Windows Enterprise Desktop

Aug 19 2016   11:23AM GMT

Windows Self-Healing Tool in Test

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel


[Notes added 8/20/2016: Do NOT USE! See concluding note at end of post.] Thanks to an intrepid poster to the Microsoft Community forums, a link to an experimental Windows Self-Healing Tool is now available. Apparently, MS Support offers this tool to individuals who’ve experienced widely-reported freezing issues that follow in the wake of applying the recent Anniversary Update to Windows 10. But the tool is described as still in test, and “not yet released as part of the new System Update.” I’ve downloaded it and tried it out myself. But because none of my systems is subject to post-AU freezes, I can’t say if or how well it works to fix them. I can say, however, that the tool does no [apparent] harm to healthy test systems. That said, it does require some minor clean-ups to restore them to fully normal operation.

Windows Self-Healing Tool opening screen

The tool is named WindowsSelfHealingTool.exe, and runs from File Explorer.

The Windows Self-Healing Tool in Action

From looking at how the tool describes itself and behaves during execution, I’ll make some educated guesses about what it does to address freezing issues with Windows 10. First, a look at the outputs from progress tracking screens recites its actions:

Repair system components and detect corrupt files:
Resync System Date and Time
Reset System Settings
Reinstall System Applications

Repair system corruption
Restore Component Store Health
Restore System Health
Repair System Corruption
System Restart

Update system
Windows Update
Final Reboot

Tool Completion

From what I see, the tool combines Windows system maintenance commands and activities to restore system health and function. In section one, it resets system date and time to make sure update and other system services work properly. It also appears to reset Windows 10 to default settings and to replace key applications such as File Explorer. In section two, it probably makes use of DISM and the System File Checker. The former serves to repair the WinSxS component store and the latter to detect and replace corrupt or damaged system files. In section three, it appears to attempt Windows Update repair (stop then restart key services, check update capability). Then it applies any outstanding updates. The final reboot returns control of the system to the user.

All in all, the tool works through a standard but helpful sequence of system checks and repairs. Thus, if the Windows Self-Healing Tool makes it into production, it could become a useful item in any admin’s toolbox for Windows.

[Note added 8/20/2016: Ed Bott raises serious concerns about this tool on ZDNet in a story entitled “Unauthorized, mislabeled Microsoft support tool leaks; could cause more trouble than it cures” that pretty much tells his entire story on the Self-healing Tool. Except for those desperate to fix freezing issues and willing to perform a clean reinstall in its wake, it doesn’t look like this tool is worth considering, let alone using. See his story for details. Thanks, Ed, for reaching out to me with a link.]

I opened the .exe file with NotePad++ and found the PowerShell script material to which Ed Bott refers in his ZDNet article. I include it here to show that it’s just a bunch of Windows commands embedded together, as I had speculated:

Close tool5All operations completed, you can close the tool now.
Closing…>Internet connection is required for date time synchronization.Verify internet connectionVerify connection4Internet connection is required for getting updates.Verifying… Verifying internet connection…,I confirm that my current date and time is: {0:g}Resync System Date and TimeSynchronizing…+Confirm the start of scan and fix procedure(Operation failed. Tool can not continue.Restart NowFinal Reboot1Update complete. Your machine requires a restart.!Operation completed with warnings%{0} operation completed with warningsrThis may take several minutes. Ensure your device is plugged in and connected to the internet during this process. (this may take some time)License confirmationConfirm scan and fixReinstall System ApplicationsReinstalling…Install updatesWindows UpdateI have read and accepted License AgreementInstalling updates…1Repair system components and detect corrupt filesRepair system corruptionRepair System CorruptionRepairing…Reset System SettingsResetting settings…3Scanning complete. Your machine requires a restart.?Latest windows uppdates installed. Please restart your machine.# System will restart in {0} secondsSystem RestartYour machine will now restartRestarting now…Restore Component Store HealthRestoring…Restore System HealthRestoring…Proceed to scan and fix1I confirm that my current date and time is: {0:g}Scanning…Tool completionFinishing work…
Update systemTest chargerVerify charger connectionNYour device needs to be pluged in to power source before continuing with fixesChecking for charger…Verify system versionScan and fix corrupt filesЖ# Reinstall System apps
Get-appxpackage -packageType bundle |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmetadata\appxbundlemanifest.xml”)} | Out-Default; Clear-Host;
$bundlefamilies = (get-appxpackage -packagetype Bundle).packagefamilyname
get-appxpackage -packagetype main |? {-not ($bundlefamilies -contains $_.packagefamilyname)} |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmanifest.xml”)} | Out-Default; Clear-Host;

# Resetting Winsock
& netsh winsock reset
& netsh advfirewall reset
& ipconfig /flushdns
& netsh winhttp reset proxy

# Starting the Windows Update services
Start-Service BITS
Start-Service wuauserv
Start-Service usosvc
Start-Service cryptsvc
Start-Service appidsvc

# Reauthorize
wuauclt.exe /resetauthorization /detectnow

# Clear the store cache and update apps

& wsreset.exe
Start-Sleep -Seconds 3
Stop-Process -processname WinStore.Mobile

schtasks /run /tn “\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\Automatic App Update” | Out-Null%#Run system file checker
SFC -scannowМ# Stop Windows Update Components
Stop-Service -Force BITS
Stop-Service -Force -NoWait wuauserv
Stop-Service -Force usosvc
Stop-Service -Force appidsvc
Stop-Service -Force CryptSvc

# Delete the qmgr*.dat files
Remove-Item -Recurse “$env:ALLUSERSPROFILE\Microsoft\Network\Downloader\*”

# Removing SoftwareDistribution
Remove-Item -recurse “$env:SystemRoot\winsxs\pending.xml”
CMD /C “rd /s /q $env:SystemRoot\SoftwareDistribution”
CMD /C “rd /s /q $env:SYSTEMRoot\system32\Catroot2”
Remove-Item -recurse “$env:SYSTEMROOT\WindowsUpdate.log”

# Reset the BITS service and the Windows Update service to the default

# Reregister the BITS files and the Windows Update files
Set-Location “$env:WINDIR\system32”
& regsvr32.exe /s atl.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s urlmon.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s mshtml.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s shdocvw.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s browseui.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s jscript.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s vbscript.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s scrrun.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s msxml.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s msxml3.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s msxml6.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s actxprxy.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s softpub.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wintrust.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s dssenh.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s rsaenh.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s gpkcsp.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s sccbase.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s slbcsp.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s cryptdlg.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s oleaut32.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s ole32.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s shell32.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s initpki.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wuapi.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wuaueng.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wuaueng1.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wucltui.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wups.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wups2.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wuweb.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s qmgr.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s qmgrprxy.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wucltux.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s muweb.dll
& regsvr32.exe /s wuwebv.dll

CMD /C Dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase

|Out-Default |Clear-HostA# Restore default power schemes
powercfg -restoredefaultschemes

CMD /C Dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

[String data?]If the problem still persists, please
click hereNot supported Windows version9This tool is not compatible with your version of Windows.qThis may take several minutes. Please ensure the device is charged and connected to internet during this process.
Learn morepThis utility will help find and might fix potential software issues. This tool will perform the following steps:DSuccess! Your machine is up to date with all latest Windows updates.GBefore you proceed, please check, if you are connected to the internet.%You are not connected to the Internet;You can run this tool on windows version 8.0 or higher only(Welcome to the Windows Self-Healing Tool

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