Windows 10’s most annoying problems and how to troubleshoot them


Windows 10's wallpaper

Got Window’s 10 problems? We’ve got answers. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Windows 10 ($150 at Amazon) is now on more than 1 billion devices worldwide. While Microsoft releases monthly security patches and larger feature updates twice a year (check out what’s coming up in the Windows 10 spring 2021 update), users still tend to run into some common problems with the OS that can be frustrating to deal with. 

We’ve got you covered. Here are instructions on how to troubleshoot 10 common Windows 10 problems, collected from CNET’s forums and other sites and message boards. One caveat: There are often multiple ways to fix a Windows 10 issue, and what works for you may depend on your device’s make and model and several other factors. (If you haven’t upgraded yet, you can still download Windows 10 for free with this trick. Just make sure you check out our guide for everything to know before moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10.)

Read more: Windows 10 tips: Secret Start menu, taking screenshots and more

Trouble updating to latest version

Microsoft’s major feature updates arrive twice a year, the most recent being the October 2020 update, which included the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, and updates to the Start menu, taskbar and notifications. When an update rolls out to your device, you should get a notification. Or you can go to Settings Update & Security Windows Update and click Check for Updates. If available, you’ll see Feature update to Windows 10, version 20H2. Click Download and install

If you’re running into a problem or error updating, you can try the following, according to Microsoft: 

  • Make sure your device is connected to the internet (you’ll need an internet connection to update)
  • Try to install the update manually, by following the instructions above. 
  • Run the Windows Update Troubleshooter: Select Start  Settings  Update & Security Troubleshoot. Under Get up and running, select Windows Update.

If the Troubleshooter doesn’t fix the problem, check out Microsoft’s guide for dealing with update issues

Not enough storage space for updates 


Updating Windows 10 does require storage space, so you may need to free some up.

dorisj/Getty Images

Windows 10 updates can require a good amount of drive space. If you run into an error due to a lack of drive space, here’s what Microsoft suggests you do: 

  • Save files you don’t need on your desktop on an external hard drive or thumb drive, or in a cloud account like Google Drive or OneDrive
  • Consider turning on the Storage Sense feature, with which Windows will automatically free up space by getting rid of files you don’t need, like temporary files and items in the Recycle Bin whenever you’re low on disk space or at certain intervals. To turn on Storage Sense, go to Start  Settings  System  Storage, open Storage settings and turn on Storage Sense. Select Configure, or run it now. 
  • If your device doesn’t have Storage Sense, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete temporary and system files. In the Taskbar search box, type disk cleanup, and select it from the results. Check the boxes next to the type of files you want to delete — by default, Downloaded Program Files, Temporary Internet Files and Thumbnails are selected. 

Read more: The best antivirus protection for Windows 10 

Mouse cursor is moving on its own

Sometimes your Windows 10 laptop or desktop cursor will start moving on its own, disrupting your work or browsing. Here are a couple potential ways to fix it from Microsoft.

Run hardware troubleshooter. Press Windows + X, and select Control Panel. Go to Troubleshooting, and on the left panel click View all items. Select Hardware and devices troubleshooter and follow the instructions. 

Update the mouse and other pointing device drivers. Press Windows + R, type devmgmt.msc and hit Enter. Expand Mice and other pointing device drivers. Right click on the driver of your mouse, and click update

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