Get ready to say hello to new Windows and goodbye to an old friend
The clock is ticking for Windows troubleshooters, plus Microsoft's preparing a new OS release
As the arrival of the next version of Windows 11 looms, it is also time to prepare a not-so-fond farewell to the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) and its troubleshooters.
Earlier this year, Microsoft warned that its legacy inbox troubleshooters – such as the keyboard and speech troubleshooters – would be retired and, with the next release of Windows 11 soon to arrive, now is as good a time as any to hold hands, gather around the campfire and say goodbye.
While many readers will be pleased about the deprecation, malware authors will be sorry to see them go. A number of high-profile attacks, including the infamous Follina exploit, made use of flaws in the service in order to execute malicious code. The announcement that Microsoft was killing off MSDT, therefore, made a lot of sense and wasn't hugely surprising.
Run and Get Help
Microsoft's plan is to redirect users attempting to run the legacy troubleshooters to its new Get Help platform. It's a noble effort, but will be somewhat hamstrung by the fact you'll need to be online – unless you are using the Network and Internet assistant, which appears to function when a device is not connected.
The company noted that half of the built-in troubleshooters have already been redirected, while the rest will be retired and removed with the next release of Windows.
This means that by next year, according to Microsoft's timeline, the redirections will be complete and all troubleshooters removed. Finally, in 2025, the MSDT platform itself will be stripped from Windows.
- Symantec: More malware operators moving in to exploit Follina
- Now Windows Follina zero-day exploited to infect PCs with Qbot
- Zero-day vuln in Microsoft Office: 'Follina' will work even when macros are disabled
- National Cybersecurity Awareness program 18 years on: Don't click that
Organizations with special troubleshooting needs will be able to access the MSDT platform as a Windows Feature on Demand, but 2025 is the cut-off point. "This change," the company said generously, "will allow you to continue to use MSDT to run custom troubleshooting packages while transitioning to a new platform."
Users still clinging to older versions of Windows (from Windows 11 22H2 through to Windows 7 and earlier) won't be affected.
No flowers. ®