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Question Programs (including Windows utilities) are crashing on startup

Apr 17, 2021
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So for context, I'm 80% clueless about computers, so I don't have much insight here. I got this PC refurbished with a brand new OS about a month ago and since then it's been working like a dream, I haven't run into any issues so far. But starting like 6 hours ago (suddenly, I hadn't installed any new programs or Windows updates to my knowledge) certain programs would boot up for a moment and then instantly crash. These included Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and the majority of windows utilities (from Windows Security to system settings to the actual Windows search bar to even things like shutting down/restarting Windows via the windows menu, which just doesn't do anything. Other programs like Discord, Steam, and most games seem to open just fine. I don't want to sound like a nutter and/or a boomer, but this certainly gives me the impression of something malicious, but I haven't done anything sketch with this so I don't know where or when I would have downloaded something funky. I've tried the troubleshooting tips I've seen recommended for similar problems and nothing's worked. Didn't manually set up a system restore and if I did, I wouldn't be able to see it because Windows' menus keep closing on me. Can't run anything as an administrator (that one's my fault, I just assumed the default profile on a Windows PC would be administrator automatically, so I didn't bother setting that up, and now I can't open user settings.) At this point, it looks to me like the most obvious option is to install a clean copy of Windows, but that's a mighty hassle so I wanted to make sure no one knew of any other solutions before I went to try to get a fresh copy of Windows. Anyway, at this point I know I'm probably just forestalling the obvious conclusion, but it was worth the ask in case someone had insight.
 
Do you happens to know the brand and model number of this computer ?

So, it sound like some virus/malware infection. Faulty components can also be the cause, as the general behavior of program crashing doesn't definite point in either direction.

A completely fresh install of windows (that includes reformatting of the system partition) should wipe off any infections, and if it then works good, it indicate infection as cause of those problems.

Also there are a slight possibility that a OS upgrade could be the cause.
 
Apr 17, 2021
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It's an AlienWare PC originally, but I don't know the specifics of the model. The receipt I got from the guy who refurbished it just shows some basic specs, and I'm not in touch with him rn.

Anyway as expected, it looks like the only real solution is to reinstall Windows from the ground up. I don't expect a tutorial, since I can get that anywhere, but that basically involves getting a physical Windows boot disc, yeah?
 

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