Possible Fix For Critical Error Start Menu and Cortana Aren’t Working In Windows 10

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If you’re running Windows 10 and have ever run across the error above, stating: “Critical Error Start Menu and Cortana aren’t working”, then some of these solutions might fix the problem.

#1: Try A Full Normal Reboot

Since your start menu isn’t working, you need to hold down the Shift key, while pressing the power option. The restart icon will appear, click on that.

Another way of doing it is by entering the Window Recovery Environment > Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Setting > Restart.

#2: Try Safe Mode or Safe Boot

Another possible way to fix this issue is to boot the computer into Safe Mode, let Windows fully load, then reboot into normal mode and see if the error goes away. I’ve read multiple reports where this simple task fixes the problem. Unfortunately, this is not a permanent fix and it is not a true solution to the issue, but it seems to work for about 95% of the users that have reported this issue.

Press the Windows key and R key together. The Run command box will open, type msconfig.

In the System Configuration Utility, click on the Boot tab. Click on the Safe Boot checkbox, then select Network. Click Apply and OK to reboot into Safe Mode.

After your system reboots into Safe Mode, go through the steps above, and uncheck the Safe Boot checkbox, then click Apply and OK to reboot into Normal Mode.

#3: Try This PowerShell Script

Step 1: Open the run command by pressing the Windows key and R key together, type PowerShell and press Enter.

Step 2: On the icon of PowerShell, right-click and you will get the option of Running it as administrator. Go for that option.

Step 3: Paste the script mentioned below.

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

Step 4: You need to wait as PowerShell will take few minutes to carry out the process.

Step 5: Ignore if any error message is displayed on the screen.

Step 6: When the process is completed, press on the start menu to check whether it is working or not.

#4: Install Windows 10 Cumulative Update KB3093266

Try applying the Windows 10 Cumulative Update KB3093266 update.

#5: Update and/or Uninstall Avast Antivirus

Step 1: Go to My Computer and open C Drive (your installation directory)

Step 2: Navigate to Program Files.

Step 3: Open the Avast folder.

Step 4: Run Avast UI.

Step 5: Go to the ‘Setting’ option and click on ‘Update’.

Step 6: Restart your PC/ laptop after the update is done.

#6: Update and/or Uninstall Dropbox

Some other users have reported that the Dropbox app is the issue. Make you you have the most recent client, otherwise you can try to uninstall the app and see if that resolves your issue.


If you’ve encountered this error and one of these options worked for you, please leave a comment below to let other readers know which option worked.

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  1. Chris March 12, 2016
  2. Dianna May 12, 2016
  3. Kaushal Malkan November 22, 2017
  4. Hemant Arya January 7, 2018
  5. Max August 23, 2019

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