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Issue #459: May 8–14, 2016

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Q: I finally went ahead and downloaded Windows 10. Ever since I have I can no longer play music or watch any of the videos I have downloaded. I get the message Invalid value for registry when I try to watch a video. I have tried all I can think of but to no avail. Do I need to uninstall Windows 10 so I will be able to watch my videos and listen to the music I downloaded?

– Robert M.
Mary Esther, Florida

A: I’m not sure how you would “uninstall Windows 10” even if you tried, Robert. It’s the operating system, and it doesn’t really have an “uninstall” option (although there are times when I sure wish it did!) What has happened in your case is that when your system was updating, something prevented it from deleting registry keys for software that was updated along with the operating system. Perhaps the update process was interrupted before successfully completing, or there was a security issue, or a resource conflict. Regardless, there are now old registry keys there that the new version of your software that plays music and videos does not understand, so it does what it was programmed to do: it displays an error telling you there is an invalid registry value.

The way to solve this problem is to get rid of the bad registry keys. I don’t recommend messing around in the registry unless you’re an expert-level Windows user (and truly, who among us is?). So, I have a couple of options for you to try. First, Microsoft has an automated troubleshooting tool that is supposed to check and fix settings for various applications. You can find it at tinyurl.com/IGTM-0459. You might also try tickling the program defaults for the file extensions you’re having problems with. Click on the Start button, then “Default Programs”. In the dialog that comes up, click on “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”. Be careful that you don’t click anything in the list that you don’t want to change! Find one of the file extensions you’re having trouble with, and double-click it. Make sure the program that you want to use to open this type of file is selected, then click OK. Even though you didn’t make any changes, certain data are written back to the registry. If neither of these options fixes your issue, the only option might involve manually getting into the registry, tracking down the obsolete keys and removing them. I can’t emphasize enough that this is something that should only be attempted by an expert-level user, because careless editing of the registry can leave your computer in a completely unbootable condition. Good luck!

• • •

 Q: I built and maintain a computer that is used by several persons. It started out as a Windows7 unit but was converted to Windows 10. It had one admin account which nobody regularly uses and a general account (local standard) which everyone uses. At some point one of the users opened up the Windows Store and in the process converted the standard account to a Windows standard account. The desktop looks the same but now operates in the cloud. I would like to convert back to a local account with the same desktop. Can you point me in the direction I need to go?

– Rick T.
Crestview, Florida

A: Sure, Rick, and it’s easier than you probably think. Click on “Start” and in the search box type “accounts”. In the search results, click on “Change your account picture or profile settings”. In the box that comes up, on the right side near the bottom you should see “Sign in with a local account instead”. You’ll need to verify the password for the Microsoft account to continue, then you’ll be presented with a dialog that allows you to convert to a local account, including a new local username and password. You should be able to use the same account info you were using before things got messed up. There’s a “Sign out and finish” button to complete the task.

Don’t forget that even after reverting to a local account, your Microsoft account still exists. In fact, if you were logged into the Microsoft Store you may even discover that you’re still logged-in even after clicking a button that said “Sign out and finish”. Since it is apparently possible to be signed-in to the Microsoft store when you are on a local Windows account, it makes one wonder why Microsoft doesn’t just allow you to log into their store without changing your account all around in the first place. Thanks, Bill!

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