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Bug in latest Windows update making things "disappear"

Bug in latest Windows update making things "disappear"
© Tanawat Pontchour | Dreamstime.com

Last week, Microsoft started rolling out its latest major Windows 10 update, the Fall Creators Update, to millions of PCs around the world.

The update is bringing numerous new features, tweaks and improvements including a new look called the Fluent Design system, a big push toward 3-D modeling and Mixed Reality modes and new login options.

There's also Eye Control, and under-the-hood improvements like OneDrive Files-on-Demand, better update control, faster boot times, power throttling, Storage Sense optimizations and more.

It's still early in the gradual rollout phase but issues are already starting to emerge online.

One issue we covered a few days ago was the update's massive file size and installation data. Fortunately, as we outlined here, removal of the data to reclaim disk space is pretty straightforward.

However, another issue is being reported by early Fall Creator updaters, which looks to be more of a system bug and it will require a patch from Microsoft to fix.

Where are my apps?

Windows 10 Fall Creator Update users have started to report an issue where certain apps are starting to "disappear" from the operating system after installing the update.

System apps like Calculator and even Microsoft Edge are reported to be disappearing from the system, preventing users from launching them from the Start Menu or even by doing a Cortana Search. It's like the affected apps are not even installed on their systems.

However, when you search for the apps on the Windows App Store, the Store will show that said apps are already installed on your PC. The apps can even be opened straight from their Store pages themselves! Strange behavior, indeed.

How to fix the disappearing apps

Microsoft has not issued an official patch but it is investigating the issue and it has already outlined a simple workaround.

According to Microsoft's troubleshooting steps to restore the missing apps, affected users can repair, reset or uninstall and reinstall the missing apps.

To repair or reset the missing apps:

  1. Open Settings >>Apps. 
  2. On the Apps & features tab, find the name of the missing app.  Click the app and select Advanced options (if available).
  3. If a Repair option is available, click Repair. If this option is not available, or if Repair does not resolve the issue, you may also try the Reset option, though you might lose any app data that was saved.
  4. Once the repair or reset is completed, the app should again appear in the app list and can be pinned to the Start Menu.

To uninstall and reinstall the missing apps

  1. Open Settings >> Apps.
  2. On the Apps & features tab, find the name of the missing app. Click the app and select Uninstall.
  3. Open Store and then reinstall the missing app. Once installed, the app should appear in the app list and can be pinned to the Start Menu.

PowerShell fix

A more advanced method of restoring the missing apps is by re-registering them by using PowerShell.

Warning: The PowerShell fix that's intended for advanced users. It's recommended that you know your way around command prompts and registry entries before even attempting it. You can seriously damage your system further if you tweak the wrong setting so please be extra careful.

  1. In Cortana, type PowerShell. In the search results, right-click Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator.
  2. In the Powershell window type the following commands.  These steps may take a few minutes to complete.
  • reg delete “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\TileDataModel\Migration\TileStore” /va /f
  • get-appxpackage -packageType bundle |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + "\appxmetadata\appxbundlemanifest.xml")}
  • $bundlefamilies = (get-appxpackage -packagetype Bundle).packagefamilyname
  • get-appxpackage -packagetype main |? {-not ($bundlefamilies -contains $_.packagefamilyname)} |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + "\appxmanifest.xml")}

3. Once the PowerShell commands are completed, the apps should appear in the app list, and can be pinned to the Start Menu.

If that's too technical for you, it's highly recommended that you just wait for Microsoft's official patch to fix the disappearing app problem.

Alternatively, if the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is causing more issues and you haven't deleted your installation files yet, you can rollback to your previous version of Windows by going to Settings >> Update & security >> Recovery >> Go back to your previous version of Windows.

Keep in mind, after installing the update, you only have a 10-day period before Windows automatically deletes the installation files, making a rollback impossible.

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