Microsoft confirms Windows 10 File system error (2147219196) crashing apps


Windows 10 apps such as Photos, Calendar, Calculator, Mail and Calendar, and Feedback Hub are crashing with “File System Error (-2147219196)”. Microsoft tells me the company is aware of the reports and has identified the root cause. The good news is the tech giant is already preparing a fix, and it should go live in the Microsoft Store soon.

So what went wrong? According to reports on Feedback Hub and Microsoft’s forums, Microsoft auto-updated its inbox apps via its Store on January 23. While the updates were supposed to be regular maintenance releases, they broke the inbox apps like Microsoft Photos, Calculator, Mail and Calendar, Feedback Hub, and more.

Based on the reports we’ve received from users, these apps immediately crash upon launching with an error message “File system error (-2147219196)”. This bug seems to affect older hardware only, such as AMD Athlon, Intel Quad, and Core 2 Duo processors, which were in the market in the early 2000s.

File system error (-2147219196)
Image Courtesy: Microsoft forums

“Once you have an update, you can’t go back. Microsoft does this, and on top of that, without warning is a dirty move,” one frustrated user noted in a Feedback Hub post.

Another user explained the problem: I am experiencing the same issue. Microsoft Photos worked yesterday, but it is giving the same “File System Error (-2147219196)” on Windows 10 Pro on 1 PC, but it is still working on another.

Why Windows 10 apps are crashing with File System Error (-2147219196)?

The root cause of the issue lies within a critical package, “vclibs framework”, used by several inbox apps. This package contains libraries that help Microsoft Inbox apps like Photos and Calculator run correctly.

Recently, a change in the vclibs framework inadvertently made these apps require SSE4.2 instructions.

As Wikipedia notes, SSE has been around for decades, but version SSE4.2 shipped much later in 2011 and is not supported by older processors. SSE4.2 helps a computer’s processor handle data more efficiently, leading to better performance when opening apps.

Microsoft accidentally made SSE4.2 a mandatory requirement for vclibs framework. As a result, Windows 10 PCs with older processors, which lack SSE4.2 support, are unable  to launch the following apps:

  • Photos
  • Calculator
  • Mail & Calendar
  • Film & TV (aka Movies & TV).
  • Feedback Hub.
  • Paint 3D.
  • 3D Viewer.
  • Game Bar

That’s because older processors cannot handle or execute the SSE4.2 instructions for the apps, which are now “accidentally” required by the vclibs framework.

In a statement, a Microsoft support staff confirmed it’s aware of the issue, and new app packages containing the fix will begin rolling out via the Windows Store in the coming hours.

It’s worth noting that these processors are officially unsupported, but some people still run Windows 10 on them.

Unlike other tech companies, Microsoft has a good track record of maintaining backward compatibility. Windows 10 remains supported until October 2025, and this error appears to be a genuine mistake by the Visual Studio team.



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IRON MOUNTAIN | IT