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July 6, 2020

War story – Insider woes

For over a week now, I have been trying to get Fast Ring Insider builds to work on my laptop. Failed upgrades, clean installs almost working until I notice a game-stopper like unable to install tools I need, despite whatever repair measures I take. Windows Admin Center, which I use for computer management and especially virtual machine management causes a BSOD / GSOD every time it’s launched, in 5 to 60 minutes. Office activation is lost at every boot, I can’t connect to Azure AD accounts, and so on.

Since Thursday (a week and a half ago), I have made 6 completely clean, new deployment images, starting with build 18965 and now the last one build 18980. I have it done and ready to be deployed as soon as I have posted this war story. This time, I built the image as squeaky-clean as I could. No customizations, no additional group policies, just the basic software preinstalled. Tonight I’ll find out if it will finally work.

My great hope is that it will work as expected. I have Plan B ready, should today’s deployment fail. In that case, I will wipe the disks and install a plain-vanilla version 1903, and use Insider builds only in Hyper-V and on native boot virtual hard disks. I hope to avoid Plan B; I really like testing Insider builds on real, physical hardware. A virtual machine is never the same.

I will report how deployment goes later today. Wish me luck, and stay tuned!


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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