Fix: Critical Error – Start Menu and Cortana Aren’t Working

Back in July 2015, Microsoft finally gave us their latest Windows – Windows 10. And, of course, millions of people from around the world hurried to get their systems upgraded. In fact, 13 million people had the new version of Windows in less than a day.

However, just a bit later, a lot of them started noticing a rather disheartening issue with Cortana and the Start Menu. And it did directly relate to their launch. When you would try to launch either of the two, you would receive a critical error. The error would state that Start Menu and Cortana were not working and that the system will attempt to fix it on your next sign in.

And this was quite infuriating for a lot of different users as it would prevent them from using their computers. Of course, since then, people have been working on various methods that should fix this error. Some people thought making a new account or using multiple ones will fix the issue, and it did not work. A large number of people just quit and chose to revert to the older version of Windows. At least for as long as the issue persists.

However, this issue is actually fixable, and below, you can find different methods you can do so.

Fix #1: Remove your Antivirus

The most effective way to fix this issue and get rid of that error message is the first method we will cover. An external antivirus program can cause a clash between different Windows programs. And this can result in various issues. And this specific critical error is very likely to lead back to the antivirus. So, uninstalling it might be the best course of action. To do so simply follow the guide below:

  1. Click the Start button, and then Control Panel.
  2. If you’re in the Category view mode, locate Uninstall a Program option. If you’re using the Small icon view mode, locate Programs and Features option and click on it.
  3. Locate the antivirus that you have on your PC. Double click on it and Uninstall.
  4. After you did this, reboot your PC.

Your Cortana and Windows 10 Start Menu should be functioning properly now. If you must have an antivirus, you can freely reinstall it.

If this didn’t fix your problem, try with the Fix #2

Fix #2: Use PowerShell

In order to open task manager, press and hold CTRL + ALT + DELETE keys.

  1. Choose File and click on Run New Task
  2. Type in Powershell. Select OK.
  3. Right click on the Powershell from your taskbar, and choose the run as administrator option.
  4. Now you should be able to see the list of the apps that are running. Right click Powershell, select Open File Location.
  5. Once it is open, right click on it, choose run as administrator. This will open Powershell in administrator powershell
  6. Copy this command and paste it in the Powershell:

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

Hit ENTER. Wait for it to finish; restart your PC and test it to check if the issue is resolved.

Fix #3: Use Command Prompt

  1. Right click Start Menu. When a menu shows up, choose Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Type the following command

ren %windir%\System32\AppLocker\Plugin*.* *.bak

Press Enter and then reboot the computer.

Fix #4: Use System File Checker to Scan for Issues

The fixes listed above should usually work in the majority of cases. However, if they do not, you can use this way instead. You should try running System File Checker to find the files that are corrupted or damaged in your system files. And, of course, fix them as soon as you do.


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