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Upgrade Win10 Repair Install Saves Mangled T520 PC

Part of my routine system maintenance on Win10 PC is to use the built-in Reliability Monitor. I’ll check my PCs anywhere from once a week to once a month, depending on issues and behavior. Good behavior warrants less frequency; and slowdowns, flakeouts, and blue screens warrant more. I endured a couple of days of slow, balky runtime hijinks from my old Lenovo T520. Then I decided to see what Reliability Monitor had to say. Alas, results showed the reliability index at rock bottom with app issues abounding. “Wow!” I thought to myself “this cries out for repair.” And indeed, an upgrade Win10 repair install saves mangled T520 PC from further mayhem. Here’s what I found when I checked that machine:

Uncontestably, the WORST Reliability Monitor report I’ve ever seen. OUCH!
[Click item for full-sized view.]

How Upgrade Win10 Repair Install Saves Mangled T520 PC

First a couple of hopefully helpful explanations. Point one: a Reliability Index of 1 is as low as the tool goes. I’ve never seen one that low before. Notice that the T520 sported that value for the last 5 days shown in the visual report graph. Point 2: investigation of the causes for the low index values included a large number of built-in Windows Store apps that not only “Stopped working” (as shown in the screenshot) but that also kept firing errors a dozen times a day or more. The day of the massive dip, it dropped from just over 7 points to rock bottom (1) with errors related to application failures, windows failures and miscellaneous failures of a wide variety. Not good, and not work keeping, either.

When Windows gets irretrievably weird, there’s a kind of magic repair that can often restore things to normalcy. By performing an upgrade install of the same version of Windows 10 already running on a PC, one replaces all the OS components and restores all OS-related settings to their defaults. This does, however, leave third-party applications and files alone. That’s why it’s sometimes called an “upgrade repair install” or even an “in-place upgrade” (see the excellent TenForums tutorial on this topic for a more complete description, and step-by-step instructions for performing same).

Making the Repair Install

After looking over the Reliability Monitor report shows above, I immediately made an image backup. Then I visited the Microsoft Download Windows 10 page. There, I used the “Download tool now” button to create fresh Win10 installation media on a USB stick. Here’s what File Explorer shows for the Details on the Setup.exe file I used to perform my in-place repair install/upgrade.

The Build info appears under both the File version and Product version fields — namely, 10.0.18362.1. That’s how I knew I had the right version to perform the repairs necessary for my 1903 installation on the T520. About half an hour later, my repairs were complete. And since then, all I’ve had show up is a few minor odds-n-ends. All are well-known, familiar, and mostly benign. And now, my Reliability Index is somewhere between 8 and 10, which is where it normally lives on this PC. Problem solved!

Repair install completed, Reliability Monitor settles back to normal. Whew!

If you ever find yourself in a similar boat, remember this kind of repair is good at fixing most Windows weirdnesses. It doesn’t take long to apply, and you should be able to tell relatively quickly if it helps — or not.

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