Critical Error – Start Menu Isn’t Working on Windows 10/11

A critical error usually occurs when the operating system terminates a program or process due to internal issues. Here is how to fix it

Windows 10 and 11 are renowned for their user-friendly interfaces and seamless operation, but like any software, they can encounter issues. One common frustration users face is the “Critical Error – Start Menu Isn’t Working” message. When this error occurs you may be unable to access essential functions and applications on your PC. Users report when they click on the Start menu, it displays “Critical Error: Your Start menu isn’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in.” several factors can contribute to this error, including corrupt system files, user profile corruption, conflicting applications, or software glitches. This troubleshooting guide help you resolve this issue and restore functionality to your Start Menu.

Critical error start menu not working

The “Critical Error – Your Start Menu Isn’t Working” message typically appears when there’s a conflict between system files or third-party applications, or when certain system components are corrupted. This error can manifest in different ways, such as an unresponsive Start menu, inability to access the Start button, or frequent crashes when attempting to open the Start menu.

Common Causes of the Start Menu Error:

- Advertisement -
  • Corrupted System Files: Critical system files required for the proper functioning of the Start menu may become corrupted.
  • Software Conflicts: Certain third-party applications or drivers may conflict with the Start menu functionality.
  • Corrupted User Profile: The user profile associated with your account may become corrupted, leading to issues with the Start menu.
  • Windows Updates:  In some cases, problems with Windows updates can lead to errors in the Start menu.

In rare cases, the cache used by the Windows Store to store temporary data may become corrupted, causing the Start menu to malfunction.

Restart Your Computer

Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve temporary system glitches and refresh system processes, including those related to the Start menu. Restart your computer and check if the Start menu functions properly afterward. It’s a simple yet effective first step in troubleshooting most software-related issues.

Restart Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is responsible for managing the graphical interface, including the Start menu. Again Restarting Windows Explorer can refresh its processes and potentially resolve any underlying issues causing critical error start menu not working error.

- Advertisement -
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  • Locate “Windows Explorer” under the Processes tab.
  • Right-click on “Windows Explorer” and select “Restart.”
  • This will refresh the Windows Explorer process.

Start Your Windows in Safe Mode

If due to this problem windows didn’t allow to perform any task, then simply sign out from the current user account, and try to boot into safe mode. Booting into Safe Mode loads Windows with minimal drivers and services, allowing you to troubleshoot potential conflicts caused by third-party software or drivers.

  • Hold the Shift key while pressing the Power icon and select Restart.
  • Now When the Windows Recovery Environment opens, select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Startup Settings -> Restart.
  • Here press F4 to boot into Safe Mode F5 to enable internet access on safe mode.

windows 10 safe mode types

If the Start menu works fine in Safe Mode, it indicates that a third-party program or driver may be causing the issue that needs to be fixed.

Run SFC and DISM Command

Sometimes, corrupt system file are the primary culprit behind the “Critical Error – Your Start Menu Isn’t Working” issue. When essential system files are corrupted or missing, it can cause various errors, including problems with the Start menu functionality. Running a System File Check (SFC) scan helps to identify and repair these corrupt files, ensuring they do not hinder the proper operation of your system.

  • Press the Windows key, type “cmd,” then right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator”.
  • Type the command sfc /scannow and press the Enter key, The SFC tool will analyze your system files and attempt to repair any issues it finds.

In addition to running the SFC scan, you can also use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool to repair the Windows system image and component store.

  • Once the sfc scan is complete 100%, Run DISM command DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • This command checks for and fixes component store corruption that may be impacting system stability.
  • Allow the DISM tool to run and complete the repair process. Once done reboot windows and check if start menu working normally.

Use SFC and DISM command

By running both the SFC and DISM commands, you can thoroughly scan and repair any corrupt system files, ensuring they are not causing the “Critical Error” when clicking on the Start menu.


Restart the Application Identity service

Again some users on the Microsoft forum, and Reddit mentioned Restart the Application Identity service help them to fix this Windows 10 critical error your start menu isn’t working problem. Restarting this service can help resolve issues related to app permissions and compatibility, potentially fixing problems with the Start menu caused by misconfigured or malfunctioning applications.

  • Press Win + R type “services.msc” and press Enter.
  • Scroll down and locate “Application Identity” in the list of services, Right-click on it and select “Restart.”
  • Well if the service not started, double-click on the Application Identity service to open properties,
  • Here change the startup type automatic and start the service next to service status.
  • Now Reboot your PC, and your Start menu should be up and running again.

Application Identity service

Re-register Windows 10 start menu

Re-registering the Start menu can be beneficial if there are corruption issues in its configuration or related components. This can help resolve issues where the Start menu becomes unresponsive or fails to launch properly due to corrupted settings or files.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + ESC to open Task Manager, Select File and click on Run new task.
  • Type PowerShell in the create new task box and mark the Create this task with administrative privileges option. Click ok to Open PowerShell as an administrator.
  • Now type or copy/paste the following command and press Enter

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

Re-register the missing apps using PowerShell

Once the command is executed, Close PowerShell and reboot your PC. This process helps reset the Start menu to default settings, potentially resolving errors.

Create a New User Account

Creating a new user account allows you to determine if the Start menu issue is specific to your user profile. If the problem does not occur in the new user account, it suggests that the issue may be related to settings or configurations within your original user profile.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager,
  • Then click “File -> Run new task” and type net user yourname yourpassword /add into the box,
  • Tick the checkbox to make it an administrator account, then click “OK.”

where “yourname” is what you want to name the account, and “yourpassword” is the password you want for the account.

create new user account

Alternatively, you can Open Settings. Go to Accounts. Under “Family & other users,” click “Add someone else to this PC” and follow the prompts to create a new user account.

Now log off from the current user account and log in to the newly created user account. Check there is no more critical error and start menu, Cortana working perfectly.

Install the Latest Windows 10/11 Update

Microsoft regularly releases updates to address known issues and improve system stability. Installing the latest updates ensures that your system has the latest bug fixes, security patches, and enhancements, potentially resolve the critical Start menu error.

  • Press Windows key + S, type Windows update and hit enter key
  • Now tap on check for updates, if new updates are available allow them to download and install on your computer,
  • Once done, reboot Windows to apply them.

Disable Your Antivirus Software

Antivirus software may sometimes interfere with system processes, leading to compatibility issues and errors. Temporarily disabling your antivirus software allows you to determine if it’s causing the Start menu problem, as some third-party antivirus programs may mistakenly identify system files as threats and quarantine or block them.

  • Locate your antivirus software icon in the system tray.
  • Right-click on the icon and look for options to disable or temporarily turn off protection. The exact steps may vary depending on your antivirus software.

Perform a System Restore

If the issue started occurring after a recent system change, such as software installation or configuration modification, Performing system restore allows you to undo these changes and restore system stability.

  • Open Control Panel. Go to System and Security > System.
  • Click on “System Protection” in the left pane.
  • Click on “System Restore” and follow the prompts to restore your system to a previous point in time.

System Restore allows you to revert your system to a previous state where the Start menu was functioning correctly.

Remember to back up your important data before attempting major changes to your system, and if the problem persists, seek assistance from Microsoft Support or online forums dedicated to Windows troubleshooting.

Also, read

More from this stream