Category Archives: Troubleshooting

Office Update Hiccup Is Easily Fixed

Last Friday, WingetUI informed me that Microsoft Office needed an update on my production PC. When I tried to update it, however, it failed inside the tool and running winget inside PowerShell. Then, it did nothing inside Outlook when I clicked Files > Account > Update Options > Update Now. Obviously, something was hinky about Office itself, or perhaps the update package. I got an error message that read “Installer failed with exit code: 4294967295.” Fortunately, this Office update hiccup is easily fixed.

How Office Update Hiccup Is Easily Fixed

As it happens, I wrote a story for ComputerWorld back in April 2021. It’s entitled “4 steps to repair Microsoft Office.” I only had to go to Step 1 “Run the Office Quick Repair tool.” You can see the steps to get there, and the Repair button to run it, in the following screencap:

Here’s how to get to the embedded repair info: Settings > Apps > Apps & features > click on Microsoft 365 Apps (for enterprise in my case, YMMV by version). If you click Quick Repair it uses local windows files from your PC. If that doesn’t work, you can try Online Repair and use files from the MS Office download page instead.

I didn’t have to, because the first try did the trick. After the repair completed the update ran without further difficulties. Darn! It’s nice when an easy repair succeeds. Read the rest of the CW story to see what other steps might be required if the Repair tools shown above don’t work. Things can get interesting in a hurry, so I’m just as glad they did not. As Sinatra famously sang “…nice and easy does it every time!”




Windows 11 Nears Built-in IPRI Facility

Here’s a nice Windows 11 milestone to ponder. Those who opted for KB5034848 (released 2/29/2024) already have it. Those who wait for the March Patch Tuesday release will get it. What is it: an IPRI, or in-place repair install capability, as depicted in the lead-in graphic from my Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Mobile Workstation. That’s the basis for the title (also above) that reads “Windows 11 nears built-in IPRI facility.” Let me explain what makes this cool…

Sussing Out Windows 11 Nears Built-in IPRI Facility

I’ve been hip to the IPRI technique — which basically involves launching setup.exe from an installer image that matches whatever version of Windows is currently running — since I joined up at back in November 2014. It’s my favorite technique to restore Windows to stable, normal operations when things start getting weird and normal troubleshooting techniques shed no light on things. IPRI works by re-installing all the OS files but leaving apps, applications, and the registry alone.

And now in the CU Preview for March (and thus presumably also in the March update), Windows 11 users running the latest version will get the “Reinstall now” button that lets them attempt to “Fix problems using Windows update.” While this will reduce my level of need for to built an ISO for IPRI from time to time, it is incredibly convenient and generally helpful. Good stuff.

One word of warning: Having tried this tool out on a Beta release a couple of months back, I can observe it takes quite a while to do its thing. It took me 55 minutes to get through the process on that Beta image, and I assume it will do something similar with this Preview CU image should I put it to the test again. I’m pretty sure that’s because it has to build a custom image (just like the batch file does) before it can start doing its repairs.

And so it often goes, here in Windows-World, where spending more time for improved convenience is a common trade-off. Cheers!


SearchApp.Exe Sets Windows 10 Crash Record

It took me a while to count them up, but my Windows 10 production PC hit some rocks yesterday. As SearchApp.exe sets Windows 10 crash record on that PC — 49 Critical “Stopped working” events in one day — I find myself wondering if it’s time to move onto a new production PC here in the office. As you can see in the lead-in graphic, the reliability index dropped like a stone!

Cringing As SearchApp.Exe Sets Windows 10 Crash Record

Frankly, I’m not sure what to make of this. As I dig into similar reports online — as in this thread — I see my problem is neither unique nor necessarily pathological. But gosh! It sure it disconcerting to see so many crashes in a single day.

I know why it happened, too: my Start menu stopped working properly about mid-day yesterday. Thus, I found myself using the Windows Search box a LOT more than usual. Then I figured out I could scroll through “All apps” and get to what I needed alphabetically. Eventually, I went into Task Manager and clicked the “Restart” option in the right-click menu for File Explorer. That restored Start to normal behavior and stopped the weird search bomb from going off, apparently.

Another Brick in the Wall?

I keep thinking that the time is coming ever closer when I’m going to have to switch my production work over to a new desktop. I built one last year (an AMD 5800x, B550 mobo, 64 GB RAM, etc. etc.). Could this be Windows’ way of telling me “time to go!” Perhaps… Let me procrastinate a bit longer, please?

But as Pink Floyd put it “You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat…” So I’d best get moving in the next month or two. The beast must be fed!


Canary 26063 Throws Install Error

Oh well: it happens sometimes. One of my two test PCs on the Insider Preview Canary 26063 throws install error right near the end of the install process. It’s one I’ve seen before –namely:

Failed to install on ‎2/‎22/‎2024 - 0xc1900101

It’s something of a grab-bag error in that it can come from insufficient disk space, driver conflicts (esp. from external USB devices), an out-of-date driver on the target PC, AV conflicts, and more (see this MTPW Backup Tips note for all the deets).

When Canary 26063 Throws Install Error, Then What?

I’m trying a two-pronged strategy this morning. First thing is a simple retry. And when I ran that option in WU, it thought for a while, then jumped from the download phase to the GUI install phase. So obviously, it checked over yesterday’s UUP downloads and found them satisfactory. Right now, WU is 49% into installling 26063. Here’s hoping that works.

But on the other prong, I’m downloading the 26062 ISO from I’ve observed that when a WU-based install fails, sometimes a local install using setup.exe from a mounted ISO will work. It may also provide more useful error messages in local logs should it fall over near the end of the process yet again.

FWIW, this seems to be a pretty substantial update, too. And indeed on the other test PC — the one where the upgrade worked –it  says 24H2 in the Winver window. I guess that means MS is floating Windows vNext to Insiders right now.

Lookit that! 26063.1 says “Version 24H2.” It’s arrived…

More to Follow…

Now, the WU install is at 64% and UUP is building images and stuff for the upcoming ISO file. Based on yesterday’s experience, this will still take a while. I’ll jump back in and update when it gets wherever its going. Stay tuned!


Repair Install Fixes Instability

At the beginning of this month, I performed an in-place upgrade repair install on my Windows 10 production PC. It’s now running Build 19045.4046. You can see that this repair install fixes instability on the PC in the lead-in graphic. Over the past 20 days I’ve had only one critical event — mostly self-inflicted when testing winget Chrome update behavior (see last Friday’s post for details). Otherwise, this 2016-vintage system has been rock solid of late.

When in Doubt, Repair Install Fixes Instability

Gosh! I’ve long been a believer that an in-place upgrade repair install (IPURI) is something of a Windows cure-all. Reminder: an IPURI runs setup.exe from a mounted ISO for the same version of Windows that’s currently running on a PC. Thus, it requires the host OS to be running well enough to replace itself. See these terrrific and tutorials for all the details…

Thus, you can’t use this technique if you’re having boot problems, or the OS isn’t running well enough to get through  the GUI phase of a Windows upgrade. But for situations where the OS is running (but most likely, not as well as you might like) this technique works extremely well. My earlier Reliability Monitor trace, before the February 1 IPURI, looked something like a sawtooth wave on an oscilloscope. Ouch!

How to Get the Right ISO

I still use to match build numbers between what’s running and the ISO I have it build for me. Then, I mount that ISO, and run setup.exe from the virtual DVD drive ID Explorer puts out there for me. Lately it’s been showing up as the E: drive; but this morning it comes up as P:. But you’ll most likely see it labeled with the initial characters of the image label like this:Repair Install Fixes Instability.recent-iso

Here’s what Explorer shows me when I mount the ISO I used on February 1 for an IPURI: Virtual DVD Drive P:

For the record, I also use the excellent Ventoy project software to boot into my various ISOs when an IPURI won’t do. Admins and power users will want to keep a USB handy with their fave ISOs for repair and recovery scenarios. I do that on a 1 TB NVMe SSD inside a USB3.2 drive enclosure. Lets me keep dozens of ISOs around, ready to boot into any of them on a moment’s notice. Good stuff!


Wired Mouse Means No Stutter

Remember that scene near the end of The Incredibles where one older cop says to the other “No school like the old school?” That snippet of wisdom crossed my mind as I decided to switch from an MS  wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 to an MS Basic Optical Mouse 2.0. Why? Because a wired mouse means no stutter, lag, or hesitation when working on my desktop (or playing Gnu Backgammon or MS Solitaire, two of my fave diversions). Sigh.

Why Wired Mouse Means No Stutter?

I’m pretty sure the fault is mine for the wireless mouse issue. I had its transceiver mounted on my Luxo lamp, right next to a couple of monitors and less than 2 feet away from my Asus 802.11ax router. Not to mention further, it’s in close range of 3 laptops and my desktop as well. Your basic signal-rich, if not downright noisy, wirelesss environment. That said, I didn’t have these problems with the older MS Mobile Mouse 3000 (but alas, they don’t make them anymore).

But now that I’ve got a more isolated communications channel between desktop and mouse, there’s no more stutter or delay. Sometimes, the old school is the only school that works without issue. I have a feeling this may be one of those times. Plus: it was really bugging me. Go figure!

While you’re doing that, I’ll be taking the occasional break for backgammon or solitaire, content in believing that my ancient but unhampered wired mouse will remain snappy enough for my needs. Thank goodness!


Keyboard Driver Issue Kills Productivity

Think about how you type on a keyboard. Now, consider these words: fully, password, assign, connect. What they have in common is doubled letters. When I type them, I strike the doubled key very quickly then move on to the next letter. The speed at which the keyboard allows this to occur is called the “key repeat rate” aka “repeat rate.” Yesterday, some kind of keyboard driver issue kills productivity. It imposed an apparent 1-second delay between repeats. Indeed, I could barely function at the keyboard!

If Keyboard Driver Issue Kills Productivity, Then What?

A little quick online research informed me about repeat delay and repeat rate. Indeed, it came courtesy of a tutorial from long-time friend and TenForums/ElevenForum colleague Shawn Brink. It’s entitled Change Keyboard Character Repeat Rate in Windows. Its header graphic appears as the lead-in image for this blog post, too.

First, I discovered that both the repeat delay and the repeat rate weren’t working at all. I had to wait about a second to hit any key a second time, and have it show up on the display. Next, I  learned that the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center wouldn’t let me adjust either rate directly. And finally, upon checking existing Registry settings, they should already have been working properly.

Title Says Driver, Fix Replaces Driver

All these bits of evidence told me the driver itself was broken. So I returned to MS support to download a new version of the MKC (Mouse and Keyboard Center) version 14.41, 64-bit. After the install, I had to reboot my PC. When it came back up, I jumped immediately into Notepad. Once again I could type words with doubled letters. And when I pressed and held any letter key, it would quickly start pumping out copies until I lifted my finger. Back in business!

They say, it’s the little things that get you in the end. Here in Windows-World they also get you at odd and random times, too. Like yesterday when MKC went south. So it goes…


No Details Means Reset Reliability Monitor

Here’s an interesting one. Sometimes when I have to grope for a blog topic, I check Reliability Monitor on one or more of my Windows PCs. In an ironic twist, this itself produced my topic when the data in my Windows 10 production PC turned up missing in ReliMon (as I like to call it). In fact, a quick web search told me that no details means reset Reliability Monitor is a good fix. And there are numerous batch files to do that job. Ultimately, the one I used appears in the ElevenForum tutorial “View Reliability History in Windows 11.”

Why No Details Means Reset Reliability Monitor

Behind the scenes reliability monitor itself relies on scheduled tasks and a data collection service. These combine to sweep up all the data it tracks into an XML file at regular intervals. If any of those elements hang up or fail, data neither gets collected or stored. With no data to show, ReliMon can’t put on much display, either.

WindowsClub published a story entitled “How to Reset Reliability Monitor in Windows 10/11” in September 2023. It’s mentioned in the afore-cited ElevenForum tutorial in Post#11. As a usually reliable source for fixes and info, I gave the batch file a go. And indeed it cleared Reliability Monitor completely (see next image).

No Details Means Reset Reliability Monitor.blank

Nothing to see hear: the report history is completely cleared.”

By design, I must  wait 24 hours before reported data starts showing up. I’ll report back here if it works — or not. But in the meantime, please chuckle with me that in looking for something to blog about, the very tool I sometimes use to help me zero in on topics itself provided my topic for today.

And is that how things often go in Windows World? You bet!

Note Added Next Day (Feb 2)

And …. yes! …. ReliMon is back at work on the affected PC. Doesn’t have much to show for itself yet, but you can see events and data are being collected and reported.

Happy to show that ReliMon is again gathering and reporting errors, warnings, info events, and so on.
[Click image for full-size view]

The reset appears to have had the intended outcome: Reliabiity Monitor is back at work.


Adding Ancient Dell Printer Gets Interesting

Oho! How the time flies by when I’m not looking. I tried to install my Dell color laser printer — Model 2155cn — on the Toughbook FZ-55 this morning, only to get the “Driver is unavailable” error in Printers & scanners again. “Hmmm…” I wondered: “How old is that thing anyway?” Turns out it made its debut in 2011, and I bought it in 2012. Like the original Apple LaserWriter I bought in the late 1980s (and kept until I bought this one) this is one indestructible beast. Thus, I must observe that for Windows 11, adding ancient Dell printer gets interesting. Simply put: Windows no longer includes these drivers in the OS distribution!

How Adding Ancient Dell Printer Gets Interesting

So now I finally understand why I’m seeing this error in Settings. You can see it, too, in the lead-in graphic. Amusingly enough, it shows up right below the device info for the 2155cn that I just installed minutes ago, courtesy of the Dell 2155 Application for Windows, which I found at the Dell Support pages. Dell calls it the 2155cn/cdn Color MFP Software Suite and Driver.

When I look at the list of supported OSes, 11 is absent — though it does mention 10, 7, Vista and XP. It bears a release date of March 2014, too. This information, along with the settings error message, is what finally clued me into what’s going on here. This darn printer is so OLD that MS doesn’t find it necessary to include its drivers amidst the thousands of newer devices it does support. This explains what was going on for my post from last week Dell Printer MIA.

Here Comes Nothing, Printer-Wise

Interestingly, MS is switching over to the Mopria printing protocol, under the umbrella of Universal Print. It will no longer provide new drivers from printer makers starting next year (2025: see this fascinating PC World item “MS is killing 3rd-party printer drivers in Windows 11“).

So, pretty soon this won’t matter. For older printers — like the Dell 2155 cn — the only option will be downloading from the maker’s website. For newer printers that are Universal Print/mopria-savvy, things should “just work.” Maybe I need to buy a new printer so I can see about that! LOL…


Dell Printer Driver MIA

Just as we were ready to call it a night, “the Boss” came downstairs from her office cubby. Said she “I can’t print like I usually do.” Upon investigation, Word showed her default printer as: Microsoft Print to PDF, instead of the Dell 2155cn printer right next to her desk. “Uh oh,” I thought: “That can’t be good…” And sure enough, when I went into System → Bluetooth & Devices → Printers & Scanners, I saw the tell-tale status “Driver unavailable.” Yikes, the Dell Printer Driver was MIA. What to do?

Return to Action When Dell Printer MIA

Fortunately, I’ve been down this road before. When my quick attempts to access the device showed me only the link between the Boss’s Dell OmniPlex D7080 PC and the 2155 was affected, I knew what to do.

Yep: just as the status line showed, the driver had crashed and burned. Hence: unavailable. So I removed the printer from the lineup. Then I used the “Add a Printer or scanner” facility to bring it back onto the D7080. Fortunately, that worked without my having to visit the Dell website to grab a new driver download. With its associated software and tools, that takes longer to install and set-up.

Device Manager was apparently able to locate and install a working replacement driver without any extra help (or effort) from me. After printing a test page to make sure things were working once again, I printed the red velvet cake recipe that the Boss was trying to output. Sounds — and looks — yummy.

Remove & Replace to the Rescue — Again!

Just yesterday morning, I blogged about using uninstall/reinstall to fix an issue with the brand-new PowerToys “Command Not Found” facility. Last night, I used the same approach to take a broken device driver out of play, and bring in a new and working replacement.

Hmmm. Seems like this R&R strategy is one that comes in handy for all kinds of interesting Windows issues. Let’s keep that in mind, shall we?