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A strange error message in Windows 10


This weekend, I have had just one single task, and one goal: to get the GUI desktop environment working in my Linux distros running in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). I finally managed to do it, and I am extremely happy about how fast my WSL Linux distros work when I connect to them from Windows 10 using a remote desktop connection. Here, I am connected from Windows 10 to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS running in WSL using RDP:

Click to open enlarged in a new tab.

I am really exited to see how well it works! It’s fast and snappy, and much faster than running the same distro on a virtual machine. I also get freely scalable resolution and bidirectional Copy & Paste. Anyway, that’s not what I want to tell now (I will post complete instructions for this later here on Win10.guru).

No, the topic I want to talk about this time is a strange, new Windows 10 error message I have never seen before.

When testing adding a desktop environment to various WSL Linux distros, I finally managed to brick my Windows 10 so completely that the only option was to restore an automatically created Macrium image from the previous night. Restore was fast, as always with Macrium Reflect. However, when I got back to the desktop, clicking Start showed me this:

Windows worked perfectly until I clicked Start. At that point, Windows was frozen. In fact, the only thing that still worked was the Sign out now button shown at bottom right in the error message. No subsequent sign in or restart helped matters at all.

OK, so the image I had restored was from the previous night. I restored an image made the night before that, and everything was OK again. Everything, including Start working. Keen to understand why I got that error, I decided to test if I could reproduce the error by again restoring the incremental image from the previous night. Yes, the weird Critical error was back, and Start didn’t work, either.

I repeated this three times. Restoring an incremental image from previous night, Start gave the Critical error. Restoring another incremental image from night before previous, everything OK.

Weird. I have absolutely no idea if the error is / was caused by Windows, or if my incremental from previous night was somehow damaged. Verification shows the image is OK.

Anyway, it’s interesting when you see something for the first time, even if you have absolutely no clue about why you are seeing it. I am not worried, though; I have restored an image which works, and I now have a desktop environment in all my WSL distros. Mission accomplished! 🙂

Kari

 

 

 

Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

2 Responses “A strange error message in Windows 10”

  1. Toni Fasth
    November 10, 2019 at 16:01

    There’s probably a start menu livetile layout corruption.
    Try this:

    Open up TaskManager using your preferred method
    Run msconfig
    Check Safe Boot tick box
    Reboot
    Start menu should be working
    Run msconfig again
    Remove Safe Boot tick box
    Reboot

    Menu should be ok again.

    • November 10, 2019 at 18:42

      I’ll try that next time it happens, thanks. Having a 100% working system at the moment, I do not want o start playing with it.

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