Fix: Start Menu and CORTANA aren’t working

Microsoft released its latest and the most awaited version of Windows called Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. There were some major changes in the latest OS based on GUI and services. Almost, 14 million people upgraded their previous Windows versions to the latest one in a time span of just 24 hours.

At the same time, people started getting an annoying issue related to Start Menu and Cortana. This problem is related to the launch of Start menu and Cortana. Whenever a user launches Start Menu or Cortana, it comes up with a Critical Error saying that the functions are not working properly and a fix will be attempted the next time the user signs in.

start menu and cortana arent working

This critical error message insists the users to bang their heads on the wall as they cannot use their PCs properly. People have tried a number of methods to get rid of this error message. Creating a new account or using different accounts on Windows has failed properly and the error still persists. A majority of people have reverted back to their previous version of Windows because of this issue and the Microsoft is still unable to find the reasons causing this.

My guess is that this should be fixed when Microsoft pushes a fix for this via update within a month or two.

So, below are the methods to resume the functionality of Start Menu and Cortana back to normal.

Methods to fix Critical Error – Start Menu and Cortana aren’t Working:

The following methods are known to be the best solution for this error on Windows 10. You should follow these methods sequentially if the first doesn’t work for you.

Repair Corrupt System Files

Download and run Reimage Plus to scan for corrupt files from here, if files are found to be corrupt and missing repair them and then check if Start Menu and Cortana starts working. If not, proceed with the following Methods below.

Method # 1: Uninstall Anti Virus 

The first method is found to be the best solution for this critical error message. A number of times, external anti-virus programs creates a conflict between other Windows programs which results in different issues. This Critical Error related to Cortana and Start Menu is related to the anti-virus programs installed on the PC. So, it is better to uninstall the anti-virus. To uninstall this, follow these simple steps.

Most of the users having this issue had avast!

1. Go to Control Panel and find Uninstall a Program if you are in Category view mode. If you are in Small icon view mode, find Programs and Features and click on it.

2. Now, move to the anti-virus installed on the PC and double click to Uninstall.

uninstall antivirus

3. After the program is uninstalled, restart your PC and now, you can see that your Windows 10 Start Menu and Cortana are working. You can install the anti-virus again if you need. BUT if the issue persists proceed to Method 2.

Method 2: Fix via PowerShell

1. Hold CTRL + ALT + DELETE to open task manager.

2. Click File -> and choose Run New Task

run new task

3. Type powershell and click OK

4. Now right click powershell from the task bar and select run as administrator

run as admin

if right click isn’t working; re-open task manager in a fewer view mode

5. You will see a list of your running apps. Right click on PowerShell and choose Open File Location;  This will open file location, locate powershell (right click on it and select) run as administrator to open powershell in administrator mode.


open file location1

6. Now copy/paste the following command in the command prompt:

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

And hit the ENTER key. Wait for the command to finish; reboot your PC and then test to see if Cortana and Start Menu are now working.

Method 3: Via Command Prompt

1. Right click on the Start Menu button and in the menu that pops up, select Command Prompt (Admin).

2. Type in ren %windir%\System32\AppLocker\Plugin*.* *.bak and then press the Enter key.

3. Restart the computer.

Method 4: System File Checker Scan

The above method will work in most of the cases. If it doesn’t seem to work for you, then use this method. You have to run System File Checker in order to check the damaged or corrupted files inside your system files and fix them thereafter.

You can go through the following link do this.


  1. Never had Avast, so that doesn’t help me. Tried 2 and 3, neither did a thing. Tried #4 and found no errors. I also have the Start button turning pink when I put the cursor on it, the error message has changed from a gray background to a red background, and I think the BSOD is now the RSOD.

  2. With the error message on the screen, I can’t get into Start menu so unable to uninstall avast. Went through task manager, but that didn’t work.

  3. I usually open the task manager then run new task (since windows+R won’t run) then open msconfig, then I set the start up into normal startup ( load all drivers and services ) since mine always defaults to selective startup, after clicking OK, proceed to restart PC directly, then the error usually gone. Hope this would help anyone.

  4. K. Arrows thank you for responding. I took a look at the link you supplied and I will see what happens when I try it later today. So far this has been like squeezing a balloon. This morning I booted up logged on and my desktop icons and tray icons were there immediately. Just like I think they should be. But I have no confidence that this will continue since yesterday the first time I booted up I had a window pop up titled FSUIP-fail to add tray icon. I booted up again and they loaded very slowly. If what happened this morning sticks I’m good with it. The other issue is that I cannot use the calculator key on my keypad. I have an ASUS ROG G74sx 64bit. This is a key I use often, or used to. I understood there was a new keyboard driver available and tried to install it but was flagged that the old one was still in place and I had to delete that first, which I did. But when I tried to install the new driver it said the old was still there and it installed Standard PS/2 Keyboard. As understand this the asus ATK package is used for the keyboard drivers and that was there previously. Now I cannot uninstall this package and reinstall the updated version. Any thoughts? thank you.

  5. thank you, I will try that, so far today incredibly my start menu has functioned properly all day. 1 down I hope, thank you for your help and suggestions.

  6. Thank you. There are a lot of posts that try to explain how to fix this problem, but this post is the best. Why? because it worked! Running powershell did the trick for me.

  7. I love you. Did this and it immediately started updating. Restarted windows and good to go. I hate windows so much but 20+ yrs of using an os is hard to overcome (I truly miss dos.) And Bill Gates is an asshole.


    bear with me guys. But none of the above worked for me and I found this suggestion on a different forum. ready?


    I know. It shouldn’t be that simple and it shouldn’t be that program, but this fixed it for me!! Hope this saves you guys hours of freaking out!

  9. My pc also has this problem, Taskbar right click stop working, Cortana not functioning. It does not happen when it starts up, but every time, after a while, it will stop functioning.

    I found the another solution .. worth of a try

    I didnt want to bother to edit a registry, but schedule a killing every 15 mins. seems to be working perfectly. Well it is a short fix anyway, but it works..

    I tried the powshell script, kill cortana, kill explorer, sfc/scannow, reindex search, still no good

    However, Killing Runtime Broker is a true fix (it will come back after a while). But then if the machine hangs again, it will fix it from my task scheduler bat file to kill that.

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Expert Tip

Fix: Start Menu and CORTANA aren’t working

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Reimage Plus which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Reimage by clicking the Download button below.

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