Category Archives: Windows 10

Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On

I have to laugh. When I wrote yesterday about Winget moving up to version 1.4, I should’ve known it would carry items in its wake. Hence my update to the GUI front-end for Winget this morning — namely, the Github project known as WingetUI. I might have guessed, but did not, that updating WingetUI brings follow-on packages in its wake.

Instead I simply fired off the update process for WingetUI this morning, and moved onto another open window. I was happily surfing some traffic at ElevenForum.com when outta nowhere an install window for the Microsoft Visual C++ 2015-2022 Redistributable popped up on my screen. You can see the trace it left behind in “Programs and Features” (dated 1/31/2023) in the screencap above.

If Updating WingetUI Brings Follow-On, Then What?

I guess it makes sense that if Winget is updated, WingetUI should follow suit. I’m not sure if the new C++ Redistributable is a natural consequence of the update, or just a coincidence. But gosh! I’m of the opinion that if one program needs to install other stuff so it can work, it should at least notify you beforehand. Or even, ask permission.

But what do I know? Thus, I was a bit taken aback when the install window for the C++ Redistributable popped up today. It seemed kind of random and unexpected to me. Maybe it’s my fault for covering up the WingetUI install window with something else. Maybe it’s just one of those things that sometimes happens when you update software here in Windows-World. You tell me!

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Obtaining Winget Version Info

A couple of weeks ago, a new version of Winget popped up on Github. Pretty much since then, I’ve been slowly but surely making sure all 11 of my Windows PCs are running this latest and greatest version (e.g. 1.4.10173). For me that naturally raised the question: How does one go about obtaining Winget version info? That led me back into the MS Learn documentation, about which I’ll now report.

Obtaining Winget Version Info Is Dead Easy

Turns out that winget is just another package, like all the others that the tool can download, install, upgrade, delete and otherwise manage. Thus a simple and basic winget command told me what I wanted to know:

winget –info winget

The lead-in graphic for this story shows this command and its resulting output. Note the first line after the command reads:

Windows Package Manager v1.4.10173

That matches the “Latest” version number at Github, so it’s the most current version around AFAIK (not counting previews). And indeed, I’m pleased to report that using standard winget upgrade commands has ensured that winget is current on all my PCs.

More than One Path to Enlightenment

I also noticed that winget syntax errors will report the version running before conveying its error message info. Thus, omitting the dashes before “info” in the preceding command will also tell you its version number (after which a pageful of syntax guidance follows). I guess you could deliberately mistype a command to produce the version number. But heck, I’d rather do it the right way if I can remember how.

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16 Month Pause Between Audio Updates

Whoa! I finally hit paydirt yesterday. I’ve been checking for updated drivers for my Realtek® Audio (UAD) device for some time now. As I’ve just calculated, there’s been a 16 month pause between audio updates on my production PC. Undoubtedly that’s because it’s an i7 Skylake (Intel Gen 6) CPU that made its debut in 2016. Could this be another sign that it’s time to retire this PC? Probably!

Why a 16 Month Pause Between Audio Updates?

Please look at the intro graphic. Because I just updated the ASRock Realktek audio driver yesterday, you can see two versions of the corresponding setup information (INF) file, hdxasrok.inf. Note the dates: the newer one reads 12/27/2022 while the older reads 8/3/2021. Do the math, and that’s 16 months plus over 3 weeks. Wow!

I’d been visiting the ASRock Support website and my favorite alternate driver source — namely station-drivers.com— for a long, long time before I finally struck gold. Before I dug into this ZIP file and realized it covered my audio chipset, the vast majority of recent updates were for Nahimic audio chips, not the plain-vanilla Realtek chips in my now-aging motherboard.

Frankly, I don’t know why it took so long to find a newer version. My best guess is that older motherboards (and chipsets) don’t get the same love and attention that newer ones do. I have to guess that’s because driver updates require time and effort to create, and older stuff is less likely to be in demand than newer stuff. The just the way of Windows-World: older hardware eventually gets no love at all. Mine is pushing that envelope, clearly.

Thanks Again, RAPR!

The Driver Store Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) once again comes in handy for inspecting driver status on my Windows 10 production PC. It’s the source of the screencap at the head of this story. It does a stellar job of showing Windows drivers, including their number and status on targeted PCs. This search proved an excellent stimulus for me to update RAPR itself, too. Thus, I’m now running v0.11.92 (uploaded to GitHub on 1/6/2023). Previously, I’d been running v0.10.58 (internal file date: 4/10/2020).

Thus, the need to upgrade one thing (the Realtek driver) also reminded me to upgrade another (RAPR). Now, I’ll need to distribute this around my entire PC fleet. Good stuff!

 

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Winget Install Technology Hiccup

When I ran Winget to check for updates on the Lenovo P16 Workstation yesterday, something interesting happened. As you can see in the lead-in graphic, Winget found 2 packages in need of update. But it installed only one of them upon command. I discovered why when I attempted to force install the missing item. Indeed it produced what I’m calling a Winget install technology hiccup. Let me explain…

Overcoming the Winget Install Technology Hiccup Is Easy

The error message that resulted when I tried to force install RingCentral told me everything I needed to know. It reads:

A newer version was found, but the install technology is different from the current version installed. Please uninstall the package and install the newer version.

So that’s exactly what I did in the next two commands shown–namely:

winget uninstall ringcentral

winget install ringcentral

Luckily for me, the simple name “ringcentral” is sufficient to identify the unique and actual package name (“RingCentral.RingCentral”). Otherwise, I’d have been compelled to use that full, complete nomenclature to pull off the remove/replace maneuver that saw the hiccup overcome. That happens when multiple packages share common nomenclature, and a unique string for the desired package must be fully specified.

In this case, everything was easy-peasey. Just the way I like it: hiccup fixed!

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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!

 

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WIMVP Award Extended for 2023

I’m so tickled! At the tail end of yesterday, official word arrived in my inbox from Microsoft. My Windows Insider MVP (WIMVP) status goes on for another year. That’s right: with the WIMVP award extended for 2023, it’s now been six (6) years since I joined the ranks of elite Windows advocates and insiders. Woo hoo! The lead-in graphic shows the header and the first paragraph from the official notification.

First things first: I’d like to thank Microsoft for adding another year to my WIMVP tenure. I’d also like to express my particular thanks to Brandon Patoc and the rest of the Insider Team for their ongoing help, information and support. Thanks also to the Lenovo Global Technology Communications team — most notably, Jeff Witt and Amanda Heater — for sending me the many evaluation and loaner units that have provided much of the fodder that drives my analyses and investigations. I couldn’t do it without ya, so thanks again!

WIMVP Award Extended for 2023: Next?

I’ll be keeping on with my daily blog posts here at edtittel.com. I’ve got upcoming and ongoing assignments for Windows coverage with ComputerWorld, various TechTarget outlets, and am preparing to pitch Tom’s Hardware for an ongoing series of troubleshooting reports. (Fingers crossed, it will be accepted!)

Topics of ongoing interest for 2023 will include:

  • Tracking and reporting on Windows Insider and production releases, updates, issues and fixes for Windows 10 and 11.
  • Continued investigation and testing of USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 tools and technologies, particularly those for docks and related peripherals (mostly USB-C).
  • Ongoing reporting on PowerShell approaches and techniques for managing Windows updates, clean-up and troubleshooting. Special emphasis on Winget and related third-party update tools.
  • Daily reports from the Windows trenches, as things happen and I figure out how to fix or work around them.
  • Other observations and ruminations on Windows growth, change and topics of interest and concern.

To some extend, it will be more of the same. But new things are always happening and popping up in Windows World. As I figure out what’s important or noteworthy, I’ll be sure to comment and point out useful, relevant resources from MS and third parties.

More About the WIMVP Program

To learn more about this program, which “recognizes technology experts and community leaders who are passionate about Windows and positive Windows advocates within their communities…” visit the WIMVP home page. Find my updated entry in the program amidst the WIMVP award holder listings (scroll down to “Get to know Windows Insider MVPs” and look around from there). Cheers, and thanks yet one more time.

 

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2023 Gets Underway For Real

OK, then. The family is back from our later-than-usual winter vacation. On Saturday we returned from San Diego. This morning, son Gregory hopped another silver bird to return to school in Boston. So now, I’m catching up my modest PC fleet as 2023 gets underway for real here at Chez Tittel. As usual, there are numerous interesting items to report.

Once 2023 Gets Underway for Real, Then What?

First things first: I’m checking and updating all the Windows PCs around here. Here’s what things are looking like by some numbers — namely Winget updates and SUMo items:

PC Name         Winget     SUMo Items
i7Skylake          4           6
Surface (Pro 3)    1           3
X380Test           6           3
X380              12           9
P16 (Mobile WS)    1           4
X12 Hybrid Tablet  3           3
X1 Extreme         2           9
Yoga 7i            5           9
D7080 (wife PC)    1           4
AMD5800X           6           8

Of course, the time these various systems spent untended before the break affects the number of updates they need. It’s no exaggeration to observe that those with more updates in both columns (Winget and SUMo) had been idle longer than those with fewer (especially X380 and the AMD box).

Total time required to get everything caught up (except for the Lenovo P360 Ultra, which is still in the closet upstairs) was just under 3 hours. I learned a few interesting things along the way, too.

Update Lessons Learned

Zoom won’t auto-upgrade to the latest version in one jump. I had to upgrade several systems twice, to work through the sequence of updates since they were last accessed. Sigh.

I did finally find the new versions of Asrock App Shop, RGB Sync, and Restart to UEFI. I haven’t tried them on my Z170 mobo yet, but am curious to see if old and new are still close enough to work. And indeed, the new B550 targeted software still works on the old Z170 motherboard. Go figure…

For some odd reason, SUMo wants users to upgrade to beta versions of Firefox and SpaceDesk. I’m NOT going there, because I want my production PCs to run production software. If you make use of this otherwise excellent tool, be sure to check the provenance of recommended updates (like those two) before blindly following along.

2023, here I come. Stay tuned…

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Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated

Here’s an interesting tidbit. I checked for upgrades this morning on my production PC. Winget informed me “1 package has a version number that cannot be determined.” It recommends using the “–include-unknown” parameter. And presto! Winget Upgrade include unknown gets illustrated nicely in forthcoming results. See the lead-in graphic…

When Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated…

An abstract explanation that Winget may not recognize an update’s version is one thing. But the example in the preceding graphic is clear and unmistakable. First, Winget finds no installable packages. It recommends using –include-known. Once used, an upgrade is found — and installed — without difficulty. How clear is that?

I’ve been using Winget daily on most of my PCs for more than six months now. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about how (and when) it works best. Winget is now essential for my maintenance regimen. The foregoing illustration explains nicely why using –include-unknown is customary. It’s a peach!

Winget Upgrade Include Unknown Gets Ilustrated.SUMo

SUMo sees things that need updates (applications mostly, but also some apps) that Winget does not.

Where Winget Comes Up Short

Please examine the preceding screencap. It shows 4 updates and upgrades that Winget misses. That same shot also shows why I still use KC Softwares’ Software Update Monitor (SUMo, depicted).

Indeed I also use PatchMyPC updater as well. That’s mostly because while it doesn’t catch everything that SUMo does, what it does catch it also updates automatically. SUMo only does that if you use the for-a-fee version (and even then, it doesn’t always do it automatically, either). Sigh.

In addition to the items shown, other things occasionally pop up that Winget misses. Other browsers (e.g. Chrome) may appear, as do some apps/applications, including Kindle, Nitro Pro, and more. I’ve learned how to handle all of them by now — or not, as is sometimes a good idea. For example: I’ve never been able to find the version of ASRock APP Shop (2.0.0.3) that SUMo claims is current. There are a few other such “false positives” but nothing too major. Please read my December 28 item “Windows 10 OCD Update Stymied” for further ruminations on this topic.

‘Nuff said, for now!

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SFF Upgrade Opportunities Maximize Value

Last October, I wrote a review of a tiny and terrific SFF PC entitled “P360 Ultra Is Beautiful Inside.” This morning, I’ve been thinking about that review while reading about best of breed small form-factor (SFF) PCs across a broad range of vendors. My conclusion: SFF upgrade opportunities maximize value in a chassis that’s easy to open, access and upgrade. Let me explain…

Buy Low-end So SFF Upgrade Opportunities Maximize Value

In the P360 Ultra, for those who aren’t disinclined to swap out parts, I suggest purchasing a model with the highest-end CPU one can afford (the CPU is not listed as a field-replaceable unit, or FRU — see Manual). Then, one can hold the initial cost down by purchasing minimal memory and storage, and swapping out components purchased separately.

Thus, for example, a minimally configured unit with i7-12700K CPU costs ~US$1,500, while one with an i9-12900 goes for US$1,675. This comes with built-in GPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 512 GB PCIe X4 SSD. Generally, you can purchase additional memory and storage for less than half what the vendor charges (e.g. Amazon sells compatible 2 x 32 GB memory modules for US$260-280, where Lenovo charges US$700). Similarly, you can purchase an excellent 2 TB top-of-the line SSD from Newegg for about US$229, where Lenovo charges US$30 more for a “high-performance” 1 TB SSD.

Things Get Dicier with Graphics Cards

The P360 Ultra uses a special, compact interface to host graphics cards such as the Nvidia T400 4 GB GDDR6, the Nvidia RTX A2000 12 GB GDDR6, and Nvidia RTX A5000 mobile 16GB GDDR6. You can buy the first two of these three on the open market (I can’t find the mobile version of the third for sale anywhere). Lenovo sells the T400 more cheaply than I can find it online, and you may be able to save a little on the A2000 on the open market.

All this said, buying down and self-upgrading remains a good way to buy into an SFF machine. You can decide how much oomph you want to add vs. how much you want to spend, and save vis-a-vis preinstalled prices. Think about it for upcoming desktop/workstation purchases, please.

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Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 Mystery Masticated

This was a weird one. The lead-in graphic shows that although I plainly installed version 15.9.51 of the Visual Studio Tools 2017, it reports in as version 15.8.9. No amount of uninstall/reinstall (aka R&R for “remove & replace”) made any difference. I finally solved my Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 mystery by installing the latest version of Visual Studio Enterprise. (That came free, thanks to my WIMVP privileges and its attendant VS subscription.)

Workaround Solves Visual Studio Build Tools 2017 Mystery

Take another look at the lead-in screencap. It shows me uninstalling version 15.8.9 using Winget. Then I force-install version 15.9.51 explicitly. But even so, Winget list still reports version 15.8.9 as clear and present. Sigh.

Thus, I resorted to a total workaround. Because I have access to a VS subscription — thanks to my 2022 WIMVP status (I’ll be finding out next week if it gets extended for 2023) — I installed a full-blown VS version. This was enough to kill the VS.2017.BuildTools update messages in Winget (at least, after I uninstalled same).

What Gives?

Because I can’t find any definitive explanation, I can only speculate. I’m guessing it’s either (a) a  mistaken version tag  for what is really version 15.9.51 or (b) a unreported install failure that leaves the Build Tools at version 15.8.9. Whatever that case might be, I switched from the free version to the for-a-fee version. That made my apparent problems disappear. I’m grateful!

Sometimes, solving Windows problems requires resorting to creative workarounds. I would definitely include today’s odd situation, and its equally odd solution, in that category.

Happy New Year 2023 to one and all. May the coming year bring you joy, prosperity, good health and plenty of interesting Windows issues to solve (or read about here). Best wishes!

 

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