I was working with a Windows Surface where the user would open File Explorer from the taskbar and it would freeze.  The window showed the message "Getting Things Ready" and would never open.  
 
The first time I looked at this, I ended up deleting all of the user's quick access history thinking there was corruption somewhere.  This resolved the issue for about 3 weeks until it returned.
 
I was able to right click on the Windows logo, click run, and open C:\ with no issues loading the file explorer window.  Clicking on quick access had no issues, as long as I didn't open file explorer from the taskbar.
 
The fix for this is to open file explorer as previously mentioned to the C:\ through run command, go to view, and click options.  In the general tab is a drop down that says "Open File Explorer to: "Quick access" or "This PC".  
 
Changing the setting from "Quick access" to "This PC" resolved file explorer freezing when opened from the taskbar.
 

 

When removing unwanted Windows 10 Apps via Powershell scripts, the process for removing it for all users deletes the AppXPackages from C:\Program Files\WindowsApps. This is normally the intended process, however, most scripts used to remove these use shorthand names such as "Netflix" to find the package label of the appxbundle then using the full path found, delete it. The reason the shorthand is used is because every major release of Windows 10 (1809, 1903, etc) changes these packages. This shorthand method has at times removed packages unintentionally. In order to add the package back you need to find the .appxbundle and .xml of the exact version of Windows 10 you are using. An in place upgrade can be done to replace the missing packages, however, remotely that's not always a feasible/safe option.
 
Microsoft has a Windows 10 Inbox Apps ISO for each available Windows 10 version. These can be found on the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. In order to reinstall the package use the following steps.
  • Mount ISO
    • Mount the ISO or UNC path with Packages to be added.
    • Open Powershell as Admin
    • Run powershell command: Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online -PackagePath <path to .appxbundle> -LicensePath <path to .xml>
      • Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online -PackagePath "D:\x86fre\Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe.appxbundle" –LicensePath "D:\x86fre\Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe.xml"
 

 

You can run the following command from a Windows command prompt to remove an app for all users that will login to the PC.  This should be done before deploying the PC and will not remove the apps for users that have already logged in. This command removes Solitaire as an example.
 
powershell -command "Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers -Name *solitaire* | Remove-AppxPackage -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue"
 
You can also run a similar command as the user to remove the app for that user. (Just remove the "-Allusers" string and add the "-windowstyle hidden" string)
 
powershell –windowstyle hidden -command "Get-AppxPackage -Name *solitaire* | Remove-AppxPackage -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue"
 
You can include commands for several different apps into a single script and run that on the PC or as the user at login.

 

We've had some frustrations with end users shutting down their machines accidentally at end of day, causing updates and software pushes after hours to fail. We wanted users to have the ability to restart, and for administrators to be able to shut down machines if needed. We investigated a few options using group policy and user rights assignment, but both options ultimately did not work out because it removed the ability for the user to restart their machine.
 
After some research, a recent post in a Citrix forum made a note of a new registry hive that was released with either the 1703 or 1709 build of Windows 10 that allows for way more granularity when it comes to managing the desktop interface. This includes a key specifically for only removing the shutdown option from both the "Shut down" or "Sign out" menu and the Power menu.
 
 
The registry hive can be found (or created) under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\device\Start

 
 
 

After installing each Windows 10 creator's update, I get the following error message when I try to click on any link in any email message or click on a table of contents link in a Word doc:

It's not an entirely bad thing to have email links require a copy and paste but it's a real problem with other links like the Table of Contents in a long Word document.

There is a KB article at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/310049 that discusses this issue. The solution for Windows 10 is to find a system that doesn't have the problem and export a registry key then import it into the offending system. The key it references gets deleted each time a new creator's update is installed.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\htmlfile\shell\open\command

Then you export the subkey to a file, copy the file to the system having the problem and import it into that system's registry (either by double clicking the .reg file or importing it via regedit). There is a last verification step to verify the String (Default) value of "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \.html" key is "htmlfile".

That was several steps it took to make my system less secure. It's usually the other way around!

 


 

I was configuring a new Windows 10 PC for a customer and logged in under the local administrator account. I tried to open Edge but received a notification that Edge could not be opened by the built-in administrator account.

After some research, I discovered that Microsoft has become distrusting enough of the local administrator account that they prevent it from opening Microsoft Apps. This was actually introduced with Windows 8, but Windows 10 introduced Edge, which is potentially the first widespread use of Microsoft App.

The options to fix this are to either disable UAC, or adjust group policy to allow the local admin account to access Apps. The details of the issue and the options for a fix are included in this link: https://4sysops.com/archives/why-the-built-in-administrator-account-cant-open-edge-and-a-lesson-in-uac/


 

Occasionally, I have the need to open a Visio diagram but don't have a need to create or modify them. So, the Visio viewer seemed to be an ideal option. However, after installing the viewer (I tried this with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions), I was still unable to open a Visio file.

The best I could get was Windows asking what I would like to use to open the file and Visio viewer wasn't an option. After drilling down to find the executable file, I found the viewer (VPREVIEW.EXE) would display a message saying "This program can only run from within another program” when I tried to execute it. I discovered the Visio viewer is designed to use ActiveX controls within Internet Explorer. Since I had disabled IE 11 on my system (using the "Turn Windows features on or off"), the viewer had nowhere to execute since Edge doesn't support ActiveX.

I found a Chrome plug-in in the Chrome web store that will allow me to view Visio files from inside Chrome. However, it requires me to click on a tag in the Chrome header and then drag the Visio file into the Chrome window.

So, the alternatives appear to be to enable IE 11 or use a Chrome plug-in.