FIX: Critical error Start Menu isn’t working on Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Start Menu is one of the most useful components of Windows 10 because it allows us to quickly access installed apps and settings.
  • If the Start Menu is not working, the first steps you should do are to hide Cortana and disable Internet Explorer. Other solutions are explored in the article.
  • Since the Start Menu one of the most common items that we interact with every day, a dedicated Start Menu section is available for fixes and other tips.
  • Check out the Windows 10 Errors Hub for amazing articles on other issues pertaining to Microsoft latest operating system.
solve Critical error Start Menu not working on Windows 10

Start Menu is one of the most useful components of Windows 10 because it allows us to quickly access installed apps and settings.

Many users reported Critical Error – Start menu not working message on Windows 10, and if you have the same problem, you might want to have a closer look at our solutions.

Problems with Start Menu can drastically affect your user experience. Speaking of problems, users reported the following issues with their Start Menu:

  • Start Menu and Cortana not working – Start Menu and Cortana are closely related on Windows 10. However, many users reported that both Start Menu and Cortana aren’t working on their PC.
  • Start Menu won’t open windows 10 – In some cases, your Start Menu won’t even open. This can be a big problem, but you should be able to solve it by using one of our solutions.
  • Start Menu won’t go away – Several users reported that their Start Menu won’t go away. According to users, they are able to open the Start Menu, but they are unable to close it.
  • Start Menu randomly opens windows 10 – Users reported that Start Menu randomly opens on their PC. This is an annoying problem since Start Menu will interfere with other applications on your screen.
  • Start Menu tiles missing, icons missing – Several users reported that their tiles and icons in Start Menu are missing. This can be a problem, but you should be able to fix it with one of our solutions.
  • Start Menu very slow windows 10 – In some cases your Start Menu might work, but it will be rather slow. This can be a big problem and drastically affect your performance.
  • Start Menu flashing windows 10 – Many users reported that Start Menu flashes on their Windows 10. This is an annoying problem, but you should be able to fix it with one of our solutions.
  • Start Menu has disappeared – This is a relatively rare problem, but few users reported that their Start Menu has disappeared. This is most likely caused by file corruption, but it can be easily fixed.

How can I fix Start Menu not working error?

  1. Enter Safe Mode
  2. Uninstall Dropbox / your antivirus software
  3. Temporary hide Cortana from Taskbar
  4. Switch to another administrator account and delete TileDataLayer directory
  5. End Local Security Authority Process
  6. Disable Internet Explorer
  7. Create two new administrator accounts and transfer Database folder to your original account
  8. Restart your computer
  9. Make sure your Windows 10 is up to date
  10. Switch to a different user account
  11. Refresh Windows 10

Solution 1 – Enter Safe Mode

Critical Error – Start menu not working can be quite troublesome, but users claim that this error can be fixed by entering the Safe Mode. To enter Safe Mode, do the following:

  1. When Windows 10 starts, press Windows Key + L to log out.
  2. Click the Power button in the bottom right corner, hold Shift on your keyboard and click Restart.
  3. Your computer should now restart to boot options. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings. Click the Restart button.
  4. Once your computer restarts again, press F5 to access Safe Mode with Networking.
  5. Just by entering the Safe Mode your problem should be resolved. All you have to do now is to restart your computer.

If the problem persists, you might have to try some of our other solutions. If you can’t complete them from your regular account, feel free to enter Safe Mode and follow the same steps.

Safe mode is not working on Windows 10? Don’t panic, this guide will help you get past the booting problems.

Solution 2 – Uninstall Dropbox / your antivirus software

Many users reported Dropbox as the main culprit for Critical Error – Start menu not working error. In order to fix this issue, you have to remove Dropbox from your computer. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and type appwiz.cpl. Press Enter or click OK to run it.
    appwiz.cpl run
  2. Locate Dropbox on the list and choose Uninstall.
  3. After you’ve removed Dropbox, restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.

Few users reported that certain antivirus software, such as Symantec or Avast, can cause issues with Windows 10 and Start Menu, so if you’re having this problem, try removing your antivirus software.

FAQ: Learn more about Start Menu

  • How do I get my start menu back to normal?

If you want to move the taskbar back to it’s origin location, then you right-click on the empty area on the taskbar and select Properties. Search for Taskbar location on screen and from the drop-down menu select Bottom. Save changes and the Start Menu is back to normal.

  • How do I unfreeze my Start menu?

If the Start Menu is frozen, the usual trick is to restart Windows Explorer. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys to open Task Manager, and right click on Windows Explorer from the list and select Restart.

  • Why does my start menu not work?

The reason the Start Menu stops working is because usually there is a stuck process that hasn’t completed it’s action due to other errors. There errors could be related to anything that shows in the Start Menu or related to Cortana or Windows Explorer. Most times it is a temporary issue.

Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. Need more guides? Visit our dedicated Windows 10 errors hub.

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