Isolating source of Windows 10 interface problems

  1. Posts : 5
    Windows 10

    Isolating source of Windows 10 interface problems

    Version: Windows 10 Home, OS build 19045.2846

    For some time, I've been having a serious of problems relating to parts of the Windows interface:

    • When I click the search bar in Windows Explorer, it hangs for a moment and then deselects itself
    • The calendar and notification center sometimes do not appear when clicking in the bottom right
    • I am unable to login to new Microsoft accounts, whether through Settings -> Access work or school -> Connect, adding a new user account, or trying to login to any Office desktop apps. The login window pops up but is blank, and closes after a second or so. I do remain logged into my existing Microsoft account however, which allows me to continue using Office

    I have isolated the problem to some extent: it does not occur in safe mode, nor in a second user account that I created. It does however occur (in the original account) after a clean boot (disabled all startup programs and non-Microsoft services).

    At this point, I am bit lost on how to proceed with further isolating the problem. Are there any recommendations on this process? In the worst case scenario I could just migrate to a different user account, but I'd like to avoid this if possible.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 43,181
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Hi, welcome to tenforums. Your new user account check is a valuable test.

    As soon as you said "For some time," that suggested you don't have a means of reverting to a good state before this started.

    (Typical ways to recover might be using System Restore, or restoring a previously created good disk image- you do use 3rd party disk imaging regularly and routinely, I hope - endlessly recommended here- so you can recover by yourself quickly when bad things happen in many cases

    The most reliable way forward, lacking those options, is indeed to use a newly created account, as it seems there's no apparent reason why this happened. I will assume you didn't use a registry cleaner, for example, and that you've done routine checks to verify
    a. your entire disk (3rd party program)
    b. your file system e.g.
    chkdsk c: /scan
    from an admin command prompt.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the response!

    I do have disk images going back several years, but I didn't notice the problem for a long time, so at this point restoring a system image would be if anything more work than just reinstalling Windows or moving to the new user account.

    Is there no procedure I could use to help narrow down what's causing the issue in the original account? The fact that the issue happens under a clean boot but not safe mode I would assume limits the scope of what could be causing it quite a bit. I'm just not sure how to find a full list of differences between safe mode and clean boot so I can start testing them.

    EDIT: Forgot to say, no I have not used a registry cleaner, and yes, I have run file system and disk checks.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 43,181
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Ok, that does suggest there's no registry damage, so should be possible.

    Assuming a startup is causing this. then you would be looking for something less common- hopefully not malware- I assume you've done a scan.

    As for fully detailed control of startups, get a copy of Autoruns (free from MS) - which shows EVERYTHING from drivers to context menus. Do not disable anything by MS (Hide MS entries- under Options- probably set by default).

    You could, I suppose, even use the File Save, File Compare to compare a record of the Safe Mode startups with those of a clean boot. (Never tried it...).

    Personally I'd start by looking through the clean boot startups to look for anything unusual, and try selectively disabling those to see if there's any improvement.

    You should take care to ensure you can get back to your original state- e.g. create a System Restore point, keep notes on what you change....

    Autoruns presents startups in sections, from scheduled tasks to context menu items and drivers, so make sure you only look in relevant sections.
      My Computers

  5. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    This looks like exactly what I'm looking for, thank you!

    I'll try troubleshooting in the next couple days and update when I'm done.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Sorry to have disappeared for so long.

    In the end, I wasn't able to isolate the problem. I decided to just reinstall Windows (not that much more work than switching to a new user), which solved the issue.

    Thank you again for your advice!
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 43,181
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Now you've done that, and before you start configuring and installing like crazy, start a new regular disk imaging routine - e.g. Macrium Reflect, Aomei Backupper.. and ensure System Restore is enabled (tutorial on scheduled creation available- I have one created daily).
      My Computers

  8. Posts : 5
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the advice! I actually did have Macrium installed and doing daily backups. The issue in this case was it took me so long to notice the issue that restoring such an old backup would have been impractical.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 43,181
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Yep, that's always a risk...even if you have a series of, say, diff images going back over several weeks.
      My Computers

  10. Posts : 7,914
    Windows 11 Pro 64 bit

    I suspect your problem was a corrupted user profile for which you could recover from the last working backup or create a new account and move your files across to the new account. I just had this problem shortly after a clean install of Windows for no obvious reasons.
      My Computers


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