Category Archives: Windows 11

Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes

OK, then. I just installed optional/preview update KB5012643 on my Windows 11 X1 Extreme laptop yesterday. This morning, I’ve been fighting camera frame server crashes. You can see the traces of this contest from Reliability Monitor in the following graphic.

Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes.reli-errors

You can see an ongoing sequence of repeated “Windows Camera Frame Server” errors at semi-regular intervals. Each one follows a “test reboot.” [Click image for full-sized view.]

Registry Hack Aids Fighting Camera Frame Server Crashes

In researching this error, I came across a registry hack in the HKLM/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows Media Foundation/Platform key. It required creating a DWORD value named “Enable Frame Server Mode.” When that value was set to 1, the Frame Server crash ceased. Instead, I got a crash on Windows Biometrics. And when I restored my camera’s and fingerprint scanner’s ability to support Windows Hello, the Frame Server error popped back up again. I had to laugh!

Choosing the Lesser of Two Weevils

Dispelling the Frame Server error not only turned off the PC’s webcam, it apparently also messed with Windows Biometrics in general. Given a choice between a non-fatal (and only mildly annoying) Frame Server error at startup versus being unable to use Windows Hello, I choose the latter. I’m reporting the error to Feedback Hub, and hoping for a fix. But I’m continuing to use my camera and fingerprint scanner for login/authentication purposes.

Go figure! In Windows-World one must sometimes trade off one thing against another. This time around (and in most cases) easier security via biometrics won the toss…


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…


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.
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.]


Possible A/B Icon Test in Dev Build 22598

OK then, I’ve got different behaviors in the clean install version of Build 22598 (one PC) and upgraded versions (two PCs). The lead graphic shows my post at ElevenForum about this phenomenon, and includes the different icon styles I’m seeing. One version, I’ve learned is called “combined icons” (I refer to them as “expanded” in my post) and the other “uncombined icons” (ditto for “compact”). The guru consensus at ElevenForum is that there’s a possible A/B icon test in Dev Build 22598. Makes sense to me!

What Possible A/B Icon Test in Dev Build 22598 Means

Simply put, it would mean that some machines would manifest “combined icons” while others would show “uncombined icons.” That is what appears to be up. But the announcement post, and its subsequent revisions for .100 and .200 CUs make no mention of such. I’m puzzled.

What is clear, however,  is that I can’t find any Taskbar personalization control that lets me turn this feature off (or on). So I’m hoping I’ll find a registry hack to let me take control. We’ll see.

The Mystery Continues . . .

If you take a look at the ElevenForum post on this topic, you’ll see nobody in the community knows what’s up for sure. The A/B test scenario, however likely, is sheer speculation. That said, I have no better explanation.

Stay tuned. I’m casting my inquiries broader afield. If I learn something worth adding, it’ll show up here. If not, we can all keep wondering what’s up. It’s good exercise!

[Added Late Afternoon April 19]

Turns out it was Start11 working behind the scenes that caused this issue. I also had the combined terminology completely backwards: combined means no accompanying text, never combined means always accompanying text. Here’s the setting I changed in Start11 to fix my issue:

Once I selected “Always” for combined, I got the streamlined compact icons I was looking for. My profound thanks to Shawn Keene, fellow WIMVP, who pointed me in exactly the right direction. Fixed!


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?


Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers

OK, then: here’s a “new-ish” behavior in Windows 11 that I don’t love. Once upon a time, you could use the update function in Device Manager to search the Internet for device drivers. No longer: if a driver is absent, the “Update driver” function can’t find anything to use. That explains why Windows 11 clean install overlooks certain drivers. If they’re not in the driver store built into the ISO image, they’re simply unavailable.

If Windows 11 Clean Install Overlooks Certain Drivers, Then What?

Take my recently clean installed Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga. I happened to notice a half-dozen items under “Other Devices” in Device Manager yesterday. “Hmmm” I thought to myself. “Looks like the installer didn’t find some drivers while bringing the machine up.” Too true, as it turns out!

Fortunately, none of what was missing was essential to the laptop’s operation. Thus, that meant identifying the missing drivers, then finding and installing them. At first look, I saw 7 such devices. A quick hop to the Lenovo Vantage app (the company’s maintenance-update platform, which generally works OK or better) took care of three of them.

On a whim, I looked up LifeWire‘s story on the best free driver updaters (Tim Fisher updated it on April 4, 2022). It gives Driver Booster 9 Free the best rating (but the free version only updates 15 drivers, then requires users to pay ~US$23 to get a paid-up, for-a-fee version). It found 24 (!) drivers in need of update, so I concentrated on updating those that showed up with a “Driver Missing” label in that program’s output. Once identified, I knew I could handle the others on my own.

Back in  the High Life Again . . .

Indeed, the free version of the program did the trick for me. You can see in the lead-in graphic from Driver Store Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) that I was able to update 7 drivers (they show outdated versions). Add in another 7 new drivers added to go from “missing” to “found” and my system is now fully up-to-date, with no remaining “Other” device entries. No Device Manager items with the yellow exclamation point, either.

The gurus at TenForums and ElevenForum generally recommend against driver scan/update tools. I generally concur. But this was a big enough kerfluffle that I was grateful for some automated search-and-update help.

I guess that means I’m willing to make an exception when the “don’t check the Internet for available drives” behavior in Windows 11 prevents the installer from providing a full slate of items. I understand why MS did this (to prevent driver changes from adversely affecting naive users). But as I said in my lead ‘graph: I’m not in love with this design decision and its impact on clean install completeness.

That’s life, here in Windows-World. I can live with it, and fix it myself, when I must. So that’s what I did. And now the clean install machine is nearly production-ready. Just a few more apps and applications to go!


22598 Insider ISO Download Available

That didn’t take long. Build 22598 in the Dev Channel made its debut on April 13 (yesterday). Today (April 14) it’s already available for download on the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page.  {Note: eagle-eyed reader and fellow WIMVP David H Johnson tells me the ISO and the WU version appeared at the same time.] The lead-in graphic above, shows 22598 Insider ISO download available. Of course, users must sign in with a valid Insider MSA (Microsoft Account) to gain access.

22598 Insider ISO Download Available: Grab It!

This was the source I used last weekend for the clean install on my “troubled” X380 Yoga. I ended up with an earlier version because of the timing. Nevertheless it worked like a charm. I’m in the habit of keeping ISOs together on my Ventoy drive, so I have going on 30 (mostly Windows OS) images all together on one easy-to-search external drive.

And because that drive is a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with a nominal 256 GB NVMe SSD inside, it does a reasonably good job of providing ready and quick access to its contents. The whole thing cost me about US$100 in late 2020 (you can buy the same thing for under US$75 now). It’s definitely proved its worth to me many,  many times since I put all the pieces together (read more about its innards in this December 2020 post: Interesting Single-Builder SSD Benefits.

Doing the Download Thing

After specifying my version and language in the download GUI, I grabbed a copy of the 22598 ISO from the web page. It took about 7 minutes to arrive in toto —  longer than most such transfers take me. Watching it make its way onto my C: drive, I can only speculate that traffic levels are higher than normal. Indeed a quick hop to showed Internet speeds all over the place on my local cable loop, ranging from a low of 250 Mbps to a high of 650 on my 940 Mbps (max speed) connection.

But once you have the ISO you can use it for DISM repairs, an in-place repair install, or even — as I did recently — a clean reinstall. Handy!


.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!


BitLocker Follies Follow Secure Boot

To qualify for Windows 11, a PC must support Secure Boot. It doesn’t necessarily have to be turned on. But if it is turned on, I learned last week that BitLocker follies follow secure boot like ducklings follow their Momma. In other words: if BitLocker is turned on for the C: (Windows boot/system) drive, it must also be turned on for the File History drive that Windows 11 uses as well.

What Does BitLocker Follies Follow Secure Boot Mean?

I learned this hard way when I tried to turn File History on for my Lenovo X12 Thinkpad PC. Because it had secure boot turned on, I had to enable BitLocker for the external drive upon which I targeted File History. This immediately got me to climbing an “interesting” learning curve.

While summiting that slope, I learned the following things:

1. You can’t manipulate an external drive’s BitLocker status through RDP. For security reasons, you must be directly logged into the target system. Sigh.

2. Turning BitLocker on requires setting a password to obtain or deny access to its encryption/decryption capabilities. This makes good sense, but gives me “just one more thing” to remember. Sigh again.

3. At first, BitLocker encryption looks fast. It got up to 84-85% complete in minutes. To my dismay and disappointment, the final 15-16% took HOURS to complete. By no coincidence whatsoever, space consumed on the drive is between 15 and 16%, too. It took the better part of 6 hours for the encryption to finish, in fact (0.71 TB worth).

4. Now, when I want to access the encrypted drive, I must first open it in Explorer, and unlock it by providing its password.

It’s All Good . . . I Hope

At least I now understand the necessary relationship between Secure Boot, BitLocker, and File History. I hope I don’t need to go a-troubleshooting soon. But if I must, I will. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted.





Clean Install Succeeds Where Beta Promotion Fails

For the past couple of Dev Channel builds, I’ve been trying — and failing — to get my Beta Channel test PC promoted to the Dev Channel. For Builds 22593 and 22581 the tap had been opened to upgrade from Beta to Dev Channel. But on my Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga (8th Gen i7, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD) it didn’t work. After many hours of dithering about, a clean install succeeds where Beta promotion fails. Let me explain…

Why Clean Install Succeeds Where Beta Promotion Fails

Wiping the primary system/boot drive was apparently the ticket to success. Given that I seemed to have mystery driver issues, starting over with a clean slate has finally set things right. And indeed, it was a rough and time-consuming ride along the way. Ultimately it took less than 35 minutes to perform the clean install itself. Alas, though, it always takes longer to put all the apps and settings back the way I want them from a clean slate. That’s life!

Interesting Lessons Learned

This is my first clean Windows 11 install since the new OS showed up in mid-2021. I had to be reminded that the BitLocker ID associated with the key needed to enable a USB-based install comes from the device. I spent a while trying to provide the wrong key, because I didn’t start by matching the Key ID value to the Device Name. Only then did I find and enter the right recovery key. Sigh.

I also learned that Norton’s external drive scan function takes FOREVER to complete. I let it run for 1:15 out of curiosity, but that was already too long for me to wait to move onto my next step. So I cancelled the scan (which took no time at all, thank goodness) and went onto the clean install.

Performing the clean install was remarkably quick. It included the option of defining a machine name near the tail end, too (something new to me). That was an opportunity I grabbed gratefully, and saved myself a bit of time moving ahead into post-install efforts.

Bottom line: I’m incredibly grateful to have this machine back where it needs to be. It’s nice not to have the mystery 0XC1900101 error hanging over my PC (and my head) any longer. I’d love to know what caused it, and how to fix it, but I never got enough data to make that happen. That said, it’s nice to know the “repair of last resort” — namely a clean install — still does the trick when other techniques come up short.