Author: gyaku_zuki

Hi there! My name's Matt, and I'm from Northern Ireland. I studied Physics to PhD level at university, and now I work as a Software Developer with BT. I'm also a karate black belt. Nerdy... I guess. Being a nerd is just part of who I am! My website and blog can be found, along with some of my photography, programming and other projects, at Otherwise, you want some links to my online profiles for things? Best thing for that is my Gravatar - Hope you know a bit more about me now!

Windows 10 Start Menu not working?

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If so, try this simple test.

So I’ve been struggling with Windows 10 for a bunch of reasons, but the big one at the minute is that my start menu just stops opening. Along with that, the notifications pop-out and Cortana.

The biggest giveaway for me that a rogue process is at fault is that in safe mode its fine, and usually the first 5 to 10 minutes.

I got so frustrated that I opened task manager and started killing processes a few at a time and trying the start menu, including all but the key Windows ones and nVidia (because the last thing I need are MORE TDR errors…). Through this, I identified that the culprit is the “Runtime Broker” process.

Killed it, and the start menu, Cortana, notifications work again.
For at least 10 more minutes anyway.

In a tweet to me, Microsoft support say that the task involves the permissions for Metro-style apps. There’s probably a further root cause app at fault. But at least I can mitigate for now!

TLDR; try killing the “Runtime Broker” process.

Best games of 2015

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As far as gaming goes, 2015 has been an interesting year for me. More and more I lack the time for the triple A, big budget games, and find myself drawn to the simpler and more innovative games.

So my list of games of the year are the following:

This game is amazing, very Earthbound-style and meta, exploring morality, relationships, flowers, skeletons… It has a killer soundtrack, very NES but with a modern flair. Replayable at least a few times,  if you can count it as a replay!

– Axiom Verge
Wearing the Metroid influence very much on its sleeve, this retro styled action exploration game has a sorta cyberpunk theme. It’s fun to play, lots of cool weapons, story and theme, enemies, bosses, and yet again, an outstanding soundtrack.

– Downwell
A great little pick-up-and-play game, you are falling down a long deep well bouncing on enemies with your gunboots, building combos and going deeper. Very recommended for casual play, when you have 10 mins!

– Rocket League
I unexpectedly loved this! Simple concept but a crazy one – 3-man team football with rocket-propelled cars. Glorious 5 minute fun, with some serious competitive play going on.

– Super Smash Bros 3DS
I don’t have a WiiU so don’t get me wrong, I love playing it on the big screen too, but it’s great to me to be able to play on the move and in my palms. A steady stream of great, though pricy, DLC characters has been particularly tasty.

These are my top 5 of 2015! Let me know yours!

Appointed as Chair of Cara-Friend

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If you know much about the Northern Ireland LGB&T community, you’ll know about Cara-Friend. As one of the biggest LGB&T charities here, it does a lot of great work – particularly with young people.

I’ve served on their management committee, and then their board of directors. And I’m delighted to now be representing the charity as it’s recently appointed Chair.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a good job of it!

Categories: lgbt


School days and reunions

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Yesterday, my old school, RBAI or Inst as it’s more commonly known, held a dinner to mark that 2015 is 10 years since we finished upper sixth there, leaving with A-levels, hopes and dreams.

I have loads of fond memories of Inst; the friends, teachers, learning my love of science (particular thanks to Mrs Muise and Mr Lynn here!), cricket, chess, swimming class with the torture of Mrs Eakin. Chilling at lunchtimes in the quad, or later in the sixth form centre. I won’t miss the rugby practice on cold and wet Saturday mornings, but regret not trying harder in sports – the glasses and not being able to see didn’t help; yay for contact lenses now!

My photography skills were not the best back then...

However, despite the great memories and growth I experienced there, I didn’t go to the dinner. I kept myself as ‘maybe’ on the event, and asked around those friends I still socialise with, checking who was attending. In the end, there were too few of the people who liked me attending – and a few too many of those who didnt like me much based on how they treated me. A shame, but I felt like if I’d gone, I’d have been going back to a time where certain cliques excluded me, and I wasn’t up for doing that.

I’m sure now all is different with them though and they would think or act differently – I’m a massively different person 10 years later too. Instead of being a shy kid, hiding that he was gay and flinching everytime he was called it in the playground as a taunt, fearing discovery, I’m now a happy, out, engaged, confident man who has a good job, great friends, a loving partner, a black belt, and volunteers for the LGBT community. I hope that everyone else from school is equally enjoying their lives 10 years on.

So, looking back, I’ve lost touch with too many great people from school, which is a real shame – particular the ‘further maths’ crew – and so if anyone wants to catch up on the last 10 years, laugh about school, talk about what’s going on, have a pint, or all of the above, you don’t need a dinner at Inst to do it with me; just give me a shout sometime. It’d be great to hear how you’re getting on.

Categories: musings

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Windows 10 – Upgrading an old laptop

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So I took an old laptop I used at university – about 5 or 6 years old but a good model in it’s day, a Dell Latitude E5510 – and decided to use it as a quick ‘test’ run of the Windows 10 upgrade since it hasn’t anything too important and my main PC is being stubborn over actually offering the update.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well really. Thought I’d write up a quick post about a 0xC000000F blue screen error that ended up happening.

I’m about to do a particular repair so will see if it works, but I’ve surmised that the issue is that the default Dell partition table looks like this:

– DellUtility (~40 MB)
– RECOVERY (~8 GB) (Marked as boot)
– OS (~130 GB)

What seems to have occurred is that the actual install proceeded reasonably well, I can see the signs of it being completed such as the presence of the “Windows.old” folder etc. However, what Windows 10 decided to do to facilitate the install is that it saw the boot partition and hijacked its boot to use as its boot sequence.

For some unknown reason, in so doing, it increased the “RECOVERY” partition size by 1 sector – encroaching into the “OS” partition and wrecking its MBR and boot sector. This left many tools, including Windows 10, unable to ascertain the structure of the drive as NTFS. Chkdsk understands the corruption but does not resolve the partition table overlap.

I’m going to manually adjust the recovery partition down and try to repair the MBR from its backup. Let’s see how that goes.

Microsoft – partition management: 0 out of 10 for wrecking my MBR!