Start Menu Not Working on Windows 10/11 – Ultimate Fixes!


After a recent update, are you experiencing an issue with your Windows 10 and Windows 11 Start menu? You are not alone, as thousands of users have shared the same issue. Windows 10 is quite a stable build for the OS. However, issues like the Start menu not working or Cortana not responding ruin the experience for a user. 

The issue can be irritating, considering sometimes the Start menu is unavailable, sometimes it crashes, and sometimes it just won’t open despite multiple key presses on the keyboard. The severity of the issue goes to the extent where a user gets interrupted by the Start menu and search not working prompt while trying to use it. 

So why does it happen? Is there a specific issue that bothers an error? Or is it just another bug that the developers at Microsoft will have to take care of in the next update? 

If you are looking for an exact solution that fixes the Start menu not opening issues on Windows pc, you might have to wait for an official release. However, a few things can be done to minimize the occurrence of the error or resolve it to an extent. 

Let’s examine why the Start menu has stopped working properly on Windows 10 and Windows 11 and what steps can help you resolve the error. 

What Causes Start Menu to Stop Working on Windows 10/11?

Since the issue has struck thousands of users over the past, it is tough to identify the exact culprit behind the Start menu crashing on Windows. Some users have shared that the issue appeared after a faulty update was installed, while some blamed the corrupt system files for the same. 

After going through multiple complaints and forum discussions based on the Start button not working error, we could identify many issues that may be causing the error. These include – 

  1. Faulty third-party security programs
  2. Corrupt system files 
  3. Outdated drivers on PC
  4. Error with the Windows Explorer
  5. A system service got corrupted

Other than these issues, some have also reported that using an aggressive PC optimization was the central reason behind the Start menu not working properly. 

Fortunately, all these issues can be resolved using a set of fixes. This means if your Windows Start menu is not working properly due to any of the listed issues, they can be resolved! Check out the list of fixes below.

How to Fix the Start Menu Not Working on Windows? Active Fixes!

Fix 1 – Restart the Start Process in the Task Manager

The Start menu has a dedicated process that allows the PC to manage its usage. If you have experienced uninvited crashes or the Start menu is not responding to your inputs, we recommend you restart the process. 

Here’s how you can do so – 

Step 1 – Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager on your PC.

task manager

Step 2 – In the Task Manager, scroll down and look for the process called Start.
Step 3 – Right-click on the process and click on Restart to restart the Start process.

Once you have performed the steps, the Task Manager will close the irresponsive process and restart a new Start process that will work fine. If you face a similar Start menu not working issue after a restart, do not panic; we have other fixes waiting in the list!

Pro tip – If the Start process is not working, you can try restarting the Explorer process. Follow all the steps shared above and restart the Windows Explorer process instead of the Start process to perform an Explorer reset.

Fix 2 – Check for a Pending Windows Update

Since the issue is bothering a huge chunk of Microsoft’s audience, the developers of Windows are bound to share a bug-fix update. Hence, look for a pending update and install it immediately when it’s available. Even if you have put off installing minor updates, ensure you update your PC, as it might be the ultimate fix to your Start menu issues. 

To update your PC, simply – 

Step 1 – Press Win+I to open System Settings.

Windows Update selected in system settings

Step 2 – Look for the Windows Update option on your screen and click on it.
Step 3 – You may find a Check for Updates button. Click on it to initiate a scan for available updates.

Click on Check for updates

Step 4 – If an update is found, click Download and Install.

Download and Install Updates

Step 5 – Restart your computer after the download is complete.

Installing updates regularly keeps your computer away from unnecessary bugs. However, if you are on the insider program where you get beta builds, avoid those updates, as beta builds are more prone to errors as they are less stable. 

Fix 3 – Update Device Drivers

Multiple drivers are used in conjunction with the Start menu. For instance, your graphics drivers render it properly. The network adapter driver loads Cortana and other internet-based widgets, etc. 

All in all, it can be said that outdated drivers can be a solid reason behind the Start menu crashing on Windows. Updating these drivers can become daunting as the Windows utility only allows you to update drivers one after the other. And since you may not know exactly which driver is causing the trouble, you must try all the available ones. And there are so many drivers that it might take you days to finish the process manually. 

To help you avoid all the hassle, we recommend you use the Advanced Driver Updater. It is a driver updater tool that scans your PC for outdated drivers, identifies the ones that need an update, and installs updates on its own.

All you need to do is – 

Step 1 – Download the Advanced Driver Updater.

Step 2 – Run a scan for outdated drivers on your PC by clicking on Start Scan Now.

start scan using advanced driver updater

Step 3 – After the scan is over, finish updating your drivers by using the Update All button. 

Three easy steps and all your drivers are good to go. Keeping your drivers helps you avoid issues such as the Start menu crashing and many others. Download the Advanced Driver Updater today. 

Fix 4 – Run SFC Scan on Your PC to Check System Files

Corrupt system files can also cause your Start Menu to stop working out of nowhere. Fortunately, the Windows command prompt offers you a way to scan system files for errors. Simply use the SFC/scannow command and you are good to go. 

Step 1 – Press Win+R to open the Run search.
Step 2 – In the Command Prompt, use the command SFC/Scannow.

type sfc /scannow hit enter

Step 3 – Let the Scan finish as it will search all your system files, scan them for errors, and fix them up.

Once the scan is over, we recommend you restart your PC as it will help all the files set in place. After the restart, try using the start menu and you will find that it is working fine. 

Fix 5 – Run a Defender Scan for Malware

If the Start menu is not working after all the fixes, there is a possibility that your PC is under the influence of malware. The ideal way to handle this issue is by running a scan using your defender. 

Step 1 – Go to the Start Menu and search for Windows Security.

search for Windows Security

Step 2 – Find the Virus and Threat Protection option.

quick scan option in virus and threat protection
Step 3 – Simply click on Quick Scan to initiate your search for faulty files.
Step 4 – Let the scan run and find malware on your computer.
Step 5 – If the scan highlights a few culprit files, you can remove them. If not, try running a deep scan. It might take some time but is more effective. 

Keep in mind that you do not use third-party software as third-party antivirus programs often interrupt the Start menu process, causing it to crash. 

After you have successfully performed all the fixes, you should be able to fix the Start menu not opening on the Windows 10/11 issue. The start menu is the fundamental component of your operating system and it can become really difficult to interact with your PC. Try these fixes today to get rid of any issue related to the Start menu not working. Thanks for reading, good luck!

Next Read : 

How to Fix the Windows Taskbar Not Working Issue


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About The Author

Dishank Sharma
Dishank Sharma

A creative tech-writer who loves to explore latest tech-trends & convey them to his readers in the simplest way possible. He loves to blend the crispness of technology with a pinch of creativity while curating best practices for the readers. In his free time, he likes to scribble poetry, listen to rap & travel.

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