Windows Enterprise Desktop

February 22, 2019  6:18 PM

Win10 Hibernation Situation

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

Hibernation is an inactivity option for Windows 10 PCs that’s been around since before Windows 10 itself. Hibernation sits halfway between sleep mode and the old-fashioned shut down (off) mode. When a Windows 10 PC is set to hibernate, it saves the current state — including open programs and documents — and writes them to a special disk file named hiberfil.sys. When you start back up, the contents of that file are copied back into memory, and your PC is off and running once again. But there are some wrinkles to the Win10 hibernation situation, and they’re worth knowing about.

Win10 Hibernation Situation.yes-or-no

It’s hard to tell if hibernation is turned on or off on a Win10 PC. Two important clues: 1. A hibernate option in the Shut Down menu (shown), 2. Hiberfil.sys file at the root of your C: drive.

Understanding Your Win10 Hibernation Situation

Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any way at the command line to check a Win10 PC’s hibernation situation (on/off; enabled/disabled). But if you visit your Shut Down menu, then right click the arrow to the right of that word, a pop-up menu appears. If Hibernate shows up on that menu, it’s enabled/turned on; if it’s absent from that menu, it’s disabled/turned off. Easy-peasy, right?

Use Powercfg to Turn Hibernation On or Off

If hibernation is turned on, and you want it off, or vice-versa, there’s an easy fix thanks to the powercfg command. To turn hibernation off, enter this command in an administrative Command (cmd.exe) or PowerShell session:
powercfg /hibernation off

A similar string turns hibernation back on:
powercfg /hibernation on

The abbreviation /h works just as well as the full term /hibernation in command strings, BTW.

Why Turn Hibernation Off, Anyway?

By default, hiberfil.sys is set to half the amount of RAM in your system. On a PC like mine, with 32 GB RAM, that sucks up a fair amount of disk space. Some folks don’t much care for such space allocation. Likewise, when you turn off hibernation you also turn off Windows built-in Fast Startup capability. For some users, especially those on certain laptop or tablet PCs, turning of fast startup makes the difference between being able to use the Restart command to restart normally, versus having to disconnect the battery and AC power, then perform a cold reboot, before being able to reboot a machine. As with so much else that’s hardware-based in Windows 10, YMMV. For some, however, it’s indisputable that disabling hibernation is a good thing. For others, not so much.

February 20, 2019  6:10 PM

New MyOffice App Makes Office Ubiquitous

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Microsoft Office, microsoft office 365, Windows 10

Late last year MS started testing an Office app (UWP) with Insiders. It replaced the preceding “My Office” with a slicker new version. Starting today, February 20, 2019, anybody who wants to can download the app from the Store (here’s the Office Apps blog announcement). also reports that “MS plans to roll it out to everyone over the next few weeks.” That how MS’ new MyOffice app makes Office ubiquitous. If you visit the Store and search for “MyOffice” here’s what you’ll see:

New MyOffice App Makes Office

Generally Available MyOffice App Makes Office Ubiquitous

The new app works with subscription (365) Office versions. I actually had to launch my copy (already installed, it seems) from the Launch button on its page in the Windows Store (I couldn’t find it via the Start menu, but I’m running Start10). But indeed, it works and happily showed me my 365 account info, recent documents, and even my available programs (see next screencap):

New MyOffice App Makes Office Ubiquitous.apprunning

MyOffice also works when you’re offline if you have local executables, and will work with Office Online if you don’t (but you have to be online for that to fly). Also, MyOffice works with equal facility on Windows and non-Windows devices. That included Android and iOS phones, as per my recent “try-and-see” maneuvers just now. Access to the Google Play Store and Apple AppStore works, or you can check the “Office for mobile devices” offerings from MS.

Check it out! You may just find it useful . . .

February 18, 2019  10:43 AM

Snipping Tool Snip & Sketch Printing

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Printing Issues, Screen capture, Windows 10

Although MS has promised its banishment for some time, the Snipping Tool is still alive and well in Build 18836. Purported to be a skipahead to 20H1, the old tool remains present even there. Its replacement, Snip & Sketch, has been available since early builds of 1903 appeared last summer. With either tool, I found myself with a minor beef this weekend. Indeed, while one can print pretty easily from either tool, printing options are somewhat limited. For reasons I’ll explain shortly, I found myself miffed with Snipping Tool Snip & Sketch printing this weekend. A third party tool proved necessary to avoid paper waste, in fact.
Snipping Tool Snip & Sketch Printing.printopt

Print tools in either built-in screencap tool lack image scaling/”Fit to page” options. Sometimes, this is a problem.

Problems Present with Snipping Tool Snip & Sketch Printing

We were cooking a spatchcocked chicken and I wanted to print a good one-page recipe I’d found. But alas, as you can see in the options available for Snip & Sketch above (almost identical to those for the Snipping Tool, not shown for that reason) there is no “fit to page” option. Because I clipped the recipe on a big screen I couldn’t get it to print in either landscape or portrait mode on a single piece of paper. Ultimately, that’s all I wanted. So I saved the file, opened it in Corel PaintShop Pro, and used that program’s “Fit to page” option, available easily and immediately from its print options page.

MS developers: please hear my plea, and take a page from the paper conservation handbook. For future versions, please add this same “Fit to page” option to Snip & Sketch. Sure the new tool has bells and whistles that Snipping Tool lacks (esp. annotations). But this addition might also give users another good reason to drop the old Snipping Tool. Saving trees is even better than adding notes and markup!

BTW, the chicken turned out much better than I’d hoped or expected. If you’re curious, try Martha Stewart’s magnificent Roast Spatchcocked Lemon Chicken recipe yourself.

February 17, 2019  1:54 PM

Another Free Win7 Life Extension

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Desktop virtualization, Microsoft Windows 7

By now, everybody knows that Windows 7 End of Life (EOL) comes January 14, 2020. Afterward, organizations and companies need extended security updates to keep the old OS alive. Until now, that’s been an expensive proposition. But in the past few days, Microsoft has let slip information about a possible alternative. It’s called Windows Virtual Desktop, and it’s delivered via Azure. It extends a range of interesting possibilities to customers for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, or F1 or Windows E3 or E5. Those licensees can use existing licenses and systems for virtualization. Hidden amidst those capabilities is a free, if virtual, Win7 life extension.Another Free Win7 Life Extension.win7info

I’ve taken visual license from the MS original, but there’s no doubt that this Win7 life extension will be perceived as a money-saver by many.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Why Grant Another Free Win7 Life Extension

MS knows that there are still too many Win7 licenses in commercial use for all to migrate before 1/15/2020. The Windows Virtual Desktop gives organizations another, more affordable option as compared to outright purchase of extended support. It’s also a great opportunity for the company to switch licensees over to the aforementioned list of Microsoft 365 and Windows licensing options.

For organizations agonizing over this impending added cost burden, this could be a life-saver. It’s a pretty darned inspired move, in fact. And it helps make sense of why the OS group is now an arm of the Azure division. Looks like virtualization really  does rule the MS world. And now, it looks like that org structure is ready to bear interesting and valuable fruit.

Don’t get too excited just yet, though. The recent MS announcement says a preview is coming, but isn’t ready right now. You can fill out a request form to be notified when the Microsoft Virtual Desktop preview becomes publicly available. I’m expecting a huge response. I bet Microsoft is, too.

February 12, 2019  3:25 PM

Win10 Alternate Update History Sources

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

Because yesterday was “Patch Tuesday” I went to check Update history that morning. After clicking Start → Settings → Update & Security → Windows Update → View update history, I got nothing. Zip, zilch, nada, in other words. Some quick online research showed me that this happens sometimes with 1809. And that’s what set me haring off after Win10 alternate update history sources. Luckily, I found two pretty good ones without too much effort: one through the command line, another in Control Panel. But first, here’s what I saw (or rather, didn’t see) in Settings, etc.:

Win10 Alternate Update History Sources.noinfo

I had to draw a border around the image so you could see “a whole lotta nothin’!”

Two Good Win10 Alternate Update History Sources, Revealed

Source one comes from the command line, and works with equal facility in PowerShell or cmd.exe. Simply type the string wmic qfe list and you’ll see a list of all updates applied on the host PC. For the incurably curious, wmic is the Windows Management Instrumentation Class, and qfe provides the data related to quickfix engineering. Here’s what that looks like in PowerShell:

Win10 Alternate Update History Sources.wmic

This command string shows you all currently installed updates including an info URL, host PC name, description, KB number, install date, and more. Helpful, but cryptic.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Control Panel, Programs & Features is another place to find this kind of info. In that window click the item that reads “View installed updates” at the upper left, and you’ll see a windows that shows all currently installed updates on the target PC. Here’s what that looks like:

Win10 Alternate Update History Sources.inst-upd

This widget shows you more than WMIC, because it includes security updates (Adobe Player), Silverlight stuff, Visual C++ redistributables, and even Office updates (if you’ve installed Office standalone, this PC has a 365 E3 subscription).

The moral of the story is that if Windows 10 won’t tell you something one way, there’s almost always another way to get the information you want or need. All you have to do is figure out how to get it. Fortunately, that turned out to be pretty darn easy … this time.

February 11, 2019  1:40 PM

Meet PowerShell Core 6.0

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

On January, 10, 2018, MS augmented the PowerShell capabilities built into Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 with an external version. Called PowerShell Core 6.0, it’s cross-platform version of PowerShell that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s also open source, built for multi-OS environments and the cloud. You can meet PowerShell Core 6.0 through posts on the PowerShell Team Blog, or grab Windows and/or Linux/macOS versions for download.

Meet PowerShell Core 6.0, Contrast with Built-in PowerShell

The built-in version is the same one that’s been around for the past decase or so. It depends on the .NET framework, which is why it only works on Windows. Released version numbers for PowerShell include 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and 5.1 (the most current version in the latest Win10 is 5.1.17763.134). This version launches as powershell. exe, and uses the .NET Framework runtime to support C# cmdlets, invocation of station .NET methods, and so forth. It is still supported via bug fixes in newest releases of Win10 and Windows Server.

PowerShell Core is a different animal. It runs on top of the inherently cross-platform code base called .NET core. It launches as pwsh.exe in Windows and as pwsh on Linux and macOS. PowerShell Core is limited to functionality in .NET Core and .NET Standard. PowerShell Core works on Windows desktop versions 7, 8.1, and 10, Server versions 2008 R2, 2012 R2, and 20016, Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04, and 17.04, Debian 8.7+ and 9, CentOS 7, RHEL 7, OpenSuse 42.2, Fedora 25 and 26, and macOS 10.12 and higher-numbered versions. Other unofficial packages support various other Linux distributions (Arch, Kali and AppImage) and Windows on ARM32/ARM64 or Raspbian (Stretch). The best way to dig into what’s new, cool and interesting in PowerShell Core 6.0 is to read What’s New In PowerShell Core 6.0 (or 6.1).

On Windows 5.1 and 6.1 run happily side-by-side

This screen capture shows 5.1 and 6.2 preview running happily in separate windows on my 1809 production PC.Meet PowerShell Core 6.0

The color scheme for Core PowerShell is different from that for .NET/built-in PowerShell and makes them easy to distinguish.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

If you work in multi-OS computing environments, chances are pretty high that at least some of those other OSes are a Linux variant and/or macOS. Across many important such options, plus Windows, PowerShell Core has you covered. You owe yourself to check this out!

February 4, 2019  10:51 AM

So Long Venue Pro 11

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
Beta Testing, Test systems, Windows 10

Over the weekend, all attempts to upgrade the Dell Venue Pro 11 7130 to Windows 10 Insider Pro failed. Even Kari Finn’s clever trick of deploying an image with drivers pre-injected during a clean install (see this January 30 Win10.Guru blog post for details) didn’t stand the test of repeated use. The machine kept crashing with a WDF_VIOLATION green screen. We knew some Intel driver had to be at fault, but couldn’t find a fix or workaround. Then things got more interesting: even a clean install of the latest 1809 ISO failed, with the same error. That’s when I knew it was time to say, so long Venue Pro 11.

Why Say So Long Venue Pro 11

For me, problem-solving and troubleshooting eventually come down to a matter of time. When the time to address issues exceeds the value of services provided, it’s time to throw in the towel. Bullheadedness and curiosity kept Kari and I beavering away at this failing PC longer than common sense dictated. But now I have to say “enough is enough” and move on. I’ll be contacting my good buddy Ken Starks at Reglue, and asking him over to pick up the machine. His organization repurposes older PCs. It installs Linux, and gives them to under-served and -privileged school kids in the Austin area. Over the years, I’ve given him at least half a dozen laptops and a similar number of desktops. Also, lots of spare parts and a bit of cash here and there. I know it all goes to a good cause.

So Long Venue Pro 11.x220T

Shoot! I’ve got plenty of older laptops laying around, so I tapped my Lenovo X220 Tablet, purchased in October, 2011.
If you could read the Winver output on-screen, it says Build 18329.1.

After the Venue Pro, Then What?

I’ve been running Windows 10 on my two 2011 vintage ThinkPad laptops since the OS went public in August 2015. I don’t take the smaller screen X220 Tablet on the road much any more. Thus, I figured it would make a good Insider Preview machine. It’s got a Sandy Bridge i7-2640M CPU, 16 GB RAM, an older Plextor 256 GB SSD, and a second SATA 120 GB SSD as its data drive. My son won’t use it because he’s says it’s “too slow, and the screen is too small.” But I still find it capable and usable, and I like its touch screen, too.

After the recent experiences with the Venue Pro 11 I was concerned a machine that was 2-3 years older might also suffer driver or compatibility issues. I had absolutely no problem upgrading to the latest Insider Preview (18329.1) and the machine runs as well and capably as ever. I am expecting to acquire a couple of new laptops later this year. At that point I may revisit these venerable ThinkPads (my son wants us to buy “The Beast” version of the X1 Extreme for around $3150). Mr. Stark may be making another house call this summer!

February 1, 2019  4:36 PM

MS Store Offers Windows File Manager

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
File management, Windows 10, Windows tools

Hey! Time for a blast from the past. If you, like me, remember the days of Windows 3.1 and Windows For Workgroups, get this. The old File Manager has reappeared. That’s right, the MS Store offers Windows File Manager for (free) download. It even uses the old, familiar file cabinet icon. Here’s what the application looks like running on my production PC:

MS Store Offers Windows File Manager.homepage

An old, familiar and now quaint-looking precedessor to File Explorer is back.
[Click image to see full-size view.]

While MS Store Offers Windows File Manager, Grab It!

It’s a little bit clunky (for example, the left hand pane’s scroll bar doesn’t work — you have to scroll right to scroll both panes) and a little bit funky, but it mostly works. I will cheerfully confess that, as a long-time Windows user with codgerly tendencies, this appeals to me as much for nostalgia as functionality. Some of you younger whippersnappers will probably take a lot (or not), and say “Not for me.” I don’t blame you, but for me it certainly brings back lots of memories. Why, I can remember when being able to squeeze as many TSRs into the upper memory area (above 640K and below 1024K in RAM) was the sign of a “real geek.”

Even some of the menu entries take me back. Under Window, for instance, you see options like “Cascade,” “Tile Horizontally,” and “Tile Vertically.” Who even THINKS that way anymore. Microsoft still holds the copyright, but WinFile.exe, as its known now, is a Github open source project. Because it’s kind of nice blast from the past, you might want to check it out.

MS Store Offers Windows File Manager.about

Thanks to writer WalkingCat over at who brought this find to my attention. You might also want to check out his story, entitled “Windows File Manager (WinFile) Now Available from Microsoft Store.” Good stuff, including more details on changes and enhancement now present in this little program that were different or absent in the original version.

January 29, 2019  4:00 PM

Prioritize Win10 NICs Using PowerShell

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel
NIC, Windows 10

In most cases, Windows prioritizes wired Internet connections over wireless ones. This makes sense for all kinds of reasons. Wired connections are less susceptible to interference, and are often faster than wireless ones. Nevertheless, you can easily prioritize Win10 NICs using PowerShell. To view your current priority settings, first run the Get-NetIPInterface cmdlet. Here’s what that output looks like on my production PC, after I plug in a USB TrendNET 802.11ac device to complement its built-in Intel I211 GbE NIC.

Prioritize Win10

In this output, my wired connection named Ethernet (ifIndex=25). Wireless is named Wi-Fi2 (ifIndex=38).
[Click image to see full-sized view.]

How to Prioritize Win10 NICs Using PowerShell

In the PowerShell world, where there’s a Get cmdlet, there’s usually a complementary Set cmdlet as well. Thus, we’ll use the Set-NetIPInterface to reset priorities here. In this case, I’ll favor wired Ethernet over wireless. To that end, I’ll set the InterfaceMetric to 50 for wired, and 25 for wireless. Here’s how:Prioritize Win10 NICs Using PowerShell.set

Using the interface index value, I set Ethernet to 50 and Wi-Fi 2 to 25.
[Click image to see full-sized view.]

Note: The OS actually calculates NIC priority using the sum of the routing metric plus the value of the interface metric. But because routing metrics for local wired and wireless NICs in the same PC are usually close, if not identical, I won’t go further into those details here. By varying the interface metric more or less, you can adjust those priorities to your liking.

I find this capability quite helpful on laptops I use at home. When I want to upgrade the OS, or download something big, I’ll plug in a USB GbE dongle. With wired distinctly favored over wireless, I can do this on the fly, and expect the download to switch over to the faster wired link pretty quickly. Good stuff!

January 27, 2019  12:13 PM

Retiring Older PC Upon Long Service

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you’ve followed my recent misadventures with my old but trusty Dell Venue Pro 11. It’s a model 7130, with an low-voltage i5 (Haswell) 4210Y CPU, 8 GB RAM, and a 256 GB Lite-on M.2 SATA SSD. Until pretty recently it’s been a great Insider Preview test machine for Windows 10, too. But since the release of Build 18305 (4 releases back) I’ve been facing the same problem. I can perform a clean install of new Insider versions. But an upgrade install fails every time at about 86% into the Post-GUI install (“Working on updates …”). And with the same error code, too — namely WDF_VIOLATION. WDF stands for Windows Driver Foundation. Thus, I’m convinced there’s an incompatibility between the upgrade process and one or more drivers in that PC. And indeed, that’s why I’m considering retiring old PC upon long service.

Retiring Older PC Upon Long Service.sideview

The little screen desk is actually a standalone tablet, but plugs into a clamshell keyboard that makes a decent traveling laptop.

Pros and Cons of Retiring Older PC Upon Long Service

I confess. I’ve got a thing for capable tablet PCs. I even owned a Fujitsu Q704 tablet for a year or so, before its outrageous price ($3K+) and flaky behavior induced me to sell it on, and buy this Venue Pro model in 2014 instead. I also own a Surface Pro 3 (i7 4650U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB Samsung M.2 SSD). All of these tablets have their little quicks, especially on the hardware side. Keeping up with drivers and firmware has been interesting on all of the them.

On the plus side, I like their compactness. For reading in bed, nothing beats a tablet (though I like Kindle on the iPad as much, if not more, than Kindle for Windows). For quick and dirty access to Internet stuff and info, as when playing Scrabble or looking up ingredients/recipes in the kitchen, a tablet is a great go-to tool. Thus, ease of access and use are other pluses for me.

But the minuses are also many. Limited ports unless docked; limited resources in general. Usually somewhat underpowered and thus sometimes slow. Limited screen real estate. Yes, I understand these are all natural consequences of the form factor and inherent to the engineering tradeoffs involved in putting all the important pieces and parts into a thin, flat deck. It is what it is.

What about the Venue Pro 11?

Alas, my time to fiddle with test machines is limited right now. I’m drowning in paying work, so that means my playtime for mucking about with problem PCs is slim to non-existent. That’s why I’m planning to install a production version of Windows 10 Pro on that PC, and take it out of testing. It’s quite stable and capable at running the base OS. There’s just something new and different in the Upgrade install (anybody else notice the UUP-CT2 moniker appended after recent upgrade install notifications in Windows Update) that doesn’t like this machine. So reluctantly, I’m going to swap it out of its current role. For grins, I’m going to try using my even older Lenovo X220 Tablet (which has been extraordinarily stable and capable since I bought it in 2012, originally to run Windows 8, though it came with 7 installed).

Let’s see what happens next. And when I’m in funds I’ll be looking for a good new Windows 10 touch screen PC to use as a test machine. Right now the Dell Latitude 7390 appeals. Anybody have other recommendations? If so, please share!

Note added 1/30/2019

Kari, my partner at Win10.Guru, convinced me to try taking the install file offline and using DISM to inject the drivers from 18317 to support a clean install to 18323. Took some time and effort, but indeed it worked. And, upon running that new install for a while I got the WDF_VIOLATION GSOD when awaking from sleep. To me, this proves that the Intel Management Engine driver is indeed involved in my difficulties. And it seems that injecting those drivers does indeed do the trick to keep the Venue Pro 11 moving forward on Insider Preview updates.

Now the real question becomes: do I want to make this a routine part of my Insider Preview upgrade drill? With practice, I don’t think it will take too much longer than an ordinary upgrade. And FWIW, Kari’s been recommending this approach: using DISM to inject drivers into install.wim for the clean install media, then using DISM to apply the upgrade. Looks like I’m getting on that particular bus now. He’s written an article about this process for Win10.Guru as I write this note (Project “Dell Venue — The Second Coming”). Please check it out for the clever workaround it uses to bypass the driver checking that causes both upgrade and clean installs to fail on that PC. Good stuff!

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