WU Finally Proffers 23H2

OK, then. The wait is over — for the Ryzen 5800X system anywho. I just checked WU on that machine and got an offer. Now that WU finally proffers 23H2 on that system, it’s kind of an anticlimax. Took less than 3 minutes to download and install, reboot and everything.

As WU Finally Proffers 23H2, I Install It!

I’ve been deliberately waiting on this offer, to see how long it would take for WU to make it happen. Now I know: this time, it took 9 days after the original info came out for WU to come knocking at my door. One wonders, sometimes, how these things happen. I’m just glad the new release is finally arriving through “official channels.”

On my “big beast” test PCs — most notably, the P16 and P1 Gen 6 Mobile Workstation Thinkpads — I wasn’t inclined to wait. I simply grabbed the MSU file that Shawn Brink posted at ElevenForum.com, and had at it right away. I could be patient where the Asrock B550 (Ryzen 5800X, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) and Dell Optiplex 7080 (11th-gen i7, 32GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) were concerned.

So, whatever the holdup may have been, it came off sometime in the last 24 hours (I last checked these PCs in the morning yesterday, so it could be more like 30 hours, but no more). And now, things are upgraded.

Known Issues Sez…

I’d wondered if the BitLocker or Intel Smart Sound Technology issues on the Known Issues list might have been involved. I see they’ve both been “Mitigated.” But neither has been updated since October 31. So neither is an obvious culprit for the hold on those two PCs, either.

Sigh: I may never know what slowed the offer, or what eventually made it come through. Can I live with that? Heck, yeah! That just the way things sometimes go, here in Windows-World. By now, I’m used to it…




November Windows 11 Deprecation Includes Tips

For some, this may be good news. For others, not so much. MS announced a raft of “Deprecated features for Windows Client” on November 7. Among them is one of my personal pet peeves. That’s right November Windows 11 Deprecation includes tips app amidst its number, along the Computer Browser, WebDAV, and Remote Mailslots, atop a list of older items. See the afore-linked MS Learn item for all the details.

If November Windows 11 Deprecation Includes Tips, Then What?

First of all deprecated doesn’t exactly mean “dead.” Instead, it means something more like “while it’s on its way to oblivion, you’d best learn to live without it.”  Microsoft positions this status as follows:

The features in this article are no longer being actively developed, and might be removed in a future update. Some features have been replaced with other features or functionality and some are now available from other sources.

That’s OK with me, because I was never a huge fan of the Tips app. I seldom, if ever, turned to it explicitly. And when MS fired it in my direction thanks to defaults or settings I didn’t (yet) know about, I would invariably turn them off when they made themselves known.

Tips app info from the Windows 11 Start Menu.

But that’s just me. For all I know, there are plenty of people left in the lurch with the immanent departure of Tips from the scene. All I can say is; I’m glad not to be a member of that no-doubt disconsolate group.

For Me, Opting In Beats Opting Out

In general I’m of the opinion that if MS wants to make information services available to users, they should introduce and explain them. Then, after demonstrating their costs and benefits, they should give interested users an opportunity to opt in. Those who want to use those services can do so, but those who don’t want them need do nothing to keep them at bay.

Indeed, there’s a whole class of emerging Windows built-ins called System Components (see my October 27 post for deets) for which the same treatment makes good sense (Tips is among them, in case you wondered). Ditto for things like the new Windows Backup app, now included in ALL Windows 11 distros, over the vehement and vociferous objections of Enterprise and Education license holders.

Gosh! If MS were to adopt an opt-in philosophy for all stuff that’s not strictly necessary for Windows 11 to function properly, it would make life easier for the admins who handle images and their deployment and the people who use them. Something to consider, eh? Hope somebody high up at MS takes this to heart…


SUMo Is Turned Off

I have to laugh, so I don’t cry. Despite rumors that its developer, Kyle Katarn, might republish his dandy Software Update Monitor (S U Mo) utility as Open Source code, the supporting servers shut down on November first. Notice the company slogan for KC Softwares (Katarn’s company, and the program’s maker) reads: “We are here to stay.” Now that SUMo is turned off, there’s some irony there, eh?

When SUMO Is Turned Off, Then What?

I had a general inkling that things might go sideways on November 1. Why? Because the website reads:

KC Softwares activities are to be terminated by end of October 2023.
All products are to be considered as End-Of-Life (EOL) on October 31st 2023.

And indeed, when I tried to run the program on November 1, I got an error message as it tried to scan its database for the first item in its inventory (7-Zip, by virtue of its position at the top of the alph sorting order).

SUMo Is Turned Off.server-error

Trying again later is not going to help. The server is off.

Other, Less Palatable Alternatives

LifeWire has a September 11, 2023 story “11 Best Free Software Updater Programs.” At this point, I’ve tried them all. I’m a big fan of Patch My PC, but it doesn’t cover enough of my installed software base to do the job on its own. And so far, none of the others have really captured my fancy or regard.

Why is that? Most of the free versions have paid-for counterparts. And most of them also qualify as “teaseware” — that is, they tell you about things they could do for you if you purchased the paid-for version. For now, I’m getting by with winget (and WingetUI), Patch My PC, and a bit of elbow grease. Hopefully, a real contender will emerge (and sooner is better than later).

Stay tuned! I’ll keep you posted. But don’t hold your breath, either. This could — and probably will — take a while…


Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux

Back in June, I posted here about an odd issue regarding Teams updates. With a new app version of Teams out, it’s back again but in a different form. Simply put, winget wants me to upgrade from the standalone version  to the app version. The old version (which MS labels “Classic” online) is ID’d as Microsoft.Teams. So is the app version, but it is named “Microsoft Teams (work or school)” rather than just “Microsoft Teams.” In this distinction lies an interesting rub.

Why There’s a Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux

Turns out the “work or school” distinction matters to those who want to use Teams with an MSA that is NOT part of an Azure or Active Directory domain. That would be me, with the MSA I use for my WIMVP access to an online community that MS itself set up for this group. You can’t use the app version to login to this community because MS isn’t exposing the the right kind of alternative authentication outside the Azure/AD umbrella. When I try to use the app version with the MSA I need, it doesn’t work. If I switch to an MSA that works, I can’t access the communities I wish to see and use.

So I have to keep the classic version around, even though I typically log in to the WIMVP and other communities through the Web interface to classic teams. Indeed, I haven’t been able to access my non-Azure/AD MSA-based communities in Teams except through the classic version. This is interesting, and a bit frustrating, because the app version only works for my old Win10.Guru (AD-based) MSA, but for none of the other Teams communities to which I belong.

Teams App vs. Application Issue Redux.classic

When I type “teams” into the Start menu, the default is to open the app. Alas, I MUST use the “classic” version.

It’s just one of those things. I guess. I’ll be happy when Microsoft gets the work done to permit such MSAs to use the app version. Only then can I uninstall the classic version. Until that happens, I’m stuck with the “winget nag” phenomenon. Sigh.


Phased Windows 11 23H2 Rollout Bites Hard

It’s another never-ending story. Earlier this week, I found myself wondering why none of my 5 physical Windows 11 production PCs, nor either of my two Windows 11 production VMs, were getting any WU action for the 23H2 eKB (enablement package). Then I read from various sources (see this WindowsLatest item, for example) that it’s arriving as a “phased rollout.” Given my personal experience (0 for7) I must observe that the phased Windows 11 23H2 Rollout bites hard here at Chez Tittel. Go figure!

If Phased Windows 11 23H2 Rollout Bites Hard, Then…?

There are other ways to force the KB5027397 eKB onto a production Windows 11 22H2 system running 22621.2506. This makes the transition to 22631.2506 and changes the version number from 22H2 to 23H2. You can read all those details in Shawn Brink’s helpful ElevenForum post “…Enablement Package for Windows 11 version 23H2..” More important, there’s a link there to an MSU (Microsoft Update, with installer) file for X64 and Arm64 PCs. I’ve used it on three of my production PCs and both VMs now, so I’m convinced it’s legit and I know it works.

But gosh! I always wonder why MS makes us wait for updates to rollout. The official line is they’re being conservative and taking no chances on incurring errors or issues on existing Windows 11 PCs, especially older units. But with two of my population less than a year old, both running pretty beastly workstation grade configurations, I’m puzzled by their hold-backs.

On the two PCs that haven’t yet updated (a 2020 vintage Dell OptiPlex 7080 with 11th-gen i7, and a 2021 vintage Ryzen 5850X) I’m deliberately waiting. I’m checking daily to see when WU will “make the offer.” So far, nada. Stay tuned…


Start11 v2 Face-Up

I have to laugh. It’s something along Godfather III lines. I’d recently concluded I don’t need Start11 any more because I’m completely at home in the native Start menu. So I’m out. Then, Stardock introduces Start11 v2 — a completely new version for which users must pay to upgrade. Reading about its cool new features, they pull me back in. The lead-in screencap conveys its coolness quite nicely.

Look Top Right: See Start11 v2 Face-Up (Mine!)

Simply put, Start11 v2 lets the built-in Start menu shine through. But it provides all kinds of extras that it can’t do, too. Let’s start with my smiling face up top in the extra right-hand panel. Below, there’s  one-click access the old Library items (Documents, Downloads, etc.). But also my User folder root, Control Panel, Settings, the Run box and This PC in File Explorer (shows as “Computer” at bottom for what I guess are historical reasons).

You can choose from a palette of start menu looks and layouts. Mine is called Windows Pro Style as you can see in the next screencap:

Start11 v2 Face-Up.startstyles

7 start menu styles, many with controls for additional tweaks and twists.

In addition, Start11 v2 provides controls for the Start button itself (I like the Windows 11 logo), the taskbar and taskbar pins (including the ability to pin folders and folder menu pop-ups there), multiple search options and more. Because Start11 v2 accepts a multitude of tweaks, you can also save all that stuff (it’s called “Settings backup”) to a file, then restore and reset settings as you might like. If you have Voidtools Everything installed (part of my basic Windows toolkit), when you search inside the Start11 search facility its results are what come back to you in return. Great stuff!!!

Just When I Thought I Was Out…

Stardock comes along with a truly great uprade to its old stalwart Start menu replacement tool. But I guess we should call it a Start menu enhancement tool these days, eh? Because it was so cheap I sprung for the 5-pack. At under US$13 ($2.60 per instance) it’s too good a deal to pass up — especially against a US$5.99 single copy price.

Historical note: I got into Stardock’s start menu tools with Start8. I cheerfully confess to having been totally befuddled and put off when the “new, redesigned” native Start menu appeared in that OS. I’ve been a pretty loyal user ever since (including Start10). In a “let’s keep a good thing going” kind of way, I’m actually glad to have a reason to WANT to buy into Start11 v2. It had become mostly optional on my 10 or so Windows 11 PCs, tablets and notebooks.


Attaining Windows 11 23H2

In everything but name, I’ve already been running Windows 11 23H2 for a while. That level of functionality has been trickling into Windows 11 since September 11 with the release of KB5030310 (a preview update). A few days ago, the release of KB5031455 took Windows 11 to Build 22621.2506. Note the version and build numbers in the lead-in graphic. They support my assertion that there’s little difference between the two.

Steps to  Attaining Windows 11 23H2

Over at ElevenForum.com I’ve been reading about various ways to get to 23H2 in its Installation, Updates and Activation forum for the past few weeks. None of the easy methods outlined there did the trick for me. I wasn’t motivated enough to try the longer, harder ones — e.g. an in-place repair install using the recently published Windows 11 23H2 ISO (it’s now present on the Download Windows 11 page). Why not? I knew an enablement package for 23H2 was coming soon. (Note: for those not already hip, an enablement package is a small, quick update that simply turns on features and stuff already present in Windows but not yet visible or active.)

Today (or more precisely, yesterday) that changed with the release of KB5027397. It describes that very enablement package, and announces its availability. I’ve not been able to get WU to proffer it to me (though I did have pre-requisite KB5031455 already installed). Instead I grabbed the MSU link from ElevenForum admin @Brink (real name: Shawn Brink, a fellow WIMVP). It comes from an October 31 thread entitled KB5027397 Enablement Package for Windows 11 version 23H2 Feature Update.

It’s a ZIP file, so must be unpacked before it may be run. But run it does — and quickly, too: the whole shebang was done in under 2 minutes on my Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation. After a reboot, the target PC should produce nearly the same winver information shown above. Note the “Version 23H2” moniker in the second line of the fine print. Nerdvana!


Sussing Out Doubled-Up PowerShell

Here’s an interesting one. After running winget upgrade on Friday afternoon, I noticed something interesting. Even though I’d already upgraded that particular PC to PowerShell version 7.3.9, it still showed a version of 7.3.8 in need of an upgrade. Immediately, I started sussing out doubled-up PowerShell. As you can see in the lead-in graphic it was a case of “parallel versions.” Even though is clearly installed (PowerShell 7-x64), so is 7.3.8 (PowerShell

After Sussing Out Doubled-Up PowerShell,
Bye-Bye 7.3.8!

Turns out that 7.3.9 has some install changes. That means winget won’t simply upgrade the software. One must run winget uninstall, then winget install to do this particular round of the PowerShell upgrade dance. You can see this at work in the next screencap, which shows:

(a) notification from PowerShell that a new stable release is ready for download (white background against black text up top)
(b) notification from winget that “install technology is different” for new PowerShell release, so uninstall/install maneuver is needed

Sussing Out Doubled-Up PowerShell.winget-info

PowerShell is pretty clear that winget upgrade can’t handle this without extra maneuvers.

Thus, one approach here would be to run this sequence of wingets:

winget uninstall Microsoft.Powershell
winget install Microsoft.Powershell

The first removes the old version and the second installs the current (new) one. Easy-peasey, right?

Take the Long Way Home

The way I see things, there’s another choice when this kind of thing happens. The PowerShell installer file at GitHub (or the equivalent link shown at the top of the screencap: https://aka.ms/PowerShell-Release?tag=v7.3.9) not only installs the new PowerShell version, it also removes the old one. So I went ahead and ran PowerShell-7.3.9-win-x64.msi on the same machine where I captured the preceding screencap. I closed PS manually, instead of having the installer do it. Then I ran winget upgrade again. And sure enough, the doubled-up version once again appears!

It gets more interesting. I ran winget uninstall MIcrosoft.PowerShell –version to remove the older version. This time, I let the (un)installer attempt to close PowerShell. It failed, and showed an “uninstallation abandoned error” (see next screencap).

Winget drops the ball trying to uninstall the newer version from inside that version! [Click image for full-sized view.]

Go with What Works

OK, I want to run the new version. But I also want to remove the older one. That cycles me back to the original screecap at the head of this blog post. If you go to Settings → Apps → Installed apps, you can easily excise older PowerShell versions from there. So that’s what I did. And presto: no more winget notifications that needs an upgrade to

One more thing: on another test machine (one running a preview version of PowerShell) I successfully used winget to uninstall and then follow up with a successful install. I think this worked because PowerShell didn’t attempt to uninstall or install itself. That said, I did also have to manually install a new profile so I could make my default PS selection afterwards. It’s always something, right?

Note added November 1: Do It From Command Prompt

On another test PC just now, I opened Windows Terminal. Then after opening a Command Prompt tab, I closed the open (default) PowerShell tab. After that I was able to use winget to uninstall the older PS version and install the new one. This required no  new profile shenanigans. It’s my recommended approach until the PS team gets this fixed (I got confirmation from an MS contact yesterday that yes, this is a known thing and they’re working on it).


Bringing Up 2TB NVMe Proves Challenging

About a week ago, I picked up an on-sale SSD, mostly so I could do some off-the-cuff price/performance testing. I’ve got plenty of 1TB models here at Chez Tittel. Suprisingly, bringing up 2TB NVMe proves challenging as I fight with cables, connections and ports to get it recognized and formatted in Windows. Let me explain…

Why Bringing Up 2TB NVMe Proves Challenging

From the get-go, I had problems getting the SSD recognized in Disk Management. There could have been numerous factors involved:

  • Power draw from a big NVMe
  • My attempt to start in a CalDigit TS4 hub
  • The el-cheapo NVMe enclosure I used
  • The USB-C cable between enclosure and port

By the time I did get things working, I had changed all of those things (except the first, which comes from the SSD itself). I ended up working from a USB 3.0 port in my desktop PC instead of a TB4/USB4 port on a CalDigit TS4 hub. Then, I switched from a US$18 Fideco to a US$70 Sabrent EC-NVMe SSD enclosure (I have two, and both work quite reliably). I went from a TB3 rated USB-C cable to a TB4 rated one.

Though it took me the better part of an hour to work through all those changes, I finally got to the point where I could see and set up the NVMe drive inside Windows. Once that was done, I plugged it into my Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation.

The Price/Performance Story

There’s still something hincky with this set-up or with the SSD itself. I didn’t get very good numbers out of CrystalDiskMark (lower numbers than many HDDs, in fact). But when I ran a full backup in Macrium Reflect, it created a 62GB image file in 06:33.

Bringing Up 2TB NVMe Proves Challenging.cdm

These numbers are about 20% of what I get from Gen4 (PCIe x4) NVMes in this same enclosure.

That’s a data rate of around 9.45 GB per minute (161.5 MBps or 1292 Mbps by my reckoning). It’s about one-third the speed of an image backup to a fast NVMe in the same enclosure. But faster NVMes cost more (a Crucial T700 goes for US$340; a Teamgroup Z540 for US$260; a Samsung 990 Pro for US$150), too.

One more thing…

On the theory that even the Sabrent enclosure is old enough to be overwhelmed by a 2TB NVMe drive, I swapped it into a 2022=vintage Acasis TB4 NVMe enclosure. And whereas the drive had been unrecognizable in a TB4 port before this switch, it now came up. Then look at the difference in the CDM numbers it now produces (funny thing: the other enclosure produces better random R/W numbers, this one is emphatically the other ‘way round). And in this enclosure Macrium Reflect finished in 02:21 rather than 06:33 (that’s on par with other, faster NVMes in the same enclosure).

Emphatic block block differences in the Acasis enclosure!!!

One lesson I take away from this is that it’s important to remember that bigger capacity means a bigger power draw. Therefore, older and slower enclosures are less likely to provide the handling that bigger, newer NVMe SSDs need. I confirmed this by loading up the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus that had been in the Acasis enclosure into the Sabrent enclosure: results were typical for a UASP NVMe (just over 1 Gbps for bulk transfers; better overall random R/W). That’s good to know!

All in all, I’m fine with what I’m getting from my US$84 outlay. I am looking for a capable enclosure that’s cheaper than the Acasis TB-401U (still costs US$140 on Amazon). This US $23 Sabrent USB-C 3.2 10Gbps model looks pretty good. I’ll follow up with its results when it shows up later this week…


Beta Build 22635.2552 Adds System Components

I’ve known this was coming for some time now. Last month, I researched changes to the Windows Troubleshooters to a Get Help facility in Windows 11. Note: “Get Help” works for Windows 10, too. Indeed, it fell under a general heading of “System Components” as explained at MS Support. Thus it came with more of a sense of inevitability, not surprise, when Beta Build 22635.2552 adds System Components to its Settings → System subhead lineup. You can see that pretty clearly in the lead-in graphic, which has Winver superimposed to show Build info.

What Else Appears When Beta Build 22635.2552 Adds System Components?

If you look at the lead-in graphic you’ll notice the following list of elements under the System Components heading (in order of appearance):

  • Game Bar: former Xbox Game Bar app, now renamed to drop Xbox.
  • Get Help: Built in Windows troubleshooting facilities now runs as an app (and auto-launches when the OS itself spots trouble).
  • Microsoft Store: Primary source for Windows apps of all kinds.
  • Phone Link: Provides link and synch facilities between smartphones and Windows PCs (iOS and Android devices).
  • Tips: Built-in Windows notification, advertisement and “information” items.
  • Windows Security: Home to Defender’s AV, account protection, firewall & Internet controls, device security, health and family options.

Essentially this positions these specific apps as Windows built-ins that “come with the OS.” Thus, they can’t be uninstalled: inspection will show their Remove buttons are greyed out in Advanced Options. And although they can be terminated, from a runtime perspective, they’ll “keep coming back from the dead” in Halloween-appropriate fashion.

I find it interesting that MS lumps in Game Bar and Phone Link along with the other built-ins that comprise “system components.” It will also be instructive to watch this category to see when and if it expands, exactly what else appears under this heading. Stay tuned!



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