Category Archives: WED Blog

Winget GPU-Z 2.57.0 Download Error

Here’s something I’ve not seen before, but immediately understood. Yesterday’s update check found a pending update for TechPowerUp’s nifty GPU-Z software. But it forced a Winget GPU-Z 2.57.0 download error upon attempted retrieval, as you can see at the bottom of the intro graphic.  I kind of like the error message “Download request status is not success.” Methinks the download link or path might be incorrect, what?

Hint: To actually *see* the bottom of the screencap, right-click the intro image and select the closest thing in your browser to “Display image in its own tab” (Firefox) or “Open image in new tab…” (Chrome or Edge) or whatever else you might find in your software of choice.

Overcoming Winget GPU-Z 2.57.0 Download Error

Although the error message is a bit convoluted, the associated HTML error code  — namely, 410 — is not. Here’s what Ahrefs.com has to say about this particular code number (bold emphasis mine):

The 410 Gone is an HTTP status code returned by the web server when the client (a browser or a web crawler) requests a resource that is no longer available at the requested address. It is one of the so-called “client errors,” meaning that the error is on the client side, not on the server.

Unlike the 404 Not Found response code that can be shown for non-existing or mistyped URLs, the 410 code indicates that the resource was in use but is no longer available and will not be available again at the requested address.

This would seem to indicate that TechPowerUp has moved or deleted the resource associated with the download link. I believe this is on them to fix, so the winget manifest can be appropriately updated. I have emailed the EIC to that effect.

A Dead Simple Workaround

When I visit the home page for GPU-Z, I can access its download link page, where I see what may be part of the problem. It points to 10 mirrors, from any one of which a download may occur (6 in USA, UK, NL, DE and SG [Singapower]). Probably, the developer who supplies manifests needs to pick one mirror and let winget use it exclusively — or write code to handle localization and pick a proximate mirror instead. Which do you think is more likely?

Winget GPU-Z 2.57.0 Download Error.mirrors

Count ’em: 10 (ten) mirrors!

Long story short: when I access any US mirror, I can download the 2.57.0 file without difficulty. Run that file (GPU-Z.2.57.0.exe) and it updates the program without problem. Solved!

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Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer

Well then: here we go! After a couple of hours of trying different things, I’m finally en route to installing a Windows 11 Insider Preview build that features a totally revamped OS install process. You can see the first step as the lead-in graphic. I’m now finally exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer having overcome initial Hyper-V stumbling blocks, as I will explain next.

Stumbling Before Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer

Unlike earlier Windows 11 VM installs, this one didn’t complete  successfully when I pointed it at the ISO for Build 26040. Instead, it kept citing to issues with virtualization-based security on the host PC. Because this stalwart Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 1 Mobile Workstation had all the virtualization bells and whistles engaged, I was initially stumped. Then I turned on Device Guard in the UEFI and Presto! now everything is working. I’m not quite sure what the deal is, but having read about others who fixed the same problem in this way, I’m glad to simply move ahead instead.

What’s the Deal with the New Installer?

Good question. It’s a break with tradition that goes back to Vista that changes the look and feel substantially. After the initial language/time & currency questions (supplied with answers by default, and correctly), comes Keyboard or input method (US). I’ll skip that and shoot the next screen instead:

Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer.scr03

Next up (Scr03) you see options to (clean) install Windows 11, repair the current image, or launch the legacy experience.

Bootable Windows images can, by and large, repair a target PC’s installed image or wipe it out and install a different one. This reworked screen underscores those capabilities. Note: you can’t proceed to the next screen with Install Windows 11 selected (a clean install, that is) without also checking the “I agree…” stipulation that everything present will be deleted. Good call.

BTW, if you click “Launch the legacy experience” it reverts to the old familiar installer that has appeared in Windows versions since Vista. I’ll forgo further mention of this going forward except to observe that ESC let me start over from the very beginning with little muss or fuss. Ditto for “Repair my PC,” which proceeds with normal WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment) behavior.

Onward, Into the Bowels of Windows 11

Next up comes a request for a product key. Then comes a license screen (mercifully, it’s a simple one-paragraph agreement rather than the “whole shebang” as MS has presented in the past). Click an Accept button to proceed (Click “Legal” at center left and you get a URL where those inclined can indeed access the license in its awesome entirety).

The the install gets going: in this case, it finds the VHDX I defined for the VM and asks to consume the whole thing. Granted, by clicking “Next:”

Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer.scr06

Screen 6 shows the virtual disk I set up for this VM. By default it grabs the whole thing.

Finally, we’re “Ready to install” as the next screencap proclaims. Because it’s as simple as Windows installs get (VMs are carefully constructed to push no boundaries by deliberate design). That makes it as safe to click the “Install” button at lower right as it ever gets. Here goes!

Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer.scr07

With a click on “Install,” the Installer actually gets to installing.

Then, an activity window shows up that reports progress (show just the upper snippet):Exploring Build 26040 Windows Installer.scr08

This counts through the installer’s progress and takes you through a couple of reboots before your get to the OOBE stage.

This takes several minutes to complete and then deposits you into the OOBE (Out of Box Experience) screens. I won’t provide these, but will enumerate them as they are pretty familiar to Windows-heads:
1. Is this the right country or region (US shows by default; click “Yes”).
2. Is the the right keyboard layout or input method (US shows by default, click “Yes”).
3. Want to add a second keyboard or layout (Skip by default, click same).
4. Checking for updates (as a fresh new release, it finds nothing and jumps to …)
5. Let’s set things up for your work or school (enter Microsoft Account, MSA) Note this has to be an AD-connected MSA. If you, like me, lack same use the Domain Join approach instead.
(See this AskWoody article for deets on doing this if you’ve not taken this route before.)
6. Choose privacy settings (Click “Yes” to accept defaults).
7. Checking for updates (Again, none because it’s a fresh preview).
8. Settings things up screen appears as the desktop and so forth are prepped for use (takes a couple of minutes, too).

Next, you’ll be prompted for your password. Then comes the desktop. Good stuff! Overall, those parts of the new installer that are new (screens through 7) are simple, straightforward and easy to understand and use. This is a positive development for Windows 11. Interesting, too, because it comes two years into its lifecycle.

If you want to see the whole setup sequence there are plenty of other places online where you’ll find them. Here are my two current faves:

Paul Thurrot: A Quick Look at Windows Setup in Windows vNext
Albacore (@thebookisclosed): Pics of other screens for those curious [you can scroll through in sequence up to product key].

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Beta Channel Gets In-Place Upgrade Repair

I’ve been waiting for this to show up for a while. Now it’s finally here. In build 23635.3130, Windows 11 Beta channel finally shows the “Fix problems using Windows Update” button. It appears in Settings → System → Recovery. You can see it in the intro screenshot above. I call this an “in-place upgrade repair” (sometimes, I add “install” to the end of that phrase) because it’s been a known technique for a decade and longer under that name. But when Beta Channel gets in-place upgrade repair, MS describes it as “Reinstall your current version of Windows” — a completely acceptable alternate label. Whatever you call it, it’s great to have it built right into the OS now.

As Beta Channel Gets In-Place Upgrade Repair, Use It!

The idea behind the in-place upgrade repair (install) is to replace all of the current — and suspect, or possibly damaged or deranged — OS files with known, good, working versions. This is a powerful Windows repair technique, and one of my go-tos when more focused troubleshooting tries and fails to fix things. This built-in version has the advantage of grabbing everything it needs from Windows Update and doesn’t require admins or power users to download and build an ISO, mount the image, and then proceed from there. It’s much more hands-off than that (but also more time consuming). No need to build custom ISOs at UUPDump.net, either.

Another Great Way to Fix Windows 11

As long as Windows is still running, this may be the best way to run the in-place upgrade repair install. But don’t pitch out your rescue media, boot drives, and especially not your backups. This tool can’t cover all contingencies. You’ll still need that other stuff when Windows won’t boot or run the setup.exe installer on which this maneuver depends. But even so, it’s a great addition to the Windows repair toolbox.

In fact, I can’t wait to try it out! Thus, I just fired it off on a test machine to see what happens. Here’s an approximate timeline rounded to the nearest 5 seconds:

00:20 Checking for updates
07:15  Downloading install files (“Downloading”)
32:45 Installing replacement OS (“Installing”)
02:20 Time from “Installing – 100%” to “Restart now” button
02:35  Time with “Updates are underway” prior to reboot
03:30  First reboot to second reboot (jumps to 54% after)
05:10  Second reboot to lock screen
02:15  Transition through “Welcome” to Desktop
Total time elapsed: 55:10

Trust me: this takes a LOT longer than mounting an ISO and running setup.exe to handle the repair install. OTOH, all I had to do was push a few buttons along the way. Just be prepared to give it some time.

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DiskGenius Poses Odd Winget Issues

OK, so here’s an interesting set of issues. The otherwise usable and worthwhile free version of DiskGenius poses odd Winget issues. ICYDK, DiskGenius is a disk partitioning toolbox that also does data recovery, backup and restore and disk management. The free version offers more limited capability than its paid-for counterpart. But it definitely has issues related to its package structure inside Winget. Let me explain…

Evidence: DiskGenius Poses Odd Winget Issues

Take a look at the lead-in graphic. It’s from a PowerShell tab inside Windows Terminal. It shows the results of a winget update scan. I made it just AFTER I had forcibly uninstalled DiskGenius using Revo Uninstaller Free, then used Winget to install it afresh:

Winget install eassos.DiskGenius

As you can see, winget upgrade –all –include-unknown still wants to update DiskGenius. It wants to update to the same version that’s already installed: 5.5.1. According to the application’s Help/About info, it’s actually version 5.5.1.1508 x64. This makes me think there is some kind of problem with the manifest where the local installed copy of DiskGenius reports a different version than is associated with the manifest even though they’re the same. My best guess, in fact, is that the .1508 x64 at the end is getting truncated or lost.

As you can see in the next screencap, DiskGenius clearly shows 5.5.1 as its version number from the winget show output. (I split the pane to block out a bunch of extraneous details from the release notes.)

DiskGenius Poses Odd Winget Issues.show

Winget Show DiskGenius shows version number, publisher, and so forth.{Click image for full-sized view.}

Because DiskGenius happily runs as a portable app without actual installation, I’ve decided to uninstall it and run it from a flash drive when I need it. That way I don’t have winget constantly nagging me for an update that I neither need nor want to read about. Problem solved.

The Other Issue…

Remember, I mentioned “odd Winget issues” (plural) in the headline? So yes, there’s something else. When I initially installed DiskGenius I chose a USB-attached NVMe drive as the target. These problems started popping up when I unplugged that drive from its original host PC and plugged it into another one for some testing. Winget still complained about the need for an update, but then failed on the update because — of course, of course — it couldn’t find what wasn’t there. Plus, we already know it woudn’t have changed the nag report anyway…

Turns out installing left sufficient traces in the registry and file system that winget could know DiskGenius was supposed to be present, but nowhere to be found. Even using the uninstall option in Settings → Apps → Installed apps didn’t get rid of all traces. I had to use Revo Uninstaller and remove all registry entries and remaining files (mostly shortcuts that pointed to the now-missing E: drive) to make this stop.

But eventually, I got it all cleaned up. And now, I’m just going to run it as a portable app from the USB-attached SSD enclosure where it now lives. And sigh loudly, because that really is the way things too often go here in Windows-World.

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NVIDIA Drops New Driver Batch

As I work through the Windows news each morning, I check X (Twitter), LinkedIn, Facebook and Mastodon by way of social media. I also check in on WinAero, WindowsLatest, MSPowerUser, Ghacks, Thurott and Windows Central as well. Today, most of them told me something like NVIDIA drops new driver batch 551.23. And indeed, I found Game-ready and Studio versions for consumer grade GPUs, as well as Quadro (551.23 aka Release 550) among the pro lines. You can see the Studio version from GeForce Experience in the lead-in graphic above.

Fast facts on this latest version:
1. Target Directory: C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\
Downloader…
2. Filename: 551.23-desktop-win10-win11-64bit-
international-nsd-dch-whql-g.exe
3. Download size: 519KB (downloader only)
4. On-disk file size: 1.93 GB (all files downloaded & expanded)
5. Download & install time: ~3:30 (average across 5 PCs)

Why NVIDIA Drops New Driver Batch 551.23

Most often updates follow close on the heels of new games (or game features). Sometimes, they pop up to support new NVIDIA GPU offerings. It’s the latter this time, with the release of the game- and AI-ready RTX 4080 SUPER at CES on January 8, 2024 (also includes 4070 Ti SUPER and 4070 SUPER in that mix).

Heh! I’m not sure I’m ready to fork over the long green needed to buy into the latest NVIDIA generation, but it’s nice to know they’re out there when I build my next desktop. I usually buy either a 4070 or 4070 Ti model because I can’t really justify the price/performance tax that a top-of-the-line model adds to my build costs. But gamers everywhere will probably be fighting off a new case of techno-lust.

Drivers Downloaded and Updated

Amidst my modest fleet of about one dozen PCs (8 laptops and 4 desktops), there are 7 machines with NVIDIA graphics cards of one kind or another. I’ve got the updates running on all of them right now (except for the desktop my son is using away at college, so I’ll mention this to him the next time we talk). By the time you read this, they should all be updated.

If you’ve got an NVIDIA GPU in your neighborhood, now you know there’s a new update out there, too. Three cheers for the 551.23 release!

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Adding Ancient Dell Printer Gets Interesting

Oho! How the time flies by when I’m not looking. I tried to install my Dell color laser printer — Model 2155cn — on the Toughbook FZ-55 this morning, only to get the “Driver is unavailable” error in Printers & scanners again. “Hmmm…” I wondered: “How old is that thing anyway?” Turns out it made its debut in 2011, and I bought it in 2012. Like the original Apple LaserWriter I bought in the late 1980s (and kept until I bought this one) this is one indestructible beast. Thus, I must observe that for Windows 11, adding ancient Dell printer gets interesting. Simply put: Windows no longer includes these drivers in the OS distribution!

How Adding Ancient Dell Printer Gets Interesting

So now I finally understand why I’m seeing this error in Settings. You can see it, too, in the lead-in graphic. Amusingly enough, it shows up right below the device info for the 2155cn that I just installed minutes ago, courtesy of the Dell 2155 Application for Windows, which I found at the Dell Support pages. Dell calls it the 2155cn/cdn Color MFP Software Suite and Driver.

When I look at the list of supported OSes, 11 is absent — though it does mention 10, 7, Vista and XP. It bears a release date of March 2014, too. This information, along with the settings error message, is what finally clued me into what’s going on here. This darn printer is so OLD that MS doesn’t find it necessary to include its drivers amidst the thousands of newer devices it does support. This explains what was going on for my post from last week Dell Printer MIA.

Here Comes Nothing, Printer-Wise

Interestingly, MS is switching over to the Mopria printing protocol, under the umbrella of Universal Print. It will no longer provide new drivers from printer makers starting next year (2025: see this fascinating PC World item “MS is killing 3rd-party printer drivers in Windows 11“).

So, pretty soon this won’t matter. For older printers — like the Dell 2155 cn — the only option will be downloading from the maker’s website. For newer printers that are Universal Print/mopria-savvy, things should “just work.” Maybe I need to buy a new printer so I can see about that! LOL…

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Toughbook System Disk Explored

Examination of the disk layout and structure for the Panasonic Toughbook proved both interesting and informative. I used the free version of DiskGenius.  With the Toughbook System Disk explored — it appears as Disk 0 (HD0:) — I observed an interesting and useful disk layout, as you can see for yourself in the lead-in graphic above.

Reporting on Toughbook System Disk Explored

There are five (5) partitions on this disk, as follows:

1. EFI Partition (260 MB)
2. Microsoft Reserved (MSR: 16 MB)
3. WindowsBitLocker Encrypted (NTFS: 450.7 GB)
4. Recovery (WinRE: 990 MB)
5. OEM Recovery (OEMRCV: 25.0 GB)

What makes this disk layout interesting is that Partition 5 is basically a map and a replacement for all partitions. It includes a complete version of Windows 11 (Media.1) . It also uses SWM files (partial WIM files, and something new to me) to offer a variety of install and image files from which to build appropriate replacement images.

This feeds into a BIOS level repair utility from Panasonic that can rebuild the disk from scratch, in much the same way that the WinRE utility typically supports a “Factory reset” capability. This one, however, will work even in the absence of a working Windows image. Indeed, Panasonic also offersRecovery Media to perform the same function without reading anything from Disk 0 (via download, as explained below, or for purchase through the website).

Partitions 1-4 are basically a standard Windows 11 disk layout. Partition adds Panasonic’s own twist to this scheme, and provides an alternate means to reset a Toughbook to factory defaults that include this OEM partition. WinRE will rebuild the disk, but will leave this ultimate partition (5) alone.

Insights from Manuals and More

in a section entitled “About the Partition Structure” the Operating Instructions manual says:

Do not add or delete partitions in Windows 11, as the Windows area and recovery partition must be adjacent to each other in Windows 11.

I also found a link to Panasonic Japan for a Recovery Image Download Service. There I found links to an instruction manual and a recovery disk creation utility. Note: access to a valid model and serial number for a Toughbook PC is required to download and use this tool. Section 3.2  explains the recovery process which drives Panasonic recovery from a BIOS selection “Recovery” that rebuilds all partitions on the system disk.

Good to know!

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KB5034441 Partition Work Kills Reflect Backup

There’s a very good reason why I run my Macrium Reflect backups at 9 AM. I’m usually at my desk, so I can see it fire up and –eventually — complete successfully. This morning, I noticed the backup had failed pretty soon after it started up. What I wanted to see shows up above in the lead-in graphic — namely “Image Completed Successfully.” Upon investigation, the reason for failure was a missing partition. Indeed, I’d deleted it to make room to expand my WinRE partition. That’s why I call this post KB5034441 Partition Work Kills Reflect Backup. Now, I’ll explain…

Why KB5034441 Partition Work Kills Reflect Backup

KB5034441 appeared on January 9 for Windows 10. It works some Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) magic and also rebuilds the WinRE partition on the sys/boot disk. Alas, it wants an additional 250MB of partition space. That’s usually not available in most existing recovery partitions, so it’s necessary to resize that partition to make room for the new additions.

This is where things get interesting for me. I run a daily backup on my sys/boot (and key data) disk(s). Because I made room to grow my existing WinRE partition — using reagentc /info to identify it, and MTPW to give it more space — I first deleted partition 6 on that drive (an older, now ununsed WinRE partition). Because my Reflect Macrium drives image backups from a partition map, killing Partition 6 on the drive made the XML backup schedule diverge from the actual disk layout. When that happens, out of an abundance of caution, Macrium Reflect refuses to image that changed  layout.

Fixing the Backup Backup (Failure)

All I had to do to fix the problem was to define a new backup schedule with the proper partitions ticked off on the boot/sys drive. But before I could do that, I had to notice the old backup definition was no longer working. Of course, I also deleted the no-longer-working definition file as well.

That finally happened this morning and I got a new backup completed shortly thereafter. I’m sure glad nothing blew up in the meantime. As you can see, my last successful backup (before today) occurred on January 12 — one week ago. Dodged a bullet, that time.

KB5034441 Partition Work Kills Reflect Backup.backfiles

Notice the second date in the descending series of files. It’s a week old. Ouch! {Click image for full-sized view.}

Learned an important lesson, too: if the partition map changes, the backup definition file must be changed to match. Otherwise, Macrium Reflect image backup won’t work! Because I rely on daily image backups to haul my fat out of the fire, that’s uncommonly good to know and understand…

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X1 Extreme Graphics Driver Delirium

I guess it just happens every so often. Right now, Lenovo Vantage is nagging me to upgrade graphics drivers — both Intel and NVIDIA — on my 2018 Vintage Thinkpad X1 Extreme. (Internals: i7-8850H CPU, 32 GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, dual Samsung OEM SSDs.) But Lenovo Vantage wants me to run an Optimus display driver and GeForce Experience wants a GeForce Game Ready Driver. The back-n-forth is leading to some X1 Extreme graphics driver delirium. What’s a body to do?

Surmounting X1 Extreme Graphics Driver Delirium

In a nutshell the problem is this: when I update to the Optimus driver, GeForce tells me to update to the Game Ready Driver, When I go the other way round, that flips so Lenovo Vantage tells me to get back on its track. I don’t do a lot of heavy-duty graphics on this laptop, and I’ll be darned if I can tell any difference.

I asked Copilot: “What’s the difference between running a GeForce Game Ready Driver versus NVIDIA Optimus Display Driver on a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with Max-Q Design?” It says: battery and easy switching between discrete and integrated GPU for Optimus, versus gaming performance and support for newest games for Game Ready Driver.

Dilemma dehorned: I don’t play games and I do switch back and forth between the Intel UHD 630 and the discrete GPU. But I had to finagle a bit to get the status from Lenovo Vantage you see above, where it tells me “No updates available.” Deets follow next…

Both Intel and Optimus Must Update

Something about the update package from Lenovo was successfully updating the GeForce driver, but failing to do the same for Intel. How could I tell? Two ways:

  1. The Update package did not run all the way to completion.
  2. The driver version for the Nvidia device matched that for the Lenovo update package (31.0.15.3770), while that for the Intel UHD 620 was lower (update version was 27.20.100.9316 but the running version ended in 8967 instead). Oops!

Because the Lenovo installer wasn’t finishing up (and the Intel Driver & Support Assistant was cheerfully oblivious), I exercised the download package’s offer to extract its contents to a folder. Then I went into Device Manager, right-clicked into “Update driver” and turned it loose on the Intel folder in the unzipped file archive that extract created for me. It took a while to complete, but this worked.

So now, I’ve got the latest Optimus drivers for my X1 Extreme and it’s all good. Here in Windows World, if you’re willing to stop and think about what you’re doing, there’s nearly always a way to fix such issues. Done!

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Dell Printer Driver MIA

Just as we were ready to call it a night, “the Boss” came downstairs from her office cubby. Said she “I can’t print like I usually do.” Upon investigation, Word showed her default printer as: Microsoft Print to PDF, instead of the Dell 2155cn printer right next to her desk. “Uh oh,” I thought: “That can’t be good…” And sure enough, when I went into System → Bluetooth & Devices → Printers & Scanners, I saw the tell-tale status “Driver unavailable.” Yikes, the Dell Printer Driver was MIA. What to do?

Return to Action When Dell Printer MIA

Fortunately, I’ve been down this road before. When my quick attempts to access the device showed me only the link between the Boss’s Dell OmniPlex D7080 PC and the 2155 was affected, I knew what to do.

Yep: just as the status line showed, the driver had crashed and burned. Hence: unavailable. So I removed the printer from the lineup. Then I used the “Add a Printer or scanner” facility to bring it back onto the D7080. Fortunately, that worked without my having to visit the Dell website to grab a new driver download. With its associated software and tools, that takes longer to install and set-up.

Device Manager was apparently able to locate and install a working replacement driver without any extra help (or effort) from me. After printing a test page to make sure things were working once again, I printed the red velvet cake recipe that the Boss was trying to output. Sounds — and looks — yummy.

Remove & Replace to the Rescue — Again!

Just yesterday morning, I blogged about using uninstall/reinstall to fix an issue with the brand-new PowerToys “Command Not Found” facility. Last night, I used the same approach to take a broken device driver out of play, and bring in a new and working replacement.

Hmmm. Seems like this R&R strategy is one that comes in handy for all kinds of interesting Windows issues. Let’s keep that in mind, shall we?

 

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