Trouble opening the Start Menu in Windows 10

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An unresponsive Start Menu has been a frequent problem voiced by Windows 10 users since the operating system arrived last year and could be because of a number of things, depending on your windows10system. Some users have pinned the problem on antivirus software or the Dropbox program. Out-of-date system files or problems with a user account from the free in-place upgrade to Windows 10 may also the source of the problem.

With so many variables to consider, it may take time and patience to root out the source of the problem on your own computer, but it is suggested that you try to update the PC’s Windows 10 software first. To get around the inoperable Start Menu, press the Windows and R keys on the keyboard to open the system’s Run box and type in “ms-settings:” (with a colon at the end but without quotation marks). Click the O.K. button or press the Enter key to open the Windows 10 Settings box.

In the Settings box, go to Update & Security to Windows Update and select Check for Updates. If updates are available, install them, restart the PC and see if the Start Menu now works. If you did not have any updates, restart the computer anyway; press the Control, Alt and Delete keys to go to the Task Manager screen and select the power button in the lower-right corner of the screen to get a menu with the Restart and Shut Down options. You should also install any new antivirus updates and scan your system for malware.

If updates do not work, Microsoft suggests creating a new administrator account and a few other troubleshooting steps; you can find the company’s help guide on its support site in an article titled “Troubleshoot problems opening the Start menu or Cortana.” Pressing the Windows and X keys or right-clicking the Start button should open the power-user menu with options to go to the computer’s programs, settings, control panel and other tools you need for troubleshooting the broken Start Menu.

Some manufacturers have their own websites designed specifically for their own hardware you may want to check, too. Many unofficial Windows sites and blogs have their own detailed lists of things to try, including uninstalling and reinstalling all your Windows apps or fixing corrupted files with command-line instructions, but proceed with caution and at your own risk. If you can, you should also back up your files in case anything goes wrong or you have to resort to the last major troubleshooting step to try: Resetting or reinstalling Windows 10 itself.

March 2021

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