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Windows 10 May 2021 update can break audio service

Sound is not working anymore in Windows and all programs. In the task area the speaker icon shows a red circle with an X. When you open sound settings it says there are no devices. In device manager the sound card is enabled and shows the correct latest driver.

Removing (with delete driver) all the sound devices and output devices and reinstalling them has no effect. DISM /ScanHealth and SFC /scannow find no corruption. After trying lots of possible solutions, including doing a build upgrade to the same version, I was almost at the point that I would reset the entire system and install everything again. However in one last desperate Google search I came across the solution.

The first solution I found was to add the localservice and networkservice (hidden) user accounts to the local administrators group. I tried this and sure enough this fixed the issue. But after reviewing other comments and checking on another (correctly working) computer I was convinced this was not a secure solution. So I removed the user accounts again from the group and sure enough the problem was back (after reboot). Luckily someone at the Dell forums found the real and secure solution.

The problem is a corrupted registry value that defines the Windows ACL rights for some part of the Windows Audio service. So open the registry editor (regedit) and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations

The issue is the value for ConsoleSecurity shows as binary null or empty and that’s faulty. The value is the same on each computer and should be:


I have attached a (zipped) reg file you can use to fix this value back to the original value.

More information:
Apparently this happens when the Windows 10 May 2021 cumulative update (KB5003173) fails to install the first time. Somehow in this process the registry value gets corrupted.

As a side note somehow this update failure also changes the setting in the local group policy that requires you to press CTRL-ALT-DEL at the logon screen.

Resources and credit:

blog howto windows

Windows 10 settings doesn’t open

Windows 10 Settings doesn’t work anymore. You see the window opening but then it immediately closes.

In the eventlog you can see an error from DCOM:

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-DistributedCOM
Event ID:      10010
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
The server windows.immersivecontrolpanel_10.0.2.1000_neutral_neutral_cw5n1h2txyewy! did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

DISM won’t fix this, the scanhealth and restorehealth options didn’t help.

To fix this follow these steps.
Open a CMD with run as administrator (elevated priveleges) and type:

cd c:\windows
ren ImmersiveControlPanel ImmersiveControlPanel.old
SFC /scannow

After SFC is finished, the settings windows should work again.

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Windows 10 build update fails with 0x80004005

For a while now my work laptop was trying to update to Windows 10’s latest build (2004) but kept failing when almost finished.

You can manually go through the log files (located mostly at C:\windows\panther\ ). See below link to KB928901 for the complete list.

However, I recommend using the much easier SetupDiag tool, also from Microsoft. Download the tool from the below link and save it to a folder Tools on your C: drive (for convenience).

From version 2004 onwards the tool should run automatically after failed setup, but it didn’t in my case, or did not show the relevant information anyway.

When I manually opened a command prompt (CMD) with administrative privileges and started “setupdiag” it showed me the reason for failing the update.

cd c:\tools

I had to scroll down a little bit in the output and found this:

Error: SetupDiag reports abrupt down-level failure. Last Operation: Finalize Error: 0x80004005 – 0x60016 LogEntry: 2020-07-21 19:00:10, Error SP Operation failed: Update Boot Code. Error: 0x80004005[gle=0x000000b7]

Specifically “update boot code” showed me the problem had something to do with the special EFI partition where the boot files reside (in case of UEFI boot, as I am using).

When I had a look at my partition layout with disk management, I saw a EFI partition (100MB, a bit small) and 2 Recovery partitions (+/- 500MB each) and some unused space in between them. A strange partition layout, I maybe suspect Acronis to be the reason for this.

Warning: What I did next is for advanced users, because it will make Windows stop from booting if not done correctly.
This is only for UEFI boot, not for Legacy boot.

– I deleted the recovery partitions, deleted the EFI boot partition.
– I made a new EFI boot partition and copied the bootfiles to it.

select disk 0
create partition efi
format quick fs=fat32
bcdboot C:\windows

– I used a free partition manager tool to expand/move my C partition so the unused space between the partitions was gone.

I tried the Windows Build update again and was successful!

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Windows 10 Upgrade error unable to install on partition

EDIT: I read somewhere that it needs 50MB of free space on the partition. Maybe you can first assign a drive letter using disk management and see if you can free up some space.

I had this “Something went wrong” & “unable to install on partition” error when I tried to upgrade a Laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installed. This laptop is from late 2011, and had Windows 7 pre-installed by the manufacturer.

This cryptic error, in my case, just meant that the hidden reserved system partition that Windows 7 creates on install was too small/full for Windows 10.

In earlier versions of Windows 7 this partition would be created with a size of 100MB. In Windows 8 I mostly see this partition with a size of 400MB.

So what to do? Expand this hidden system partition from 100MB to at least 400MB. To be safe for the future I expanded it to 800MB.
Now this is not something you can do from within Windows, because the C partition will have to shrink AND move to the right to make room to expand the system partition.

I suggest using a partition manager to do this. I had success using the free Minitool partition manager.

First select the C partition and shrink by 700MB and move it to the right so that the free space comes available in between the small SYSTEM partition and the C partition. Then next select the SYSTEM partition and expand by 700MB until the free space is gone.

Now click the execute button, the software will tell you it must reboot to execute these actions.
Go ahead reboot, and then wait for some time (could take up to hours on big and slower drives) for the software to finish. You get a nice progress bar. For me it took 10minutes on an SSD.

When it’s finished it will boot Windows and you can check in Disk Manager if everything looks good. You can then uninstall or keep the software and start your Windows 10 Upgrade again.