In February, Microsoft made an announcement regarding the retirement of its legacy inbox troubleshooters in Windows 11. Surprisingly, I overlooked this news and need to update the Windows 11 Field Guide to include this change, as Microsoft seems to be ahead of schedule in implementing this transition.
Let’s go through the details of this change.
According to a Microsoft support document from February, the Windows legacy inbox troubleshooters, such as the Keyboard troubleshooter and Speech troubleshooter, along with the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) that runs them, are being retired. These built-in tools are designed to automatically diagnose and resolve common problems with various Windows features. The MSDT Troubleshooters will be deprecated in the next Windows 11 release, with the precise date yet to be determined.
The legacy inbox Troubleshooting platform was introduced with Windows 7 back in 2009. It serves as a control panel, replacing the Help and Support troubleshooting tools from earlier versions of Windows. From a user interface standpoint, this system has remained largely unchanged throughout subsequent Windows versions. In Windows 11, you can access it through the Settings app, specifically in System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters.
Until recently, most of the legacy troubleshooters were still accessible through this platform. However, after testing it today, I found that only the Windows Update troubleshooter is available. The other troubleshooters found here are new additions belonging to Windows 11’s Get Help app.
This change aligns with Microsoft’s efforts to phase out the Control Panel, which has been a long-standing goal.
What caught my attention is that I had been planning to write about this for weeks, but most of the troubleshooters were still of the legacy type. However, when I looked into them this week, I noticed that most of them had been switched to the new system. I tried this on multiple PCs, both on the 22H2 and 23H2 versions of Windows 11 (Beta channel), and the outcome was the same. It was only when I accessed an outdated 22H2 virtual machine (VM) in Hyper-V that I observed the previous behavior.
The transition schedule shared by Microsoft in February remains unchanged. However, it seems that Microsoft is moving ahead of this schedule. According to the original plan, Microsoft would begin redirecting some legacy troubleshooters to the new system in 2023, complete the transition in 2024, remove the remaining troubleshooters, and then eliminate the underlying MSDT platform in 2025.
Based on these dates, I would have assumed that the legacy troubleshooters would be deprecated in Windows 11 version 23H2 and retired in Windows 11/12 version 24H2. Nevertheless, most of them have already been deprecated in version 22H2 of Windows 11.
Despite being deprecated, you can still find the legacy versions of the troubleshooters if you make an effort. For example, to access the old Network and Internet troubleshooter, perform a search for “troubleshoot network” in the Start menu search bar and then select “Find and fix network problems” from the results. The same applies to Audio troubleshooting (“troubleshoot sound” then “Find and fix problems with playing sound”), Printer troubleshooting (“troubleshoot print” then “Find and fix problems with printing”), and so forth. I anticipate that these options will disappear once the legacy troubleshooters are removed in Windows 11 version 24H2, or even sooner, considering the swiftness of the transition thus far.
Nonetheless, I will make sure to update the book this weekend to reflect these changes.