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Windows 11 upgrades not going very smoothly... :( but I have a plan!


Darin McClain

Question

So we started slowly moving users to Windows 11 this past few months, but I halted cause it was getting a bit messy. Many had to call the help desk with bugs, and some of those needed user layer resets to correct. Around the time I halted, I also found a program that would no longer open. Long story short, I went way back to a 2004 version of my OS layer, cause that was the newest version I could go back to, upgrade to 21H2, and the program actually work again. So, I had assumed there was some corruption in my more recent OS versions. I was ultimately wrong though and discovered it was just a service being disabled by Citrix Optimizer… sigh. But hey, I just did days and days of work to re-update my image from 3 years ago and potentially clean it up, so why not try to use it to see if it helps with the “messy Win 11 upgrade” aspect I first ran into, right? So I've started that, and have some interesting behaviors to report.

 

Details of the 3 Master Published images from AppLayering:

Image A - Master 2-2-22 - W10 21H1

 - Stable w/ 70% of 600+ users currently using

Image B - Master 5-3-23 - W11 21H2

 - Created by using latest OS version w/ Win 10 21H1 and upgrading to Win 11 21H2

 - Unstable for some users when switched from Image A to B as they get the “windows 11 upgrade” to their user layer

 - Stable when new users are setup

 - Almost 100 users currently using; 30-40%ish of which needed user layer resets due to various bugs and instabilities triggered by the upgrade

Image C - Master 7-17-23 - W11 21H2

 - Created instead by updating a much older OS layer version dated 10-16-20 w/ W10 2004 on it.

 - New OS version initially brought from 2004 to Win 10 21H2. Then stepped up again to Win 11 21H2 via fresh ISO download.

 - Stable when new users are setup

 - Stable for users who go from A to C (need more proof though, only tested 2 accounts)

 - Unstable for users who go from A to B to C (start menu shows up as windows 10 for some reason, explorer a bit buggy)

 - Same behavior if going from A to C, but then try to use B. Issues remain if you try to go back to C

 

After all this tinkering, for giggles, I booted all 3 images up and ran a SFC /scannow on them. All 3 showed errors that were able to be fixed. Rebooted and ran again, all had clean scans on the 2nd scan. Is this even a concern though? I bet I could run the scan in my OS layers and get the same result. Makes me wonder if I still have corruption in my images... Or if it's just expected in the app layering environment? And if I remember right, I can’t just load a fresh VM with Windows 11 and import it into app layering; layers can’t be used with a different gold image, right?

 

My current plan is to start migrating people from A to C slowly, to see if it’s a smoother upgrade to Windows 11 for them than A to B was (mostly indicated by less % of user layer resets needed). Then if that goes well, individually switch people from B to C, most likely requiring a user layer reset for each of them cause of the start menu issues. What do you guys think?

 

 

ATTACHED PICS: File explorer behavior, and a buggy W10 start menu on Image B. (start menu won’t open, and search doesn’t work) And again, this issue only occurs (and stays) when you use Image B and switch to C, or use C and switch to B. Fresh users layers on B or C do not have the issue, only once moved to the opposite.

 

 

A.png

B.png

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