Category Archives: Windows 10

Snappy Driver Installer Worth Considering

I know. I know. Lots of Windows experts and pundits, including at AskWoody, TenForums and ElevenForum, don’t recommend or support driver update tools. That said, I find Snappy Driver Installer worth considering anyway (at least, the Origin fork). Let me recite some recent experience. Then I’ll enumerate the reasons why I’m so grateful for Snappy Driver Installer…

Why Say: Snappy Driver Installer Worth Considering

First let me explain why I’m grateful for this tool and its labor-intensive project. Almost alone among such tools, Snappy Driver installer (SDI) is open source (GNU GPL v3.0 license). Most decent driver update tools cost upwards of US$30 per year, some more than that.

Just this morning, Norton (still running it on my production PC, but I plan to bid it adieu with my next desktop build) told me I had 14 drivers out of date. It costs upwards of US$60 to add its driver scanning functions (and a bunch of other stuff, too) to its ~US$90 annual subscription fee. I’m not interested in paying more, thanks, but I was glad to learn I had some drivers out of date.

Firing up SDI for the first time is interesting because it needs more just under 37GB of driver files to offer a complete collection of stuff from which to work. Even so, the tool is smart enough to focus only on driver packs (7ZIP files of related drivers) that a target PC needs. For this target PC, that involved just a bit over 3 GB across 8 different archive files. SDI was able to handle all the out-of-date drivers on its own, in about 30 minutes (most unattended, while I did something else).

SDI Benefits and Features (IMO Anyway…)

Snappy Driver Installer is free. It’s easy to maintain a portable version on a UFD you can use for all your Windows PCs. It works with all current Windows versions (I’ve used it across the range of Windows 10 and 11 editions and builds).

For me, SDI does the job nicely and keeps my PCs current without annual subscription fees. And because I routinely shoot an image backup before mucking about with drivers, I can say no such update has ever hosed one of the PCs under my purview.

Like I said at the outset: SDI is worth checking out for yourself. You just might find it useful. Your call…

Note: For timing purposes I fired up SDI on another test PC to see how long it takes to grab the whole collection of driver packs. Right now, it’s 115 minutes in at 50% done. That means it could take as long as 4 hours to complete. It’s clocking between 18 and 85 Mbps as it runs, so it’s apparently throttled deliberately and carefully. Final runtime came in well under 3 hours (just over 155 minutes, or 2:35).

Wait! There’s more: Version forks and controversies

I got a tweet today from David Ballesteros. He let me know there are dueling versions of SDI, including the one formerly linked above (I removed it as I’ll explain). Another is called SDI Origin, which gets an interesting description at MajorGeeks.

WARNING!!! Malware is reported in the SDI fork. Thus, many online posters say — no surprise there — use SDI Origin instead. I’ve not run into any of said reported malware, adware or other potential gotchas, but my PCs are pretty armored up.

Just to be on the safe side it seems like SDIO (SDI Origin) is the best version to use. That’s why I killed the link to the other fork (but it’s easy to find online). And as I look at the filenames on my home drive for Snappy I see I wound up with the Origin version in both subfolders anyway (directory root is named SDIO).

As you can see in this properties Window, even my original exe file is named “Snappy Driver Installer Origin.” Reinforces the old saying: it’s better to be lucky than good. Phew: might’ve dodged a bullet!


Interesting OMP Winget Gotcha Is Easily Fixed

I have to laugh. When I opened Windows Terminal/PowerShell yesterday morning, I got a notification that a new version of OhMyPosh (OMP) was available. So naturally, I tried to see the update. When that failed, I tried to update OMP directly, and that failed, too. But thankfully, this interesting OMP gotcha is easily fixed. I’ll explain …

But first take a look at the lead-in graphic above. It starts with the notification. That happens when loading PS causes the OMP environment to start up, too. But running winget upgrade shows an issue with accessing the winget database. Ditto for trying an explicit, directed upgrade on the string “Oh My Posh.” What to do?

OK, Here’s How Interesting OMP Winget Gotcha Is Easily Fixed

First, the fix: I went to GitHub, where developer Jan DeDobbeleer always maintains a current version under its “Latest” link. For the record, I downloaded and installed his install-amd64.exe file there and the upgrade completed without a hitch.

But what went wrong with OMP in the first place? I sent Jan a Twitter (X) message and he replied: “Yes, unfortunately winget, just like the Store, is slower in processing new versions.” I took this to mean the changes were already posted to the manifest database, but that those changes had not yet been committed.

It’s Just a Matter of Time

And indeed, I just checked one of my other test PCs with OMP installed. Running winget just now, it shows — and stands ready to — upgrade OMP to the latest version. Looks like the notification beat the update yesterday, but they’re now back in synch. Here’s visual proof:

Interesting OMP Winget Gotcha Is Easily

This morning’s check works as expected. Database is caught up!

And boy howdy, as we say here in Texas, isn’t that just the way things sometimes go, here in Windows-World. You bet!


Registry Hack Cleans Out Stale RDC Items

Wow! I guess there have been more changes in the PC fleet here at Chez Tittel than I thought lately. I kept seeing stale entries in the drop-down list from Remote Desktop Connection. So I found a Microsoft Learn article that explains how to remove or replace them. It’s entitled How to remove entries from the Remote Desktop Connection Computer box. Its registry hack cleans out stale RDC items. Let me explain…

More Info: Registry Hack Cleans Out Stale RDC Items

Visit the following registry key inside Registry Editor (regedit.exe):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Default

Indeed, you can cut’n’paste this string into the address line in regedit, and save yourself the toil and trouble of typing it in. When you get to that key, you should see something like the lead-in graphic underneath the leaf-node (…\Default).

As you can see it includes 10 values named MRU0 through MRU9. To remove any such value, right-click and select ‘Delete’ from the resulting pop-up menu. In my case, I had old values that kept showing up, but also new values I wanted to include. So instead of deleting stale values, I right-clicked their keys, and modified the associated string values to match the machine names of new machines I’d added. As shown in the lead-in graphic that meant adding P1Gen6. Next, I deleted lenyog7i (MRU7) because I’ve returned that unit to Lenovo.

To see what registry changes look like, you must close and then re-open regedit. Here’s what it looks like now (notice that MRU7 is now missing):

Registry Hack Cleans Out Stale RDC Items.updated

Note that MRU7 is missing, now that it’s deleted.

As you add and remove items using this hack, the registry automatically renumbers them. But unless you change the number of items from the default count of 10, you’ll only ever see items MRU0 through MRU9 (10 items, all told). Great fun!


MS Recasts Printer Driver Requirements

Very interesting! There’s a September 6 update to MS Learn Windows device drivers docs. Therein, MS recasts its future printer driver requirements (End of servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows.). For those who manage and use Windows printers, it’s worth a read.

Driver Standards Explain How MS Recasts Printer Driver Requirements

The change comes courtesy of the the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). Originally developed by IBM, IPP is explained in an MS Print support app design guide. Indeed, IPP may be “[u]sed from a client device to interact with the printer to retrieve and set printing preferences and to send the document to be printed.”

Long story short: support for IPP and Mopria standards is a good thing. They make vendor-supplied printer drivers and software unnecessary — at least, for printers that support those standards. And FWIW, IPP and Mopria work on Android, while AirPrint does likewise for iDevices.

That explains the MS timetable in its “end of servicing plan”

September 2023: MS announces end of servicing for third-party  printer drivers
2025: No new printer drivers from WU
2026: Printer driver ranking always prefers IPP drivers
2027: Third-party print driver updates disallowed (except for security-related fixes)

IPP Has Been There All Along…

Check out this sub-Window. It comes via Control Panel → Programs and Features → Turn Windows features on or off. It shows built-in IPP support in Windows 10 and 11. See “Internet Printing Client” (box is checked) under”Print and Document Services”

MS Recasts Printer Driver Requirements.winfeatures

Internet Printing Client checked means IPP is active.
If not, do check it.

Using TCP/IP addresses for networked printers, I’d been unknowingly using IPP for years . Thanks to MS’s updated printer driver architecture, I needn’t use device-specific drivers and software, either. Good stuff.

Indeed, my 2014/2015 Samsung (now HP) and Dell (Brother, actually) printers already use IPP. Most printers made in 2014 or later will do likewise. Good stuff!

Here are additional resources that readers may find helpful.

OpenPrinting Driverless Printers: Vendor makes and models for IPP and/or AirPrint capable printers.
Wikipedia: Mopria Alliance: Info about this trade association. Founded by HP in 2013, it includes global print device makers backing open print initiatives and standards.



So Long SUMo & KC Softwares

Dang! I’ve been through this same situation before with a terrific software update monitor. For the past 3 years or so, a favorite go-to tool in my update arsenal has been KC Softwares Software Update Monitor, better known as SUMo. It looks like it’s time to bid them adieu. As shown in the lead-in graphic’s termination notice, I find myself saying “So long SUMo & KC Softwares.”

After So Long SUMo & KC Softwares, Then…?

Let me tell you how I found out things were shutting down with Kyle Katarn’s operation. I found an oversight in SUMo a few minutes ago. Seems that it’s once again recommending a beta version of DropBox as an update target. The program’s automated “find the highest numbered update” algorithm does that sometimes because beta versions are usually higher-numbered than the most current production ones.

My usual practice for the past year and more has been to send the developer a Twitter (X) message to tell him this needs checking and possibly also fixing. This time, when I attempted to send him a message the application responded “You can no longer send messages to this person.” In turn, this led me to, where I found the termination message you see above. Sigh.

Remembrance of Things Past

Back in 2019, I wrote about an older update monitoring tool, likewise pulled from the market. This was back when Windows Enterprise Desktop was still under the TechTarget umbrella (title: Missing Secunia PSI). Long story short: I used Secunia PSI from 2010 to 2016 with great pleasure and success. When it, too, was withdrawn from the market I had to scramble to find a replacement.

That’s what I’ll do now, too. Stay tuned: both the hunt and its results should be quite interesting.


Intel Fixes PROSet Problem

Back on August 18, I reported that version 28.2 of Intel PROSet didn’t support Windows 10 22H2 for some reason. Because I was away from my desk from August 25 through September 4, I only discovered today that Intel fixes PROset problem. According to the properties for the 64-bit executable, it dates back to August 4. That said, today’s download and install works. Indeed, it threw no “version not supported” error message as shown in the earlier post.

When Intel Fixes PROSet Problem, Then What?

This time around, the update worked as expected. The readme.txt file still omits Windows 10 22H2 as a supported version, but the exe file now works properly on my machine. Sigh.

This has me wondering: Did Intel fix something on the sly, or did I simply try to run the wrong exe file last time around? I’ll never know, but I’m glad the update now works as it should. I no longer get nagged when I check updates for something I thought I couldn’t fix on my own.

It’s Still a Mystery to Me…

Looking back at my earlier post, the error message says nothing about which version of Windows it expected to find. I suppose I could have jumped to the conclusion that 22H2 wasn’t supported because it doesn’t appear on the supported version list.

As before, readme.txt calls out Windows 10 21H2 and 1809 but does not mention 22H2. I wonder now if I mistakenly tried to run the 32-bit PROSet executable instead of its 64-bit counterpart. That could provoke the same kind of error message as before. When I try to run that version now, it tells me “Another version is already installed…”

Such surprises can be educational. They teach me that my diagnoses may not always be the correct ones, no matter how plausible the supporting evidence may seem. Indeed, that’s the way things go in Windows-World sometimes, as I know only too well.

Bottom line: I’m glad the update worked this time. Though it may actually have been a self-inflicted problem, PROSet now shows version on my desktop. Call my Windows 10 PC updated, even if I’m not sure exactly what went wrong on August 18.

Intel Fixes PROSet Problem.

As you can see at lower left, this running PROSet instance self-describes as 28.2.02 — the latest version.


Post-Update Reboot Restores Snappy Response

Hah! I should’ve known. I downloaded and installed KB5029331 on my production Windows 10 PC yesterday. When I sat down and started working this morning, I noticed two things. First, a notification popped up to remind I had to reboot. Second, this PC was running much slower than usual with lots of screen stuttering (jerky video updates). I’m happy to report, however, that a post-update reboot restores snappy response.

Why Post-Update Reboot Restores Snappy Response

The install process can’t really complete until the system can work on itself, so to speak. That is best accomplished using the Windows Pre-installation Environment (WinPE) to — as this MS Learn article puts it — “Modify the Windows operating system while it’s not running.” In the meantime, until you reboot, there’s a bunch of dangling stuff left hanging that will only be resolved the next time Windows gets to take a timeout to finish the update job that installing a cumulative update (CU) sets in motion.

And indeed there are some pretty significant changes in this update to Windows 10. Among other things, I see that the new Windows Backup shows up as “Recently added” (see lead-in graphic above, top left). I’m a little disappointed that this new facility lacks an image backup capability, though. As far as I can tell it backs up Settings, Preferences and User files only. Looks like it’s not about to replace my daily full image backups using Macrium Reflect 8. Too bad!

Side note: the new Backup takes a while to complete, too, I fired it up when I started this blog post. As I publish and promote it, it’s still doing its thing . I can’t readily tie it to a process in Task Manager, Details view, either — hmmm. This will require further investigation!

Back to Work!

The good news is that my aging but still capable i7-6700 Skylake PC (32 GB DDR4, 0.5TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD) immediately returned to its usual snappy performance after the reboot was concluded. No more lagging or jerky video. As I said at the outset, I should’ve known this could happen and rebooted before I quit for the night last night. Luckily for me, the update process took less than 8 minutes to complete, all told. And now, I’m returning to my usually scheduled activities..


Sideload Brings Windows 10 New Photos App

Here’s something interesting. Thanks to eagle-eyed software maker and reporter Sergey Tkachenko, I’ve just learned you can grab the new Windows 11 version of the Photos app and install it on Windows 10. On 11, it comes from the Windows Store; if you’re left out, a sideload brings Window 10 new Photos app. See the WinAero story Windows 11 Photos app now supports Windows 10 for pointers and such.

How Sideload Brings Windows 10 New Photos App

If you examine the lead-in graphic closely you’ll see the About info for the Windows 11 version of Photos (lower left). Once you download and install that version, the Store offers a renamed version of its predecessor as “Photos Legacy” (right, with about information at bottom). I installed that also to keep my existing (and enormous) trove of meta-data and image info available. Just for grins, I superimposed winver.exe at right center to show it was all indeed running on Windows 10. Good stuff!

One thing: you will visit the mirror of the Microsoft Store downloads to grab the Windows 11 version of Photos for Windows 10. When you do, scroll down to the first Microsoft.Windows.Photos entry that ends with the extension .msixbundle. That’s the one you need to actually perform the install.

It will ask you if you want to update Microsoft Photos? Click the Update button.

Then it will go through the update process and actually install the Windows 11 version on your Windows 10 PC. As soon as it’s done the Store will offer you the Photos Legacy app as well.

So now, I have both the old version (Photos Legacy) and the new version (Photos) running on my Windows 10 PC. As I watch what happens with this new addition to my app stable, I’ll report further if I see anything noteworthy. So far, it all seems pretty routine.


Using Get-WUHistory Requires Finesse

I’m a big fan of PowerShell. That’s why I was excited to learn about a collection of cmdlets from the PowerShell Gallery named PSWindowsUpdate. Chief among its constituents is a cmdlet named Get-WUHistory that I’ve been finding both helpful and vexing. I say that using Get-WUHistory requires finesse because it works well on Windows 10, but hangs on PCs with longer “history trails” in Windows 11. Let me explain and illustrate what that means…

Why Using Get-WUHistory Requires Finesse

I’m only running Windows 10 on one actual PC (not counting VMs). By chance, that’s where I started working with the PSWindowsUpdate cmdlets. To begin with, you’ll need to install this collection, using this command:

Install-Module -Name PSWindowsUpdate -Force

If you haven’t visited the PowerShell Gallery before, you’ll be asked to grant various permissions so your PC (or VM) can access and use its contents. If necessary, please do so. Then, your installation will complete. After it’s done, you can use the Get-WUHistory command (among others — see a complete list of all 25 cmdlets from this package).

There’s something going on in Windows 11 that will sometimes cause Get-WUHistory to “hang.” How can you tell? The output won’t complete, you won’t get a prompt back, and the cursor keeps blinking. Indeed, it doesn’t even respond to CTRL-C to terminate the command. You must close the open PowerShell window (or tab) to regain control over Windows Terminal.

What’s the Trick to Make Things Work?

For some odd reason limiting the scope of output keeps the Get-WUHistory cmdlet working. Thus, in Windows 11 instead of simply entering Get-WUHistory at the command line, try this version instead:

Get-WUHistory -last 1000

This tells the cmdlet to limit its output to only the first 1000 entries it finds in the update history. Notice that on one of my test PCs, the actual number of entries in the update history is only 157 items, yet the command hangs anyway — except when it’s scoped. Go figure!

Unless scoped [-last 1000] Get-WUHistory hangs on Windows 11.

The lead-in graphic shows the first screen of output from a scoped version of the Get-WUHistory cmdlet. Notice that most of the updates relate to Windows Security (Windows Defender intelligence updates, antimalware platform updates, and so forth). Too much chaff, not enough wheat, IMO. Here’s a way to turn down the volume…

Reducing Get-WUHistory Output Volume

One can, of course, filter Get-WUHistory Output — in addition to limiting its scope — to reduce the output volume. Here’s a command string I found to be incredibly helpful in seeing what’s there, sans security-related stuff:

Get-WUHistory -last 1000 |
Where-Object {$_.Title -notlike "*Security*"}

What you see broken across two lines (or more) in the preceding is actually a single (if complex) PowerShell command string. Be sure to remove or ignore any internal line breaks when running this inside Windows Terminal. You’ll get back a mercifully much shorter list of items, mostly cumulative updates (CUs), MSRTs, Update Stack Packages, and the odd antimalware platform update. As you can see, this cuts 157 items down to a more manageable 12. Good stuff!

Eliminating the word security in the “Title” field filters out most of the dross. [Click image for full-sized view.]


Foiling False Upgrade Positives

I use a collection of tools to keep my Windows fleet updated. These include winget (in PowerShell), plus KC Softwares’ Software Update Monitor (SUMo) and PatchMyPC Home Updater. Occasionally one or more of these tools will throw a “false positive” — that is, report an update that doesn’t exist. When that happens I have my way of foiling false upgrade positives to prevent wasting time. Let me explain…

About Foiling False Upgrade Positives

This is a case where one tool can occasionally backstop another, so that one tool’s claim of an existing upgrade can be challenged successfully. Case in point: the item SUMo reported this morning, which refers to a new version of Microsoft PC Manager numbered — look at the lower right in the lead-in image above. A quick hop to the home page for Microsoft PC Manager (Beta), a download (you’ll find two buttons there), and display of Properties details from that  download shows:Foiling False Upgrade Positives.pcmgrproperties

Notice the version number reads Compare that to the “Version” column in SUMo: same!

Likewise, when I turn to winget inside PowerShell, I use its “list” command to show me what’s on my machine, then use its “show” command to show me the latest manifest in its public database. Again, both agree. That tells me pretty unequivocally that the latest version is indeed — and that’s the one I’ve already got. SUMo, in asserting that version is the most current, is somewhere off the beaten track.

What Now, Young Jedi?

I’ve got Kyle Katarn’s email and twitter feed at my disposal. So when something like this happens with SUMo I send him a message saying what SUMo reports and what the software maker (MS in this case) tells me. He’s usually very quick about fixing false positives (on a same-day basis, in fact). Ditto for issues with winget (I likewise interact with Demitrius Nelon, Winget Team Lead at MS). He is also responsive to feedback, and often provides same-day fixes as well. So far, I’ve not yet had a false positive experience with PatchMyPC (but it covers far fewer software items than SUMo’s 400+ and winget’s 2000+ manifests).

Good stuff!

Note Added August 9 Afternoon

At 4:15 PM Central (-05:00 GMT) Mr. Katarn sent me a message this item had been fixed. Ran SUMo again, and sure enough: the false positive is gone. THAT’s what I call customer service…