Windows 10X: more reliable but may slow certain things down.

As you may know, Windows Core OS is the core operating system for many future variants of Windows.
One of those is Windows 10X, the operating system that would become the primary operating system of Dual Screen devices initially.

Microsoft has recently announced that because of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, plans to release Windows 10X for the Surface Neo and other dual-screen devices will be postponed and they will now focus on building the operating system for existing single-screen devices.

One of the mayor advantages of Windows 10X is also its Achilles heel.
It will run Win32 applications in containers, where only Modern apps will run native in the operating system.
This reduces the attack surface of the operating system since every application is sandboxed.

They also will be able to service the operating system faster and more reliably.
Some even say that a simple reboot will suffice for Windows 10X, since the operating system can fully install the update in the background (like it does on Chrome OS devices).

This would be the best of both worlds: better battery life, a more secure operating system, fast servicing, more reliability (a win32 app will in the worst case crash the container it is running in), and still support for Win32 apps.
Let’s be honest, only Win32 apps will be able to crash the entire operating system.

However, the big issue here is that it will be emulating an operating system for those containers, as we all know this reduces performance in some way.
This really shows that Microsoft is still working towards a future where Win32 apps are history.

Why I really like the Windows 10 April Update

After working for a week with a preview of Windows 10 1803 (which will be called the April update), yesterday I had to swap my Surface Pro and I went back to the stable build.

The first thing I miss after going back:

I used Timeline a lot: Every time I used Windows-Tab to switch, I started a PowerPoint presentation that I have been preparing for a while.
Not even realizing that I did not search for the file itself, but that I left this entirely to the Timeline functionality.
In addition, I also used it a lot to quickly restore a session: You could already easily restore a number of tabs if you for example shut down your PC.
But now you can easily do this with tabs from a few days back, really the most ideal function to resume the activities of last Friday after a fun weekend.

Furthermore, the Focus functionality is really a huge advantage if you give presentations, although it is unfortunate that this is limited to applications that use the notification functionality of Windows.
The Focus functionality does not work in Chrome for example, because they use their own notification-engine.
What is noticeable however is that a lot of application developers already made use of this, I have not come across anything except Google Chrome.

It was so incredibly natural to use, that I really began to appreciate the functionalities when I went back to 1709.
By the way, the April update will be released tomorrow, so I can upgrade again.
I can not wait!

Troubleshooting Guide to WSUS

I have had an issue with WSUS on Windows Server 2016 which resulted into computers not reporting correctly to WSUS.

Thinking that I have configured everything correctly because computers where connecting to WSUS (they targeted the right WSUS groups from the Group Policy in the WSUS Console), they where not reporting their status to WSUS.

Actions Required To Troubleshoot These Issues In WSUS

However many don’t realize this, the most effective way to resolve issues is to understand the problem.

  • Don’t just start to search the web blindly, get to know the (basic) inner workings of an application
  • Locate all the logging, many applications have documented default logging locations
  • If necessary, increase logging. Many applications have options to add information to logging.
  • Check if requirements are met

What is WSUS

WSUS is largely built on IIS (Microsoft Internet Information Services), .NET Framework and MMC (Microsoft Management Console).
It uses WID (Windows Internal Database) or Microsoft SQL Server as its database engine.

It acts the same way as the publicly available Windows Update, but with WSUS you are able to deploy updates to your systems at your own pace and compliance requirements .
Off course you are able to offload your internet connection by downloading your updates locally, but that never was my primary concern.

You can even create an Internet-facing downstream server, so that your systems download your own approved updates even outside your office(s).
This way you keep your systems up-to-date and/or secure (which off course is largely recommended), without your systems being incompliant to your own requirements.


Figure: Overview of the WSUS process

Source: Microsoft Corporation –

This figure made by Microsoft shows how WSUS works.


In the official Deployment Guide made by Microsoft, the first step it says is to ‘plan’ your deployment.
Immediately followed by requirements.
First check if requirements are met (Reference 1).

In many cases the requirements are never checked when implementing a solution.
Even when you deployed it yourself, dare to second-guess yourself!

Depending on IIS, .NET Framework and SQL/WID, WSUS can actually get issues from configuration problems of these services.
Make sure you don’t just check WSUS, check all the parts that make WSUS.
For this the requirements are important, because these services are a requirement for a reason: they are important to WSUS its architecture.


Best practices are never a requirement.
It can make sure an application/service runs at its best, but only requirements are needed for an application/service to run normally.


Logging you can find in the following locations:
Reporting to Windows Server Update Services on Client: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\reportingevents.txt (this file is always there – even when using public Windows Update)
Log of retrieving updates on Client: Get-WindowsUpdateLog (generates a log file on your desktop from Event Tracing for Windows)
IIS on Server: c:\inetpub\logfiles (or check the inetpub location in IIS)

In the example I’ve set I said that computers had issues reporting.
I knew they connected to WSUS (otherwise group-targeting wouldn’t have worked), however they where not reporting status to WSUS.
This has led for me to check the reportingevents.txt on the client, since Windows Update was connecting to WSUS, just not reporting to it.

This is an example how you can use logging to support your first theories about the problem itself.

Coming to a conclusion

Coming to a conclusion with major WSUS issues can be a bit of a struggle.
WSUS is a complex product, reliant on many technologies.

A conclusion can’t be made before you know where the issues lie:
On the client or the server
In IIS or maybe SQL.

Make sure you know the issue, there always has to be a place where some error is reported in logging.


However targeting worked (computers where placed in the right Computer folders in WSUS), computers wouldn’t report.

When I looked into the ReportingEvents log in C:\windows\SoftwareDistribution folder, it showed a error “Windows Update Client failed to detect with error 0x8024401c”.
However this error wasn’t consistent (sometimes it did succeed, but it mostly didn’t)
It looked rather odd.

Browsing the web more people are talking about issues in IIS.
So I compared the Advanced configuration of the WSUS app pool in IIS (server 2016) to an old environment I have built (2012R2), I saw it had an Private Memory Limit of 1.8GB.
Changing this to 0 (unlimited), computers immediately started reporting.


Reference 1: Requirements by Microsoft for WSUS (Chapter 1.1 Plan your WSUS Deployment – Review considerations and requirements) –
Reference 2: Troubleshooting IIS issues
Reference 3: How to read the Windows Update Log File
Reference 4: Changing the inetpub location

Problems with WSUS on Server 2016

Yesterday I have had an issue with computers not reporting to a newly installed WSUS server.
However targeting worked (computers where placed in the right Computer folders in WSUS), computers wouldn’t report. 

When I looked into the ReportingEvents log in C:\windows\SoftwareDistribution folder, it showed a error “Windows Update Client failed to detect with error 0x8024401c”.
However this error wasn’t consistent (sometimes it did succeed, but it mostly didn’t)
It looked rather odd. 

Browsing the web more people are talking about issues in IIS.
So this was the issue: 

On Windows Server 2016, the “Private Memory Limit (KB)” was set to 1.8GB.  

You should reset it to 0, so that WSUS can decide the memory usage of the WSUS Application Pool.
Once set, all issues with WSUS were gone.
Computers started reporting in immediately (off course this depends on the reporting configuration in your Group Policies). 

Deploying an RDS farm in an Server Core environment

Note: The RD Web Access role requires Desktop Experience; In Server 2016 you can’t change between core and desktop anymore. 

First of all, I have made a script that will install and configure all roles and tools.
It installs the management tools on the server which the script runs on (from this server you can manage the core RDS environment).
Then it will ask on what servers which roles needs to be installed.
Find it on Technet 

After everything is installed, add the servers to server manager on the management server.
However already installed and configured, you need to add the license server and RD Gateway to the farm.
It is already connected to the Connection Broken, but are not automatically detected by Server Manager. 

Afterwards you should use Server Manager to add certificates to the RD Access Roles.
I would use a Wildcard certificate for RD Gateway and RD Web Access, since they are accessed over the internet.
Certificates for the broker role can be issues by your own CA, or if you use a public domain name in your internal domain (example, I would request an additional wildcard certificate for your internal domain. 

The first part of the installation can be accomplished by following the steps in the RDS Farm setup script, the second part you’ll need to do using Server Manager.