Microsoft: GUI optimizers could prevent Windows 11 from starting

In the Windows Release Health Notes for Windows 11 with the 2022 Update, Microsoft pointed out an error that can occur when using GUI optimization programs. After installing the Windows updates from the end of February, i.e. from the non-security update preview, these tools could cause Windows to no longer start.

“Windows devices with third-party user interface customization applications installed may fail to start. These third-party applications may encounter problems with explorer.exe that loop multiple times,” Microsoft explains in the Windows Release Health Notes for Windows 11 22H2.

Specifically, Microsoft’s developers name the applications ExplorerPatcher and StartAllBack as the cause of the observed and confirmed problems. “These types of applications often use unsupported methods to achieve their customizations and therefore can have unintended consequences on your Windows device,” they continue. Such apps often patch system libraries – if they are updated, for example, memory areas used can be somewhere else after the update and the patching can then have unexpected side effects, such as a process crash.

As a temporary countermeasure, Microsoft recommends removing any third-party user interface customization apps before installing the updates beginning in late February. If the error already occurs on their own system, those affected could contact the support – namely that of the provider of the customization software. StartAllBack users can prevent the problem by updating to the current version, i.e. v3.5.6 or later.

Microsoft also explains that ExplorerPatcher has released an updated version that marks the problem as solved. If you use such apps, you should first contact their support if you have any problems, the developers add in the article.

Microsoft started distributing update previews for Windows at the end of February, but the one for Windows 11 22H2 was still a long time coming. The preview changes then made their way into Microsoft’s March patchday updates, so they’ve since been installed on more systems and triggered the potential issues.


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