Microsoft Issues Fixes for Windows 11 Instability

Posted on September 3, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 25 Comments

Windows Insiders in the Dev and Beta channels are experiencing massive Start and the Taskbar stability problems in the newest builds. But Microsoft has issued some fixes and workarounds.

“We’re investigating reports across our Dev and Beta Channels that Start and Taskbar are unresponsive and Settings and other areas of the OS won’t load,” the Windows Insider Twitter account revealed yesterday, and then added, “Thank you again for your patience #WindowsInsiders – If you were impacted by this issue, you can use the steps added to the top of these blog posts to get back into a working state on your PC.”

The account linked back to the original posts announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview builds 22000.176 (for the Beta channel) and 22449 (for the Dev channel), respectively. But the instructions are the same in both cases: You need to open Task Manager (ironically now harder to do in Windows 11), run CMD (and not the Terminal, also curious), and delete a specific Registry key; note that the PC will reboot immediately.

And that should do it.

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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Microsoft Issues Fixes for Windows 11 Instability”

  1. behindmyscreen

    Too late. I am back on Windows 10. I will grab the release on Oct 5th.

  2. hrlngrv

    Tangent: if one knows one's keyboard, it's easy to open Task Manager. Even though most of EXPLORER.EXE failed to work (though it still drew the desktop background and desktop icons, probably older so more reliable code), [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Esc] still worked. Good to know the [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Delete] approach always works.

    Not tangent: you couldn't use Terminal because ALL Store apps were affected. Settings wouldn't run. Notepad, Paint and Calculator wouldn't run. And Terminal wouldn't run. FWIW, EXPLORER.EXE also died before running anything in the classic Start menu's Startup subdirectories or anything in values under HKLM or HKCU Run keys. To repeat from above, only the non-taskbar desktop worked as it should.

    Just how fragile are Store apps?

    • jimchamplin


      I remember the Store app taking a big shit all over itself multiple times in 1506 and 1511 and essentially the only way to fix it was to reinstall, since the "reset this app" option didn't exist yet. The problem was never fixed entirely, which is why we now have a store reset command in Powershell!

  3. smartin

    "open Task Manager (ironically now harder to do in Windows 11)"

    WTF did Microsoft do to make opening Task Manager harder? Seems like a pretty important utility to hide it away somewhere.

    • jimchamplin

      It can still be found on the Ctrl+Alt+Del menu, but it moved from the Taskbar context menu to the Start context menu.

  4. LT1 Z51

    What I really want to know is when MS will admit that the Ryzen 1200/1600 revision AF CPUs (which are Zen+ chips not Zen chips) work with Windows 11 as they support TPM 2.0.

  5. navarac

    I don't do Insider Builds anymore, too much A/B testing where I was seeing nothing.

    However, am I the only one who keeps a full image of a serviceable system on an external drive? For instance keep a W10 image while testing W11 and keeping another image of the working build of W11 before installing the next build. It kept my sanity for years, especially not having to install all that software that doesn't get there from a re-install. Might be "old-hat" but just saying.

  6. derylmccarty

    Unfortunately, the 449 issues also torched my windows sign-in app. Neither the camera nor the use of my pin will 'engage'. So, I downloaded the Windows 22000-132 ISO, which is the latest available for me, then Rufus'ed a 32 GB flash drive. This is giving me fits too because while the flash drive is recognized and starts to boot, it then stops at the obligatory English (United States) window and neither the Laptop 4 keyboard nor touch screen will activate so I cannot continue. I will try again tomorrow with Windows 10 and then back to dev to upgrade to 11. As I said yesterday, however, the machine makes a fine and pretty damned good-looking paperweight, if a bit pricey.

  7. WaltC

    22449.1000 so far is the most stable build of Win11 yet! Glad to say I was not in the group having problems!

  8. fikus74

    This is normal. Beta software. Expect it to be buggy. If it bothers you, then go back to Windows 10 and wait 2-3 months after the official release.

  9. Patrick3D

    I've had zero issues, but was wondering why there was an update on a Thursday.

  10. darkgrayknight

    You can actually run quite a few things in the midst of this bug through Task Manager. You can run cmd as an admin or powershell. You can type a web address to launch the default browser. I actually ran windows update through powershell (hoping that would fix the issue, which it didn't). The reg statement worked.

  11. blue77star

    This OS should not be released until next year October. I suggest to stay away from it for couple years until it gets stable enough.

  12. Aaron44126

    Instilling great confidence in their 1-month-away release.

    • hrlngrv

      If anything could postpone the Windows 11 launch into 2022, it just may be the inability to inflict ads on the lucky few who get new PCs with Windows 11 preinstalled this holiday season. Must maintain monetization potential.

  13. jjdiebolt

    I did this and it did work. I am lucky I happened to have another PC nearby and chanced upon a tweet leading to a link which lead to the post. Fortunately I had a shortcut to Google on the desktop which did work and I was able to cut and paste and not type all that out. I was just preparing to reset my PC and spend a good part of my Friday reinstalling all my third party apps. It goes with being an insider, I know. However as I had queued the affected PC to opt out "when the next.. blah blah blah" according to my Windows Update->Windows Insider page I was no longer an insider. I had already been "released into Windows 11". I could "Join" again. I am lucky I check these things prior to the latest "Minibuilds". To have such a serious problem crop up this late in the process is a major debacle. MS has already ticked off a lot of enthusiasts with its word salad back and forth on machines not meeting requirements that are insiders.. which apparently will be left out in the cold (at least at this second--might change by the time someone else is reading this post) There is a wellspring of "ill will" ready to be tapped for those people in the general public. They'll see all the hype in October and cant get the download, google why and then find out their relatively recent PC will never be able to get this "cool new Windows 11". "See that nice Windows 11 carrot on a stick? You can run as fast as you want, but you'll never get it!" Imagine if this issue had rolled out to the public on October 5th. It seems MS goes to great lengths to tick people off, obfuscate, and generally screw up these things, Paul, I think your next post's photo header should have the "11" as a pair of dominoes starting to tip.... "Windows 1 /| | | | "

  14. jimchamplin

    This bug hosed my user account last night. Wish I’d known then.

    It wasn’t a big deal to fix but it sure as hell galled me at the time.

  15. CaymanDreamin

    A bunch of chicken littles running around in the comments here screaming the sky is falling, it's a beta, if you can't handle it you shouldn't be in it. I've only had very minor issues on my SB2, which is my main PC, and none on my SP5. On a side note, Task Manager, shutdown options and more are available by right clicking on the start button.

    • hrlngrv

      There's a difference between alpha-level software and beta-level software. The latter crashes AFTER running something. The former sometimes can't run ANYTHING. This was an alpha-level issue.

    • polloloco51

      Sorry, Windows 11 may work fine in the moment. It is those undiscovered bugs, that could severely disrupt the experience for a lot of people, that's the problem!

      Cars actually undergo more thorough bug and safety testing, than Windows 11 will have!

      As Paul stated, Windows 11 isn't ready yet! I fully agree!

    • jjdiebolt

      I know the risks. This has been the only (Windows 11) bug I have encountered. On only one of many machines at that. I'm no "chicken little". I've been at this since Windows 10 insider preview number one, years ago. Pretty darn experienced. A person is allowed to express their experience, possible ways they've found around it and their frustration . It's perfectly legitimate.

      • CaymanDreamin

        @jjdiebolt I wasn't referring to your comment, as a matter of fact, your comment was posted after mine. I know the new comment system makes it hard to follow the flow sometimes, so I can understand if you thought otherwise. You shared your experience and offered workarounds, I wouldn't say anything negative about that. I was talking about those that come on any article here about 11 and like to do nothing but yell fire in a crowded theater. My comment originally came after the person saying to stay away from 11 for a couple of years. There is so much griping about an optional update that's it's getting old fast.

    • wpcoe

      It did concern me a bit as (a) the task bar was missing, (b) the Windows key did not do anything, such as bring up a Start menu, (c) no apps (which had shortcuts on the desktop) would launch, (c) explorer.exe was "Not responding" per Task Manager even after ending the task and restarting it, and a few other dead ends which elude my memory right now.

      In such a scenario, other than reinstalling the OS from an ISO, how would the problem be patchable? Turns out there were two ways* but at first glance, things looked gloomy. Couldn't download anything, because no browser was available. Couldn't "sneaker net" a downloaded fix from something downloaded on another computer because Explorer was not available.

      So, momentary panic concern may have been justified.

      *Microsoft came up with one workaround which involved running regedit from Task Manager to tweak a Registry key, and another solution I found via reddit via was to change the date setting. But, neither of those were (to me) intuitive.