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Fixing Start Menu and Cortana not working on Windows 10

By Eunice Samson | April 5, 2018 |

greater than 4 minutes

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‘What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.’

T.S. Eliot

Within the first 24 hours of Windows 10’s release, about 14 million people upgraded their current system to the new version. Unfortunately, with the update came Cortana and Start menu issues. For some reason, a critical error message shows up, telling the user that the functions are not working properly. It can get frustrating when there are features that cannot be accessed on a computer. As such, many people reverted back to the old version they had been using.

As of this writing, Microsoft still hasn’t pinpointed the exact reasons why this error occurs. However, you shouldn’t worry because it is absolutely fixable. In this article, we will show you what you should do when you experience Cortana not working properly on Windows 10.

Method 1: Restarting your computer

Roy from The IT Crowd is best known for his catchphrase, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” He probably said that line in the show a thousand times, and it couldn’t be more applicable in real life. In most cases, Cortana and the Start menu will function properly again when you try restarting your computer.

Turn off your computer and turn it back on a couple of times, and check if this fixes the problem. This may be the easiest method, but you do not necessarily have to do it every time you experience Start menu issues. This is only a temporary solution that can get your computer up and running. If the error keeps coming back, we recommend proceeding to the next method.

Method 2: Uninstalling the anti-virus/anti-malware software

In some cases, third-party anti-virus and anti-malware software can disrupt certain Windows programs. Cortana not working properly on Windows 10 may probably be a result of the conflict created by the security programs installed on your computer. As such, we recommend temporarily uninstalling your anti-virus to see if this resolves the problem. With that said, follow the instructions below:

  1. Click the Search icon.
  2. Type “Control Panel” (no quotes), then click the program in the results.
  3. Under the Programs section, click Uninstall a Program.
  4. Look for your third-party anti-virus software, then right-click it.
  5. Select Uninstall and follow the instructions in the wizard.
  6. Once your anti-malware or anti-virus program has been uninstalled, turn off your computer and turn it on again.

If you need your security software, you can reinstall it. However, we recommend opting for a more reliable program like Auslogics Anti-Malware. You can trust that this tool will not cause Start menu issues. At the same time, it will give you the peace of mind knowing that your computer is protected against data safety threats and malware.

Conduct an anti-malware scan to repair Start Menu and Cortana not working

Method 3: Using PowerShell

When your Start menu or Cortana functions are not working properly, you can try fixing the problem, using PowerShell. Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard.
  2. Click File, then select Run New Task from the drop-down list.
  3. In the dialog box, type “powershell” (no quotes), then click OK.
  4. On the taskbar, right-click PowerShell, then choose Run as Administrator.
  5. If you cannot resolve the
    problem yourself, you can
    ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.
  6. Inside the Command Prompt, paste the following text:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}
  7. Hit Enter, then wait for the command to complete.
  8. Restart your computer and check if the Start menu and Cortana are working properly.

Method 4: Creating new user profiles

Many users have reported that creating new user profiles resolved problems with the Start menu and Cortana. So, it wouldn’t hurt if you give it a try too. Here are the steps:

  1. Make two new user profiles with administrative rights. Keep in mind that the administrator privileges are necessary for you to execute the tasks needed to resolve the error.
  2. Log into one of the new user profiles you created. Check if the Start menu is functioning properly. Note that if Cortana and the Start menu are not working in the other accounts, then it is time to reinstall your Windows system. Otherwise, you can proceed to the next step.
  3. Make sure you can see all the hidden files, system files, and file extensions. You can do this by following this path: Control Panel ->Appearance and Personalization ->File Explorer Options ->View. Click ‘Show hidden files, folders, and drives,’ then click the Apply button.
  4. Log into the other new user profile and repeat the process from Step 3.
  5. Navigate to this path: C:\Users\OtherNewProfileYouAreNotUsing\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer. Copy the Database folder, then navigate to: C:\Users\UserProfileWithProblems\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer. Change the name of the Database folder in this account to Database.old. Paste the Database folder you copied from the properly functioning account.
  6. Log into the problematic user profile and check if the issue has been resolved. It is worth noting that you will not see the customizations you made to the menu before you executed this procedure. On the other hand, you can simply reconfigure your menu to personalize it again.
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Method 5: Using the Command Prompt

  1. Click the Search icon, then type “command prompt” (no quotes).
  2. Right-click Command Prompt from the results, then select Run as Administrator.
  3. In the Command Prompt, type “ren %windir%\System32\AppLocker\Plugin*.* *.bak” (no quotes), then press Enter.
  4. Restart your computer, and check if the issue has been resolved.

Method 6: Running System File Checker

In most cases, the previous method can resolve issues with the Start menu. However, if the error persists, you can try running the System File Checker. This will scan and repair corrupted or damaged system files. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Go to Search, then type “command prompt” (no quotes).
  2. Launch the elevated Command Prompt by right-clicking the program from the results. Select Run as Administrator.
  3. Inside the Command Prompt, type “sfc /scannow” (no quotes), then hit Enter.
  4. The scan and repair process may take a while. It is important that you wait patiently until the System File Checker completes the whole procedure.

Running SFC can help you troubleshoot start Menu and Cortana issues.

We hope our tips helped you fix the problem!

Comment below which method you used!

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.


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