How to fix the Windows 10 Start menu if it's frozen

When Windows 10 works, it's a great operating system. When it doesn't, you'll want to throw your computer out of the literal window. Among Microsoft's pile of peculiarities is its talent for throwing up brain-scratching bugs. One of the worst of these is a tendency for the Start menu to stop working.

Good news. There are a few solutions to this problem. Some are easy, others are a bit more tricky. Here we've collected four fixes that have worked for us, from simply shutting down programs to tinkering with Microsoft's Windows Media Creation Tool. If your Start menu isn't working, these fixes should do the trick.

How to fix the Start menu in Windows 10: Check for corrupt files

Many problems with Windows come down to corrupt files, and Start menu issues are no exception. To fix this, launch the Task Manager either by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager, or hitting Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

Select "Run new task" and run PowerShell by typing "powershell". Make sure you check the option to run this task with administrator privileges.

Once PowerShell has opened, type "sfc /scannow" and hit Return. Let it run, and if you see the message "Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them", it has found some errors.

To fix them, type "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth" - you'll need to be online, as Windows will download "clean" versions of the corrupted files and replace them. If this doesn't fix your Windows 10 Start menu issues, move on to the next option below.

How to fix the Start menu in Windows 10: Kill Explorer

Despite the ominous title, this method doesn't actually involve hurting down the likes of Bear Grylls. Instead, this is a quick-and-dirty fix that may come in handy through a variety of situations, such as when you have non-responsive windows or spurious issues on the Windows desktop - it's not guaranteed to work, but it's saved us a bunch of times over the decades we've been tinkering with Windows PCs.

Open Task Manager by either right-clicking on the taskbar, and selecting Task Manager from the menu, or holding down Ctrl+Shift+Escape.

If a UAC prompt appears, click yes and then click "More details" on the bottom right of the task manager screen.

Head to the "Processes" tab and scroll down until you see "Windows Explorer"

Right-click on the process, and select "Restart" from the menu.

How to fix the Start menu in Windows 10: Rebuild Index

If you're too nervous to try the Media Creation Tool fix below, then it may be worth giving this a go.

Hold down the Windows Key+R to open the Run window. Type in the following without quote marks: "control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions".