Group Policy causes Windows 8 apps to close immediately

Windows 8 is a significant change and is going to require thorough testing before getting rolled out to organizations. One example I ran into recently involved the new Windows 8 apps. Whenever you would try to start one of these apps like Mail or Photos from the Start Screen, the icon would flip toward you and become full screen. It would then close back to the Start Screen with no explanation of the problem.

I confirmed that the problem still happened on a machine with a fresh Windows 8 install, joined to the domain, apps all updated, Windows Updates completed. The key was actually in that sentence. Joined to the domain had the machine getting a group policy with a policy that Windows 8 apparently does not like.

A video demo of the apps’ behavior:

In the Event log, I was getting this information:

Error 5973
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Immersive-Shell

Activation of app microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_8wekyb3d8bbwe!Microsoft.WindowsLive.Mail failed with error: The app didn’t start. See the Microsoft-Windows-TWinUI/Operational log for additional information.

The policy was found to be:

Computer Configuration / Policies / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies/Security Options / Audit: Audit the access of global system objects

Once it was set to Not Configured for group policies affecting the Windows 8 computer I was testing, the apps would then open successfully.

A description of the policy:

Audit: Audit the access of global system objects

This security setting determines whether to audit the access of global system objects.

If this policy is enabled, it causes system objects, such as mutexes, events, semaphores and DOS devices, to be created with a default system access control list (SACL). Only named objects are given a SACL; SACLs are not given to objects without names. If the Audit object access audit policy is also enabled, access to these system objects is audited.

Note: When configuring this security setting, changes will not take effect until you restart Windows.

Default: Disabled.

I assume many people won’t run into this particular error because of the exact same policy but it’s more of an example that there are many things to check for compatibility issues and many potential sources for problems as this newest operating system gets integrated into the environment.

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