10 common Windows 10 problems and how to fix them
Useful Troubleshooting Links:
If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, you’ll know that it’s a big improvement on its predecessors and has some great features. However, like every other operating system, it’s not perfect and you will sometimes run into problems. Fortunately, very few PC problems are without a solution. Here are 10 of the most common Windows 10 problems and how to fix them.
1. Windows update PROBLEMS
Windows 10 offers you the choice of when and how to get the latest updates to keep your device running smoothly and securely. This article will help you answer questions and troubleshoot common problems with your Windows 10 update.
If you’re looking for info on how to activate Windows 10 or to verify that your installation of Windows 10 is activated, see Activate Windows 10.
Have issues installing Windows updates? Start here.
Your device may not be able to update to the latest version of Windows 10 for a few reasons. The following tips can help you pinpoint the issue affecting your device.
Before you begin, make sure your device is plugged into a power source and connected to the internet. Then, try the steps listed below to get your PC to update.
Some updates require administrator access. If your account doesn’t have administrator access, see Create a local user or administrator account in Windows 10. Or if someone else at home or in your office has an administrator account on your device, try asking them to install the updates.
Important: Before trying any of the solutions below, make sure you back up your personal files. You can use File History to back up your files to another drive, or insert a USB drive and use File Explorer to drag and copy important files to the USB drive. If you’re signing into Windows with a Microsoft account, your system settings will be automatically restored after updating, once you’re connected to the internet.
You can also back up your files with OneDrive. For more info, go to Back up your Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders with OneDrive.
Make sure that your device has enough space. Your device requires at least 16 GB of free space to upgrade a 32-bit OS, or 20 GB for a 64-bit OS. If your device has a small hard drive, you may need to insert a USB drive to update it.
If your PC is running low on storage, try the techniques at Free up drive space in Windows 10.Restart to apply installed updates
Many updates require you to restart your device. Save your work and close all open applications. Then, select Start > Power , and select either Update and restart or Update and shut down.Run Windows Update again
Even if you have downloaded some updates, there may be more available. After trying the preceding steps, run Windows Update again by selecting Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Download and install any new updates.
Check for updates in Settings. Disconnect external hardware
Remove any external storage devices and drives, docks, and other hardware plugged into your device that aren’t needed for basic functionality. Then try to run updates again and see if this resolved your issue. If it didn’t, continue to the next tip. Update third-party drivers
If you’ve added hardware to your device, check for third-party driver updates and installation instructions on the hardware manufacturer’s website. Update any drivers, then try to run updates again and see if this resolved your issue. If it didn’t, continue to the next tip.Check Device Manager for errors
- In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select Device Manager from the list of results.
- In the window that appears, look for any device with a yellow exclamation mark next to it. (You may have to select each category to view the list of devices.) Select the device name.
- Select Action, and then choose either Update driver or Uninstall to correct the errors.
Common troubleshooting questions
I received an error code while updating.
If you are receiving an error message with a specific error code, try running the Windows Update Troubleshooter. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, see Fix Windows Update errors and follow the instructions to help resolve common update issues.
The time required to download and install updates depends on connection speed, network settings, and the size of the update. If the installation remains stuck at the same percentage, try checking for updates again or running the Windows Update Troubleshooter.
To check for updates, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.
To get help, in the search box on the task bar, type Get help, then select Get Help from the list of results. To leave feedback if you run into further problems, in the search box on the taskbar, type Feedback hub, then select Feedback Hub from the list of results.
Windows 10 is the most secure Windows ever, and we recommend you stay updated to protect your PC from security risks and to keep it running smoothly. However, you can temporarily pause updates as well as schedule a restart to install updates at a time that’s convenient for you.
You will only receive a notification when it’s time to restart your computer to apply the installed updates.
Tip: If you need to know where you left off in your work after an update, use Timeline to jump back in.
To get started with Timeline, select Task View on the taskbar, or press the Windows logo key +Tab and select the activity you want to resume.
Monthly quality updates on Windows 10 are quite small and have a minimal impact on data usage. Feature updates typically happen twice per year, and you can control when to install them. They require more data but are less frequent.
If you’re on a metered connection, some updates for Windows won’t be installed automatically.
Your computer might be slow for a number of reasons, but updating to the latest version of Windows 10 can improve its performance. For help with a slow computer, see Tips to improve PC performance in Windows 10.The update finished, but now I can’t find my files.
Warning: Microsoft only recommends trying the procedures in this section if you’re comfortable working in the command line. These procedures require administrator permissions on your device. Hide all Temporarily remove third-party security software
In some instances, third-party antivirus or security software can cause errors when you try to update to the latest version of Windows 10. You can temporarily uninstall this software, update your PC, and then reinstall the software after your device is up to date. We recommend using third-party antivirus or security software that’s compatible with the latest version of Windows 10. You can check compatibility by visiting the software manufacturer’s website.
Before uninstalling software, make sure you know how to reinstall your programs and that you have any necessary product keys.Repair hard drive errors
In the search box on the taskbar, type command prompt, then select Command Prompt from the list of results. In the window that appears, type chkdsk/f C: and select the Enter key. Repairs automatically start on your hard drive, and you’ll be asked to restart your device.Perform a clean boot into Windows
A clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps eliminate software conflicts that occur when you install a program or an update that may cause issues updating your PC.
In the search box on the taskbar, type command prompt, then select Command Prompt from the list of results. In the window that appears, type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and select the Enter key. Perform a clean installation of Windows 10
Go to the software download page and select Download tool now to download the clean installation tool. Make sure to carefully read the notes on the software download page before using the tool.
2. PC boots slowly
There are a number of reasons Windows 10 might be booting slowly. The first two things to check are that Windows is up to date and hasn’t been infected with malware.
To check for malware:
- Press the Windows key and “I”
- Choose Update & Security
- Select Windows Defender
- Click on Open Windows Defender
- Press Full Scan and the Scan now
Once it’s finished scanning, follow the on-screen instructions.
To check for updates to Windows, go to Updates & Security and the select the option to either check for updates or install available updates.
Another option is to disable startup programs, that slow down your PC’s boot. The simplest way to do that is to use CleanMyPC. It allows you to manage autorun applications in just a few clicks.
3. Files open in the wrong application
Most of us double-click a file to open it, but if the file association in Windows is broken, as it often is, it won’t open in the app you expect it to. You can fix that by clicking on the Start menu and choosing Settings. Click on the System tab and look for the category labelled “default apps.” In there, you can choose what app opens each type of file and specify an app for different file extensions.
4. Windows uses 4G data when you don’t want it to
If you’re using a personal hot spot to connect to the internet over 4G, the last thing you want is for background processes and downloads to eat up your bandwidth.
- Click on the Start menu and choose Settings
- Click Network & Internet
- Select Wi-Fi, then Advanced Options
- Switch “Set as metered connection” to the ON position
5. You can’t play DVD movies
Windows 10 doesn’t have its own built-in DVD player anymore. Probably because Microsoft assumes everyone watches movies online. You can pay to download a DVD player from Microsoft, but a better idea is to download VLC instead. It’s free and will play your DVDs.
6. Too many notifications
Action Center in Windows 10 is great for keeping all your notifications in one place. However, it can quickly become cluttered with messages you’re not really interested in from apps you hardly ever use. Fortunately, you can switch those off.
- Go to the Start menu and choose Settings
- Click on System, then choose Notifications & Actions
- Use the toggle switches to control how and when notifications appear, or if they appear at all. As well as controlling system level notifications, you can set them on a per-app basis.
If you do not longer need the program with annoying notifications, you can uninstall it and forget the pain.
7. Your privacy settings aren’t right for you
The default privacy settings in Windows 10 might be fine for many people, but for lots of others, they’re likely to allow too much access to personal data. Here’s how to change them.
- Go to Settings from the Start menu
- Choose Privacy
- Go through each section on the left hand side in turn (General, location, camera, microphone, etc)
- Review the settings in each section and use the toggle switches to adjust them to suit your preference
8. System Restore has gone missing
System restore hasn’t disappeared in Windows 20, but it is turned off by default, for reasons best known to Microsoft. To turn it on, do the following:
- Click on the Start menu and type ‘system restore’ into the search box
- Select Create a restore point
- When you see the System Properties panel, click on the System Protection tab
- Make sure your C: drive is selected and press Configure
- Click the radio button next to Turn on system protection
- Use the slider to specify how much of your hard drive to use for restore points — 5-10% should do it
9. Too many pop ups in Edge
Pop up adverts can be very frustrating. Fortunately, Edge has a built-in pop-up blocker, though it’s off by default. To turn it on, launch Edge, click on the More button (three dots) and choose Settings, then View advanced settings. Set Block pop-ups to “On”.
10. Printer trouble
Printers are a common source of trouble, but it can often be easily fixed.
- Go to Control Panel, then choose Devices and Printers.
- Right-click on your printer and choose to remove it.
Now, go to your printer maker’s website and download the latest drivers for your printer and follow the instructions to install them.
Windows 10 problems don’t have to cause you nightmares. If you follow the tips here, you can resolve the most common ones quickly and easily. And, don’t forget to download CleanMyPC and let it help you clear space, speed up your PC and fix other annoying Windows 10 issues.