Category Archives: Updates

Windows 10 WU Offers 22H2 Upgrade

Upon reading reports to that effect, I just confirmed that Windows 10 WU offers 22H2 Upgrade on the Boss’s Dell OptiPlex 7080 Micro PC. You can see the offer in the preceding graphic. At the same time, you can also see the offer to upgrade to Windows 11 in the right-hand column of the same Window. I reproduce this below. It’s got a 10th Gen Intel i7 CPU, so no problem meeting the Windows 11 hardware requirements.

With its 10th-Gen Intel CPU, TPM support, and so forth, this PC is more than ready for Windows 11.

Sold: Windows 10 WU Offers 22H2 Upgrade

The Boss has decided to stick with Windows 10. She’s not interested in an OS upgrade, and will wait until she MUST switch. Or perhaps something new will come along in the interim. On a 3-year cadence for major Windows versions with an EOL date for Windows 10 on October 14, 2024, that could get interesting.

It raises the question of whether Windows 10 will retire before the next version comes along, or if that version will precede its planned demise. According to the date calculator, that’s still 2 years, 10 months, 1 week and 2 days away (973 days) in the offing. Plenty of time for her to figure out which way she wants to go.

Refresh and Upgrade, or Just Upgrade?

Lots of other users will be pondering the timing of their next upgrade transitions between now and October 14, 2025. Many will decide to refresh their hardware as they transition to a new OS. I can see a kind of “lost generation” for Windows 11 as a result.

It will be quite interesting to see how PC sales look over the next 2-plus years for the same reasons. The trade-off looks very much like: wait for the next Windows version and budget for new PCs versus refresh earlier and upgrade to Windows 11. Could get interesting…

 

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Windows 22H2 Upgrade Recalls Windows Past

Holy Ebeneezer! I had a major shot of deja vu yesterday. In preparing for son Gregory’s lightning home visit for Turkeyday, I found myself updating the B550 Ryzen 7 5800X PC I built to mirror the one he took to school with him in late August. Try as I might, I couldn’t get Windows 11 updated to 22H2 on that system using only Windows Update. My subsequent contortions in completing that Windows 22H2 upgrade recalls Windows past. I’ll explain…

How Windows 22H2 Upgrade Recalls Windows Past

Going back to the days of Windows 3.X, I can remember countless upgrade installs to transition from an older to a newer Windows version. That drill goes something like this for as far back as I can recall:

1. Run setup.exe from install media (first diskettes, then CDs, then DVDs, then streaming downloads)
2. Perform all the steps of the upgrade process: GUI-based install, reboot, then post-GUI install with 2 or 3 reboots along the way
3. Download and apply updates from Windows Update
4. Repeat Step 3, ad nauseam ad infinitum, until no more updates are available

I can remember when the time required to complete steps 3 & 4 took waaaaaaaaaay longer than the time required for the first 2 steps. And, especially in the days of reading physical media, that initial time frame was nothing to sneeze at.

Since Windows Vista/7 Everything Is Changed…

That was roughly the era during which physical media gave way pretty much entirely to online downloads and access. Since those versions emerged, the time to install or upgrade Windows has also dropped from a typical 45 minutes to an hour, to something more like 18 – 25 minutes. And MS is doing a much, much, much better job of slipstreaming updates into official image downloads these days, so the seemingly endless sequence of updates that followed a clean install or an upgrade even for Windows Vista and 7, is now much less intense and onerous.

But yesterday, I got a chance to taste what I hadn’t experienced in quite a while. I went through three rounds of updates on 21H2 before I realized WU wasn’t going to upgrade it to 22H2. Then, I visited the Download Windows 11 page and ran the Installation Assistant (depicted in the lead-in graphic above). That got my PC to 22H2. Then I ran another two rounds of updates (the first brought half-a-dozen items to that PC, the second only one).

That got the B550 Ryzen PC current with Windows 11 22H2. It wasn’t exactly like the “good old days,” really. But it was close enough to jog my memory about the way things used to work when dinosaurs roamed the earth and 16 MB was a HUGE amount of RAM.

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P16 Posts Mysterious Memory Training Message

OK: here’s a new one on me. This weekend, I updated the UEFI on the Lenovo P16 Mobile Workstation. Along that update path, the P16 posts mysterious memory training message. Something along the lines of “the screen will go dark for 2 minutes while the system performs memory training.” I’d not enountered this terminology before so I was taken aback. Turns out it’s a well-known thing, tho…

Learning Ensues When P16 Posts Mysterious Memory Training Message

Apparently memory training — or as Lenovo calls it in the P16 Maintenance manual: “memory retraining” — can happen after hardware changes or following UEFI updates. Online research eventually led me to a document that explained what’s going on. It’s called DDR4 SRAM: Initialization, Training and Calibration, and it’s darned informative. In fact, it’s worth a read-through for those interested in going beyond the basics I’ll present here.

For my purposes, it was enough to know the following:

1. Device or firmware changes can affect memory timing and performance
2. Training uses an iterative approach to altering timing values
3. It converges on settings that provide a workable trade-off between speed (faster performance) and stability (fault-free memory access)
4. If your motherboard uses JEDEC timings, training/retraining is not usually required (or performed)

In fact, it’s a lot like what I used to read at Tom’s Hardware about over-clocking PC memory back in the late 1990s. Start from a safe setting, increment and try. If it works, increment again. Repeat until a failure occurs. Back off to the preceding increment. Done!

Changes Sometime Cause (Re)Training

The bottom line is that what I was entirely normal. I’d either never seen or never noticed such warnings before, but they’re typical following hardware (usually RAM module swap-outs) or firmware (including UEFI) changes. Now I know. And it gave me a good excuse to download and read around the maintenance manual for the P16. That’s always fun, too.

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Windows 10 Phone Link Eliminated

Dang! After messing about with PowerShell unsuccessfully, I turned to long-time fave 3rd-party tool Revo Uninstaller Free. Seems that Windows 10 doesn’t allow the Phone Link app to be uninstalled anymore. Sadly, the Uninstall option is greyed out in Settings. Likewise, I couldn’t get PowerShell Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage to work, either. But if you turn to Revo Uninstaller, it delivers the goods: Windows 10 Phone Link eliminated.

Why I Want Windows 10 Phone Link Eliminated

Two reasons:

1. Phone Link only works with Android phones and I have iOS. Don’t use it, ever.
2. Update failed, then app “stopped working, around recent Store revisions.

If I can’t use an app AND it causes errors, I don’t need it. Thus, I want it gone!

Look at the lead-in graphic. I’ve put a red box around the listing item for the Phone Link app on my Windows 10 production desktop. Right-click on that item, and the first menu option is “Uninstall.” Pick that. Revo asks you to confirm that choice, as follows:

Windows 10 Phone Link Eliminated.confirm

Alas, PS does NOT show the command details it uses to pull this off. Sigh.

Revo Unsintaller works some PowerShell magic around the following text I copied:

Deployment operation progress: Microsoft.YourPhone_1.22092.211.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

After removing the app, I used the Revo Uninstaller Scan functions to remove all leftovers from the Registry. It no longer shows up on my Windows 10 PCs — all both of them. I will be on the lookout for reappearances after CUs and feature upgrades, based on what I read online about how Phone Link keeps showing back up.

When it comes to “Windows pest removal” sometimes, repeated treatments may be required. LOL!

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Repair Upgrades PowerShell

Here’s something I didn’t know before. Or at least, I never tried it. Just recently (November 8) MS released a new 7.3.0 version of PowerShell to GitHub. I’ve been upgrading my various systems since, slowly but surely. This morning I learned that opting for Repair upgrades PowerShell. Let me show you what that means.

Showing How Repair Upgrades PowerShell

On some PCs, winget upgrade may not show the new PowerShell as an option. (I’ll use my Lenovo Yoga 7i as an illustration because it manifests such behavior.) You can see it’s running version 7.2.7 and that PowerShell does not show up in the output from winget upgrade below:


If that’s the case, here are the steps to using repair to upgrade PowerShell on such PCs:

1. CTRL-Click on the link that reads https://aka.ms/powershell. This opens the MS PowerShell Documentation page.
2. Click on the “Download PowerShell” button at the upper right. This takes you to the GitHub Latest release page for PowerShell (7.3.0, as I write this, but updated as new versions emerge). Then close all open PowerShell sessions.
3. Scroll down to assets and download the installer file for your PC (for most readers the 64-bit MSI is the right choice: PowerShell-7.3.0-win-x64.msi)
4. Run the microsoft self-installing (MSI) file to start PowerShell installation. Step through all the installer prompts. If the Repair option comes up, select it (shown in the lead-in graphic for this story). It will run and “fix” the current installation.

At the end of this process, you’ll have a working upgrade to version 7.3.0. Cheers!

What About Winget Upgrade Microsoft.Powershell?

Gosh! That works too but finishes strange. Let me show you, in the following screencap (click on image to view full-sized):

The output doesn’t actually confirm a successful install of PowerShell 3.7.0. It shows a progress bar, and a status of “Starting package install…” Then it transitions to a command prompt. In the background, the new version is installed and running. But because you’ve got a 7.2.7 window open, you don’t see the 7.3.0 label until you close the old window and open a new one.

It’s always something, right?

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Samsung Printer Is Now HP

Boy! The interesting things one can learn when updating drivers are legion. Case in point: I learned I needed an update for the Samsung Easy Printer Manager program. Upon searching for same, I found myself directed to HP (!) Customer Support. Indeed, that’s where the latest version of said utility now resides. You can see a screencap of that download page at the head of this story. Looks like my Samsung printer is now HP,  in name and in fact.

If Samsung Printer Is Now HP Then What?

HP is the former division of Hewlett Packard that now sells PCs and printers, as well as peripherals. To give you an idea of how long this has been going on, this press release bears a November 1, 2017 date. Whoa: talk about missing that bus by a mile…

When HP closed the deal they did so for US$1.05B. They also acquired a portfolio of 6.5K patents, and “a workforce of nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with expertise in laser technology, imaging electronics, and supplies and accessories.” I guess that means buying an official laser toner cartridge (I still have a spare in my utility closet) will cost even more than it did the last time I looked. I found the product page, but I can’t find a price (looks like I might have to set up an account). Amazon references an “HP Store” and offers same for US$76, so that’s not too pricey. OK then: it’s all good.

Plus çe Change…

That’s French for a saying that roughly translates: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The technology landscape is chock full or mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and divestitures. I have to laugh about this one, because I’m definitely coming late to that particular party. But at least, I had no trouble finding an updated version of the software I needed. And it works, too!

And that’s the way things go, here in Windows-World, from time to time.

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Winget Remove/Replace Handles Kindle Directly

I don’t know why this is, but I have the devil’s own time following Amazon’s instructions to download a fresh — and current  — Kindle version. You place and complete a zero-cost order and you’re supposed to be able to click a link in the order record to do the download. Not happening for me! I decided to contact Amazon tech support to confirm that’s how it’s supposed to work. It is, indeed. Interestingly they could or would not provide a direct download link. Next, Winget remove/replace upgrades Kindle directly, if incorrectly. Let me explain…

What Winget Remove/Replace Upgrades Kindle Directly Means

I learned the term remove/replace back in the days when I still did my own car repairs. It basically describes what’s involved in fixing a broken car part. First, you remove the non-working part. Then you replace it with a new, working one. Fixed (unless calibration is also needed)!

In this case, it means uninstall the old, outdated version of a program. Then install the new, up-to-date version in its place. This technique works when other update methods fail. I’ve used it successfully with the Zoom app, for example, when its maker quit offering in-app update facilities on the free version.

With Kindle, it half-way works for me when the Kindle app download service fails to deliver me a new version as it’s supposed to. If you look at the lead-in screencap, you see first the command

winget uninstall Amazon.Kindle

That’s the “remove” part of the sequence. Next, comes the “replace” part:

winget install Amazon.Kindle

Behind the scenes, this uninstalled version 1.39.0.65306, and replaced (installed) version 1.33.0.62002, which is neither current nor up-to-date. Notice the newly-installed version number is lower (and hence, older) than the one it replaces. Shoot, what now?

SUMo to the Rescue

I’ve got a paid-for version of the Software Update Monitor (SUMo) from KCSoftwares. When I checked the update status for Kindle there, it pointed me to a direct download link at Amazon (which their tech support folks were unwilling or unable to furnish). That link is Get started with the free Kindle app. For whatever reason, search engines don’t find this (it’s probably blocked). Using this link, however, you can indeed grab the latest Kindle version and put the remove/replace operation to work.

Why didn’t winget grab this version? The existing package definition for Kindle install is obviously pointing at the wrong download. That’s why you can’t always count on winget to get things right, though it does so most of the time. That’s also why I use multiple update scanners (including PatchMyPC) to help me keep my small PC fleet up-to-date.

Shame on you, Amazon, for not making a direct download link available. And shame again, for not equipping your tech support staff with the direct download link that SUMo provides. Sigh. At least, I got there eventually, if not by the most direct route.

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KB5018482 Announces Impending 21H2 End

OK, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t expecting much excitement upon downloading and installing KB4018482 yesterday. Sure, it raised the Build level to 19045.2193 on my production desktop. And it brought various modest updates and fixes. What I wasn’t expecting, upon reading its Support blurb, was to see that KB5018482 announces impending 21H2 end of service.

Here’s that it says, reproduced verbatim (dated October 11, two weeks prior to the KB pub date [black, bold emphasis mine]):

IMPORTANT All editions of Windows 10, version 21H1 will reach end of service on December 13, 2022. After December 13, 2022, these devices will not receive monthly security and quality updates. These updates contain protections from the latest security threats. To continue receiving security and quality updates, we recommend that you update to the latest version of Windows.

You could say it kind of jumped out at me as I read the notice. It’s not exactly a surprise — this date’s been known for a long while — but it’s pretty final, and it’s now just over 6.5 weeks away (46 days, as I write this).

Why KB5018482 Announces Impending 21H2 End Counts

Lots of business Windows users run Windows 10 — the vast majority, in fact (e.g. Statcounter says 71.87% of all desktops). I suspect that more than half that population is still running one 21H2 build or another. For those users, this announcement is a wake-up call that it’s time to make some kind of change before time runs out in mid-December.

Business users have two options to stay on Windows 10 — namely:

  • upgrade to 22H2 (this can use any valid Windows upgrade technique, including WSUS, WU, deployment tools, and in-place upgrade)
  • switchover to  LTSC 2021 (works only via ISO and in-place upgrade)

Either way, planning, testing, scheduling and deployment will be necessary. And six weeks (plus 4 days right now) ain’t much time. The clock, as they say, is ticking…

Postscript: So Long, NetMarketShare!

In writing this item, I got a another surprise. And it, too, touches on end of life. For a long, long time NetMarketShare has been my go-to source for Windows OS market share data. Apparently, that’s over now too. Here’s partial text from the Windows OS landing page:

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
After 14 years of service and being used as a primary source in tens of thousands of articles and publications, we are retiring NetMarketShare in its current form. October, 2020 is the last month of data. All billing for existing accounts has been stopped. All outstanding balances are being refunded.

Why? An upcoming change in browsers (https://github.com/WICG/ua-client-hints) will break our device detection technology and will cause inaccuracies for a long period of time.

In addition, we have focused on bot detection and removal as a key part of the quality control process. It is the most complex part of our codebase. As time has gone on, it has become increasingly difficult to manage this process. So, instead of accepting increasing levels of inaccuracy, we thought it would be a good time to call it a day.

Too bad. I’ll be sorry to do without their information and the insights it provided. Auld ang syne, and all that…

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First Windows 11 22H2 Moment Arrives

OK, then. We knew it was coming. And with yesterday’s release of  KB5019509 it’s here. That’s right: with this out-of-band  update, the first Windows 11 22H2 moment arrives. This time, it includes the tabbed version of File Explorer, which wasn’t quite ready for release when 22H2 made its debut on September 20.  This new, snazzed-up File Explorer version provides the lead-in graphic for this story, shot from my just-updated P16 laptop.

What First Windows 11 22H2 Moment Arrives Means

I guess it helps to understand that a moment is shorthand for what ComputerWorld (CW) describes as “small, quarterly feature updates” in a September 14 story. (This story in turn relies on a July Windows Central hearsay report about the terminology.) And indeed, support for tabs in File Explorer makes a perfect illustration of what such a “moment” could bring to users.

But there’s more to KB5019509 than File Explorer tabs. Here are  descriptions of two other new features, straight from that update announcement (blue text emphasis mine for ease of identification):

  • New!It adds a feature called Suggested Actions for items that you copy. This is available for customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. For example, when you copy phone numbers or future dates, we provide suggestions, such as make a call with Teams or Skype or add an event in the Calendar app.
  • New! It adds a taskbar overflow menu. The taskbar will offer an entry point to a menu that shows you all your overflowed apps in one space.

We’ll Have These Moments to Remember…

If the CW description is correct, this is just the first of a series of such moments that will pop up from time to time. I can’t tell if MS will itself use the “moment” terminology or not. In fact, KB5109509 calls the aforementioned introductions “quality improvements” instead. A search on the word “moment” turns it up nowhere in this text.

Other new quality improvements in the update include using nearby sharing to “discover and share more devices, including desktops,” a switchover to Windows Settings from Control Panel to “uninstall, repair and modify all apps,” and improved “performance of federated authentication.” All told, KB5109509 appears to offer some interesting stuff.

But if a quality improvement isn’t explicitly called out as a “moment,” why bother with this terminology? Good question! I wish I had an equally good answer. We’ll have to see how this all unrolls. In the meantime, I’m just going to savor this particular moment…

 

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Thunderbolt Software Upgrade Strategy

At first I thought “Catch-22.” Those using PCs old enough to run Intel’s Thunderbolt Software have reason to ponder Heller’s famous catch. An updated replacement — namely, Thunderbolt Control Center — is available from the Microsoft Store. But if you run Thunderbolt Software, it doesn’t show up there. Nor is there an easy upgrade path. That’s why, in fact, I had to come with a Thunderbolt Software upgrade strategy.

Finding a Thunderbolt Software Upgrade Strategy

All I can say is “I got lucky.” I chose as my search string to dig into this topic “Thunderbolt Software vs. Thunderbolt Control Center.” It immediately struck gold in a Forum post from Mac/PC oriented website egpu.io. There, those same terms appeared in inverted order.

There’s a trick involved in making this upgrade. It works as follows: if one downloads newer DCH drivers for the Thunderbolt device in DevMgr → System Devices, updating that driver causes Windows 11 (or 10, for that matter) to update the related software automatically. It’s actually pretty easy. I’m going to upgrade my remaining holdover system (one of my Lenovo X380 Yogas, acquired in late 2018) and take you through the steps involved.

NOTE:For a Thunderbolt device to show up in DevMgr, you may need to plug in an actual Thunderbolt or USB4 device. That’s what I had to do on each of my three 2018 vintage systems that needed this upgrade.

Making the Transition, Step-by-Step

Step 1: Visit this Intel Download page and download the ZIP file available there. Don’t be put off by the NUC notation: I’ve run in on a Yoga 380 and an X1 Extreme, and it worked on both systems. It seems to work on any Intel Thunderbolt controller.

Step 2: Unzip the file into a target directory. I named mine TBdev to make it easy to identify.

Thunderbolt Software Upgrade Strategy.unzipped

Contents of the ZIP file in the V:\TBdev folder. The INF folder is where the action will be.

Step 3: Open DevMgr, navigate to the Thunderbolt controller, right-click, and pick “Update driver.” In the resulting pop-up window, pick “Browse my computer for drivers “(lower item). Browse to your TBdev\INF folder, as shown here, then click “Next.”

Click “Next” and the driver should update itself from the various files in the INF folder.

If this process succeeds, you’ll see something like the following Window appear.

Guess what? If this worked, you’re finished. Windows will now visit the MS Store on its own and install the Thunderbolt Control Center app for you. Until you next reboot your PC, you’ll see both the old software and the new side-by-side if you type “Thu” into the Windows 11 (or 10) search box:

Old (Thunderbolt software) on the left, new (Thunderbolt Control Center) on the right. Only TCC will work, tho…

After the next reboot, Thunderbolt Software no longer appears. Case closed!

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