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August 3, 2020

Misleading Troubleshooting History in Version 2004


If you happen to check into the Troubleshooting history on a PC running Windows 10 2004 right now, you will likely see something that looks like potential trouble. That history item appears as the lead-in graphic for this story, in fact (see above). As you can see the red text at the bottom of the history item reads “Could not be run on <date>. Critical troubleshooter.” Gosh! That sure looks and reads like something went wrong. Not so! If you follow the link in that report to Support.Microsoft.com, you’ll find yourself reading an item about “Issues using OneDrive Files On-Demand…” As it happens, this is a known issue for Version 2004, and the latest 2004 Update ran the Troubleshooter to see if the target PC has this problem. But if you keep at it, and read the Support Note all the way down to the Notes section, you’ll find this information nugget:

When following the above steps in the Workaround using Troubleshooter section, you might see a Could not be run message for a critical troubleshooter with the title Hardware and devices. This is an indication that your device is not impacted by the Files On-Demand issue. The Files On-Demand troubleshooter is not needed and will not run.  You should not need to restart your device or follow any of the steps after step 5.

Why Is Misleading Troubleshooting History in Version 2004?

It’s an artefact of the way the “issue check” works. Even though the text is in red, and the critical Hardware and devices troubleshooter could not be run, this is a good thing. It means the target PC (the one with this bit of Troubleshooting history) is NOT subject to the OneDrive Files On-Demand issue. Kind of makes me wonder why MS didn’t put this information at the very top of the support note (since presumably, most PCs will not be subject to the issue and will therefore find this item in their Troubleshooting history)? Also gives me a chuckle that they didn’t over-ride the default and change the text color from red to some less … ahem … alarming color.

It just goes to show you that what looks like bad news is not always what it looks like. In this case, it’s actually good news — you will understand that your PC doesn’t have the OneDrive Files On-Demand issue because this info appears as it does — even if it does look and read like something didn’t work. It’s like getting a negative result on a medical test that’s looking for signs or symptoms of some kind of illness or condition. Methinks MS could have done a better job of packaging up and explaining this info. But hey! That’s the way things sometimes go here in Windows-World. Why do I feel like I just dodged a bullet?

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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