Windows 10 flaw tries to charge for free apps

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 I'll have to purchase those, too. Aren’t these apps supposed to be free with Windows 10?

–Kevin Corey, Cranston, R.I.

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 there’s 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 5 / 8Where-Object 1 / 2$–.InstallLocation -like “*SystemApps*” 3 / 45 / 8 Foreach 1 / 2Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($–.InstallLocation) 1 / 4AppXManifest.xml” 3 / 4

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

If that doesn’t work, try fixing the Microsoft software licenses, which tell the operating system that you’re 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 – 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 that’s 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. I’ve 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?

–Myran Booker, Baton Rouge, La.

A: It’s 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 manufacturer’s website to see if there are Windows 10 software drivers available. I’m betting the answer is no. Even if the drivers are available, upgrading an older netbook to a new version of Windows isn’t easy (see

You should always run antivirus software on Windows XP. (Even the now-discontinued Microsoft security updates didn’t 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

Contact Steve Alexander at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002; email