Windows 11 apps won’t open? Here’s what you can do

by Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim has always been fond of technology, be it scrolling through the settings on his iPhone, Android device, or Windows. And at times, unscrewing the device to take... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • A lot of users have recently reported being unable to open Windows 11 apps.
  • While some of them faced this inconvenience with one or a few apps, many were unable to open any of the installed apps.
  • It could be due to minor bugs, critical services not running, the presence of malware, or a problem with the app itself, amongst other issues.
Windows 11 apps won't open issue

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We have all got a bunch of apps installed on the PC for various tasks, but what if you are unable to enjoy them? A lot of users have reported that Windows 11 apps won’t open, no matter how many times they tried.

For some, the issue was limited to one or a few apps, while many reported that none of the installed programs could be launched. This is a major problem and can affect your Windows experience.

Unsurprisingly, this erratic behavior can be traced back to previous versions and it’s still not uncommon to struggle with apps that won’t open in Windows 10 and legacy editions.

There could be various reasons behind the problem, some pertaining to issues with the app itself while others have to do with the operating system. Whatever be the cause, we will list out all the effective fixes to resolve the Windows 11 apps won’t open error.

But, before we head to the troubleshooting, it’s imperative that you understand the underlying causes to be able to identify them and apply the relevant procedure.

Why apps won’t open on my Windows 11 PC?

There are a few issues that would lead to apps not opening on the computer after you install Windows 11. They include:

  • An older version of the app is installed
  • Critical services not running
  • Presence of malware or virus
  • Misconfigured settings
  • Running an outdated version of Windows
  • Issues with the user account

If you are able to identify which of these could be behind the problem, head to the relevant fix and execute it. Though, for those who couldn’t, simply carry out the methods listed here in the mentioned sequence for quick troubleshooting.

How can I fix the apps won’t open issue in Windows 11?

1. Restart the computer

  1. Navigate to the desktop and press Alt + F4 to launch the Shut Down Windows box.
  2. Click on the dropdown menu and select Restart from the list of options.Restart Computer to open Windows 11 apps.
  3. Click OK to restart the computer.Click OK

If this is the first time you are facing issues opening one or multiple apps on Windows 11, a simple fix would be to restart the computer. When you reboot the PC, the OS is reloaded, thus eliminating any minor bug that was causing the error.

After restarting the system, check if you are able to access the apps that you couldn’t earlier. If the issue persists, head to the next fix.

2. Update the app

Note icon
If the problematic app has been downloaded from the official website or a third-party source, check the built-in app settings for the option to update. In case you can’t find one, check the FAQ section. For apps downloaded and installed from the Microsoft Store, follow the steps listed below to update.

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu.
  2. Enter Microsoft Store in the text field at the top and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.Launch Microsoft Store to update apps
  3. Click on the Library icon near the bottom-left corner.Open Library to view the installed apps
  4. Next, click on Get Updates to download any available updates for the apps.Download the available updates for apps not working
  5. Wait for the updates to download and install.Wait for the installation to complete

Running an older version may also lead to the Windows 11 apps won’t open issue. Hence, it’s recommended that you update the app as soon as a newer version is launched.

With each update, it’s not just the new features that are added but also a bunch of security enhancements and patches for bugs in the previous version. So, updating the app provides both a finer experience and advanced security.

3. Update Windows 11

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Select Windows Update from the tabs listed in the navigation pane of the left.Update Windows to fix the apps won't open issue
  3. Next, click on Check for updates on the right to make your system scan for any available ones.Check for updates
  4. If an update is available, download and install it on your system.

After updating Windows 11, check if you are able to launch and use the apps that were throwing errors earlier.

Many users have reported that updating Windows is an ideal fix since your system gets up-to-date. Microsoft releases updates frequently and it’s recommended that you install them as soon as they are available for a finer Windows experience.

4. Run the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot on the right in the System tab that opens by default.Troubleshoot apps that are not opening
  3. Select the Other troubleshooters options.View other troubleshooters
  4. Click on Run next to Windows Store Apps to launch the troubleshooter.Run the Windows Store Apps troubleshooter
  5. Wait for the troubleshooter to detect and fix problems leading to Windows 11 apps not opening issue. Choose the appropriate options, if and when prompted.Windows Store Apps troubleshooter

After running the troubleshooter and making the recommended changes, if there were any, check if you are able to launch and run the apps.

Built-in troubleshooters offered by Microsoft are a great tool to solve both minor and major problems. Whenever you encounter an error, check if there’s a relevant troubleshooter available and run it.

5. Repair/reset the Windows 11 apps that won’t open

  1. Press Windows + I to launch the Settings app.
  2. Select the Apps tab from the ones listed in the navigation on the left.Select Apps tab in Settings
  3. Click on Apps and features to view the apps installed on your computer.Apps & features
  4. Locate the app that you are facing trouble launching, click on the ellipsis next to it, and select Advanced options.Locate the Windows 11 app that won't open
  5. Click on Repair under Reset and wait for the process to complete. It would take a few moments.Repair the app that won't open
  6. Click on Reset, if the Repair button is not accessible or repairing the app didn’t fix the problem.Reset the app that won't open
  7. Again, click on Reset in the pop up that appears.Confirm reset

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Repairing an app is a simple, yet effective, way of fixing issues that are affecting its functioning. And the best part, it does not affect the stored data, thereby ensuring that you don’t lose any.

Resetting, on the other hand, will delete any stored data and changes you made to the app setting. This should be your secondary approach, in case repairing doesn’t work. After repair/reset, check if the Windows 11 apps finally open as they should.

6. Run the Application Identity service

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run command.
  2. Type services.msc in the text field and either click on OK or hit Enter to launch Services.Launch the Service app
  3. Locate and double-click on the Application Identity service. The services here are all listed in alphabetical order, so it wouldn’t be difficult locating one.Open service properties
  4. Check the Service status. If it stays Stopped, execute the other steps listed here. In case it reads Running, head to the next fix.Check service status
  5. Click on Start under Service status to run the service.Start the service
  6. Click on OK to save the changes.Save changes

After starting the Application Identity service, check if the issue is solved. This service looks into the identity of an app and stopping it could lead to problems.

7. Run the Windows Update Service

  1. Launch the Services app as discussed earlier.
  2. Locate and double-click on the Windows Update service. If the entries are sorted in the alphabetical order, it should be near the end.Windows Update service properties
  3. Now check its Service status. If you find Stopped mentioned here, execute the remaining steps while if it says Running, head to the next solution.Check service status
  4. Click on the Startup type drop-down menu and select Automatic from the list of options. This will ensure that the service starts running automatically the next time you turn on the computer.Change Startup type
  5. Next, click on Start under Service status.Start Windows Update service
  6. Click OK to save the changes and close the window.Save changes

Many users have reported that it was the Windows Update service that caused trouble opening apps in Windows 11 and running it fixed the issue. The service is primarily used to automatically detect, download, and install updates.

8. Modify the Registry

Note icon
Modifying the Registry is a critical process and any lapse on your end can affect the functioning of the computer. Therefore, we recommend that you follow the steps listed here as is without making any other changes.

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run command.
  2. Type regedit in the text field and click on OK or hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor.Launch registry editor
  3. Click Yes on the UAC prompt that appears.
  4. In the Registry, either navigate to the following path from the pane on the left, or paste it in the addressbar at the top and hit Enter: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\SystemNavigate to the path
  5. Locate and double-click on the FilterAdministratorToken key.
  6. If the key doesn’t exist, right-click on the empty space, hover the cursor over New and select DWORD (32-bit) Value from the context menu. Name the key as FilterAdministratorToken.Create new key
  7. Right-click on the key and select Modify from the context menu.Modify key
  8. Enter 1 under Value data and click on OK to save the changes.Modify value data
  9. Close the Registry and restart your PC.

9. Scan for malware

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We will be using the Windows Security app to run a malware scan, though you may use any trusted and effective third-party antivirus for the task.

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu.
  2. Enter Windows Security in the text field at the top, and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.Launch Windows Security to fix app won't open issue
  3. Click on the Virus & threat protection option.Virus & threat protection
  4. Next, click on Scan options. You will find the option to run a quick scan here, however, we intend to a run a full system scan.View other scan options
  5. Select the Full scan option and click on Scan now.Run a full scan to fix apps won't open in Windows 11 problem
  6. Wait for the scan to complete, it may take some time. In the meanwhile, you can work on the system while the scan runs in the background.

After the scan is done running, you will be notified if malware or virus is detected and the action taken. Check if the apps that had problems launching earlier can now be accessed.

10. Reinstall the app that won’t open in Windows 11

If none of the methods listed above have fixed the issue, the problem may lay with the app itself, one that could not be resolved by either repairing or resetting it.Reinstall app that won't open in Windows 11

In which case, it’s best that you first uninstall the app, and then download and reinstall it. When downloading an app, make sure you choose a trusted platform. It’s recommended that you either download it from the official website or the Microsoft Store.

11. Create a new user account

Most of you would have been able to fix the issue with the methods listed earlier. However, if it persists, you are left with no option but to create a new user account.

In some cases, the current user account may corrupt, leading to various issues including one where the apps won’t open in Windows 11.

For user accounts, you have two options, either to log in with a Microsoft account or create a new local account. Both have their sets of pros and cons and choosing one is an individual decision based on your requirements.

How can I disable the background apps in Windows 11?

You can easily disable apps from running in the background in Windows 11. If you are facing issues with the computer’s performance, disabling these apps can actually be beneficial.

However, don’t go around disabling all of them, but just the non-critical ones. There are many apps that perform certain tasks necessary for the effective functioning of the computer, and these should not be disabled.

The above methods are likely to fix the issues that prevent apps from opening in Windows 11. If they don’t, you can perform a system restore, and in case nothing else works, reset Windows 11 to its factory settings.

Also, you can roll back to the previous version if you are facing issues with the latest Windows iteration. However, we recommend you use it at least for a while and find out how Windows 11 is different from Windows 10.

Let’s know which solution worked for you in the comments section below and whether the problem was limited to a single app or all of them.

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