Category Archives: Windows Update

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!

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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.

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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!

 

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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 (Neowin.net) 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.

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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:

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
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 (https://github.com/WICG/ua-client-hints) 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…

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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!

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WU Reset Fixes Weird Windows 11 Upgrade Freeze

With Dev and Beta Channel releases, it’s always “just a matter of time” before something gets wonky. Yesterday, in fact, I ran into difficulties upgrading one of my X380 Yoga laptops to Build 25227. In November 2021, I wrote a blog post here entitled WU Reset Tool Works on Windows 11. Good thing, because WU reset fixes weird Windows 11 upgrade freeze, too. Let me explain…

I’m Glad WU Reset Fixes Weird Windows 11 Upgrade Freeze

Here’s what’s weird about this failure. The laptop hung during the post-GUI update phase, after the old OS hands over control to the installer’s WindowsPE-based runtime environment. Indeed, it got all the way to 98% complete before it hung interminably.

Yet, as you can see, the hex code speaks to a “download error.” I have to guess there was some essential bit of data that the installer needed to read right at the end of the post-GUI installation process. When that failed, the whole shooting match went south. Stuck forever!

The Charm Came on the 2nd Try

I probably got lucky. I ran the invaluable reset/reregister batch file cited in the WU Reset Tutorial at ElevenForum, Then I tried the 25227 upgrade again: it worked this time! That said, this one took 30-40 minutes to complete (a fair while longer than previous but recent Dev Channel upgrades). But it sailed through to completion and is now working properly on the X380 laptop.

On the plus side, the login issues I’d been having with RDP on the same laptop also disappeared with the upgrade. That’s a relief. But on the minus side, my other Dev Channel test machine acted a bit wonky during the upgrade, too. It shut down after the reboot from the GUI phase into the post-GUI phase of the install. I had to manually power back on to finish the job. That hasn’t happened for a while with Dev Channel releases, either.

But hey! The purpose of Insider participation is to help catch — and hopefully kill — bugs and weirdnesses before they get into general release. We’re all just doing our jobs by finding and reporting this kind of stuff.

And that’s how it goes sometimes, here in Windows World. Good thing I enjoy it, and relish my appetite for problem solving and troubleshooting.

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First Windows 11 22H2 Moment Arrives

OK, then. We knew it was coming. And with yesterday’s release of  KB5019509 it’s here. That’s right: with this out-of-band  update, the first Windows 11 22H2 moment arrives. This time, it includes the tabbed version of File Explorer, which wasn’t quite ready for release when 22H2 made its debut on September 20.  This new, snazzed-up File Explorer version provides the lead-in graphic for this story, shot from my just-updated P16 laptop.

What First Windows 11 22H2 Moment Arrives Means

I guess it helps to understand that a moment is shorthand for what ComputerWorld (CW) describes as “small, quarterly feature updates” in a September 14 story. (This story in turn relies on a July Windows Central hearsay report about the terminology.) And indeed, support for tabs in File Explorer makes a perfect illustration of what such a “moment” could bring to users.

But there’s more to KB5019509 than File Explorer tabs. Here are  descriptions of two other new features, straight from that update announcement (blue text emphasis mine for ease of identification):

  • New!It adds a feature called Suggested Actions for items that you copy. This is available for customers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. For example, when you copy phone numbers or future dates, we provide suggestions, such as make a call with Teams or Skype or add an event in the Calendar app.
  • New! It adds a taskbar overflow menu. The taskbar will offer an entry point to a menu that shows you all your overflowed apps in one space.

We’ll Have These Moments to Remember…

If the CW description is correct, this is just the first of a series of such moments that will pop up from time to time. I can’t tell if MS will itself use the “moment” terminology or not. In fact, KB5109509 calls the aforementioned introductions “quality improvements” instead. A search on the word “moment” turns it up nowhere in this text.

Other new quality improvements in the update include using nearby sharing to “discover and share more devices, including desktops,” a switchover to Windows Settings from Control Panel to “uninstall, repair and modify all apps,” and improved “performance of federated authentication.” All told, KB5109509 appears to offer some interesting stuff.

But if a quality improvement isn’t explicitly called out as a “moment,” why bother with this terminology? Good question! I wish I had an equally good answer. We’ll have to see how this all unrolls. In the meantime, I’m just going to savor this particular moment…

 

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Get-Hotfix Shows What WU Sometimes Cannot

When MS lifted the safeguard hold on  my Lenovo P16 Mobile Workstation, I upgraded it to Windows 11 22H2. Naturally, my first thought thereafter was to check on status of recent updates and fixes. That’s when I figured out that KB5018427 was included in the 22H2 version installed. Seems that Get-Hotfix shows what WU sometimes cannot — at least as far as Update History goes.

It’s all apparent in the lead-in graphic for this story. In case it’s not legible enough, right-click on that image and select “Open image in new tab” (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.). That should show it at original resolution. If necessary, you can use the browser’s Zoom controls to magnify the text.

How Get-Hotfix Shows What WU Sometimes Cannot

Update history shows only user-alllied updates. It does not show updates that — like KB5018427–get rolled up into the windows image file (WIM) used to install a version upgrade. That’s what makes the PowerShell Get-Hotfix command so useful. Its image analysis tool tells it what’s there, whether the user applied it directly, or whether it’s already “in there” as is the case here.

An important clue appears in the “Installed on” date shown in the output of Get-Hotfix. Although the KB item itself is dated 10/11/2022, it didn’t get rolled into the WIM until 10/14/2022.

What Led Me Down This Trail?

I read the Windows Latest story about KB5018427. Naturally, I wanted to check on its status in the upgraded 22H2 version. When I didn’t see it in Update History, I visited the Microsoft Catalog and downloaded the 64-bit MSU file. Upon attempting its installation, it searched the updates already installed on the PC. That produced the following status message:

That made me understand the KB had been included in the WIM file I’d already installed. A search on “use PowerShell to show updates installed” led me to the Get-Hotfix command.

As the afore-cited PowerShell docs states:

The Get-Hotfix cmdlet gets hotfixes, or updates, that are installed on the local computer or specified remote computers. The updates can be installed by Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, or manually installed.

Thus Get-Hotfix can catch patches and fixes no matter how they get included in the image it checks and reports upon. The rest, as they say (drum roll, please)… is history!

 

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P16 Safeguard Hold Lifted

OK, then. I performed my daily ritual WU check on the P16 Mobile Workstation on Friday (Oct 14) . This time, the P16 safeguard hold lifted, and I was able to update to Windows 11 22H2. As you can see in the lead-in screencap, the 22H2 download was available during capture. Neat-o!

And indeed a quick visit to the 22H2 Known Issues page shows that my hold-up — the Intel SST drivers — appears as “mitigated.” Here’s what that looks like:

P16 Safeguard Hold Lifted.SST-info

The P16 blocking issue is now resolved, thanks to Intel driver updates. These appear in DevMgr under the “Software Components” heading.

With P16 Safeguard Hold Lifted, Upgrade Proceeds

I got a little concerned right after the first reboot (from the GUI-based portion of the install, into the post-GUI phase). The P16 sat at 0% complete on processing updates for what seemed like an eternity (about 4 minutes). But then, it started to chunk through the process and finished in about 20 minutes during that install phase.

I noticed that the update included a raft of driver updates –14 in all — by checking Reliability Monitor later on. The two items of greatest import show up in the software components category where various sound -related items reside.

Whatever the issue might have been, I’m glad to see it resolved. And so far, the P16 is running without apparent issues. I’m connected to it remotely via RDP right now, so that recent bugaboo is not present here, either. Good-oh!

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