How to Fix Windows 10/11 Start Menu That Is Not Working?

Quick Fix

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For most Windows users, the Start menu is everything; it is the main port for navigating Windows 10/11. So if it suddenly stops working, many will be frustrated because they will find it hard to access installed apps and many features on their PCs.

Most users were happy when this much-loved feature made a return in Windows 10/11. Unfortunately, it is not free from brain-scratching bugs. When this feature works, you will have a great experience. But when you have issues with the Windows 10/11 Start menu, you will feel like throwing your computer out of the window.

If you upgraded to Windows 10/11 and found your Start menu in Taskbar not working and making it almost impossible to get anything done on your PC, you are not alone. Quite a number of Windows 10/11 users are reporting this problem as well. You shouldn’t worry because we are here to help you restore the Start menu function.

The exact cause of this problem varies, but there are quick fixes to it. Oftentimes, bugs like this are solved when a new Windows update is released. In the meantime, we have suggested some troubleshooting steps to try before Microsoft comes up with a permanent fix. But before you proceed, you may need to create a system restore point you can revert to just in case you are not satisfied with the results.

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What to Do When Your Windows 10/11 Start Menu Is Not Working?

Resolving the issue of the Start menu not working in Windows 10/11 is not as difficult as it sounds. Any of these troubleshooting steps should restore your Start menu.

Solution 1: Check and Repair Corrupt Windows Files

Most Windows-related problems are caused by corrupt files, and issues with the Windows 10/11 Start menu are no exception. Fortunately, you can resolve this problem using Windows 10/11 built-in tools. If you don’t want to wait for the official patch, you can use Windows PowerShell. It may not be a permanent solution, but it fixes the Start menu issue temporarily. To try this workaround, follow these steps:

  • Press the Control + Alt + Delete combination to launch Task Manager.
  • Wait for the Task Manager window to open, then tap on the More details option and choose Run new task from the File menu.
  • Now run the Windows PowerShell tool.
  • If the search bar still works, use it to search for PowerShell. Wait for the search results, then right-click on the Windows PowerShell option and choose Run as administrator.
  • But if you can’t access the search bar, press the Windows and R keys simultaneously, then type powershell and hit Enter. Now right-click on the PowerShell icon and select Pin to taskbar. After that, close the PowerShell Next, press and hold down the Shift + Control combination, then right-click the PowerShell icon again but this time select Run as administrator.
  • This process should take you to the PowerShell command line environment. From here, type sfc/scannow and hit Enter to run System File Checker.
  • It may take a while for this process to complete, but it will eventually tell whether it found corrupt files or not. In most case, it fixes these files.
  • If it found some corrupt files but was unable to fix them, try running this command: dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth. You need to be connected to the Internet since Windows will try to download clean versions of the corrupted files.

The Intuitive Option

Checking for and repairing corrupt files on your system would be much easier if you had a quality repair tool. This way, you would avoid the hassles associated with manual troubleshooting techniques. We highly recommend that you use Outbyte PC Repair to accomplish this task.

Solution 2: Restart Windows Explorer

Another quick fix to the issue of the Start menu not working in Windows 10/11 is to restart the explorer.exe process. Windows Explorer is responsible for the functioning of the Start menu and Taskbar, among many other things. So restarting it may clear up minor hiccups. Let’s learn how to do it:

  • If you can access the taskbar, right-click on it, and then select Task Manager; otherwise, press the Control + Shift + Escape combination to open the Task Manager window.
  • Now click on the More details option to expand it.
  • Under the Processes tab, scroll down to locate Windows Explorer. Right-click on it, then choose Restart.
  • You will notice your Taskbar disappear for a few moments and appear again. Don’t worry because this is normal.

Solution 3: Remove and Reinstall Windows 10/11 Apps

You shouldn’t be scared of reinstalling Windows 10/11 apps because this process is automated and it only affects apps that you got through the Microsoft Store. So old-fashioned Windows applications will not be affected. Follow this process to reinstall Windows apps:

  • Open a new PowerShell window with administrative rights as described above.
  • Next, copy and paste the following command and hit Enter:

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

  • When this process ends, restart your PC.

Solution 4: Create A New Admin Profile

Sometimes the issue of the Windows 10/11 Start menu not working may be caused by a glitch in your user account. The simplest way to resolve this problem is to sign out of your account, then log back in. Since your Start menu in the taskbar is not working, you can sign out by pressing the Control + Shift + Escape combination and then tapping on the Sign out button. After that, wait for a few seconds and log back into your account.

However, this workaround may not solve the Start menu issue. So a better solution is to create a new user profile. Follow this process to create a new admin account:

  • Press the Windows + I shortcut to open Settings and then follow the provided directions to create a new account.
  • Alternatively, you can open the PowerShell window and type this command: net user username password /add.
  • Replace ‘username’ with your new user name and ‘password’ with your password for the new user account. Please note that the password is case sensitive.
  • Once the process finishes, restart your PC and try to log in with your new credentials.

Solution 5: Use the Windows 10/11 Fresh Start Option

I hate to say it, but if none of the above tricks works, then your next troubleshooting step is to start a fresh Windows 10/11 installation. It may sound scary, but you will not lose anything. You will only need to reinstall apps that are not part of Windows. Unless you operate an old and slow computer, a full Windows 10/11 re-installation shouldn’t take long. If you have a fast external SSD or USB drive, you can complete this task in 30 minutes or so. Just ensure you have your product key at hand. Here is the process:

  • First, make sure that you have created a backup of your most important files. If you have not done so, you can copy the contents of your library folders to an external drive. You probably won’t lose anything in the process, but it is usually safe to have a backup.
  • Now press the Windows + L shortcut on the keyboard to log out of Windows. When the welcome screen appears, tap on the power button in the lower-right corner of your screen, then hold down the Shift key and select Restart.
  • This process will bring you to the Recovery You can now click Troubleshoot and choose Reset this PC > Keep my files.
  • After that, follow the on-screen instructions.
  • When the process is over, you can reinstall the applications that didn’t come with Windows.

Final Thoughts

By now, your Start menu should be working normally again. It being one of the most cherished and iconic features of Windows, it is frustrating if you can’t access your Start menu. While the issue may appear hard to fix, it is quite straightforward when you follow the right troubleshooting steps.

That’s it. Let us know if anything worked for you. Please also share any suggestion that may help users with the same problem.

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