Windows 8.1 Apps Won’t Open

(Updated Mar 31, 2015)

After a recent update to Windows 8.1, I suddenly discovered that none of my metro apps would open anymore. They would flash on the screen for a split second and then show up down on the task bar (as if they were running but minimized). Other apps would open with the error message “This app can’t open” and then immediately close. Thank you, Windows 8, for stating the obvious!

How to Fix?

Try this First: Download & run the Windows 8 App Troubleshooter from Microsoft

Still not fixed? Then try this:

  1. Go to the Start Screen
  2. Type in “WSReset.exe”
  3. Right click it in the search results and select “Run as Administrator”

And if that didn’t get you back up and running, then we’ll need to do some Windows surgery…

It’s quite possible that your “PackageRepository.edb” file has become corrupt. So here are the steps to fix it:

  1. Go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\AppRepository
  2. You’ll notice you can’t open that folder – that’s because you need to take ownership of it first
  3. Delete the following files in that folder:
    • PackageRepository.edb
    • edb.log (and any other edbXXXXX.log files)
    • edbtmp.log
    • edb.chk
  4. Reboot

After the reboot, Windows will recreate the files you deleted (minus the corruption) and all will (hopefully!) be well again.

By now the majority of your apps should open. If only a few still aren’t working, then try uninstalling those particular apps and reinstalling from the Windows App Store.

Settings Apps Won’t Open?

Even after performing the above steps, I found that my Settings apps still weren’t working – I got the message “This app can’t open”. All other apps worked fine though. So here’s an additional step to try if this happens to you (this got everything working for me)…

  1. Go to your Start screen and type “cmd”
  2. Right click Command Prompt and select “Run as Administrator”
  3. In the command prompt window, copy and paste the following command and press ENTER

Once it finishes executing, try opening the apps you were having problems with. You should not even need to reboot first.

It’s Still Not Working!! A Last Resort…

If you have tried everything above and still can’t get your apps to open properly, then I suggest creating a new user account on your computer. I tested this on a machine with these problems, and the second account I created on it had no problems whatsoever. So these issues do seem to be tied to the user profile settings and not necessarily the computer as a whole. I recommend setting up a Local Account instead of a Microsoft Account (also make sure you set it up as an Administrator and not just a Standard User).

After logging in to your new account, you’ll need to set up all your preferences, email, copy files over from old account (look under C:\Users\OldAccountName to access your old account files), etc. A bit of a pain, I know, but if that’s the only way you can get apps to work then it sounds like your user account could use a fresh start.

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