Fix Configuration system failed to initialize Errors

If, like me, you have tried the most popular fixes for the error “Configuration system failed to initialize” when you run certain application(s), and the problem is still persisting, then my rather drastic fix might help you too.

Warning: Back up your system before attempting any of these sorts of fixes. And try them at your own risk. I have not tested this fix on other systems.

Here is what I did that fixed the error:
1. Open File Explorer as Administrator
2. Navigate to This PC – your system drive (usually C:) – Windows
Microsoft.NET folder
3. Rename the Framework folder to something else, eg. FrameworkOLD
4. Rename the Framework64 folder to something else, eg. Framework64OLD
Note: You might get some warnings and messages about some apps are still running and using the framework. Stop as many as you can find. Worst case, restart in safe mode to do steps 3 and 4.
5. Start a command prompt as administrator
6. Run the command sfc /scannow
7. When that is finished, open the Control Panel / Settings window
8. Search for Update
9. Choose Check for Updates, and press the button Check for Updates
10. When the Update has finished, reboot the PC.
11. Test the app out, and hopefully the problem is resolved!

Advanced Fixes

If you still get “Configuration system failed to initialize” errors, then have a look in the C:\Users\(USERNAME)\AppData\Local\(COMPANY NAME) folder. Eg, for applications made by Strangetimez which are used by Fred, you would look in the C:\Users\Fred\AppData\Local\Strangetimez folder.
It gets trickier in here, as there could be a few issues. There may be multiple folders for the same application. Within these folders, you may see folders for version numbers (eg. a folder called 1.0.8.123, 1.0.8.129, and 1.1.0.1). Each of these will contain configuration information for that version of the application.
Try checking out the user.config files in the latest version (1.1.0.1 in the example above) of each of these folders. Check that these files do not have errors in them by opening them with Notepad. If there are funny characters in there (non text), then there might be a problem. If the text does not end with something like the following, then that could be another problem:

        </YourAppName.Properties.Settings>
    </userSettings>
</configuration>

You could try editing / fixing the file yourself (difficult if you dont get it right). Another option is to look in the folder of a previous version, and see if there is another user.config file there. As long as the configuration data has not changed between those versions, you can replace the faulty file with the complete / formatted one.

I hope that helps! Please let me know in the comments if you have a fix yourself, or if one of these worked for you.

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