Windows 10 Features Disappeared after a Crash

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Help and Support' started by Jim S, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Recently I had a bad Windows 10 computer crash. The PC totally locked up, and the only thing I could do was power it down and power it back up. The first thing I noticed was that my entire Windows Live Mail database was gone - not a single message of the thousands that should have been there was present. After much stress and work I was able to restore the messages, thanks to a Mozy backup that I had done the day before. The computer is now operating correctly when it comes to traditional programs like web browsers, Office programs, File Explorer, various utilities and accessories, etc. However, many of the newer Windows features are not working. Here's a list of some of them:
    • Pressing the Windows key on the keyboard and clicking the Start button on the screen cause no response. Right clicking the Start button works normally.

    • Right clicking an icon in the task bar does not bring up the expected menu. A small circle appears for a few seconds and all of the icons on the desktop flash briefly - that's all.

    • The search box in the lower left corner of the screen does not operate - can't type anything in it.

    • The icon spaces in the task bar for Edge and an alarm clock app I had installed previously are blank - no icon is visible. Clicking either of these icons does not start the corresponding programs.

    • Attempting to install a Windows app (specifically Alarm Clock HD) gives no response when "Get the app" is clicked on the browser page.
    I have Googled these various symptoms extensively and have tried a number of suggested solutions. Here are some of them:
    • From Microsoft Answers: With Task Manager, end process explorer.exe and then start it as a new process. Didn't help.

    • Repair corrupt Windows files with System File Checker (sfc /scannow). Reported no errors.

    • Reinstall Window apps using PowerShell and the Get-AppXPackage command. Didn't fix problem.

    • Create a new user account. Clicking "Add a new user in PC settings" gets no response.
    A suggestion that I haven't tried yet is Refresh PC. It sounds quite drastic, and I've tried to avoid it if something else will work. Do I understand correctly that following a refresh I would need to reinstall all of my programs that aren't part of Windows? That might be quite a big job.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!
     
  2. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    One of the most serious problems is the failure of Search to work, since so many operations in Windows 10 can be easily initiated through Search.
     
  3. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I'd start by opening the command as admin and type SFC /scannow.
    Note the space between SFC and /.

    If that doesn't help come back and see if anyone else has ideas short of refreshing.

    I'm going to paste this in from another post that I just made...
    Doing this can save a lot of hassles.

    Hi

    It's a good idea to still create a restore point at regular intervals just like the old days.
    I use a program called "Restore Point Creator" (not very creative name wise) that you can download for free.

    Download Restore Point Creator - MajorGeeks

    In addition you should create a system image that will completely restore your System Drive in a matter of minutes.
    I use EaseUS Todo Backup.

    Best free backup software for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, etc - EaseUS Todo Backup Free

    This software will create a boot disk that will boot and restore your computer if it becomes unbootable and return it to the exact condition that it was when you made the backup.

    For me it takes only about 20 minutes to make a backup or restore one.
    It's very easy just a matter of a few clicks.

    If you don't have a second hard drive or partition you will need to create a backup partition using disk management, to save your backups on.

    Either of these can save you from having to go through the reinstall and restore everything process you are stuck in now.

    Mike
     
  4. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    This sounds like profile corruption. Try creating a new user profile and see if search and the start button work.
     
  5. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Thank you for the two replies, MikeHawthorne and Neemobeer. Unfortunately I have already tried both suggestions (see my original post) and neither was successful. Just for good measure I reran the sfc /scannow command with administrative privileges. It ran for a while and ended with the message Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations. I also tried the new user account approach once more using Control Panel, User Accounts, Change account type, Add a new user in PC settings. There was absolutely no response when I clicked on the last item, even though it is clickable.

    I am still interested in knowing more about Refresh PC and how big a project that would be. I have installed quite a few programs over the years (probably between 20 and 30) that would possibly have to be reinstalled.
     
  6. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    You basically would be reinstalling Windows. There should be an option to keep Personal data and Programs. I would still make sure you have a good working backup.
     
  7. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    A bit of additional info that may or may not be significant. If I move the mouse cursor from the desktop to the search box, the search box changes from a darker shade of gray to a lighter one. However, clicking in the search box has no effect (a cursor does not appear). Moving the mouse cursor from the desktop to the Start Button causes the white Windows logo on the Start Button to change to a bluish-gray color. Clicking on the button causes a rotating circle to appear for a few seconds and then disappear, but nothing else happens. It's trying to do something - who knows what!
     
  8. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Doing a refresh will keep all your files and apps but not 3rd party applications.
    So you will have to reinstall all of your software afterwards.

    There was a discussion here about doing a repair installation as you could do in Windows 7.

    Note: going back to this link I see that it no longer says "Repair install Windows 10 without losing anything" so apparently it was incorrectly titled, it does have a video showing the refresh process.

    Here's a link...

    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade

    This seems to cover everything in detail.

    As Neemobeer says I'd backup anything that you don't want to use, just to be safe.

    Mike
     
    #8 MikeHawthorne, Feb 16, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
    Jim S likes this.
  9. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike, thanks much for the link to what appears to be a very detailed and complete explanation of doing a Repair Install. It looks complex enough that I will set aside some time later to execute it. Meanwhile, I have registered as a user on Windows Ten Forums.

    --Jim--
     
  10. helpifIcan

    helpifIcan Extraordinary Member

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    When you finish this please let us know what the result was. Good or bad as that may help others with the same problem.
    AND do remember to do a disk image before starting the process so you can at least get back to where you are now, even though it's not working correctly.
     
  11. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I just wanted to note that it does still say....

    "This tutorial will show you how to do a repair install of Windows 10 by performing an in-place upgrade without losing Anything."

    In the copy in the top text box.

    We'd all like to know if this really works, it could be a big breakthrough for the repair process for a lot of people.

    If you don't have disk image software I use EaseUS Todo backup.
    It is really easy to use and has been very reliable.

    Best free backup software for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, etc - EaseUS Todo Backup Free

    Mike
     
  12. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike, in preparation for repairing Windows 10, I connected a 2TB My Passport external drive yesterday, started Control Panel, clicked Backup and Restore (Windows 7), and clicked Create a system image. (Not sure why it says Windows 7.) My external drive was located, the system image creation ran for a couple of hours, and a successful creation was reported. When I looked at the external drive with the File Manager I could not see that any new file had been created. Is it invisible? However, today when I connected the drive and began (but did not continue with) the creation of another system image, the following was displayed:

    Most recent backup on drive: 2/18/2016 3:10:45PM

    That corresponds with the creation I did yesterday, so probably the system image is OK.

    I just did some reading about EaseUS Todo that you recommend. Would you advise me to buy Todo Backup Home 9.0 and do another backup before proceeding? I certainly don't mind spending 29 bucks for a good reliable product.

    One more question. From the install repair link that you provided, I see that there are four different possibilities for repairing:

    3. Do the step below depending on what you are using to do a repair install of Windows 10 with.

    step 4: To do a repair install of Windows 10 with an ISO file
    step 5: To do a repair install of Windows 10 with USB installation media
    step 6: To do a repair install of Windows 10 with Get Windows 10 (GWX) app
    step 7: To do a repair install of Windows 10 with Media Creation Tool.


    Do you have a recommendation on which might be easiest or best?

    I appreciate any further advice you can provide.

    --Jim--
     
  13. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I would recommend doing a system image with Todo Backup especially since you don't see the backup file.
    It never hurts to play it safe.

    I don't use the pay version, I've used the free one for years.
    It's never failed me, and I've restored my computer 7 times just since I started testing Windows 10.

    The thing I like is that it's so easy to use.
    It literally on takes a few clicks to make a image files.

    Open it, click on the System Backup Icon...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tell it where you want to save the backup, and click Proceed, that's all there is to it.

    Once you have it installed, use its utility to make a bootable repair disk.
    It will make either a Windows PE or a Linux disk, I've always used the Linux disk, but I made both.

    You will find the disk creation utility under the Tools option.

    Here's a link to the free version that I use.

    Best free backup software for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, etc - EaseUS Todo Backup Free

    I'm old fashioned I guess, I alway make my install media from an ISO file written to a DVD using Imgburn.

    But there's no reason to not put it on a Flash Drive.

    You can get the ISO file here...

    As soon as you get your computer all up and running again with everything working make a new backup image and then update it at least once a month.

    Windows 10

    If you can I'd install as much of your software on a second drive or partition as possible and never store your really good stuff on the same drive as Widows.

    The less you have on C:\ the better. When you install something just change the C:\ to a D:\ or whatever your other partition is and leave the Program Files, etc. part and it will set up on D:\ just like it does on C.

    Once you've done this you don't have to backup everything on your computer to backup your Windows install.

    My C:\ drive is only 90 GB, so I can backup or restore it in about 20 minutes.

    [​IMG]

    This is how my disk structure is organised, I have an SSD that has Windows 10 on it, and 2 1TB hard drive partitioned into 4 Partitions, (2 each).

    Mike
     
    #13 MikeHawthorne, Feb 19, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  14. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Well, I spent a long and stressful afternoon, and here is the result. As Mike suggested, I downloaded and installed EaseUS Todo Backup Free 9.0 and created a system backup on my external hard drive. That seemed to go fine.

    Next, I proceeded with the Windows 10 Repair Install using the link named Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade that Mike provided. That link references the tenforums.com website and provides detailed instructions.

    I chose Step 6 to initiate the Windows 10 update. It is called Do a repair install of Windows 10 with Get Windows 10 (GWX) app. This took me to a Microsoft Get Windows 10 website, where I clicked Upgrade now to start the process.

    For the next couple of hours I sat through several computer restarts as the progress was reported as a percentage in a large circle on the screen, sometimes moving rather quickly and at other times stopping on a percentage number for quite a while.

    Finally a restart said "Hi" and all kinds of good things about the version of Windows that had just been installed. My familiar desktop appeared, complete with a file that I had just stored there a few hours earlier, so everything seemed to be back to normal.

    Now for the bad news: Every problem that I reported back in my initial post is still present! No search box, no start menu, no response to right clicks on task bar icons, no response to pressing the Windows key on the keyboard, no response to Get the app when trying to install the Windows Alarm Clock HD app.

    My Windows 10 computer has essentially reverted to a Windows XP or earlier computer. To say that I am very disappointed is a huge understatement. Any more ideas?

    --Jim--
     
  15. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    Are you using a Microsoft account or local?
     
  16. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Microsoft account.
     
  17. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    Try switching to a local account and see if that resolves it, I've seen it were the problem comes back due to the problem being synced from the MS account.
     
  18. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Try what Neemobeer said, and if that doesn't work there may be no option but to just do a Reset, or a fresh install and start over with a clean computer.

    You have the advantage that you have a booting computer and you can backup everything that you don't want to lose before you start.

    When you used Todo backup did you make the bootable restore disk?
    If you didn't do that right away, you don't want the computer to become unbootable and not have the disk to restore it.


    It seems that the instructions to restore your computer without losing anything were too accurate. You didn't lose anything at all, not even your problems.

    You can try doing a "Reset" which will wipe your hard drive and reinstall Windows, or do a clean installation.

    Here are instructions on how to do a clean installation.
    Don't worry about the registration once it's installed it will activate your registration because you've already had it installed and have a Microsoft account.

    How to do a Clean Install of Windows 10, the Easy Way

    Do make sure that you don't have anything on the C:\ drive that you don't want to lose that isn't backed up.

    Favorites, game saves, documents, photos, music, and don't forget to back up your desktop if you have stuff on it.

    I wish I knew a easier way but at this point it's either do a clean install, or a reset.
    When you do get it all up and working don't forget to make a new system image file so you won't have to go through this again.

    Last suggestion, I don't know how your computer is set up, but it's a good idea to have Windows on a small partition on your drive, then put everything else on the other one.

    That means your installed software too, just change the C:\ to D:\ and leave the rest of the install address alone it will make a new Programs and Program Files x(86) folder on D:\ so none of the space used will be on C:\.

    That way you data isn't at risk when Windows screws up or get a virus, and it takes a much shorter time to back it up and restore it.

    I did a fresh install when I switched to the retail version of Windows 10 and put in a 250 GB SSD just for Windows.

    If you decide to do that, you can shrink your C:\ drive (I'd say to about 150 GB) and make the free space into a new drive using Disk Management, (this would be after moving everything you want off of C:\ to your external drive.

    It's a lot of work, but you computer should run like it's right out of the box.

    Mike
     
    #18 MikeHawthorne, Feb 20, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  19. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike, thanks for all that info. Should be very useful. Right now I have to gather my thoughts and decide what to do next.

    Neemobeer, after seeing your suggestion I read quite a bit about changing a Microsoft account to a local account, and I think I understand it. However, most of the procedures start with "Click Start, click Settings, click Accounts, click Your account, click Sign in with a local account instead." I can't do any of this, because I don't get any response from clicking the Start button, so I can't get to Settings. I can go to Control Panel, then User accounts, Change account types, but the only option there is to change my account from Administrator to Standard - nothing about MS or local accounts. Enough for one day. Sigh!
     
  20. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    It sounds like something is fundamentally corrupted, I'm surprised that it stayed through the upgrade but I'm sure that either a reset or clean install will get everything back to normal.

    The Reset is the easy way, just click the button and wait, but the clean install will really get rid of everything.

    Mike
     

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