Windows Update Troubleshooter Tool

Several people have had issues with Windows Update, from Windows 8.1 not able to update to Windows 10 not updating to the latest Insider build. Microsoft has a Troubleshooting tool that can help find the issue and correct it.

While this is not a fix all for everything that could be wrong with Windows Update, and it might not fix your particular issue, it is a good place to start. Also, if you are in the Insiders Program, always be sure to check the release notes. There are some known issues that have caused problems updating in the past (Anti-virus could interfere, SD Card could interfere, etc..). This is a great place to start if you are having issues, though, and it does work very fast to fix any issues with Windows Update that you may have.


1. Go to The Microsoft Windows Update Troubleshooter page ( and download the troubleshooter for your current operating system.



2. Run the file. This is a single file that can run on it’s own and does not require any installation. Select “Windows Update” and then click Next.



3. If it runs and cannot detect issues, it may need to be run as an Administrator, which is an option when it runs. The tool will run and check several things.





The Troubleshooting tool checks several things:

    • Default Windows Update data locations have changed?
    • Some security settings are missing or have been changed?
    • Check for missing or corrupt files.
    • Service registration is missing or corrupt.
    • Potential Windows Update Database error detected?


4. The tool will fix any found issues, and you can then close the troubleshooter. You can also click for a more detailed report to see what it did fix. From there, you can go back into Windows  Update and try the updates again.



If you click the View detailed information, you see what was checked and what was fixed.


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Uninstall Programs in Safemode

By default, the Windows Installer service does not start while in Safe Mode. This service allows you to not only install, but to uninstall software. It also does not allow you to start the service in Safe Mode. Here is how to create and start the service in Safe Mode.

1. Open a Command Prompt as Administrator.

2. Type REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service” and press enter.

2a. If you are in Safe Mode with Networking, you would type REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service” and press enter.

3. Type net start msiserver and press enter.




Now you should be able to install or uninstall software while in Safe Mode. This comes in handy when a piece of software causes issues after being installed.

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Extracting Your Windows 10 Key

Finding your Windows 10 key can be problematic with Windows 10. Here is a VBS script that can get your key with no issues. This script was not written by me, but has been posted in several places with no recognition of the author. If an original source is found, I will update with the author of the script.

1. Open Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the code below into Notepad.

Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
MsgBox ConvertToKey(WshShell.RegRead(“HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\DigitalProductId”))

Function ConvertToKey(Key)
Const KeyOffset = 52
i = 28
Cur = 0
x = 14
Cur = Cur * 256
Cur = Key(x + KeyOffset) + Cur
Key(x + KeyOffset) = (Cur \ 24) And 255
Cur = Cur Mod 24
x = x -1
Loop While x >= 0
i = i -1
KeyOutput = Mid(Chars, Cur + 1, 1) & KeyOutput
If (((29 – i) Mod 6) = 0) And (i <> -1) Then
i = i -1
KeyOutput = “-” & KeyOutput
End If
Loop While i >= 0
ConvertToKey = KeyOutput
End Function

3. Save as windowskey.vbs (Change the file type to “All Files”)

4. Run the file and your key will be displayed.


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Configure Windows 10 To Notify When Updates Are Ready

Windows 10 will automatically download and update your system in the background without any interaction from the user. To change the way this happens, you can use a Windows 10 Pro feature called gpedit. This is not available on Windows 10 Home edition.

1. Click Start > Run and type gpedit.msc


2. Browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update. Click the Edit policy setting link in the right pane.


3. Select the option that fits your needs. I use ‘3 – Auto download and notify for install’ so it’s quick to install, but I can do it on my schedule.


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Fix Error 80240020 When Updating to Windows 10

Many people are getting an error 80240020 when updating to Windows 10. This is due to an incomplete download or a corrupted download. Here is a solution.

1. Browse to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download.

2. Delete everything within that folder.

3. Open a command prompt as Administrator. Type wuauclt.exe /updatenow


4. Go back into Windows Update and you should see Windows 10 re-downloading. When it is complete, you should be able to upgrade to Windows 10 with no issues.

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Use Start Screen Instead of Start Menu

In Windows 10, the Start menu is the default option for pressing the start button. However, many people are used to the full screen Start screen introduced in Windows 8. Here is how to change the default behavior of the Start button.


1. Right click the Windows task bar and select ‘Properties’.



2. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties windows, click the ‘Start Menu’ tab. Uncheck the ‘Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen” option at the top of the window.



3. Log off and back on to get the Start screen active. Behavior will be similar to Windows 8.x Start screen.


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Missing Graphics and Icons in Office 2013 – Solution



We recently had a migration to Office 2013 at work. We had an issue on several PC’s where we would have missing graphics on the application – from missing icons, to missing arrows on pull down menus, even the Maximize/Minimize/Close buttons were gone. You can see in this example – the down arrows for the fonts are missing, the File icon (it’s white, but not visible in this shot), and close/minimize/maximize buttons are missing.


After a lot of searching and testing and uninstalling and reinstalling Office, other applications and installing various .Net libraries, we have a solution. It may not be a fix for every situation, but it seems to fix all of our issues on all our machines. The culprit – KB2670838. When we uninstalled the KB, as well as Internet Explorer 10, the issue was resolved. This seems to a common issue with some folks with Windows 7 (and can cause other issues – ‘gfxui.exe has stopped working’, Aero not working,  Desktop Windows Manager service crashing but shows running, etc.).

***Before you attempt to uninstall the KB (it automatically uninstalls Internet Explorer 10, as well) – make sure you download another browser (either install files for IE9 or install Chrome/Firefox/Opera). If you do not have another browser ready to go or ready to install, you won’t be able to download one. There won’t be one installed to do so.***

Here is how to uninstall the KB –   1. Open the Control Panel, click Programs and Features.


control panel


2. In the left pane, select “View installed updates”. Find the KB2670838 entry, click it and select “Uninstall” at the top of the window.




3. Reboot the machine, and when you reopen an Office 2013 application, the missing graphics should have returned.




Now, to get Internet Explorer back (or use an alternative browser), use the install file for your browser of choice. If you are resolving this issue, it’s best to go with Internet Explorer 9 or an alternative browser. Updating to IE10 may bring the same issues.


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Change Temperature To Celsius in Outlook 2013


The calendar in Outlook 2013 had a nice feature that lets you see the weather forecast. But, it defaults to Fahrenheit for its measure of temperature. Here is how you can change the measurement to Celsius, if you prefer.




1.       Click FILE, then “Options”.


2.       Click the “Calendar” option in the left pane.




3.       Scroll down to the “Weather” option. Here, you can select the “Show temperature in:” and switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius or vice versa.




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Adding an email Signature to Outlook 2013

Adding a signature to your outgoing emails is something many people do to save time when writing emails and not having to type the same contact information below your email. Here is how to set up a signature to Outlook 2013.

1. In the upper left corner, click the “FILE” button.


2. Click “Options”.



3. In the left pane, click Mail. On the right pane, find the “Create or modify signatures for messages.” And click the “Signatures…” button.



4. In the “Signatures and Stationery” window, click the “New” button.


5. The “New Signature” dialog box will have you type a name for the new signature. This allows you to have multiple signatures. Give the new signature a name. In this example, I am using “Sample” as the name. Click Ok when finished.


6. In the lower part of the window, under “Edit signature”, you can type your signature using the space provided. You can use various fonts, sizes, colors. You can also add web links and pictures using the buttons on the right side. You can make the signature the default for new messages and replies, if needed. If you are using multiple email accounts, you can use a default signature for each email as well.

When complete, click “OK”.


7. When you compose a new email, the default signature will show up on each email.


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Why does my Excel Spreadsheet icon have an exclamation point?


With the introduction of Office 2007, Macro enabled worksheets saved as .XLSM files show the exclamation point as part of the icon. This is not to show that it is an error or that it is dangerous, only to inform you that it contains macros. “Feature” or not well thought out placement of punctuation? It’s completely normal, and everything is fine as long as you trust the document and/or created the document and macros yourself.


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