FIX: Start Menu not working in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
32 Comments
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  • There are two possible scenarios of why your Start Menu is not working. The first one implies a minor issue, which is probably caused by some third-party software, and could be resolved easily. The second might be caused by your system being affected by Start Menu bugs, which slipped out of sight of Windows 10 developers.
  • The more serious scenario can be fixed by entering Safe mode and disabling your antivirus software among other solutions described in our guide below.
  • The fact that we have a whole hub about Start Menu errors & issues can tell you of how wide spread this problem is. But you can also find the solutions there.
  • Windows 10 is the most stable iteration of the most wide-spread OS, but that doesn't mean it's free of issues. Check our Windows 10 errors hub for more problems and solutions.
how to fix start menu not working windows 10

Start Menu is one of the most important additions in Windows 10, and the reason why many people love it.

But, after a few days of using the new OS, some people reported that their Start Menu is not working.

And the only thing we know, for now, is that this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Actually, there are two possible scenarios.

First: you’re facing a minor Start Menu issue, which is probably caused by some third-party software, and could be resolved easily.

Second: your system is affected by widely-reported Start Menu bugs, which slipped out of sight of Windows 10 developers, and they still don’t have a proper solution for it.

So, let’s talk about both scenarios and see if there’s anything you can do, or you’re just forced to sit and wait for Microsoft to deliver the patch through the Windows Update.


How can I fix Start Menu problems in Windows 10?


1. Start Menu not working due to minor system issues

OK, so before you start panicking about how your Start Menu is broken and the only thing you can do is watch, you should go and determine the cause of the problem.

There’s a possibility that your system isn’t affected by the critical bug, and something else is preventing your Start Menu from work.

There are two known solutions (if the critical bug is not an issue), a registry tweak and a simple PowerShell command.

So, you should perform these fixes first, and if they don’t work, then you can start panicking.


1.1. Solve the Start Menu problem with the PowerShell

This was the most common solution for Start Menu problems in the Technical Preview, and I hope it still can be helpful. So, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu button and open Command Prompt (Admin)
  2. Enter PowerShell in the command line
  3. Paste the following line in the Administrator: PowerShell Window:
    • Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}
  4. Wait for the PowerShell to execute the command (ignore a few red error codes)

Check if your Start Menu is working now, if not try the following solution.

1.2. Fix the Start Menu problem in the Registry Editor

If the PowerShell fix didn’t do anything, try this simple Registry Editor tweak. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Search, type regedit and open Registry Editor
  2. Go to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Launcher
  3. Click Edit, New, DWORD (32-bit) Value, and name it UseExperience
  4. Double-click the newly created item and set the value to 0
  5. Click OK, close the Registry Editor and then restart your computer

I hope your Start Menu now works if not, I’m sorry, but you’re the ‘victim’ of the critical bug in Windows 10, and you’ll have to wait until Microsoft comes up with the solution.


2. Critical error with Start Menu in Windows 10

Now that we’ve investigated the first case scenario, let’s try and see how we can resolve the critical errors that cause the Start Menu to stop working.

2.1. Enter the Safe Mode

According to some users entering the Safe Mode can resolve this problem, somehow. So, it won’t hurt if you try that. Here’s how to enter the Safe Mode in Windows 10:

  1. With Windows 10 running, 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.

2.2. Disable your antivirus

You probably already know by now that third-party antivirus programs can interfere with some Windows 10 features.

So, to make sure it doesn’t render the Start Menu unusable, disable your antivirus for a couple of minutes.

If the Start Menu works with the antivirus off, consider changing your primary security solution or switch to Windows Defender.

2.3. Restart the Local Security Authority process

Another solution that may be useful is restarting the Local Security Authority process. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  2. When Task Manager opens, go to the Processes tab and locate Local Security Authority ProcessRight-click it and choose End task.
    Start Menu won't open windows 10
  3. Close Task Manager and restart your computer. After your computer restarts, check if the issue is resolved.

2.4. Disable Internet Explorer

You probably don’t use Internet Explorer. Which is perfect, because Windows 10’s legacy browser may cause the Start Menu issues.

So, the best solution, in that case, is to simply disable Internet Explorer.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Search, type appwiz.cpl, and press Enter.
  2. Programs and Features window will now open. Click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  3. Locate Internet Explorer 11 on the list and uncheck it (if you get a warning message just click Yes).
  4. Restart your computer.

2.5. Make sure Windows is up to date

As Windows 10 continuously receives updates, Microsoft delivers various patches for various problems through Windows Update. So, just make sure your system is up to date.

To check for updates, simply go to Settings > Updates & Security, and check for updates.

2.6. Switch to another administrator account and delete TileDataLayer directory

Some users also reported that switching to another administrator account and deleting the TileDataLayer directory also resolves the problem. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. When Task Manager opens, click on File > Run new task.
  3. Type cmd, check Create this task with administrative privileges and click OK.
  4. When Command Prompt starts, enter the following and press Enter to run it:
    • net user /add admin1 password1
  5. This will create a new user account named admin1 with password password1. You can use any other values for username or password.
  6. Now you need to turn newly added user, admin1 in our example, to administrator by entering the following:
    • net localgroup administrators admin1 /add
  7. Close Command Promptsign out of your current account and go to newly created admin1 account. Use password1 to log in.
  8. Press Windows Key + R and enter %localappdata%. Click OK or press Enter.
  9. Locate TileDataLayer folder and delete it.
  10. Sign out of admin1 account and switch back to your regular account.

That’s about it, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, just let us know in the comments down below.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • Case 1 solution worked for me on the second attempt. Tried many other “fixes” from various other sources over a total of about 40 hours. Many thanks Ivan – you are a star!

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your kind comment. We are glad you have managed to fix your problem by using this article. Come back on our site for more news and guides.

      Cheers!

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

  • I removed DropBox and restarted and it worked perfectly…weird, but there’s some nasty conflict there.

  • The Start Menu is not working in Windows 10(Critical Error Box comes up) Also can’t use the search bar next to the start menu.

  • Essentially, there are two things you can do. Uninstall Dropbox (Windows and desktop app) and reboot and see if that was the culprit. If not, you need to reset your PC (control panel>recovery).

  • 1st fix only deals with the critical error now i cant use start up menu at all, this sucks. please come up with a solution soon

  • Case 1 solution 1 worked in removing the annoying ‘Critical error’ banner. But the Start Menu doesn’t function. Solution 2 didn;t appear to change anything. So now I guess I just have to wait for the Microsoft patch. Waiting… waiting… waiting…

  • How can I undo Case 1 Solution 1?
    I ran it without reading that Case 2 was my actual problem with the Critical Error warning. Now I get no response from left-clicking the start button.

    • my search didn’t work before I tried step 1. what you can do is right click on the window and click run. and type regedit

  • I had the same result as Gary, no effect on start up and lost edge icon for fix #1. How do I reverse this change?

    I was able to do fix #2, but had to use Run rather than Search, It did not fix the start up, however. I tried Dword (32 bit) and Qword (64 bit) and both, nothing worked

  • After you have tried EVERYTHING else, do this:

    Open regedit.exe

    Right click on HKEY_Users and select properties

    Make sure that “All Application Packages” exists and has Read Permission

    Repeat for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

    Expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Check the subkeys HARDWARE, SAM,SOFTWARE,SYSTEM. Make sure that All Application Packages has the Read permission.

    All Fixed 🙂

    • Can you give more specific instructions about that last part

      “Check the subkeys HARDWARE, SAM,SOFTWARE,SYSTEM. Make sure that All Application Packages has the Read permission.” ?

      • Sure – under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, you will see HARDWARE, SAM,SOFTWARE,SYSTEM. Right-click on each of them and ensure that that “All Application Packages” exists and has Read Permission.

  • That powershell thing works, BUT I need to do it everytime I start up the computer, so it’s not quite the fix I was hoping..

  • Tried solution #1 – now click on start and nothing happens. Also lost IE icon. Select search for option #2 and nothing appears. I don’t get critical error but problem still not solved and maybe worse.