Start Menu not Working

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Start Button IconAre you clicking the start button but is your start menu not working? Or is the Start menu stuck and unresponsive?

That is frustrating!

The Start button has made a comeback in Windows 10, but not without bugs. Many Windows 10 user have this problem, and there are a few things you can do that can fix the problem. You can do each of these steps independent from each other.

 

Basic Steps

Restart computer
Check for updates
Make start menu full screen
Change to tablet mode
Run the troubleshooter

Advanced Steps

Repair corrupt Windows files
Reinstall Windows Apps
Create new user

Basic Steps

Restart computer

It might be stating the obvious, but restarting your computer does fix by far most of the problems, and people don’t always think about it.

Did you not yet restart your computer? Try this first.

Check for updates

Windows constantly releases updates and some updates might be fixing the issue that causes your start button not to work.

By default Windows will install updates automatically, but if your settings are changed, then follow the steps below.

Settings - Update & Security Icon
Click on Windows Key + i to get into Settings.
In Settings, click ‘Updates and Security’.

Settings Menu - Check for Updates button
In the Updates menu, click ‘Check for updates’ under Update status.

Settings - Checking for Updates Loader
Now Windows is checking for updates.
It will show you the updates you can install if there are any.

Make start menu full screen

Sometimes the Start menu is just kind of ‘stuck’, and you can unstuck it by changing some of its settings, like switch the Start menu to full screen, or changing the mode to Tablet mode.

Settings - Personalization Icon
Click on Windows Key + i to get into Settings.
In Settings, click on ‘Personalization’.

Settings Personalization - 'start' option
In Personalization, click ‘Start’.

Start settings - Use Start full screen - on/off switcher
Switch the ‘Use Start full screen’ to ‘On’.

Windows Desktop - Start button
Click on the start button and check if this solved the problem and the start menu shows up.
The start menu will be full screen now, but you can easily switching this back in the Personalization – Start Settings (see above)

Change your computer to ‘Tablet mode’

Action Center Menu - Tablet Mode option
In the lower right corner of your screen, click the the Action Center icon.
In the Action Center menu, click the ‘Tablet mode’ option.

Tablet Mode - Desktop
Now your Computer is in tablet mode. If you were on the Desktop previously, now the Start Menu should be shown in full screen mode.
If you have Windows displayed, minimize them and check if you see the Start Menu.

Switch of the tablet mode by going back to the Action Menu (see above).

Run the Start Troubleshooter

A troubleshooter is a program that runs and checks on your computer why somethings specific isn’t working.

Microsoft has a troubleshooter to check what might be causing the Start menu not to work.

You’ll need to download the troubleshooter and then run it.

Microsoft Page - Download Start menu Troubleshooter link
Go to this Microsoft Page.
Click on ‘Try the troubleshooter’, and then on ‘Start menu troubleshooter’.

Download progress
Now the start menu troubleshooter should be downloading.
You’ll see the downloaded file in the down left corner of your screen.
Click on it.

Start menu troubleshooter menu
When the window opens, click on ‘Start Menu’.

Start menu Troubleshooter - progress bar
Now the troubleshooter is checking if it can find any problems.
If it finds any problems, follow the instructions that the troubleshooter gives.

Advanced Steps

For most of the steps below you will need a PowerShell window with administrator privileges.

It might sound scarier than it is for users who have never worked with this. A PowerShell window is basically a ‘directer connection’ with your operating system, windows.

So let’s open one.

Taskbar menu - Task Manager option
Right click on the task bar, and select Task Manager.

Task Manager menu - 'More details' option
In the Task Manager menu, click ‘More Details’.
Then click File > Run new task

'Create new task' window
In the ‘Create new task’ menu, write ‘powershell’.
Make sure to enable the checkbox ‘Create this task with administrative privileges’

Repair corrupt Windows files

Sometimes Windows files may become corrupt, causing some features to stop work – including the start button.
In the following steps, we will scan the Windows files to check for any corrupt files, and it there are, clean up those files.

Now a PowerShell window will open.

PowerShell window - Scan files

We first want to scan the Windows files to see if there are any corrupt files.
We do this by typing ‘sfc /scannow’.
You can copy this text and past it (in most versions of PowerShell) with a right click when you are in the PowerShell. Alternatively you can also just type the text.

Now it should say ‘Beginning to scan. This process will take some time.’
It will show you it’s progress in percentages.
When it is done and it states any of the following, your files are ok, and they are not the cause of the Start Menu failure:

  • Windows did not find any integrity violations
  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and repaired them

But if it states the following, there are corrupted files and we should fix them:

  • Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them

In order to repair the files, enter the following text in the PowerShell:
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
Now new files will be downloaded to replace the corrupted Windows files. This will take some time.

Reinstall Windows Apps

Windows Apps are those that you download through the Windows Store, not programs like Microsoft Word.Reinstalling them will take not more than a few minutes.

Note that some apps might store data locally on your computer, so make sure to backup. Often apps use the cloud to store data, in which case it will remain where it is.

In the PowerShell window, paste the following line.

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

PowerShell window - Reinstall Windows Apps

Click enter and let it run until it stops printing lines. Any red errors that are printed can be ignored.

When it is done check if your start menu is working.

Create new user

If reinstalling the Windows Apps didn’t do the trick, you can try creating a new user (another login).
Often with another user the start menu will work.
You will need to copy your files to the other user, and if you have changed settings they will be lost, unless you are using a Microsoft account. But let’s worry about that later.

In the PowerShell, past the following line:
net user new-username new-password /add
Replace ‘new-username’ and ‘new-password’ with the username and password of your choice. So in my case it will be: net user maaike1 maaike1-password /add

PowerShell window - Add user

You can change the password later to something more secure.

Logout from your current user by clicking the Windows key and L.
Now you should see the new user. Login to the new user and see if the start menu is working there.

maaike
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