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Solved Peculiar problem with a few related Windows 8.1 apps


brokensoftware

Member
Member
Posts
104
#1
For the longest time - not really sure HOW long, BTW - my system would get log entries and event entries about failures to update Store apps. I've done just about everything to resolve this, including just recently doing a "repair install" that may have fixed some OTHER problems but certainly did not fix the Store problems. Over time, especially THIS week, I've done a number of things sourced from various places on the 'Net (including multiple threads on this site) that I didn't keep track of - these included things like changing permissions of both registry keys and file structures, ownership modifications, etc etc (I wish I had kept an accurate record of what I did but, alas, I did not).

The end result of my manipulation was that certain apps, like Reader, suddenly became "uninstallable" [clarification - "uninstallable" means it became possible to uninstall an app where before trying to do that generated an error] where before they simply generated an error message when clicked on and created the standard icon that simply flashed when clicked with no other functionality. This bad behavior was present for a lot of uSoft apps and a few 3rd-party apps.

Almost all of those apps suddenly became uninstallable - which I did. I reinstalled the Reader app to see if it was actually usable and - tada! - it behaves as one would WANT it to behave - yay!

However...

As depicted here:
errorapps.jpg

a few apps continue to show "Error" next to their Start icons. Strangely, the Store app itself, though showing "Error", actually works. The others, however, are broken as before. (all the apps in the image showed "Error", the Reader and HP apps are ones I uninstalled and reinstalled successfully)

I understand that ALL the remaining broken apps are "built-ins" - Camera and Photos are part of OneDrive, PC Settings is part (or something) of File Manager, and I have no clue what's up with Store.

Anyway, since they're built-ins rather than run-of-the-mill apps, whatever I did to get most apps uninstallable won't work with these.

So...What is causing that "Error" to appear next to the app name? Why does Store work yet the others are broken? How DOES one "reset" a built-in app like Camera or Photo?

I've followed various threads here already, including "wsreset", "appxpackage" stuff, etc but those had no effect. I have no problem with twiddling registry entries, file permissions, ownerships, etc but certainly will NOT be performing another system refresh/repair (that appears to NOT affect Store stuff...hmmm...could this suggest a problem with something within MY folders (not system folders) is the cause of the problem?).

Any clue not already here on this site (since I've read and done just about all of them) would greatly be appreciated, especially pointers to LOCATIONS, both registry and file, that may hold relevant things to twiddle.
 
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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1, 10, various Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    homebuilt

brokensoftware

Member
Member
Posts
104
#2
Any clue not already here on this site (since I've read and done just about all of them) would greatly be appreciated, especially pointers to LOCATIONS, both registry and file, that may hold relevant things to twiddle.
Well, it turns out there was another place on this site (thanks, Shawn!) that had the solution to getting all the app shown above with "Error" next to them to work. Each one of these apps are "built-ins" in that they exist under the Windows folder rather than Program Files. Using Shawn's post as a guide, the Powershell command:

Code:
powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $Env:SystemRoot\[COLOR=#ff0000][B]ImmersiveControlPanel[/B][/COLOR]\AppxManifest.xml
worked perfectly to restore the PC Settings functionality.

Furthermore, the part of the command highlighted in red is all that was needed to be changed to get the other apps working as well.

For each app there is a corresponding folder:

Camera
Camera
Photos
FileManager
OneDrive
FileManager
Store
WinStore
PC Settings
ImmersiveControlPanel

Substituting each folder name into that PowerShell command line did the job. I haven't checked yet whether OTHER users of this machine will see the fix as well for these built-ins but suspect they will (each user has the same "Error" next to their regular apps - uninstalling each of them and reinstalling them gets rid of that).

So - that image above remains the same though the apps themselves now work. Anyone got a clue how to get rid of the "Error" next to those few names?...(I'm gonna try a reboot).

=====

Post-post addendum: Other users on the machine still have broken apps so I have to figure out what I did to myself that I'll have to do to them as well t get these built-ins to work again. And we ALL still have that "Error" next to the app icon (shown as an 'X' on the Start apps that were broken) so that has to be figured out as well.

If anyone reading this has some suggestions, all are welcome.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1, 10, various Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    homebuilt

brokensoftware

Member
Member
Posts
104
#3
Visiting a number of sites (here included) I finally got all MY Store apps to icon-display correctly and work correctly AND I was able to get the other two users' (of this machine) apps to display and work correctly, too. The procedure was somewhat convoluted - involves resetting machine-wide app stuff as well as individual user app stuff. Apparently due to the way running with admin rights works for the two non-admin users, I actually had to delve into HKEY_USERS as well as HKEY_CURRENT_USER and do it AS each user (I logged in as them, then simply raised my rights to admin when I needed them).

Anyway, the main source of the solution is the first (and repeated) answer by andy562 here: https://social.technet.microsoft.co...to-windows-81-enterprise?forum=w8itproinstall

This procedure had to be modified somewhat because I had to fix Store apps for both myself (an admin user) and for two non-admin users.

(1) The machine-wide Store app fixup commands are run from an admin CMD dialog. 1st is run as shown:

Code:
Powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage  -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register  $Env:SystemRoot\WinStore\AppxManifest.xml
then the 2nd is run by first starting up a Powershell, then giving it the command to run (because I don't (yet) know what I'm doing with Powershell so didn't know how to use the above style Powershell invocation to run the command below!):

Still inside the admin CMD dialog:

Code:
Powershell
((Get-ChildItem  "HKLM:SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx\AppxAllUserStore\InboxApplications")  | Get-ItemProperty).Path | Add-AppxPackage -Register  -DisableDevelopmentMode
These two commands apparently reset the machine-wide Store stuff.

(2) For each user, login as that user.

(3) (not sure THIS step is necessary but doesn't hurt and is fast to do) Go to the Start screen, click on the lower left "all apps" arrow, and bring up the display of all the apps. For my particular problem, this brought up 50-ish icons with only uSoft icons displaying "error". For each of those apps, right click on the icon and uninstall the app. There will be a handful that cannot be uninstalled - those are the built-ins like "Store", "PC Settings", "Camera", "Photos", "Video", and "OneDrive".

(4) Continuing with the sourced solution answer, now the individual's Store setup stuff is reset.

(5) Open an admin CMD dialog. From the solution source, then do:

Code:
1. Open registry editor typing regedit.exe from a command line.
  2. Browse to the registry key at  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local  Settings\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\appmodel\repository\packages.
  3. Right click on the “packages” key and bring up the “Permissions” tab.
  4. Click the “Advanced” button located at the bottom right corner.
  5. Check to see the account name that shows up as the “Owner” (this is  the first line of text on the “advanced security settings” dialog for  the “packages” key). It should say “SYSTEM”.  (For me this showed the  built-in local Administrators  group)
  6. If it is any other account, click on the “Change” button next to it.
  7. Type SYSTEM in the “select user” dialog. If “Multiple Names Found” window comes up, select the row for “SYSTEM”.
  8. Click OK to the dialogs and close them all.
(6) But the above is NOT enough - now go to the registry location for the same user under HKEY_USERS down to that same "packages" key and make sure it, too, is owned by SYSTEM:
Code:
1. Open registry editor typing regedit.exe from a command line.
  2. Browse to the registry key at  HKEY_USERS\[B][I]BIG_LONG_USER_ID_ENDING_LIKE_...1001[/I][/B]\Software\Classes\Local  Settings\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\appmodel\repository\packages.
  3. Right click on the “packages” key and bring up the “Permissions” tab.
  4. Click the “Advanced” button located at the bottom right corner.
  5. Check to see the account name that shows up as the “Owner” (this is  the first line of text on the “advanced security settings” dialog for  the “packages” key). It should say “SYSTEM”.  (For me this showed the  built-in local Administrators  group)
  6. If it is any other account, click on the “Change” button next to it.
  7. Type SYSTEM in the “select user” dialog. If “Multiple Names Found” window comes up, select the row for “SYSTEM”.
  8. Click OK to the dialogs and close them all.
(7) Now do the final modification step of the solution source.

Code:
Delete the regkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx\AppxAllUserStore\[B][I]BIG_LONG_USER_ID_ENDING_LIKE_...1001[/I][/B]
This step actually removes that user's information about the apps (which is why I'm unsure about the necessity of step 3 above).

(8) Restart, login as a user, and the Store apps should all either immediately or shortly thereafter lose their little 'x' or "error" markings on their icons and all should work - at least this solved it for me.

-----

Now the only unknown is whether or not the many downloaded updates will appropriately install (or the icons marked "Install") sometime tonight.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1, 10, various Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    homebuilt