Windows 11 Start Menu Not Working? 8 Ways to Fix it

Get Windows 11 Start Button Working

by: - Last updated on: February 10th, 2022
Key Takeaways
  • With Windows 11, Microsoft gave the start menu a major design overhaul with new changes and feature updates.
  • However, a lot of users have been facing issues with the start menu not working suddenly on Windows 11.
  • We have listed some of the best troubleshooting steps to fix the start menu not working issue on Windows 11.

Windows 11 Start Menu not working has become a common problem for a lot of users, owing to which using a PC or a laptop has become a tedious process.

The Start Menu has undergone a significant design overhaul with the latest version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system – Windows 11. As a result, the Start Menu now features quick app suggestions and improved search functions, unlike previous versions.

windows 11 start menu not working

While there are ways to move the Windows 11 taskbar, the problem with the non-functioning Start menu is every user’s worst nightmare, as it has been an integral part of Windows since the Windows XP days.

But what if I told you that there are a few ways to fix the Windows 11 Start Menu not working problem? Sounds reassuring, does not it? So let us take a detailed look at some troubleshooting steps that will help you solve the problem once and for all.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

It happens every now and then that the Windows Explorer app fails on Windows 11, and the Windows 11 Start menu stops working. Follow these steps to fix the problem.

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys on your keyboard to launch the task manager menu.
  2. Here, click on more details and then select the processes tab.
  3. Under processes, scroll down till you find the Windows File Explorer option.
  4. Now, select the Windows Explorer option and hit the restart button in the bottom left corner of the active screen.
    windows explorer task manager
  5. Once done, wait for a couple of seconds and try launching the start menu. You may even try force restarting the PC before rechecking the start menu functionality.

2. Restart Start Menu Services

If restarting Windows Explorer does not fix the problem, you can try restarting Start Menu Services altogether. Let us dive in.

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys on your keyboard to launch the task manager menu.
  2. Here, click on more details and navigate to the Details tab.
  3. Now, scroll down till you find the StartMenuExperienceHost.exe file.
  4. Select the file and simply click on the End Task option in the bottom right corner of the active window.
    start menu end task
  5. Press Alt+F4 and restart your PC since you cannot access the start menu for the traditional method.

3. Update Graphics Driver

Another reason for Start Menu failure is outdated graphics drivers. To fix this, perform the following steps.

  1. Press the Windows+X key and launch the device manager.
  2. Now, look for the processors’ option and click on it.
  3. Once done, right-click on the graphics card and select update driver from the drop-down list.
    graphics update driver
  4. After the drivers are updated, recheck the Windows 11 start menu functionality.

4. Fix start menu with troubleshooter

The following best way to fix Windows 11 Start Menu not working problem is to use Microsoft Troubleshooter app. Let us take a look at it.

  1. Download and install Windows 11 start menu troubleshooter using this link on your PC.
  2. Launch the app on your PC and click on the Advanced option in the screen’s bottom-left corner.
    winodws 11 start menu fix
  3. Here, enable the Apply repairs automatically option and hit next.
    winodws 11 start menu troubleshooter
  4. Once that is done, Windows will troubleshoot the start menu and try to rectify all the errors.

5. Uninstall third-party start menu apps

When Microsoft introduced Windows 11 to the public, some users were unhappy with the look and feel of the new Windows Start menu. As a result, many third-party apps became available online to fix this problem, claiming to bring back the classic Windows 10 Start Menu on Windows 11 with ease.

However, while most of these apps work flawlessly, they can sometimes be a double-edged sword. This means that the third-party app might have messed up some settings, which leads to the problem of the Windows 11 Start Menu not working.

The best way to fix this issue is to uninstall all third-party Start menu apps that you have downloaded recently. Let us take a look at how you can uninstall these apps effortlessly.

  1. Launch the Windows settings app by pressing the Windows+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Here, navigate to the Apps section.
  3. Now, again click on the Apps & Features option.
    windows 11 apps setiing
  4. Once done, simply click on the three-dotted icon next to the installed app and choose the uninstall option from the drop-down list.
  5. Boom, the Windows 11 start menu not working problem should now get resolved.

6. Rebuild Search Index

The following way to fix Windows 11 Start Menu problem is a bit tricky, and this should serve as your last resort. Let us take a look at it.

  1. Press the Windows+R keyboard shortcut and launch the Run menu on your PC.
  2. Now, type control/name Microsoft.IndexingOptions and press the OK option.
    start not working windows run
  3. A new window will pop up here; select the Modify option towards the bottom of the screen.
    Modify start menu settings
  4. Once done, select show all locations.
    show all location windows 11
  5. Here, uncheck all the locations in the list and press next.
  6. After that is done, click on Advanced and choose the Rebuild option under the troubleshooting tab.
  7. Restart your PC using the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut, and this time the Start menu should start working flawlessly.

7. Check for Updates

Probably the most common and easiest way to fix the Windows 11 Start Menu not working problem is to update Windows 11 to the latest version. Press the Windows+I key combination and navigate to the Updates section to update your PC.

8. Reset your Windows 11 Machine

IF despite trying all the above troubleshooting methods, Windows 11 Start menu does not work for you, then your only option is to reset your Windows 11 computer.

To reset your PC, press the Windows+I key combination and navigate to this option in the settings PC.

Fix Windows 11 Start Menu Issues With Ease

If you apply any of the troubleshooting methods described above, you should be able to easily fix the Start Menu not working issue on your Windows 11 machine and start using the brand-new UI and features.

Let us know in the comments below if you found this article helpful and successfully fixed the Windows 11 Start Menu not working problem.

FAQs about Windows 11 Start Menu Not Working

If even after trying all the methods, the Windows 11 Start menu does not work, you can try to downgrade to Windows 10. But how do you do that? Actually, it is quite simple, and you can refer to this guide for rolling back from Windows 11 to Windows 10.

The answer to this question is a little tricky. Well, in most cases, if you make a mistake while troubleshooting, the likelihood of your PC ending up in a boot loop is very low, since we do not mess with the Windows registry. However, if you still have doubts, we recommend that you make a backup of your personal files.

There are a few things you can do to try and fix a frozen Start menu on Windows 11. One of these is to apply the same fixes mentioned above. Another is to customize just about every aspect of the Start menu right from the apps that appear to the overall look and feel. You can even change how the tiles are sized on the menu. And, finally, if you're experiencing any problems with your search bar, such as its database getting corrupted, you might want to consider rebuilding its index database from scratch. This will ensure that the search bar is able to carry out its search functionality without any problems.

Windows 11 is still in its infancy and you can expect it to carry many bugs like this which will eventually be ironed out in future versions. The first thing you can try if your Start Menu search bar isn't working is to restart the system. You can also try restarting SearchHost.exe from Task Manager. If the search bar is opening but failing to retrieve files properly, you can try reindexing the files.

Edit your taskbar settings in Windows 11 to align your taskbar to the left if you want the old Start menu back.

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Choose your personalization
  3. Click on the Taskbar
  4. View Taskbar behaviors by scrolling down
  5. Click the drop-down menu for Taskbar alignment and select Left.
  6. Restart your computer to apply the changes.

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  1. None of the fixing methods work. I can’t scroll the “all apps” menu unless I click and hold the scrollwheel at the same time when I’m scrolling. The other way is to enable “scroll inactive windows” but that option has an intolerable side effect. It makes the games juddering.