Microsoft apps no longer work on old PCs

Several Windows 10 and 11 users report that Microsoft apps like Photos or Paint 3D no longer work on their PCs, displaying the error message File System Error (-2147219196).

A new problem affects some computer users Windows 10 and 11. This time, it’s not recent operating system updates that are to blame, but rather those of several basic Windows applications like Photos or Paint 3D that make them unusable on computers with somewhat old components. In a long thread on the Microsoft help forums, several users report that some of the software built into Windows by default, such as Photos or Paint 3D, have suddenly stopped working. The offending applications no longer start or crash a few seconds after startup, returning the following error message: File system error (-2147219196)

© rbcameron / Microsoft Answers Forum

In principle, recent updates to the operating system of the Microsoft were suspected of being the cause of the problem. But the various solutions offered to users affected by the problem, such as uninstalling updates or reinstalling a clean system from the Media Creation Tools tool, did not restore the affected applications to work.

© Salvatore Besso / Microsoft Answers Forum

File system error (-2147219196): a library involved

Ultimately, the cause of the malfunction was identified within the applications themselves. Newer versions of this software appear to use certain instructions and functions from the vclibs software library that are not supported by older computer hardware components: “The Visual C++ team identified the issue as a regression in the vclibs framework package that the Photos app and other apps depend on. The issue affects computers with older hardware (that do not support SSE 4.2 instructions)“Microsoft explains in a response.

©Microsoft

This type of malfunction, called regressions, frequently occurs when updating certain programs, libraries or applications, especially in ecosystems with a wide variety of hardware configurations, such as windows or Linux (even if MacOS is far from being spared from the phenomenon).

To improve performance, stability or offer new possibilities, applications regularly rely on new software functions as they are updated. These functions can be written directly into the application code or found in libraries, a type of shared toolbox from which programs on the same computer can extract software resources to perform processing and produce a given result.

Software libraries, as well as applications exposed directly to users, receive updates to offer new features, and some of these new features become incompatible with older devices. This is one of the factors of software obsolescence that we all know and that causes computers, phones or tablets, in perfect physical condition, to become almost useless because applications stop working on them at will. In this case, these are probably unforeseen and unwanted regressions on the part of Microsoft. The Visual C++ development team also announces that the company is currently working to resolve the issue with the aim of publishing a patch to restore the applications to proper functioning.

If you’re using a somewhat old Windows 10 or 11 computer and encounter this issue, you’ll unfortunately have to be patient while you wait for Microsoft to fix the malfunction via app updates, which should ‘run automatically and without delay’. action on your part, in the case of applications integrated with Windows. Meanwhile, if you really need to use certain tools from faulty Windows apps, you’ll have to turn to third-party software to replace them, like VLC instead of Movies & TV or Gimp instead of Paint 3D, hoping they’ll do it. Do not use functions from the vclib library that are not compatible with your device.

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