Is Windows 11 Production Ready?

At my house, the question that entitles this post is an interesting one. Let me repeat: Is Windows 11 Production Ready? Like most good questions, the answer starts with two familiar words “That depends…” What the answer depends on includes the following elements:

  • Background of the user (more Windows-savvy users will suffer less distress from an upgrade)
  • Daily computing requirements (Windows 11 still suffers from some minor, but real, performance gotchas that will bother some users more than others)
  • Target PCs (though you can install Windows 11 on hardware that fails to meet its requirements, that means future updates may not work on your hardware)

There’s a lot to consider about Windows 11 when pondering upgrades or larger-scale migrations. (I’ve also speculated about the numbers of upgrades so far–see this December 1 item: Windows 11 MarketShare Q421.)

“Is Windows 11 Production Ready” Holds Numerous Nuances

At my house, I’m already running Windows 11 on 6 PCs. Except for my production desktop (which doesn’t meet the hardware requirements), I run all of those PCs myself. I’ve been using Windows 11 since Day 1. I’ve made sure that the hardware requirements are met, and I’ve had a uniformly positive experience in running the new OS across all Insider Preview and Production versions.

I haven’t upgraded my wife’s daily driver (an 11th-Gen Dell Optiplex 7080 Micro) because she hates change. I will wait for Windows 11 to solidify and stabilize before I upgrade her to the new OS. Hopefully that will involve only minimal stress and strain for everyone involved.

I haven’t upgraded my son’s Ryzen 5800 B550 PC to Windows 11 yet, either. He’s a heavy gamer, and the new Ryzens remain subject to “interesting” issues with gaming use on Windows 11. Frankly, I’m waiting for prices on a 3070 or 3080 Nvidia GPU to become affordable before I get serious about upgrading his system to Windows 11.

I’ve got a new desktop to build with the same components as my son’s PC (but I’m not a gamer). Thus, as soon as I find the time to stand it up and get it running (early 2022 is as soon as that can happen) I’ll be pioneering Windows 11 on a Ryzen 5800 CPU and so forth. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted on how that all turns out.

Implications for Your PC Fleet

Most businesses wait at least a year after a new Windows version makes it debut before starting migration. Many wait 2 years or longer. There’s still plenty of time to wait and watch how things go for other users before taking the plunge yourself. Or, you  can do as I have, and upgrade the more forward-leaning and adventurous users, while planning for (and waiting) for the trailing edge to gain urgency and impetus.


Windows 11 22518 Gets Spotlight Background

Microsoft Spotlight is a stunning collection of high-resolution, high-impact photographs. The company has long used them for its lockscreen images. Starting with Build 22518 (Dev Channel), users can elect Spotlight images for desktop backgrounds. That’s what “Windows 11 22518 gets Spotlight background” means. To learn more , see “Configure Windows Spotlight on the lock screen.”

If Windows 11 22518 Gets Spotlight Background, Then What?

Starting in Build 22518, Windows 11 offers Spotlight collection as an option for “Personalize your background.” To access this item, right-click the desktop on a Windows 11 PC (Build 22518 or higher). Then, click the carat at the right of “Personalize your background.”

As you can see in the lead-in graphic for this story, that produces a menu of background image/color options. They now include “Spotlight collection” (at bottom). Choose that option and your desktop background will come from a collection of amazing images.

Confusion Sometimes Foils Rapid Reporting

At first, I could not find the Spotlight collection option as described. Only gradually did I realize it was my fault. Seems that while I had applied the 22518 update to my Dev Channel PCs, they hadn’t yet been restarted. Can’t get to a new version or build without a restart. Amusingly, operator error reared its frustrating and fulsome head.

But once I was running the right Dev Channel version, everything worked as described here. I have to laugh at myself for missing an obvious boat. But that’s the way things sometimes go here in Windows World. Before you can run, you must be able to walk…


New MS Defender Preview Impediment

I have to chuckle. At the start of November, I wrote here that “I Get No MS Defender Preview.” Just to check up, I went back to the store to grab the Preview. It was no surprise at all that I can still report the same thing. What’s different now is the error message that comes up, as shown in the lead-in graphic. My latest sticking point represents a new MS Defender Preview impediment. As you can see, my account is now recognized, but I can’t log into the preview. Sigh.

Clueless on Overcoming New MS Defender Preview Impediment

I’ve dug around online, at both Microsoft and third-party Windows sites. I cannot find any info on how to subscribe to the Microsoft Defender Preview. Presumably, that would also provide me with necessary login info. But there’s no enlightenment obtainable on how that might be arranged.

Often, when Windows features go into limited release in the Preview channels, I find myself at the end of the pack in gaining access. That phenomenon seems likely in this case, too. I’ll raise a flag in the WIMVP forums and see if I can provoke any action. Shoot! I’d be happy just to get more information on how to subscribe and start participating in the Microsoft Defender Preview.

But — as is so often the case in my experience — I’m on the outside looking in. I know this Preview is happening. I simply can’t get access to it, to sample its functions and capabilities. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted as I try to work my way into that charmed space. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later. We’ll see!


Windows 11 Sports Slow NVMe Driver?

Here’s an interesting thread emerging from the Windows press. A growing number of outlets are reporting that Microsoft’s own NVMe drivers run slower than their Win10 counterparts on identical (and other hardware). If Windows 11 sports slow NVMe driver, what can users do? Not much, it turns out, unless they can run a third-party driver instead (e.g. Samsung NVMe Controller). For good coverage on this topic, see Taras Buria’s recent WinAero story “Windows 11 apparently slows down NVMe SSDs.” It cites a range of interesting and informative original sources.

If Windows 11 Sports Slow NVMe Driver, Then What?

What appears to be affected is the OS boot/system drive (usually C:, where Windows itself resides). Some independent tests show that other non-OS partitions don’t suffer performance degradation. But OS partitions could suffer from reductions in random read/write speeds of 50% or worse. For grins I compared CrystalDiskMark stats from my 11th gen Lenovo X12 Hybrid Tablet running Windows 11 to my 6th gen home-brew Z170-based desktop. The former has a WD SN530 1 TB SSD, while the latter has a Samsung 950 1 TB SSD.

As you can see in the lead-in graphic, the newer Windows 11 unit is a bit slower on most readings than the older Windows 10 PC. Indeed QD32 random reads  are about 1/3 slower. That said, random writes of the same ilk go the other way (but with a less-than-7% delta). For random reads/writes with QD1, 11 edges 10 on writes by just over 9%, and vice-versa for reads by just over 15%. Kind of a wash, if you ask me.

What This Means for Upgrade Plans

MS has acknowledged that the issue is known to them and that they’re working on a fix, ETA unknown. Some reports aver that this phenomenon justifies postponing upgrades until a fix is in. My own experience with Windows 11 has been uniformly positive so far, NVMe performance observations notwithstanding. I’d recommend rethinking upgrades on PCs with heavy I/O workloads (e.g. CAD, AI, data analysis, and so forth). But for routine personal or productivity computing, it doesn’t really seem to make a noticeable difference.

I’ll be watching this issue as it unfolds. Count on me to let you know when this situation changes. Given the importance of NVMe to modern computing workloads, lots of people will no doubt follow this carefully and closely.

Note Added December 10: KB5007262 Fixes Issue, But…

KB5007262 should be installed as part of the upcoming December 14 updates for production Windows 11. It came out for Beta/Dev Channel users in November (ditto for production versions, as a Preview Update on November 23). Indeed, it seems to fix the performance issues. According to this WinAero story, the MS bugfix info for the KB5007262 announcement includes the following text:

“Addresses an issue that affects the performance of all disks (NVMe, SSD, hardisk) on Windows 11 by performing unnecessary actions each time a write operation occurs. This issue occurs only when the NTFS USN journal is enabled. Note, the USN journal is always enabled on the C: disk.”

And indeed, on my X1 Extreme laptop (8th gen i7, Samsung OEM 512GB NVMe SSD, 32 GB RAM) speeds are where experience teaches me they should be. According to the afore-linked story, this fix applies to all versions of Windows 11 except Dev Channel. As far as I can tell, that version remains subject to the slow-down. I’m looking for some additional word from MS on this topic. Hopefully, they’ll fix it there soon, too. Stay tuned!


Windows 11 22509 Gets New Start Control

I read about this the other day, but couldn’t find my way to it. Now, thanks to Taras Buria at WinAero, I can see (and say) what’s up. Initially, I’d misread descriptions. Based on too, too much prior experience I assumed this was a gradual feature rollout, and my PC hadn’t made the cut. Wrong! Windows 11 22509 gets new Start control across the board — easily accessed, in fact.

Windows 11 22509 Gets New Start Control: How-To

Click Start → Settings → Personalization → Start and it shows up on top of the page, under the Layout heading. Just like in the lead-in graphic for this story. Here’s what the radio buttons mean:

  • More pins: provides more slots in which to pin apps on the Start menu.
  • Default: provides a mix of recently-accessed files, plus recommendations from the OS.
  • More recommendations: allocates more slots for Windows-supplied items in the Start menu.

Recommendations have apparently not proved very popular with Windows users. The WinAero story put the change in these terms: “To show that Microsoft listens to users’ feedback, Windows developers introduced a new option that allows you to show more icons on the Start menu in Windows 11.”

Start Menu Remains a Hot-Button Topic

Certainly, it’s nice to see MS providing some added Start menu options. This Windows cockpit remains a source of passionate opinions and reactions. I’m just glad that 7 years of Windows 10 use has equipped me to deal with the Windows 11 Start menu without feeling forced to use a third-party tool like whatever Classic Shell is called nowadays, or something else like Start11.

In general, providing more and better Start menu customization seems like a good direction for MS to take. Here’s hoping this first bit of tweak support directly from the OS is neither an anomaly nor the last of its kind to show up for a while. Fingers crossed!


Ventoy 1.0.62 Gets Plug-in Manager

I’ve been a huge fan of the Ventoy bootable image tool for several years now. The developers have recently released a new 1.0.62 version at GitHub. It includes a GUI plugin configurator that immediately explained to me why I have issues with my current version on some of my laptops. The partition style on the ventoy drive is MBR and some of my newer laptops are GPT/UEFI only. Thus, when Ventoy 1.0.62 gets plug-in manager, I get ready information to helpful details right away. Cool!

If you’re not already familiar with Ventoy, it includes two partitions on USB attached storage media. The bulk of the device is exFAT formatted, and provides storage for ISO, WIM, VHDX, and other mountable cabinet or image formats. The VTOYEFI partition (32 MB FAT) has just enough smarts to get the PC running, mount an image, and then pass boot control over to that image. The result is a way to store all of your Windows (and other OS) images in one place, along withe repair tools, and boot into them as and when you need to.

If Ventoy 1.0.62 Gets Plug-in Manager, Then What?

Why, download and install if you’re not already using the tool. Or download and update if you already are. The Plugson GUI manager is a major step forward in functionality, visibility and insight, and improved control over the program. I’m not sure I understand all the wrinkles just yet. Thus, I plan on writing about it again after some more time spend fooling round … err … experimenting with its features and functions.

The more I look at plugson the more things I find to like about it. This program has evolved considerably over the three years or so it’s been available. And it just keeps improving and extending what it can do. Good stuff, and a great tool for Windows admins and enthusiasts.


Windows 11 Build 22509 Control Panel Changes

It’s been a long time coming, and it could still be some time coming yet. But Windows 11 Build 22509 Control Panel changes show the shape — if not the ultimate destination — of things to come. The lead-in graphic for this story shows Control Panel (CP) from Windows 11 left, and Windows 10 right. (Right-click the image and select “Open image in new tab” or equivalent to see it in its full glory.) Careful examination of the image shows items missing from 11 include Administrative Tools and Windows Tools. The new look includes more modern icons and rounded corners, too.

What Windows 11 Build 22509 Control Panel Changes Presage

The loss of Administrative Tools and Windows Tools is no big thing. Administrative Tools is a portmanteau in File Explorer that leads to a bunch of stuff easily accessible through other means. It includes:

Windows 11 Build 22509 Control Panel Changes.admin-tools

A lot of this stuff is seldom used, and all of it is easily accessible by name, through God Mode, and other means…

Same thing goes for Windows tools, which provides access to 36 items ranging from Character Map to WordPad (in alphabetical order), with considerable overlap with the previous Administrative Tools item. IMHO, neither of these leaving CP is a loss, let alone a great one.

Look for Increasing Vanishment Ahead

Long term the impetus seems clear. MS will move more stuff out of CP and under Settings. Ultimately, CP might disappear completely. But that’s probably a long-term phenomenon at least a few years into the future, if not further out that that. According to WindowsLatest, the next Windows 11 Insider Preview Dev Channel update will do away with still more CP elements. It should be interesting to see which ones go away, and in what order.

As this stuff starts falling out of CP, count on me to keep you informed. I thrive on this kind of administrivia, and revel in sharing it with my readers — that means you! Stay tuned, and we’ll all keep up with the incredible shrinking collection of Control Panel elements.


MS Store Gets App Version Info

Who knows why, but the latest Windows 11 Insider Previews add a minor but welcome new bit of information to Store app listings. It’s hard to believe, but up until those latest releases, the “Additional Information” for apps did not include version number info. As you can see inside the red box in the lead-in image, MS Store gets app version info going forward. If you check the same data in Windows 10 Store, you won’t find that “installed version” field.

If MS Store Gets App Version Info, Then What?

It’s another way to get ready, app-focused info in Windows, but only for Insider Preview users of Windows 11. What about everybody else? Good question! A little research turned up other ways to get app version information, including:

  • Run the “Programs and Features” item in Control Panel (you can simply type the name into the search box, and it should come up as a selectable option). This shows version info for all .exe applications as well as Store apps, but it’s all mixed together.
  • Open an administrative command prompt and navigate to “C:\Program Files\WindowsApps.” List the directory’s contents. Note that the version number appears, bracketed by underscore characters, right after the initial app name string.

Other methods exist, including a variety of PowerShell scripts. See this CodeTwo blog post for a good example. It’s entitled How to quickly check software versions, and worth a visit.

Frankly, I’d be happy to see this showing up in all Windows 10 and 11 versions. That said, this could easily remain a Windows  11-only kind of thing. We’ll see: stay tuned!


Windows 11 Marketshare Q421

Reports have been popping up on the Internet like mushrooms after the rain. AdDuplex reports that the Windows 11 marketshare is 8.6%. (That’s the percentage of machines running Windows 11 as opposed to other versions.) Some sources report this as “closer to 10%,” others as “almost 9 %.” I say “Hogwash.” My best guess is something under 1%. Why do I put Windows 11 marketshare Q421 down low? I’m happy to explain.

The Truth About Windows 11 Marketshare Q421

Numerous other sites monitor OS marketshare stats. These include statista, netmarketshare and statcounter. For US Government website visitors also counts. None of them registers or reports on Windows 11 yet. Thus, it’s hard for me to justify my numbers vis-a-vis somebody else’s.

That said AdDuplex bases its ratios on its customers. That set of users is known to differ from the global Internet population. I think we need to regard its recent reports with healthy skepticism. I’m also happy to wait for other marketshare sites to include Windows 11 in their tracking. Then, we’ll see what comes out of that.

Another Tack on 11 Marketshare

Let’s come at this another way. The total number of PCs in use worldwide, according to Gartner, is 1.896B units. Let’s say it’s 2B to make it a nice round number. 8.6% of 2B is ~172M. There’s simply no way that the number of Windows 11 instances in use is anything close to that number. If it exceeds 100M I’ll be flabbergasted. If it’s over 50M I’ll be surprised.

MS still claims that around 1.5B instances of Windows 10 are in use. 8.6% of that number is 129M. I don’t think Windows 11 is there yet, either. Let’s wait and see what other sites say as additional data points become available. In the meantime, care to put a small wager on the AdDuplex numbers? I’ll give you 3 to 1 odds …



Update Fixes Nitro Pro OCR Issue

The old saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I was reminded yesterday that the converse is also sometimes true. I’d been struggling with an OCR issue in Nitro Pro v13. Each time I ran the process on a particular patent PDF (downloaded from the USPTO), the program would crash. Then I remembered that SUMo (Software Update Monitor) had reported a new NP13 update was available on my latest scan. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “maybe an update will help…” You could say I clutched at the hope that the update fixes Nitro Pro OCR issue. “Here goes nothing…,” i continued, as I started looking for the latest version download.

Indeed, Update Fixes Nitro Pro OCR Issue

I had to go and download a new version of the Nitro Pro exe. That version number was Because NP13 lacks a built-in update facility, one must download the exe and manually install it to perform an upgrade. I usually avoid that except in cases of difficulty. But this time, it did the trick. After the update, my next OCR attempt succeeded, as shown in the lead-in graphic.

There’s a “trick” to grabbing Nitro Pro updates. I’ll share it because it will help me remember what I  need to do for my next upgrade, too. You must scroll to the footer (bottom) of the web page, and access the “Downloads” link under the “Support” heading. Here’s what that looks like right now:

Update Fixes Nitro Pro OCR Issue.dl-page

The latest version always shows up at the top of the downloads page.

A link to the latest version always shows up on that page, but is nearly impossible to find otherwise.  I can’t  understand why it doesn’t come up first in a Google search for “Download Nitro Pro.”
It does not: Go figure!



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