Question: Microsoft keeps insisting that I install a newer version of Windows 10 (I have version 1909.) But after I do, my PC crashes and I get the error message “Kmode exception not handled.” I then request that the previous version of Windows 10 be reinstalled, and everything works again until the next time Windows tries to upgrade.
I have run Windows 10 diagnostics and disabled the “fast startup” option – both suggestions I’ve read online — but nothing helps. I have an HP PC that’s been upgraded with an Intel main circuit board called a Desktop Board DH67BL. What can I do? — R.E., Parker, Colo.
Answer: Your PC suffers from creeping obsolescence — a situation in which you are able to keep running it for a long time, then abruptly you can’t.
What happened? Intel says that your main circuit board, which was introduced in 2010, is not designed to work with any Windows operating system newer than Windows 8.1 (see tinyurl.com/5nmknhsh). That said, some experts have issued cautionary advice: This circuit board should work with Windows 10, but users might experience some compatibility problems.
It appears that those compatibility issues have reached a critical point in the next version of Windows 10. The Kmode (Kernel Mode) error means that your system crashed due to a failure at the heart of the operating system.
So, if you can’t upgrade, why can’t you just keep using Windows 10 Version 1909? Because three newer versions of Windows 10 have been introduced since version 1909 debuted in late 2019. As a result, version 1909 is officially obsolete and hasn’t received any security updates from Microsoft since its arbitrary “end of service” date in May (see tinyurl.com/45tavj39).
Of course, you could take the security risk of continuing to use version 1909. But then you’ll be caught in the roller coaster ride of Microsoft’s automatic upgrade program. The new version of Windows 10 will eventually install (you can’t stop it), which will cause your system to crash and Version 1909 to be reinstalled — over and over.
A better alternative is to get a new PC — or at least a new main circuit board for your current PC — that can run the latest version of Windows 10 (version 21H1, introduced in May.)
Question: I pay Microsoft an annual subscription fee for its MSN Premium service, which I thought offered technical support via a phone number. But when I called, I was referred to help.microsoft.com, which I found to be of no help. If I choose not to renew the service, will I lose my MSN Premium email accounts? — C.S., Coon Rapids, Minn.
Answer: Microsoft gives you the option of continuing to use your current “msn.com” email addresses if you quit MSN Premium. You would need to access your email account through the Outlook.com website, Microsoft’s free email service (see tinyurl.com/5fc7t8xy).
Are there reasons to keep MSN Premium? Not that I can think of. Besides the help service you found unhelpful, MSN Premium provides you with security software and several email accounts — things you can now get for free. For example, you can find solutions to many common computer problems by doing a Google search. And you can easily get free security software (see tinyurl.com/4kb444b) and free e-mail accounts (see tinyurl.com/4azunuzj).