Tech Q&A: Windows 10 flaw tries to charge for free apps

March 28, 2016

Q: After upgrading my PC to Windows 10, I got a message saying that the "free trial" on my calculator app was over, and that I should go to the Windows Store to purchase the feature. The icons for some other apps are grayed out, and I assume that Iíll have to purchase those, too. Arenít these apps supposed to be free with Windows 10?

óKevin Corey, Cranston, R.I.

A: The apps that come with Windows 10 are free, but you and others have erroneously gotten the "expired trial period" message. There are two theories about why this occurs: Either some Windows 10 files have become corrupted, or thereís a flaw in the Windows software licenses.

To fix corrupted Windows 10 files, go to the search box at the lower left of the screen and type "powershell." In the resulting menu, right-click powershell and choose "run as administrator." Then enter the following character string: Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "*SystemApps*"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Then press the enter key and wait for the fix to complete.

If that doesnít work, try fixing the Microsoft software licenses, which tell the operating system that youíre authorized to use an app. Go to the search box and type Notepad, then select Notepad from the resulting menu.

Then go to and look for "Solution 2 ó Change License Period." There you will find a string of characters that is too long to reproduce here. Copy the string and paste it in a blank Notepad file. Save the file as "license.bat" (include the quotation marks), then follow the website directions to uninstall the calculator app from Windows 10. Once thatís done, download the calculator app again at If you need to download other apps that are included in Windows 10, search Google for "download Windows 10 (name of app.)"

Q: I have a netbook PC (a small laptop) with Windows XP. Iíve read that Microsoft no longer offers security updates for Windows XP, so is it possible for me to upgrade to Windows 10? Is there also a way for me to do a "system restore" on the PC and find antivirus software for it?

óMyran Booker, Baton Rouge, La.

A: Itís questionable whether you can update your netbook to Windows 10. It might meet the technical requirements (see, such as 1 gigabyte of RAM (random access memory), 16 to 20 gigabytes of free hard disk space and a 1-gigahertz processor chip speed. But you would need to check the PC manufacturerís website to see if there are Windows 10 software drivers available. Iím betting the answer is no. Even if the drivers are available, upgrading an older netbook to a new version of Windows isnít easy (see

You should always run antivirus software on Windows XP. (Even the now-discontinued Microsoft security updates didnít protect against common malware.) For XP-friendly antivirus software makers, see To use the System Restore feature of Windows XP (which returns the PC to the settings it had on a previous date), see



McClatchy-Tribune Information Services