Fix : Start Menu does not open or not working in Windows 10

windows-10 start menu not working

Some would argue that the Windows OS is incomplete without the Start menu, which is why Windows 10 saw the return of this prodigal son. But since the recent Creators update, many Windows users have been complaining on the forums that the Start menu is misbehaving; either it won’t open or simply won’t work. Either way, we understand that it can be downright irritating and so, here are some absolute ways to fix it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Any tinkering with the Windows 10 system might involve temporary or permanent loss of data. It is recommended that you create a restore point or backup important files and folders on an external hard drive, flash drive, or a cloud storage.

Let’s start with some basic To-Do’s.

Sign out and Sign in to your user account.

Before you proceed to restarting your system, signing out of your current user account is at the very least worth a try. You can sign out even without a responsive Start menu.

Here’s how: Ctrl + Alt + Delete key combination will produce the options to Lock, Switch user, Sign out, Change a password, & Task Manager. Hit Sign out then sign back in. Check if it helps at all, if not, try turning off your PC.

start menu does not open or not working

Turn your PC off & on again.

More than often times all you need to do with Windows 10 system errors is to restart the system. Believe it or not, this works like a charm for so many users. So if you haven’t done that already, I suggest that you start with that.

Sometimes, Windows 10 startup files either take time to load or do not load at all, and this can cause a delay. While you are annoyingly clicking at the Start button for the Nth time, Windows 10 pooling has yet to account for the first click that you made.

If restarting doesn’t work, then here’s another annoying task for you to do- Update Windows 10.

Update your Windows 10.

Maybe you have every Windows 10 update on automatic mode, but it does not hurt to check it once again, does it? By default, Windows 10 installs all of the essential updates automatically, but you do this manually even without accessing the Start menu, here’s how.

  1. Open Settings with the key combination (on keyboard): Windows key + I.start menu does not open or not working
  2. If that one’s a dud then try opening Run this way: Windows key + R.
  3. In the box that opens before you, type in: ms-settings and click OK or hit Enter.start menu does not open or not working
  4. Once the Settings application opens, select Windows Update from the left-hand-side pane and under Update status on the right-hand-side click the button Check for updates.start menu does not open or not working

If there are any updates to install, Windows 10 will take care of it but you should restart the PC thereafter and then check to see if you can open the Start menu. If it still doesn’t, try the next method.

Create a new user account.

The best way to test issues surrounding Windows 10 is to create separate user accounts with admin rights. If this option fails, then you may ultimately need to perform a clean Windows 10 reinstall.

  1. To do this, right-click on the taskbar to open Task Manager. Alternatively, you can press the key combination Ctrl + Alt +Delete to get there.
  2. Once the Task Manager window opens, select File, then choose Run new task.
  3. When the Create new task box opens, type powershell and check mark the box underneath to Create this task with administrative privileges, then hit OK.
  4. In the PowerShell window, type in or copy & paste the following command:net user newusername newpassword /add
  5. Obviously, ‘newusername’ is a username of your choice and likewise, ‘newpassword’ is a new password for the new account as per your preference.
  6. Now, restart your computer and log into the newly created user account.start menu does not open or not working

Your Start menu should most probably work now since a new session does not carry over any of the mishaps that may have occurred in your original user account.

If everything is working as it should be, you can proceed to transfer all the files and folders to this local account and even set it as a primary account.

Try to reinstall video card and sound card drivers.

Video card and sound card drivers still pose many problems on Windows 10 like they did back in Windows XP, since they are not maintained or updated by Microsoft and depend entirely on their manufacturer for regular upgrades and/or repairs.

This could be one of the predominant factors that might be causing the Start menu to not open or not work at all. Here’s how you can quite possibly bring the Start menu back to life.

Update the driver

  1. Using the key combinations Windows key + X, open Device Manager.start menu does not open or not working
  2. Look for Sound, video and game controllers, then right-click to update the driver.
  3. Install the new updates, if any, and then restart your computer.

Disable the device

  1. If updating didn’t work then get to this place again to disable the device.
  2. Restart your PC again, then enable the device. See if the Start menu would open now.

Uninstall device

  1. Uninstall the device from the same location and check Delete the driver software for this device.
  2. Restart your PC again after uninstalling sound card and video card drivers.start menu does not open or not working

Install newer/updated video card and sound card drivers

There are two ways to do this: 1. Manual drivers update & 2. Automatic drivers update.

  1. Manual drivers update: Visit the sound card and video card manufacturer’s website and search through their software downloads to find the most up-to-date drivers for your PC. If you are using Windows 10 on a laptop, you need to make sure that the video card drivers are compatible with the chipset manufacturer and would allow you to access the complete functionality that you need for your laptop.
  2. Automatic drivers update: Finding all these compatible drivers can be a daunting task, that’s why a software such as Driver Easy is a must-have for Windows 10. It will recognize the system and find the appropriate drivers for your to install, in this case you need video card and sound card drivers.start menu does not open or not working

Disable or uninstall antivirus programs

Although antivirus companies make sure that these software do not interfere with the inner workings of an ecosystem such as Windows 10, you have to realize that they do need root privileges, to detect and eliminate a threat that is already within your PC or trying to get through via internet. This can sometimes cause problems like the one you are facing right now.

If the Start menu won’t open, either temporarily disable your antivirus, then restart your computer. Or, if that fails, uninstall the software altogether, restart and check again.

If you are concerned about the safety of your computer while you are connected to the internet, take comfort in the fact that Windows Defender is always working hard and long to protect your PC against any vulnerabilities. Yes, it is as good as any third-party antivirus software, although it does not offer web browser protection or internet security like its counterparts.

Uninstall Dropbox

Like any other app, Dropbox has been reportedly causing problems for a lot of the users. You can uninstall it from the Control Panel.

  1. Use the key combination Windows key + R simultaneously, type Control in the Run command module then hit Enter.
  2. Under Adjust your computer’s settings you will see Uninstall a program.
  3. Find Dropbox from the list of available programs and hit Uninstall.start menu does not open or not working

Run Microsoft Start menu troubleshooter

You would be glad to know that Microsoft isn’t completely clueless about the fact that many users are troubled by the same thing as you are. This is why the tech giant has made a Microsoft Start menu troubleshooter tool for you to download for free.

This will check for the dependencies, registry keys permissions and corrupt databases, if any, for Start menu and Cortana.

Repair corrupted Windows 10 file systems

If the Start menu does not open or not working, then most likely it is the corrupted Windows 10 file systems. You do not need to be a techie to follow these rudimentary instructions on how to activate two of the best built-in Windows 10 system tools. Here’s how you can do just that.

  1. Get to Task Manager with the key combination: Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
  2. In the menu bar of Task Manager, select File then choose Run new task.
  3. Type in powershell in the new task field and don’t forget to check mark the Create this task with administrative privileges box underneath.
  4. Then click OK.

In the PowerShell, type sfc /scannow and hit Enter. Don’t interrupt the process that ensues and patiently wait for it to finish.start menu does not open or not working

If this little experiment resulted in a message displaying Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations, then your system files are good. But there’s still another test to perform so don’t close the PowerShell just yet!

Key in or copy & paste the next command and press Enter.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthstart menu does not open or not working

Once this is test is done, you should be able to access your Start menu again. If not, you better restart the computer and then try.

Unlikely as it may sound, there are still a couple of things that you can do even at this point.

Reinstall Cortana

Did you know that Cortana is embedded in the Start menu? If the Start menu does not open or not working, then neither is Cortana. You should reinstall Cortana to see if that will do the trick.

Although Cortana is not as easy to reinstall like most third-party applications, it is entirely possible. You don’t need to hack the system or anything but simply follow these commands.

  1. Open the Task Manager, select File from the menu bar, choose Run new task.
  2. Type in powershell and check mark Create this task with administrative privileges. Press OK.
  3. Copy & Paste the following command and then press Enter. Get-AppXPackage -Name Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}
  4. If that didn’t do the trick, then try the user-level approach. Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register  “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}start menu does not open or not working

You have successfully reinstall Cortana. Restart your computer and finally reunite with the Start menu.

If all else has failed up to this point, then there’s only one thing to do – REFRESH!start menu does not open or not working

There’s no doubt that one of these methods should definitely fix the problem of Start menu not working, but above all you need to keep your patience and follow the steps as mentioned. If there are any issues, please leave a comment and let us know about it.


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