Sometimes the Start button, taskbar and notification area icons may be stuck or frozen; clicking on it does nothing. When the notification area items are frozen, you won’t be able to access the Action Center, Wi-Fi network settings, and more. If the Windows 10 Start menu is frozen or unresponsive and not working, or

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Sometimes the Start button, taskbar and notification area icons may be stuck or frozen; clicking on it does nothing. When notification area items are frozen, you won’t be able to access Action Center, Wi-Fi network settings, etc.

If Windows 10 Start menu is frozen or unresponsive and does not work, or displays the critical error message, here is the list of troubleshooting steps you can follow. Fixes involve running the Start Menu troubleshooter or manually registering the ShellExperienceHost and StartMenuExperienceHost packages using PowerShell or restoring the default Start menu by rebuilding the Start menu database .

This article explains how to repair, reset or reinstall the Start Menu in Windows 10.

Repair Windows 10 Start Menu

  1. Reinstall the Start Menu (StartMenuExperienceHost & ShellExperienceHost) and Cortana
  2. Run Start Menu Troubleshooter
  3. Critical Error: Start Menu and Cortana not working
    • Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode, then restart in Normal Mode.
    • Restore Start Menu Database or reinstall ALL built-in apps

Reinstall Start Menu (ShellExperienceHost & StartMenuExperienceHost) and Cort ana manually

  1. Open Task Manager and click on the Details tab.
  2. Look for the process StartMenuExperienceHost.exe and select it.
  3. Right-click StartMenuExperienceHost.exe and click End Task . The StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process exists only in Windows 10 v1903 and above.

    Note: In the Processes tab, it would appear as Start

  4. Launch File Explorer and browse this folder:

  5. Right-click PowerShell.exe and click Run as administrator.
  6. Copy the following command line, paste it into the PowerShell window and press ENTER:
    Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows. StartMenuExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"} 

    Note: If StartMenuExperienceHost.exe is running when the above command is executed, you will get the following error:

    Add-AppxPackage: Deployment failed with HRESULT: 0x80073D02, the package could not be installed because the resources it modifies are in course of use. error 0x80073D02: Unable to install because the following applications must be closed Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost.

  7. Also run these two commands:
     Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"} Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Cortana | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"} 

    It should show the message “Deployment Operation Progress” in the output.

This reinstalls or repairs the Start Menu and Taskbar (powered by StartMenuExperienceHost and ShellExperienceHost) and Cortana.< /p>

Run Start Menu Troubleshooter

Microsoft has released a diagnostic utility package to Solve Start Menu problems > which detects and fixes problems with the Start menu and Cortana. This wonderful tool performs comprehensive checks to determine what exactly is preventing the Start Menu from working correctly.

Download the Start Menu Troubleshooter (startmenu.diagcab) from Microsoft and run it.

To apply fixes automatically, click the Advanced button and enable Apply fixes automatically . But if you just want to do a dry run, uncheck the option first.

The Start menu troubleshooter mainly checks if the following potential issues are present:

1. Required apps are not installed correctly

Checks whether “Microsoft.Windows.ShellExperienceHost” and “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana” apps are installed correctly or not, and reinstalls packages automatically if needed.

If the troubleshooter cannot reinstall the packages, try reinstalling ShellExperienceHost and Cortana manually . Scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions.

2. Permission issues with registry keys

Checks if the current user is authorized to access the following registry key and fixes ACLs if necessary:


3. Tile database is corrupt

The tile database file is located here:

%localappdata%\TileDataLayer\Database\vedatamodel.edb< /pre>

The troubleshooter checks if this file exists and is currently being used by the logged in user. If so, that is considered a good sign. Otherwise, it deletes the corrupted tile database file and regenerates a fresh copy.

4. Application manifest is corrupt

Checks if the following manifest file is missing and its contents are empty.

 C:\Windows\ImmersiveControlPanel\Application. manifest 

If this file is missing or corrupted, it can cause user interface issues in several areas of Windows. As a side note, running SFC and/or DISM should restore the original copy of this file from source.

Critical error: Start menu and Cortana

You may sometimes receive one of the following messages on startup:

Start menu and Cortana not working. We'll try to fix it the next time you log in.

Critical Error - Your start menu isn't working. We'll try to fix it the next time you log in.

Follow the troubleshooting methods outlined above in this article. If they don't help, try this:

Start Windows 10 in safe mode, then restart in normal mode.

Start Windows 10 in safe mode, then restart in normal mode. To boot into safe mode:

  1. Sign out of your user account.
  2. Press and hold the Shift key while you tap the icon Power and select Restart.
  3. Once you enter Windows Recovery Environment, click Troubleshoot.
  4. Click Advanced Options, Startup Settings, and Restart.
  5. When you see a number of boot options, press 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.
  6. After logging in to your account in safe mode, reboot the system to return to normal startup.

This works in some cases. But if it doesn't and the problem recurs every time you start it, do the following:

Restore Start Menu Database or reinstall ALL built-in apps

Restore a new copy of the Start Menu database, named vedatamodel.edb . You can find more information about this in the article How to save Start menu layout in Windows 10?. If restoring a fresh copy of the Start menu database doesn't help, reinstall all built-in apps using PowerShell. When you do this, it automatically rebuilds the Start menu database.

Start PowerShell as administrator and run this command:

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

Restart Windows.

Hope this fixes the start menu and Windows 10 taskbar unresponsive and fix “critical error”. Know your comments below.

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