With the Windows 10 free upgrade offer now expired, Microsoft has released the latest major update for the operating system (OS). Since Windows 10 is constantly evolving, this release brings many new features and fixes to issues that people had with prior versions.
However, with a new release comes a host of new problems. From minor irritations to huge problems, let’s take a look at changes to Windows 10 that arrived in this update and how you can fix them.
If you aren’t running it yet, you can get the Anniversary Update now before applying these fixes (though you should read through these first to be prepared)! If you missed the free update, there’s a workaround that lets you upgrade to Windows 10, but you should act quickly before it disappears.
1. Apps Re-Pinned to the Taskbar
While the Anniversary Update (referred to as AU hereafter) promises it won’t change any of your stuff around, you’ll find that Microsoft Edge, the File Explorer, and the Windows Store shortcuts are pinned back to your Taskbar after installing. If you don’t want to have Edge (even though it now includes extensions) and the Store handy, just right-click their icons and choose Unpin from Taskbar to get everything back to how it was.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update aka 'We re-pinned Edge and the Windows Store because you seemed to miss it last time :~)'
— Edward Fox (@icemaz) August 3, 2016
While you’re doing this, you might also notice the quill pen icon on the right side of the Taskbar. This is a shortcut to the revamped Windows Ink feature — if you don’t want to use it, right-click empty space on the Taskbar and uncheck Show Windows Ink Workspace button.
2. Default Apps Reset
Along with the extra apps on the Taskbar, the AU resets some of your default apps to the Microsoft “recommended” programs, like Groove Music for audio files. To put these back, navigate to Settings > System > Default Apps and choose whichever you like for each type.
3. Extra Ads on the Start Menu
Windows 10 brought annoying app “suggestions” to your Start menu, and the AU doubles the amount of these that appear. To shut these off, visit Settings > Personalization > Start and turn off Occasionally show suggestions on Start.
4. Skype Preview Is Installed and Signs You In
Skype is still a decent service, but Microsoft pushes it constantly. Even if you have the desktop version of Skype installed, you’ll see the Skype Preview app installed after the AU — an annoyance we dealt with in Windows 8 already. What’s more, it signs you in automatically with your Microsoft account — annoying if you don’t want to be bothered by Skype contacts or never use Skype.
To fix this, type Skype Preview in the Start Menu, right-click its entry and choose Uninstall. If you want to keep it installed, but only use it occasionally, click your user icon in the bottom-left, and click Sign Out.
5. Drive Partitions Missing
One of the worst AU issues is that Windows doesn’t show partitions on hard drives correctly at times. There’s a chance that Windows detects the drive as RAW format instead of NTFS, meaning you need another tool to recover the data. This can cause you to think that you’ve lost all the data on the drive, but this isn’t the case.
Using a free tool like the EaseUS Partition Master or AOMEI Partition Assistant, you can right-click on any affected partition or drive (usually showing as unallocated) and choose to run the partition recovery options or wizard. This should recover the drive and make it usable again.
If you haven’t run the AU yet, make sure you back up your drives before performing it, in case they get screwed up.
6. Update Error 0x8024200D
If you receive this error when you try to run the AU, you should run the Windows Update FixIt tool to clear out any errors. If that doesn’t work, try using the Media Creation tool to create a USB drive with the Windows 10 installation info on it, then running the in-place upgrade from there to keep all of your configurations.
7. Storage Errors
If you’re low on disk space when you try to run the update, you might get an error telling you that you need more space. Follow our tips to clean up disk space to resolve this issue.
8. Incompatible Software Error
Windows might tell you that an application on your PC is incompatible with the upgrade; this blocks the system from updating. Usually, this is caused by an antivirus program, so try disabling Avast, AVG, Avira, or whichever antivirus suite you’re running and then running the update again. If this doesn’t work, uninstall the application temporarily to complete the update.
9. Windows Won’t Activate
If you’re receiving an error that Windows cannot activate, try waiting a day and checking again — the servers are slammed right now with the AU rollout. Remember that since the free upgrade expired, you can’t just update from Windows 7 or 8.1 anymore — you must purchase a new key.
However, as of now, you can still activate Windows 10 with a valid Windows 7 or 8.x key — so if you have one of those and are having issues activating, give it a try before Microsoft deactivates this option.
10. AU Clashes with Aero Glass
If you use the free Aero Glass software to restore the Aero look of Windows 7, make sure you uninstall it before running the AU. Users of Glass have reported massive issues when trying to run the update, including the program dumping gigabytes of error logs.
Aero Glass won’t work right after the update, either, so if you have to have it, it’s best to wait for a fix from the developer.
11. Force Disable the Lock Screen
Prior to the AU, you could take advantage of Group Policy to remove the Lock Screen if you found it redundant. Now, Group Policy is still around, but Microsoft has removed some of the options, including turning off “recommended” crap app downloads like Candy Crush, and disabling the lock screen.
Lame. So the registry tweak to disable the lock screen appears to no longer work with Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
— caspencer (@caspencer) August 4, 2016
However, users always find a way. To disable the lock screen in Windows 10 Pro, follow these steps:
Type Local Security Policy into the Start menu and open it. Open Software Restriction Policies; if you don’t see any listed, follow Action > New Software Restriction Policies. Now, under the newly-added Additional Rules folder, right-click a blank spot and choose New Path Rule.
In the path, paste:
Set the Security level to Disallowed and click OK. The lock screen is now disabled!
Note that Group Policy is supposed to only be in Windows 10 Pro, but you can use a workaround to access Group Policy in Windows 10 Home. In case you were wondering, it’s not worth spending $99 to jump to Pro, either.
12. Remove Cortana
Before the AU, Cortana could be easily turned off to reduce the search box to basic functionality. Now, Microsoft doesn’t want you to disable Cortana, so you’ll have to go digging to turn her off.
Windows 10 Home users need to do this via a Registry edit. Open it with regedit in the Start menu, then navigate down to:
Should the Windows Search folder not be present, right-click its parent folder Windows and choose New > Key; call it Windows Search. Then, right-click the Windows Search folder and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this AllowCortana and set it at 0. As with all Registry edits, log off and back on or reboot so it takes effect.
In Windows 10 Pro, type gpedit.msc into the Start menu to open Group Policy, which makes it easier to edit this setting. Drill down to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search and double-click on Allow Cortana to set it as Disabled. Log off and back on and Cortana will be no more.
13. Cortana Is Missing
You might welcome Cortana becoming permanent in Windows 10, but some have reported issues with seeing Cortana in the first place. If she seems stuck, a simple trip to the Registry will patch things up.
@WindowsSupport After Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana is missing in my PC! Any update on this?
— Naveen R (@iNaveenR) August 5, 2016
Type regedit into the Start menu (remember to be careful when making changes in here). Head to the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search Change BingSearchEnabled
Change this from 0 to 1 and restart. Cortana should be running as normal now!
14. Games Run Poorly
Major updates can cause big issues with gaming on Windows, and the AU is no exception. If you’re experiencing a low frame rate in games after updating, try turning off the Game Bar DVR feature by navigating to this Registry key:
Set that value to 0 and reboot. If this doesn’t help, check your graphics card drivers to be sure they’re up to date (and weren’t removed by the AU), as well as ensuring that the settings in your graphics software are set to their proper values and weren’t reset.
15. Unreadable Clock Font
The clock in the bottom-right corner of the Taskbar is a useful way to check the time quickly, but some users have reported issues where the font changes to black and becomes unreadable. The fix has been reported by some, and is another Group Policy edit:
Type gpedit.msc into the Start menu and navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options. Here, enable User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator Account and reboot your computer.
16. Start Menu and Explorer Freezing
After updating, some users have reported the Start menu refusing to open, and applications freezing up all over the place. If you can get to it, running the Windows Start Menu FixIt is a great first try to resolve these issues. If this doesn’t work, you should create a new user profile to see if the current one is corrupted.
Open a command prompt as administrator and type the following command to create a new user:
net user <username> /add
To make this new user an admin, type this instead:
net localgroup Administrators <username> /add
Once you’ve confirmed this new profile works well, you can move everything over; use your Microsoft account syncing if it’s enabled to make this process smoother.
New Update, New Issues
You might run into many more issues while trying to run the Anniversary Update or after installing it, but these are some of the most common problems reported by users online. Of course, some of the things that really annoy us about Windows 10 haven’t changed in this update, so give the best free tools to fix Windows problems a try if you’re still experiencing those.
If you’re just getting up to speed on Windows 10, check out features you can safely disable to trim things up a bit.
What issues have you had with the Anniversary Update that need fixed? Let us know what’s driving you nuts down in the comments!
Image Credits:broken heart by chuugo via Shutterstock