Windows Enterprise Desktop

October 7, 2019  12:41 PM

Chasing Thunderbolt Drivers Down

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device Manager, Thunderbolt, Windows 10

A famous quote from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 reads “How can he see if he’s got flies in his eyes if he’s got flies in his eyes?” I was reminded of that snippet while chasing my tail this weekend. I wondered why I saw no Thunderbolt device in Device Manager on my Lenovo Thinkpad X380 Yoga laptops. Only gradually did I recall that because I have no Thunderbold devices, nothing SHOULD show up anyway. Only after spending some time chasing Thunderbolt drivers down, I realized that “Show hidden devices” might help. Here’s what that showed me:

Chasing Thunderbolt/USB-C Drivers

Took me a while to remember, but drivers without removable devices using them only show up when “Show hidden devices” is checked. Sigh.

When Chasing Thunderbolt Drivers Down, Don’t Forget the Rules

How did I figure this out? I knew I had successfully installed both firmware and driver updates for Thunderbolt, because their installers reported successful completion. Indeed, when I ran DriverStore Explorer (RAPR.exe), it happily showed me a Thunderbolt item.

Chasing Thunderbolt/USB-C Drivers Down.rapr

Note the item in blue at the bottom of this list. It says Thunderbolt(TM) Controller – 15BF at the far right.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Only then did I smite my forehead and quote Homer Simpson: “Doh!” A quick click on “Show hidden devices” in DevMgr and there was the ghosted/greyed-out listing I knew had to be in there somewhere.

Because I don’t own any Thunderbolt devices — yet — I am currently unable to make this item appear in normal text in Device Manager without using my head just a little. Interestingly enough, though, it does show up on my Lenovo X1 Extreme. It includes a pair of Thunderbolt ports and a controller to manage them. Thus,  it always has “something” going on in the Thunderbolt department even with no Thunderbolt devices attached. Here’s what that looks like when viewing attached Thunderbolt devices on that PC (available as a right-click option from the Thunderbolt icon in the right-hand app listing on the notification pane/area):

Now, I *need* to acquire some Thunderbolt hardware so I can really start understanding this stuff. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

October 4, 2019  11:50 AM

Mystery Error Code 0x80242016 Follows KB4524147

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Error codes, Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Update, Windows Update Management

Boy howdy! MS has been pushing updates at a furious rate lately. Just yesterday, KB4524147 bumped production-level 1903 to Build 18362.388. That install went swimmingly on 4 of 5 machines on which it was run. But machine #5 — my production desktop, as fate would have it — threw an interesting error code on the first try. That code  is 0x80242016. According to MS Docs Update Error Code Reference, it indicates that “The state of the update after its post-reboot operation has completed is unexpected.” As far as I can tell, this means that something odd about the state of the update registers following the reboot. Thus, it shows up in Update History as “failed.” Obviously, because not even Microsoft knows what’s up in this case, this mystery error code 0x80242016 follows KB4524147. Here’s a snapshot:

Mystery Error Code 0x80242016 Follows KB4524147.wuhistory

Something unexpected showed up the first time I attempted a KB4524147 install. Fortunately, the second try succeeded.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

When Mystery Error Code 0x80242016 Follows KB4524147, Then What?

My reaction recaps the old saying that begins: “If at first you don’t succeed . . .” And indeed, as the preceding screenshot shows, a success followed the initial failure on a second try. But I’m mystified as to what happened on my production PC. But not even Microsoft can tell for sure, apparently. I monkeyed around with a Registry key for Windows Update memory reservation before that reboot, though. And because this apparently causes deep changes to the way Windows Update behaves, that change could very well have messed with successful completion of the KB4524147 update. But I’m definitely guessing here.

Above all, I’m bemused by an encounter with an error code that essentially says “Something unexpected happened after reboot, so the update is cancelled.” Things do go sideways occasionally with Windows, as I’ve observed on many occasions. I guess I should be grateful that what failed on the first try, succeeded on the second. Otherwise, I’d still be trying to figure out — and fix — whatever it is that went wrong. Had that second attempt failed, my series of next steps would have been as follows (each subsequent step assumes the preceding one has failed):

1. Download the KB4524147 manual self-installing update package from the Microsoft Update Catalog (32-bit, 64-bit, ARM64), and attempt a manual install.
2. Use DISM to apply the update package on an offline version of the OS image.
3. Perform an in-place upgrade install of 1903, and attempt the update again on a cleaner OS.

Surely, one of those would have done the trick. But if not, it would then be time to ponder a clean re-install of 1903, or a wait to see if the next cumulative update works instead, with a fallback strategy of upgrading to 1909/19H2 when it becomes available in the next month or two. And so it goes, here in Windows-World!

October 3, 2019  7:21 PM

RDP Plus Sandbox Sometimes Equals Screen Confusion

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Keyboard Shortcuts, RDP, Troubleshooting, Windows 10

I’ve been experimenting with the new Windows Sandbox (available in 1903 and higher-numbered Preview builds) lately. This morning, I found myself in a pickle. I was using RDP to access my Lenovo X220 Tablet, with the Sandbox window maximized therein. A key sequence restores the Sandbox from whole screen to partial screen mode — CTRL-ALT-BREAK. But alas, that’s the same key sequence that does likewise for RDP sessions as well. So, when I tried to reduce the size of the Sandbox window to access the RDP session outside the sandbox, I ended up reducing the size of the RDP session window instead. That’s why I assert that RDP plus Sandbox sometimes equals screen confusion. Ultimately, I ended up having to close my RDP session and walk over to the X220 Tablet keyboard and minimize the Sandbox window directly on its host machine.

RDP Plus Sandbox Sometimes Equals Screen Confusion.x220T

As long as I don’t maximize the Sandbox session in the RDP session Window on the remote PC, everything is OK.
[Click image for full-sized view.]<\p>

Why Say RDP Plus Sandbox Sometimes Equals Screen Confusion?

I’ve already explained that the key sequence to exit full-screen mode is the same for both tools. That makes the attempt to reduce one (the Sandbox inside the RDP session) reduce the other instead (the RDP session). I couldn’t figure out any way to minimize the Sandbox window within the RDP session without using the keystroke sequence. Then I started poking around the user interface at the top of the screen. With the Sandbox maximized, its control bar sits right underneath the control bar for the RDP session. So I found a “trick” that actually works. Here’s an image to help explain:

RDP Plus Sandbox Sometimes Equals Screen

If you look very closely just to the right of the top RDP bar, you can see the edge of the restore button in the underlying Sandbox bar.

If you can catch and click that edge of the Sandbox minimize control, things work as they should. But it took a bit of wingling about, and thinking about how the controls worked and where they were placed to come to this happy conclusion. Go figure!

October 1, 2019  9:58 AM

MS Explains Machine Learning Role in Windows 10 Update Experience

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Machine learning, Windows 10, Windows Update Management, Windows Updates

Thanks, Mr. Brinkmann! He posted a item yesterday that alerted me to a fascinating Microsoft Tech Community blog post dated September 26. Entitled “Using machine learning to improve the Windows 10 update experience.” It comes from a pair of MS data scientists named Archana Ramesh and Michael Stephenson. Their story basically explains that MS monitors up to 35 “areas of PC health.” (Each is  a collection of devices and/or facilities that could be subject to driver or installation issues.) Machine Learning (ML) lets the company use this data to offer updates to some PCs, but not others. This graph compares uninstalls, crashes and driver issues for ML-selected systems versus the whole population (baseline):

MS Explains Machine Learning Role in Windows 10 Update Experience.graph

Note: for Kernel Mode Crashes and Driver Issues, the ML model selected PCs experience fewer problems than the baseline.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Why MS Explains Machine Learning Role in Windows 10 Update Experience?

Basically, MS gathers information about Windows PCs and their configurations. This data gets crunched so machine learning can  identify PCs for which updates work. This data comes from the Insider program, or others who voluntarily opt to install certain updates. Those configurations that work well are noted, for inclusion in the update offer. MS also recognizes likely problem PCs. Their receipt of an update offer becomes contingent on a fix for one or more blocking issues becoming available. Only when fixes are in place, is an update offer extended. The following flow chart visualizes this process:MS Explains Machine Learning Role in Windows 10 Update Experience.flow

Machines whose attributes indicate they’ll have no problems get the update offer. Those likely to face issues don’t come into play until fixes for expected issues are available.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

To me, this provides yet another good reason why Windows 10 users should permit MS to grab telemetry info from their PCs. Though certain suspicious individuals routinely silence their Windows 10 PCs and prevent them from “phoning home” to Microsoft, this kind of data is absolutely invaluable. And indeed, in my own experience, MS continues to improve in its detection of PCs likely to succeed with specific updates (and those likely to hit snags as well).

The authors also provide one of the best explanations of so-called safeguard holds I’ve seen anywhere from Microsoft. Look for a section entitled “Identifying safeguard holds” and read it over. It shows exactly how ML recognizes PCs that need them, and can make a big difference for users and IT pros alike.

September 27, 2019  12:51 PM

Smarter Web-based Intel Driver Update Tool

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, device management, Windows 10

In perusing my usual Windows info and news this morning, I came across a Windows Latest story that gave me cause to check my Lenovo X380 graphics driver. It seems Intel released new set drivers for its graphics chipsets, as of September 25. The story specifically identifies Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 630 devices. These updates came out to address reported issues with the Start Menu and the Microsoft Store. Because my Lenovo Yoga X380 uses the Intel UHD Graphics 620, I thought I’d better check its status. That said, my first check was using the Lenovo Vantage tool, the UWP app that has taken over for their older System Update .exe-based application. Then, just for grins I also ran the Intel Driver & Support Assistant (ID&SA) as well. I was pleased to observe that this new-ish item is indeed a smarter web-based Intel driver update tool.

Smarter Web-based Intel Driver Update Tool.uhd620

Device Manager confirms that the Yoga X380 incorporates UHD 620 graphics.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

What Makes This a Smarter Web-based Intel Driver Update Tool?

Glad you asked! I stick to the Lenovo Vantage tool for updates on my two new laptops. (The other one is an awesome hexacore X1 Extreme.) I wondered if the updater would offer a new version though one hasn’t hit the Lenovo update channel. To my delighted approbation, it did not. Here’s what I see for detail when I click on the graphics chipset in the ID&SA’s web-based interface:

Smarter Web-based Intel Driver Update Tool.620output

The ID&SA tool recognizes a vendor-supplied custom graphics driver, and advises the user to look for a replacement at the Lenovo website. Perfect!
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Of course, that refusal is just what I’d hoped to see. The last thing you want on a laptop is a new driver that doesn’t work properly. When in doubt, Intel is absolutely correct to refuse delivery, thereby protecting the unwary from themselves. Good job, Intel!

One More Thing …

You can tell by looking at the entry above the UHD 620 in the preceding screencap that I’m currently using RDP to access the X380. That explains the presence of the “Microsoft Remote Display Adapter.” It takes first position under the Graphics heading because it’s the driver in current use. Even though the machine is to the left of me on a rolling file drawer next to my desk, it’s easier to interact with my desktop and the X380 using RDP. That way, I can interact with (and bounce between) desktop and laptop at the same time.

Note Added October 1, 2019

Today, when I checked the Lenovo Vantage application, guess what showed up? Intel HD Graphics Driver version, which is replacing my older driver right now. In the readme file (nicely available through the Vantage interface under a “read more” link I see the date is 9/26/2019 on the driver item.  Only one day later than Intel’s release date, even though it took another week to make it into official update channels. All in all, not bad for an OEM customization follow-through.

September 25, 2019  5:05 PM

20H1 Gains Cloud Reset Capability

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
system recovery, Windows 10

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of sitting in on an NDA, Windows Insider MVP only briefing. It came from Aaron Lower, Microsoft’s Program Manager on the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) Fundamentals team. Some of what I learned then I can now share with you, because Aaron has “guest-written” a post to the Windows Insider blog. It’s entitled “Optimize Windows 10 PC reset using the cloud.” It’s very much worth reading, but I’ll recap some high points here. In a nutshell, it reports that Windows Insider Previews Builds 18970 and up — 20H1 gains cloud reset capability.

What Does 20H1 Gains Cloud Reset Capability Mean?

It means that when you click Settings → Update & Security → Recovery → Reset this PC, you’ll see a screen like this one on your machine:

20H1 Gains Cloud Reset Capability.screen

Note the Cloud Download option in first position above.
[Click image for full-sized view; Source: Microsoft.]

Note the top item in this new screen. It reads “Cloud download Download and reinstall Windows.” Lower describes the intent of this option very nicely as follows:

You can use the new cloud download option to get Windows from the cloud to reinstall instead of reusing the existing Windows files to construct a fresh copy. This can be a more reliable way to reinstall Windows and, depending on internet speed, can be a faster as well. To achieve a similar result previously you would have to download Windows and create a USB stick, but because this is built-in to Windows it doesn’t require the extra steps of creating a USB stick to do the installation.

I plan to try it out right away on one of my Insider Preview test machines. I ‘d like to see how it works (and how long it takes). But first, I’ve got to make a backup because it will need to be restored again afterward. That’s because my understanding remains that Reset still blows away all your installed apps and applications, personalizations, settings, preferences and so forth. I don’t want to have to redo all that work, so I’ll simply try it out, report on what happens, and then restore the previous backup to return to my normal working environment.

September 22, 2019  9:07 PM

Mystery Device Equals Moto Z Android Phone

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, Device Manager, Troubleshooting

Poking around in Device Manager today, I noticed something I’d not seen before under the “Disk drives” heading. It showed up as Linux File-Stor USB Device (LFSUD). WTF? But of course, Google is always helpful when it comes to resolving mystery strings. A literal search on LFSUD turned up a post on the Ubuntu MATE Community that very quickly filled me in. I have a Moto Z Android cellphone, and I’ve plugged it into my PC on occasion for file transfers and access. That, it seems, shows mystery device equals Moto Z Android phone.

Mystery Device Equals Moto Z Android

A search on the device name resolves the mystery:
Linux File-Stor Gadget USB Device.
[Click item for full-sized view.]

Determining Mystery Device Equals Moto Z Android Phone

Given the post that I found (duplicated also at XDA Developers), it was quite clear that hooking up my Moto Z for charging and access was responsible for this entry. I confirmed this by disconnecting the Android device, then running Uwe Sieber’s (USB) Device Cleanup Tool. Sure enough, it was gone, gone, gone. I’m not sure what’s responsible for this literal device name showing up in Windows 10. But now, I’m convinced that the Moto Z and the LFSUD are one and the same thing, device wise. Who knew?

In fact, when I turn on my Moto Z while it’s attached to my PC, it shows up in Explorer. And also in Device Manager, the Moto Z shows up under the “Portable Devices” heading under its own name (and there’s no longer an LFSUD entry under disk drives, either). Go figure!

Mystery Device Equals Moto Z Android Phone.explorer

Mystery solved!

September 20, 2019  5:26 PM

Two New Known Issues Already Resolved Sept 19

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Update, Windows Update Management

Seems like Microsoft updates its Known Issues list on Fridays, if the emerging pattern remains consistent. Today, two new known issues already resolved Sept 19 showed up. Both of these have garnered considerable chatter on the various Windows 10 forums and news publications. MS attributes both of them to KB4515384, which appeared on Patch Tuesday, September 10. Here’s a screencap of what’s reported today (Details for IME item, Start/Search item):

Two New Known Issues Already Resolved Sept 19

Looking at the resolution discussed for item 2, I find myself thinking “some resolutions are more equal than others” a la Animal Farm.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

True or False: Two New Known Issues Already Resolved Sept 19

I agree wholeheartedly that Item 1 (the IME fix) offers a genuine resolution. But I’m not so sure about Microsoft’s claim of resolution for the Search or Start issues that fall under Item 2. Here’s what passes for a resolution in this particular case:

Resolution: At this time, Microsoft has not found a Search or Start issue significantly impacting users originating from KB4515384. We will continue monitoring to ensure users have a high-quality experience when interacting with these areas. If you are currently having issues, we recommend you to take a moment to report it in via the Feedback Hub (Windows + F) then try the Windows 10 Troubleshoot settings (found in Settings). If you are having an issue with search, see Fix problems in Windows Search.

As I’ve been following reports on the Forums and in the news, the number of users reporting Search or Start issues is indeterminate, to be sure. But enough of them are reporting such problems that I’m not so sure that the number is necessarily small, either. Aside from a pointer to potential Search fixes, I see no resolution here. Shouldn’t this still be in “Investigating” status?

Darn! I’m still hoping that MS will maintain transparency and keep us all informed about problems and issues. I don’t like to see this kind of summary resolution, when the real situation is best summed up as “Some users are reporting problems with Search and the Start Menu. We can’t reproduce these problems, and haven’t found any significant issues in these areas.” Let’s see how this unfolds, shall we?

September 18, 2019  4:58 PM

Latest Insider Preview Gets View Optional Updates Feature

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Device drivers, Windows 10, Windows Update, Windows Update Management

Earlier versions of Windows had something that Windows 10 has so far lacked. However, Build 18980 gains the ability to see pending optional updates through Windows Update. That’s why I called this post “Latest Insider Preview Gets View Optional Updates Feature.”  The new feature looks like the following screencap. (It comes straight from my Fast Ring test machine, a Lenovo X220 Tablet.)

Latest Insider Preview Gets View Optional Updates

The blue text at the bottom of this snippet reads “View Optional Updates.” Click on it to produce a list of updates. Windows 10 hasn’t installed them, but could if you wanted it to.

Working with Latest Insider Preview Gets View Optional Updates Feature

Here’s what shows up on the Lenovo X220 Tablet when I click the link and expand the listing under “Driver Updates.” Windows Update installs drivers when you tick their associated checkboxes, then click the “Download and install” button underneath that list. So far, I’ve checked only devices that I use on my two Fast Ring test machine. I didn’t install one driver on the other machine — a Realtek GbE Ethernet NIC/chipset. That’s because that NIC is broken (not working). The rest of the drivers all installed properly and both systems are working fine. Here’s the X220 Tablet list with all selections checked:

Latest Insider Preview Gets View Optional Updates Feature.list

Of the 7 items shown, the printer driver failed to install properly. The rest are working just fine — so far.
[Click image for full-size view.]

Drivers Can Be Problematic, Though . . .

My group policy settings on local Win10 machines — a single Enterprise PC, and 8 or 9 Pro models — all forbid Windows Update to download and install drivers automatically. In a production environment, drivers only get updated once they’re tested and proven to work (and only when they’re needed). This is a good policy to maintain for such environments. This feature is handy for those who, run test machines to prepare for planned maintenance.

[Note: if you take advantage of this capability, be sure to run DriverStore Explorer (aka RAPR.exe) to clean out the old drivers from your PC. Of course, you must check to see if the new drivers work properly before doing so. Otherwise, you can roll back to previous versions, and remove the new and problematic drivers instead.]

[Thanks to and WinAero for bringing this to my attention (Sergey) and helping me to understand what it’s doing (Martin).]

September 16, 2019  11:23 AM

4 New 1903 Known Issues 9/13/2019

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

There’s been a LOT of action on the Windows 10 1903 Known Issues lately. Thus we see 4 new Known Issues 9/13/2019. They include Wi-Fi issues for some specific Intel and Broadcom adapters, additional start menu and Windows search gotchas, an Input Method Editor (usually related to special keyboard entry tools for ideographic languages like Mandarin Chinese) snag, and audio problems in some games. Two days earlier, numerous users also reported an oddity — namely, that Screenshots and Snips on some Lenovo PCs with the Vantage app installed take on a distinctly Halloween-ish burnt orange tint. Here’s that list (note that 3 of the 5 items are mitigated and one is already resolved; this table markup was copied almost verbatim from the Known Issues list on 9/16/2019):

Summary Originating update Status Last updated
Safeguard on certain devices with some Intel and Broadcom Wi-Fi adapters
Microsoft and NEC have found incompatibility issues with some devices with Intel Centrino 6205/6235 and Broadcom 802.11ac Wi-Fi cards when running Windows 10, version 1903.See details >
Not associated with a specific Windows Update or Build number Mitigated 9/13/2019
05:25 PM PT
Some users report issues related to the Start menu and Windows Desktop Search
Microsoft has received reports that a small number of users are having issues related to the Start menu and Windows Desktop Search.See details >
OS Build 18362.356

September 10, 2019

Investigating 9/13/2019
05:35 PM PT
IME may become unresponsive or have High CPU usage
Some Input Method Editor (IME) including ChsIME.EXE, may become unresponsive or may have high CPU usage.See details >
OS Build 18362.356

September 10, 2019

Mitigated 9/13/2019
05:25 PM PT
Audio in games is quiet or different than expected
Microsoft has received reports that audio in certain games is quieter or different than expected.See details >
OS Build 18362.356

September 10, 2019

Mitigated 9/13/2019
05:25 PM PT
Screenshots and Snips have an unnatural orange tint
Users have reported an orange tint on Screenshots and Snips with the Lenovo Vantage app installedSee details >
OS Build 18362.356

September 10, 2019

Resolved External 9/11/2019
10:00 AM PT

What Does 4 New 1903 Known Issues 9/13/2019 Mean?

Microsoft is continuing to keep up with input and chatter from Windows 10 users about issues and problems. I’m seeing that the Known Issues list typically gets updated within 2-4 days of an issue hitting widely-visited user forums such as Microsoft Answers, TenForums, and the numerous Windows 10 news sites I follow. In the past month, in fact, MS has been doing the best job of keeping up with  — and hence also, acknowledging — problems and issues related to the Windows 10 OS. In the spirit of giving credit where silence has too long reigned and where the new transparency and openness is much-appreciate I say “Thanks!”

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