Newsletter Archives

  • Is Microsoft messing with your Win10 Search box?

    Howard Goldberg has been discussing the change in his Win10 version 1909 Search bar text, from “Type here to search” (shown above) to “Start a web search.” Digging deeper, it appears that Microsoft is changing Windows Search box builds without telling anybody.

    It’s a strange, and very visible, intrusion — and, given the lack of official documentation, your observations may help us understand.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • The latest “optional, non-security, C/D Week” patch for Win10 1903 and 1909 is out

    According to the KB article:

    • Updates an issue that prevents File Explorer’s Quick access control from pasting clipboard content using the right mouse button (right-click). 
    • Updates an issue that prevents File Explorer’s Quick access control from receiving user input.

    Those are the infamous “who says that’s a bug? we haven’t confirmed any bug!” well-documented bugs in Win10 version 1909 File Explorer Search. As far as I know, the bugs don’t occur in 1903.

    It looks like we’re getting a new version of jscript9.dll, so it probably fixes the ADV200001/CVE-2020-0674 security hole. The Security Advisory ADV200001 page does not list this update. It was last updated a week ago.

    If you’re running Win10 1903 or 1909, you’ll only get KB 4532695 if you go into the Windows Update setting app and in Optional Updates available part, click Download and install now. It’s just now being rolled out, so your machine probably won’t show it for a few hours. (Mine don’t.)

    Of course, I don’t recommend that you manually install it. Let’s see where the fur flies.

    UPDATE: Windows uber guru Rafael Rivera has further details:

    • You can left or right click inside the File Explorer Search box. (Oooooooh! Aaaaaaaah!) But if you want to right-click, you must first left-click.
    • It takes two clicks at times to reset the caret position
    • You can’t delete items in the “remembered” list

    ANOTHER UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, it still isn’t being offered on my production machines.

  • Win10 customers — it’s time to move to Win10 version 1903

    As a card-carrying member of the Ain’t-Broke-Don’t-Fix Society, I’ve been keeping my production machines on Win10 1809. It’s now time to move on – but not all the way to Win10 version 1909, which continues to have a major Search bug.

    We’ve gone three whole months without a major screw-up in 1903, which I take as a good sign.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    P.S. We’re still on MS-DEFCON 2 — there’s no pressing reason to install the December patches just yet. But if you’re running Win10 version 1803 or 1809, now’s a good time to upgrade to 1903.

  • Chasing the elusive upgrade for Win10 Pro v1803

    I have been doing some testing on my Win10 Pro v1803 machine. I wanted to see if the pulldown deferral settings in the Windows Update GUI under Advanced Settings really work.

    My Win10 Pro v1803 Windows Update Settings are as follows:
    + In the GUI, Semi Annual Channel, Feature Update deferral=365, Quality Update deferral=0, NO Pause.
    + In Group Policy under Windows Update\Configure Automatic Updates=Enabled, value=2 (notify download/install)
    + Fully up-to-date 2019-11 CU KB4525237 Build 17134,1130
    + wushowhide shows NO available updates.
    + There are no pending updates in the queue and it is reported “Up to date”.
    + There is NO “Download and install now” section/link because the updates are deferred thus not available.

    1. Set deferral=230 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809 (2019-1113)
    2. Set deferral=200 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    3. Set deferral=180 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    4. Set deferral=150 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1809
    5. Set deferral=120 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows Feature Update 1903
    6. Returning to deferral=365 days, rebooted, wushowhide shows NO available updates.

    + Perhaps the 180 deferral for v1903 is too large by the 60-day one-time extension MS allowed for the change in updating (eliminating SAC (Targeted).
    + Settings between 230 days and 150 days deferral make v1809 available in wushowhide
    + A setting of 120 days deferral make v1903 available in wushowhide.
    + Returning to 365 days deferral eliminated the availability of the upgrades.
    + I did not run “Check for updates” because I did not want to do the upgrade at this time and that would have initiated the download/install.
    + Because I did not wait for the system to check for updates on its own, there were no available Feature Updates, so I did not see the “Download and install now” section.

    Conclusion: The deferrals seem to be working as expected.

    NOTE: the deferral days listed here are as of Dec. 8, 2019. If you are upgrading at a later time, add the appropriate number of days to the deferral periods going forward from 12/8/2019.

  • Should you upgrade or stick to the MS-DEFCON rating?

    I created a lot of confusion with my Computerworld post yesterday. In a nutshell, it goes through the pro’s and con’s of upgrading to versions 1809, 1903 and 1909 and, once you’ve chosen the version you want, gives detailed instructions on how to get there.

    To put this in perspective with the MS-DEFCON rating you see above…

    I published that article knowing that many of you in the US will be visiting with family and friends over the next few days. If you’re going to upgrade your Deranged Uncle Darth this year, many of you will want to get the dirty deed done while everybody else is watching football. (American football, of course – and I say that with apologies to my Sainted Aunt Martha.)

    I should’ve made clear that, if you’re concerned about bugs this month – of which there are a few, but not many – you should wait until the MS-DEFCON level goes down before you move from one version to another. (Note, in particular the fix for the Access bug hasn’t been completely rolled out.) But if you’re under some pressure to get things sorted out in the next week or so, it’s OK to upgrade now.

  • Here’s how to control the upgrade from Win10 version 1803 or 1809

    Yes, you can choose which version you want to run — 1809, 1903, or 1909.

    There are direct methods from moving from 1803 to 1809, 1903 or 1909.

    And there are direct methods from moving from 1809 to 1903 or 1909. You do have control, with either Win10 Pro or Home.

    A discussion of options and upgrade details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • What’s the best way to move from Win10 1803 or 1809 Home to 1903?

    I just found a conversation that has me wondering if there’s a better way.

    Right now, if you have Win10 version 1803 or 1809 Home that’s been held that way with a metered connection, when you turn off the metered flag, Windows installs version 1909 Home.

    While version 1909 Home isn’t a terrible choice — I’ve heard of very few problems with 1909 that aren’t also present in 1903 — many people, quite reasonably, would rather move to 1809 or 1903.

    So… what’s the best way to:

    • Move from Win10 1803 Home to Win10 1809 Home?
    • Move from Win10 1803 or 1809 Home to Win10 1903 Home?

    Yes, if you downloaded and saved a copy of Win10 1903 (as I recommended weeks ago), moving to 1903 is easy. But what if you didn’t squirrel away a copy while it was easy?

    Yes, you can download a copy of Win10 1903 from (as @PKCano suggested) and go from there. And if you have an old copy of the 1903 Media Creation Tool, MediaCreationTool1903.exe, you can use it (as @wavy confirms).

    Moving a Pro system to a specific version is easy. But what if you want to move to Home 1903 (or 1809) using Microsoft’s officially sanctioned software?

  • Python programmers: Watch out for Win10 version 1903

    We had a report a few hours ago from MartinPurvis that performing an in-place upgrade from Win10 version 1803 to version 1903 clobbered Python:

    Turns out that a user path variable is added to the top of the environment variable list which gives priority to a 0kb python.exe inside the Windows Apps AppData instead of using the user defined python directory before the in-place upgrade.

    Looking around the web, I see that’s a common complaint. Poster Ac3_DeXt3R on SuperUser says:

    On typing “python” from search, opens the Python 2.7 prompt but when I type from command prompt window, it triggers the Microsoft Store.

    Poster ecool on the Microsoft Answers forum said, back in May:

    Windows 10 is using the System Environment variables over my User Environment. So just ordering the Python location to the top of the System Environment Path variable worked to remove the annoyance of trying to run python and it opening to the Windows Store.

    Back on the SuperUser site, Ramhound says:

    This was intended behavior. Microsoft added this behavior with 1903 because they recognized developers struggle getting Python installed. I read about this change but I don’t recall where I read it.

    I can’t find the original description Ramhound describes. Can anybody out there point me to it?

  • Here’s what I don’t know about the upgrade to Win10 version 1909

    Next Tuesday, the whole ball game changes — Microsoft’s releasing Win10 version 1909 and the latest official version of Win10 will change, from 1903 to 1909.

    I’ve been looking at the “version upgrade that looks like a cumulative update” concept and I’m still stuck on some important details. At least, they’re important to me.

    Those of you already running Win10 1903 will get a polite invitation to Download and install the Feature update to Windows 10, version 1909. So we’re promised, and that’s what I’ve seen in the beta builds. Cool.

    Here’s what I don’t know. If you have a definitive answer to any of these questions — or even an educated guess — I’d sure like to hear about it.

    Q1: Will the “Download and install now” offer on 1903 machines be subject to the same quality update deferral settings that control cumulative updates?

    • In other words, in Win10 1903 Pro, if I Pause updates or Defer quality updates, will the “Download and install now” offer wait until the Pause or Defer has expired?
    • In Win10 1903 Home, if I Pause updates, will “Download and install now” appear right away, or only after the Pause expires?

    (I’m assuming that the Pro feature update deferral setting has no effect. Right?)

    Q2: Will the “Download and install now” offer on 1809 Pro machines be subject to the  feature and quality update deferral settings?

    • Here’s where things get sticky. It looks like Win10 1809 Pro users will also see the “Download and install now” message in the screenshot — presumably enabling you to move from 1809 to 1909 without going through 1903. That’s great. But will the “Download and install now” offer wait until the Quality update deferral has expired? Or will it show up right away?
    • Will the Branch Readiness level or the feature update deferral setting have any effect on when and/or if the “Download and install now” offer appears?

    Q3: Will Win10 1809 Home machines ever see the “Download and install now” offer? If so, will the offer appear even if I have my internet connection set to metered? Is there an entry in the wushowhide list that’ll block the “Download and install now” offer?

    And the key question…

    Q4: After Tuesday, will it be possible to move from Win10 1809 Home to Win10 1903 Home?

    It isn’t at all clear to me that there’ll be a straightforward way to go from 1809 Home to 1903 Home after 1909 is released, unless you have a copy of 1903 squirreled away. Getting a clean, official copy of 1903 right now is easy. I have full step-by-step instructions in Computerworld. But after Tuesday, it’s going to get significantly more difficult.

    Q5: All of the same questions, but for Win10 version 1803.

    Remember that 1803 hits end-of-support on Tuesday, but in the normal course of events you should be good for security patches until December’s Patch Tuesday. So how does the “Download and install now” offer fit into the 1803 scheme of things?

    By the way, if you want to make sure you don’t get 1909 until you’re good ‘n ready, the nostrums in my November 1 article in Computerworld should take you over the hump.

    UPDATE: Just to be absolutely clear… MS has NOT committed to shipping 1909 next Tuesday. It just seems to be a general consensus of opinion.

  • Looks like Win10 version 1903 will get a fix for the Windows Update “disappearing deferral dialog” bug

    I’ve seen it now on two systems, with my very own eyes.

    One of Win10 1903 Pro’s most obnoxious bugs will probably get fixed next week.

    If you’re concerned about updating Win10 version 1903, you probably know that there’s a bug in the Windows Update advanced options setting, where changing either the feature update or quality update deferral setting caused that entire piece of the dialog to disappear. The settings were still there, and they still had an effect on when your machine was updated. But you couldn’t see the settings, short of digging into Group Policy or the Registry.

    Looks like the bug’s been fixed in the “optional, non-security” second October cumulative update for Win10 1903 — which means it’s likely to appear on Patch Tuesday next week.

    Best I can tell, Microsoft has never acknowledged the bug, and they certainly haven’t announced that it’s been fixed.

    I’m starting to warm up to Win10 1903.

    Details on Computerworld. Woody on Windows

    Thx @Bree on Tenforums, @Tex265, @b, @PKCano, @abbodi86

  • Win10 version 1903 is likely the most-common version of Win10

    You know how I hate spewing AdDuplex numbers — they’re based on usage of a tiny sample of Microsoft Store apps, most of which you’ve never seen — but according to Ad Duplex, Win10 version 1903 is now running on more than half of all Win10 machines. Their graph:

    I have it on very good authority that there’s a special location in Dante’s Seventh Ring (is that like a Release Preview Ring?) for writers who use “M19U” instead of “Win10 1903,” but nevermind.

    You can draw any conclusions you like, but in broad strokes it looks like the Win10 world is rapidly converging on version 1903.

    I’ll have more on that in the next few days.

  • Microsoft confirms printing bug in second September cumulative update for Win10 1903

    The Windows Release Information Status page was updated last night to say:

    Intermittent issues when printing
    The print spooler service may intermittently have issues completing a print job and may result in a print job being canceled or failing. Some apps may close or error when the print spooler fails and you may receive a remote procedure call error (RPC error) from some printing utility or printing apps.

    Affected platforms:

    • Client: Windows 10, version 1903; Windows 10, version 1809; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019; Windows 10, version 1803; Windows 10, version 1709; Windows 10, version 1703; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2016; Windows 10, version 1607; Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2015; Windows 8.1; Windows 7 SP1
    • Server: Windows Server, version 1903; Windows Server, version 1809; Windows Server 2019; Windows Server, version 1803; Windows Server, version 1709 ; Windows Server 2016; Windows Server 2012 R2; Windows Server 2012; Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1; Windows Server 2008 SP2

    Workaround: Retrying to print may allow you to print successfully. If retrying does not allow you to print, you may also need to restart your device. If your device is using a v4 print driver and a v3 driver is available, you can also try installing the v3 driver as a workaround.

    Next steps: We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

    The announcement’s a little strange in a couple of respects.

    • The report says the bug appears in 1903, 1809, 1803, 1709, 1703, Win7 and 8.1. But I don’t see anything anywhere else about the bug in versions of Windows other than 1903. Can anybody out there confirm?
    • The “Originating update” column says it appeared in the Sept. 23 cumulative update KB 4522016 – which is the second monthly cumulative update for Win10 1903. Yet the KB article itself doesn’t mention the problem, nor does KB 4517211, the third September cumulative update for 1903, which presumably contains the same bug.

    I also note that the update doesn’t single out HP printers — although the majority of complaints I’ve seen are with HP printers.