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Issue #358: June 1, 2014

Q: I have a windows 8.1 laptop. Just recently the windows App Store will not open. I have tried everything I can find online and nothing seems to work. Microsoft is useless on the subject. Please help!

– Marte C.
Odessa, Texas

 A: “Will not open” is a somewhat vague description, Marte. Perhaps that is why Microsoft was “useless” in getting you an answer. I’ll try to do better for you. First, let’s understand that the App Store is a hybrid between an application that lives on your computer, and a service that is resident in the cloud. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that when you say it “will not open” that you mean you’re clicking the tile to open the App Store, and it appears that nothing is happening. If that’s the case, it’s possible that a copy of the App Store app is actually already running, and is “stuck” in your system without its regular window visible on screen. To find out whether it’s running, you must look in the Windows Task Manager. There are many ways to launch the Task Manager, but one quick way is to right-click in the toolbar at the bottom you’re the screen, and select “Start Task Manager” from the menu. Look in the list of running applications, and see if the Windows Store is listed. If it is, then right-click the entry, and select “End Task”. It should now start properly when you launch it. If not, there is another quick fix you can try that might work. Go to the Control Panel. Under “View By” make sure “Small Icons” is selected, and then click on “Troubleshooting”. Under “System and Security” select “Fix problems with Windows Update”. In the Wizard dialog that comes up, first click “Advanced” and select “Run as Administrator”. Then click “Next” to make it run, then click “Close”.

If none of these procedures gets you back on the App Store, then perhaps my guess was wrong. In that case, you likely have something wrong with the username and password you’re using to try and access the store. Make sure your account is properly set-up, and that you’re using the right password.

Q: Short question in reference to the question in 4-13-2014 paper (I.G.T.M. #351) about scrubbing the hard drive on an old computer…..why can’t I just take out the hard drive and smash it with a hammer?

– Pat R.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

 A: I suppose you could, Pat, if you wanted to. However, there are several things wrong with that answer. First of all, it presumes that a person has the skill to open the computer’s case and locate and remove that hard drive. This can be tricky, especially on laptops. It also assumes that everybody has the same acumen with computer parts that you do, but I assure you, many people would not be able to pick out a hard drive if it was laid out on a table in front of them along with a CD-ROM and a CPU and they were asked to choose. Second, in the specific question that you cited, Chuck K. asked about selling used PCs. That implied to me that he wished to keep the system more-of-less in-tact, which would preclude me giving advice that consisted of physically destroying part of the system. Finally, I think after 350+ columns and nearly seven years of publication, that my readers have come to expect a slightly more high-tech answer from me than “You could smash it with a hammer.” Having said that, if you choose to do it that way, please wear safety glasses.

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