Windows 8.1 has been available since October 2013, with its first major update having just been released on April 8th. In light of the release, we take the chance to follow up on our original 7 Windows 8.1 Upgrade Issues and How to Fix Them article with another look at some problems and issues that users have faced when using Microsoft’s flagship operating system.
Broken Native App Tiles on the Start Screen
The cause of the problem is unknown, but several users (myself included) reported having unresponsive titles on the start screen after updating. The ‘dead tiles’ are the leftovers from old native apps that were not properly removed after updating, such as the old chat, camera, and photo programs.
To solve the problem you need to you need to enable hidden folders in the view menu, then head to Users/User/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/Application Shortcuts and delete the oldest sub-folders. Once you’ve done that, reboot your computer and the troublesome links should be gone.
For a more detailed look at how to fix unresponsive native apps, try reading our recently-published feature length article.
Broken Internet Connection
In the comments section of our original article several users reported that they were unable to access the Internet after updating. Sometimes you were able to access the Internet after several refreshes of your laptop or modem, whereas sometimes you said you couldn’t access the Internet after hours of trying. Based on your comments, the problem does not appear to be browser-specific nor make/model-specific, and so once again we are left without a cause.
Thankfully, however, we have a fix. Credit goes to MakeUseOf user Konstantin for his comment, which seemed to solve the issue for a lot of people. Konstantin suggests entering the Control Panel and opening the ‘Network and Sharing Centre’. Once there, click on ‘Change adapter settings’, then right-click on your active network. On the menu that appears, choose ‘Properties’, highlight ‘Internet Protocol Version 4’, choose ‘Properties’ again and change the Preferred DNS server to 188.8.131.52 and the Alternate DNS Server to 184.108.40.206. Click OK to close the windows and your Internet should be working once again.
Blurry or Fuzzy Display of Certain Programs
Another commonly reported issue after upgrading was that certain programs would lose their sharp edges, making images and fonts appear blurry and distorted. If you are suffering from this problem, the first thing to check is that the update hasn’t altered your display settings or resolution.
Assuming that you’re running the recommended display settings for your machine, you are likely to be suffering from a font rendering issue rather than a display resolution fault. The problem arises from a new feature in Window 8.1 called DPI Scaling. The feature allows users to apply one scaling level to all their connected displays in screen resolution settings. By default this option is disabled.
To enable the option and consequently fix your problem, you need to right-click on the Desktop and choose ‘Screen Resolution’. Once the new window opens click on ‘Make text and other items larger or smaller’ and then click the check-box next to ‘Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays’. Reboot your machine and the problem should be fixed.
Svchost.exe Uses Too Much Processing Power
One of the most common Windows processes, svchost.exe has been reported by users on both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as occasionally consuming processing power that it doesn’t need. This will cause your computer to become progressively more sluggish until eventually it crashes.
There are two common causes to this problem. The most widely reported, and therefore most likely, is the Windows uPNP service (Universal Plug-and-Play). The service is designed to continually scan your network for new plug-and-play devices – yet it has been known to malfunction – scanning continuously until there are no system resources remaining. The fix is simple, just head to your computer’s ‘Network and Sharing Centre’, click on ‘Change advanced sharing settings’ and check the box next to ‘Turn off network discovery’.
The other most common cause is malware. Again, the fix is simple enough, just download a free anti-virus software such as Avast or AVG and do a complete system scan. If you’re not sure which software to choose, try reading our review of the ten best free anti-virus programs.
You Find the Charms Bar Annoying
Windows 8 has been designed with touchscreen users in mind. While Windows 8.1 Update 1 goes some way to addressing the concerns of mouse users, several people still claim that they find the Charms Bar a hindrance. This is especially true if you are playing a game or using a website which often requires you to move your mouse to that part of the screen.
Luckily, the feature is easy to disable. Open your computer’s Control Panel then click on ‘Mouse’. Once the new window opens you need to click on the ‘Device Settings tab’, highlight the mouse you use, and choose ‘Settings’. Once there simply uncheck the box next to ‘Edge Swipe Right’.
Administrator Account Disabled
The problem of deleted or disabled administrator accounts has affected people after updating, but this fix will also work if you accidentally disabled the account during normal computer usage. Symptoms could be numerous, from not being able to download content from the Web to not being able to launch programs that require admin privileges.
It is worth remembering that you can only delete your ordinary administrator account manually if you have another administrator account on the computer. Most users will not need two admin accounts on one machine, so once you have followed the instructions to restore the original account you should delete the duplicate.
To restore the built-in administrator account firstly head to your computer’s Start Screen and and type ‘cmd’. Once you are presented with the search results right click on ‘cmd’ and choose ‘Run as Administrator’. A new window will open and you should enter the following command: ‘ net user administrator /active: yes’. Press Enter and your original account will be restored.
Your Media Libraries Disappeared
After Windows 7 introduced users to Libraries they quickly became popular, offering an easy way to collate and organise media folders from various locations. Windows 8 continued to utilise them, but in Windows 8.1 they suddenly disappeared.
The reasons why libraries were removed aren’t entirely clear. Perhaps Microsoft thought they had outlived their purpose, perhaps they wanted to clean up the File Explorer screen, or maybe they thought they simply weren’t utilised in the way they were intended.
Luckily, if you used libraries and found them to be an effective way to organise your media, they can easily be restored. All you need to do is open your File Explorer, click the ‘View’ tab at the top of the screen, click on ‘Navigation pane’, and the select ‘Show libraries’. They will now be returned to your main File Explorer screen, just as in previous editions.
Precautions to Take Before Upgrading
We have already published an article offering an in-depth analysis of some of the precautions you should take in order to safely upgrade to Windows 8.1. To summarise, you should make sure all your software and hardware is compatible with the update, make backups of all your important data (some people reported that the update deleted their personal hidden files), create a system image which can be used to quickly and easily restore your machine if something goes wrong, and ideally conduct a clean install rather than an update.
Any More Problems?
What other problems have you experienced? Have you successfully installed Windows 8.1 Update 1? Has Windows 8 won you over or do you still find it a frustrating user experience? Let us know in the comments below.