Category Archives: WED Blog

WU Reset Tool Works on Windows 11

I’ve been a member over at TenForums for almost 7 years now. In fact, I joined up on November 14, 2014 shortly after the first Technical Preview emerged. This weekend, I was relieved to discover that the batch file Shawn Brink created as a WU reset tool works on Windows 11, too. (The preceding link goes to a tutorial that provides a download and explains how to use it to reset Windows Update, or WU).

It’s a Relief that WU Reset Tool Works on Windows 11

My Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga test machine would start downloading updates from WU just fine. But part-way through the download process, progress would stop. Eventually, I would get an “Update failed…” error message, with a Retry button. After several tries, each with its own similar failure, I knew sterner measure were needed.

I actually keep the batch file from the afore-linked tutorial on my shared desktop in OneDrive. It’s called


and it does a thorough reset of the Windows Update environment. It begins by halting all update-related services, then it empties all folders where recently-downloaded update files reside, checks (and if necessary resets) various WU-related registry settings, then restarts those same services. A reboot follows next, after which one can try one’s luck with WU again.

So I ran the batch file in an administrative cmd prompt on the affected machine, let it do its thing, then restarted that PC. Presto! After restarting, my next update attempt succeeded. I wasn’t 100% sure it would work on Windows 11 because the tool was built for Windows 10. But to my great delight and relief, it set the Windows Update environment back to working order. And thus, I was able to catch that machine up with the current state of the Dev Channel.

Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I recommend the tool and its accompanying tutorial highly. Find it at TenForums as Reset Windows Update in Windows 10. Hopefully, Mr. Brink will soon do a run-through to create a Windows 11 specific version. Should that occur, I will add a link to that version here as well.


Unusual Windows 11 Update KB5008295

Recently, some Windows 11 Beta and Preview Channel Insiders reported certain misbehaving apps.  Affected apps include Snipping Tool, Touch Keyboard, Voice Typing, the Emoji Panel, Getting Started, Tips and (for those who use it) IME UI. When  launched, they produce this error message: “This app can’t open.” Turns out MS let a certificate expire. Alas, those apps check that certificate and won’t run if it’s expired. This unusual circumstance prompted an unusual Windows 11 update KB5008295, released November 5.

Explaining Unusual Windows 11 Update KB5008295

In my experience, the update installs quickly and requires no restart upon completion. The lead-in graphic shows an updated Release Preview PC’s Update history. There, it’s simply labeled “Update.” Surprisingly, this update doesn’t increment the build number, either.

Those  running Windows 11 Insider Preview in the Beta or Release Preview channel should watch the aforementioned apps. If you see “App can’t open” you need the update. Visit WU, download and install KB5008295. From all after-action reports so far, it fixes this particular problem.

Indeed, MS closed its release blog for this update with the following text:

Please note: After installing KB5008295, the build number will not be revised or show as updated in “winver” or other areas in the OS. To confirm this update is installed, please check Settings > Windows Update > Update history.

That’s why the WU history list for Quality Updates from my test machine appears as the lead-in graphic for this story, in fact. Use it if you need it; leave it if you don’t.

When Will KB5008295 Hit the Public Release?

As usual, non-Insiders must wait for this update to trickle down to them. Educated guess: look for it in the upcoming November 9 Patch Tuesday CU. That seems quite likely AFAIK.

On the other hand, it might take longer. If the patch itself causes issues, it won’t arrive until they’re fixed, too. That’s the nature of the update game, where it never pays to replace one problem with another.


Windows Web Experience Pack Mysteries

Recently, Microsoft Store has installed a new app on all of the Windows 11 machines I’ve checked. It’s named the Windows Web Experience Pack. It only has the name in the Description field, is categorized under “Utilties & tools,” and the support and website URLs on its store page link to So when, I say I’ve encountered some Windows Web Experience pack mysteries, I’m not kidding. In fact, it’s definitely more mysterious than not.

A List of Windows Web Experience Pack Mysteries

1. You can’t find this utility with a search. I tried.
2. Check out the whole Store page. There’s a Windows 10 logo in the Screenshots pane. System Requirements, however, specifically state “Window 11 version 22000.20 or higher.” WTF?
3. No description or working links for documentation. A search at turns up zilch,  as well.
4. When you click on the “Open” link on the Store page, nothing happens. Nothing shows on the Processes or Details tabs in Task Manager either (at least, not as far as I can tell).
5. WinAero puts things best when it stays “Because there is no official word from Microsoft on what WWEP does, we can only speculate that this component is responsible for updating core web components in the OS used by Store apps.”

We know it’s something aimed at all Web browsers, because otherwise it would be Edge-focused and -specific. But beyond that we don’t much about it all. It’s a “mystery pack” much like the Recent Windows Feature Experience Pack and the Online Service Experience Pack introduced earlier this year.

One Mystery Resolved

Turns out you can also find the Web Experience Pack in Windows 10. Here’s a link to that Store page. Its system requirements are 2004/19041.0 or higher. Thus, it obviously originated with Windows 10. I think that explains the logo at the top of the Windows 11 version’s Store page. Somebody copied it over from the Windows 10 version and changed nothing except for the system requirements. Even the reviews for both versions include all the same stuff.

What About the Others?

Good question! I’ve got my curiosity up now, so I’ll keep digging around. But these “packs” seem extraordinarily opaque to those outside the inner circle of Windows architects and developers. This is definitely another case of “wait and see how it all turns out.” Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted.

Note Added November 4

One of my WIMVP buddies — Shawn Keene — informed me that you can simply type “web” into the Run box (WinKey+R) and it will open File Explorer to that folder automagically. I tried it. Sure enough: it works. Use this as your shortcut for exploring. Thanks, Shawn.



Windows Wallpapers Live Elsewhere

Here’s something I didn’t know, that you may not have known, either. Wallpaper images for both Windows 10 and 11 live in a separate folder hierarchy under C:\Windows\Web. That hierarchy appears as the lead-in graphic for this story. The parent folder spec is C:\Windows\Web. In Windows 11 each of the four subsidiary folder contains 2 or more images, all suitable for wallpaper use. When I say Windows wallpapers live elsewhere, I mean they live in their own private directory, as indicated.

If Windows Wallpapers Live Elsewhere, Visit Them

I spelunked around the four-folder hierarchy and found 37 images therein. Many of them are based on those twisting laminar surfaces that have come to stand for Windows 11. I copied all of them into a single directory so I could find them all in one place. The next screencap shows a listing of those images by filename. You’ll probably want to set a similar view to Extra Large or Large icons, so you can identify them by visual content (I did it this way for compactness).

WWindows Wallpapers Live Elsewhere.details

What to do With Windows Wallpapers

Overall, they’re an astonishing collection of images and graphics. Microsoft operates an image service named Spotlight, that curates over 4,000 high-quality professional images of nature, cities, objects, and more. All of these work well for desktop backgrounds and lockscreen images. I have an older app from Timo Partl (no longer in the Store, alas) that does a great job of visiting the Spotlight connection and downloading anything I don’t already have locally to a target directory. For those of you who, like me, like lots of variety in your lockscreens and backgrounds, this provides a trove of beautiful eye-candy of amazing variety and great quality.

I’m adding these wallpapers to that collection. I assume that means they’ll show up occasionally, as the forces of random selection dictate. Check out the 11 wallpapers and feel free view them as and when you like. Cheers!

Note Added Nov 4

I got a great tip from my fellow WIMVPs about this–namely Shawn Keene. He observes that if you open the Run box (WinKey+R) and type “web” into the box, then hit OK, it will open a fresh instance of File Explorer to that directory. Very handy!


Kill These Windows 11 tw*.tmp Folders

Here’s an interesting bit of news. After seeing reports about folders that end with a .tmp extension (!) in Windows 11, i found some on every machine I checked running that OS. These folders are invariably empty, and may be safely deleted. When I say: Kill these Windows 11 tw*.tmp folders, you shouldn’t suffer any adverse effects if you take that advice.

See a representative list in the lead-in graphic for this story. The folder spec is clearly spelled out therein. For the record, it is:


Why Kill These Windows 11 tw*.tmp Folders?

Because they’re empty. Because you don’t need them. And because they can swamp the other, valid data in that folder. I read reports of “hundreds” to “tens of thousands” of such empty folders at WinAero and The largest number I found on any of my Windows 11 PC  was 94. Ironically, it was the one running Build 22000.258, a recent production 21H2 version. My other Beta and Dev Channel PCs had between 40 and 50 such folders in the same directory, by way of comparison.

After cleanup, here’s  what’s left in that folder on my i7-8850H X1 Extreme laptop:

Kill These Windows 11 tw*.tmp

Not much left after cleanup: 5 folders and a lone .tmp file
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Over at Ghacks, Martin Brinkmann correctly observes as follows. “Empty folders don’t take up much disk space and they don’t interfere with the operation of the system.” It’s not mandatory to clean them out yourself. But OCD inclined Windows users (like me) will nevertheless delight in doing so!

Note: According to Brinkmann’s in-story reference to Woody Leonhard (AskWoody) this issue appears in 2019 versions of Windows 10, through current versions, too. And right now, I count a whopping 1,115 of them on my production desktop as I send them to the Recycle Bin. Woo hoo!


I Get No MS Defender Preview

The other day, I found myself unable to partake of Online Service Experience Packs in Windows 11. With tongue in cheek, I asserted that I found myself on the outside looking in. It’s nothing new to me when certain preview or pre-release features open to some — but not all — Windows Insiders. Today, I’m in the same boat again. There’s a new version of Microsoft Defender available in the MS Store for download. As you can see from the lead-in graphic for this story, I get no MS Defender Preview. Instead I get an error message that reads “Your account isn’t authorized to use Microsoft Defender yet.” Sigh. I hope I haven’t jinxed myself.

If I Get No MS Defender Preview, Then What?

It’s frustrating to be a vocal, committed and active Windows Insider yet be denied access to new features and apps as they make their way into release. As far back as I can remember, when an A/B test or a gradual rollout occurs for Insiders, I’m never included early. Rather, I have to wait until the feature goes into general release. Or if I’m lucky, I might find some other way to install it.

I’m trying my best to remain patient and take my turn when it comes. In the meantime, you can read more about what’s up with the Microsoft Defender Preview in this October 27 story from The Windows Club. I’d love to tell you more about it based on personal experience, but it seems I’m not allowed to access the Preview. At least, not yet.

Stay tuned, though: when my turn comes, I’ll tell you more about what’s new and different. Coverage so far on the Preview is light on details. So maybe it won’t be too late to do my readers some good. As usual, time will tell…


PowerToys v0.49.0 Gets Video Conference Mute

Clint Rutkas and his team have been talking about it for months. I’ve been waiting to check it out myself. That’s right: in its latest release, PowerToys v0.49.0 gets video conference mute capability. Right now it’s available through GitHub, though I expect it’s just a matter of time before it comes via the Microsoft Store. The new control page in settings serves as the lead-in graphic for this story.

What PowerToys v0.49.0 Gets Video Conference Mute Means

I run at least 4 different video conferencing platforms regularly: Zoom, Teams, Blue Jeans, and Google Meet. From time to time, I’ll get invited to another, similar platform for online meetings. Each of them offers a mute capability, but each one uses a different control in a different place in its app window.

What I like about Video Conference Mute in PowerToys is that it offers one single set of controls for mike and camera, for all such apps. Here’s the set of keystrokes it uses:

PowerToys v0.49.0 Gets Video Conference Mute.keys

Keys to toggle the mike and video together, or separately. Good stuff! (Source: PowerToys built-in Welcome docs)

For those already using PowerToys, an update is in order. For those not already using the tool, you can simply run the installer and it will set you up. Then, right-click the PowerToys icon in the notification area to open its UI, and go to the VCM pane. There you simply need to move the slider labeled “Enable Video Conference Mute” to on (as shown in the lead-in graphic if you exercise the option to view it on its own web page). It’s just that easy. I already liked PowerToys a lot, but this latest and long-anticipated addition just made me like it a whole bunch more. Check it out.


Why I’m Always Out of A/B Windows Tests

OK, then. I knew I was doomed when I saw the October 27 Windows Insider Blog. It covers Windows Insider Dev Channel build 22489, which I’d already installed. As soon as I saw the words “we are beginning to roll out…” I knew they weren’t rolling it out for me. Don’t ask me why I’m always out of A/B Windows tests. But whenever MS rolls something out to a select few, I’m never in the first cohort. If I had any hair on my head, I might tear some out. Good thing I’m bald…

Is Bad Luck Why I’m Always Out of A/B Windows Tests?

I don’t think so, but who knows? The latest feature that I can’t play with is called “Your Microsoft account” (available in Settings → Accounts). The lead-in graphic for this story is what those lucky few get to see (but not yours truly, not on either Dev Channel test PC).

For me, the question then becomes: “When do I get to see this new feature?” If experience is any guide, it will happen later rather than sooner. And it can’t be because my Windows 11 test PCs are of ancient vintage, either. The oldest one does run an 8th gen Intel CPU, but the newer of the two is 11th gen with Thunderbolt 4, even.

Learning More About Online Experience Packs

According to MJF at ZDnet this particular capability represents a real-world use of its Online Service Experience Packs. These mysterious “outside of OS updates” update mechanisms have been the subject of wonder and curiosity for some time now. As MJF says so pithily “Microsoft execs have said fairly little about Windows Feature Experience Packs,” another extra-OS update channel that’s equally enigmatic. To me, these things are the equivalent of the MSR in on-disk Windows layouts, which MS reserves for its own unstated purposes and about which I’ve been able to learn mostly zilch as well.

Thanks for helping to keep the mystery  alive and well in Windows, guys. It always keeps me paying attention, at least. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know if BigFoot puts in an appearance, too…


WU Delivers New PC Health Check Version

For Windows 10 and 11 users alike, those who try to run PC Health Check (PCHC) may experience an interesting initial impediment. Instead of running whatever version of the tool may already be installed, Windows will install the latest version. Numbered 3.1.210929003-s2, it shows up on all my updated Windows 10 and 11 PCs. Apparently, WU delivers new PC Health Check version as a routine part of the update process.

Why WU Delivers New PC Health Check Version, In Brief

My best guess is that MS wants to make SURE all Windows PCs have the latest version of PCHC at their disposal. WU itself offers to run the tool as part of its routine update checks now. As you can see in the lead in graphic (at bottom) this means the installer runs to remove the old version, then loads and configures the new one automatically. Only then, can you tell (at top) that the latest PCHC version is running.

It came as something of a surprise to me to invoke PCHC on my PCs, and get the installer first instead. Looks like this is one update that MS does not leave to user discretion. Here it comes, ready (and like it) or not!

PCHC Goes to All Players…

Even on my Surface Pro 3, which WU correctly labels as “unfit for 11” I still get an offer to get PC Health check as shown here:

WU Delivers New PC Health Check Version.no11

This 4th-gen Intel laptop with no TPM will never run Windows 11. Yet WU still hopefully proffers PCHC.
[Click image for full-sized view].

I’m bemused. There are no “things I can do in the PC Health Check app” that will ever bring Windows 11 to the old Surface Pro 3. Am I wrong to read the language shown above as extending some glimpse of hope that things might turn out otherwise? Nah. It’s just a teaser. Good thing I’m running this system to keep track of Windows 10 as it runs out its tether to the 2025 EOL on purpose, eh?

Note Added 00:30 Later…

Just saw a very nice story on this phenomenon from Liam Tung at ZDNet. It’s entitled Windows 10 users get PC Health Check app for diagnostics and troubleshooting. Worth a read it makes some interesting points, and provides a quick way to remove PCHC for those so inclined. That tip reads “Users can uninstall PC Health Check by going to Apps → Apps & Features → App list (Windows PC Health Check) → Uninstall. (I substituted the right arrow entity for Mr. Tung’s less-elegant > (right caret/greater than sign) in this rendition.)


Windows 11 Upgrades Gain Momentum

This morning (October 26) Twitter is ablaze with reports of qualified PC getting the “Windows 11 offer” via WU. I just checked my eligible PCs still running Windows 10 (all both of them). The Intel i7 11th gen machine gets the offer; the AMD Ryzen 5800X does not. So, as Windows 11 upgrades gain momentum the coverage remains partial. I guess, it’s just a bigger piece of the overall pie.

Twitter Sez: Windows 11 Upgrades Gain Momentum

But gosh, I see dozens of posts on Twitter this morning from people with all kinds of PCs indicating they’ve accepted the offer. Most report a successful install. Some report hanging, of which most seem to involve the post-GUI install phase somewhere between 80 and 100% complete.

FWIW, such issues have been common with other new Windows versions. One could argue — and MS often does — that the whole point of the “gradual rollout” they now follow is to ensure the highest likelihood of success to those who get “the offer.”

What I Do if WU Upgrade Hangs

This hanging has happened to me often enough in my 7 years as an Insider that I’ve got a step-by-step approach to trying various fixes:

1. Power off and restart. Often, the install will pick where it left off and continue to completion.
2. If rollback happens after restart, I try using the setup.exe from an ISO equivalent to the current install version. That has worked for me in most (9 out of 10) cases.
3. If a standalone/local installer won’t cut it, that often indicates driver or hardware issues. I’ll often roll back and wait for the next upgrade or a new ISO to come along. For those who MUST get to Windows 11, the only thing left to try is a clean install from the same ISO as in Step 2. This works for 9 of the remaining 10 hard cases.

But as I’ve recently learned with the Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 9 that has a Thunderbolt Firmware issue I can’t fix for love or money, even a clean install doesn’t ALWAYS work. That’s why I’m sending that one back to Lenovo with a “Thunderbolt doesn’t work” note in the box. Sometimes, the forces of darkness do prevail. I can only add that I *HATE* when that happens.