Should Microsoft ditch feature upgrades twice a year?

Since the summer of 2015, when Microsoft released Windows 10, Microsoft has been sending out feature updates [roughly] every 6 months.

Some background first. A feature update is that huge update that is release every six months. It includes new features to Windows plus enhancements to current features as well as security updates.

But as you probably noticed, you need to download this huge update [2 GB or greater]and wait anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours until the update is finished. A small business can’t sit around while one or more computers are being updated.

[And if you have a system like mine, any time a feature update is installed, it botches up several settings that you probably painstakingly have configured only to have to redo them in 6 months because Microsoft doesn’t seem to care about our settings.]

This also causes developers to fix/correct problems that will occur with a feature update.

Large businesses have to decide which feature edition to base their Windows 10 deployment on, only to find out that after building the image and doing pilot test runs, another feature edition is around the corner. These businesses will most likely base their deployment on the latest feature edition and not worry about the next feature edition when released – or even the one after.

After speaking with some people – both novices and technical – I think most would be happy with one feature upgrade per year. Windows 10 is mature enough. Even Apple doesn’t have major updates not more than once per year.

There will be some issues that would need to be somehow updated. For example, Edge, the web browser. It is still far from being perfect and strong enough to compete the other web browsers. [It is last among the major web browsers that works with Windows 10. One in ten people use it.] It needs to be updated more than twice a year. Chrome and Firefox are constantly being updated and enhanced.

There isn’t a competing Windows operating system but there is for web browsers. When Windows 10 was originally released [and even now], Microsoft was foolish to hide Internet Explorer in the “Start” menu system. After using Edge, which was more like a beta version when released in the first few feature editions, most Windows 10 users headed straight to Google or Mozilla’s web site to download their web browsers – not knowing Internet Explorer was still there.

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Warning about a silent Windows 10 driver update

Over the last few days there has been a few cases where Windows 10 [I am guessing v1703 at the very least] has silently installed an update.

That update actually butchered [in these 3 cases that I know of] the video card drivers. Instead of 1920*1080, the highest display dropped to 1280*1024 as the video card wasn’t supported in Windows 10 but somehow, it did install some decent drivers originally.

If you have this problem, use the System Restore to go back to a date prior to the installation. Then apply the 6 steps at the bottom.

If System Restore doesn’t work, the follow these steps, rebooting at the end if needed:

  1. Go to Device Manager in the Control Panel.
  2. Select Display Adapter and then choose the display adapter shown.
  3. Right click and select Update drivers.
  4. Then Browse my computer for driver software and then Let me pick from a list of device drivers.
  5. Choose the drivers probably with a date from 2015 [may be just one].

If your computer is using old hardware, you may want to disable the option to let Windows automatically update hardware drivers.

To turn off Windows checking for hardware drivers via Windows Update:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Click System.
  3. Click Advanced system settings from the left sidebar.
  4. Select the Hardware tab.
  5. Press the Device Installation Settings button.
  6. Choose No, and then press the Save Changes button.

A negative issue turning this option off is that you will have to update drivers on your own and if you add any hardware, there may be some issues adding the hardware.

 

 

Apps issue with Windows 10 Fall Creator Update

After installing the Fall Creators Update, some app entries may be missing in the Start menu. They also won’t appear in the App list or in the Tiles. The Microsoft Store will show the app is installed but nowhere else.

Note: This will not affect applications installed the old fashion way [not installed at the Microsoft store but either downloaded from a third-party site or from physical media].

Microsoft is looking into the problem. While they investigate here are some workarounds.

Try #1: If not showing up in the Start menu or Tiles.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Select the app that you are having a problem with. Click the Advanced options link.
  5. Click on the Repair button.

For whatever reason, if the Repair button isn’t available or may not have fixed the problem, click on the Reset button. This will delete the app’s data along with settings and preferences.

Try #2: If the above didn’t work, re-installing.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Select the app that you are having a problem with. Click on the Uninstall button.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button to confirm the uninstallation.
  6. Once done, open the Store app.
  7. Search for the app you just uninstalled and Click the Get button to reinstall the app. Once you’ve completed the installation, the app should now appear in the Start menu and Tiles again.

Try #3: If many are missing:

The two methods outlined above are more suited if you only have a few apps missing, but if your Start menu has a lot of apps missing, it’s recommended to re-register them all in bulk using PowerShell.

Note: Make sure you close all applications you have open [especially My People. Otherwise you will get  error message 0X80073D02 during the process.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type [copy and paste] the following commands to re-register the missing apps and press Enter on each line:

reg delete “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\TileDataModel\Migration\TileStore” /va /f

get-appxpackage -packageType bundle |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmetadata\appxbundlemanifest.xml”)}

$bundlefamilies = (get-appxpackage -packagetype Bundle).packagefamilyname
get-appxpackage -packagetype main |? {-not ($bundlefamilies -contains

$_.packagefamilyname)} |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmanifest.xml”)}

After completing the steps mentioned above, all the missing apps should now appear in the Start menu. However, according to Microsoft, if you’ve already tried the repair, reset, and reinstall options, the PowerShell commands are likely not going to fix the problem.

As usual, use at your own risk. Backup and take other precautions. See the “About” page for further information.

 

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 8

OneDrive Files On-Demand Client Missing in v1709

New to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is OneDrive Files On-Demand. It allows users to access all their files in the cloud locally without having to download files and use storage space on their devices, but some may not see it because the user experience is part of a separate client.

You can grab the client here.

Extend the Time that Windows 10 Removes the Old Windows 10

As you know, with installations of Windows 10 that upgraded from a previous operating system, you were allowed up to 30 days before your old operating system was automatically removed from your system.

This allowed you time to verify that Windows 10 would work with your software and hardware.

In subsequent “feature” updates [i.e. v1703 to v1709], that time frame was reduced to 10 days since it is assumed that everything should work when going from Windows 10 to the next feature update.

The 10 days is actually set in a task in the Task scheduler called SetupCleaningTask which can be found in \Microsoft\Windows\Setup. it is configured to run every 5 days and verify that 10 days have passed since the feature update was installed.

It is suggested to manually edit the task and change it from one-time, start immediately, every 5 days, indefinitely to one-time, start 30 days from now, every 1 days.

Verifying your License in Windows

Ever wondered about the licensing of your copy of Windows?  Try below and wait for a window to pop up.

slmgr.vbs -dlv

Most will not be of use with the exception of the name, description, partial product key [make sure it matches your computer’s label if you didn’t change operating systems] and the license status.

 

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 7

Privacy Settings

If you are upgrading to Windows 10 Fall Creator Update a.k.a. v1709, Redstone 3], you will need to reapply any privacy settings that you may have previously applied.

My favorite tool is SpyBot’s Anti-Beacon which you can grab here.

There are also other tools that can do the job. But note that you may want to make sure you have the latest version as Microsoft may have modified some areas of Windows between versions [for example, different registry key, different service name, etc.].

Windows Media Player Missing

One of the changes in the Windows 10 Fall Creator Update [a.k.a. v1709, Redstone 3] is that Windows Media Player is not part of the default installation or if Windows 10 is bought with a new computer [note that it is still there for upgrades]. Most people are OK with that as they use replacement software that’s probably a bit more modern.

But if you want to have it, it is easily available. But strangely, unlike some applications that were pulled and sent to the Windows Store [such as the original Paint], this one is still around as part of the installation media.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Apps > Apps & features.
  3. On the right, click on Manage optional features.
  4. Click on Add a feature button at the top of the next page.
  5. Find the optional feature named Windows Media Player in the list under Add a feature. Click on it.
  6. The install button will appear. Click on the Install button, wait a minute or two and you are done.

Now if you have it installed but never use it, you can also remove it by the similar method above.

Alternatively, if you are a bit of a Windows expert, you can install or uninstall using PowerShell.

Open an elevated PowerShell.

To install, use:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName “WindowsMediaPlayer” -All -Online

To uninstall, use:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName “WindowsMediaPlayer” -Online

Downloaded ISO, Install from USB

If you download a Microsoft ISO of Windows 10 [or for that matter even Windows 7 or Windows 8.1], how do you transfer the installation disc to a USB key?

Well, Microsoft has had a tool since 2009 to do so. Called Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, it was originally it was at the Microsoft Store. Then they transferred it to the CodePlex site [owned by Microsoft and primarily for developers]. In November 2017, the page will be going read-only – unsure if there will be further updates or where it will be.

In the meantime, you can download it here.

You require a USB key of 8GB or greater [4GB may not fit the 64-bit OSs].

Note: The tool will wipe out the contents of the USB key first.

Tip: If you know where to download the latest Cumulative Update for the OS you are installing, create a folder on the USB key called Updates. Dump the Cumulative Update into it. Boot off the USB key with the OS. Don’t attached a network cable or connect to a wireless network. It should install the Cumulative Update from the USB key. One less thing to do later.

Issue with latest Windows 10 v1703 update

You may want to hold off on updating to the latest [patch Tuesday] monthly update released on October 10th if using the v1703 edition (Build 15063; “Creator Update”, Redstone 2) of Windows 10.

Systems with support enabled for USB Type-C Connector System Software Interface (UCSI) may experience a blue screen or stop responding with a black screen when a system shutdown is initiated.

Microsoft has yet to release a fix but the temporary solution is to disable UCSI in the computer system’s BIOS. This will also disable UCSI features in the Windows operating system.