Windows Insider builds are back for Lenovo PCs in China
Microsoft tinkers with defaults as block lifted with PC Manager update
Microsoft has re-enabled Windows Insider builds for Lenovo PCs in China with the release of build 22598 to the Dev and Beta Channels.
The updated Dev and Beta channel was swiftly followed by the inevitable test of the company's servicing pipeline and the announcement that Windows 10 21H2 was "designated for broad deployment" via Microsoft's Windows release health dashboard.
As for Insiders on the Dev and Beta channel using Lenovo PCs in China, Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on what the problem was.
The Windows vendor said only that a minimum of 15 minutes connection to the internet was needed to allow the Lenovo PC Manager to do an auto-update (to version 126.96.36.19992 or later) "to receive an important fix with the app."
The Register contacted Microsoft and Lenovo to find out what that important fix might be, but we have yet to hear back.
Some users have speculated that it might be related to China's ban of foreign TPM chips, with the country preferring instead its homegrown Trusted Cryptography Module (TCM).
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Microsoft infamously made TPM 2.0 a requirement for Windows 11, although there are ways of dodging the company's hardware demands. Users also reported that simply switching the language to English and the region to USA did not lift the block, meaning the Windows team were using other means to detect the presence of Lenovo kit from China.
We will update if Microsoft or Lenovo offer up an explanation, but in the meantime it appears a PC Manager update will do the trick.
Relief for Windows Insiders in China on Lenovo PCs aside, the new build also features the auto-launching of the Get Started app (although not for all Insiders).
In addition, a limited number of Windows Insiders will find that Windows Spotlight is on by default following a clean install from an ISO image, making for some soothing desktop backgrounds until users reach for the settings. Some users will also receive 4K desktop backgrounds.
Otherwise the build features the usual raft of fixes, including an important one for WSL2 users where a bug was stopping the host file system being mounted on Arm64 kit. It also features a lengthy list of known issues (this is test code after all, even if the Dev and Beta channels are still on the same build) including crash loops for explorer.exe and some internet connectivity issues "when certain VPNs are connected." ®