Troubleshooting guide for Cortana and Start menu: Start menu and Cortana won’t load

One of the bugs in Windows 10 that has remained, well after a patch for it has been released, is the Start menu and/Cortana failing to load. If you are experiencing this problem in your Windows 10 machine right now, this guide should help you fix it.

  1. Install the latest updates
  2. Reboot your computer
  3. Create a different local profile
  4. Use the Command Line to re-code
  5. Try Windows troubleshooter
  6. Revert software settings via Recovery options

Before we proceed to the main topic, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Solution 1: Install the latest updates

Like in almost all Windows troubleshooting, the very first thing that you should do is to check whether you’ve installed new system updates. Microsoft releases patches and updates every week and there’s a chance that the fix to your problem may be included in the uninstalled updates. Microsoft has already released a patch that supposedly fixed the bug causing these problems in their Windows cumulative update KB 3093266 over a year ago but we’re still hearing similar problems from time to time. If you are new to Windows 10 and does not believe in regularly installing updates, think again and install all pending updates.

To do a quick check if there are available updates for your system, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows logo  key + R.
  • Type “ms-settings:” (without the quotes).
  • Select OK to open Settings.
  • In Settings, choose Update & security.
  • Click Windows Update.
  • Select Check for updates.
  • Install any available updates and restart your PC if required.

If you have the time, be sure to check our short guide on how to prevent Windows update-related problems.

Solution 2: Reboot your computer

If your computer runs the latest system update at this time, the next thing that you want to do is to restart it. The simple act of restarting your computer can sometimes work wonders. Leaving a computer running for a long time can sometimes lead to slow performance issues that some users may perceive as failure of a program to load. If the PC has become sluggish after a long stretch, restarting it may fix the issue easily.

Solution 3: Create a different local profile

If installing the latest updates and restarting the PC won’t still allow you to load the start menu or Cortana at this point, a workaround may. The idea is to fool the system by using another user account to unlock or unfreeze the Start menu. Some users have reported that this workaround has worked in their machines so we think it’s still a valid temporary solution. This is also recommended by Microsoft itself so it’s worth giving a try.

If you are currently signed in to your Microsoft account, make sure that you disable or unlink your account first by doing the following:

  • Press Windows logo  key + R.
  • Type “ms-settings:” (without the quotes).
  • Select OK to open Settings.
  • Select Accounts.
  • Click Sign in with a local account instead.
  • Type your Microsoft account password.
  • Select Next.
  • Choose a new account name, password, and password hint.
  • After entering all the correct information, select Finish and sign out.

If you are new to Windows 10 and have no administrator account yet, try to create one by following the steps:

  • Press Windows logo  key + R.
  • Type “ms-settings:” (without the quotes).
  • Select OK to open Settings.
  • Select Accounts.
  • Click on Family & other people  (or Other people , if you’re using Windows 10 Enterprise).
  • Under Other people , select Add someone else to this PC.
  • If you are on a Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Professional machine, you must provide a name for the user and a password, and then select Next.
  • If you are on Windows 10 Enterprise, you must select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information, and then select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  • Set a user name, password, and password hint.
  • Click on  Next.
  • Click Finish.

Once you’ve clicked Finish, make sure to make the newly created account an administrator account by doing these steps:

  • Under Family & other people  (or Other people , if you’re using Windows 10 Enterprise), choose the account you created.
  • Select Change account type.
  • Under Account type, select Administrator.
  • Click OK.

Afterwards, sign out of your old account and sign in using the new administrator account. If the Start menu and Cortana works, you can transfer your personal data and files to the new account. This can be done by copying or (cutting-and-pasting) your files from the old account to the new one. You can do this by going under Users folder in your System drive.

Solution 4: Use the Command Line to re-code

If you’re comfortable tweaking some codes to try and fix the problem, follow the following steps:

  • Go to the Start menu and right click it.
  • In the list, select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the terminal window.
  • In the terminal window, enter “powershell” (without the quotes), then press the enter button.
  • Copy and paste “Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}” to the terminal window and press the enter button.
  • Wait for the process to finish.
  • Close the window that will appear at the bottom of the panel and check if Start menu will now work.

Solution 5: Try Windows troubleshooter

If the issue is not resolved by any of the troubleshooting steps above, try using a special troubleshooter program provided by Windows. This is a virtual assistant that will help you with the steps to take. To download it, follow this link.

Solution 6: Revert software settings via Recovery options

If all else fails, reset your computer’s operating system to its previous state by using a System Restore point. Hopefully you have a general idea when the issue started so you can use the right restore point accordingly. System restore basically takes operating system back to an earlier time, also known as a system restore point. Although your files remain intact, new updates, drivers, and programs added after the restore point was made will be removed.

To manually restore your PC to a particular restore point, follow these steps:

  • Go to the start menu.
  • Press and hold (or right-click) the Start  button.
  • Select Control Panel.
  • Search Control Panel for Recovery.
  • Select Recovery.
  • Open System Restore.
  • Click Next.
  • Choose the restore point related to the problematic app, driver, or update, and then select Next.
  • Click Finish.

There are other ways to reset Windows 10 but we will not discuss them here. If system restore option won’t work, we suggest that you try other reset options in this website.


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