot of gold for PC sales from mid-2024 through mid 2026. This would seem to dictate businesses will plan hardware refreshes around EOL for Windows 10, with a blurring of the timeline around the exact date of October 14, 2025. This could get interesting…


What MS Surface Lifetimes Tell Us

I just read a fascinating story about the original Surface Hub models at Neowin. It led me to an even more interesting website named EndOfLife.Date (here’s its info for the whole Surface product family). As I think about them, what MS Surface lifetimes tell us is also quite engaging. That’s because it speaks both eloquently and directly to this question: “What’s the useful lifetime for a modern PC?”

Details from What MS Surface Lifetimes Tell Us

Take a look at the lead-in graphic for this story. It comes from the afore-cited website. It shows two Surface Hub models (built around large and expensive 55″ and 84″ monitors) that arrive at EOL today, November 30. The graphic ascribes a lifetime of “7 years” to each device, but the calculator gives it 7 years, 5 months, 4 weeks, and 1 day to be more precise. I’d call that 7.5 years in round numbers, myself.

The entire dataset for Surface devices at is quite interesting, though. It shows that this 7.5 year device lifetime is longer than that for most Surface products, especially newer ones. These tend to fall in a range from 4 years (for the newest devices) to 6 years (for older ones).

How Long Does a PC Remain Useful?

I submit that this range of lifetimes tells us what Microsoft thinks, as far as keeping PCs in service is concerned. What data I can find from other sources (try this Google Search to see the inputs to my assertions) puts the low end of common practice at 3 to 5 years, and the high end at 8-10 years.

Microsoft’s data is not just an estimate or an average, though, as with those other data points. They actually stop updating drivers and firmware as EOL strikes. That means businesses that buy Surface devices know from the outset how long they can safely use such equipment, and when it must be retired and refreshed.

Is 3-5 Years Long Enough for Business PC Life?

Not just Microsoft, but many major PC makers — including Lenovo, HP, Dell, and others — are apparently convinced this is on target. Their business models typically reach EOL in the range of 4-5 years.

Speaking from experience, I know you can stretch those boundaries on desktop PCs, where component upgrades or add-ons can bring new features and capabilities to older models (e.g.Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, and so forth) thanks to adapter cards. Notebooks and laptops, which are less adaptible and extensible, usually fall right inside a 4-5 year lifetime. But I agree that 6 years is about the outside edge for useful PC life where time and costs of maintenance, upkeep, and security start looming larger as older technology ages out.

Among other things, this tells me I’ll need to retire my 2014 vintage (8 years!) Surface Pro 3 soon. It also says my 6-year-old 2016 production desktop is ready for demotion to test PC only status. I’ve got a 2021 desktop ready to move in for production status. My four mainstay test/experimentation PCs are 2018 vintage, and are rapidly aging out of usability, too. What does your PC fleet tell you?


Windows 10 versus Windows 11 Uptake

I just read a fascinating story from the man himself — Paul Thurrott, that is — over at his website. Entitled “Windows 11 Usage Share Is Struggling…” it raises some interesting questions. Chief among these is “When deciding Windows 10 versus Windows 11, what do business users get?”

Thurrott’s analyses lead him to this conclusion: “Not enough to justify migration.” If necessary, add “…if hardware refresh is required” to that statement. FWIW, I agree. However, I’m not as inclined to finger-point at MS for market manipulation as he is. Let me explain…

Windows 10  versus Windows 11 Is a No-Op

Looking back at typical business migrations as far back as I can remember (the Windows 3.x era, circa 1991), I see a consistent pattern. It explains why business uptake of Windows 11 remains somewhat scant.

Here ’tis: It usually takes 2-3 years for businesses to get serious about migrating Windows versions. And then, that’s only if  the version of Windows is judged “successful” (not Windows Me, Vista, or 8/8.1, for example). Right now, it’s been just over a year since Windows 11 released: October 4 was the anniversary date. Thus, it’s simply too soon for most migrations just yet.

Thurrott and readers make at least two valid points

(a) for a good portion of the installed PC base, Windows 11 won’t run (40-50% by most estimates, in fact)
(b) most businesses manage their own refresh cycle timing, and aren’t inclined to let MS dictate when that should happen.

All this said, I don’t think even MS can derail all of the prior migration history it already knows about, points (a) and (b) notwithstanding. My gut feel is that something else is up beyond seeking ways to force business users forward faster.

Windows 10 EOL Remains Unchanged

October 14, 2025 is now about three years distant. This acts as a full-stop for most business. They don’t ordinarily want to pay for extended support  unless stuck between rock and hard place. (Example: US DoD for Windows XP and 7, on the way to Windows 7 and 10, respectively.)

Various sources put the PC refresh interval in business globally between 4 and 10 years, with the most common recurring value at 5 years. Depending on where organizations are in that cycle, I guess at least 80 of businesses would refresh anyway before Windows 10 hits EOL.  CPUs and TPMs in use in early 2018 define the boundary between what’s in and what’s outside of Windows 11 requirements. That puts the maximum interval for refresh at about 7 years and 9 months (7.75 years). IMO, that’s longer than normal for most concerns.

New PCs purchased since 2019/2020 will meet Windows 11 requirements as a matter of course. Thus it’s really PC’s purchased before January 2018 (or older models purchased through 2020, no doubt to obtain steep discounts) that really come into play.

My best guess is that, as with prior major versions of Windows (3.1, 95, 2000, XP, 7, and 10 — see the pattern?), 11 migrations will get serious in late 2023 and throughout 2024. That’s just in time to stay ahead of EOL for Windows 10. It’s also in tune with most prior migration cycles. Need I say more? I think not…




Zoom Updates and Payment

Here’s an interesting set of observations. In the past weeks, I’ve noticed that the free version of Zoom no longer offers the “Check for Updates” option in its menus. I’ve also noticed that Zoom has been asking free users to “upgrade” to the for-a-fee pay version. That got me to thinking about Zoom updates and payment. So I conducted an experiment…

What About Zoom Updates and Payment?

I went ahead and signed up for an individual Zoom license. It’s assessed annually, and costs about US$185 per year. Right now, the first year is discounted, so my actual out-of-pocket was “only” US$95.88. But it renews automatically at full price one year from today. Ouch!

That said, as I suspected — and as you can see in the lead-in graphic above — if you do pay for Zoom, you also get the Check for Updates option back. That raises the interesting question: is automatic updating worth US$95 (this year) or US$185 yearly? I’m not convinced.

There IS Another (Free) Way

If you don’t mind running a few Winget commands, you can keep the free version and update as you need to. FYI, I use SUMo to tell me when it’s time to update, but because I don’t pay for a license to that software on all my PCs, I’ve figured out how to use Winget to handle that instead.

The basic concept is to uninstall the version that’s running. Then, if you install Zoom again it will grab the latest version. That results in an up-to-date version on your PC. Two simple one-liner commands are involved:

  1. Winget uninstall Zoom.Zoom
  2. Winget install Zoom.Zoom

That’s it. Works like a champ. Be sure to keep your sign-in account and password info handy, because you’ll need to sign into the newly installed version after going through this remove/replace operation.

But you can keep using the free version, and stay current, if you follow this simple two-step operation. That’s probably what I’ll revert to next year, when my renewal comes due. To be continued…

It’s Irksome, and Potentially Insecure

C’mon Zoom: this approach is potentially unsafe for lots of users who SHOULD be free (e.g. students, seniors, nonprofit workers, and so on). Sure, it may be an inducement for some people (me, for example) to purchase a commercial license so as to regain auto-update ability. But the vast majority of free users who have no choice but to stay put should not be exposed to potential security vulnerabilities in the name of (modest) incremental revenues.

My plea/request: return the automatic updates to the free version! Find a different way to increment your income, please, in the name of better overall application security.


IDKT: Windows Web Experience Pack Enables Widgets

FYI, IDKT means “I didn’t know that.” I suspect the rest of the headline may likewise provide new info for other readers as well. This morning, I ambled over to the Store to check updates and a new Web experience pack update 421.20070.615.0 was applied. Just for grins, I visited the Store page and saw a user comment on this topic. It basically says “Windows Web Experience Pack Enables Widgets.” What of it?

What Windows Web Experience Pack Enables Widgets Means

The “Most helpful favorable review” under the WWEP feature also indicates that if one uninstalls it, Widgets quit working. And if one then restores the WWEP, Widgets return to work. Pretty conclusive, if you ask me.

So I went looking for MS “Official info.” And sure enough, here’s what it says on the MS Support page for WWEP update how-to:

Some Windows 11 features, like Widgets, are delivered through Microsoft Store updates. If you’re having problems with the Weather widget or aren’t able to find some features that were announced for Windows, you might need to update the Windows Web Experience Pack from the Microsoft Store.

Other than this support item and the Windows Store entry, though,. there’s surprisingly little info available about WWEPs.

Coming at Widget from the Development Side

OK, then. Knowing that MS is opening up widget development to third party developers, I instead went looking for related info. I found several interesting items:

I’m not really seeing much useful description, examples, how-tos or other stuff to explain how third parties can build and deploy widgets. Maybe we’re not quite there yet? Hard to figure out what’s going on, if that’s not the case…


Windows 11 Dev Channel Upgrades Itself

Well, then. I’ve just returned from a week-long absence to visit my son’s chosen college in Boston. Today is my first work day back in the office since July 15. Imagine my surprise and delight when I see that my two Dev Channel test machines upgraded themselves without issue while I was gone. Indeed, that explains my claim that Windows 11 Dev Channel upgrades itself to Build 25163.1010.

If Windows 11 Dev Channel Upgrades Itself, What Then?

Less worry and work for me is always good. And it’s great to observe that Windows 11 can handle itself well. That goes double, when I’m not around to babysit the upgrade process. In fact, my current observations tell me that recent,  ongoing Dev Channel upgrades have been fast, easy and relatively trouble-free.

There’s always a potential jinx when stating claims like the preceding one on the record. I’m prepared to deal with what might be coming my way. I’m still in the habit of making an image backup after each and every upgrade, and regular, periodic backups besides. That way, should I shoot myself in the foot (or Windows 11 do that for me) I’m ready to roll back and recover with minimum effort.

What Update History Has to Say…

On the X12 Hybrid and the X380 Yoga, the number of Feature Updates in Update History is 19, as far back as February 24,  2022. That’s 19 upgrades over 22 weeks. Do the math, and it comes to once every 8.05 days.

I can recall only one or two issues that came along during this period that slowed down or stymied backup. I did have to reset WU on the X12 Hybrid at one point. I also recall having to download and install an ISO on each machine at least once (or perhaps twice) during this time frame.

Overall, though, even though the Dev Channel builds are as close to “the bleeding edge” as MS lets Insider Program members get, it’s been a mostly positive and pleasant experience. Though plenty of people have beefs with Windows 11, I am NOT one of them. I think it’s a good OS. It’s also almost far enough along that enterprises should really start looking at (and planning for) large-scale migrations. When the Windows 11 22H2 Upgrade appears in coming months, that would be an excellent signal to get upgrade/migration testing and pilot programs underway.

It’s long been traditional for Windows users in businesses to wait for “the next upgrade” after a new OS emerges before getting serious about migration. In view of that history, the upcoming release of 22H2 says it’s time to get ready. My experience with all versions of Windows 11 so far argues that migration should be relatively painless. Time will tell!


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.