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ISSUE 20.49.F • 2023-12-04 • Text Alerts!Gift Certificates
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Susan Bradley

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In this issue

PATCH WATCH: How to do a Windows 11 repair install

Additional articles in the PLUS issue

PUBLIC DEFENDER: Ignore Susan Bradley’s Patch Watch at your peril

LEGAL BRIEF: Tmas Greetings!

WINDOWS 11: Microsoft Photos, Photos Legacy, and Windows 10

ON SECURITY: Hardening your operating system

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How to do a Windows 11 repair install

Susan Bradley

By Susan Bradley Comment about this article

Most of us install updates every month with no issues whatsoever. But then there are times when updates don’t install.

Sometimes updates fail for obvious reasons. I’ve seen cases where one update will inadvertently trigger a reboot while a second update is in the works. This is an easy fix — just ignore the reboot message and wait for the machine to kick a reboot later on in the day or evening.

Other errors may point to corruption in the operating system.

Often the symptom is that the patch just won’t install. Then, I usually pass on using sfc scannow or DISM commands and instead jump to an over-the-top repair install. This keeps data and information intact while the corrupted items are being repaired. The process for Windows 10 and 11 is similar:

  • Make sure you have a copy of the ISO image or disk software matching your Windows version. (I prefer ISOs.)
  • Open the ISO so that it’s “mounted” as a drive on your computer.
  • Browse to the setup.exe file in the mounted drive and launch it.
  • Follow the setup steps.

I’ve done a write-up and video for Windows 10. The process for Windows 11 is almost the same, but there’s a wrinkle.

Normally, I would tell you to hop on over to the Microsoft download site to get the Windows 11 22H2 ISO and keep a copy for just this purpose. Or I might tell you to use the third-party Rufus tool to download the Windows 11 22H2 version. This is because I a, not ready to recommend Windows 11 23H2 — it just came out, and it enables Windows Copilot by default.

Here’s the catch. Recently, Microsoft changed the download page. It now offers only the latest versions of Windows 11 23H2 and Windows 10 22H2. I chalk this up to Microsoft’s zeal to get as many people as possible to Windows 11 23H2, as fast as possible.  “Well,” you might think, “I’ll just hop over and use Rufus to get Windows 11 22H2.” Not so fast. It turns out that Rufus uses the Microsoft download page to get the ISOs, because Microsoft will not allow other sites to host them. If you do find a site that claims to host them, you must be extremely careful. Unless you can confirm the ISO’s checksum, you can’t be sure you’re getting a Microsoft build. That would be bad.

If you don’t have the Windows 11 22H2 ISO, there is an alternative way to fix your misbehaving Windows 11. It does mean that you’ll end up upgrading to 23H2. Not to worry — you can use registry keys and group policy to disable Copilot for Windows.

As it turns out, using the 23H2 process to fix a misbehaving Windows 11 is actually a bit easier than the repair install process. Simply go to the Microsoft 23H2 download page and use the Windows 11 installation assistant to install 23H2 over the top of your 22H2. This will fix any underlying operating system corruption that has occurred. Download the Installation Assistant and launch it. Once 23H2 is installed, you can “opt out” of being an unpaid, unwilling Copilot beta tester by using our .reg file to block it.

Why does file corruption occur?

Issues installing updates can be caused by malware or overly aggressive use of registry cleaners. Note that in these instances, restoring from a backup may give you a functional computer but may not fix the underlying problem that is triggering the failed update issue. The repair-over-the-top process is the fastest and — quite frankly — the easiest method I’ve found to fix misbehaving systems.

Can you use it in all situations? I’ve used this method for Windows workstations for several years without a problem. I’m less apt to use it in a server situation, even though server operating systems are based on the same code. If the server is highly specialized and has a specific database role or line-of-business application on it, I will use DISM as follows:

  • Press WinKey.
  • Type cmd.
  • Windows will find the Command Prompt app.
  • Click on Run as administrator.
  • Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:G:\Sources\install.wim

Replace “G:” with the drive letter appropriate to your server. Of course, you will need to have downloaded the server image matching your server version in advance.

Be patient — this will take some time. Reboot afterward and then see whether your Windows patch will install.

So why isn’t this easier?

Good question. I wish it were! But at least we have a tool that works well, and we don’t have to simply give up. A healthy system should be able to install all updates, month in and month out.

Don’t give up on that misbehaving computer — just do a repair install.



Talk Bubbles Join the conversation! Your questions, comments, and feedback
about this topic are always welcome in our forums!

Susan Bradley is the publisher of the AskWoody newsletters.


Here are the other stories in this week’s Plus Newsletter


Brian Livingston

Ignore Susan Bradley’s
Patch Watch at your peril

By Brian Livingston

They say a cobbler’s children have no shoes. I proved this aphorism — the hard way — when I absent-mindedly clicked on a Microsoft update that seriously messed up some features of Windows 11 that I rely on.

I’ll tell you what occurred and how you can prevent it from happening to you. Most importantly, I’ll explain how you can recover if an update has already wreaked havoc on your system.


Max Stul Oppenheimver

Tmas Greetings!

By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

It is a mystery why a company would voluntarily replace one of the most recognizable product names in the world with a name that has multiple pre-existing uses and connotations.

It isn’t the first time that a famous brand changed its logo. Standard Oil of New Jersey replaced ESSO with EXXON in 1972. But it’s a rare event, so it is interesting when the owner of a famous brand announces such a major change in brand identity.


Ed Tittel

Microsoft Photos, Photos Legacy, and Windows 10

By Ed Tittel

An investigation into the backport of the new Microsoft Photos app into Windows 10 raises some interesting questions. Not all have answers.

A funny thing happened to Windows 10 late this summer. Microsoft proclaimed in April that no new feature upgrades would happen for this older but still vigorous Windows OS, an unexpected feature release for Windows 10 silently upgraded the Photos app. This “new” version turns out to be the same as the Photos app in Windows 11. At the end of October, yet another Photos app, called Photos Legacy, appeared in the Microsoft Store; it supposedly matches the original version bundled with Windows 10.


Susan Bradley

Hardening your operating system

By Susan Bradley

Several years ago, it was considered a best practice to protect business computer systems by “hardening” them.

You would turn off unnecessary services, disable features, and basically follow a checklist provided by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). But now our protection must be much more than hardening the operating system. We must harden our perimeter and — more importantly — our browsing.

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