Windows 11 System Restore bug preventing users from accessing apps

Windows 11 splash screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft has warned that some Windows 11 users may encounter a bug which prevents access to applications after running the System Restore program.

An advisory published by the tech giant confirmed that devices using the latest versions of Windows 11 have been impacted by the bug, which affects some applications using the MSIX Windows app package format.

Users have reported problems running a number of applications, Microsoft said, including Office, Notepad, Paint, Cortana, and Terminal.

In its advisory, the company warned that this is not a comprehensive list and could include a range of other apps run via the MSIX app package.

“This list of apps is not a complete list,” the tech giant said. “Any Windows applications that use the MSIX Windows app package format may experience this issue.”

Users affected by the bug have reportedly been met with an error message stating “this app can’t open” instead of the app launching, while some apps have multiple entries on the Start Menu.

In some instances, apps have simply failed to respond upon launch, Microsoft said. In addition, users have encountered an I/O error which is followed by the app crashing.

The complete list of operating systems affected includes Windows 11 version 22H2, Windows 11 SE, Windows 11 Home and Pro, Windows 11 IoT Enterprise, Windows 11 Enterprise and Education, and Windows 11 Enterprise Multi-Session.

Windows 11 System Restore bug – potential workarounds

Microsoft has outlined a number of potential workarounds for users affected by the bug.

This includes restarting the app or attempting to reinstall the app from the Windows Store.

Additionally, users have been advised to try running Windows update or reinstalling the app “from the original source from which it was first installed”.

Windows 11 issues snowballing

Issues for Windows 11 users also appear to have been compounded over the last 48 hours amidst claims that IT admins have encountered unresponsive Windows taskbar and Start Menus.

Microsoft said it is currently investigating the issue, which reportedly hampers users’ ability to log into Outlook and Teams.

Reports suggest that users have been repeatedly unable to access the Windows Start Menu while other users have revealed the Windows Search feature is unavailable.


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The Windows bugs follow a recent high-profile issue affecting Windows Defender which caused significant issues for IT admins globally.

An update for Windows Defender caused users to experience a “series of false positive detections” for the Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rule, Microsoft confirmed.

Users who encountered the issue reported that their device's Start Menu, Taskbar, and desktop shortcuts were deleted.

On Saturday 14 January, Microsoft published instructions detailing ways that users could rectify the issue. This included updating to build 1.381.2164.0 or later.

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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