You log into Windows and your Start Menu is filtering with Live Tile updates. All of them turning over, begging to be clicked. You haven’t yet signed in with your Microsoft account. No. This is still a local user. The Windows Store downloads updates to your apps, and they flip over in joy. Your computer is loving Windows 10. There is a cool breeze and you can hear the birds chirping. All is well in the world.
Then, you sign in with your Microsoft Account. A cloud passes over the sun. You See the Microsoft Account sync service jump to the top of the Task Manager. You can’t hear the birds anymore. Your Live Tiles flicker and stop moving. The Windows Store downloads all the inbuilt apps again. And then right after its done doing that, it does it again. Bandwith cries as the Store continues on this endless parade of downloading and installing apps which mere moments ago have been downloaded and installed. Clicking on a Live Tile leaves it dark and unmoving.
Dear reader, that means that your Microsoft “roaming” profile, your cloud data, is corrupt.
You see, when you sign in with a Microsoft Account on Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, your AppData folder is essentially copied up to your OneDrive. So if you change your desktop background, its there on your Surface. If you download an app onto your laptop, you don’t have to sign in again. It is super convenient! Your Microsoft Account can go from Windows install, to Windows install and you have all your personalization and app settings with you. Its the future, and its fantastic. But what do you do when this AppData becomes corrupt? In my case, it caused the Store to wig out and corrupt the Store Cache, kill my Live Tiles and have them in permanent black out. Sure, its not a big thing, but to some, aesthetics are important. And if you’re like me, I use the full screen Start Screen. I like the dashboard feel of it. And it looks freaking sweet when done properly. So if the Live Tiles, the freaking interface of niceness, is broken, well then I may as well as have a Mac. That’s a joke! But not really.
Reinstalling Windows doesn’t help. Refreshing Window doesn’t help. Doing an in-place upgrade doesn’t help. So what will get things back to normal?
Well I tried two things at once, so I can not vouch that either or work. But things are working, so must have done something right.
Stop syncing all your devices.
You do this in Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings. Turn it all off. On every device that uses your Microsoft Account. You don’t want the offending machine to resync its corrupt data up to the cloud.
Clear your cloud data.
You do that over here. I know it says Windows 8, but maybe it just hasn’t been updated for a while. It has steps on how to turn off sync on your Windows Phone and your PC.
Do a clean install of the Anniversary update.
This is a bit hard. All the resources out there give you the Creators Update, so you might need to get in contact with a Microsoft Support person using the Get Help app. They will give you a link to the Media Creation tool that downloads the Anniversary Update (Version 1607) and creates a USB to boot off of. Do a clean install of that version.
While on the Anniversary Update, sign in with your Microsoft Account. Update your apps like normal. Check to see if your Live Tiles are Live and if they are all happy. They are? Great!
In Windows Update, upgrade to the Creators Update. This takes forever. Get some tea and maybe dinner and a shower. In fact, take that holiday you were planning on. You have time now. Once its updated, sign back in and check your Live Tiles and the Store. They are working? Yus! Success!
Now that is the story, all about how, I got rid of my corrupt data on the cloud. I know it doesn’t rhyme, but I am one of those post-modern artists that don’t always have to rhyme. Yo.
I hope this helps someone out there. And hopefully, in their frustration, they have found reason to smile. Or at least see that there is hope to not throw their machine out the Window.
My name is Kyle, and I have been your friendly Windows fixer-upper for tonight.
PS: You may be wondering what I did before doing all that… Well since you asked…
– I clean installed Windows 10 Pro 1703 from USB, twice.
– I clean installed Windows 10 Home 1703 from a different USB, once.
– I refreshed Windows from the Settings, twice.
– I spent almost 10 hours on the line to Microsoft Support people over the course of two days.
– I created a local user, three times.
– I deleted my Microsoft account user, twice.
– I watched the errors pop up in Event Viewer when signing in with my Microsoft Account, three times.
So yeah… I tried some stuff. And I found the answer. The corrupt data was due to getting a dodgy laptop from work. This laptop has issues connecting and staying connected to networks. Going so far as to remove the network connection, as if it were a USB device, at random. While trying to sync my account settings, it must have been wigging out causing incomplete data to be synced. And voila – corrupt Microsoft Account Cloud Data…