Tip: how to change the Windows Task Manager update speed

Microsoft modified the built-in Task Manager of the Windows operating system significantly when it released Windows 10 in 2015. Some of the changes did not add value to the administrative tool; a prime example is the new default view mode of the Task Manager.
The basic view mode lists open programs but no other information and most system administrators and advanced users consider it completely useless. Good news is that Windows remembers when you switch to the full view mode and that you may set a default tab in the Task Manager in Windows 10 1903.
The Task Manager functions as a basic autostart manager in Windows 10, displays performance information, and will display the GPU temperature in Windows 10 20H1.
The Windows 10 Task Manager (Windows 8 Task Manager as well) features two process listings. First the processes listing that groups processes and then the details listing which displays processes individually.
One issue that you may have with these listings is that they tend to update fairly quickly. The order of process groups and processes may change when the listing updates and that may make it more difficult to focus on individual processes.
The Windows Task Manager supports an option to change the update speed of the listings. Microsoft implemented the functionality in earlier versions of Windows and it is part of the Windows 10 Task Manager as well.
All you have to do is select View > Update speed to switch to a new update interval.

The Task Manager supports the following intervals:

High
Normal
Low
Paused

Normal is the default interval; high speeds up the updating, low slows it down. Admins who want to freeze the process listing may selected paused to do so. Windows won’t update the listing when paused is selected. Low seems to slow down the update interval to about 5 seconds.
The update speed affects all displays (tabs) of the Task Manager and not only the process listings.  The task manager remembers the selected update speed. If you have selected paused, it will launch with that update interval the next time you fire it up.
Closing words
The ability to pause the listing or to slow it down will certainly be appreciate by Windows administrators who use the built-in Task Manager for certain tasks. The saving of the update speed state is useful as well for some users, others need to remember to change the value back before they close the application.
Now You: do you use the Windows Task Manager?
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Microsoft releases first preview of PowerToys for Windows 10

The first public release of PowerToys is now available for download featuring the two utilities FanzyZones and Shortcuts Guide. Microsoft revealed in May 2019 that it wanted to revive PowerToys and make it open source in the process.
Veteran Windows users may remember PowerToys from the Windows 95 and Windows XP days; these lightweight tools introduced new features and options to the Windows systems: from adding virtual desktops and viewing Cab files to an advanced graphical calculator, resolution changer, and clock on the desktop.
The initial preview release of PowerToys features the two utilities FancyZones and Windows key shortcut guide.
Installation is straightforward. Download the PowerToys installer from the official project page on GitHub and execute it after the download. You may want to disable the autostart of the PowerToys during logon unless you plan to use them extensively.
An icon is placed in the system tray area when you launch PowerToys after installation. A click on it opens the settings which you may use to enable or disable individual utilities. If you only want to use FanzyZones, you could disable Shortcut Guide.

Each listed tool has an overview and video link attached to it. The links open pages on the project’s GitHub site.
You may use both tools right away. A click on FanzyZones or Shortcut Guide in the interface displays how that is done as well as configuration options.
FanzyZones

FanzyZones is a window layouts tools that you may use to create zones on the desktop for window placement. The tool comes with five templates to choose from and an option to create custom templates.
The columns template divides the screen into three columns and if you hold down the Shift-key while moving a window, you will see these columns and may place the window in any of these. The window is then resized automatically once you let go of the mouse button.
You may create custom layouts from scratch but the process is not as straightforward as you would imagine. You need to create the zones individually by moving them around and resizing them; an option to create them on a grid instead would certainly optimize the process. Third-party programs like WindowGrid handle this better in my opinion.
FanzyZones comes with a handful of extra options. You may have it override the default Windows-Arrow hotkeys to place and resize windows automatically on the system. If you do, using the shortcut will move the windows between zones.
Other options include keeping windows in their zones when the screen resolution changes and to keep them when the FanzyZones layout changes.
Shortcut Guide

Shortcuts Guide displays available shortcuts when you hold down the Windows-key for 900 milliseconds. You can change the time to another value in the settings.
The guide launches a fullscreen interface that highlights the available shortcuts. Tech savvy users may be aware of most of these shortcuts already but it may be useful to users who never really used shortcuts before.
Closing Words
Microsoft plans to release additional tools in the future. Four of them are highlighted on the project page currently:

Batch file renamer
Animated gif screen recorder
Process termination tool.
Maximize to new desktop widget.

All tools are open source. Microsoft lists Windows 10 version 1803 as the minimum version to build and run PowerToys.
Now You: PowerToys are making a comeback; what is your take on that?
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Surprise, Microsoft changed Windows Update behavior for the better in Windows 10 1903

Since the release of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system in 2015, updating and patching was at the heart of criticism that administrators and power users leveled at Microsoft. It was not the only argument brought forth against Windows 10, Telemetry being another, but it was a major one.
A lack of control over updates and quality issues caused quite some havoc since then. Microsoft pushes out cumulative updates once a month on the second Tuesday of the month. The company releases a second cumulative update that acts as a preview of things to come in the same month.
While Windows 10 featured options to delay updates, it did so in a convoluted messy way that depended on the edition and version of Windows 10. It did not really help that Microsoft changed updating throughout the years; and all of that was confirmed in a study recently.

The focus on cumulative updates meant additionally that administrators could no longer install updates selectively, it was an all or nothing approach. Microsoft released special security-only updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 but not for Windows 10.
Imagine the following scenario: you click on the check for updates button in an earlier version of Windows 10. You might get:

A preview update that is installed automatically on the system.
An update to a new feature version of Windows 10 that is installed automatically.

But even if you avoided the check for updates button like the plague, you would eventually get feature updates pushed to the system that you got little control over. That could lead to all kinds of issues, from programs that were removed, apps and settings that were reset , to the introduction of serious issues that would take months to patch sometimes.
One of the better options was to block Windows Updates and install updates after careful selection only; this allowed admins to regain some of the control lost in Windows 10 but at the expense of having to spend time researching updates and, potentially, fixing security issues at a later point in time.
The release of Windows 10 version 1903 changed that, and this time for the better. While there is still room for improvement, it appears that preview releases of cumulative updates and new feature updates are not getting installed automatically anymore when you hit the check for updates button.
Instead, they are listed under “optional updates available” on Windows Updates. Means: you may use the button again to run a manual check for updates without the fear of pushing an unstable update or a new feature update to the system.
Updates cannot be avoided indefinitely with built-in options. Microsoft will push updates to versions of Windows 10 that are about to run out of support, and cumulative updates can only be delayed for a certain period either.
Closing Words
I still think that there is lots of room for improvement. I’d like to see an option that lists all available updates so that I may pick the ones that I want installed on the system. That’s wishful thinking but exactly how third-party updating tools like Windows Update Minitool or Sledgehammer operate.
Now You: what is your take on the development?
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A look at Open Shell (Classic Shell fork)

Open Shell is a fork of the popular discontinued Classic Shell program for Windows that may restore a classic Start Menu, Explorer and Internet Explorer shell on the system.
Classic Shell was a popular program for Windows that restored functionality in Windows versions that Microsoft discontinued. The program rose in popularity after the initial release of Windows 8 as users preferred to work with a regular Start Menu and not the Start interface that Microsoft tried to push down everyone’s throat.
Classic Shell was not the only program that saw a surge in user numbers as Start Menu programs were downloaded in record numbers.
The lead developer of Classic Shell announced in 2017 that he would quit development. He decided to publish the source code of the program to give other developers the chance to fork the program and continue development.
One of the first forks was called Classic Start. The first version of Classic Start was released in June 2018 and a first development released followed in the same month. The program was renamed to Open Shell in September 2018 when a first stable version was released.

The project is not dead as work on Nightly versions continues. Users may download and install these Nightly versions which are linked on the main GitHub page; it is not recommended to install these on production machines because though.
I downloaded the latest release version of Open Shell, version 4.4.131, and installed it on a system running the latest Windows 10 20H1 Insider build. Installation went through without issues. The classic Start Menu was restored after installation and most features worked just fine during the test.
I was able to change the Start Menu layout and make modifications to it. Some features did not work properly in that version, however. I was not able to change the taskbar design nor disable breadcrumbs in File Explorer.
One reason that the original developer of the program gave for quitting the project after all those years was that the Windows 10 update interval was too high. Granted, running Classic Shell on an Insider version of Windows 10 that won’t be out for another six or so months is not entirely fair.
I decided to run it on a recent Windows 10 version 1903 build to find out whether it would have less bugs. The issues that I experienced on the Windows 10 20H1 machine were experienced on the Windows 10 version 1903 PC as well.
Considering that the latest stable version of Open Shell was released before Microsoft released Windows 10 version 1903, it did not come as a surprise that the issues were experienced in that version as well.
I downloaded the Nightly version of Open Shell to find out if the issues were resolved in that version; this was not the case unfortunately.
Closing Words
Open Shell suffers from Microsoft’s fast paced development and the changes that the company makes to new versions of Windows 10. If you run earlier versions of Windows, you won’t notice these issues or bugs.
Users who run Windows 10 can still use Open Shell to restore a classic Start Menu and use most of the functionality that it provides. Bugs should be expected, however.
Now You: do you use Classic Shell / Open Shell or another program to restore classic functionality?
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WinFi Lite is a powerful WiFi Analyzer for Windows

WinFi Lite is a new networking program and app for Microsoft Windows devices designed to monitor, analyze, and manage wireless networks. The application is available as a Microsoft Store application and as a classic desktop application.
The desktop application is available on OneDrive and not signed at the time of writing. The author plans to sign it soon though.
The program is listed as beta currently but it works really well already. For this test, I have checked out the desktop version of the application. Both versions share the same functionality.
Tip: check out NetSpot WiFi Analyzer for Android if you want a mobile analyzer. Also, make sure to secure your wireless router. If you use Windows, use WifiHistoryView to display past wireless connections the PC made and this tutorial to remove old wireless networks in Windows 10.
WinFi Lite

The interface of the application provides a wealth of information but in a very organized fashion thanks to the use of colors and tabs. It may still be overwhelming at first as you find lots of buttons, tabs and menus placed in the interface to change what is displayed on the screen.
The program displays the list of wireless networks that it discovered during an initial scan; the list is updated automatically by default but you may click on the pause button in the top left corner next to the wireless network adapter to pause the scans.
Each wireless network is listed with its BSSID, network name, vendor name, RSSI, beacon, rates, bands, channels, amendments, channel utilization, security, uptime, last seen date and a lot more.
A click on any network displays details in the lower panel. The lower panel uses tabs to divide details, signals, spectrum, parameter, and notes.
The application displays graphs when you click on network details that highlights the strength of the selected network. Signals and Spectrum provide a comparison with other networks. The program color codes each network that it found during the scan and all of them are displayed in the graphs so that you can check the use of channels or the signal strength effectively.

The Parameters tab finally lists details networking parameters such as the supported rates, capability information, or timestamps. There is also a notes tab to add custom text notes.
WinFi Lite supports lots of filtering options to display a subset of networks or information only. You can sort the network table using the program and switch to another supported view mode using the view menu.
The application supports basic and pro view modes, a security report view mode, or network capability and nearby network lists views. Basic, as the name suggests, lists fewer parameters and focuses on important metrics such as signal quality, band, or channel.

Pro displays more information, and security report changes the layout of the table by grouping networks into security categories. It lists open networks and networks sorted into groups that use encryption for easier identification.
You can create custom profiles using the program’s capabilities; ideal if you need an overview of a subset of information only.
A right-click on a network displays options to copy the information or save/open as Pcap.,
The developer added handy features to the application that improves how you use it. You find 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz toggles at the top to quickly display or hide these networks in the listing. There is an option to save the data to JSON files, and to change zounds of parameters in the settings. To name just a few: scan interval in seconds, when unreachable networks are removed from the table, how graphs are displayed, and a lot more.
WinFi Lite keeps track of networks in an archive that you may open at any time. A click on a session  provides an option to replay it in its entirety. The program switches to the table view then and you may use the session slider to go back and forward in time, or play it instead.
Closing Words
WinFi Lite may still be a beta application but it is well designed very powerful wireless network monitor, analyzer, and manager. Cautious users may want to wait until the program is out of beta and signed properly.
Now You: do you use network monitoring applications? (via Deskmodder)
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CPU Spike bug in latest Windows 10 1903 update reported to Microsoft

Microsoft released the cumulative update KB4512941 for Windows 10 version 1903 last week; soon thereafter, reports started to emerge on several Internet forums that the update was causing high CPU usage on some systems.
Günter Born was among the first to provide an analysis of the issue. According to the information, it is the Cortana process SearchUI.exe that is causing the load on the system. Windows 10 users can verify that by using Ctrl-Shift-Esc to launch the Task Manager. There they may want to sort the process listing with a click on the CPU header to bring the processes with the highest CPU load to the top of the listing.
Cortana in the Processes tab or SearchUI.exe in the Details tab should be listed there as the culprits on systems affected by the issue. The Start Menu search is not working on affected systems which is a serious issue.
Born suggests that the issue is somehow connected to the cache folder that Cortana uses on Windows 10. An initial workaround had users replace the cache folder with an earlier copy to resolve the issue but most admins would have to uninstall the cumulative update, copy the cache folder before reinstalling it.
According to a user report on Reddit, the issue is experienced on systems on which Bing Search is disabled. Bing Search can be disabled in the Windows Registry or by running one of the many privacy tools for Windows 10.
Microsoft integrated Bing Search natively into Windows 10; users who disliked the integration could turn it off. The company split Cortana and Windows Search in Windows 10 1903, and improved web search in 2017 by adding better previews to the results.
Microsoft has not acknowledged the issue on the official support page for the update. The company pushed the update to the Release Preview ring and some testers have reported the issue during that phase to Microsoft. The reports did not receive many votes however and it seems likely that Microsoft did not prioritize the bug because of that.

A solution is making the rounds that fixed the issue on some devices reportedly. Admins would have to enable Bing Search — the sending of local search queries to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, to fix the issue for the time being. Here is how that is done:

Use Windows-R to bring up the run box.
Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
Confirm the UAC prompt.
Go to ComputerHKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSearch
Right-click on Search and select Export from the context menu to back up the data.
Locate the Dword value BingSearchEnabled.
Either delete the key, or set it to 1.
Restart the PC.

Another option is to uninstall the cumulative update to go back to the previous version.
The incident is not the first on Windows 10. Microsoft broke the option to disable web searching in Windows 10 1803.
Closing Words
It is unclear at this point how widespread the issue is. Microsoft has not acknowledged it and while it has made the rounds on forums and tech blogs, it seems to affect systems with Bing Search turned off only.
Now You: is Microsoft doing enough bug testing?
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KB4512941 for Windows 10 version 1903

The second cumulative patch for the current version of Windows 10, in this case Windows 10 version 1903, is always late to the party. Microsoft released updates for earlier versions of Windows 10 that it still supports about two weeks ago — KB4512534 for Windows 10 version 1809 — to fix a huge number of issues including the Visual Basic issue that was introduced on the August 2019 Patch Day.
The update KB4512941 for Windows 10 version 1903 and Windows Server version 1903 is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, the Microsoft Update Catalog, and Windows Server Update Services.
The update fixes the Visual Basic issue, the long-standing Preboot Execution Environment issue, the Sandbox startup issue, and the issue that caused devices from starting up under certain circumstances if configured to use MIT Kerberos realms.
KB4512941 for Windows 10 version 1903

Support page
Microsoft Update Catalog

The following issues are fixed in the update:

Fixed a black screen issue when using Remote Desktop to connect to a PC running Windows 10 version 1903.
Fixed a Windows Sandbox start up issue that threw the error “ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND (0x80070002)”.
Number of supported interrupts increased to 512 on devices with x2APIC enabled.
Fixed a Trusted Platform Module issue that prevented some devices from being used for Next Generation Credentials.
Fixed an issue that caused workstations to stop working when signing in using an updated user prinicipal name.
Fixed a Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection issue that prevented it from collecting forensic data when Registry-based proxy configurations were used.
Fixed a Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection compatibility issue.
Fixed a rare issue that affected the driver mssecflt.sys which caused the error message STOP 0x7F: UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP.
Fixed an issue that could lead to excessive memory usage in Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
Detection accuracy of Microsoft Defender ATP Threat & Vulnerability Management.
Addressed an issue that prevented the loading of third-party binaries from Universal Windows Platform applications.
Fixed an issue that caused devices to have truncated device names when names were assigned to the devices automatically using Autopilot provisioning.
Fixed an issue that caused the production description of Windows Server 2019 to be incorrect when using slmgr /dlv.
Fixed a reporting issue in Windows Management Instrumentation.
Fixed a compound documents copying and pasting issue between applications that hosts the RichEdit control and other apps.
Fixed an issue that prevent some games from using Spatial Audio capabilities.
Fixed an issue that caused the cursor not to appear when selecting elements using touch.
Fixed an issue that caused the names of unsupported applications to appear in Start with default text, ms-resource:AppName/Text, after upgrading.
Fixed an issue that prevented the PIN prompt to appear in Internet Explorer.
Fixed a DRM files download issue in IE and Microsoft Edge.
Improved compatibility and user experience of certain Win32 apps so that they work with Windows Mixed Reality.
Addressed an issue with LdapPermissiveModify  requests.
Fixed the Preboot Execution Environment issue.
Fixed the MIT Kerberos issue.
Fixed the Visual Basic issue.

Microsoft lists no known issue on the update page. Günter Born discovered an issue that causes high CPU load. You can check out his analysis and workaround here.
Now You: Have you installed the update?
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Quickly check the GPU Temperature in the Windows 10 Task Manager

Microsoft extended the functionality of the Task Manager in the Windows 10 operating system. Not all features that Microsoft introduced are great. The rather useless basic mode that reveals virtually no information at all needs to be mentioned in this regard.
A click on “more details” opens the real Task Manager and Windows remembers the state so that you don’t have to repeat the process each time you open it.
The Task Manager features process information but also hardware readings and startup management features. The hardware information is interesting in particular; while not as extensive as in the Resource Monitor, it is often good enough for a quick check that reveals what is going on. Furthermore, it is just a couple of key-presses away and the information is readily available.
A click on Performance displays the readings. When you check the GPU reading in that build or newer builds, you may notice that it includes the temperature of the graphics processing unit.  May, because there are certain requirements that need to be met for that. First, that the temperature is only displayed for dedicated GPUs, and second, that WDDM 2.4 or higher is installed. One way to find out if the latter is the case is to open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool and check the Driver Model version under Display. You may start the tool by opening start, typing dxdiag.exe and selecting the item from the results.

The GPU listing displays the load and the temperature right when Performance is opened. A click on GPU displays graphs and additional information, and it is possible to change the graphs by selecting a different source; temperature is not available yet there so that it is not possible to check temperature over time yet. Microsoft did not reveal whether it plans to integrate that option in future builds.

The temperature may change rather quickly depending on the tasks. It is probably best to keep the Task Manager option to quickly check the temperature whenever you need to.
Third-party programs are still better suited if you need additional details. Check out programs like HWMonitor or SpeedFan or our overview of PC temperature monitors..
You may also be interested in the following tutorials:

Hard Drive Temperature Thresholds, What You Need To Know
Monitor your Windows PC’s performance while playing games

Closing Words
The GPU temperature reading may be handy for a quick check but since there is no history, it is not suitable for extensive troubleshooting.
Now You: Do you check temperatures regularly on your devices?
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Create Windows Sandbox configuration files with Sandbox Configuration Manager

Sandbox Configuration Manager is a free program for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system that helps users of the system create sandbox configuration files.
Windows Sandbox is a new feature of Windows 10 version 1903 that uses Windows Containers to provide the sandbox functionality. The sandbox runs the same version of Windows as the underlying operating system and restricts access to the underlying system for files and programs that you execute in the sandbox; this makes it ideal for testing purposes among other things.
Administrators may use configuration files to customize sandboxes on Windows 10. These config files control various aspects of the sandbox, e.g. if networking is enabled or folders are mapped so that they become accessible.
Up until now, admins had to create XML files to customize sandboxes. The release of Sandbox Configuration Manager changes that.
Tip: check out our review of the third-party program Sandboxie if you are looking for an alternative or want to run it on older versions of Windows.
Sandbox Configuration Manager

Download the latest version of the application from Microsoft’s Technet Gallery website and extract the archive on the local system. The archive contains the source code of the application and two executable files that you find in the EXE folder. You may run either one of them, the core difference between them is that the interface is different.
Sandbox Configuration Manager supports the loading of Sandbox configuration files and the creation of new files. The application displays the Windows version and whether sandbox is enabled as a feature on the first screen that it displays.
Windows Sandbox is not enabled by default and you need to enable it under optional features first before it becomes available. Check the linked articles at the top for instructions on how to do that.

All relevant fields are filled out automatically when you load an existing sandbox. You may modify the configuration file and hit the “create sandbox” button in the end to save the edited configuration file.
You may also fill out the fields manually to create a sandbox from scratch. Select a name and path for the new sandbox and modify the following options as you see fit:

Configure networking support.
Configure virtual GPU support.
Add mapped folders with read-only or read and write access.
Add custom commands, e.g. to run scripts automatically.

Select “create sandbox” to save the configuration file and create the sandbox. A click on the overview menu displays the configuration file in XML for verification purposes.
Note that you may edit mapped folders and startup commands at any point in time by loading the sandbox and saving it once you are done editing.
Closing Words
The main advantage of Sandbox Configuration Manager is that it visualizes the configuration process which should make it easier for some users. There is no need to use the program as you can create sandboxes by creating XML config files from scratch or using existing ones as a template. (via The Windows Club)
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If you are not offered Windows 10 version 1903, try disabling hard drive encryption

When Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows 10 version 1903 some months ago, I wanted to upgrade one of my machines running Windows 10 version 1809 to the new feature update.
The update was not offered via Windows Update despite Microsoft claiming that the feature update was broadly available some time after the initial release for all systems not affected by any of the blocking issues. Microsoft also stated that it would display the reason for that but that did not happen either.
I decided to try other updating means, in particular using the update assistant for Windows 10 first and when that failed installation media. As you may have guessed already, all of these failed. While I managed to get quite far using these tools, the upgrades would fail eventually during installation and the old version of Windows 10 was restored. The error message was not really of any help as it was a generic error that led nowhere.
The device’s hard drives were all encrypted including the system partition. I knew that Vera Crypt, the software used for the encryption, supported feature updates. Previous versions of the software did not, and I had to decrypt the main partition prior to any feature updates to make them go through.
I decided that I wanted to analyze the issue more deeply; since I knew that this would mean rebooting the system many times over as it was unlikely that the first try resulted in success, I decided to decrypt the system partition to speed up the process. I set up Vera Crypt to use a non-standard PIM for better protection. One downside of this is that the initial booting takes a lot longer than with default values so that decrypting the drive would make the entire process go through faster.
Decryption did not take long and the creation of a backup was also done in a matter of minutes.
I decided to check for updates one last time on the machine using Windows Update. Imagine my surprise when Windows Update listed the feature update to Windows 10 version 1903 on the update page.

The update was not offered for months; could it be that the decryption of the hard drive unlocked whatever blocked the update from being delivered to the machine?
A check prior to the operation did not result in the update being offered. While there is still a small chance that Microsoft enabled it right after the first check and before the second check, I’d put my money on encryption being the issue in that case.
More data is needed to come to a final conclusion. If you use Vera Crypt or other encryption software on Windows 10 machines, let me know how the updating worked out for you.
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