Category Archives: Windows Update

KB5015684 Provides Quick Windows 10 22H2 Upgrade

Here’s an interesting item. Turns out that MS has made KB5015684 available through its update servers. Thanks to the team at DeskModder.de you can find x86, x64 and ARM64 versions of either .CAB or .MSU files. All have links of the form https://catalog.s.download.windowsupdate.com/c/upgr/2022/07/windows10.0-kb5015684-xxx.cab or .msu. They must be legit, right? Hence my claim that KB501864 provides quick Windows 10 22H2 upgrade.

I just ran it on my production Windows 10 PC, and it went through without hitch or glitch. Completed in under 2 minutes, including download, install and reboot time, too. May be worth a try for those with Windows 10 PCs not expected to elevate to Windows 11 soon (or ever). So far, I see no discernable changes in look, feel, or behavior — just a new Build number 19045 (vs. 19044). Same minor extension as before, in fact: 1826.

What KB501864 Provides Quick Windows 10 22H2 Upgrade Really Means

Two things:
1. MS is getting close enough to a 22H2 public release for a preview to go out.
2. The code for the 22H2 release is stable enough to start it through the Windows Insider program.
Note: I didn’t have to join the Insider program to install this update, which appears as a “Quality Update” in Update History. The Windows Insider Program page on this PC, post-update, does NOT show itself as “joined-up” either. So one need not be concerned that applying the update automagically changes the PC’s status to that of an Insider machine. That’s a relief!

I ran the .MSU x64 version of the upgrade, simply because a self-installing update file is a little easier to apply than CAB files can sometimes be. You can find all links in the original Deskmodder.de article (6 files in all). It might be a good idea to apply this upgrade to test machines with some caution, if you’re concerned about possible unwanted side effects. That didn’t stop (or hurt) me on this PC, though…

If you’re interested, have at it. Cheers!

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Windows 11 Dev Channel Upgrades Itself

Well, then. I’ve just returned from a week-long absence to visit my son’s chosen college in Boston. Today is my first work day back in the office since July 15. Imagine my surprise and delight when I see that my two Dev Channel test machines upgraded themselves without issue while I was gone. Indeed, that explains my claim that Windows 11 Dev Channel upgrades itself to Build 25163.1010.

If Windows 11 Dev Channel Upgrades Itself, What Then?

Less worry and work for me is always good. And it’s great to observe that Windows 11 can handle itself well. That goes double, when I’m not around to babysit the upgrade process. In fact, my current observations tell me that recent,  ongoing Dev Channel upgrades have been fast, easy and relatively trouble-free.

There’s always a potential jinx when stating claims like the preceding one on the record. I’m prepared to deal with what might be coming my way. I’m still in the habit of making an image backup after each and every upgrade, and regular, periodic backups besides. That way, should I shoot myself in the foot (or Windows 11 do that for me) I’m ready to roll back and recover with minimum effort.

What Update History Has to Say…

On the X12 Hybrid and the X380 Yoga, the number of Feature Updates in Update History is 19, as far back as February 24,  2022. That’s 19 upgrades over 22 weeks. Do the math, and it comes to once every 8.05 days.

I can recall only one or two issues that came along during this period that slowed down or stymied backup. I did have to reset WU on the X12 Hybrid at one point. I also recall having to download and install an ISO on each machine at least once (or perhaps twice) during this time frame.

Overall, though, even though the Dev Channel builds are as close to “the bleeding edge” as MS lets Insider Program members get, it’s been a mostly positive and pleasant experience. Though plenty of people have beefs with Windows 11, I am NOT one of them. I think it’s a good OS. It’s also almost far enough along that enterprises should really start looking at (and planning for) large-scale migrations. When the Windows 11 22H2 Upgrade appears in coming months, that would be an excellent signal to get upgrade/migration testing and pilot programs underway.

It’s long been traditional for Windows users in businesses to wait for “the next upgrade” after a new OS emerges before getting serious about migration. In view of that history, the upcoming release of 22H2 says it’s time to get ready. My experience with all versions of Windows 11 so far argues that migration should be relatively painless. Time will tell!

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A-Volute Software Component Mystery Solved

Oho! Yesterday was Patch Tuesday for July. Thus, I’ve been working through my stable of PCs, applying updates as I can. On my Ryzen 5800X Windows 11 desktop, I noticed something new and mysterious. Its MUC (Microsoft Update Catalog) entry provides the lead-in graphic for this story. Upon conducting research, this A-Volute software component mystery solved itself immediately.

How Is A-Volute Software Component Mystery Solved?

As with most such things, a quick trip to Google helps point me in the right direction. It turns out that A-Volute provides drivers for the Asrock B550’s audio circuitry. This also includes support for an Nh3 Audio Effects Component. It pops up under Software Components in Device Manager:

A-Volute Software Component Mystery Solved.dev-mgr-props

Googling online points me to a Realtek-related (Nahimic) audio driver, with matching entry in DevMgr. [Click for full-size view.]

I first found a credible mention of this at TenForums.  It appears in a thread on which I myself have been active. ( It’s entitled “Latest Realtek HD Audio Driver.”) Next, I find an entry named “A-Volute Nh3 Audio Effects Component” inside Device Manager. Presto! That convinces me the mystery is no longer unsolved.

I like to run things down when something new shows up amidst Patch Tuesday updates. It came along for the ride because MS  provides drivers as well as OS and other related updates. In most corporate or production IT environments, this doesn’t happen. Why not? Because untested drivers pose too many potential problems to simply let them through on their own.

Deconstructing Windows Mysteries

In general, when something new or unexpected shows up in Windows, it’s worth the effort to identify it. In most cases, it will be benign — as it was with this item. But sometimes, the mystery might deepen. Or it might even point to something malicious or malign. That’s when remediation comes into play. I’m happy that wasn’t needed this time. I’ll still keep my eye on new stuff going forward, though. One never knows when something wicked might this way come.

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Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks

The last two Dev Channel builds are 25145 and 25140. For both of them, my Start Menu has been munged when first accessing the desktop. On 25140, a restart set things back to rights. On 25145, I launched File Explorer, then restarted the process in Task Manager. That worked, too. So while recent 25145 Dev Channel hijinks have been irksome, they’ve been by no means insurmountable.

Limits to Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks

Interestingly, this phenom occurs only my Lenovo X12 Hybrid Tablet. It does not pop up on the Lenovo X380 laptop. I don’t see any interesting errors in Reliability Monitor on the X12 that could point to possible causes. Once again, I find myself wondering if it might be related to 8GadgetPack, which has wonked around for a while lately  in the wake of new Dev Channel builds.

Recent 25145 Dev Channel Hijinks.relimon

This time Relimon doesn’t have much useful to say (the SearchHost item is a known gotcha, unrelated to my issue).

Frankly, it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of this trouble without more data to go on. But now that I know how to work around it without a restart, I’ll keep plugging away as new Dev Channel builds keep coming. Either the problem will get fixed in the background, or I’ll get enough data to identify — and hopefully deal with — the actual cause.

FWIW, I’ve sent feedback to the hub about this. It’s entitled “Build 25145 start menu nonresponsive on first boot.” Please upvote if you encounter the same thing on one of your Dev Channel PCs or VMs. Cheers!

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Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over

It’s not often I get to say this. That’s why I’m going to celebrate an unusual occurrence. What does “Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over” mean? Glad you asked! It means all three of my test machines updated themselves without any effort on my part. That hasn’t happened in quite some time, so I’ll say “Hurrah!”

Is Windows 11 Build 22616 Updates Itself All Over Good?

You bet! It means that a Dev/Beta release is solid enough to get past my admittedly tiny gauntlet with nary a glitch nor hiccup. And, at the same time, I got all of my production Windows 11 PCs (of which I currently also have three) past the KB5012159 update without issue as well.

It’s not often I get to pat MS on the back for a job well done. Honestly, I’m tickled to see things working just the way they’re supposed to, even if it’s just for today. What a treat! Good work, you guys, especially the whole @WindowsInsiders team.

Other Problems Manifest and Persist, Tho…

That doesn’t mean everything with my PC fleet here at Chez Tittel is sunshine and roses. It’s just that MS isn’t currently on the hook with me right now. Just yesterday I had a fascinating but frustrating encounter with Nvidia trying to make my login to GeForce Experience work. I had to go through three rounds of password reset before I could login to the dag-blamed application.

Of all the issues I fight regularly, logins, passwords and account management are probably the most time-consuming and pointless uses of my time. Indeed, I will confess that there are certain sites or services I can’t login into using Chrome that work in Firefox (same account, password and originating IP address), and vice-versa. I’ve never been able to figure that one out. I just hope to remember which one to use to get things right ASAP.

As anybody who’s tilled the PC patch for any length of time knows, “It’s always something.” Stay tuned: I’ll keep documenting my issues and learning as things go forward. But today, MS gets my thanks and a weekend pass to the fleshpots of its choosing. I’ll buy the beer!

About Mr. Holmes and The Curious Incident

That occurred in Doyle’s 1892 story “The Silver Blaze which included this bit of dialog between himself and a Yard detective, to wit:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Thus, my point with the reference was that nothing odd, weird or negative happened with 22616. And again, a pat on the back and thanks to the MS developers for that very thing.

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Checking Windows DotNET Versions Installed

A recent Windows news story reports that “KB5012643 for Windows 11 breaks .NET Framework 3.5 apps” (WindowsReport). This raises some interesting questions for Windows 11 users. For some, it apparently renders certain apps inoperable. Indeed, the bug highlights the value of checking Windows DotNET versions installed on a given PC.

So I did a little research, and learned there are at least two methods to run this info down. In fact, MS offers a multi-page Docs item that explains how to do it using PowerShell. Belgian-based software developer (and former MVP) Nick Asseloos’ ASoft company goes another way. It offers a free download named .NET Version Detector. Its output provides the lead-in graphic for this story.

What Checking Windows DotNET Versions Installed Tells You

As you can see by examining the lead-in graphic. the detector provides information of several kinds, conveniently listed in order from top to bottom by row:

Row1: Versions of the MIcrosoft .NET Framework Installed. In my example, it shows older versions to the left (2.0, 3.0, and 3.5, with SP levels),and current versions to the right (4.8, with latest update level).

Row2: Extra Details show the folder locations for the various frameworks installed. It also shows names and levels for frameworks installed as well (mostly relevant to 4.x versions), plus languages and updates (mostly a bunch of KB article identifiers).

Row3: .NET Core versions installed for 64-bit (left) and 32-bit (right) enviornments. Given my machines all run Windows 10 or 11, 32-bit is mostly MIA.

How ‘Bout Going the Other Way ‘Round?

OK, we know now how to determine what .NET versions are installed on a Windows PC. What about figuring out which applications use some specific .NET framework? That’s a bit trickier. The only sure-fire method I could find was to fire up SysInternals Process Explorer. There’s a tab named “.NET Assemblies” that shows up whenever a process that includes same gets highlighted.

This means you can find out which .NET versions are in use primarily by observation and inspection. Stack Overflow has an article that explains how to automate this process for managed processes using C# or PowerShell. I’ll leave that as an “exercise for the reader” for those inclined to work out to that extent!

[Note: this story gives a shout out to the redoubtable Martin Brinkmann at Ghacks, whose 2014 story (updated 2018) introduced me to ASoft .NET Version Detector. Nochmals vielen Dank! (Thanks very much again!)]

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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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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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Beta Promotion Difficulties Continue

I must report that my various efforts to get from Beta build 22000.588 to Dev channel build 22581 have gone nowhere. Hence my title “Beta Promotion Difficulties Continue,” to punctuate my lack of progress. I did, however get a more informative error message from one of those attempts (see item 3 below), as shown in the lead-in graphic above.

Attempts Undertaken, as Beta Promotion Difficulties Continue

Here’s a list of all of the fixes I’ve tried in attempting to overcome this increasingly vexing hurdle (of which exactly  none have worked):

1. Simple repetition of the WU update/upgrade process (2 or 3 times, most automatic). I’ve now paused updates for a week to save time and energy.

2. Unplug all non-essential peripherals (an mSATA SSD inside a Sabrent USB 3 enclosure in this case).

3. Use setup.exe from the UUPdump.net website-based ISO for Build 22581.1. It didn’t work, but did provide the more informative error message shown in the lead-in graphic for this story.

4. Remove .NET 3.5 and all related Windows 11 features, and try again. Greatly speeded up the update and install processes, but produced the same outcome as the preceding item.

5. Run dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth and then sfc /scannow. No joy there, either.

So far, in fact, I’m getting exactly nowhere. Sigh.

What’s Next?

I supposed I could try a clean install of Windows 11 from the aforementioned UUPdump.net ISO. But recent reports of install problems (in completion, and in the state of Windows 11 after the fact) give me pause. I don’t think I want to go there just yet.

According to other advice tied to the 0XC1900101 – 0X30018 error code, I could also try some or all of the following:

1. Reset Windows Update components. The TenForums tutorial on that topic includes a handy-dandy batch file that also works on Windows 11.

2. Disable antivirus — in this case Windows Defender. This is working on my other X380 Yoga, so I wouldn’t expect it to help here.

3. My BIOS is up-to-date already and I’m not aware of running any “problematic applications.”

You can get advice galore at stories such as How to Fix Update Error 0xc1900101-0x30018 in Windows 10 (HowtoEdge.com) and others of that ilk. For the moment I’m not inclined to spend more time chasing rabbits and rainbows.

What, Then?

My current plan is to wait for the next Dev Channel build to appear (which it should do, if not this week, then next week for sure). At that point, I’ll try again — and hope for a successful outcome. At the moment I’ve spent more than enough time. I’m content to take a time-out and wait for another try. . .

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