Fix: Windows 10 Start Menu (and Modern Subsystem) Freezes and Stops Working

Nothing gets me more upset than seeing a common issue that never seems to get fixed. Since Windows 10 inception I have noticed a rather odd issue that occurs about weekly where my Start Menu, all Metro (Modern) Apps, and even Internet Explorer (which is odd given its a Win32 App) locks up, freezes, and just plan stops working.

The only obvious cure had been to reboot the PC.

However through alot of trial an error have figured out a workaround to get your PC back on its feet.

The Workaround

  • Simply open Task Manager (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC)
  • Click More Details (if needed)
  • Go to Details
  • Locate: siHost.exe
  • Right Click, End Process Tree

Note: This may need to be done twice in my testing but should always return the start menu after that second try. Many times it only takes once.

More Detail

You may notice when this happens that there are the following events in the event logs:

The program ShellExperienceHost.exe version 10.0.10586.218 stopped interacting with Windows and was closed. To see if more information about the problem is available, check the problem history in the Security and Maintenance control panel.
Process ID: 2290
Start Time: 01d1a082cc447ca3
Termination Time: 4294967295
Application Path: C:\Windows\SystemApps\ShellExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\ShellExperienceHost.exe
Report Id: 524e2a97-0c76-11e6-8dae-64006a80564a
Faulting package full name: Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost_10.0.10586.0_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy
Faulting package-relative application ID: App

Also you may see errors about SearchUI.exe

 

Workaround: Chrome will not PIN sites to Windows 10 Taskbar

I could rant for a long while about how Microsoft removed the verb “Pin to Taskbar” from the Shell.Application COM object but I won’t. I will simply say that I think they did that to keep OEM’s from putting crap on it when you buy a new PC. However as so often is the case, there was unintended side effects. Reasonable use cases like Chrome being able to PIN websites and Corporate IT being able to PIN corporate applications comes to mind. Lets not talk about how anti-competitive it looks when Internet Explorer (IE) is able to still pin items to the taskbar yet 3rd Party browsers like Chrome are left in the dust.

Ok I said I wouldn’t rant, here is the workaround.

  • Simply do the normal process in Chrome to PIN something to the start menu.
  • Then go here:
    • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Chrome Apps
      • Note: <username> will be your username you use to logon to Windows. If you dont know it simply go to c:\users and you should be able to figure it out
  • Find the shortcut Chrome created for your website, right click and you will see “PIN to Taskbar”

Also thanks to Reddit for figuring this out:

Chrome "Add To Taskbar" Issue from Windows10

Leave a comment if it helped you!

-Eric

Bug | Android | Error 111 (net::ERR_TUNNEL_CONNECTION_FAILED)

Quick one… After spending far too much time I figured it out an issue where I was getting the following error in Chrome on Android when trying to access a SSL website I hosted at my home on port 2000..

“Error 111 (net::ERR_TUNNEL_CONNECTION_FAILED)”

Some extra details… this was on my Nexus 4 on AT&T running first 4.2.1 then 4.2.2.

The real issue, Android for some unknown reason will not allow you to use unstandard ports for SSL (i.e. only port 443 works when using https)

I confirmed this by trying a SSL website on port 2000 using my wifes iphone on AT&T. Sure enough it worked fine. So its not AT&T. Also worth pointing out it works fine on wifi.

Hopefully this is just a bug and will be fixed in the future. The only thing I could do was move my SSL website to the standard port 443.

There was zero info on this on the net so I wanted to get it out there. Hope it sheds some light on it for you. If it did leave a comment so I know.

Office 2013 Installer Failure | “not supported upgrading from a preview version”

Well you are likely here because you are the adventurous type who had Office 2013 Preview installed and then tried to uninstall and install the full release.

Microsoft Office 2013 does not support upgrading from a preview version of Microsoft Office 2013. You must first uninstall these preview versions of Microsoft Office 2013 products and associated technologies:

Microsoft Office 2013 Professional Plus 2013

Some may advise you to go into control panel and remove all Office items from the programs list. However if you are like me then that will not be enough.

If you are still having issues after reviewing the programs list in the control panel then go ahead and delete the following registry key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products0005102110000000100000000F01FEC

If for some reason that isn’t enough, then delete these as well:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Patches\D5360E4B109548941BFB078A144B11D5
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Patches\D5360E4B109548941BFB078A144B11D5
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\15.0\

if that still doesn’t do it, then search for the phrase “2013” at the root of the registry and start wacking keys that look office 2013 related. However I am pretty sure that first one will take care of you.

Hey if I helped ya, or you can add something to the conversation then please let me know in the comments belooooooow! I take payment in the form of “thanks” in the comments 😉

Windows 8 System Image Tool, Where did it go?

Quick one….

Here is how you can do a full disk image of a Windows 8 system.

If you are like me and just finished setting up your shinny new Windows 8 system, you installed all of your non-metro apps, you activated all of your professional software and now thought, “damn good time to take a image” then had a hard time figuring out where it went…. you are not alone.

In what looks like a ridiculous and frustrating war between Microsoft and Windows Desktop the backup tool is now called “Windows 7 File Recovery”. They also took out direct links to “create a system image” as well.

Yes you are not losing your mind, its not Windows 7, nor is it only file recovery, it’s the only place to get to total system imaging.

Simply Search Metro for “Windows 7 File Recovery” and click the Settings area on the right and you will find it.

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Once in the “Windows 7 File Recovery Tool” go to the top left “Create a system image”

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Installing Windows 8 RTM to Apple Macbook Air (Boot Camp)

Hey everyone, I wanted to make a few notes to help others get Windows 8 running on their Macbook Air without it locking, freezing, or poor network performance.

First we should stop that whole freezing problem or you will get very upset in the middle of a driver install (been there.)

You need to open a command prompt as administrator. You can do this by clicking start, then typing “cmd” right clicking on the cmd icon and selecting “Run as Administrator’”

Once open run this command:

bcdedit /set disabledynamictick yes

For those who want to know what this does please check out this great post: http://www.withinwindows.com/2012/06/28/workaround-for-windows-8-freezing-issues/

Once installed you will need reboot then install the boot camp drivers. This is done by making the install disk in Apple OS (Mountain Kitty). THERE IS NO DOWNLOAD LINK FOR THIS! DARN YOU APPLE!!! WHAT A PAIN! /RANT OFF

Once you have the Boot Camp disk, copy the contents to a folder on your desktop. Right click on the setup.exe, go to the compatibility tab, then click “Change settings for all users” button on the bottom.

On the next screen change the  “run this program in compatibility mode for:” to Windows 7. Additionally check off the bottom box for “run this program as an administrator”.

Then click OK, then OK again, then run the setup.exe

Once installed go ahead and reboot. This should get you part of the way.

Don’t delete that BootCamp Install folder just yet, deep in there we need the following folder. Just be aware, we will use it soon.

\Drivers\NVidia\NVidiaChipset64

Now lets click the start button, type “device manager” and click the settings “thing” on the top right to discover the “device manager” icon from the remains of the control panel.

Once device manager is open we have a few things to do. First lets take care of those two peskey un-drivered devices “coprocessor” and “SM Bus”.

Right click on one at a time and update the driver. Direct Windows to that folder on the desktop for \Drivers\NVidia\NVidiaChipset64 (or 32 if you are running x86). This folder should be able to updated both missing drivers.

NEXT lets go ahead and change the WiFi driver back to the native Windows 8 driver (Bootcamp had replaced it with a lesser driver that has some issues only in windows 8.)

Simply find the Wireless Network Adapter, its something like “Boardcom 802.11n” right click then “update driver software”, then Search Automaticly for updated drivers.

Thank should do it. Go ahead and reboot one last time for good measure.

Hopefully that saves some of you some time. IF I have helped you all I ask in return is leave a comment and say so. I get a great kick out of it.

Cheers!

-Eric

Windows 8 | Task Manager Performance Monitor

While I have to write a longer post about my overall feeling of Windows 8 and Metro I wanted to toss this one out there.

THANK YOU Microsoft for the Task Manager Performance Monitoring built it. Look how sexy and plan English my transfer rate is for copying a number of large files to my desktop (click for larger version):

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Just fantastic, shows me the CPU is doing fine as it decompresses directly from network share and shows me that Network is in fact the bottleneck as the Disk I/O is not maxed.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook vs Apple Macbook Air | Day 1

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Hey everyone, you may have seen the marketing hype in the last few days for the Dell XPS 13″ Ultrabook. Professionally, I have been using a first generation Macbook Air with Bootcamp running Windows 7 on it for a while now. Yes I know many Mac users might be upset by this. Too bad, Windows 7 is fantastic and far greater then OSX (let the comments begin).

History

Windows 7 on the MacBook Air:

Windows has never had a good notebook like the MacBook Air to run on (other than the Air of course.) The experience has been fantastic other than a few things that I can’t stand.

1) The FN key is where the Control key should be. It drives me nuts although I am just about used to it now.

2) The ALT key and the Windows Key (the command key for you Mac users) are swapped and in the wrong position. Thankfully I was able to reprogram Windows to swap them back. I wish I could have done the same for the FN and CRTL keys.

3) No backlit Keyboard. I could have used it many times. Apple has put this in newer MacBook Airs.

4) No grip on bottom. The Air slides all over the place, not unmanageable but not perfect ether.

The fact is I LOVE the experience I got from the MacBook Air. However I have wanted to get a non-Apple notebook for some time now. I work as a Windows IT Manager and I hate the elitist feel I get from owning the Air. Additionally, I don’t like the looks I get when I go to Microsoft Conferences. I also want to support the Windows OEM’s. I want to believe that freedom of choice yields better options.

Did Dell come through?  Read on………..

Unboxing

Packing

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First, I got to say my hats off to Dell. They finally got the packaging right. The outer box leads to an inner box that is high quality and even opens at a hinge.

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First Impressions

Well, its pretty nice. I was worried it would have a plastic, not so solid feel to the unit but thankfully it feels like a rock (that weighs almost nothing). The Aluminum edging gives it a very solid feel to the touch.

The keys are slightly rounded in the corners, I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not. But what is really nice is the plastic / rubber area around the keys. Its has a very nice feel to it.

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The touch pad seems perfect to the touch.

The carbon fiber bottom is really nice and in my opinion perfect. It’s a very nice touch and it has rubber strips that keep a nice grip on whatever its sitting on.

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Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook vs. MacBook Air

I will not be covering everything each notebook has. Instead I will be covering items of high contrast between the two. If I didn’t mention something it is likely because they are very similar.

Screen Resolution

The Dell has a smaller height and this smaller size means it had to lose some rather important screen real-estate vs. the MacBook Air.

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Due to its reduced size, the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook only has a 1366 x 768 screen resolution. The MacBook Air has an impressive 1440 x 900 screen resolution.

1366 x 768 puts this unit firmly in the Netbook consumer range not the pro-sumer Ultrabook range. In fact, Windows 8 minimum requirements will be 768. It is the lowest possible resolution that will be supported with the up and coming release of Windows 8.

Display Quality

One of the things that made me think Dell was focusing more on quality was the screen was covered in Gorilla Glass. That would be the same stuff on the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices.

Unfortunately though, the display behind that glass is awful. To a uneducated consumer I would think it would be fine, however anyone that truly enjoys or works in computing will notice the display is low quality. Image reproduction is terrible.

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook at any angle other then dead center is hard and almost impossible to see. Even then the colors are just okay.

The MacBook Air has a simply beautiful screen. The colors and contrasts are perfect at any viewing angle.

Additionally the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook has a much higher glare then the MacBook Air. Many people noticed it while sitting in my office which has dimmed lighting and tinted Windows. I can only wonder what outside in the light will look like.

Look and Feel

As I have said the Dell is smaller. I guess that could be a good thing. The only reason I can think why they did this was to make it less expensive (smaller screen) and to make it easier to use on a airplane (although I never had a problem with the MacBook Air).

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Here is a little side by side. Notice the additional length at the top and bottom of the units.

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Perhaps the Dell feels a little fatter on its underside.

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Accessories

The power adapter is kind of junky too. Maybe I am just spoiled by the MagLock adapter from Apple but given Dell had to create a new adapter for this form factor I was hoping they would come up with something a little more useful. At least provide a way to wrap the cord around it. However all we got was this:

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Battery Meter

I should point out there is a button on the side of the unit you can press to get the power level of the battery. This was a nice touch, good job Dell!

Speed

Not going to spend too much time on this but the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with i5 and 256GB SSD is blazing fast. It is a pleasure tinkering on it. Things load just as fast as my i7 desktop with 8GB of RAM and a SSD.

Conclusion

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It kills me that Dell has taken so much effort to make this a quality notebook then turns around and dumps an inferior display in it. I am not just talking about screen resolution, the quality of image reproduction is just awful.  Maybe if you are used to Dell displays its not that bad but if you are coming from a MacBook Air (or any MacBook really) then you are in for a real shock.

Its also sad that Dell didn’t do more with the power adapter. It could have been much more functional.

Its not all bad though.  The rest of the unit really looks promising. I will mention that I am running into a lot of issues with finding drivers for Windows 8 (blog post about that to follow) but that shouldn’t be used when trying to decide to make the move.

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook has a good solid feel to it. I am going to use it over the next week and see if I can live with the few things I thought were not up to par. If not, however, its going back. Check back to see if I switch back to the MacBook Air or not.

Net Net…

If you can deal with the less then eye popping image reproduction, then this might be the right notebook for you. The price is great for what you are getting and its very fast.

What is a podcast? What are some good Podcasts to listen too?

A lot of people don’t know this, but there is some really good educational, and even entertaining content on the internet.

Podcast is a term that has outgrown its meaning. Today its just a definition for shows and content from the internet.  There are many ways to view and watch these podcasts.  

At home the easiest way is to get something like the Apple TV. For the more tech savvy people, you can hook your notebook up to the TV and watch using a web browser or a media application such as Boxee (which is how I do it). 

On the road, both iPhone and BlackBerry have solutions that will deliver this content to your phone ready for viewing at any time.  iPhones have it built into the iTunes store and anyone with a BlackBerry can use a program called PodTrapper for $10. 

Here are some of the better shows that I watch out there on the interwebs: 

So if you are tired of the same old censored TV programming, try a podcast.  I think you will find them very refreshing.

Why should I use Facebook?

I have been working in the computer industry for over 10 years and until recently I hated the idea of Facebook and other social media sites like MySpace and Twitter. 

At first I didn’t get Facebook. It looked like junky old web site pages with basic information about that person. I didn’t understand the attraction.  What I didn’t get at the time is what it evolved into. Facebook is the best way to stay in touch with other people who you know and care about. 

Is a lot of the content your friends post junk? Yes, yes it is, but the fact is when a buddy of mine from out of state posts anything, I can see it. 

This is the important part.  I wouldn’t normally talk to my out of state buddy on the phone or even via email. Why you ask? Because there just isn’t that much important stuff to talk about. However this is where Facebook becomes valuable.   

Facebook allows people to post the insignificant parts of their lives for all of their friends to see. Not everyone can see what they post, only the people they allow to be their friends.  Do I need to know my best friend is cleaning her room right now? No, probably not, but it’s nice to put a virtual marker out there. It allows me to know she’s ok and also allows me to share in her daily life, and vice versa. 

Here’s a good example. I was once on my way from South Florida to Tampa on a business trip. While in the car, I posted to Facebook that I was “On my way to Tampa for another business trip.” Well a friend of mine who I didn’t know had even moved to Tampa shot me a message and we ended up having dinner together and catching up. I would have never thought to call her, but since she was scanning Facebook at the time we were able to connect. 

Basically, Facebook is a passive way to stay in much greater contact with the people you wouldn’t normally bother actively calling or emailing. It allows everyone to be just a little bit closer in this era of overly busy multitasking we all find ourselves in. 

If you haven’t tried it yet, go ahead and give it a shot. You don’t have to post a thing.  Find your friends (and trust me they are probably already on there) and just see what happens. Facebook won’t email you everything people are doing.  When you have time you check it and catch up with friends.