Windows start button not working? Here’s how to fix it

The Start menu has been a central part of Windows since Windows 95. Because of its inclusion in almost every version of Windows, it’s very strange when it decides to stop working.

Fortunately, there are more than a few ways to make the Start menu button work again if it gets closed.

1. Update Windows

One of the easiest ways to resolve issues affecting Windows 10 is to update it. Microsoft constantly releases patches, new features, and improvements for Windows with big updates every year and smaller security updates in between.

Whenever you find something that isn’t working as it should, your first instinct should be to find and perform a Windows update.

Then press the windows keytype “Updates”, and choose Search for updates of the options. Let the system check for and download updates if any are available.

Finally, finish the update by restarting your computer. Hopefully this will fix the problem.

2. Sign out of your user account

After performing a Windows update, signing out and back in to your user account is the next fastest possible way to fix the Start menu.

To log out of your PC:

  1. Paste Win + X to open the Windows power user menu.
  2. From the menu, click disconnect.
  3. Wait a few seconds after signing out and sign in again.

Although this is something of a hack and not a “solid” solution, this simple trick can save you from having to take more drastic measures, such as editing registry entries or restarting Windows Explorer.

3. Restart Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is the default file manager for Windows. Microsoft first introduced Windows Explorer in Windows 95. Explorer allows you to view, interact with, and modify files on your system.

The Start menu button sometimes stops working due to problems with Windows Explorer. Simply restarting Explorer can often resolve issues affecting the Start menu and taskbar.

To restart Explorer:

  1. Paste Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Under the processes tab, right click Windows Explorer and click Restart.
  3. Wait for Explorer to start.

When you restart Windows Explorer, the Explorer application will close, causing the GUI on top of the file system to momentarily disappear. So don’t worry if you see everything go blank for a second.

4. Run a System File Checker scan

Corrupted system files causing unforeseen problems is a problem as old as Windows itself. As expected, such files can also affect the Start menu and cause it to stop working.

Fortunately, Windows 10 has built-in file repair tools that can fix most issues related to corrupted system files. System File Checker (SFC) is one such tool.

Start the command prompt with administrative privileges. To do this:

  1. Paste Win + Stype “Command”, right click on Symbol of the systemand choose Execute as an administrator.
  2. In the command prompt window, type “SFC /scannow” and hit enter.
  3. Wait until the utility performs a scan.

If Windows does not find any integrity violations, there was no problem with the files. However, if Windows finds problems but cannot resolve them, you may need to run additional scans. Here’s a detailed guide on Windows’ built-in file system repair tools that will help you do just that.

5. Re-register built-in Windows apps using PowerShell

A workaround when the Start menu button isn’t working is to re-register the app with Windows PowerShell. But, before you pull the trigger, remember that you may need to repeat the process if the problem persists in the future.

  1. Press Win + S to bring up the search bar and type “Powershell”.
  2. Right click on Windows PowerShell and hit Execute as an administrator.
  3. In PowerShell, paste this command and hit enter: Get-AppXPackage -All Users | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

6. Disable Cortana Temporary Files with Command Prompt

One of the biggest changes Microsoft made in Windows 10 was integrating Cortana into the operating system. Cortana was Microsoft’s version of an intelligent voice assistant. But it did not achieve its goal and many people choose to disable Cortana.

Unfortunately, Cortana can often cause Windows Explorer to misbehave. Therefore, deleting and rebuilding temporary Cortana files can go a long way in fixing Explorer issues including Start menu button not working.

  1. Press Win + S and type “Command Prompt”.
  2. From the options, right click on Symbol of the system and select Execute as an administrator.

Once Command Prompt starts, run the following commands in order:

  1. CD/d “%LOCALAPPDATA%Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewyPackages”
  2. Taskkill /F /IM SearchUI.exe
  3. RD/S/Q Configuration

If these commands don’t work, you have a few more options at your disposal, so follow us.

7. Boot into safe mode

If you really need the start menu button to work and don’t mind losing access to third-party apps, booting into safe mode can be a great way to get your start menu back.

For the uninitiated, Safe Mode is a Windows tool that disables unnecessary drivers and programs to start your computer in a pristine state with basic programs. In such a basic environment, users can troubleshoot by focusing on the root causes without worrying about user apps messing things up.

So boot into safe mode and see if it fixes the boot menu.

8. Perform a system restore or factory reset

If none of these solutions work, it would mean that one of the core functions of Windows is causing the Start menu to misbehave. In that case, you may need to restore or reset Windows to factory settings to get it working again.

Hopefully, the above methods have helped you get your Start menu back. Remember; If you plan to do a hard reset of your PC to fix the problem, back up your computer so you can put everything back once you’re done.

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