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Last updated: Aug 29, 2023

FIXED – Start Menu & Taskbar Not Working on Windows 10?

Your Start Menu and Taskbar are the lifelines to your computer's functionality and accessibility. But what happens when these essential components of your Windows 10 system stop working?

Panic might be your first reaction, but we’re here to tell you that there’s no need to worry. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you troubleshoot and resolve issues related to a non-functioning Start Menu and Taskbar. Whether it’s unresponsive icons, a Start Menu that refuses to pop up, or a Taskbar that’s gone AWOL, we have you covered.

Read on to find quick fixes, in-depth solutions, and everything in between to get you back in control of your Windows 10 experience.

What Causes the Start Menu and Taskbar to Malfunction on Windows 10?

Various factors can lead to the malfunctioning of the Start Menu and Taskbar in Windows 10. Understanding the root causes can be the first step in resolving the issue. Here are some common reasons:

  1. 1. Software Updates: Sometimes a Windows update can introduce bugs that affect system functionality. It could be that a recent update has caused these issues.

  2. 2. Corrupted User Profile: A corrupted user profile can wreak havoc on system settings and may lead to a non-functioning Start Menu and Taskbar.

  3. 3. Third-Party Software: Conflicts with third-party software, especially software that modifies the user interface, can cause these essential components to stop working.

  4. 4. System File Corruption: Corrupt system files can cause various system functionalities, including the Start Menu and Taskbar, to stop working properly.

  5. 5. Memory Issues: Lack of system resources can sometimes cause the system to behave erratically, impacting the performance of key components like the Start Menu and Taskbar.

  6. 6. Malware or Viruses: Malicious software can affect the proper operation of various system components.

  7. 7. Driver Conflicts: Sometimes, outdated or incompatible drivers can conflict with system operations, causing features to malfunction.

  8. 8. Registry Errors: Errors in the Windows Registry can cause various issues, including the malfunctioning of the Start Menu and Taskbar.

  9. 9. Group Policies or Administrative Settings: In a managed IT environment, certain functionalities may be disabled or managed centrally, which can lead to issues with the Start Menu and Taskbar.

  10. 10. Hardware Issues: Though less likely, a malfunctioning hard drive or other hardware components can result in software issues, including problems with the Start Menu and Taskbar.

How to Resolve the "Start Menu and Taskbar Not Working" Issue on Windows 10

Various issues can lead to the malfunctioning of the Start Menu and Taskbar in Windows 10, leading to a frustrating user experience. If you're facing this issue, worry not, as there are several proven methods to resolve it. Below are some of the most effective approaches to get your Start Menu and Taskbar back in working order:

Quick Fixes:

1. Restart Your System

  • Why it works: This basic step can resolve minor software glitches and conflicts that might be affecting your system.
  • Steps:
    1. Click the Windows icon and select the power button.
    2. Choose "Restart."
    3. Once your system boots up, check to see if the problem persists.

2. Restart Windows Explorer

  • Why it works: Restarting Windows Explorer can refresh your desktop environment and resolve minor software issues.
  • Steps:
    1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
    2. Locate "Windows Explorer" under the "Processes" tab.
    3. Right-click and choose "Restart."

Moderate Level Fixes:

3. Run the Windows Troubleshooter

  • Why it works: The troubleshooter scans for and attempts to automatically fix issues with Windows components.
  • Steps:
    1. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.
    2. Click on "Additional troubleshooters."
    3. Locate and run the troubleshooter for "Windows Store Apps."

4. Check for Updates

  • Why it works: Updates often contain fixes for known issues, including issues with the Start Menu and Taskbar.
  • Steps:
    1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
    2. Click "Check for updates" and install any available updates.

5. Re-register Windows Apps

  • Why it works: Re-registering apps can fix any discrepancies or issues with the system's built-in applications.
  • Steps:
    1. Right-click on the Start button and choose "Windows Terminal (Admin)" to open PowerShell with administrative privileges.
    2. Copy and paste the following command and hit Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Advanced Fixes:

6. Check for Corrupt Files

  • Why it works: The sfc /scannow command scans for and attempts to repair corrupted system files.
  • Steps:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.

7. Use DISM

  • Why it works: The Deployment Imaging Service and Management Tool (DISM) can be used to repair the Windows image and fix issues where sfc /scannow fails.
  • Steps:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth and press Enter.

8. Create a New User Profile

  • Why it works: A corrupted user profile can cause all sorts of issues. Creating a new one can resolve these problems.
  • Steps:
    1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Family & other users.
    2. Click "Add someone else to this PC" and follow the prompts to create a new profile.

9. Edit Registry

  • Why it works: Registry changes can resolve certain system-level conflicts.
  • Steps:
    1. Press Win+R and type regedit, then press Enter.
    2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Launcher.
    3. Right-click and create a new DWORD (32-bit) value named UseExperience.
    4. Set its value to 0.

Last Resort:

10. System Restore or Reset

  • Why it works: Restoring your system to a previous state or performing a clean install will resolve most software-related issues, though it may result in data loss.
  • Steps:
    1. For System Restore: Go to Control Panel > Recovery > Open System Restore and follow the prompts.
    2. For Reset: Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC.


Issues with the Start Menu and Taskbar on Windows 10 can significantly disrupt your user experience, making it challenging to access programs, settings, or even shut down your computer. Thankfully, Windows 10 provides a variety of troubleshooting options to help you get these crucial features back to their functional states.

From quick and straightforward fixes like restarting your system or Windows Explorer to more advanced techniques involving PowerShell commands, system scans, and registry edits, this comprehensive guide has aimed to cover all bases. The objective has been to provide you with a layered approach: starting with less invasive methods before moving to more comprehensive solutions. Each method has its merit, depending on the root cause of your specific issue.

Remember to always back up your data and understand the implications of each step, especially for the more advanced procedures. If all else fails, a system restore or reset can act as your last line of defense, albeit at the cost of your existing data and settings.

In most cases, however, one of the less drastic measures should suffice to resolve your Start Menu and Taskbar issues, getting your Windows 10 system back to its fully functional glory. Happy computing!


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