Monday, March 28, 2016

Wrangling Windows 10

Late last June, my Dell with Windows 7 puked out on me. The hard drive died, much to my dismay. We were only weeks away from the release of Windows 10, but there I was caught between a new Windows 8.1 desktop or nothing at all.

I went to Best Buy and talked to a lad there who said, "Oh, Windows 10 won't be shipping on computers until the fall, at least," when I asked how long before Windows 10 would be on a new desktop. Hearing that, I bit the bullet and bought a Dell with Windows 8.1, knowing I would upgrade immediately.

Windows 8 is on my Surface was I didn't like it much. So I knew I would not like Windows 8.1, either.

Of course the dude at Best Buy lied to me, because Windows 10 was out on new computers nearly the day after Microsoft released its new OS to the public.

I downloaded Windows 10 about three days after it came out. During my initial upgrade, the electricity went out (thank you Appalachian Power). After much cursing, I managed to get the computer back up on Windows 8.1 and tried again.

The second time took. However, Windows 10 has been a nightmare. I know many people upgraded and have had little problem, but I am not one of them. Did the power outage do a warp thingy on me? I will never know.

The main issue I have is something called a "failed group policy client service" which occurs at sign-in, usually after Windows 10 has performed an update. When this happens, the computers thinks I am not its owner anymore, and I cannot perform administrative functions on the darned thing.

Recently, I started experiencing a failure to sign into Microsoft Solitaire (via its new Xbox configuration) and along with that goes the ability to access the Microsoft store.

I used to be very good at computers - when they were DOS based. Yes, that was 25 years ago. Then I was a whiz and could write batch files and code, and take care of most anything. Then along came Windows and I was lost. I think I started out with Windows 3.1 At some point I realized that Windows is really DOS in disguise, and managed to figure out some nifty and necessary things like msconfig and a few other commands that could be helpful in times of need, but mostly I prayed the thing didn't fail me.

Windows 10 fails me constantly. I have performed a "system restore" on this computer more times than on all of the others I've owned put together (and that goes all the way back to a Commodore Vic 20, in about 1980).

It doesn't help that Microsoft's solution to any problem you ask about is "find a friend who is an expert." Like we all know computer whiz's who live down the block or something. Maybe you do, but I do not. Or at least, not any that I would bother. Their other solution is a community forum which may or may not offer you a dozen different things to try, or nothing at all.

During these long and frustrating months, I have discovered a few commands that are helpful. First one must be able to access the command prompt and be the administrator on the computer.

In Windows 10, The easiest way to access the command prompt (what used to be known as the "C" prompt in DOS), is to right click on the start button. You will see a list of items similar to classic Windows. Look for "Command Prompt" (Admin). That's the one you want.

Once that is up, you will see C:\Windows\system32>

To fix many problems, you can type in this after the system32>

dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

This will run for a long time. It should come back and say "The operation completed successfully" at the end, whether it found a problem or not.

Check and see if the problem still exists. If it does, you're probably going to have do more googling to find your particular issue.

If you can get your system working with a system restore, then try that. I used system restore this morning to return the computer back to yesterday, and then, since I could now access the Windows store, I uninstalled Microsoft Solitaire and reinstalled it again. Hopefully this will solve that issue but I won't know for a few days - or until the next update, anyway.

You may also want to consider uninstalling whatever junk the seller placed on your computer. Dell, for example, had something called "supportassist" on mine that I recently deleted because it seemed to be at least one of the culprits on my PC. Whether or not I regret that move we will find out in time.

Microsoft, in my opinion, has released its worse OS since Windows ME and Windows 8, which tie for last place in MS operating systems. I don't know what they are thinking, releasing this. It has been, for me, anyway, the most unstable and error-filled OS I have ever used.

At any rate, I hope the above will help someone else out there who is about ready to toss their PC out the window.


  1. Thank you for making me glad I have a Mac, albeit an elderly one with an operating system that's way out of date.

    1. computers can be so crazy.

    2. My computer tells me at least once a day to upgrade. I don't do it because programs I need won't run on it. You make me very glad I never even tried.

  2. Never forget that Dell replaces any computer that totally craps out after the first year. They put a new hard drive in one for me, just 2 weeks before my year was up. The guy came to my house to do it.

    You know, just in case you have more trouble.

  3. Years ago we could get along without a computer for a few days while someone fixed these issues. Now we use them for so many things that it seems impossible to be without. What a pain in the arse.


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