CameTooFar

A Nerd's False Positive.

Fix: Start menu, Cortana, Notification Area not launching in windows 10

From Day 1 after upgrading to Windows 10, exactly 1 year before, there was an annoying bug which stabs me randomly when I try to use my Windows 10 PC.

Below were various symptoms:

  1. Start menu not launching
  2. Cortana UI not launching
  3. Notification area not launching
  4. Start menu and Notification area launches, but Cortana UI not launching

In symptom #4, if you try to perform a search after launching Start menu, nothing will happen since Cortana UI can’t be launched.

Searching through Microsoft Answers forums showed that this bug is dated back before the RTM release of Windows 10 which means they exists during Preview build days but neither of the solution worked perfectly. It’s still an open bug as far as I am concerned. Most of the solution suggested are:

  1. Run a lengthy PowerShell script
  2. Create new local account and copy settings
  3. Series of registry edits
  4. Scan for file system errors
  5. Restore your PC to previous state
  6. Fresh install Windows 10

All the above solution mentioned, involves manual edits, running scripts, changing states, etc. which is a No-No. Because you are spending your times to fix a problem which again takes time to bring your machine back to it’s current state. That’s not an ideal solution at all since this issue can comes back again anytime and you are gonna spend more time on it.

Luckily, after many frustrated days and trial-and-error, I somehow devised solution to fix the above issue.

This is one of the event message that’s logged in Event Viewer;

immersive-shell-evt

“Activation of app Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy!CortanaUI failed with error: The app didn't start in the required time. See the Microsoft-Windows-TWinUI/Operational log for additional information.”

One main reason for this was, Windows Updates was downloading in background. If that’s the case, let the download complete and reboot your system and see whether it’s fixed. If that solved you problem, cool.

 

If that didn’t helped, keep reading.

  1. Open This PC (Ctrl+E), select Settings.

    this-pc-settings
  2. Select Upgrade and Recovery.

    settings-upgrade-recovery
  3. Select Recovery –> Advanced Settings –> Restart now.

    settings-recovery-advance-settings
  4. After reboot, you’ll be taken to Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.

    WP_20160731_001
  5. Select Advanced options.

    WP_20160731_003
  6. Select System Restore.

    WP_20160731_004
  7. System will prepare for restoring. Enter you account password when prompted.

    WP_20160731_005

    WP_20160731_006
  8. You’ll get System Restore prompt, choose Next.

    WP_20160731_007
  9. Once your restore points are listed, stop right there. Now, CLOSE the System Restore prompt.

    WP_20160731_008
  10. Turn OFF your PC.

Now, turn ON your PC, wait for system tray items to load.

Check you Start menu, Cortana and Notification area. Everything works fine and your system is back to normal.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

Fix: Start menu and Cortana aren’t working. Sign out now.

I was so excited to install the Windows 10 update. Soon after a fresh install, I was busy setting up my machine dev ready. And then it happened, on next login when I logged-in to my machine, I was welcomed with  Critical Error – “Start menu and Cortana aren’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in”. I searched through the internet and could see the blame game.

win10_error

Blame game aside. If that ever happened to you, continue reading. The closest reason - you might have installed Avast Anti-Virus or Avast Internet Security. In my case, I have installed Avast Internet Security. I purchased an Avast license for Window 10 (sadly). Ya, I curse myself for that now. So, how to fix it? Here it goes:

1. Do not click on ‘Sign out now’. If you click on that, you will be logged-out. And, no matter how many times you try to re-login you’ll be welcomed with this critical error.

2. Rt-click on Desktop and create New Folder. If there’s already a folder, you can open that.

3. After opening folder, go to This PC.

4. From Menu –> Computer –> Uninstall or change a program.

5. Search for Avast, select it and Repair it.

6. After Repair is completed, Restart you machine.

It should have been fixed by now Smile If not, repeat above steps (again and again).

Hope this helps.

Fix: Annoying Adsmatte popup in desktop and smartphones

Phew! It killed a whole day of mine.

For last few days, I was bombarded with annoying Adware popup from Adsmatte. I first noticed it when I navigated to my blog for updating the template. Insaneously, I was surprised by bunch of ads popping up from my blog when I click on the post title or whenever I make any random clicks on blank area. And, that to without my consent.

I was facing this issue in both Internet Explorer as well as in Firefox. Initially, I thought it was because of any addons that got installed in my browser. I cross-checked the add-ons, disabled it, reset the browser, deleted temporary files, opened in InPrivate mode; but didn't helped at all. Along with this, I saw this issue in my other laptop and in windows phones. That gave me red signal. Does the malware affected my router or ISP? And, it's start spreading to all devices connected my router. Ah, oh! Literally, I have tried everything except Refreshing my PC and resetting my phone.

I searched through the internet and could hardly find 2 threads - (http://forums.androidcentral.com/moto-g-2014/528571-adware-redirects-most-websites.html, http://www.asus.com/zentalk/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=8189) which explain this problem. I am very surprised by the timing of this issue. Because, the thread was opened approximately on same day, I started facing the issue. I opened a thread in Microsoft Answers - http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/protect_other-protect_scanning/how-to-get-rid-of-adsmattecom-adware-opening/06b20667-586a-4ebd-9876-6d28c8528a1f?rtAction=1431798827824, and could see that other affected users too.

I started analyzing step-by-step. This issue is not related to my blog alone, I started seeing this in other websites also. If that's the case, then it should be related to some services that is widely used across all the websites. Could that be Google AdSense? Yes, that's a valid possibility. I quickly tuned off the ads code in my blog. But, the issue reappeared. That made me angry. I borrowed some patience, started digging for the JavaScript code (using IE Developer Tools) that loads this annoying popup and finally figured it out. I managed to extract the JavaScript code, that opens the annoying adsmatte popup. Carefully going through the code, caught my attention on one Google service - Google Analytics. Bingo!

I quickly commented my analytics code and refreshed the browser. There you go. No popups, no ads, nothing. It's clean and clear.

Yes, that's it. Google Analytics is the culprit here. Some nasty clever hacker has figured the loophole in Google services and targets the malware. Wait! The solution that I just figured out is a temporary fix. Practically, commenting out analytics code in every website is not practical and is not ideal at all. I believe, Google should investigate this further and come up with a fix which wipes out this issue.

Hoo!!! It's too late here. I just want to share this information with whoever reading this. So, I stayed late and published this.

Hope this helps. Please leave your comments, if it helped you.

Thanks a lot for reading this.

Thanks again.

UPDATE: A thorough analysis reveals that my router was hacked and the malware injected malicious code to the script files along with each webpage request. Since Google Analytics script is widely popular, it would be way more easier for malware to scan for the script and inject the code. This was the reason why you were getting ad pop-ups in websites which has google analytics and not in other websites. I finally brought new D-LINK modem to solve this issue.