Use the new Windows troubleshooting tools: Auto-repair problems

Windows troubleshooters have been fixing Windows errors for years. They have recently changed and can now automatically fix faults silently in the background. See how to use the new features.

Windows Troubleshooters are not the answer to every problem you will come across on your PC, but they are definitely the first thing you should try when an error of some sort occurs. Sometimes they do nothing and the error continues to plague the PC, but sometimes they do actually work, so use them!

Running one of the troubleshooters built into the Windows operating system is so easy that anyone can do it. Some of them don’t even have any options. You just run them and they work, well sometimes at least. Using them at the first sign of an error can, fingers crossed, fix a problem in seconds and save you having to search the web for a solution, which can occasionally be complicated and require some technical skills, like stopping and starting services or editing the registry.

Toubleshooting is in the Windows 7 and 8 Control panel, but they have been moved to the Settings app in recent editions of Windows 10.

In the November 2019 edition of Windows 10, things have changed again and now troubleshooters are hidden in the Settings app. The reason for this is because they now appear to be automatic or semi-automatic. Troubleshooters can run automatically and silently whenever Windows detects a problem. You don’t even need to find them and run them. Windows fixes itself!

Let’s take a look at the new features and how to set the auto-repair option.

1 Troubleshoot in Windows Settings

Troubleshoot in the Windows 10 Settings app

Press Windows+I to open the Settings app in Windows 10. Click Update & security and then select Troubleshoot in the sidebar. This used to show a list of troubleshooters that could be run to fix Windows problems, but they are now gone.

This PC is running fine and it says “No recommended troubleshooters at the moment.” However, troubleshooters will be automatically be recommended by Windows when problems are detected. They may even be detected and fixed before you realise it.

Click Ask me before running troubleshooters.

2 Automatically run troubleshooters

Windows troubleshooting automatic repair options in the Settings app

A menu appears with three options:

  1. Run troubleshooters automatically, don’t notify me
  2. Run troubleshooters automatically, then notify me
  3. Ask me before running troubleshooters

If you want Windows to automatically repair problems, choose one of the first two options. The second option seems the best and Windows will auto-repair problems and tell you what it fixed afterwards.

3 Run troubleshooters manually

Windows troubleshooting in the Windows 10 Settings app

There may be occasions where a problem has occured, but Windows has not detected it or automatically run a troubleshooter. You can still run troubleshooters manually, but they have moved in the Settings app.

Look in the screenshot in step 1 above and there is an Additional troubleshooters link at the bottom of Settings > Update and Security > Troubleshoot. Click it and it lists the troubleshooters. Click a troubleshooter and then click the run button that appears below it. Here is the Search and Indexing troubleshooter.

4 Look for options and settings

Running a Windows troubleshooter in Windows 10

Some troubleshooters have no options and no settings. You click them, they run, they finish. Sometimes there are options, so look for them because they may customise how the troubleshooter works. This one has checkboxes so you can select the type of problem to look for and fix.

5 Run troubleshooters as an admin

Windows troubleshooter fixing a problem in Windows 10

Some troubleshooters can only repair problems when run as an administrator. Although you may be logged into Windows with an admin account, you still need to click Try these repairs as an administrator.

Sometimes there is an admin option right at the start before the troubleshooter has run, but sometimes it is shown afterwards. Look for it and use it if necessary.

6 View the details

Fixing a problem with a troubleshooter in Windows 10 on a PC

After a troubleshooter has run, there may be a View details link. You don’t have to use it, but it can sometimes display helpful information about what was detected, what was and what was not repaired.

7 Troubleshooting in the Control Panel

Troubleshooting in the Control Panel in Windows

Although Windows 10 has made troubleshooters accessible in the Settings app, they are still in the Control Panel and there are advantages to accessing them from there. Click the Start button and type ‘control panel’ then click it in the results to open it. Switch to small icons view if necessary and click Troubleshooting.

There are three options on the left that are useful: 1) View all, 2) View history, 3) Change settings.

8 View all troubleshooters

Windows troubleshooters in the Control Panel in Windows 10

Everything here should be in the Settings app, but the names and descriptions are slightly different. You might find this easier. Just double click an item to run it.

9 View troubleshooter history

Troubleshooting history in the Control Panel in Windows 10

There is a link in the Troubleshoot section of the Settings app to view the troubleshooter history, but you can see the history here as well. Is it important? Not usually, but you might spot a recurring problem that keeps appearing and being fixed. If troubleshooters are set to run automatically, you can also see what was run and when.

10 Configure troubleshooting settings

Troubleshooting settings in the Control Panel in Windows 10

These troubleshooting settings are useful and you should set the first option to On to allow Windows to automatically report when a problem has been detected that a troubleshooter can fix.

There is also an option to allow a troubleshooter to begin automatically when it is started. This is useful when auto-running troubleshooters are set.