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Users who upgraded to Windows 8.1 have encountered a variety of difficulties. We’ve already covered seven Windows 8.1 upgrade issues and how to fix them 7 Windows 8.1 Upgrade Issues & How To Fix Them 7 Windows 8.1 Upgrade Issues & How To Fix Them Windows 8.1 is more than a Service Pack. The significant Windows 8.1 upgrade has been reported to cause several issues during and after the update. We show you how to fix the most common ones. Read More . One problem that we didn’t include was that of ‘dead titles’ on the start screen.

Dead Tiles

You can take several steps to safely upgrade to Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 How To Safely Upgrade To Windows 8.1 Are horror stories of how Windows 8.1 upgrades went horribly wrong keeping you from upgrading yourself? If you are longing to try Windows 8.1, you can now learn from other people's lessons and upgrade safely! Read More  and although I was extremely careful, this was still a problem that I personally experienced. I know from my discussions on the Microsoft Community that several other users experienced the same issue, despite taking precautions.

The problem consists of being left with non-responsive blank titles on the ‘All Apps’ screen – shortcuts left over from apps that were subsequently upgraded when running the update.

The apps have the following names:

– ms-resource:///photo/residAppname
– ms-resource:app_name
– ms-resource:chatAppTile
– ms-resource:manifestDisplayName
– ms-resource:ShortProductName

windows8-dead-titles

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The Cause

Whilst several Windows 8 niggles can be resolved 7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved 7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved Windows 8 has a number of features that can be annoying to experienced users of the traditional Windows desktop. From adding a Start menu to disabling the bulky ribbon, noisy live tiles, and unnecessary lock... Read More , the Start Screen titles are here to stay. The aforementioned titles are the remnants of the old Photos, Bing, Chat, Camera and SkyDrive (OneDrive) native apps. The frustration for users is that they cannot be deleted or upgraded through the usual channels.

When right-clicked, there is no option to delete the app as you would expect with one of the normal apps – instead you will just see ‘Pin to Start’ and ‘Customise’.

dead-titles-message

When left-clicked, users are presented with the onscreen message ‘This app can’t open. Check the Windows Store for more info”, along with a link to the store. If users click the link to the store they will again get an error message, saying “There’s a problem with the app you’re trying to run, but it can’t be repaired by Windows Store. You can try to install the app again, or you can contact your system administrator for more details”.

dead-titles-store-message

Users speculated over a diverse number of potential causes for the problem. Several people reported that they were using the latest 2014 version of Avast’s anti-virus software, though slowly people emerged that were using different anti-virus suites, ruling out Avast.

Ultimately, the reason for the error never emerged, but luckily a fix did.

The Fix

Firstly, you need to enable hidden folders in the view menu, then head to Users/User/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/Application Shortcuts.

Once there, use the search box in the top right corner of the window to search for each of the five apps by using a small segment of their original name, for example, ‘Photo’, ‘Microsoft’ (for SkyDrive / OneDrive), ‘Bing’, and ‘Camera’.

appdata-folder

If this returns no results, you can sort the folders by date instead. The oldest sub-folders should contain the problematic shortcuts.

Either method will require you to change your computer’s security settings in order to delete the file. To do this right click on the folder in question, click ‘Properties’, and navigate to the ‘Security’ tab. Once there click on ‘Edit’, then ‘Add’ then enter the username you use on the machine.

security-settings-edit

If you are not comfortable with changing the security settings there is an alternative method. Right click on the Start Screen shortcut in the bottom left corner of your screen and select ‘Run’. Type %appdata% in the box and then press Enter. Once you are presented with the folder go up one folder level, then click through Local -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Application Shortcuts.

A word of caution before undertaking the fix – make sure after each removal, that you deleted the correct dead shortcut and not a valid shortcut to an app that works. Obviously, if you did accidentally delete a working shortcut, head straight to the Recycle Bin to restore it.

The Chat App

For the legacy Chat app it is a simpler process. Just delete the Mail, Calendar, and People apps, then head back to the Microsoft Store and reinstall them. You will not lose any data and the blank Chat title will be gone.

people-mail-calendar-apps

Have you experienced this problem? Did you work out the root cause? Perhaps you found an alternative solution? Let us know in the comments below.

  1. Suzana
    March 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Oops the backward slashes were suppressed. Let's see if this fixes the problem:
    "C:Users[username]AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsApplication Shortcuts"

  2. Suzana
    March 2, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Great article! Very helpful.

    However, it is important to note that you are using unix notation with forward slashes. Windows uses backward slash. So the location of the apps when navigating through the window address bar or cmd window is C:Users[username]AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsApplication Shortcuts

    Thanks again

  3. Mark
    May 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Outstanding -- worked perfectly after taking these steps and then rebooting! Had one question, though. I deleted just the shortcuts as instructed, but can the folders in which they reside also be deleted, or should they just be retained without the shortcuts within them?

    Only other issue is that I have one additional item of which I'm unsure -- ms-resource:Common_AppName. Any idea of what app to which it might apply and what the relevant folder name might be?

    Thanks very much for having published a fix to this issue.

    • Daniel Price
      May 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Glad it worked for you.

      You can delete the folders if you wish, but it doesn't really matter.

      I think I am right in saying that ms-resource:Common_AppName is the legacy chat app. Just delete people/calendar/mail apps and reinstall them from the store - it should be gone. If not, head back here and let me know.

      Daniel

    • Mark
      May 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Daniel,

      ms-resource:Common_Appname looks similar to some of the names of the five that you'd originally listed, but a little different. I'd actually earlier uninstalled P/C/M and reinstalled and the aforementioned item was the only one remaining, prompting my question. I'd been unsure what it could be, and a web search hadn't turned up anything.

      I should also mention that when I first reopened P/C/M (probably M) after uninstalling, I was instructed to run a repair, which was successful. I rebooted, and
      ms-resource:Common_Appname still remained.

      I'll go ahead and remove the folders. Thanks again!

  4. Debbie
    April 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I hate everything about Windows 8. I got rid of it and went back to Windows 7.

    • Daniel Price
      April 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      A lot of people feel the same way. Personally I love it, and I think the Win 8.1 Update #1 has really put it onto the next level. All very subjective though!

      Daniel

  5. Gábor
    April 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Hi. When I saw the title I really hoped that my problem will be solved as well. But I'm unlucky this time.

    My problem is that when i click on a metro app a black screen appears for 1-2 seconds and then automatically quits to the desktop again. So I can't use my metro apps. I experienced this problem few days before I updated my windows.

    Do you any idea why is that? I would be really happy if I could solve this problem.

    • Melanie
      April 22, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      This is my issue as well.

    • Daniel Price
      April 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Gabor,

      I'm afraid I've not come across that. Have you tried doing a store reset? If that doesn't work I suggest asking in our MUO Answers forum, someone there may be able to help you. Alternatively, try asking on Reddit, their forums are often very good at problem solving.

      Daniel

    • Jay
      December 14, 2014 at 2:42 am

      Same problem here.. find any fixs yet? I found some temp ones to fix the store and my Desktop. No luck on all other apps.

  6. Diane
    April 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this most helpful post. Your instructions were spot on and now my Start menu is corrected.

    • Daniel Price
      April 18, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Diane,

      Glad it worked for you!

      Daniel

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