Windows 11 begins rolling out to the public on October 5th, but folks in the Windows Insider program have been beta testing preview builds for months, and Microsoft is continually rolling out new features to insiders. One of the latest… basically broke the operating system.

What Microsoft describes as “an issue with a server-side deployment” caused the Start Menu and Taskbar to crash. As a workaround, Microsoft recommends affected users adjust a Windows registry setting. But what’s really got some folks annoyed is that the “deployment” in question seems to have been a wholly unnecessary ad promoting an optional Microsoft feature.

This is probably as good a time as any to remind folks that the Windows Insider program is basically a chance to beta (or sometimes alpha) test new software before it’s available to the public… but beta testing comes with risks, and it’s probably not a great idea to run a beta version of an operating system on your primary work machine.

But it’s also at least a little troubling to see that even a pre-release build of Windows 11 is configured in such a way that something as simple as an ad could break the operating system.

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  1. I ran into an unresponsive start menu and task bar. At first, I thought I’d been infected with ransomware.

    However, a shared registry hack resolved the issue.

  2. That brings back memories. Several years ago, I needed Windows on one of my machines for something specific, so I installed Windows 7 as I had a copy of that handy. The Windows installation process is generally irritating in my opinion in the first place. I applied OS updates immediately after installation and, after the drawn-out process of doing that, it left me with a black screen for some reason. That was a fun day.

  3. I’m quite happy with Server 2019 with Desktop Experience. It has all the goodness of 10 without the bloat, plus I get extended support until 2029.
    Personally, I just don’t see any reason whatsoever to upgrade for quite a while. If it aint broke, don’t fix it!

    1. I’m a fan of the LTSC version, for similar reasons. All the good stuff, none (as far as I can tell) of the junk.

      1. LTSC is hard to get legally. You have to have a business license, and jump through hoops to get Microsoft to sign off on a volume licensing agreement to be able to get it.

        Server is the only way a non-business individual can legally get LTSC.

        My whole point was though, I see no reason to upgrade to Windows 11 when what I have works perfectly fine, and I get updates until 2029 anyway.

        P.S. If anyone runs across the issue where server doesn’t seem to want to run some older software, just enable DEP for windows services only. As far as I can see, there are no missing parts from Server versus regular Windows 10, but DEP for all programs is enabled by default. Switching it to essential windows services only solved the problem for me.

        1. I wasn’t disagreeing, I think we’re mostly on the same page – I don’t plan on upgrading from my 10 LTSC install to 11, unless an 11-based LTSC version comes out at some point.

          As far as getting LTSC at home, though, I believe you can get it through a reseller, you don’t necessarily need a business license – at least, according to multiple posts I’ve read online. The only hard requirement, as far as I can tell, is that you need to buy the upgrade license via volume licensing, which requires the simultaneous purchase of at least four other product keys at the same time as the LTSC key. Those other four can be the cheapest MS product on the market, though.

          Here’s one example I found of someone describing the process, there are other similar posts around the internet as well:
          https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/2167558-explicit-instructions-for-purchasing-a-windows-10-ltsc-license