Are you new to the FLOSS world or simply want to try a new app or a new release of it? Eager and excited, you download it and one of three things happen: it is slow, freezes or crashes. Or it doesn’t open or work as you would expect. You visualized throwing yourself out of the window. Why is the cost of entry so high and immediate?!
This seems to be a prevalent problem among Windows users. I and others have composed many posts in attempt to help the exasperated. I don’t remember all of the causes; you could search the forum for the complete list of relevant posts. Anyway, this thread is meant to keep a list of links and answers for your convenience. Feel free to add anything that you might find useful. I will start the thread with the basics.
As such, this is a work in progress. If you have any thoughts, please comment below.
Windows Defender. This is the biggest offender because it continuously scans everything and, in doing so, literally brings your most powerful computers to their knees. When you open an app that it doesn’t like or loves too much, everything that the app does is assaulted, like enforcement gone wrong at border crossings or a helicopter parent suffocating his or her children.
What to do: turn it off completely to see if it is the culprit. Turning it off is a nauseating process because it has so many components, many of which can turn themselves back on without your permission. There are several ways to go about it correctly. Here is one example: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/5918-turn-off-windows-defender-antivirus-windows-10-a.html. Lastly, you might have heard that it would be disabled if you had another antivirus app or something similar running. That isn’t true all of the time. Defender does what it wants to do.
Look what happens when I extract a zip file. Before and after disabling Defender.
Warning: please turn Windows Defender back on after you finish your analysis because although it is often disruptive its actions are for your safety. Do it as soon as possible as it is easy to forget. What you need to do is Add an exclusion to Windows Security. You may need to do other things but start with this one.
Other Windows culprits that I won’t get into but are worth looking into: indexing, compression, encryption, backup system, file system; and driver, app, acceleration, optimization or hardware incompatibility. There might also be inefficiencies or bugs in the FLOSS app itself, but think about that after you eliminate the common causes first.
Safe mode (with or without networking). Running the app in safe mode is good for two reasons.
1. It insulates the app you want to run from all of the junk that Windows has and that you have accumulated. Basically, it loads the bare necessities so that you could figure out whether the app in question works, and if it doesn’t, you have a shorter list of suspects to work through. Since you are only running the core software, you might need to load additional software such as drivers for your graphics card, etc. But then you know precisely what you are dealing with by means of the process of elimination.
2. The other reason is that it loads the core system files in their default and safe settings. This means that anything that is missing, corrupted or otherwise messed up has a good chance of being restored to a proper working state.
Troubles with a Installer or Package
Some people might find that there is a problem with the installer or package they have just downloaded.
1. Make sure that you have downloaded from a reputable source. Check out the app category of the forum and read the pinned posts, or threads that may give you suggestions. Regular users like myself could direct you to the right places as well. When in doubt, ask.
2. Your antivirus or a similar app might flag the installer, app or DLL as a virus or malware. There are a number of reputable online virus scanners that you could use for free to verify if it is a false positive or not. There are several posts that provide suggestions.
3. After installation or extraction of a portable app, when you run the actual app, you might get a warning like this. Well, if you know that you want to install the app, chances are that it is okay. Many FLOSS apps aren’t registered with Microsoft and affliates. The fact that it is unrecognized doesn’t mean that the app is illegitimate. Click “More info” to get the option that you really deserve: “Run anyway”. Anyway?! Just run it already!
File system. I refrained from elaborating on file system reasons because 1) I am not a fluent in that subject and 2) I didn’t think of a good example from the top of my head. In the comments, @darix provided a link concerning the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that addresses a part of the picture.