How to troubleshoot Windows 10 laptop won’t open anything?

April 3, 2019 |

greater than 14 minutes

In considerably rare scenarios, users find their computer refusing to open all items regardless of what form the files or programs are in. Basically, Windows fails to bring up a program window after the launch operation for an application (or a similar item) that has been executed.

In this guide, we will examine this strange issue thoroughly and help you with solutions to it.

How do I force a program to open in Windows 10?

You cannot really force a program to open in Windows – at least, in the real sense of it. What you can do is provide the program with the best conditions or tools to run.

You can try giving the application more privileges than usual. You can also set it up to demand and consume the most significant share of your computer resources. Those are the only changes that might translate to Windows doing its best to get the application to start up.

What to do if my laptop can’t open anything on Windows 10?

Before you move on to begin troubleshooting the problem, we have to tell about some potential causes or sources of the issue in view.

Serious software conflicts:

There is a good chance some programs currently installed on your computer are not compatible with one another. Windows inability or refusal to launch programs is probably down to disagreements in the operations of the problematic applications or differences in the processes and services used by them.

Registry faults:

Some of your system files might have been deleted or gone down with corruption. In that case, critical keys or entries will end up being reported as damaged or missing. These events result in Windows struggling to execute standard launch operations correctly.

Activities of malicious programs:

Viruses and malware might be active in doing some damage on your PC. Malicious items are capable of executing a wide range of harmful operations. They tend to alter system files, hug up valuable system resources, and engage in many activities detrimental to the performance of other programs.

With these possibilities in mind, we managed to come up with a list of procedures that should help you get your laptop to its proper working state or condition.

How do I fix the Windows apps not opening issue?

Well, if you are here to find out how to resolve the issue in view, then it is time you went through the fixes below (in the order they appear, preferably).

1. Restart your computer:

Sometimes, an operation as simple as a reboot is all Windows needs to get its house in order. If your computer’s inability or failure to launch programs is down to unexpected inconsistencies or obscure shortcomings, then the restart procedure is likely to do you some good.

We recommend you restart your PC and then check if things are now back to normal. If the same issue persists, then you can even initiate another reboot operation and recheck if your computer can open files or launch applications the way it is supposed to.

2. Boot Windows into safe mode and restore your PC (for users who indeed cannot open anything):

If your system still refuses to bring up program windows for applications, then you must consider restoring it to a point where the current issue is non-existent. We want you to perform the restoration operation in the environment provided by safe mode. We will walk you through the entirety of the process here.

Follow these instructions to boot your computer into safe mode and restore your system:

  • First, you have to find a way to get into the Windows recovery environment. You can do this through Automatic repair.

Press (and hold down) your power button for as long as necessary until your PC powers down completely. Once you are sure your device has gone off, you must turn it on again by pressing its power button.

While Windows is booting up, you must press (and hold) the same power button again to power down your device. Wait for it go off, and then press the power button again to bring it back on.

  • Repeat the powering down and up sequence at least two times. On your third or subsequent trial, you have to allow Windows to start up without interrupting its boot operation.

You should see a message stating that Automatic repair is being prepared. You have to be patient until your computer gets into the Windows recovery environment.

  • In the Choose an option screen, you must select Troubleshoot. On the screen that follows, you must click on Advanced options.
  • From the list of items available under Advanced options, you must select Startup Settings.
  • Here, you must select 4 (or use the F4 key) for the Enable Safe Mode option. Now, your system should restart, and you should find yourself in the safe mode environment.
  • Click on the Windows Start icon to see some programs and options, and then select Settings.
  • Assuming the Settings program window is up on your screen, you must type System recovery into the text box situated at the top-right corner of the window (to do a quick search using those inputted keywords).

From the results that show up, you must click on Create a restore point.

Your computer will bring up the System Properties window now.

  • Click on the System Protection tab (to navigate there). Click on the System Restore button.

Windows will display the System Restore window now.

  • Click on the Next button. Go through the list of available restore points and click on a specific restore point to choose it.
  • Click on the Next button to confirm your selection. You should be able to complete the restoration process from here.

All you have to do is follow the instructions or guidelines that appear on your screen. You must do whatever Windows requests and allow your system to execute the necessary operations.

If everything goes well, after your system is reverted to the old state (based on the restore point you went with), your files or programs should begin to open normally.

3. Use PowerShell to repair Windows app components:

The procedure here is a specific fix for scenarios where only the system applications from Microsoft are refusing to launch. Here, we are referring to common programs or utilities like Settings, Cortana, Microsoft Edge, and other similar apps.

If the components integral to the activities of Windows applications are broken or damaged, then the launch operations for those apps are set up to fail. You do not have to bother yourself with what exactly happened to those components or why those events occurred.

You can execute some codes in an elevated PowerShell program window to fix things quickly:

  • Press the Windows logo button on your device’s keyboard to see some programs and options, and then type PowerShell into the text field (that appears once you start typing).

Your system will display relevant search results. You should see PowerShell (Desktop app). Right-click on it, and then select the Run as administrator option.

If UAC (User Account Control) brings up a window or dialog box to get confirmation for the launch operation, you must click on the Yes button.

  • Assuming the Administrator: PowerShell program window has appeared on your screen, you must type in the following code:

PowerShell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

  • Hit the Enter key. Windows should execute the code you just inputted now. It is time you typed in this one:

Get-AppXPackage-AllUsers|Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like “*SystemApps*”}|Foreach {Add-AppxPackage-DisableDevelopmentMode-Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

  • Tap the Enter key again to get Windows to execute that code too.
  • Close the PowerShell application window and try to open the troubled Windows apps. If the launch operations fail like before, then you must restart your computer and then reinitiate the opening phase for the applications once more.

4. Take ownership of the C: drive on your computer:

It is time we considered the possibility of your system being unable to launch programs or files normally being due to the lack of permissions or privileges required to use the C: drive. It is probably far too difficult to figure out how your computer came to lose the rights it once possessed, but we might know of a way through which you should be able to correct the issue.

You have to change the ownership of the C: drive through manual operations. Go through these steps to do this:

  • You must begin by opening the File Explorer app. You can do this by pressing (and holding) the Windows logo button on your device’s keyboard and then moving on to tap the letter E key.
  • Assuming the File Explorer window has shown up, you must click on This PC. Now, you should see the drive where Windows 10 got installed on your disk.

By default, it is the C: drive, anyway.

  • Right-click on the drive to see some options, and then select Properties. Your system will display the Properties window for the chosen drive now.
  • Click on the Security tab (to go there). Click on the Advanced button (situated close to the bottom of the window).

You will end up on the Advanced Security Settings for Local Disk C: screen now.

  • Locate the Owner field, and then click on the Change link beside it.

Your system will display the Select User or Group window now.

  • Click on the Find now button. You should see the list comprising of various users or groups used to access your computer or perform specific tasks.
  • Click on the Administrator group to select it here, and then click on the OK button.
  • You must continue things by clicking on the OK button again on the Select User or Group window.

You will be returned to the Advanced Security Settings for Local Disk (C:) window.

If you did everything correctly as intended, the value for Owner must now read Administrators, and the Administrators group must be shown under Permission entries.

  • Click on the checkbox for the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects parameter.
  • It is time you clicked on the Apply button. Follow things up with a click on the OK button, and you are done with your work here.

Wait for the process in view to reach completion. If everything goes well, then you must go a step further and provide Full Control Permissions for the drive with regards to the All Application Packages group. Continue with the steps below:

  • Bring up the Properties window for the C: drive as you did earlier and go to the Security tab there. This time, you have to click on the Edit button (To change permissions, click Edit).

Windows will bring up the Permissions for Local Disk (C:) window now.

  • Click on the Add button under Group or user names.
  • Assuming the Select User or Group window has shown up, you should see the Advanced button, which you must click on to continue.
  • Click on the Find now button. Go through the list displayed and locate ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES. Click on it.
  • Once you are sure that you have selected the correct option from the list, you must click on the OK button to confirm your choice.
  • Click on the OK button again.

Your system will now add ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES to the list.

  • Click on the newly-added ALL APPLICATION PACKAGES to select it as a parameter. It should be highlighted.
  • Click on the checkbox for Full control, and then click on the Apply button.
  • Here, finally, you have to click on the OK button.
  • Check if the issue you struggled with has been fixed. If you realize nothing has changed, then you must launch the Properties window for the disk in view again, go to the Security tab there, provide Full control permissions to the Users group, and then recheck things.

5. Change FilterAdministratorToken in Registry Editor:

The procedure here is directed at users who have been struggling to get the Start Menu screen up coupled with Windows failure to bring up program windows for system applications – especially those currently using an administrator account on their computers.

The changes resulting from the operation here were enough to provide the required breakthrough for a select category of users. You might get the same result. Go through these steps:

  • First, you have to get the Registry Editor program up.

Launch the Run app quickly through this popular keyboard shortcut: Windows logo button + letter R key.

Assuming the small Run program window has shown up, you must type in the following code into the text field displayed there: regedit

Tap the Enter key to get your system to execute the inputted code. You might see a User Account Control Prompt. All you have to do is click on the Yes button there to continue.

Windows will bring up the required program window now.

  • Starting from the list of items you see close to the top-left corner of the window, you must navigate through this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ System
  • If you are in the right place, on the right pane, you should see the 32-bit DWORD titled FilterAdministratorToken. If this item is available, you can move on to the next step.

If the 32-bit DWORD FilterAdministratorToken is missing from your current location, you must right-click on any free area or space in the right pane to see some options, click on New, and then select DWORD (32-bit) Value.

You have to type in FilterAdministratorToken into the field for Value name. Input 1 into the field for Value data.

  • Click on the OK button, and your system will save the newly-created DWORD value.
  • Close the Registry Editor application window, restart your PC, then check if your computer is now able to run programs and open files normally.

6. Check and confirm that the Application Identity Service is running:

If the programs refusing or failing to open problem on your device is exclusive to Windows 10 applications, then you will do well to check the state of a specific service that is integral to their operations.

The Application Identity Services perform verification tasks for programs on behalf of your system. We will now walk you through the operations on checking its status and fixing whatever issues it has.

Go through these steps:

  • Bring up the Run application window as you did earlier. We outlined the instructions on doing this in the steps for previous fixes.

Assuming you have got the small Run program window to come up, this time, you must type in the following code: Services.msc

Tap the Enter key to get Windows to execute that code. Your system will launch the Services window now.

  • Go through the list of services displayed and locate Application Identity Service. Double-click on it.

You should see the Properties window for the chosen service now.

  • Look at the Service status field. If it reads Stopped, then you must restart the Application Identity service. Click on the Start button (under Service status).
  • Click on the Apply button, and then click on the OK button to save the changes you just made.
  • Now, you are free to close the Services window and restart your computer. Check if your system is now capable of launching the troubled Windows 10 applications without issues.

7. Move the database folder (for apps) from one profile to another:

Here, you are going to try to bring about significant changes to get rid of the problem in view by moving an important database folder from one profile to another.

Two profiles are needed. One should be the main profile to which we are moving the required stuff, preferably, and the other should be the test profile from which we are going to get the database profile.

The operations involved are considerably complicated – especially when compared to previous tasks you completed. Nevertheless, if you follow the instructions below carefully enough, you should find things easy.

  • Use the combination of the Windows logo button and the letter X key to bring up the applications and options that make up the Power User menu.

From the list, you must click on Command Prompt (Admin). Your system will launch the Administrator: Command Prompt program window now.

  • Now, you must execute the three lines of code below. Type in a line of code, hit the Enter key to run it, and then continue to the next one:
  1. net user “TempAdmin1” “tpassword1” /add
  2. net user “TempAdmin2” “tpassword2” /add
  3. net localgroup administrators “TempAdmin2” /add
  • Assuming your system is done executing the codes we provided, you must close the elevated Command Prompt window and move on to log out of your current account.

Use this keyboard shortcut: CTRL + ALT + DELETE. Click on the Sign out option.

  • At this point, you must log into the temporary account you recently created. The profile name is TempAdmin1, and the password for the account should be tpassword1.
  • Now, assuming you are logged into Windows using the temporary account as we requested, it is time you signed out of it again.

Use the keyboard shortcut again, and then click on the Sign out button.

  • Here, you must log into the second temporary account. The profile name for this one is TempAdmin2, and the password for the account should be tpassword2.
  • Assuming you are successfully logged into Windows using the second temporary account, you must launch the File Explorer app.

This keyboard shortcut should save you time: Windows logo button + Letter E key.

  • Assuming the File Explorer application window is up, you must check the View tab (close to the top of the window), and then click on Hidden items to untick the checkbox for this parameter.
  • Now, you must navigate through the following path: C: \ Users \ TempAdmin1 \ AppData \ Local \ Tile \ DataLayer
  • If you got to the correct location, you should see the Database folder, which you must right-click on to see some options, and then select Copy.
  • Now, you have to move on and paste the copied item to a location used by your main profile. Here, you must navigate through this path: C: \ Users \ YOUR_USERNAME \ AppData \Local \ Tile \ DataLayer
  • Locate the Database folder in your current location. You must change its name.

Right-click on the Database folder, and then select the Rename option. Type DatabasePrevious into the field for new name.

  • Now, it is time you placed the Database folder you copied some time ago into your current location. Right-click on any area free of objects to see some options, and then select Paste.

Once the operation has been completed, you can move on to close the File Explorer application window.

  • At this point, you must restart your PC, and now, you must log into Windows using your main profile.
  • Assuming your computer has booted up and settled down, you must press (and hold) the Windows logo button, and then tap the letter S key.

Type User Accounts into the text field available. Your system will run a search operation using the inputted keywords.

You should see User Accounts (Control Panel) as the main item on the results list. Click on it and the User Accounts screen in Control Panel will be displayed now.

  • Click on the Manage another account link. Now, you must click on TempAdmin1 to select it, and then click on Delete Account.

Windows will act to get rid of the selected profile now. You must perform the same operation on the TempAdmin2 account too. You are done with the tasks involving the temporary accounts, so they are no longer needed.

  • Here, it is time you checked or found out what has changed as regards your computer not opening applications issue.

Other things you can try to resolve your computer’s failure or inability to launch programs or open files

If you are here, then we can safely assume that the previous fixes did not do enough to provide the necessary breakthrough in your case. This additional list of procedures, recommendations, and suggestions should prove helpful.

8. Check for, download and install Windows updates:

If the issues down to which your computer refuses to open applications have anything to do with bugs, system-wide inconsistencies or similar holes, then you will do well to fetch and install all the Windows updates available for your device.

The changes or improvements provided by the installation of Windows updates will go a long way in getting things back to order.

9. Create and sign in with a new local account:

Perhaps, your current user profile has gone down due to corruption issues affecting its file system, database, and similar components. While we cannot guide you through the operations on fixing a corrupted profile, we must instruct you to create a new local account, sign into Windows using it, and then check the state of things.

If you notice that the problem in view is inactive when the new profile is signed in, then you know what to do.

10. Reset Windows:

If you are still struggling with the problem, then you have to start considering the most disruptive procedures available to users on Windows. They are probably the only operations that can help you now. The Reset Windows procedure, for example, should bring about many changes that should force the problem to go away.

If the proposed operation somehow ends up being a failure, then you must consider installing a fresh copy of Windows.


Given the solutions we provided here, we believe you have had success with at least one of them and got your PC to function decently.

If you wish to take your computer’s performance some levels up from where it is currently, then you will do well to install Auslogics BoostSpeed. This app is designed to do precisely that.

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