Top 7 Ways to Fix Start Menu Not Working in Windows 11

The default Start menu received the biggest overhaul with Windows 11 update. Besides the obvious center position, the Start menu also gets pinned apps, recommendations, and shortcuts for frequently used folders. It’s all irrelevant when the brand-new Start menu stops working in the first place. Here’s how to fix the Start menu not working in Windows 11.

Fix start menu not working in windows 11

Start menu houses all your apps. It’s a core function of Windows 11. Start menu not working in Windows 11 may leave you frustrated and push you towards installing third-party Start menu alternatives from the web. Follow the methods below and get back working Start menu in Windows 11.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

Taskbar, Start menu, and Action Centre are all part of the Windows Explorer service. When you get issues with Windows 11 Taskbar or Start menu, you can restart the Windows Explorer service and try again.

Step 1: Use Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys and open the Task Manager menu.

Step 2: From the Processes tab, select Windows Explorer.

Step 3: Click on the Restart button at the bottom and close Task Manager.

Restart windows explorer service

Try accessing the Start menu again.

2. Restart Start Menu Services

By default, Start menu services start running in the background as soon as you turn on the PC. If there are issues with background services and processes, you need to reset the Start menu service. Here’s how.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys and open Task Manager.

Step 2: Move to the Details tab.

Details tab

Step 3: Find StartMenuExperienceHost.exe from the menu.

Step 4: Click on it and select End task at the bottom.

End startmenu task

Restart PC using Alt + F4 keys (since your Start menu isn’t working, you can’t reboot PC with the traditional method) and see if the Start menu is working again or not.

3. Use Start Menu Troubleshooter App

In 2019, when Microsoft messed up Start menu functions with a feature update, the company released the Start menu troubleshooter app to fix the issue. Here’s how you can use it in 2021.

Step 1: Visit the link below and install the Start menu troubleshooter app on Windows.

Open start menu troubleshooter

Step 2: Open the app and select the Advanced menu at the bottom.

Start menu troubleshooter

Step 3: Enable Apply repairs automatically and click on the Next button.

Apply repairs automatically

Let Microsoft fix the Start menu not working issue in Windows 11 and try again.

4. Remove Third-Party Start Menu Apps

In a bid to give their Windows desktop an aesthetic makeover, users often end up installing third-party task managers and Start menu tools. While they help you modify the Start menu look, it might break the core function of the service. You need to identify and remove such apps from the computer.

Step 1: Open the Windows Settings app (use Windows + I keys).

Step 2: Go to the Apps menu.

Step 3: Select Apps & features.

Open apps and features

Step 4: Find such apps from the list and click on the three-dot menu beside it.

Uninstall apps on windows

Select Uninstall and delete apps from Windows 11.

5. Rebuild Search Index

The universal search menu is a part of the Start menu. Microsoft collects the search history to deliver relevant and quicker search results. If the search database gets corrupted, it might mess up with Start menu functions. You need to rebuild the search index on your PC. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Press Windows + R keys and open the Run menu.

Step 2: Type control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions and hit ok at the bottom.

Open run menu

Step 3: It will open the Indexing Options menu. Select Modify at the bottom.

Select modify

Step 4: Select Show all locations.

Click show all locations

Step 5: Uncheck all locations from the list and click on OK.

Uncheck options

Step 6: Select the Advanced button and click on Rebuild from the Troubleshooting menu.

Rebuild search index

Reboot your PC and try using the Start menu.

6. Update Graphics Drivers

Outdated graphics drivers might interfere with Windows UI elements such as the Start menu. You can update graphics drivers to the latest version from the Device Manager menu.

Step 1: Use Windows + X keys and open the Device Manager menu.

Step 2: Find an integrated or external graphics card from the list and right-click on it.

Update graphics driver

Step 3: Select Update driver and download the newest drivers from the web.

7. Update Windows OS

If the Start menu not working on Windows 11 is a widespread issue, Microsoft will release an update to fix the issue.

Update windows

You can go to Settings (Use Windows + I keys) and the Update & Security menu. Download the latest Windows 11 build, and the Start menu should start working now.

Get Back Working Start Menu on Windows 11

There is a lot to like about the new Start menu in Windows 11. It’s an integral part of the OS. If you have trouble accessing the Start menu, the steps above should help you fix the issue. Which trick worked for you? Share your findings in the comments below.

Last updated on 04 February, 2022

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