I tried the update using the Windows Update Assistant. It took three and 1/2 hours to complete, and I got an error message "Update failed."
Something is causing all updates to fail, and attempts by various knowledgeable people have been unsuccessful. Thank you for your efforts on my behalf.
I have resigned myself to doing a clean install. I have spent over 60 hours on this over the last two weeks, and it would be easier to do a clean install and reinstallation of my apps than to beat this dead horse. (If anybody knows how to put a curse on Microsoft, let me know <grin>.)
I have a complete backup of my hard disk (including the corrupt Windows 10)d, using Macrium Reflect, and a separate Windows backup of my "files and data." Would the latter restore my apps?
I need advice/tips from someone who has actually done a clean Windows install. I have been using Windows since the first version, but have never before had this serious a problem. I have confirmed that my hardware is just fine.
Well, that sucks... and I know that's an understatement given your predicament.
With a clean install, the question becomes how clean do you want the install to be?
1)You can format the partition that Windows is on - a full format will take a while so the set up does a quick format by default.
2)You can delete all the system created partitions including Windows and then create a partition again. With the second option providing the ISO has been created a Machine with GPT or manually chosen using Rufus (rufus.ie) or similiar tool you are able to create a GPT install.
A GPT install does not have primary partition type limitation that MBR does.
However a clone of the hard disk is a clone of the hard disk including your file table type (GPT or MBR - by default it most likely will be MBR unless it's a fairly recent PC / Laptop)
I suppose you can try 1 and go from there.
In regards to the apps and app data, unfortunately a restore is not that simple as even getting file permission access to the app data is cumbersome.
Even then Your app data is tagged with a unique idenitifier which resets every install and if the identifier doesn't match then you can't use the app data. It's stored in multiple places in the registry, to date I haven't found an effective way to restore this - as it's not simple as it was in XP or Windows 7 for example. If anyone else has, please feel free to chime in.
.exe programs store info in multiple places alongside Program Files / Program Files x86, C:\Users\[username]\AppData --> Local (used by all programs), LocalLow (rarely used by programs), Roaming (mostly used in tandem with Local) and C:\ProgramData
C:\ProgramData and C:\Users\[username]\AppData are hidden folders.
Then there are pesky progams that like to add .dll libraries where they shouldn't such as the Windows folder - fortunately such practise is rare these days.
In regards to your data, as long you copied all the folders (that are not hidden) in C:\Users\[username]\
If you have a folders in other partitions they are fine however if you want complete clean the HDD then you should back them up too.
I would suggest partitioning your hard disk if you haven't already in a 40 / 60 split.
40% for Windows and 60% for your data - for this example we'll call it Drive E:
Create a Users folder on E: with your username once you have installed Windows.
Go to C:\Users\[username]\ then right click on each visible folder and properties -->Location Tab --> change C to E (you will have to do this individually per folder). So for example C:\Users\[username]\Downloads to E:\Users\[username]\Downloads then click ok.
The other option is to drag and drop to the folder on E: or cut and paste.
This way all you have to is reinstall the o/s without losing your data except your app data.
Note: even if you moved your app data, Windows will ask you if you want to overwrite every re-install if you choose to move the app data to E: