Computer issue solved.



Last week I clicked on a desktop shortcut to open one of my radio programs and the arrow kept spinning and then disappeared and no program opened. I tried some other desktop shortcuts and some worked and some did not. 

Below is the road I travelled down to eventually fix the issue and it turns out that this could happen to any one of us. By outlining the path I followed I hope it helps others out there who may encounter the same issue. 

Before I begin by way of background my setup is as follows:
Win10 home 64bit
 Intel Core i5-10600K CPU @ 4.10GHz  4.10 GHz

My first step was simple and has helped in the past, to restart the PC and give the desktop shortcuts another try. That did not work.
 I then chose one desktop shortcut and it's program to investigate and try to get it working. 

Next, I turned off my Antivirus software (Bitdefender) for a period of 15 minutes and restarted my PC, checking to make sure the Antivirus was still off (it was). I tried the program again and it did not start. 

I then went into Bitdefender antivirus made an exception file for the sample program and restarted but that did not work either.
Next, I started the PC in safe mode and was going to try the programs there but once the PC started the programs I wanted to test were not there. 

I uninstalled the program using Revo uninstaller (great program by the way) I then restarted the PC went to the program's website and downloaded the program again with the antivirus turned off. After restarting the PC I tried the program and it did not work. 

I did not think it was a Windows update as I run a program called Windows Update Blocker (another great program) it blocks all updates until I get the all-clear from the Askwoody site. This is a great site and click on the link to check out lots of great information there. 

It was now time to take things to the next level. I am a firm believer in backing up your PC for the just-in-case moments. The program I use for this is Macrium Reflect and with it, I make a clone and image file of my solid-state C hard drive. The backups are stored on separate internal HDs. One drive for the clone and one for the image. Click on clone or image if you are not sure what they are and you will be taken to a website that explains them. 

I decided to use an image of my C drive from an earlier date when I knew the desktop shortcuts and programs were working. Now you have to remember that anything on your PC after the date of the HD image date will be gone. If your image is from January 30th, 2024 anything on your PC after that date will not be there once you revert to that image. Now I know there is the Microsoft system restore as well but I have never had success with the program. I always get the message "System restore failed to restore to earlier image"
After Macrium Reflect did its magic and I was using an earlier image of my HD all programs were now working fine! So this thought.........
The next day I was on my PC and started the sample problem program and low and behold a spinning arrow and then the program did not start! 

I was doing some nosing around in Bitdefender and turned off the antivirus again, then under protection I turned off Online threat protection and did a restart still had the issue. I then did the same to firewall, ransomware, vulnerability protection and advanced threat protection. It was then I turned on advanced threat protection everything started to work just fine. 

Macrium Reflect restoring HD to earlier date

I then turned on each protection feature and checked the programs and there were no issues but once advanced threat protection was turned on programs would not start.
Within advanced threat protection in the settings, you had the option to set up exceptions but these exceptions had to include the "exe" program file within the file exception. (I found this out with lots of reading on the internet). As well all exe files from the program have to be included or the program will still be blocked from working.

Bitdefender Advanced threat exceptions

Once all this was done my problem of certain programs not starting was solved. I don't understand why only certain programs were affected....that is for later reading. Bitdefender is constantly performing updates in the background and I am guessing that something was added that marked some programs as a threat and stopped them from loading until an exception was made.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Computer issue solved.”

  • Dave KF6XA:

    Ah yes, Preventive Maintenance: the Maintenance that Prevents things from working.

    I imagine Bitdefender has fixed this by now, but as a software QA guy I am astonished they let this out the door. Also, the design lacks robustness, if ANYTHING can cause it to just sit there. There should be a timeout and an error message at the least.

  • Bill Mader K8TE:

    Removing and re-installing a program rarely fixes a PC problem. It often causes more issues like missing ini files.

    The less well-known “security” programs often cause more problems than they prevent. Microsoft Security Essentials is effective and reliable.

    Disk imaging programs are useful, but only if there is a file back-up program like OneDrive running constantly.

    Never have a “back-up” drive within the same PC! A catastrophic failure (like a lightning strike) can delete the primary and back-up data. Off-site (like OneDrive) is the only way to be safe from a catastrophe or theft.

    Screenshots (not a photo of the screen) are much easier to read.

    73, Bill, K8TE, former Gateway Computers tech support and other similar jobs

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Dave, yes I was surprised that Bitdefender add this to their program and users were not informed of it. As well I agree an error message would help as it would had given me somewhere to look at least.
    73 and have a great weekend.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Bill and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I have head that Microsoft has come a long way when it comes to security and the security essentials is something I will be taking a look at. As for the backup at this point in time cloud storage is an option and at one time I was looking into it. Not to crazy about having to pay for it and then there are time cloud storage systems get hacked and information is shared where it should not be. For me I have a Type 1 protection device on the incoming hydro meter and a type 2 at the panel. These device protect from both external and internal power issues. But then I guess there is a fire and then everything is gone….
    Yes sorry about the poor quality of the one picture. It was taken with my Iphone while the PC was restoring to an image. There was no way for me to screen shot with snipping tool.
    Thanks for all the great info Bill enjoy your weekend.

  • Tim KD0UUU:

    This is a good example of why I quit using anti-virus and anti-malware on my computer. I follow the first example of cloning/imaging the drive and restore it as needed. There is so much zero day junk out there that if you get hit by it, the only way to be reasonably sure it to just restore a backup and retest. I refuse to live in fear and cripple my computer speed with scanner apps that are useless against zero day stuff. I also run as much stuff as possible in a virtual machine as I can restore a VM in a minute vs an hour or more to restore a drive image.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good morning Tom sorry for the late reply, your mentioning of VM’s got me to thinking. I have heard of them and did some digging yesterday and it’s one thing I may consider doing with my pc. As for anti-virus for now I am sticking with it and the hiccups that come along with it.

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