Windows 10 Windows update causes most of my Applications to stop working since 11th Oct. Please help!!


My Windows updated automatically on night of Oct 11th.
From the next day, when I started my laptop, most of the applications stopped running and gave me this error:

The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application event log or use the command-line sxstrace.exe for more detail.
The applications that I have tried running and give this error are :
  1. Notepad++
  2. Steam
  3. Firefox
  4. Visual C++ installation file
  5. Microsoft Remote session setup application
I tried troubleshooting myself, and ended up trying to re-install Visual C++. But as mentioned above, I cannot do that because the setup file that I download for Visual C++ gives me the same error.

I contacted Microsoft Support, and they weren't able to setup a remote session on my PC because of the same issue.

Then they asked me to perform a System Restore. Which I did and it fixed the problem temporarily. I am in a critical phase and have deadlines approaching for assignments and exams (I am a college student). So I realized this could happen again and I contacted Microsoft Support to request them to turn off Automatic Updates. The support "turned it off" via a remote session but my Windows updated again that night.

And now I am back to square one. None of my applications run. Microsoft support is asking me to reset my windows but I cannot afford that because I don't have the time or a Flash-Drive to do it.

TLDR: Windows keeps corrupting itself.

Can someone please suggest me a solution other than resetting the windows.

Event Log: Activation context generation failed for "System Default Context".Error in manifest or policy file "C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\manifests\" on line 0. Invalid Xml syntax.

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Windows Forum Team
Staff member
You can try an online repair from an elevated command prompt. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

You can also try and run SFC /scannow from the elevated command prompt.
It will scan your system files looking for an error and correct it if it can.

Also run Malwarebytes and make sure this isn't related to some kind of malware just to be sure.

You should backup all data that's important before you try any more complex fixes.

If you haven't already. check these pages and see if there is any help...

sxstrace.exe side-by-side configuration Solved - Windows 7 Help Forums

FIX: Side-by-side configuration is incorrect error, while opening Windows Live Messenger

If there is no solution here, then you may have to reset your computer, if you do make sure that everything is backed up first.

In the future you should make a System Backup Image so that you always have a quick way to restore your computer to a working configuration.

I can't tell you how many time it's save me.

I use EaseUS TODO backup, it's free.


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I have tried SFC/scannow, it executed but did not fix anything.

Downloading and installing the visual c++ redistributable package does not work because running the executable file is giving the same error:
The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application event log or use the command-line sxstrace.exe for more detail.

I am getting this error for all applications including the setup files.
I have restored my Windows to temporarily solve the issue, I currently have the following visual c++ packages in my system:

I don't have the visual c++ 2008 package. What packages should I install or re-install?

Windows Event side by side 2.png
attaching Event log in case that helps.

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Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
I read your thread and sympathize with your predicament.:scratch: But you are asking us to solve a problem that cannot be solved in the time you have to fix it, as more aggressive solutions are required.:scratch: Fixing something like a C++ distributable problem or a problem is unlikely to work in the time you have available to fix it in (right away) and no resources (you can't even buy a Flash Drive?). Not to mention you haven't told us the Make/Model of the computer you are having this problem with. So you know, when asking for computer help on any tech forum, it's customary to give us some information about the computer you are having the problem with.

That being said, you are between a rock and a hard place. At this point, I can provide some additional discussion for you to fix your problem for next time, but nothing that will fix your problem immediately. Since you didn't respond to Mike's suggestion about having backups on external media in place; I'm going to assume that you probably do not, otherwise you would have mentioned it.

One of the perils of running on a new version of Windows is the possibility of your computer getting scrambled by updates from MS or from other software programs running on your machine such as antivirus, antispyware, etc. Without taking proper precautions, it's a bit of a gamble especially for a student with limited resources. With that being said, we are getting thousands of people with crashed W10 systems since the AU update starting being pushed out in September. Microsoft can help with some problems, but there are currently over 200 million people running W10 worldwide now, and they are overloaded. They don't have solutions for every problem for every person on every type of computer made AT THIS POINT IN TIME! :noway:

Here's some things to think about in terms of stabilizing your system once you decide to repair it. Take a look at this discussion post I wrote about the negative effects of the AU update, and what you can do to mitigate them:
Windows 10 - Anniversary Update, Not responding, High CPU, slow wireless
Unfortunately, since Microsoft still hasn't completely repaired the AU update for all windows users in all computers, there is no solution to keep your computer from getting scrambled by the next AU update--they are coming in about once every 2 weeks now via the weekly Tuesday update push from MS. The best thing you can do is to do manual backup to external media such as DVD, USB, or free Cloud Storage account. If you had access to an external HDD such as a 500GB or larger, you could also do Image Backup using free software such as EASETodo or other free ones we recommend here. It turns out that this is essential to running this new version of W10. Many of us here have been testing W10 for over 2 years, and we have dedicated computers for this task, Test Machines, and if they get scrambled by updates we can just restore an older W10 version which works with that computer and wait for the next update to come in and kill Windows and do another restore, etc. etc. Certainly not a good solution for most home users that take hundreds or thousands of hours to build up their W10.

Should you decide to attempt the repair you will first have to test your hardware and then proceed with applying various windows utilities and software tools up to an including a complete W10 reinstallation. If your computer has a DVD drive you can still create new W10 install media which you will need to do and we are talking about $0.20 US for a disc versus $15 US for a flash drive.
Here's the Troubleshooting and Repair Guide here: Windows 10 - Unclickable Task Bar

Sorry we don't have better news for you, but the only other alternative would be to get a loan from a friend and take your computer to a Computer Pro and pay him to fix the problem for you, if he can. Several of us here including myself fix computers for a living, and so we are giving you free advice that you would have to pay big bucks for if you had to pay a Tech to fix the problem you now have in front of you. This advice may not help you for this problem, but may help you next time. If the computer you have originally came with an earlier version of Windows such as W7 or W8.1, you may consider rebuilding it with the original Windows it came with using factory Recovery Media in order to avoid this dilemma with W10 in the future.

Some things to think about.
Good luck,


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I have no idea if this would help but you could try installing the visual c++ Redistributable package from safe mode.

It really sound like that's the problem but how to restore it without reinstalling Windows 10 is something I don't know if it won't let you do it in the normal way.



Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
@Mike: It's worth a shot, definitely, given the OPs severe lack of resources available. I think I tried doing this many years ago, back when C++ was still C+, and it didn't work then for me. Neither does a reinstall of

BBJ :brew:

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