Windows 10 Features Disappeared after a Crash

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

  1. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    Press Windows Key + i then Accounts > Sign-in with local account
     
  2. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike, thanks for taking the time to help me with my problem. I agree that it looks like a number of things are corrupted and that I need to start over. I may be on borrowed time, since this morning (after shutting the system down last night) I stared at a blank gray screen for 5 or 10 minutes while the system was starting up again, but the normal desktop finally appeared. I think I'll leave it on tonight. This post may be rather long - hope you (and others) don't mind.

    I use my computer several hours a day and really can't be without it for very long - especially when it comes to email, Word and Excel documents and Internet browsing. From past experience in setting up new household Windows computers for the past 20+ years, I know that it can take several days to get everything restored, so I have a plan for access while I'm cleaning up my PC. My wife has an identical computer (minus the problems!) - a Dell Inspiron One 2350 all-in-one (no tower, all parts in the monitor base). It has a one terabyte disk that has lots of unused space. I plan to create an additional user account for myself on that computer and copy my data files, favorites, email files etc. to that account so that I can keep normal activities going while I'm restoring my PC. We both use Windows Live Mail for email. Do you see any obvious problems with that plan? Even before I set that up, I'll use Todo Backup to save her good working system to an external drive!

    You said in your recent post, "You can try doing a 'Reset' which will wipe your hard drive and reinstall Windows, or do a clean installation." Am I correct in assuming that the same amount of work remains following either one of these methods - that is, reinstalling programs and restoring data? If that's the case, it seems that the clean install is the better choice. The article that you referenced says when discussing the reset, "In addition, some people have reported that it won’t fix some system corruption issues, in which case you’d want to perform a real clean install using Option One above." I've already gone through one lengthy procedure that didn't work, and I'd hate to do another.

    Now a couple of questions about doing a clean install. The article says, "The classic method of performing a clean install is still our go-to option with Windows 10. You just need to download and create installation media, either on a DVD or a flash drive, and install it from there." Do you happen to know if a 16 GB flash drive is likely to have sufficient space? Once the installation media has been created, the article says, "Install Windows 10 from the installation media like you would any other operating system. Restart your computer with the USB drive or DVD inserted, and boot from that device. This may require you change a setting in the BIOS, access a boot menu, or use the 'Use a device' option in the advanced startup options on a modern Windows 8 or 10 device that includes UEFI firmware instead of the traditional BIOS." I've read a bit about changing the boot device order. I just hope I can do that on this PC that seems to have so much trouble starting up.

    I bought my computer from Dell with Home Office 2013 already installed, and they didn't provide a DVD, but I do know what the Product Key is. I was able to retrieve it from a report created by Belarc Advisor, which I just learned about today. I hope I'll be able to reinstall Office via a download and use the Product Key to reactivate it. Any warnings here?

    That's enough for now. Once I get into the install, I may have more questions.

    --Jim--
     
  3. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Neither Windows Key by itself, Windows Key + i nor clicking the Start button gives any response.
     
  4. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    16 Gigabytes should be plenty, it all fits on a DVD (my prefered method because everyone's computer is already set to boot to a DVD) so there should be plenty of room.

    Here's a link to the Media Creation Tool page.

    Windows 10

    Unless this is being caused by some kind of hardware issue you should just be able to stick in the disk, or flash drive and select the install option and end up with a clean computer.

    To use the Media Creation Tool, download it and run it, and follow the instructions.
    Select the option to create media for another computer, Not Upgrade this computer now.

    It will create a bootable USB Drive or an ISO file.
    If you want to make a Windows install DVD, select the ISO file option and then write the ISO file to a disk using the ImgBurn program.

    Either way will work the same after you start the process.

    And yes either way you will have to install all your third party software.

    Good Luck

    Mike
     
  5. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Another question, Mike. I'm proceeding slowly and carefully. In your statement above, does the ISO file get written first to the computer's hard drive and then copied to a DVD using ImgBurn, or can it be written directly to the DVD? I have downloaded and installed ImgBurn but have not tried running it yet. I see options "Write image file to disc" and "Write files/folders to disc."

    --Jim--
     
  6. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    The ISO file is a file that contains all the content for the Windows install but not in a form that can be booted to.

    You can save the ISO file anyplace on you computer (Desktop) and then use ImgBurn to convert the ISO file to a bootable install DVD.

    I'm pretty sure that you can do this inside Windows now without using ImgBurn, but this is the way I've always done it and I'm too old to change. Besides it's so easy to use ImgBurn that I use of for most things I'm going to write to a disk.


    You select Write "Image File to Disk".
    Select the ISO file you want to write...
    Direct it to the drive that has the blank DVD in it and say go, or whatever the option is.

    When it gets done you will have a disk that will boot your computer and install Windows.

    Once you have the disk, test it by putting it in the drive and restarting your computer.
    If you get a menu asking what disk you want to boot to select the DVD, more likely it will just boot to it.

    If it works and you boot to the Windows setup screen you are all set.
    Take the disk out, reboot and label it.

    Do whatever you need to do to get ready and then put the disk back in and start the process.
    It should be just like installing Windows from a factory disk.

    It will restart a few time and eventually ask things like time zone etc. and arrive at the desktop looking just like a new computer.

    If it asks for a serial number just select later or ignore it and it will verify from your Windows account when you log in using it.

    Save the disk you can use it for repairs etc, later.

    As soon as you have you basic setup done and your software installed make a new System Image file with TODO backup and you should never have to go through all of this again.

    Mike
     
    #26 MikeHawthorne, Feb 22, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  7. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike and others, this story has a happy ending! I spent quite a bit of time gathering information about my current installation in anticipation of doing a clean install of Windows 10 - listing all the programs I use and figuring out where I was going to get them when it was time to reinstall them. I was about finished with this process when I could not find the Product Key for Office 2013 that I had purchased from Dell when I bought my computer, and I knew I would need it when I reinstalled Office. Dell was no help, so I began a chat session with the Microsoft Answer Desk. The technician I chatted with, Divya, took control of my PC but could not retrieve the Product Key. She called in an expert named Chris A and mentioned to him the problem I was having with Search and the Start button not working. Chris also took control of my PC (with my permission, of course) and used netplwiz to create a new user account. I had tried earlier to create a new user profile (a step that Neemobeer suggested back on February 15) but got an error message. I had tried doing it with Control Panel rather than netplwiz. Search and the Start button worked in the new profile, so next Chris set up a big copy job to copy everything from the old account under the folder Users to the new account. This copy ran for several hours. After all this finished, I was able to log into both the old and new accounts. I didn't have to install any of the programs in the new account - they were still there from the old account. I did have to recreate a lot of settings for some of the programs, including Word and Windows Live Mail, but that was certainly easier than reinstalling everything. Mike, I have created a system backup and an emergency file using Todo Backup 9.1 and have used ImgBurn to burn the emergency file to a DVD. Thanks for that info! It was very handy to be able to go back into the old account while I was setting up the new account, because there were a number of settings that I didn't remember until I started running programs in the new account. Search and the Start button still do not work in the old account, and it takes several minutes for that account to boot up, so when I'm sure I don't need to visit it any more, I'll delete it.

    --Jim--
     
  8. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    A follow-on question: My old account is named Jim (the name that is displayed on the login screen) and the folder under the Users folder for that account is also named Jim. Chris, the Microsoft tech who helped me, used the word Test when he created the new account, and that is the name of the folder under the Users folder. The new account name on the login screen is Jim S.... (my first and last names). Am I stuck with the user name Test or do I dare change it?

    --Jim--
     
  9. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Glad to hear you got everything working.

    Just a few things.

    One: did you create a bootable repair disk using Todo backup, it's under the Tools tab.
    I prefer to make them on a DVD, and use the Linux version, but you can do it on a flash drive too or using Windows PE.

    I ask because you said that you used ImgBurn to create it and that's not necessary.
    Just use the utility in the Tools folder to make a repair disk.

    This is different than writing a ISO file to a disk.

    The process installs the the EaseUS Todo software to the disk and makes it bootable so that it will run the program from the disk and restore the hard drive without running it from your hard drive.

    This works even if you computer is unbootable.

    As for changing your user name, I don't think there's a problem with that especially the new non Microsoft account.

    But I believe you need to do it from your Microsoft account.

    Read through this...

    Change Account username in Windows 10.

    And if you ever need to find the registration code for any of your software there is a free program that will tell you everything about your computer including all your software license numbers.

    It's called Belarc Advisor.
    It's actually kind of scary how much it can see in you computer (even things like the serial numbers on your motherboard, drives and ram sticks) but it's safe to use, I've used it for years as have other people here.

    I've had to use it several times to find the registration number on software that I needed to reinstall.

    Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit, for software, hardware and security configuration information on your computer. Software license management, IT asset management, cyber security audits, and more.

    Make sure you make that repair disk!!!

    Mike
     
    #29 MikeHawthorne, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  10. Jim S

    Jim S Honorable Member

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    Mike, thanks for the feedback. Here are my replies:

    1. I should have tried writing the repair disk directly to the DVD. I wrote it to the desktop with Todo and then copied the file from the Desktop to the DVD with ImgBurn. Will this have the same effect, or should I create another directly from Todo to the DVD? Also, what are the arguments for using the Linux version vs. Windows PE?

    2. I'm happy with my new account name. It's the User folder named Test that I might want to change, but I can live with it.

    3. I did download, install and run Belarc Advisor per your earlier recommendation. I tried to confirm the Office Product ID that it reported on the Office website and was told it is invalid. Then I looked closely at the Belarc report again. Footnote e was displayed with the Product ID, and it says, "e. This may be the manufacturer's factory installed product key rather than yours. You can change it to your product key using the procedure at
    BELARC - Changing Microsoft Windows and Office Product Keys." At that point I didn't pursue the Belarc procedure to change the product key and instead called Microsoft.

    --Jim--
     
  11. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Put the disk you created in the DVD drive and reboot your computer.
    It should boot your computer and open the EaseUS TODO interface giving you the option to restore your hard drive.

    If it does that then you should be good.
    Just exit the program, take the disk out and reboot without doing the restore.

    If not put in a new DVD and use the Create a Recovery Disk option to make a disk from scratch, writing directly to the disk.
    Then test it the same way.

    Mike
     

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