Windows 10 Start Menu Not Opening: 7 Things to Try

Use the following tips to get the Start menu on Windows 10 working quickly for you again.

Have you ever clicked on the Windows 10 Start menu and nothing happens? The Windows 10 Start menu, not opening is a common occurrence for many users.

Most people just tolerate this annoyance, since eventually, the Start menu will begin working again. However, you don’t have to tolerate it any longer. Use the following tips to get the Start menu working quickly for you again.

Windows 10 Start Menu Not Opening: Why It Happens

There are two main behaviors that can start happening with the Windows 10 Start menu. It either won’t open at all, or it takes more than 5 seconds to finally open. It’s the second behavior that’s the most common, and it’s especially annoying because past versions of Windows always had instantaneous Start menus.

Why does this even happen? There are numerous causes, including:

  • Temporary data files that the Start menu uses are corrupt or out of date
  • Cortana temporary files are corrupt or out of date
  • A known glitch in Windows 10 that causes the Start menu to freeze
  • The Start menu under your specific Windows account is crashing or missing
  • Windows Explorer on your system is out of date or includes corrupted files

How to Fix Windows 10 Start Menu Not Opening

Now to get to the fixes and tweaks that will resolve this issue. We’ll work down this list from the easiest quick fixes to the more complex and involved ones.

1. Sign Out of Your Microsoft Account

As each user signs in to their Microsoft account on a Windows 10 computer, many of the apps and other things listed on the Start menu get cached. If you stay logged in for long periods of time (as is usually the case with a computer that only has one user), this cache can eventually get very large or corrupted.

When you log out and then back into your account, many of these things are cleared and refreshed. So a great quick fix for Windows 10 Start menu issues is simply logging out and back in.

To log out, click on your Desktop (not on an app) and press the keyboard shortcut ALT+F4. The Windows 10 Shut down menu will appear and you can choose to either Sign out or do a full Restart.


We mention a full Restart because, for many of us, we don’t restart our computers very often. By restarting the system, everything will get closed out, memory and cache flushed, etc. It’s good to do this from time to time to keep your system running at peak performance.

Once you log back into your, test the Start menu to see if the lag is gone.

2. Restart Windows Explorer

Another issue that happens when you use a Windows 10 computer for a long time is that Windows Explorer can get glitchy. This is also the software that serves the Start menu, so restarting it can resolve a lot of Start menu issues.

To restart Windows Explorer, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager. Select the Name field to sort apps and processes by name. Then scroll down to Windows Explorer under the Windows Processes section. Right-click Windows Explorer and select End task.

restarting windows explorer

You will see your desktop blink a few times, and the taskbar may actually disappear. Give the computer a few moments to automatically restart the Windows Explorer process. After this, select the Windows 10 Start menu and see if the issues you were having are now resolved.

3. Check for Windows Updates

If the problem is still happening, it’s very possible your version of Windows 10 is out of date and buggy. A good quick-fix for this is just to make sure you have all of the latest critical Windows updates.

Select the Start menu and select the Settings icon. If your Start menu isn’t working, use Windows Key + I to open Settings. Select Update & Security.

settings window

In the Windows Update window, check for and install all critical Windows updates. Under any optional Windows 10 updates, it wouldn’t hurt to select Download and install for any related to Security or Quality.

Once all of the latest updates are installed, restart your computer and test the Windows Start menu again.

4. Scan for Corrupt System Files

One of the most common causes for a misbehaving Start menu is corrupted or damaged system files. You can do your Windows 10 system a lot of good by running a system file scan and repairing all of those system files.

To do this, press Windows Key + R, type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the command prompt as administrator.

There are two commands you should use in sequence to fully scan and repair your system: DISM and SFC.

In the command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

dism finished

This can take up to 30 minutes, so be patient. When this is finished and you see the message that it’s completed successfully, type the following command and press Enter.

sfc /scannow

When this is finished you’ll see the message “Verification 100% complete”. Type exit to close the Command Prompt.

sfc running

Restart your computer and test the Start menu again to see if the problems are now gone.

5. Clear Cortana Temporary Files

Many people don’t realize that Cortana is well integrated into the Windows Start menu. Issues with Cortana can actually affect the performance of the Start menu itself.

The most common Cortana issue is temporary Cortana files getting corrupted and causing lag every time you select the Start menu. Clear these temporary files and you could quickly resolve the lag issue.

To clear Cortana temporary files, press Windows Key + R, type “cmd” and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the command prompt as administrator. Type the following commands in order, and press Enter after each.

Note: These commands must be run in this order. They will switch to the Cortana directory, kill the Cortana process, and remove the Cortana directory. Once Cortana restarts, this directory will be recreated and rebuilt fresh.

CD /d "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy"
Taskkill /F /IM SearchUI.exe
RD /S /Q Settings

You don’t have to restart the Cortana task manually because Windows will do it automatically. It wouldn’t hurt to restart your computer after running these commands as well.

Test the Start menu again to see if the issues you were experiencing are resolved.

6. Uninstall or Fix Dropbox

There is a known issue with the Windows 10 Dropbox application that causes conflicts and unusual behaviors with the Windows Start menu. If you don’t use the Dropbox app, then uninstall it from your system and you should see the issues disappear.

However, if you want to keep Dropbox, you’ll need to make a tweak to the Windows Registry to fix these conflicts.

To do this, press Windows + R, type regedit and select OK. This will open the registry editor.

Navigate to:


Double-click the Start Dword in the right pane. The default setting here is 2. Update this to 4 and select OK.

windows start key

You should restart your computer for the new registry settings to take effect.

For Dropbox users, this is a very common complaint and most users report that this fix nearly always resolves the problems their seeing with their Start menu.

7. Xaml Start Menu Registry Entry

When Microsoft switched to the new Windows 10 Start menu, it included launching the Xaml process that ran it. There are known conflicts that arise when you disable User Access Control (UAC) that cause the new Windows Start menu to not work properly.

Ensure the Xaml Start Menu is enabled to creating and setting the EnableXamlStartMenu in the Windows registry. Press Windows + R, type regedit and select OK to open the registry editor.

Navigate to:


Right-click on the empty space in the right pane, choose New > DWORD (32-bit).

create dword

Name this new entry EnableXamlStartMenu and leave the value set to 0.

Now, reset the computer and test the Start menu again.

Windows 10 Start Menu Problems

Problems using the Windows 10 Start menu can be especially annoying because everything you want to use – apps, settings, and more – are all found there. Hopefully one of the solutions above resolved your issue and this annoying problem won’t plague you anymore.



  1. Les Sutton

    July 11, 2021 at 11:49 pm


    In trying to execute item 5 by running, CD/d “%LOCALAPPDATA%PackagesMicrosoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy”

    I get a “The system cannot find the path specified” error.

    Can you help with where I should go to correct this.



    • Tom

      November 2, 2021 at 9:50 pm

      I had the same problem as well. Need another way to resolve the Cortana issue

      • Rafael

        February 5, 2022 at 5:54 am

        They forgot to put backslash between Packages and Microsoft.

        • Steve Krause

          February 5, 2022 at 4:54 pm

          Hey guys – The article has been fixed. For some reason, the backslash was removed from the example code.



  2. Arm

    July 30, 2021 at 8:10 pm


    I have checked so many reviews looking to solve a screen flickering issue going on on my Lenovo laptop. The instalation of the Auslogic Registry Cleaner may see the one to blame for this. The difficult part of it is that the Start menu is completely blocked. Nothing works except the TaskBar. However, restarting/ending task of the Windows Explorer don’t move the needle.

    Would you please help me out to get this Lenovo back on track without going to factory resetting.

    • Tuhin

      June 1, 2022 at 8:10 am

      Facing same issues but my settings are also not working!

    • Kirsty

      August 16, 2022 at 5:49 pm

      I once resolved the flickering issue by turning off the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer
      Not sure if it’ll fix your issue but it’s worth a shot?

  3. n1gg3rh8r

    March 15, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    My pc was hanging on repairing disk errors after a crash. My start menu wouldnt open after that.

    scanning for corrupt system files worked for me.

  4. Bob

    April 13, 2022 at 4:17 am

    I tried all 7 suggested solutions without success.
    Item 5 would not work as I got the same response as other commenters “The system cannot find the path specified” error. It seemed, on reflection to be a strange string to put into the cmd prompt as I, for example, have no “d” directory – my “d” directory is my CD drive. I tried all manner of alternatives: I tracked down 4 locations for “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy” but could not get my Administrator command prompt to go to any of them. In the end, I reset Cortana via the Windows Settings (it said all data would be deleted so I assumed it would achieve the same outcome – obviously not).
    I uninstalled Dropbox and made the registry amendment in Solution 7. Nothing has worked.
    Onwards and upwards, as they say. Back to Mr Google.

  5. Travis

    April 21, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    The first thing to try when you start menu is not working and will not pull up, let me repeat that, the FIRST thing to try when you START MENU is NOT working and WILL NOT PULL UP, is to Click on the start menu and logout. Am I the only one that can see where this would not work. If I am let me point it out. YOUR START MENU IS NOT WORKING OR PULLING UP. How do you logout if you can’t get to that? That is a rhetorical question I know that you can press Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys to pull that menu up and click sign out there but still the picture they used.

    • Steve Krause

      April 22, 2022 at 8:57 am

      Great point. The article was updated. Thanks for the feedback!


  6. Anthony

    May 10, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    It looks like Microsoft removed that Cortana package.

  7. Juraj Kratky

    June 10, 2022 at 3:34 am

    I tried all 7 steps, issue still persists. Any other ideas folks? Thanks

  8. Red

    August 9, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Step #4 fixed the issue.
    Thank you so much.
    Windows build 19044.1889 caused the issue.

  9. Paul

    October 12, 2022 at 6:32 am

    Step 5 can be done easier for example from explorer by typing %directorypath% in the address bar, but this point no longer relevant as that path no longer exists in later builds. Step 4 works in some cases, but in others doesn’t. Still looking for a fix.

  10. BioZard

    February 12, 2023 at 5:09 am

    none of it work for me so i find my own solutuion

    1. Log off user account

    2. at long in screen press and hold shift key while you press the Power icon and select Restart

    3. Once you enter the Windows Recovery Enviroment click troubleshoot

    4. Advance option ,and start-up repair

    5 .after restart it was fixed

  11. anon

    March 20, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    #4 worked well, found issues and fixed them.

  12. Licht530

    August 8, 2023 at 6:46 am

    Try this:

    Go to Settings > Personalization > Start.

    Toggle “Use Start full screen” on or off.

    Now see if Start menu opens.

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