Windows 10 – Interface Technical Training https://www.interfacett.com Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:26:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Modify the Win+X Menu in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/modify-winx-menu-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/modify-winx-menu-windows-10/#comments Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:06:30 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/?post_type=infct_blogpost&p=10768 The administrative menu available by Alt-Click (right mouse click) of the Start menu icon is also referred to as the Power-user or WinX menu. The latter naming convention is associated with the ability to launch the menu by using the Windows key + the X key (Win + X). The WinX menu is available in … Continue reading How to Modify the Win+X Menu in Windows 10

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The administrative menu available by Alt-Click (right mouse click) of the Start menu icon is also referred to as the Power-user or WinX menu. The latter naming convention is associated with the ability to launch the menu by using the Windows key + the X key (Win + X). The WinX menu is available in Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10.

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Recent students asked for a means to modify the list of options available to users within the WinX Menu prior to deployment of Windows 10.

Tim Fisher wrote an article about replacing the Command Prompt with Windows Power Shell using the control panel in Windows 8.1. You can perform a similar effort within Windows 10, albeit more easily by simply navigating to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and then selecting the ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell …’ from the list of options.

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This appears to be the only direct customization option for the Win+X menu built into the system interface.

So I conducted some additional research.
Tim Fisher also wrote an article referencing the Registry Location for the Power user settings.

“The Power User Menu can be customized by rearranging or removing shortcuts within the various Group folders contained within the C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX directory.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is the hive in the Windows Registry where you’ll find the registry keys associated with the Power User Menu shortcuts. The exact location is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ShellCompatibility\InboxApp.”

I found the folders referenced in Tim’s article containing content for the WinX menu.

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The Groups are listed in reverse order such that Group3 items appear at the top of the WinX menu.

It appears that you can manually make changes to the groups by creating custom shortcuts and adding them to the Group(s), or creating a new Group, though caution is advised since more is required than merely adding a shortcut to the folder location.

Rafael Rivera originally wrote a tool called HashLnk.exe that enabled administrators to create and add a shortcut into the set of Win+X tools for Windows 8. The process was straightforward as discussed in a HowToGeek article based on Windows 8/8.1. Variant searches still lead to the use of the HashLnk tool, though finding a clean version of the tool may be problematic (since it is no longer easily found through Rafael’s site). The tool requires a simple though multi-part sequence that includes the use of the administrative command line and a technical understanding of the possible consequences for each step if performed incorrectly. For instance, the tool requires a restart of Windows Explorer via Task manager for each change.

Alternate search results reference the Win+X Menu Editor Tool, although finding an article the enables a clean or safe download of the tool can be somewhat problematic.

The most comprehensive “how to” article for the Win+X Menu Editor was put together by Bogdan Hosu for Digital Citizen. His article, along with most others reference tool acquisition through Winaero.com.

Winaero provides a clean, GUI interface solution for altering the Win+X menu that can be downloaded here. Although you must be VERY CAREFUL navigating the page to find the correct URL to download the WinXMenuEditorRelease.zip file. The page promotes (temptation, temptation) many other downloadable tools that you do NOT want. Find the link that offers the Download Win+X Menu editor. As a Security+ instructor, I also caution you to scan the zip file and everything you extract manually from the zip file before any installation. Winareo provides a version/feature update page that identifies the WinX Menu editor as a graphic solution based upon the HashLnk source code from Rafael Rivera. The documentation page also has a link to access the download, although this link merely redirects you to the ‘temptation’ page.

How-ToGeek also references the tool and provides a comprehensive overview. The How-To Geek site redirects to Winaero for download as well.

Once I had downloaded (and security scanned) the WinX Menu Editor tool, the process was fairly straight forward. You can see below where I added one of my favorite tools – ZoomIt64 – used during demonstrations.

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Some observations and considerations:

  • Documentation associated with the tool is limited, read the articles before you use the tool.
  • Make a system Restore Point before you install or begin using the tool, just in case you make changes from which you find it difficult to recover.
  • Both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the tool are provided in the zipped download file. Use ONLY the 32-bit version on 32-bit systems and the 64-bit version on 64-bit systems.
  • Perform one addition, group creation, or removal at a time, running the ‘Restart Windows Explorer’ button each time. Test each change before moving on. (I found a couple of legacy applications that did not launch as expected when added to the Win+X menu – likely the nature of the compatibility needed within the shortcut.)
  • The changes appeared only within my user profile. Another of our instructors, Rick Trader, logged into my system to confirm that the changes are user specific by default. This appears consistent with making changes through the Settings > Personalization panel as such changes are intended to be user specific.
  • Some experimentation will be necessary if you are trying to make the changes universal or for the default profile on a Windows 10 system.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom, or online!

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification, Windows 10, and CompTIA classes in Phoenix, Arizona.

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BitLocker to Go READER in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/bitlocker-to-go-reader-in-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/bitlocker-to-go-reader-in-windows-10/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 19:46:02 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=23338 Microsoft has provided BitLocker since the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. The Vista release could only encrypt operating system partitions (with some extended capability through the command line tool). Windows 7 inclusion extended whole drive encryption capabilities to additional partitions and to removable drives. Encryption of removable drives was labeled … Continue reading BitLocker to Go READER in Windows 10

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Microsoft has provided BitLocker since the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. The Vista release could only encrypt operating system partitions (with some extended capability through the command line tool). Windows 7 inclusion extended whole drive encryption capabilities to additional partitions and to removable drives. Encryption of removable drives was labeled BitLocker to Go. BitLocker has also been included within both professional and enterprise versions of Windows 8, 8.1, and 10. The ability to encrypt removable drives is included within all versions of BitLocker since Windows 7 Enterprise.

The BitLocker to Go reader was created simultaneous to the Windows 7 release to enable customers with Windows XP or Windows Vista systems to read removable drives protected with BitLocker technology. This blog provides some BitLocker to Go reader background and directions for acquiring the reader for your use.

BitLocker to Go is enabled by clicking the alternate mouse button (right-clicking) on the drive within File Explorer (aka Windows Explorer/File Manager) and selecting Turn on BitLocker. A BitLocker encrypted removable drive may be read (or modified) on the system used to encrypt the removable drive since the encryption key is stored on the system. The encryption/decryption key will be stored in association with a TPM 1.2 (Trusted Platform Module 1.2) or newer OR a removable USB device (flash drive).

For more details regarding BitLocker requirements, options and functionality check out the newest Microsoft Technet Article “What’s new in BitLocker? updated by Brian Lich on 5/23/2016.

You can also receive a Windows 10 BitLocker update that includes a hands-on lab in our 20697-1 Installing and Configuring Windows 10 course. Make certain that you understand the robust options for BitLocker management through the Control Panel>BitLocker Management Tool or Group Policy. Pay particular attention to BitLocker Recovery Agents and recover using a BitLocker recovery password.

In Windows 10, BitLocker capabilities are extended to encrypt data drives formatted with exFAT, FAT, FAT32 or NTFS. The one requirement is that the drive have at least 64MB of available disk space.

Microsoft continues to provide the BitLocker to Go Reader with Windows 10 for platforms running Windows Vista or Windows 7 (and Windows XP even though support has expired). Windows 7 support pages provide an overview that is referenced within Windows 10 online support.

You can still find and download the BitLocker to Go reader (bitlockertogo.exe) although it is supposed to be installed onto an external USB drive that has been encrypted with BitLocker to Go by default.

Download the BitLocker to Go Reader directly from Microsoft  or use the search box on Windows 10 which took me directly to the download site.)

The original promotion for the BitLocker to Go reader stated: “The BitLocker To Go Reader is an application that provides users read-only access to BitLocker-protected FAT-formatted drives on computers running Windows XP or Windows Vista”. The reader continues to support FAT, FAT32, and reportedly exFAT and NTFS drives, although I have not attempted to use it personally on the latter two formats.

You will still need a copy of the key used to encrypt the drive, preferably delivered via a separate medium than the encrypted device.

It should also be noted that the BitLocker to Go reader merely allows you to read the contents of the encrypted drive by converting it from ciphertext to cleartext as you open the files. You will need to copy or write the files to a partition available to the local device in order to modify them. In other words, BitLockerToGo reader is NOT an encryption tool; it serves read only decryption of BitLocker encrypted drives on systems that do not directly support BitLocker.

Now go have some fun with those encrypted portable drives.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom, or online!

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification, Windows 10, and CompTIA classes in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

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Nested virtualization in Windows 10 – What Is It and How to Enable It https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/nested-virtualization-in-windows-10-what-is-it-and-how-to-enable-it/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/nested-virtualization-in-windows-10-what-is-it-and-how-to-enable-it/#comments Fri, 02 Sep 2016 20:07:34 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=23289 First off what is nested virtualization?  Nested virtualization is the ability to run Hyper-V inside of a virtualized machine.  This will allow you to install a physical host with the Hyper-V role installed and then create a virtual machine (VM) and install Hyper-V which in turn will allow you to run additional VMs. For instructor-led … Continue reading Nested virtualization in Windows 10 – What Is It and How to Enable It

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First off what is nested virtualization?  Nested virtualization is the ability to run Hyper-V inside of a virtualized machine.  This will allow you to install a physical host with the Hyper-V role installed and then create a virtual machine (VM) and install Hyper-V which in turn will allow you to run additional VMs.

For instructor-led Windows Server 2016 training, see our course schedule.

For Microsoft Windows Server 2016, see Nested Virtualization in Windows Server 2016.

There are few prerequisites that must be met before nested virtualization is supported.  There is both operating system and Hyper-V setting that must be configured.  These settings are as follows:

  • Must be running Windows 10 Build 10565 or later.
  • The host and nested VM must be running the same build of Win 10.
  • Min 4GB RAM on the host.
  • Dynamic RAM must be disabled on the nested VM.
  • No Checkpoints can be made on the nested VM. (desired to checkpoint hosted VM in the nested VM must be running version 8 of the VM)
  • MAC Address Spoofing has to be enable on the nest VM NIC or a NAT Virtual Switch has to be created.

Once the VM has been configured to be a nested VM it no longer supports live migrations.

How to enable nested virtualization:

  • Create a hosted VM running the same operating system as the physical host. Then power it off.
  • Configure the host to support nested virtualization:
    • Use one of the following PowerShell Cmdlets:

Set-VMProcessor -VMName <VMName> -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true

  • Or,

Invoke-WebRequest https:/raw.githubusercontent.com/Microsot/Virtualization-Documentation/maste/hyperv-tools/nested/Enable-NestedVm.ps1 –Outfile ~/enable-NestedVm.ps1 ~Enable-NestedVm.ps1 –VmName <VMName>

Note:  The second cmdlet downloads a script from githubusercontent.com and then executes it.

Turn on the nested VM and you are ready to start creating VMs in your nested environment.

Until next time, RIDE SAFE!

Rick Trader
Windows Server Instructor – Interface Technical Training
Phoenix, AZ

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Enabling BitLocker Drive Encryption Without a TPM in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/enabling-bitlocker-drive-encryption-without-a-tpm-in-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/enabling-bitlocker-drive-encryption-without-a-tpm-in-windows-10/#respond Wed, 06 Jul 2016 19:39:59 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=23140 Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements. BitLocker Drive Encryption isn’t new to Windows 10. Encrypting files in Windows goes all the way back to the Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 2000. BitLocker … Continue reading Enabling BitLocker Drive Encryption Without a TPM in Windows 10

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Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements.

BitLocker Drive Encryption isn’t new to Windows 10. Encrypting files in Windows goes all the way back to the Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 2000. BitLocker was first shipped as part of the Operating System Who Must Not Be Named (the predecessor of Windows 7). BitLocker has always provided a great level of data confidentiality by encrypting an entire logical drive, not just files.

All modern encryption uses a key, and BitLocker is no different. The best practice is to store the BitLocker key in a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is a secure system component that protects cryptographic keys and prevents tampering and unauthorized access. When an attacker tries to steal or modify keys protected by a TPM, the TPM either destroys itself, wipes its own memory, or reduces functionality in a recovery mode. This is normally how BitLocker is deployed, with keys stored in the TPM.

If you are using a Professional or Enterprise version of Windows 10 you can enable BitLocker through BitLocker Drive Encryption applet in Control Panel.

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You can see that my C: drive is not currently encrypted. I have the option of turning it on by clicking Turn on BitLocker.

My computer doesn’t have a TPM for BitLocker to use. The default system policy does not permit BitLocker keys on USB removable storage. So I get this error:

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If you can’t see the image, the error is:

  • This device can’t use a Trusted Platform Module. Your administrator must set the “Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM” option in the “Require additional authentication at startup” policy for OS volumes.

When a TPM is not available BitLocker can still work. Removable storage, typically a USB memory stick, must be provided for the key. BitLocker will create the key and store it on the USB stick. From that point on, the USB stick must be inserted whenever Windows 10 starts.

To enable these options, you must configure the policy. In a domain-joined computer, you will typically do that through Group Policy. In this article I’m illustrating how to do it on a standalone system.

To enable BitLocker on a system with a TPM by storing the key on a removable USB stick, follow these steps:

Press Windows + R to bring up the Run dialog, type gpedit.msc and press Enter. This launches the Local Group Policy Editor.

Navigate to Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Windows Components \ BitLocker Drive Encryption \ Operating System Drives

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Double-click Require additional authentication at startup. This lets you set the configuration for using removable memory or TPM with BitLocker.

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Click Enable to access the other options. Rather than paraphrasing, here’s the full description for these options:

This policy setting allows you to configure whether BitLocker requires additional authentication each time the computer starts and whether you are using BitLocker with or without a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This policy setting is applied when you turn on BitLocker.

Note: Only one of the additional authentication options can be required at startup, otherwise a policy error occurs.

If you want to use BitLocker on a computer without a TPM, select the “Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM” check box. In this mode either a password or a USB drive is required for start-up. When using a startup key, the key information used to encrypt the drive is stored on the USB drive, creating a USB key. When the USB key is inserted the access to the drive is authenticated and the drive is accessible. If the USB key is lost or unavailable or if you have forgotten the password then you will need to use one of the BitLocker recovery options to access the drive.

On a computer with a compatible TPM, four types of authentication methods can be used at startup to provide added protection for encrypted data. When the computer starts, it can use only the TPM for authentication, or it can also require insertion of a USB flash drive containing a startup key, the entry of a 4-digit to 20-digit personal identification number (PIN), or both.

If you enable this policy setting, users can configure advanced startup options in the BitLocker setup wizard.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, users can configure only basic options on computers with a TPM.

Note: If you want to require the use of a startup PIN and a USB flash drive, you must configure BitLocker settings using the command-line tool manage-bde instead of the BitLocker Drive Encryption setup wizard

That’s the hard part. Notice that the last note specifies that you’ll need to use manage-bde.exe at a command-prompt to turn on BitLocker. So that step is slightly harder than using the Control Panel wizard. But you should only need to do it once. I will cover using manage-bde.exe to enable BitLocker in a different article.

Enjoy!

Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.

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Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Standard verses Production Checkpoints https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/windows-10-and-windows-server-2016-hyper-v-standard-verses-production-checkpoints/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/windows-10-and-windows-server-2016-hyper-v-standard-verses-production-checkpoints/#comments Mon, 13 Jun 2016 19:07:27 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22973 One of the issues we have had in the past with checkpoint (previously known as snapshots) is some production applications did not support checkpoints. If a virtual machine was rolled back in time to a previous checkpoint there was a possibility of loss of or corruption of data. In Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 … Continue reading Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Standard verses Production Checkpoints

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One of the issues we have had in the past with checkpoint (previously known as snapshots) is some production applications did not support checkpoints. If a virtual machine was rolled back in time to a previous checkpoint there was a possibility of loss of or corruption of data. In Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 a Hyper-V administrator now has the ability to choose between standard or production checkpoints. Let me explain the difference.

Standard Checkpoints: when a checkpoint is created it will include the current state of the virtual machine, the virtual machine memory, data and hardware configuration.

Production Checkpoints: when a checkpoint is created it uses the Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to capture the virtual machine similar to a backup. Memory and hardware configuration are not captured.

When you create a new virtual machine in Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 Production Checkpoint will be the default. If you import a virtual machine from a previous operating system the default will be Standard.

Note: If you have imported a virtual machine created by a previous operating system you will need to upgrade the version of the virtual machine configuration. For more about Hyper-V and Versions, see my discussion of virtual machine configuration versions and how to upgrade them. The minimum version to support Production Checkpoints is 6.2. See figure 1.

001-Windows-10-Server-2016-Hyper-V-Standard-Production-Checkpoints

The current Hyper-V configuration on the Win 10 VM does not support Production checkpoints. It has to be updated to at least version 6.2.

I have updated the configuration version to 7.0 (running Win 10 Hyper-V)

How to enable Production Checkpoints.

  1. Right click on the desired virtual machine and choose settings.

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  1. Choose Checkpoints. Note that in the right hand pane above that Standard is selected. When a checkpoint is applied you will see the following prompt. Whatever the state the VM was in when the Checkpoint was created will be the state the computer will revert to.

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  1. To change the checkpoint to Production, select the Production radial in the right hand pane. See below

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  1. When a checkpoint of a running VM set to use Production Checkpoints the follow dialog box will appear, select OK to create the checkpoint.

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  1. When you apply a Production Checkpoint the VM will be automatically turned off after the checkpoint is successfully applied.

Until next time – Ride Safe!

Rick Trader
Windows Server Instructor – Interface Technical Training
Phoenix, AZ

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Windows 10 Start Menu Not Working https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/windows-10-start-menu-not-working/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/windows-10-start-menu-not-working/#comments Tue, 24 May 2016 22:20:53 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22925 A co-worker pointed out a solution to an occasional problem that occurs shortly after a Windows 10 upgrade. The Windows 10 Start menu and Start button not launching.  This is a potential sign of far more significant operating system issues, including Operating System corruption or malware intrusion. Don’t treat it lightly, and do use a … Continue reading Windows 10 Start Menu Not Working

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A co-worker pointed out a solution to an occasional problem that occurs shortly after a Windows 10 upgrade. The Windows 10 Start menu and Start button not launching.  This is a potential sign of far more significant operating system issues, including Operating System corruption or malware intrusion. Don’t treat it lightly, and do use a planned, investigative approach before you start implementing repair options.

The Windows Club offered a series of solution steps, and later updated the content since a portion of the solution can actually cause greater damage to Windows 10. Josh correctly pointed out that the repair options are unlikely to be understood by most readers and could lead to greater issues. I agree.

This blog offers clarification, instruction and additional options.

First Note of Caution: When viewing the articles at The Windows Club or elsewhere – offers for free downloads and repair solutions embedded within the article or on the webpage are seldom a component of the solution. Downloading third party software without an awareness of the software’s purpose, functions, or configuration can typically result in system performance decay, excess system overhead, or temporary solutions that require an extended repair effort to remove and correct properly.

For instance, the first article about the Windows Critical Error by The Windows Club starts with a recommendation to click a link that fixes the problem. This link redirects you to Tweakbit.com and their FixMyPC tool – and a website designed to look misleadingly (at least to the less experienced) exactly like Microsoft support sites.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and already offers several alternative solutions. Always start at the software source before you turn to a third party.

001-Windows-10-Start-Menu-Not-Working

The message above is the typical symptom, and Microsoft has an Answer page that addresses solutions. Microsoft also has a page updated in February 2015 with additional suggestions for troubleshooting Windows Start Menu and Cortana problems.

Interestingly, a quick search of “Critical Error. Your Start menu” yielded multiple results pages, and the Microsoft solution was listed fourth amongst my results.

Step one, per CompTIA A+ troubleshooting is ALWAYS read the documentation and do your research first. I add, read the appropriate vendor manual or content first.

Once you have done your research regarding this particular issue, you will discover that every solution suggests performing either an update to Windows 10, or a repair using the tools provided by Microsoft for OS repair.

The Microsoft solutions don’t include the creation of a Restore Point, but this is always a good idea before making basic OS changes like updates, patches, or configuration modifications. (By the way, the link provided in the last sentence is the most direct method offered by Microsoft to create a restore point in Windows 10.)

Sign Out and Sign Back In

Note that the Critical Error actually suggests that you ‘Sign Out Now’. This is NOT the same as rebooting your system. Merely sign out and sign back in to see if this resolves the problem. It might be the only resolution you need, depending on the Windows 10 release installed on your system.

If signing out, and logging back in, doesn’t repair the symptoms, then the problem might be related to the switch between Tablet Mode and Full Screen mode. Try this simple setting first (some sites suggest doing this test/repair later in the sequence). Keeping your test and repairs simple are always the better first steps.

Switch to and from Tablet Mode

002-Windows-10-Start-Menu-Not-Working

Open Action Center >

Select or Unselect Tablet Mode and see if this changes your Start Menu behavior. If not, move on to the next solution.

Enter and Exit SafeBoot Mode

Several videos and blogs identify that the problem may automatically resolve by rebooting into SafeBoot mode by using MSConfig (from the run/search line merely type ‘msconfig’ and hit enter), selecting Safeboot, rebooting, then from within Safe Mode again launching MsConfig, deselecting Safeboot, and rebooting. I hate suggesting a system reboot as a ‘repair’ of a problem since this does nothing to repair a system configuration problem. It might repair a setting anomaly, but totally removes your ability to capture or view the current system state since the reboot clears active settings.

The following alternatives, however, involve a potential repair or full recovery of the OS itself, so you might try the Safeboot option and include a few additional diagnostic steps while in Safe Mode before you proceed. Safe Mode is designed for diagnostics by limiting the OS variables while you exam or test settings. Make sure you try to use the Start Menu while in Safe Mode even though online instructions don’t suggest this step.

The problem is apparently related to Windows 10 OS version, and may have been repaired in the more recent Windows 10 releases. Microsoft hasn’t closed the door on the problem, and is still asking for examples from anyone for whom the issue remains. Yet the recent Microsoft Answer pages suggest that the problem is now rare rather than the commonality with which it was occurring shortly after Windows 10 commercial release.

Check your release of the OS

Check which release/version of Windows 10 you are running. According to Microsoft the symptoms were most commonly noticed before the November 2015 release identified as version 1511.

Check your OS version.

  1. Press the Windows Logo 003-Windows-10-Start-Menu + r
  2. Type ms-settings:
  3. Click OK
  4. Click System
  5. Click About

If the version number is not 1511 or newer. You need to update your Windows 10 version. You might want to create a System Restore Point first, although Windows 10 updates typically create Restore Points before installation unless you have Restore Points disabled. It never hurts to check. Remember the ‘measure twice – cut once’ adage.

To update your Windows 10 OS:

  1. Windows Logo 003-Windows-10-Start-Menu + r
  2. Type ms-settings
  3. Click OK
  4. Click Update & security
  5. Then Check for updates.

Remember that Windows 10 is the LAST release of Microsoft Windows. That’s the Microsoft statement. This means that you really need to maintain your version updates, because both corrections and enhancements will continue to roll out continuously. (and they have been!)

Any time you follow a step to correct the root cause of a problem, always test to see if the symptoms have been resolved before you continue. A recommendation missed both on the Microsoft site and third party solutions sites.

Why continue on with additional steps once you have repaired the issue?

And it doesn’t hurt to create a Restore Point between alternative solutions, just in case one of the solution alternatives creates additional issues not predicted by the solutions sites or your process.

If your Windows Version is current and the symptoms/problem persists:

Create an additional Administrative Account

Microsoft’s solutions include the creation and testing of an Administrative account. I won’t go into the step-by-step process here, since you can find it within the Microsoft alternatives in detail. Essentially, Microsoft is suggesting that the corruption might exist in an account profile rather than the OS. Give this a shot before you try to repair or rebuild your entire system.

Repair the Installed Image

Since the release of Windows Vista, and the deployment of the Microsoft Operating System using a Windows Image file (install.wim), Microsoft has provided a means to repair or recover your Operating System using the System File Checker (sfc) tool with the /scannow switch. This compares the digitally signed Hash value found in the .wim file for signed system and driver files with the Hash value for the files installed on the system. If the hash values do not match, the file copy found in the .wim file is extracted and used to replace the file installed on your system partition.

Note: Changes made via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, or image management tools like DISM automatically update the signature components of the .wim file so that your repair will use the latest, authorized components rather than rolling the system back to its initial install state. You MIGHT run into issues with drivers or other components installed from third party vendors that do not implement the recommended Microsoft installation processes.

If your system was corrupted by malware, this is NOT a permanent repair, but it should correct the symptoms long enough for you to initiate a more permanent solution.

To affect the SFC repair:

  1. Launch the CMD prompt with elevated rights.
    1. Type cmd and Alt-Click (the right or alternate mouse button) and select Run as Administrator.
  2. In the Command Prompt interface (make sure it is labeled as Administrator:Command Prompt), type sfc /scannow.
  3. The scan and automated repair can take some time since it checks every signed file on your system, repair the files whose signed Hash values do not match.
  4. Repair is automatic, and once the process completes, you can close the Command Prompt and test your solution.

System Repair Using DISM (CAUTION on this one!)

If this doesn’t correct the problem, The Windows Club site recommends an alternative Elevated Command Prompt option using DISM. I am uncertain why this would work if the SFC option doesn’t since it is essentially using DISM to perform the same signed Hash comparison? I might try one or the other, but not both. (DISM is a .wim file management tool capable or far more than just repair options.)

DISM repair is a far more powerful and complicated process than The Windows Club makes it appear. Read the Microsoft Technet article on DISM repair before attempting this option. There are actually three command strings associated with DISM repair options:

  • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
  • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

They are designed to be used in the above sequence, noting the messages that result from each step before proceeding.

The /ScanHealth switch merely checks for corruption, and takes several minutes to run.

The /CheckHealth switch reports whether the image is healthy, repairable, or non-repairable after the /ScanHealth has been run. NOTE: Microsoft recommends that you actually discard the system image and rebuild the entire system if you get an ‘unrepairable’ result. You need to be prepared to rebuild your customer’s system – which means having backed up data, user profiles and settings, system settings, applications, and application settings before you proceed down this path!

The /RestoreHealth switch will actually restore your system from the .wim file. After which you may have considerably more testing to perform in order to confirm proper operation than just checking on the Start menu function.

I would NEVER run /RestoreHealth without running the /ScanHealth and /CheckHealth switches first.

Repair Your System Using Windows Recovery Options

Microsoft Windows 10 offers a series of System Recovery and Restore options starting at:

Settings > Update & Security > Recovery

Again, I won’t go into the details behind this sequence of alternatives in this blog. This path offers a range of alternatives with Wizard and Menu guided selections to totally restore or rebuild your Operating System, including partial repairs and full wipe-and-load alternatives. Don’t head down this path unless you do your homework and understand the possible outcomes first.

DO NOT USE POWERSHELL ALTERNATIVES (at least the specified ones for this problem)

No offense to all the Powershell gurus in our blog audience.

The offered PowerShell alternatives, including those using the Get-AppXPackage, Add-AppXPackage, alter registry or other settings with specificity. Even the sites offering early suggestions using PowerShell have posted later disclaimers pointing out that their suggestions can actually break your Windows OS installation if not applied against the correct Windows 10 OS version.

Okay, if you are an experienced PowerShell user, apply your knowledge to diagnosing and repairing the problem. Just don’t apply the ‘canned’ scripts or responses in some of the published problem resolutions for the Start menu problem unless you clearly understand what the commands are doing.

So, before you try a PowerShell option or a third party tool that might make similar changes to your system, make sure you have the correct Windows 10 OS version, and try one or more of the options offered above first.

You should now have sufficient knowledge and alternatives to research, identify, or resolve the problem in an informed manner.

Best of luck!

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and CompTIA classes in Phoenix, Arizona.

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How to Span Two Monitors with One Background Image in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/how-to-span-two-monitors-with-one-background-image-in-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/how-to-span-two-monitors-with-one-background-image-in-windows-10/#respond Fri, 20 May 2016 20:12:52 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22916 Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements. It’s even got some nice user interface improvements, one of which I want to describe in this article. Many people use two (or more) monitors. I love … Continue reading How to Span Two Monitors with One Background Image in Windows 10

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Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements. It’s even got some nice user interface improvements, one of which I want to describe in this article.

Many people use two (or more) monitors. I love having two monitors, it really helps improve productivity when I’m writing, researching, or editing content. One source of frustration has been the desktop background image. I prefer to have one background image that spans both monitors, but some versions of Windows have not supported this configuration.

Luckily Windows 10 has built-in support for using a single background image across multiple monitors. There are a couple of tricks that make it look great. Here’s how I recommend that you do it:

First, I figure out my cumulative monitor resolution. For example, I have two 1920×1080 monitors sitting side-by-side, so I add the width of the monitors together but use the height of one.

001-windows-10-display-panel

This makes my cumulative resolution 3840×1080.

Next, I point my browser at images.google.com. You’ve probably heard of Google before.

I search for the background theme I’m interested in. For example, I searched for dragons.

002-windows-10-display-panel

Lots of dragons to choose from! But I want dragon that will look great across two monitors. So I click Size and then click Exactly.

003-windows-10-display-panel

This lets me type in my resolution. I use the cumulative resolution from earlier of 3840×1080. Now Google Images narrows my choices to dragon themed images that are exactly the right size for my background.

004-windows-10-display-panel

Next I save the image to a local folder. It doesn’t really matter which folder.

Then I launch the Settings app and click Personalization. For Background I choose Picture and then click Browse. I browse to my awesome dragon picture and click OK.

Finally, under Choose a fit, I click Span. This is the important detail. Span looks amazing if the picture is exactly the right size so there’s no cropping or scaling (get it?! Dragons, scaling?!?!)

That’s all it takes! I hope you enjoy this feature.

Enjoy!

Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.

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Microsoft OneDrive: Removing PCs https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/microsoft-onedrive-removing-pcs/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/microsoft-onedrive-removing-pcs/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 18:29:08 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22806 Microsoft announced a reduction in OneDrive storage space offerings for both free and paid plans in November 2015. Microsoft’s goal appears to be migration toward Office365 storage, while using OneDrive for lesser, temporary or occasional file transfer conditions. For instructor-led  Microsoft training, see our complete course schedule. OneDrive users need to more carefully plan their … Continue reading Microsoft OneDrive: Removing PCs

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Microsoft announced a reduction in OneDrive storage space offerings for both free and paid plans in November 2015. Microsoft’s goal appears to be migration toward Office365 storage, while using OneDrive for lesser, temporary or occasional file transfer conditions.

For instructor-led  Microsoft training, see our complete course schedule.

OneDrive users need to more carefully plan their use of OneDrive, beyond the synchronization warnings I issued in a previous blog.

Unlike iTunes™ and some other free synchronization services that control access through the count of actively synchronized systems, Microsoft’s model appears to be based upon storage space used and the nature of the content stored within the space provided or acquired.

Nevertheless, synchronizing multiple systems raises the probability of exceeding allowed storage capacities. Given that Microsoft intends to decrease or delete file storage during early 2016, now might be a great time to review your storage content in OneDrive, and to delete any systems for which you do not need the synchronized storage space (or for which you have identified an alternate personal or enterprise solution – like Work Folders.)

The best method to manage OneDrive space and synchronized systems is via the web/cloud interface.

Navigate to OneDrive Live and select the SignIn option at the top right of the site.

001-OneDrive

Once you have accessed the site, you can review and manage file storage and remove files through the Files link in the left navigation panel.

002-files-link-OneDrive

This will not remove files from the systems through which you have been managing synchronization with OneDrive, until you reconnect using your Microsoft account. This will, however, provide you with a central location to identify and manage the entirety of your synchronized files. Note the presence of LON-CL1 and LON-CL2 listed under PCs in the above screenshot.

You could also remove files from the OneDrive folder on a local system, but they would not be removed from the Cloud file entry until all synchronized systems have had the files removed (unless they are all accessing the Cloud system by being on and actively connected simultaneously – which is a less likely and uncommon scenario.)

You might also wish to view your total file usage by selecting the Manage Storage link located at the bottom of the left navigation panel.

003-Manage Storage-OneDrive

You may also upgrade to paid storage plans, expand or alter the file formats supported, tag files, change synchronization notification options, and manage device backups. I do want to note that Microsoft is reducing allocated storage capacities in part due to their claims that several people were/are abusing the device backup feature by using terabytes of space for system backups. It is unclear how device backup features may (or may not) be supported in the future. You want to clean up your OneDrive space to protect only essential data that doesn’t fall within the realm of system recovery or recreation scenarios.

Since there is no way to uninstall OneDrive from a Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 system, you may choose to suspend synchronization through the Cloud interface. Even if you disable OneDrive through group policy, the Cloud interface remembers prior synchronizations and retains any files that were previously synchronized.

You can easily remove a PC from the synchronization process, though only through the Cloud interface. The removal is temporary if the system continues to be accessed using a Microsoft Account for authentication. Once Microsoft Account authentication is successfully completed, a OneDrive connection will be established unless OneDrive is disabled in Group Policy. (See my prior blog for instructions on affecting this change).

To remove a PC from OneDrive synchronization, follow this procedure:

Merely select a PC from the PCs list in the left navigation panel. Once you have selected a PC, you can look at synchronized files if the system is actively connected, and/or remove the PC from synchronization by merely selecting the Remove PC button. You are offered a warning that indicates you will need to add the PC back to the list once you remove it, by merely reconnecting to OneDrive using a Microsoft account from the desired system.

004-Remove-PC-OneDrive

As an example, I removed both LON-CL1 and LON-CL2 that are used for Windows 10 demonstration purposes. The following screen shot shows that both PCs were removed, but the files are still present in the Cloud folders.

005-Remove-PC-OneDrive

You may now go through the Files, Recent, Photos, and other listed file repositories to move, delete, or potentially edit the files (the last alternative works for some file formats only if you have an integrated Office365 solution).

You may now access each of the systems for which you wish to maintain OneDrive synchronization and synchronize the cleaned folder repositories. As you reconnect with your Microsoft Account, each synchronized PC will once again be listed on the PCs list.

Removing and rejoining OneDrive synchronized systems is simple, as long as you remember to use the OneDrive Cloud interface.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom, or online!

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and CompTIA classes in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Installing .NET Framework 2.0 3.0 and 3.5 in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/installing-net-framework-2-0-3-0-and-3-5-in-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/installing-net-framework-2-0-3-0-and-3-5-in-windows-10/#comments Mon, 11 Apr 2016 22:51:21 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22793 Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it has tons of security improvements, and is usually compatible with older apps. One quirk that I encountered recently was when I went to install mRemoteNG, a remote desktop client application. It requires the .NET Framework to work. That’s fine, because Windows 10 comes preconfigured … Continue reading Installing .NET Framework 2.0 3.0 and 3.5 in Windows 10

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Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it has tons of security improvements, and is usually compatible with older apps.

One quirk that I encountered recently was when I went to install mRemoteNG, a remote desktop client application. It requires the .NET Framework to work. That’s fine, because Windows 10 comes preconfigured with the latest .NET Framework. Right? Wrong.

This particular app requires the older .NET Framework 3.0. Although the newer .NET Frameworks will try to emulate backwards compatibility, and developers can code to allow different versions, mRemoteNG insisted on having its specific version installed.

Luckily Windows 10 has built-in support for this exact scenario. Here is the easy way that I made this app work.

First I downloaded and extracted the app to a new folder. Using the installer would not work with this method, I had to have an extracted app.

Next I just double-clicked the .exe associated with the app. I was presented with this dialog:

001-Installing-NET-Framework-in-Windows-10

Nice! Windows 10 detected that I am launching an app that requires the older version of .NET Framework. And it’s offering to install the proper version for me.

Next I had to exhibit patience. This was a particularly slow download for some reason.

002-downloading-NET-Framework-in-Windows-10

Windows then installed the framework for me…

003-install-NET-Framework-in-Windows-10

 

004-Installing-NET-Framework-in-Windows-10

…and the app fired right up!

005-Installing-NET-Framework-in-Windows-10

That’s all it takes! I hope this app makes it easier for you to run older .NET apps.

Enjoy!

Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.

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Using MSInfo32 to Check For SLAT Support in Windows 10 https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/using-msinfo32-to-check-for-slat-support-in-windows-10/ https://www.interfacett.com/blogs/using-msinfo32-to-check-for-slat-support-in-windows-10/#respond Mon, 04 Apr 2016 17:51:05 +0000 http://www.interfacett.com/blogs/?p=?p=22779 Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements. It’s even got features that you might not expect to find, like Hyper-V. For instructor-led Windows 10 training, see our course schedule. Windows 10 now runs a … Continue reading Using MSInfo32 to Check For SLAT Support in Windows 10

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Windows 10 is quite an impressive operating system. It’s fast, it runs all of my old apps (even my retro games!), and it has tons of security improvements. It’s even got features that you might not expect to find, like Hyper-V.

For instructor-led Windows 10 training, see our course schedule.

Windows 10 now runs a full version of Hyper-V. It’s quite a powerful hypervisor implementation that can run a variety of operating systems as virtual machines. I’ve got it running various versions of Kali Linux, Windows Server, and Windows client.

Hyper-V in Windows 10 has a specific hardware requirement. The CPU must support Second Level Address Translation, or SLAT. Most newer Intel i5 and i7 processors support SLAT, but some (notably mobile-optimized processors) don’t. You need to check the system before you can be sure that Hyper-V will work.

One way to check for SLAT support in Windows 10 is to use the built-in MSInfo32 tool. This tool pumps out a ton of data but has one quirk that I need to explain.

Running MSInfo32 is pretty simple:

First, click the Windows flag at the bottom-left of the primary monitor. Or just tap the Windows key. This brings up the new Start menu.

Type msinfo32. You’ll see a System Information icon highlighted. Just press Enter to launch it.

After a moment the System Information tool appears. The information on SLAT and Hyper-V is right there on the first screen, at the very bottom:

01-Using-MSInfo32-to-Check-For-SLAT-Support-in-Windows-10

This is actually my Lenovo X230 laptop. It runs an Intel i7 CPU, and most i7 implementations have full hardware support for Hyper-V. So I can immediately confirm that the system supports SLAT and can run Windows 10 Hyper-V!

Enjoy!

Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.

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