Category Archives: Windows 11

Digging Into Massive DISM Delay

If I needed proof that “no good deed goes unpunished,” I got that yesterday. I was revising a story for Tom’s Hardware about fixing an IRQL BSOD. By way of example I ran a pair of DISM commands and the system file checker (shown at the end of this post). The second DISM command took a LONG time to complete and hung up at 62.3% complete. Then, when I jumped to another PC it did the same thing again. That’s why I’m digging into massive DISM delay this morning.

What Digging Into Massive DISM Delay Tells Me

A quick online search tells me I’m not alone. Indeed, there’s a Reddit thread entitled “DISM Restore health stuck on 62.3%.” It  confirms what I’d observed on my own PC — namely, that the delay is NOT a hang, and the command will complete . . . eventually.

Next, I ran down the logs that get written when DISM /RestoreHealth is underway. First, I found a 10-minute gap between one timestamp and the next in the dism.log file. Then I used the same timestamp when that delay hit to look at CBS.log. Sure enough, the repair was mapping Windows Enterprise to the Professional Edition. This was followed by at least 3,371 files opened and examined (some lines open 1, others 2).

Based on a screen’s worth of entries summed and averaged it comes out to 3371 * 1.42 =  ~4829 files in all. Obviously, that can take some time. The end of this activity explains what’s going on: “Repr: CBS Store Check completes.” Then a bunch of missing manifests or catalogs come in, with a large number of update downloads after that. Poof! 10 minutes is gone.

When DISM Gets Going, It’s Busy, Busy, Busy

So even though DISM /CheckHealth found nothing amiss, DISM /Restorehealth found itself with a lot of work to do. And that’s where the “missing 10 minutes” went. Seemed like forever, but it’s apparently a well-worn routine — if the Reddit post is any indication.

And boy howdy, isn’t that exactly how things sometimes go here in Windows-World? And I suppose I should be glad that all the current public Windows 11 release PCs experience the same thing. At least, it’s consistent . . .


RenamePC + Date&Time Move Into Settings

I’ve been paying a lot more attention to Microsoft’s sometimes slow and scattered migration of functions and features from Control Panel to Settings lately. Why? Because I’m in the midst of a series of stories on Control Panel, Settings and Consoles in Windows 11 for That’s why I picked up quickly on Canary Build 26217.5000. In that release,  renamePC and date&time move into Settings.

You can see the new “Rename your PC” window in the lead-in graphic. It echoes the current Windows 11 theme. It also shows rounded corners and other modern UI hallmarks.

What RenamePC + Date&Time Move Into Settings Means

More functionality keeps making its way from the older Control Panel interface into the newer, dynamic Settings environment. Indeed, the Sync capability is now fully integrated into Settings > Time & language > Date & time:

It’s no longer necessary to jump from Settings into Control Panel to sync a PC’s clock with some standard time server. Mine is (Look near the bottom of the preceding screencap.)

MS: When Will You Make an End?

Like the Pope to Michelangelo in working on the Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, the question more or less begs itself. Because of all the separate development groups involved across the whole OS, I’m afraid the answer is “Nobody knows!” No doubt the old rejoinder “When it’s finished” applies as well to transitioning from Control Panel to Settings as it did to the 1965 Hollywood epic that’s the source of this cheesy dialog. Hopefully it, too, leaves a legacy for the ages…


IPRI Spawns Desktop Oddities

OK, then.  I had to try it again after Windows 11 Insider Preview, Beta Channel, went to Build 22635.3566. DISM … /analyzecomponentstore was showing what’s become a “typical” 13 reclaimable packages that really weren’t there. (Note: I blogged about this back on April 4 for an earlier such build.) Last time, an in-place repair install (IPRI) fixed the issue. So I tried again, but observed that IPRI spawns desktop oddities even as it fixes the bogus reclaimables issue. That required some cleanup. Sigh: let me explain…

What IPRI Spawns Desktop Oddities Means

After the initial reboot following the IPRI, the taskbar and its icons failed to appear at the bottom of the display. That meant I had to open Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Esc did the trick), click on Run task, then type explorer.exe into the input box. That set my desktop mostly back to rights, with icons on taskbar in their usual places and positions.

But there was one more thing: icon spacing on my desktop was totally bizarre. I only allow 7 items on my desktop as a matter of routine, mostly repair stuff and default stuff — e.g. Recycle Bin and the two desktop.ini items that show up because of my folder settings choices. But icons were spaced about 2″ apart horizontally and vertically. Ultimately, I resorted to WinAero Tweaker to establish minimum horizontal and vertical spacing between icons (32 pixels’ worth, as it happens). And BTW, I had to reboot to get those settings to “take.”

All’s Well That Ends Well

I can’t remember even niggling issues at the desktop in the wake of an IPRI before this matter of the bogus reclaimables started showing up in the Beta Channel releases about two months ago. But since then, I’ve sometimes had to choose between cleaning those bogus items out and a working desktop. Because the former doesn’t really seem to cause any problems, while the latter is definitely a productivity buster, it’s not a hard choice to make.

But gosh, I’m still glad when I can clean up a mess AND get to a working desktop. I’d love to know what’s causing this to occur, and why the number of bogus reclaimables has so far been “Lucky 13.” But such minor mysteries are part of the allure when one lives in Windows-World. Cheers!

IPRI Spawns Desktop Oddities.nobogus

Number of reclaimable packages: 0! And a working desktop, too… [Double-click image to display in own window.]


Dev Home Now Creates VMs

A new release of the Dev Home (Preview) toolbox hit the streets on Tuesday, April 23 (v0.13). I updated but didn’t really pay much attention. Then, this morning I learned something noteworthy from WindowsLatest — namely, that you can now use Dev Home (DH) to set up and manage Windows VMs including Hyper-V instances. Because I’m working on a “How-to” story right now on such VMs, this definitely caught my eye. And indeed, on a test PC, I see strong evidence that Dev Home now creates VMs. Not too much effort involved, either…

If Dev Home Now Creates VMs, Then What?

It took me a while to get where I needed to go with setting the right environment toggles. Eventually, I settled on the first three (Environments Creation, Environments Management, and Environments Configuration) and turned all three on. Then, I had to close and re-open Dev Home to gain the ability to actually use the “Create environment” button.  It’s hiding in the upper right corner of the lead-in image; you can see it up there if you check.

At that point you can give your environment a name (I called it DHWin11 to indicate I was using Dev Home to build a new test Windows 11 VM in Hyper-V). Then you pick the reference image from which it gets built. I chose the Windows 11 Development Environment option that Dev Home supplied. I’m sure I could have navigated to another ISO of my choosing.

Take a While, But Gets Things Right…

It took over 15 minutes for the setup, download, and install processes to get far enough along to do something. But gosh, I was able to get into the Hyper-V window to fire things off, then get to the desktop with no hiccups or gotchas along the way inside RDP. Things don’t work that well using Hyper-V Manager.

I found myself running a 22H2 Windows 11 instance labeled “Windows 11 Enterprise Evaluation” for Build 22621.3447. I know from prior experience this is a 30-day eval or thereabouts. Indeed, Copilot tells me it expires on June 19, 2024. But gosh, this makes standing up and using a plain-vanilla Hyper-V VM as easy as it’s ever been in my personal experience.

Now, I need to do it again, and use an image of my own choosing. That should be interesting! Stay tuned, I’ll write about this soon. Meanwhile, you can see that VM running on my P16 test PC as shown in an RDP window for the whole shebang.

Wow! That was almost TOO EASY. I must say, I’m impressed. Need more time and exploration to really formulate a more useful opinion, though. First look is a doozy, though.


Bring Up Start Menu Inside Start11v2

Here’s something I hadn’t noticed, nor yet learned how to fix. Seems that there’s no entry in the UI for Start11v2 in “Windows Pro style” for the built-in Windows 11 Start menu. But there’s a trick to bring up Start menu inside Start11v2. That method lurks behind the lead-in graphic which shows all of the available styles and the one I currently have selected — namely “Windows Pro style.”

The Trick to Bring Up Start Menu Inside Start11v2

This trick depends on features available in the Windows 7 style that are missing from Windows Pro (and other more modern styles):

1. Switch to Windows 7 style view
2. Open the Start menu
3. Find the entry that reads “Windows Menu”
4. Right-click that item and select “Pin to start”
5. Inside Start11v2 UI, switch back to Windows Pro style

Now, you can see the “Windows Menu” entry at the lower left of the default app icon grid inside Start11v2.  If you hold down the CTRL key, you can drag that item and put it wherever you like.

Bring Up Start Menu Inside Start11v2.Windows Menu

I used that technique to move it to the upper-left corner position where I can see it more quickly and easily.

Bring Up Start Menu Inside Start11v2.oldmenuulWhy Use the Built-in Start Menu, Anyway?

Some things in Windows 11 don’t work unless you can access the built-in Start menu rather than a third-party version (e.g. Stardock’s various versions, StartAllBack, Open Shell Menu, and so forth).

In this case I wanted to see if a new feature providing access to MS account info directly from the start menu in Beta Build 22635.3500 was present or absent. It’s apparently on a gradual rollout. And, in keeping with my unbroken track record so far, that feature is not yet available on this PC. Go figure!


Beta Channel Rollback Follies

Found myself in an interesting pickle after running an in-place repair install on the 2018 vintage X380 Yoga for Build 22635.3495. Before the repair, DISM . . .  /AnalyzeComponentStore was showing me bogus reclaimable packages (see lead-in graphic). After the repair install, those bogus packages were gone — but alas, so were my start menu and task bar icons. Thus, I found myself engaged in Beta Channel rollback follies as I returned to the earlier status quo.

Before Beta Channel Rollback Follies, Some Flailing Around

Before I went to System > Recovery > Go Back to return to the previous status quo, I tried a bunch of repairs on the affected PC. None of the traditional usual suspects gave up the goods:

  1. Turned off Start 11v2 and went back to default Start menu
  2. Tried jacking around with Start11v2 settings galore
  3. Ran explorer.exe from Run box/Task Manager run

Whatever I tried, I was stuck with an invisible Start menu and no visible Taskbar icons. In the end it proved to be more trouble to run Windows without easy menu access than to put up with those bogus reclaimable packages.

Follies, Enumerated and Excoriated

Along the way back to where I started, I had a few bumps in the road. Because I typically run my test PCs through an RDP window on my main desktop, I had to remember “Oh yeah, you have to run Recovery options from the physical desktop.” I also stumbled around numerous Start11 menu settings that didn’t work as they’re supposed to — simply because the underlying Start menu was itself out of order.

Once I realized local repairs weren’t getting me anywhere, I knew enough to say, “Time to roll back.” I’ll stand pat on my current situation until MS comes out with a new Beta update (it usually happens once every week or two). Then, I’ll try again. Hopefully the next one will work properly and not show a bunch of spurious reclaimable packages, either. We’ll see…

A Terrible Trade-Off

Normally, running an in-place repair install results in a Windows image that’s pristine and works well. This is the first time I can ever recall that such a repair took a mildly bollixed image and left it unable to work properly after it was applied. As I’ve been thinking about what this might mean, I’m pondering a clean install on this test PC as an alternative to waiting for the next Beta Channel release. It will probably depend on how much free time I have this week. Stay tuned! I’ll keep reporting on this one…


Teams Versions Running Side-by-Side

Gosh, it gets confusing sometimes. But it could be mostly a Windows 10 vs Windows 11 thing. On Windows 10 I find myself with multiple Teams versions running side-by-side. That is: Teams (work or school) vs. Teams Classic. The lead-in graphic shows their taskbar icons serious magnified in that order (Modern: left; Classic: right). It’s interesting and a little vexing from time to time. Fortunately, MS will be retiring Teams Classic sometime later this year (no earlier than July 1, 2024 says Copilot).

Issues with Teams Versions Running Side-by-Side

I know I’m in the minority but I don’t have a current, actively administered MSA that’s tied to an AD, Azure AD, or Entra ID based environment. These are the MSAs that work best and most reliably with the new version of Teams (see about info from my ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation, running production Windows 11).

Teams Versions Running Side-by-Side.about-new

The latest version from my Windows 11 production PC (Build 22635.3430)

Here’s what Teams Classic tells me about itself (through an unusually tortuous path to get to its “About” info).

The latest Classic Teams from Windows 10 (Build 19045.4291)

I sometimes have trouble using the new Teams version as an app, though it does work consistently and reliably on the Web. But too often — especially in view of impending retirement — Teams Classic wants to run when I really want to use the new version. MS says the Classic version is supposed to uninstall automatically after switching over to the new version. So far, it’s not going anywhere…

I have to pay close attention to the icons to see which one I’m using at any given moment. Thus I’ve learned to distinguish the white background and blue symbol for new versus the blue background and white “T” for classic as a quick differentiator. Man, will I be glad when classic Teams finally retires into obscurity. But hey, that’s the way things go here in Windows-World from time to time where more versions of Teams may not be better but are seemingly inescapable in Windows 10. Sigh.


MS Store 22043 Speeds Things Up

I just read online that MS is pushing a new and faster version of its Microsoft Store out through the Insider Preview hierarchy. Figuring out which version I was running on my Canary Channel test PCs showed me that (a) I was running the new version, and (b) that indeed, MS Store 22043 speeds things up notably. Good stuff. The lead-in graphic shows the version number after the app restarted itself following that upgrade.

If MS Store 22043 Speeds Things Up, Then What?

On both of my Canary Channel test PCs (Lenovo Thinkpads: X12 Hybrid Tablet/11th Gen i7 and X380 Yoga/8th Gen i7) , the store was uniformly quicker than before the upgrade. Search times were shorter, update downloads and installs quicker, and navigating around the UI snappier. It still takes a while to download app info in the Library view (but not as long a while as before).

There’s even a new “What’s new…” page that explains new features and improvements in the MS Store, to wit:

Interesting stuff! Thanks to Sergey Tkachenko over at WinAero, whose MS Store story this morning clued me into this new regime.


Beta Channel Sign-up Spawns Bogus Reclaimables

“Hey, wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “I’ve been here before.” Indeed I reported in June 2023 about “13 spurious reclaimables” in a different Windows 11 installation. This time, the same thing showed up when I switched my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme over from production Windows 11 (Build 22635.2274) to the latest Beta Channel release (Build 22635.3420). No sooner did I run dism /online /cleanup-images /startcomponentcleanup than it threw the error shown in the lead-in graphic. What you can’t see is that my beta channel sign-up spawns bogus reclaimables — 13 of them, to be more exact. Yikes!

Fixing Beta Channel Sign-up Spawns Bogus Reclaimables

For this version of Windows 11, I had a trick up my sleeve. This build includes the ability to repair a “hinky” Windows installation by repair installing the current version (aka “upgrade repair install” or “in-place upgrade repair install” in the can familiar to readers of TenForums and ElevenForum tutorials and advice).

Invoking this option downloads the files for the running Windows version and re-installs the OS, using files from WU instead of local copies to try to fix things. In my case it worked. You can see the successful outcome in the next screencap, which shows zero bogus reclaimables in either of the two dism /online /cleanup-image
entries it shows. Good-oh!

To me, this proves the value and convenience of this new Windows 11 facility. Previously I’d have had to visit, create an ISO script, then download all this stuff myself. Now, Windows does it on its own automatically. I think it’s great, and it fixed my problem, too.

The last time I ran into this problem I had to perform an in-place upgrade repair install to clear out the bogus reclaimables, too. If you ever find yourself in this boat, be aware that this technique has fixed this problem for me every time it’s happened on one of my PCs. Hopefully, it can do the same for yours.


Windows 11 Insider Preview Channel Switching

OK, then: I HAD to do it. I read this morning that MS is releasing a redesign of the  All Apps aspect of the Start menu in the Beta Channel. Naturally, I kicked one of my production laptops upstairs to join the channel to see that change for myself. Along the way I got to remember (or relearn) what’s involved in Windows 11 Insider Preview channel switching. (Hint: no remote control needed.)

Getting Into Windows 11 Insider Preview Channel Switching

It’s been a while, so I had to go through the motions to remember them. First, I had to join that PC to the Insider Preview program. Then I had to select my Insider Preview channel — Beta, in this case. Then I had to restart the PC and run WU again. In fact, I had to do that twice (run WU, that is — only 1 restart required at that point). And finally, as you can see in the lead-in graphic:

  1. The Update Stack Package that makes the Insider Preview installable
  2. The actual Insider Preview package itself (Build 22635.3420)

Of course once all that stuff gets installed, I’ll reboot again and go through the post-GUI installer stuff. That’s what actually upgrades the OS from the current production version 22635.3374) to the aforementioned Beta build.  When all that’s done I can go look for the new Start menu All apps stuff. As is typical, this takes a while (I’m about 12 minutes into the process and “Installing” for the OS is at 35% complete right now. Thus, it could be another 20 minutes before it’s done.) In the meanwhile, I’m standing by… And indeed it took a total of about 26 minutes to go from start to desktop for that process.

What About All Apps?

It’s another one of those things where MS may still be testing internally only, or doing another of its gradual rollouts. Thus, you guessed it: I still get the left-justified all apps list on my freshly-upgraded test PC. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s always disappointing to go looking for something new only to see the “same old, same old.” Sigh.

Of course, I’ll keep checking back and see when the switchover happens. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted…

Note Added 1 Hour Later

As I continue catching up with Windows news, I see over at NeoWin that a vivetool hack is required to enable the All apps grid in the latest beta version. I don’t do that on my beta machines to keep them in line with MS releases (it’s an MVP thing). So I guess I’ll have to wait awhile. Rumor has it this might hit “for real” on Patch Tuesday (April 9). We’ll see!