How do I fix the Windows 10 Start Menu if it's frozen?

If your Start menu stops working in Windows 10, here’s what you can do to fix it

The return of the Start Menu in Windows 10 was universally acclaimed by fans of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. A key feature of the software since Windows 95, it has helped users find the software and tools they’re looking for in a breeze.

There’s little more frustrating, then, than if the Windows 10 Start Menu is stuck, preventing you from working, gaming, streaming videos or whatever else it is you want to do with your desktop or laptop computer.

Thankfully, fixing a frozen Windows 10 Start Menu is quite easy. Here are the ways you can fix your Windows 10 Start Menu if it’s not working properly.

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Warning: If you haven’t recently backed up your files, please do so before you try any of these fixes.

Fix a frozen Windows 10 Start Menu by killing Explorer

This is the quickest and easiest of all our solutions for fixing a frozen Windows 10 Start Menu and involves killing processes in Windows 10’s file manager, Windows Explorer. As you might expect from the quickest and easiest solution, it doesn’t work every time, but it’s low effort and so a good place to start before we plunge into command lines and more complex tools.

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys at the same time. This should bring up the Task Manager window.
  2. A UAC (User Account Control) prompt may appear. If it does, click Yes.
  3. On the bottom right of the Task Manager window, click “More details”, then select the “Processes” tab.
  4. Scroll down until you see “Windows Explorer”. Right click on it, and select “Restart” from the drop down menu.
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With any luck, this should fix your problem. If not, it’s time to get more in-depth.

Fix a frozen Windows 10 Start menu using PowerShell

It’s possible that you’ve never heard of PowerShell. It was first introduced in 2006, but is in fact the successor to a long line of other command line interpreters in Windows.

This is how to use PowerShell to fix a frozen Start Menu in Windows 10:

  1. As above, open the Task Manager by pressing the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys at the same time.
  2. In the Task Manager window, click File then Run New Task. If for some reason you’re unable to use your mouse, you can instead press the ALT key, then press the down arrow until you get to New Task (Run), then press the ENTER key – also known as the RETURN key.
  3. Click the option "Create this task with Administrator Privileges", then type “powershell” and press the ENTER key. This will bring up the PowerShell window.
  4. In the PowerShell window, type the following command:

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

  5. This will produce a notice in red text. Ignore it and wait for the command to complete. Once it’s completed, restart the computer.
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If this doesn’t solve the problem, you can move on to one of the other fixes.

Fix a frozen Windows 10 Start Menu by looking for corrupt files

This method also uses PowerShell but is less technical than the method above. It’s also the one worth trying first if the PowerShell instructions above didn’t work.

  1. First, make sure you’re online, as if corrupt files are found, you’ll need to be online in order to run this method’s fix. You should also make sure you’ve backed up any critical files.
  2. As with the first two fixes, open the Task Manager by pressing the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC keys at the same time to bring up the Task Manager window.
  3. Click File in the Task Manager window, then New Task (Run). Again, if you can’t use a mouse, you can use your keyboard instead by pressing the ALT key, then tapping the down arrow until you get to New Task (Run), then press the ENTER key.
  4. Click the option "Create this task with Administrator Privileges", type “powershell” in the dialogue box and press ENTER to bring up the PowerShell window.
  5. In PowerShell, type "sfc /scannow" and let it run. This process will look for any corrupt files that could be causing the Start Menu to freeze.
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If you get a message saying "Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them", then it has found some errors.

To fix them, type the following command into PowerShell:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

This will download a ‘clean’ version of the corrupted files and replace them.

If this doesn’t work, you can move onto one of the other potential frozen Windows 10 Start Menu fixes.

Fix a frozen Windows 10 Start Menu by rebuilding the index

This requires less input from you than the PowerShell options but, as a pop-up dialogue box will warn you, may take some time.

  1. Hold down the WINDOWS+R keys at the same time (the WINDOWS key is the one with the Microsoft Windows logo). This will open the Run window.
  2. Next, type in the following command, which will bring up the Indexing Options window:

    control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions

  3. Click on ‘Modify’ in the bottom left of the Indexing Options window, then click the ‘Show all locations’ button. Untick all of the currently ticked boxes and click OK.
  4. Next, click on ‘Advanced’, go to the Troubleshooting section and click ‘Rebuild’. At this point, you will get a warning pop-up saying this could take a long time. Click OK.
  5. Go and make yourself a cup of tea, read the paper, or whatever else you might fancy doing to pass the time until the index rebuilding process has finished.Once it has…
  6. Hold down the WINDOWS+R keys again to bring up the Run window. Type the following command to reboot your machine:

    Shutdown -r

Once your machine has rebooted, your frozen Start Menu problem should hopefully be fixed. If it’s not, however, you most likely need to reinstall Windows 10 completely. Don’t forget to back up your files and make a note of your product key first, though!

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