Category Archives: Windows 10

Finding New Windows 11 Shutdown Dialog Box

Here’s an interesting bit of administrivia. Upon reading at OnMSFT that MS had snazzed up its Dev Channel dialog box for Windows 11, I went looking for same. That proved a bit more challenging than I initially expected. But I eventually got past finding new Windows 11 Shutdown dialog box, and made it appear. It serves, in fact, as the lead-in graphic for this very story (see above).

It Was Tricky, Finding New Windows 11 Shutdown Dialog Box

The usual method is to employ the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut. But on my Lenovo X12 hybrid tablet PC that did precisely nothing. Then I found a source with something like this tell-tale sentence:

On some laptops it may also be necessary to press the Function (Fn) Key as well.

That turned out to be just the trick I needed to get the keyboard shortcut to work. Indeed, it’s what allowed me to produce — and then screen capture — the lead-in image for this story.

What IS New in Dev Channel Shutdown Dialog Box?

It’s kind of hard to tell just from the screenshot what’s new. For comparison, here’s what the Windows 10 version looks like:

Notice it prominently features the Windows 10 logo at the top of the dialog box. Notice also its corners are squared, not rounded. AFAIK that’s about it for what’s new.

That said, in keeping with a sparer and more spacious UI in Windows 11, it’s a bit easier on the eyes. IMO it’s also a bit easier to read and understand. For me, the learning came from producing the dialog box more than its contents. But hey, that’s why I have so much fun messing around with Windows. Cheers!

 

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Easy Start Menu Search Repair

Although I use Stardock’s alternative menu programs on Windows 10 and 11, I also use the built-in Start menu, too. it’s especially good at taking me straight to Windows 10 apps through its search box. That’s true, however, only as long as that search function is working. This weekend, I ran into a situation where it quit doing its thing. Fortunately, I found an easy Start menu search repair technique. Let me share it with you…

What’s the Easy Start Menu Search Repair Technique?

Once again, it’s a matter of jumping into Task Manager to restart Windows Explorer. Note: this also means a restart works equally well (though it takes longer). Why? Because it, too, automatically resets Explorer as part of that overall process.

Here are the steps involved:
1. Open Task Manager (on Windows 10, you can right-click the taskbar and select the Task Manager entry or use CTRL-SHIFT-ESC key combo; on Windows 11, only the latter works).

2. Look for Windows Explorer on the Processes tab. If absent, open an instance from the Taskbar (or your favorite other means). Right-click the entry, then select Restart from the pop-up menu.

That’s it. It won’t work 100% of the time, but it does work most of the time. If it fails, then it’s time to start considering other, more serious windows repairs. These include using DISM and SFC, running the Windows Troubleshooter, an in-place upgrade repair install, and other tried and true repairs.

Fortunately, none of those proved necessary for me this weekend. AND I was able to resume my Solitaire session without having to find the App alphabetically instead. (Note: even when search was munged, that still worked…)

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Yoga 7 BIOS Confusion

Looking over Windows news this morning, I was concerned to read reports regarding BIOS problems on some Lenovo Legion laptops. For many such devices, the Lenovo Vantage app is the tool of choice for BIOS, firmware, driver and other system updates. Even though I own no Legion-labeled Lenovos, I’ve got 5 other Lenovo laptops in my office right now. Indeed, I found my own small issue amidst that pack: let me call it Yoga 7 BIOS confusion, so I can explain what’s up.

If you look at the lead-in image above, you’ll see that Vantage wants to update the BIOS. However, upon closer inspection the version of BIOS it wants to install (box at center right, from Vantage Device details) is the version already in place (Speccy info at bottom right). What gives?

Explaining Yoga 7 BIOS Confusion

If  I click on the details that Lenovo provides with the Vantage update recommendation, I get this pop-up message: Oho! It’s not because the wrong version is installed; it’s because the tool can’t detect the version info. But Speccy cheerfully — and accurately — found that data (see lead-in graphic). Thus, I have to conclude there are unknown but obvious issues with BIOS update functions in Lenovo Vantage. I’m reporting this to Lenovo through their bug reporting channels.

Just for grins, I checked the Store to see if a Vantage update might be available. It was. And upon running the tool again, it also upgraded its underlying services. Another check for updates took some time to complete, but eventually produced the same recommendation shown above.

Knowing Why Helps, But Not Enough…

It’s great to understand why the tool is recommending a spurious update. It saves from spending the same to apply same unnecessarily. On the whole, I’d rather it were fixed by the most recent update to version 10.2204.14.0. But that’s the way things sometimes go here in Windows-World. I hope my little exercise can help to shed a little light on how to check if the updates that Vantage recommends are really needed.

I won’t be updating my BIOS until a version comes along that’s different from the one that’s currently installed. FWIW, I recommend you do likewise. Cheers!

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KB5012643 Safe Mode Bug Gets KIR

What on earth does this article title mean? Glad you asked! KIR stands for Known Issue Rollback. Once a Windows 11 PC gets the cited KB installed, it may not run properly if booted into Safe Mode (no networking). MS suggests in its Known Issues discussion  that users boot into Safe Mode with Networking. This avoids looping Explorer crashes that otherwise cause screen flickering. Hopefully, the title now makes sense. KB5012643 Safe Mode bug gets KIR means MS will automatically apply a rollback of the offending feature to PCs that tag WU servers. A reboot is required for the fix to do its thing.

When KB5012643 Safe Mode Bug Gets KIR, What Happens?

You can learn more about Known Issue Rollback in a Windows IT Pro Blog post from March 2021. It’s entitled “Known Issue Rollback: Helping you keep Windows devices protected and productive.” Here’s what this item states.  KIR “… is an important Windows servicing improvement to support non-security bug fixes, enabling us to quickly revert a single, targeted fix to a previously released behavior if a critical regression is discovered.” In simpler terms, MS can tell WU to back out individual update package components.

Behind the scenes, policy settings either enable or disable code paths for “before” or “after” versions of code. If the “after” version is enabled, the update applies; if the “before” version is enabled, it reverts to the previous version.

Here’s how it works, quoted from the afore-linked post:

When Microsoft decides to rollback a bug fix in an update because of a known issue, we make a configuration change in the cloud. Devices connected to Windows Update or Windows Update for Business are notified of this change and it takes effect with the next reboot.

This is depicted in the lead-in graphic for this story.

Read the Post for More Deets…

There’s lots of great discussion in the Known Issue Rollback blog post. If you remain curious about its workings and capabilities, check it out. There’s also a much more technical exploration of KIRs from annoopcnair.com available for those who really want to get into the weeds. It covers details about managing and filtering group policies, and working with the KIR Policy Definitions Setup Wizard.  I didn’t know you could do that, so that makes this good stuff!

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Overlapping Taskbars Get Easy Fix

Here’s an interesting one. In running RDP sessions on my Windows 10 (Build 19044.1682) desktop, the local taskbar suddenly started covering the remote session taskbar. This happened immediately after I installed the latest Preview CU (KB5011831), and proved mildly bothersome. Once I figured out how to properly describe the problem, such overlapping taskbars get easy fix. This is another case where restarting Explorer in the host session’s Task Manager does the trick.

As often happens, finding a solution requires a proper problem statement. I used the search string “taskbar from windows 10 host session covers RDP session taskbar.” It was close enough for me to find numerous discussions, and to find a fix posted in January 2017.

How-to: Overlapping Taskbars Get Easy Fix

For those not already in the know, here’s  a step-by-step recitation of the “Restart Explorer” drill:

1. Open the Taskbar on the host PC (on Windows 10, right-clicking the taskbar produces a pop-up menu that includes Task manager; on Windows 10 or 11, CTRL-Shift-ESC opens it right up).

2. On the Processes pane find an instance of Windows Explorer. Right-click the item and Restart appears in the resulting pop-up menu. Click Restart to shut down and restart the Explorer process.

3. Wait a while: the taskbar will disappear. Then, its contents will reappear, sometimes rapidly, sometimes more slowly (never takes more than 20 seconds on any of my PCs, though).

When that process is complete, the host taskbar should obligingly disappear when you work in the RDP session window. At least, that’s how it works on my Windows 10 production desktop now. If the problem recurs, repeat the foregoing steps.

Not much to it, really. But good to know, should you ever find yourself in that situation. Cheers!

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Resuscitated Windows Welcomes Require Notification Reset

OK, then. I did some “weekend admin” work around the house yesterday. That included installing recent CUs on a couple of holdout Windows 10 PCs. Soon thereafter, I found myself facing the “Let’s finish up…” item shown in the lead-in graphic above. “Hmmm” I found myself thinking. “I vaguely recall there’s an easy way to turn this off.” And indeed, some CUs means that these resuscitated Windows welcomes require Notification reset. Let me explain…

Why Do Resuscitated Windows Welcomes Require Notification Reset?

Apparently, when certain CUs (or an upgrade) gets installed, it resets related notifications in Start → Settings → System → Notifications & actions: see checkboxes under notifications in the following screencap.

Resuscitated Windows Welcomes Require Notification Reset.settings.system

By default all boxes are checked; I routinely uncheck the lower three as shown here.

How Often Does This Happen?

It can happen after some Cumulative Updates. You won’t know until it pops up (literally). It DOES happen after every upgrade, though you’ll see a different screen instead. This one is labeled “Welcome to Windows” as shown next.

This item is turned off when the first of the three unchecked boxes above is unchecked. It’s another one of those things that repeat experience with Windows teaches. But in my case, it happens infrequently enough that I have to refresh my memory with an online search about half the time when it shows up. Sigh.

What About Windows 11?

As far as I can tell, Windows 11 appears exempt from both kinds of “nag screen” — as certain, disgruntled Windows 10 users sometimes label these displays. I guess that’s a good thing, eh?

[Note: thanks to Mayank Pamar at WindowsLatest. His April 25 story Windows 10’s full screen setup nag returns – here’s how to disable it showed up this morning, just after I’d looked this info up yesterday. He’d obviously run into the same thing I did. That’s how things go sometimes, here in Windows-World. Thanks!]

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Three Windows Update Repair Tips

Recent reporting on the latest Patch Tuesday (April 13) includes mention of issues with completing Cumulative Updates (CUs). Thus, for example, check out this WindowsLatest item dated April 22. Entitled Watch out for these issues in Windows 11 KB5012592 & Windows 10 KB5012599 it mentions various errors would-be updaters could encounter. It also mentions two tried-and-true recovery/repair techniques, to which I’ll add a suggestion of my own. Thus, I provide three Windows Update repair tips for your consideration and use.

Here Are Three Windows Update Repair Tips

Note: all these tips work equally well for both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Use ’em with my blessing in the order provided. In my personal experience they’ll cover most update issues people are likely to encounter.

Tip1: Simple Reboot

That’s right. If a CU update fails to complete, the first strategy is to reboot the PC, and try again. Believe it or not, that is sometimes all that’s needed to get things working.

Tip2: Shift-Shutdown

If you hold down the Shift key while you select the Shutdown option in Windows 10 or 11, it forces what’s sometimes called a “full shutdown.” This forces Windows to close all opened apps and applications. It also logs out any logged-in accounts. At the same time, a full shutdown performs neither a hybrid shutdown nor will it hibernate your PC.

Hibernation saves open documents and running applications to the %systemdrive% and copies them back into RAM upon restart, to speed that process along and let you pick up where you left off. That’s NOT desirable when fixing WU issues.

A hybrid shutdown hibernates the kernel session (what the OS is doing) and shuts down everything else. This supports Fast Boot capabilities on the subsequent reboot process to speed it up. It’s enough like hibernation that it too, is NOT desirable when fixing WU issues.

Tip3: Reset WU

Although the tutorial “Reset Windows Update…” appears on TenForums, it works equally well for Windows 11. Basically, it involves running a batch file that stops all update related services, resets all the update related registry keys, then restarts all the update related services it stopped. Surprisingly, it works like a charm. I routinely keep this batch file on many of my Windows 10 and 11 desktops. As it has worked for me both long and well, so it can also do for you.

If None of the Above Works, Then What?

Alas, in some cases, none of the aforementioned fixes will work. Next thing I’d consider would be an in-place repair install (covered in this equally handy tutorial). After that, more dire measures including a clean install and/or a trip to the shop might be warranted. In my 30-plus years of “messing with Windows” that has happened to me exactly twice. One of these occurrences happened less than two weeks ago (see this post for details). Odds are, therefore, it shouldn’t happen to you. Fingers crossed!  One of them was pretty recent, after all…

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Printer IPv4 Address Produces Reports

Here’s something I just learned that I should’ve known years ago. Turns out that if you type in a specially formatted version of any printer’s IP address into a web browser, you’ll go straight into a report interface. To be more specific, the Printer IPv4 address produces reports on the resulting web page. Let me explain…

How Printer IPv4 Address Produces Reports

Of course, three things are essential for this technique to work. They don’t pose a big hurdle, though, as you can see here:

Thing1: The printer must be network-attached and have an assigned IP address (that’s how most printers work nowadays, though many home users still use USB-attached devices).
Thing2: You must know the printer’s IP address (I explain two handy ways to get that info in a following section).
Thing3: You must format the URL for the printer as follows:
http://xx.xx.xx.xx, e.g. http://192.168.1.44
Secure HTTP (which puts https:// at the head of the URL string) does NOT work, as I confirmed by experiment.

When I tried this technique for both printers on the LAN here at Chez Tittel, it worked in Edge, Chrome and Firefox. One is a Dell color laser 2155cn MFP; the other is a Samsung monochrome laser ML-2850. I can’t say from sure knowledge that it works in ALL browsers and all printers, but I can assert it works in all the browsers and printers I use.

Under the hood, there’s a reporting API for network-attached printers. It produces report data as HTML formatted output when this kind of connection gets made. Works nicely, so it’s good enough for me!

Finding Printer IP Addresses

I can describe two ways to get this info, though those with their own IP scanning tools can use them instead. The first way is to open Devices and Printers, right click the printer of interest, then select the Printer Properties item from the pop-up menu. Select the Ports tab, then find the currently selected port in use (hint: it’s the only one whose left-hand checkbox is checked). Highlight that port, then click the “Configure Port…” button. You’ll see something like this:

Note that the IP address appears in the second field from the top (Printer name or IP address). Works every time!

I am also fond of Nirsoft’s NetBScanner utility. If you scan your local LAN segment it will report and describe all IP addresses it finds in use. For me, it’s a little faster and easier than the foregoing tactic, so it’s the one I use most often myself. Other scanners will do the same for you, so if you’re already familiar with another one, use it with my blessing.

Always nice to learn something new. Even better is to learn something new and useful. Here ’tis!

[Note added early afternoon: Thanks to ElevenForum member and fellow WIMVP @stormy13 whose off-hand remark in this thread pointed me into this topic.]

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Blinking Monitor Requires Nvidia Studio Driver

Yesterday, my production PC (Windows 10, i7-6700, 32GB RAM, 3070 Ti GPU) started the “blinking thing” again. As soon as I logged in, the right-hand monitor would go black then come back at irregular intervals. Previous episodes have responded to a driver update. But this time, no such update was handy. But my 3070 Ti runs either a gaming (for game play and high frame rates) or studio (for creative and production work) version. This time, fixing the blinking monitor required Nvidia Studio Driver to do its thing.

Why Is It That Blinking Monitor Requires Nvidia Studio Driver?

This issue has been popping up on my production PC since I switched out the 1070 Ti for the oversized 3070 Ti in January. I’m starting to wonder if my power supply may be having issues with the load on this system.

Reliability monitor doesn’t show any errors. But a dive into Event Viewer shows a Service Control Error 7031 that points to the Nvidia Local System Container at around the times I was getting the blink behavior. Since I’ve switched from the Gaming version of the driver to its Studio counterpart, the error has not resurfaced. Looks like it may be some kind of software glitch after all.

GeForce Experience lets you switch between the two driver flavors pretty easily. Simply click the vertical ellipsis to the right of the Check for Updates item and it gives you a radio button to pick one or the other, like so:

Fortunately for me, switching from”Game Ready” to “Studio” restored my system to proper operation. Good thing I’m not a serious gamer, eh?

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.NET 3.5 Falls Outside Pending EoS

Last Friday, I posted about impending End of Service (EoS) dates for some particular .NET releases. As shown in the lead-in graphic, .NET Framework version 4.6.1, 4.6 and 4.5.2 are all slated to go EoS on April 26 (13 days in the offing, as I write this item). That said, .NET 3.5 falls outside pending EoS (the SP1 version, anyway) as shown in red in that same graphic.

What .NET 3.5 Falls Outside Pending EoS Really Means

It turns out there’s a LOT of software that still leans heavily on .NET version 3.5 SP1. Because older software — some dating back to Vista and Windows 7 eras — requires this .NET version to run, MS packaged this particular .NET version as a standalone product with its own release and support schedule. Again, a look at the lead-in graphic shows that version 3.5 SP1 doesn’t hit EoS until January 9, 2029, nearly 7 years later than any other known EoS dates.

From older versions of Visual Studio, to a wide range of older, but still-used applications, .NET 3.5 is apparently far from moribund. To me, the VS connection is particularly telling, because it speaks to custom apps — many built in-house at companies and organizations to meet specific or proprietary needs — that benefit from an extended lease on life.

Where’s Your Favorite .NET Version in This Mix?

If you look at the Microsoft Docs Lifecycle page for the Microsoft .NET Framework, you’ll find the source for the graphic at the head of this story. MS updates this info from time to time, adding new versions and obsoleting older ones. I’m a little bemused to see that my Update History makes reference to a “2022-04 .NET 6.0.4 Update for x64 Client” (KB5013437). Though I can find an MS Catalog entry for this update and a set of .NET Release Notes that mention versions 6 and 7, only this document provides EoS dates for 7 (November 2023) and 6 (November 2024). Makes me wonder why all this info isn’t also consolidated on the Lifecycle page. Go figure!

Bottom line: I was wrong in my Friday posting in presuming version 3.5 SP1 was also slated for EoS along with the other 4.x versions named above. As you can plainly see in the graphic, 3.5 is around for some while yet. Live and learn!

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