Fix the Windows 10 Frozen Taskbar

I’ll start by saying that this solution happened to fix my frozen taskbar issue. I can’t guarantee it’ll work for you but it’s worth a shot!

The Symptoms

Another annoyance in Windows 10 that can surface (pun intended) is the freezing of the taskbar. Not only does it freeze but the Windows button stops responding as well meaning Windows key shortcuts don’t work!

For me, I’m able to tell that I’m about to cop this “feature” when I’m logging in. I’ll enter my secure password and hit login only to experience the slowest login ever. Windows seems to sit there for 60 seconds thinking about what to have for dinner before it presents me with a practically unusable desktop. Things seem to load a little slower and the system just feels unresponsive.

 

The Solution

If you’ve Googled around you’ll most certainly have seen all of the solutions that recommend you run /sfc scannow, edit the registry and other things. Absolutely none of these solutions worked for me.

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How to Solve the Windows 10 “App won’t open” Issue

As much as I love Windows 10, sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass. I lost an entire evening of productivity this week after I hit the dreaded “App won’t open…” issue.

This is where you’ll try to run one of the native Windows 10 apps (Calc, Photos, Store, etc) but instead of loading you’ll get an error across the screen saying “App won’t open. Please contact your system administrator to repair or reinstall the application” or something to that effect. It’s incredibly frustrating because there isn’t even any meaningful data in the Windows Event Viewer to help you pinpoint the issue.

There are many guides out there but this one from Windowsreport is the only one that covers troubleshooting and resolving the issue from start to finish.

In my case, the problem was that these steps did NOT fix my “App won’t open” issue. Actually, I lie. The final step in the guide is to create a brand new user account and then copy your files over to that. I wasn’t willing to do that so I don’t know if it will actually resolve the problem. I feel like that’s a crappy workaround that I shouldn’t have to resort to anyway.

I ended up getting on Microsoft web support chat to see if I could get a Microsoft tech to fix the issue. After an hour and a half, the tech from the Philippines was actually able to resolve the problem! (I’ll add that he was such an incredibly nice guy, I was super impressed. Just fantastic support!).

 

The Solution – Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Surprisingly, he went through pretty much every step in the Windowsreport guide (unfortunately to no avail). There was only one thing left he could apparently recommend: perform a Windows 10 Upgrade Reinstallation.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

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7 Uses for an old USB Drive

7 Uses for an old USB Drive

I remember when USB drives first hit the market: “32mb of storage on this one tiny stick! Say what?!”. Skip ahead 10 years or so and I now have a 32gb and 16gb USB drive on my keyring – and that’s considered average. If you’re insane, you can blow over $1100 to get your hands on a 1TB USB flash drive – crazy! The problem is that with the incredibly quick technology advances, we end up accumulating old, smaller capacity drives.

I was cleaning out a box in the garage the other day and found a plastic Ferrero Rocher container (those things are great storage solutions!) which was filled with old USB drives and memory cards. 32mb, 128mb, 16mb, 2gb. It’s hard to believe I ever survived using such tiny drives!

USB Drive Collection
A few devices in my USB Drive Collection

What to do with them though? Throwing them away is definitely an option but it does seem wasteful so I’ve put my nerd hat on and come up with 7 ideas:

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How To Remove a GPT Protective Partition

How to Remove a GPT Protective Partition

As part of my recent storage upgrade project in my PC at home I came across something I hadn’t dealt with in ages: A GPT Protective Partition!

For the unacquainted, these are (as the name implies) protected partitions that can’t be formatted or removed. Once you’ve created a protective partition, you’re pretty much stuck with it. In Windows, you can remove the partition using the Microsoft DiskPart utility run over the command line.

This is specifically noteworthy because all partitioning is usually done through the Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management snap-in. This is how you find out the disk has a GPT partition on it. Read more

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

Learning a programming language has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do. I constantly start the learning process, get through the introductory steps and then end up losing interest or procrastinating. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve written a Hello World program!

Recently however, things have changed. I was introduced to the Python programming language by (yet again) my friend, Bob who’s very proficient in the language. After seeing some of the amazing things he’s created with the language I was pretty motivated to get learning.

It didn’t take long before I’d actually created my own program. Not a program that a book or course required me to build but something I wanted to build for myself. After successfully creating the app, it hit me why I’d never been able to get this far before and what was different this time around. Here’s what I discovered. Read more

Removing Bloatware – Declutter Your Computer

Removing Bloatware

Bloatware! It’s the stuff of nightmares for computer savvy folk. This is my latest encounter with the stuff, yuck!

A week or so ago, my dad gave me a call, said he needed a new laptop and wanted me to help him buy one (because I’m totally awesome right?). Naturally I obliged, did all of the research and price comparisons then bought him the laptop. I got it for a great price too! Go Team!

It arrived a few days ago and today I finally had the chance to switch it on and set it up for him. There I was, all excited about this shiny, sexy and speedy new Lenovo, ready to configure accounts and install my choice of software when I noticed it still hadn’t booted. About 2 minutes had passed and it still wasn’t up! This is after the initial Windows configuration too. I’d set up the account name and password but the thing was still chugging along.

This laptop isn’t something to laugh at either. With a dual core 2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and a dedicated graphics chip, it should have powered through boot up and been sitting waiting for me. What was going on?!

Once Windows finally logged in I was presented with a very cluttered desktop. Bloatware. Of course.

I couldn’t believe how much of the stuff was installed on this thing!

What is Bloatware?

The short and sweet is that Bloatware is all of the vendor specific and 3rd party software that comes preinstalled on a computer when you buy it from a shop. Things like trial anti-virus suites or DVD playing software. The sorts of shoddy deals that hover around and pop up after a month saying they’ve expired.

This isn’t something I deal with often either as I build the computers for myself and everyone in my immediate family. My company laptop comes pre-installed with a custom version of Windows that suits my job so I don’t deal with it there either.

What do I do about it?

Well! You blast it all to hell! Or you can uninstall it. Essentially, declutter your computer the way you’d declutter your house!

First thing’s first, Read more