Category Archives: Windows Update

Latest Soonest Windows Update Benefits

Hmmmm. When I started reading through a discussion of an upcoming Windows11 23H2 release on WindowsLatest this morning, I soon realized there was more going on than I had thought. Seems like opting into the “latest updates” option shown in the lead-in graphic does more than I had thought. In fact, one gets unexpected latest soonest Windows Update benefits. Let me explain…

What Are Latest Soonest Windows Update Benefits?

As a pretty passionate Windows Insider, I’m always after the latest and greatest that Windows Insider Previews have to offer. Sure they can be occasionally gnarly, or even troublesome. But that’s a big part of what I signed up for when I joined the program.

And until recently, I had too often felt left out when MS started A/B testing new features, and I wound up on the “B fork” (the one that doesn’t get the new stuff). That’s why I was hornswoggled to read these sentences in the afore-linked WindowsLatest story:

All Windows 11 and Microsoft Edge updates now use Controlled Feature Rollouts (CFR) technology, gradually introducing new features. Users can choose to get these features immediately by enabling a specific toggle in Windows 11 22H2 or later.

Yowza! That’s just what I’ve always wanted. Not realizing this would forcibly put me on the “A fork” for all CFRs, I had opted in anyway. I did so just because I think that’s my job as a serious Insider (and WIMVP).

How nice to learn I’m getting what I really wanted without having know that’s the way this toggle (or slider) really works. I’m jazzed: thanks Microsoft!


Post-Update Cleanup Causes DISM Loop

I’m not sure what’s causing a fascinating Windows 11 issue. But you can see what it looks like in the lead-in graphic for this blog post. Basically, post-update cleanup causes DISM loop, whereby cleanup keeps repeating 100% completion, until I forcibly stop it with Ctrl-C. Weird!

I’ve never seen anything like this before. It occurred on Windows 11 Canary Build 25387.1200, after applying KB5027120 “2023-06 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8.1 for Windows Version Next for x64.” This comes in the wake of KB5027849, released June 7, that takes the build to minor release number 1200. Again: Weird!

When Post-Update Cleanup Causes DISM Loop, What Now?

The traditional “next move” when something odd and extraordinary occurs in Windows is to reboot, and try again. So that’s what I did. The affected PC — a Lenovo ThinkPad X380 Yoga — came back up without any obvious signs of distress or damage. I was able to remote in without issues, either. And on a retry of the DISM… /startcomponentcleanup command it ran through to completion without further issues.

There’s a known oddity that this DISM command causes a weird doubling of the progress bar if (a) a CU is applied to a Windows 10 or 11 PC and (b) the command is run before the target system is rebooted for a second time. I can only speculate this oddity has been somehow exacerbated in this version of Windows 11.

Be that as it may, the old standby troubleshooting technique — reboot, and try again — seems to do the trick. Once again, the old “three-fingered salute” comes to the rescue. Go figure!


Intel ARC Drivers Arrive Via WU

There’s a new set of Intel ARC drivers for built-in GPUs (and of course, discrete ARC devices as well). How do I know this? I just updated one of my Canary Channel test machines. During that process, I saw the Intel ARC drivers arrive via WU (Windows Update). Until this morning, I had been obtaining them exclusively from the Intel Driver & Support Assistant.

You can see the information about this latest driver from its Intel download page above. Notice the version number:

How Do I Know Intel ARC Drivers Arrive Via WU?

Check out the driver version in my Update History from the X12 Hybrid Tablet, captured minutes ago. Compare the version number for the “Intel Corporation – Extension” item and you’ll see it’s identical to the version number from the Intel download page.

ARC Drivers Arrive Via WU.history

The name isn’t terribly helpful, but the version number tells me what I need to know.<\p>

What else I can tell you about this alternate method is that it’s MUCH faster than installing the driver (plus supporting software) from the Intel download page. It took only 20-30 seconds to complete. The full-blown Intel package takes minutes.

Does this mean I will occasionally need to visit the Intel page to update the Intel Graphics Command Center software? Nope. The IGCC that works with Intel GPUs is a Windows Store app. And it updates itself, either through routine checks, or when you try to run that app the next time after installing a new driver.

Hey!  I might actually like this. It’s faster and less work that using the Intel Driver & Support Assistant. Good stuff, and good job: MS & Intel!


KB5022913 May Break Customization Tools

Some people learn to live with Windows and make the best of it. Others refuse, and turn to third-party tools to bring back bits and pieces of prior capability that MS has removed. Ditto for adding functionality missing but desired in Windows. When MS released its “Moment 2” updates on February 28, it announced that KB5022913 may break customization tools in common use.

If KB5022913 May Break Customization Tools, Then What?

If an update breaks a third-party tool, users have two choices:
1. Remove the third-party tool, and continue forward with the update.
2. Uninstall the update, and keep using the third-party tool.
Of course, neither option is perfect but sacrifices are sometimes necessary here in Windows-World.

Here’s what the announcement says, verbatim (emphasis mine, for easy identification of possible offenders in the first paragraph; emphasis in the second paragraph is Microsoft’s):

After installing KB5022913 or later updates, Windows devices with some third-party UI customization apps might not start up. These third-party apps might cause errors with explorer.exe that might repeat multiple times in a loop. The known affected third-party UI customization apps are ExplorerPatcher and StartAllBack. These types of apps often use unsupported methods to achieve their customization and as a result can have unintended results on your Windows device.

Workaround: We recommend uninstalling any third-party UI customization app before installing KB5022913 to prevent this issue. If your Windows device is already experiencing this issue, you might need to contact customer support for the developer of the app you are using. If you are using StartAllBack, you might be able to prevent this issue by updating to the latest version (v3.5.6 or later).

Notice that MS puts the onus for figuring things out if Windows doesn’t work properly with such a third-party tool on that tool’s developer. This could make life extremely interesting for related tech support operations.

To Tweak, or Not to Tweak?

With apologies to Hamlet (and Shakespeare), the real question is how much, how often and what kinds of tweaks Windows users can safely make to their own installations? I’m of the opinion that “less is more” because it involves fewer things that could go wrong, and fewer such things to keep track of.

That said, I do indeed enjoy tinkering with Windows. I don’t see what MS is doing here as a general injunction against such efforts. Instead I see it as a warning against “unsupported methods” that some developers use. I agree with MS that on principle such tools are best avoided. But that puts an interesting burden on users to figure out what’s working and what’s not. I can tell you from copious personal experience that diagnosing and pinpointing trouble can be difficult and time-consuming. Indeed: the MS workaround seems like a well-intentioned way to shortcut that work, and bypass related problems.

Note Added March 2 AM

This morning, the first thing I saw on WinAero was a story entitled “A new version of ExplorerPatcher fixes issues with Windows 11 “Moment 2” Update.” According to WinAero principal Sergey Tkachenko, at least one set of already-identified problems is addressed. I guess that’s the kind of response you’d hope for, if you were an ExplorerPatcher user. While I am not, I see plenty of people over at ElevenForum who use (and praise) it.

Another item has joined the list of offenders, though: Stardock’s Start11 (says Neowin). That one, I do use, on some of my Windows 11 PCs. Guess I’ll have to watch closely and take evasive action as needed.

Stay tuned: this looks like it could get increasingly interesting…


Start10 Blocks 11 Upgrade

For some time now, my spouse Dina has resisted upgrading to Windows 11. Her 11th gen Dell 7080 Micro meets all of the hardware requirements. But she’s not ready to take the plunge. Thus, when somehow, someway Windows Update started the Windows 11 upgrade process on her PC, I got a little worried. I shouldn’t have bothered — part-way into the install process, the installer halted the upgrade. Why? Because of a compatibility hold, Start10 blocks 11 upgrade on that PC.

Easy Fix for Start10 Blocks 11 Upgrade, But…

Yes, I know: if I were simply to uninstall Start10, the upgrade would proceed without further demur. Ironically, it serves as a form of insurance in this case. When Dina’s ready to upgrade, I’ll upgrade her (and install Start11 on the resulting build to minimize the impact of that change). That’s when I’ll take Start10 off the board, then…

The frequently-offered upgrade got started somehow in the last week. Somebody must’ve clicked the “go-ahead” button without really understanding what was going on. If it happens again, I now know that the upgrade process will quit before it gets to the post-GUI install phase.

Shoot! It might even be the case that now the compatibility hold is known to the Windows Installer, it won’t even try again. I certainly hope so. But sometimes, here in Windows-World what looks like a curse is actually a blessing. Of course, that vice is often versa, so it doesn’t always (or only seldom) works in one’s favor.

Thus, I’ll revel in this surprisingly friendly turn of events. It will certainly help to preserve domestic tranquility here at Chez Tittel. It should also suspend the too-typical “What did you do to my PC?” that “The Boss” has been known to emit after Windows Update does its periodic thing on her machine.

When this error shows up in WU, I can bail on the upgrade. Funny that it doesn’t screen in advance, but after downloading and during the GUI install phase (about 35% of the way in, if what the UI says is true). Go figure!


25267 Last 2022 Dev Channel Build

It’s over … for now, at least. That’s right: the Build 25267 announcement states “This will be our last Dev Channel flight for the holidays.” Hence my title for today’s post: 25267 last 2022 Dev Channel Build. I must say it went pretty smoothly, too: it took under half an hour from start to finish: download, GUI and post-GUI install, and thence to the desktop. Good stuff!

If 25267 Last 2022 Dev Channel Build, Then What?

Enjoy the holidays, I guess. According to the change log, the only noteworthy element is “more rounded corners” for the expanded search results obtained via the taskbar’s search button. The lead-in graphic shows what that looks like. AFAICT, it’s no biggie. Note: I had to fiddle with the screen cap (and blew it up to 150% for improved viewability) so it’s a little fuzzier here than in “real life.”

Poking Around Behind the Scenes

Just for grins, I took a look at the size of Windows.old after this latest upgrade, to get a sense of how big a Windows 11 image is nowadays. On both of my test machine, it came in just over 23GB in size. (One PC is a Lenovo X12 Hybrid Tablet, with 11th Gen i7-1180G7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD; the other is a Lenovo X380 Yoga, with 8th Gen i7-8650U, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD.)

It used to be conventional wisdom that a Windows install required 20 GB of free disk space. Now, it looks like 25 GB is probably a safer general guideline. Interestingly, the Disk Cleanup utility reports the size of Previous Windows installation(s) as 15.4 GB, even though a properties check on Windows.old (Build 25262) returns the aforementioned sizes. Cleanup takes a little while, too: about 4 minutes on each test PC or thereabouts.

25267 Last 2022 Dev Channel Build.Windows.old

Note the reported size here is about 9 GB smaller. Interesting…

Marching into 2023

It’s still 17 days off, but 2023 is coming. I imagine we might see resumption of regular flighting the week of January 9. But heck, it’s been a busy, busy year for Windows 11. I count 32 Builds in Update History starting from March 21, 2022. And while I’ve encountered (and reported) occasional issues along the way, most have been minor. And none have stopped me from tracking along with each new Build as it’s emerged. I can only hope next year goes equally well.


Build 25252 Offers Odd Install Behavior

Hey, it’s preview software, right? It’s supposed to do strange things from time to time. And indeed, on that front, Dev Channel Build 25252 (released yesterday) does not disappoint. What do I mean when I say that Build 25252 offers odd install behavior? At least two unusual items have popped up so far:

1. As is my usual practice, I attempted to RDP into both of my test PCs. Neither would accept a connection, and both reported “too many connections already in use” (none, in fact). But both were on the “Restart to continue install” window. I’ve never seen this result in RDP refusal before, but there you have it.

2. On the X12 Hybrid Laptop the 1st and 2nd reboots did not complete on their own. Instead, the PC shut down instead of restarting. A quick pop to the power button took care of this, but noteworthy nevertheless. I’ve seen this happen on other, earlier Dev Channel Builds on this very machine.

Feedback Hub Hears When Build 25252 Offers Odd Install Behavior

I’ll be reporting these oddities to Feedback Hub next, if they’re not already present in some form or fashion. It often gets interesting, figuring out how to describe install issues (and other Windows oddities) to synch with how others describe them there. I’m going to use RDP to jump onto both machines right now…

And that works as it should, thank goodness. I filed the RDP issue as “When Build 25252 Install Ready to Reboot, Doesn’t Accept RDP Connections.” I simply added a comment to my earlier filing on the other problem, which is named “Build 25231.1000 shuts down during install instead of rebooting.” This comment explains that the problem recurs for Build 25252.1000, and happens twice during the install process.

Another Build, Another Learning Exercise

This kind of thing is fairly routine for new Insider builds. I regard providing feedback as an important part  — indeed, arguably the most important part — of my job as a Windows Insider. After all, if nobody tells MS about little oddities that occur they may never hear about them otherwise. Reporting is a vital aspect of arming the Windows team with as much information to find and kill bugs as possible. Plus, it’s fun!



MS KIR Equals Known Issue Rollback

In reading about fallout from recent Windows 10 updates this morning, I learned something new. MS KIR equals Known Issue Rollback. It’s a group policy technique to reverse effects introduced by buggy updates. You can read about how to implement such policy in Microsoft Documentation.

This morning (November 17) news is out that some Windows 10 users may face a missing or non-responsive Taskbar — or even a black screen (depicted in the lead-in graphic). These come as “known issues” from recent updates. A responsive rollback is, in fact, already on its way to users.

Are GPOs Required for MS KIR Equals Known Issue Rollback?

That is an interesting question! Of course, GPOs only work in environments where centralized Group Policy management is in place, or where some means to deploy per-machine policies exists. So then: sometimes yes, sometimes no.

All this said, my source for this info ( makes some interesting observations about these potential Windows 10 gotchas:

Although the problem sounds scary, Microsoft has already implemented the necessary fixes and rolled back the troublemaking code to undo the damage. Affected devices should restore to normal operating mode within 24 hours. However, users can speed up the process by restarting their systems or applying a special Group Policy (only on enterprise-managed devices).

The bold emphasis in the preceding quote, of course, refers to a KIR GPO for those who wish to head trouble off pre-emptively and quickly. Those who don’t mind waiting should see the problem take care of itself within 24 hours of the offending update’s arrival. Sounds like a restart might also repair the issue, depending on timing.

According to that same Neowin story, MS has recently used KIR to fix problems related to Direct Access for remote network access without requiring a VPN connection. Seems like a handy technique for MS to correct its own missteps.

When KIR Could Help

The kind of undo capability inherent in KIR is likely to be most beneficial to small to mid-size operations. These may sometimes push Windows updates reasonably soon after they are released. Most larger organizations will batch updates for release during planned deployment windows (often, over holiday weekends). They tend to hold off on non-urgent updates and test them thoroughly before deploying anyway. Thus, they are less likely to need KIR than other, smaller and less sophisticated outfits.


KB5018482 Announces Impending 21H2 End

OK, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t expecting much excitement upon downloading and installing KB4018482 yesterday. Sure, it raised the Build level to 19045.2193 on my production desktop. And it brought various modest updates and fixes. What I wasn’t expecting, upon reading its Support blurb, was to see that KB5018482 announces impending 21H2 end of service.

Here’s that it says, reproduced verbatim (dated October 11, two weeks prior to the KB pub date [black, bold emphasis mine]):

IMPORTANT All editions of Windows 10, version 21H1 will reach end of service on December 13, 2022. After December 13, 2022, these devices will not receive monthly security and quality updates. These updates contain protections from the latest security threats. To continue receiving security and quality updates, we recommend that you update to the latest version of Windows.

You could say it kind of jumped out at me as I read the notice. It’s not exactly a surprise — this date’s been known for a long while — but it’s pretty final, and it’s now just over 6.5 weeks away (46 days, as I write this).

Why KB5018482 Announces Impending 21H2 End Counts

Lots of business Windows users run Windows 10 — the vast majority, in fact (e.g. Statcounter says 71.87% of all desktops). I suspect that more than half that population is still running one 21H2 build or another. For those users, this announcement is a wake-up call that it’s time to make some kind of change before time runs out in mid-December.

Business users have two options to stay on Windows 10 — namely:

  • upgrade to 22H2 (this can use any valid Windows upgrade technique, including WSUS, WU, deployment tools, and in-place upgrade)
  • switchover to  LTSC 2021 (works only via ISO and in-place upgrade)

Either way, planning, testing, scheduling and deployment will be necessary. And six weeks (plus 4 days right now) ain’t much time. The clock, as they say, is ticking…

Postscript: So Long, NetMarketShare!

In writing this item, I got a another surprise. And it, too, touches on end of life. For a long, long time NetMarketShare has been my go-to source for Windows OS market share data. Apparently, that’s over now too. Here’s partial text from the Windows OS landing page:

After 14 years of service and being used as a primary source in tens of thousands of articles and publications, we are retiring NetMarketShare in its current form. October, 2020 is the last month of data. All billing for existing accounts has been stopped. All outstanding balances are being refunded.

Why? An upcoming change in browsers ( will break our device detection technology and will cause inaccuracies for a long period of time.

In addition, we have focused on bot detection and removal as a key part of the quality control process. It is the most complex part of our codebase. As time has gone on, it has become increasingly difficult to manage this process. So, instead of accepting increasing levels of inaccuracy, we thought it would be a good time to call it a day.

Too bad. I’ll be sorry to do without their information and the insights it provided. Auld ang syne, and all that…


KB5018496 Lands Poorly So Far

KB5018496 is out as of October 25. It takes production-level Windows 11 22H2 systems to Build 22621.755 when applied. To be fair, it’s a Preview CU, so not entirely cooked yet. But I observe that KB5018496 lands poorly so far because

(a) I don’t see any of its cool gradual rollout features on any of my PCs (e.g. right-click in Taskbar to launch Task Manager)
(b) When I attempted to explore the new Microsoft Accounts (MSA) capabilities, it crashed when I attempted to open the P16’s camera. I know that works because I use camera-based Hello to log onto that machine and had just done so minutes before. Sigh.
(c) I was unable to verify my identity in Settings → Accounts, because of the camera issue, so also unable to backup my MSA data. Sigh again.

Again: this is a preview release. And I’m qvetching about gradual rollout elements that either haven’t made it to my PCs, or that aren’t yet working as they should be. It’s a kind of “business as usual” thing, I guess.

What KB5018496 Lands Poorly So Far Really Means…

It’s pretty much par for the course that a few rough edges will show up in a preview release. Thus, for example, when I went to Accounts → Windows backup in an RDP session, the PC “knew” it couldn’t use the camera for validation. So I got an email to my MSA address instead. That worked just fine. The relevant screencap appears as the lead-in graphic for this story.

I assume there’s some kind of driver hiccup with the camera when logged in directly. It threw an error code that pointed squarely in that direction. That should be easy to run down and fix, so I’ll report it to Feedback Hub later today.

I’ve been using the right-click access to Task Manager in the taskbar on Insider versions of 22H2 for a while now. Thus, I also know it’s just a matter of time before it, too, shows up in production versions of 22H2.

Self-Inflicted Wounds? Perhaps…

So why do I install previews on production PCs? Because I’m an Insider and it’s my job to take such stuff on, and report what I see and find. I make daily image backups on those PCs, so the worst that can happen is a rollback to the previous image. I don’t generally do real work on those PCs unless I’m on the road. And in that situation, I probably wouldn’t mess with a preview because I wouldn’t want to lose the time (or the work done) since the last backup anyway.

And that’s how things go here in Windows World. Stay tuned for further developments. I’ll qvetch some more another day, for sure!