Category Archives: Windows 11

Canary 26063 Throws Install Error

Oh well: it happens sometimes. One of my two test PCs on the Insider Preview Canary 26063 throws install error right near the end of the install process. It’s one I’ve seen before –namely:

Failed to install on ‎2/‎22/‎2024 - 0xc1900101

It’s something of a grab-bag error in that it can come from insufficient disk space, driver conflicts (esp. from external USB devices), an out-of-date driver on the target PC, AV conflicts, and more (see this MTPW Backup Tips note for all the deets).

When Canary 26063 Throws Install Error, Then What?

I’m trying a two-pronged strategy this morning. First thing is a simple retry. And when I ran that option in WU, it thought for a while, then jumped from the download phase to the GUI install phase. So obviously, it checked over yesterday’s UUP downloads and found them satisfactory. Right now, WU is 49% into installling 26063. Here’s hoping that works.

But on the other prong, I’m downloading the 26062 ISO from UUPDump.net. I’ve observed that when a WU-based install fails, sometimes a local install using setup.exe from a mounted ISO will work. It may also provide more useful error messages in local logs should it fall over near the end of the process yet again.

FWIW, this seems to be a pretty substantial update, too. And indeed on the other test PC — the one where the upgrade worked –it  says 24H2 in the Winver window. I guess that means MS is floating Windows vNext to Insiders right now.

Lookit that! 26063.1 says “Version 24H2.” It’s arrived…

More to Follow…

Now, the WU install is at 64% and UUP is building images and stuff for the upcoming ISO file. Based on yesterday’s experience, this will still take a while. I’ll jump back in and update when it gets wherever its going. Stay tuned!

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CNF Conundrum Gets Some Love

OK, then. I’ve been trying to figure out why, on some of my test PCs, I get an error message when PowerShell loads my profile and tries to import the PowerToys WingetCommandNotFound (CNF) module. You can see that error message in the lead-in graphic above (from my ThinkPad P16 Mobile workstation). Thanks to some fiddling around, this CNF conundrum gets some love — finally!

I haven’t figured out how to fix the problem properly just yet. But for the nonce, if I go into PowerToys, visit CNF, uninstall and then resinstall same, it returns to work. This happens every time I open a fresh PowerShell session, so it’s at least mildly bothersome. But I’m starting to make progress on figuring things out.

How CNF Conundrum Gets Some Love

The error message keeps changing on me as I add things to the folder where the profile resides — namely %user%\documents\PowerShell. First, it complains about not being able  to find the module itself. I copy it into that folder. Then it complains about a .DLL. I copy that, too. Finally, it complains about an error handler not being able to field a thrown exception.

It’s not fixed yet, but I now know that this issue comes from my PowerShell modules path set-up. Something is wonky between those search paths (there’s one for the system, and one for my login account) and PowerToys. This happens for one of my Microsoft Accounts (MSAs)  every time I use it to log into Windows, because this information is shared across those instances through OneDrive.

What’s Next?

I’ve got to research how I should be setting things up in the OneDrive environment to get PowerShell and PowerToys to get along with each other properly. I’ll be contacting the WinGet crew (Demitrius Nelon’s team at MS) to request additional info and guidance. That’s because my online searches have only clued me into what’s going on, but not how to fix it properly.

Stay tuned: I’ll keep this one up-to-date. And I’ll probably post again, when a resolution is formulated. This just in: OneDrive is reporting multiple copies of the PS profile in its file store. Could this be related? I have to think so. Again: stay tuned…

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Repair Install Fixes Instability

At the beginning of this month, I performed an in-place upgrade repair install on my Windows 10 production PC. It’s now running Build 19045.4046. You can see that this repair install fixes instability on the PC in the lead-in graphic. Over the past 20 days I’ve had only one critical event — mostly self-inflicted when testing winget Chrome update behavior (see last Friday’s post for details). Otherwise, this 2016-vintage system has been rock solid of late.

When in Doubt, Repair Install Fixes Instability

Gosh! I’ve long been a believer that an in-place upgrade repair install (IPURI) is something of a Windows cure-all. Reminder: an IPURI runs setup.exe from a mounted ISO for the same version of Windows that’s currently running on a PC. Thus, it requires the host OS to be running well enough to replace itself. See these terrrific TenForums.com and ElevenForum.com tutorials for all the details…

Thus, you can’t use this technique if you’re having boot problems, or the OS isn’t running well enough to get through  the GUI phase of a Windows upgrade. But for situations where the OS is running (but most likely, not as well as you might like) this technique works extremely well. My earlier Reliability Monitor trace, before the February 1 IPURI, looked something like a sawtooth wave on an oscilloscope. Ouch!

How to Get the Right ISO

I still use UUPDump.net to match build numbers between what’s running and the ISO I have it build for me. Then, I mount that ISO, and run setup.exe from the virtual DVD drive ID Explorer puts out there for me. Lately it’s been showing up as the E: drive; but this morning it comes up as P:. But you’ll most likely see it labeled with the initial characters of the image label like this:Repair Install Fixes Instability.recent-iso

Here’s what Explorer shows me when I mount the ISO I used on February 1 for an IPURI: Virtual DVD Drive P:

For the record, I also use the excellent Ventoy project software to boot into my various ISOs when an IPURI won’t do. Admins and power users will want to keep a USB handy with their fave ISOs for repair and recovery scenarios. I do that on a 1 TB NVMe SSD inside a USB3.2 drive enclosure. Lets me keep dozens of ISOs around, ready to boot into any of them on a moment’s notice. Good stuff!

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Winget Browser Updates May Be Curious

As far as I can tell, I’ve been blogging here about the Windows Package Manager — Winget, that is — since May 2022. Indeed it’s received regular mention ever since (nearly a third of all posts). I finally observed the other day that winget won’t update a browser with any of its processes running on the target PC. Also the browsers I use (Chrome, Firefox, Edge) still make you “Relaunch” to complete any update. This includes instances when Winget updates them successfully. Hence my assertion: Winget browser updates may be curious. And I mean both in terms of effect and outcome.

If Winget Browser Updates May Be Curious, Then?

It doesn’t stop me from trying, but the update doesn’t happen at all when any related process is running. Thus, for example, if any chrome.exe items show up in Task Manager>Details view, winget breezes past the update package and does nothing. Ditto for Firefox and Edge. But it’s a good flag for me to jump into each one’s Help>About facililty which is usually more than happy to update from insider the browser itself. And again, to request a “Relaunch” when that process comes to its conclusion.

It’s all part of the learning process in working with winget to keep Windows up-to-date. Sometimes — indeed nearly all the time — winget handles update packages quite nicely on its own. At other times (less often) winget acts as a sentinel to warn me that an update is available, which I then must figure out how to install.

Here’s a short list of such programs above and beyond the browsers already mentioned: Kindle for Windows, Discord, certain EA game executables, Teams Classic, Windows Terminal (now fixed), and even Winget itself from time to time. But gosh, it’s always fun to see what’s out there and what happens when winget wrangles update packages. It’s made my life ever so much more interesting (and updates easier) since it emerged in 2022.

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Build 26058 Explorer Brings Button Labels Back

It’s a small change but a helpful one. In Canary Channel  Build 26058 Explorer brings button labels back. That is, instead of simply showing labels and forcing you to do one of these:

  • Remember what they are and what they do
  • Mouse over the label icon and read the text tip
  • Pick one and hope for the best

Explorer once again shows text to accompany the icons so users know what they’re doing. These show up at middle in the lead-in graphic, with icon buttons above and text below. To wit: Scissors button/Cut, overlaid pages/Copy, Text “A”/Rename, Block with pointer/Share, and Trashcan/Delete. Good stuff!

You can see what the old way looks like in the production Windows version (Build 22631) below where the icons appear at the bottom of the Explorer right-click context menu for files inside a folder. Much less intelligible, IMO.

Build 26058 Explorer Brings Button Labels Back.notext

Notice the line of icons at the bottom of the content menu. Mouseover will show tip text.

Rejoice When Build 26058 Explorer Brings Button Labels Back

It’s not a huge change to see text show up with a button, unprompted. But it is a comforting usability improvement. I’d always wondered why MS adopted this ultra-compact approach. But given the presence of tip text on mouseover, I’d always been able to suss things out if I wasn’t 100% what was what.

This latest improvement saves the time and effort involved in mousing over. I definitely appreciate it. On the one hand: thanks! On the other: Why’d it take so long?

And if those aren’t among the major dueling dualities here in Windows-World, I haven’t been paying attention for the past 30-plus years. Yeah, right…

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POPCNT Fuss Is More Fizzle

OK, then: the ‘net has been abuzz since last week as upcoming Windows 11 24H2 requirements come clear. Indeed, that OS won’t run on processors that don’t support the POPCNT instruction . IMO this POPCNT fuss is more fizzle than it is a major obstruction. Let me explain…

Why Say: POPCNT Is More Fuss than Fizzle

The POPCNT instruction has nothing to do with stack processing as its name might suggest. Rather, it counts up all 1-values in a binary sequence. It’s part of the SSE4.2 instruction set. These were introduced in 2008 to both AMD and Intel processors — namely:

  • AMD K10 (codename Barcelona), released in April of that year
  • Intel (codename Nehalem), released in November same year

That means the oldest processors that DON’T support SSE4.1 (and POPCNT) are more than 15 years old. Not terribly suitable for running Windows 11 anyway and likely to fail owing to lack of support for TPM, Secure Boot, and other reasons as well.

You can use Franc Delattre’s excellent CPU-Z tool to check your CPU to see if it supports SSE 4.2 or not. Check the lead-in graphic next to “Instructions.” It pops right up even on my 6th-gen 2016 vintage Skylake CPU (still running Windows 10 BTW).

For all but the most diehard long-haul PC users running a machine more than 5 years old is pushing things (and 15-plus years is highly unusual). This very Skylake is my oldest at 8 years, and it’s due for retirement soon, soon, soon.

WTFuss? No Workaround

The problem with POPCNT is that it’s absolutely, positively mandatory for 24H2 to work. Whereas the other impedimenta — e.g. TPM, Secure Boot, UEFI and so forth — have all been cleverly worked around, there’s no known (or likely) workaround for this gotcha. Thus, older PCs that have been shoehorned into Windows 11 upgrades will not be able to advance past the 23H2 upgrade level. Hence such fuss as has emerged in the blogosphere since this news came out last week.

My best guess that that less than 1% of PCs in the US (and perhaps 5-8% of PCs elsewhere, mostly outside the first world) might be subject to the POPCNT limitation. Just another sign that even here in Windows-World, time keeps marching on.

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Microsoft PC Manager Makes Store Debut

They used to call it Microsoft PC Manager (Beta). Now, not only is the beta designation gone, Microsoft PC Manager Makes Store debut. And when you install it from the download, the program flashes this screen to confirm that change of status:

What do YOU think? Official it is!

Easy Pickings As Microsoft PC Manager Makes Store Debut

I’ve written a couple of prior stories about the Beta version so I’m fairly familiar with this program:

I can say this much right away: with its release into the MS Store, installing MSPCM (as I like to abbreviate Microsoft PC Manager) has become a LOT easier. If you didn’t realize how the download button worked in the beta version you could easily be fooled into thinking installation didn’t work. Happened to me, anyway. And of course, installing via the Store means you can skip all the steps I depict in the afore-linked TekkiGurus story (as well as the ones I just skip over).

OK, Then: What’s Changed?

Other than dropping the (Beta) from the end of its name and popping up in the Store, I haven’t found that much different about the program just yet. Looks like I need to spend more time noodling around. Good thing that’s one of my favorite ways to spend time with Windows.

On the plus side, MSPCM is losing a lot of its rough edges. It still shows some signs that non-native English speakers put the text together, but it’s getting better, e.g.:

PC Manager will automatically boost your PC when high usage of RAM or there are 1GB of temporary files

Cleanup your system and free up spaces.

Built-in a variety of Windows tools.

The first of these items comes from the UI itself, the latter two from the PC Manager web pages. Still a bit of Chinglish in there, but they’ve come a long way since I started playing with this tool last fall. Check it: search for Microsoft PC Manager at the Microsoft Store, or follow its Store Link. Cheers!

Note: here’s a shout-out to Abishek Misra at WindowsLatest, whose February 6 story clued me into this new step in MSPCM evolution.

 

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Windows 11 24H2 = Next Release?

There’s been a lot of flap and guff in the rumor mill about how “Windows vNext” will be labeled. Some have said “Windows 12;” others, “Windows 11 24H2.” Strong evidence that Windows 11 24H2 = next release popped up last Friday. This WindowsLatest story Microsoft document confirms Windows 11 24H2 update includes a link to a Windows App Development support note that uses this very nomenclature. It reads:

Starting in Windows 11 Version 24H2, EnumDeviceDrivers will require SeDebugPrivilege to return valid ImageBase values.

If Windows 11 24H2 = Next Release, Then?

I guess this should ease off the WTF factor that seems to explode whenever Windows 12 comes up. My best guess is that MS still wants to slide as many business users over from Windows 10 to 11 as it can. Thus, it’s always seemed a little whacky for insiders and pundits to freak out over Windows 12. With EOL still more than a year in the offing for Windows 10 (October 14, 2025 is 617 days away as I write this, says TimeandDate.com).

I’m just glad to believe if only for a while that the 4 channels of Windows 11 Insider Previews and a single such channel for Windows 10 will be all I have to follow. Plus the production versions of each OS, of course. It manages to keep me reasonably well-occupied. Who knows how the channel count will change when MS does get into Windows 12 releases? Not me! Stay tuned, though: when I find out, I’ll tell you…

Nomenclature Confirmed

After installing the latest Canary Build 26052 on February 8, here’s what came up in Winver on that test PC (Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Hybrid Tablet). It’s also explicitly stated in the release notes as well [General section] (emphasis in bold is Microsoft’s):

Starting with Build 26-xx today, Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels will see the versioning updated under Settings > System > About (and winver) to version 24H2. This denotes that Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year’s annual feature update.


So indeed, Windows 11 24H2 it is for sure, straight from the source

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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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