Home Windows Tutorials Fix: Start Menu & Cortana not Opening in Windows 10

Fix: Start Menu & Cortana not Opening in Windows 10

Update: It seems that the final version of Windows 10 is also affected by the issue. The start menu fails to open after upgrading from a previous version of Windows.
Windows 10 is currently available as Technical Preview which means that there are still a lot of issues and bugs which need fixing before the Operating System gets ready for use by consumers. Some users using the Windows 10 Technical Preview (build 9926) are facing an odd issue where the Start Menu (and Cortana/Search) would not work/open anymore, no matter if they click on the Start Button, Press the Windows key on the keyboard or press Ctrl + Esc. System Restore seems to be the cause of this error, but there can be more. Anyways, here’s how to sort it out.

Making the Windows 10 Start Menu Work Again

There can be multiple reasons for the broken Start Menu and as usual, one solution cannot fit everywhere. Still, you should definitely give the following a try and who knows, the Start Menu starts working again, saving you from a full reset or reinstalling Windows 10 again.

Do backup any data you’ve saved in the Modern Apps as all of them will be re-installed. Desktop software and apps won’t be affected though.
  1. Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator
    1. Right click Start button
    2. Choose Command prompt (Admin)
    3. Key in Powershell in the black window and hit Enter
  2. Paste the following command in the Administrator: Windows PowerShell window and press Enter key:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
  3. Wait for PowerShell to execute and complete the command. Ignore the few errors (in red color) that may pop up.
  4. When it finishes, try hitting Start and hopefully it’ll start working. If not, this solution won’t apply to you, unfortunately.windows 10 start button and menu

Are you able to solve it for you by following the procedure mentioned above or it fails? If it it fails, do make sure that you ran Powershell as Administrator (window will be called Administrator: Windows PowerShell ) and gave the command enough time to execute.

Other Fixes Suggested by Visitors

Uninstall Dropbox and then Disable AutostartRobert Gavick suggested in comments that uninstalling dropbox fixed the issue for him. So if you have dropbox installed on your Windows 10 PC, just uninstall it. You can then re-install it, but set it to not to autostart at boot.

Boot into Safe ModeDebbie W. mentioned in comments that booting the PC into safe mode and then normally fixed this problem on multiple PCs. Others have also confirmed it to be working for them. So do give it a shot if you’ve exhausted all other options. Read more in her comment.

Uninstall CCleaner or Avast AntiVirus – CCleaner and Avast AntiVirus are two known softwares culprit of causing this error. So if you have any of these installed, just get rid of them soon.

Still no luck? You can get everything to work fine by creating a new user account and working under it. You will lose some of your user data, but most of the files and documents can be transferred over by copying the data from Desktop, Documents, Pictures and other libraries.

About the author

Narender Singh

Narender is a B-school graduate who loves technology. He generally, avoids news and spends his time writing guides and tutorials which add value to the web. Shoot any of your questions to him at narender@techmesto.com


Click here to post a comment

Email me when somebody replies to my comment.

  • I remember Unix. I remember Spectrum. I remember mini-computers and mainframes. I remember DOS. I remember Linux. I remember Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups,………And in the year 2017 I have Windows 10 Professional.

    How old is Windows 10? Well, if Windows 3.0 is from 1990, previous versions were extremely shaky, let’s say Windows is old, well 27 years. Hey boys and girls, 27 (twenty-seven) years!!!!

    And 27 years later, what do we have from the Gates evil empire? We have a so called “Professional” product that looses hotkeys, blocks it’s central command / Start button, blocks Notifications and forces users to distroy everything in boot partition and start whole process of installation and settings over and over again…. And what does the evil empire say? Pretty much – nothing. Or as one user said – it just brush us off.

    Maybe we deserve that – who knows?

  • I have had countless problems with windows 10. My PC had to be returned for a new main board since then programs sometimes work sometimes don’t, the Lower symbols on the F keys have never worked. It has now decided not to open Mail on the windows app store without which I cant fix the mail. The start menu starts OK but neither the mail box in the start menu or outlook are working. Outlook opens but shows no mail. Tried to correct mail account settings but wont got passed a certain point even though the correct password has been input. I’m am well fed up with it and if it wasn’t for employment reasons, I am trying to do and online IT course, I wouldn’t be using Windows as also had a Mac book which I can honestly say is well worth the money. No worries about virsues etc with that run like a dream even though its an older model. How can I now get my mail to open, luckily I can use my phone but will need outlook later for the course Desperate for advice

  • If none of the solutions proposed in this article worked, you can try to suppress the child keys under this registry key :
    Worked fine for me

  • what if a new user account still doesn’t fix the unresponsive taskbar? I already did everything I could search in google and here, please i can’t even reset my laptop, its saying ‘an error has occured. No changes has been made.” I dont know what to do now,

    • That’s so unfortunate, Evan. Did your laptop come with some sort of recovery media? You might be able to use that to reset the system to the factory state.

      • Sadly, I don’t have any recovery media that came with the laptop. Further, it seems that even in Safe Mode, the taskbar is still unresponsive some changes that I did was deleting a certain folder called TileDataLayer which does nothing for me.

        • Now in this situation, Evan. I believe a full re-install of Windows using a bootable USB/DVD will be your last option. You might want to bring it to the store from where you purchased it.
          Or if you can do it yourself, you can download the ISO files from Microsoft and create a bootable USB drive to re-install Windows.

  • Hallo mates,
    I have same problem with the start menu and other menu parts of windows ledge, what accured now, after 6 months of smooth, good run of win10. Trouble is, that r-click on programs running also does not work so I am not able to run powershell as admin. Have tried other options mentioned here and on other forums, like SFC /SCANNOW command, whitch found NO data corruption, re-run the explorer etc, only power shell as non-admin does not work (access denied ofc.). I dont use avast (t-630 or symantec, here users dont comply on similar problems) but one last installation of other software (in my case was trial version of acrobat) tried to force me to install avast, whitch I cannot find under my programs cause I declined the installation in the process. For users who have simillar problem i really recommend to install C-Cleaner and run library fix to clean avast out of temporatory files, libraries etc, than reboot and run the windows backup to previous system saved point (dont do a point yourself cause avast will again appear). Than uninstall c-cleaner and reboot again. Fixed for me – good luck.

  • my son gave me a gift a Lenovo laptop (windows 10) but every time I want to do something in the computer because is on my son-in law names (john) appears on the screen and in some others program.how can I remove my son-in law names and install mine’

  • And how do you open Windows Powershell? This is sorely insufficient instruction; it’s the web, so why haven’t you hotlinked instructions to an explanation what that is and instructions where to find it and how to open it? We’re already frustrated that the start menu isn’t working so where are we supposed to find this? Instead I have to go open another browser page to find out. I think I’ll use another set of instructions instead since this started poorly for me.

    • Oh wow! Maybe you didn’t actually read this out. The very first step has a 3-point instructions on how to open powershell.

      • Does anyone here have an issue with cortana search box not working but start button does? if so, can you open the “Cortana and search settings” menu? I can start typing that, it shows up, but clicking it does nothing. Im curious to know if that is apparent for anyone els too.

  • This has happened to me twice now in the last year. First time creating a local account worked. Yesterday it happened again and I cannot even create a new account… I found the best fix; …… Windows 7 Reinstalled. Microsoft should be totally ashamed of touting a new OS that added a start button to fix complaints in Win 8 and this is the result. Win7 until 2020 for this company.

  • I have done all of the above and start menu, task bar and sometimes task manager (from ctrl+alt+del) will not run. Windows update is non-existent. Windows 10 reminds me too much of Windows ME which prior to Windows 10 was the worst operating system Microsoft ever had. Windows 10 is crap.

  • hi . am having this problem – my start edge playstore notifications and rightclick on task bar are not working ! I have tried all possible solutions i found on the net – using powershell ,scannow,dism cmd( it shows source file not found),start menu trouble shooter(apps not installed properly error found but could not automatically fix it ),restarting/ending explorer,regedit.exe checking , killing RuntimeBroker, opening in safe mode,disabling fast reboot ,toggling start menu and task bar , adding new account(which i was not able to do in settings only from cmd i was able to do )and finally reinstalled windows 10 with keep my files option .It just doesnt seem to work ! Please please someone tell me how to fix this . its driving me crazy .
    Thanks in advance

  • I get this problem from time to time. I don’t know why, but the following worked for me:
    1. Right click Start button
    2. Choose Command prompt (Admin)
    3. Type in SFC/SCANNOW
    4. When it’s done (it will probably tell you it found no problem), restart the computer.

  • Alternative way, so to settings > Personalization > Start > Turn off “Use Full Screen”.

    Restart the computer. This worked for me.

  • While researching why Start wasn’t working on one of my systems, I saw mention of disabling shell extensions which seemed a valid thing to check. There’s a small program to view shell extensions, but I don’t know its creator: ShellMenuView

    Running it shows lot of stuff but after sorting by Company names, one thing that I noticed was that Malwarebytes had installed a shell extension. I was sure their shell extension wasn’t needed, so I uninstalled the program to see what would happen and BAM!, my Start button started working again.

    And another happy customer. Whew!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,488 other subscribers