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Windows 7: What causes and how to fix critical sidebyside error

27 May 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
What causes and how to fix critical sidebyside error

The event log shows
General :-
Activation context generation failed for "E:\Downloads\SoftonicDownloader_for_notepad-portable.exe".Error in manifest or policy file "" on line . A component version required by the application conflicts with another component version already active. Conflicting components are:. Component 1: C:\Windows\WinSxS\manifests\ Component 2: C:\Windows\WinSxS\manifests\
Details :-
- Provider
[ Name] SideBySide
- EventID 80
[ Qualifiers] 49409
Level 2
Task 0
Keywords 0x80000000000000
- TimeCreated
[ SystemTime] 2011-05-02T19:07:07.000000000Z
EventRecordID 5905
Channel Application
Computer Alan-Desktop
- EventData
On 2011-05-02 I searched for Portable Notepads and downloaded possibilities to

Unfortunately Softonics did a Bait and Switch trick, and instead of getting notepad-portable I got the downloader for it which seems to be less portable. I chose not to accept EULA etc. and got on with downloading the other possibilities.

At 2 or 3 day intervals I have been getting the above errors shortly after login when I was doing nothing with
I suspect Windows periodically tries to "improve" itself and finds this critical error,
even though that file had been deleted.

The manifest files are absolutely identical to how they were last month, so have not been corrupted by Softonic.

RegScanner from Nirsoft finds E:\Downloads\SoftonicDownloader_for_notepad-portable.exe in
HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Session Manager\AppCompatCache    AppCompatCache    REG_BINARY    27/05/2011 18:58:03    185,648    
HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet002\Control\Session Manager\AppCompatCache    AppCompatCache    REG_BINARY    27/05/2011 18:58:03    185,648    
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\AppCompatCache    AppCompatCache    REG_BINARY    27/05/2011 18:58:03    185,648
Questions :-
How serious is this critical error marked with a white exclamation in a red circle?

What are its effects ?

If I delete these "*Cache" registry keys will that cure the problem and slightly degrade operation whilst the *Cache is being rebuilt ?

Would I help it to speed up recovery if I merge exports of those keys taken from a Macrium image the day before I got a touch of Softonic,
and if so is a REG key appropriate or should I go for a HIVE key export ?

Will Windows self-destruct if I interfere with these keys (if so I have a Macrium Boot CD)

NB My ultimate fall-back position is to restore C:\ from a good image made on 1st May, but then I have 4 weeks of selecting and installing GOOD applications that I will have to redo,
and anything more than 1 week ago is a little hazy now ! !


My System SpecsSystem Spec


 What causes and how to fix critical sidebyside error

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