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, it causes many inconveniences and lots of frustration. Among Microsoft’s pile of peculiarities is its talent for throwing up brain-scratching bugs. Of course, this tech issue is expected when you dispose of your Quality Assurance team and rely on user feedback instead. Regardless, one of these bugs is the Start menu freezing.

How to Fix the Windows 10 Start Menu if it's Frozen

The good news is that there are a few solutions to a freezing Start Menu in Windows 10. Some are easy; others are trickier. You can try the top four fixes below, from merely shutting down programs to tinkering with Microsoft’s Windows Media Creation Tool. Here are the details.

Fixing the Frozen Start Menu Problem

Given that many symptoms can cause the frozen start menu to occur in Windows 10, here’s a rundown of the solutions that might work for you.

Check for Corrupt Files That Causes Your Frozen Windows 10 Start Menu

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.’

  1. Type “PowerShell into the Cortana/Search box, make sure you select the option to run as administrator.

  2. Now, type sfc /scannow without quotes and hit Enter, take note of the space between “sfc” and “/scannow.”

  3. If you seethe Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some (or all) of them error, type DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth, without the quotes. You’ll need to be online, as Windows will download clean versions of corrupted files and replace them. If you see Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them, you are all set.

If the above solution doesn’t fix your Windows 10 Start menu freeze-up issues, move on to the next option.

Kill the Windows Explorer Process


Killing Windows Explorer is a quick-and-easy fix that may come in handy for various situations, such as when you have non-responsive windows or sporadic issues on the Windows desktop. The process is not guaranteed to work but has saved many Windows users from reinstalling their operating system. Here’s how to kill the Windows Explorer process.

  1. Right-click the Start Menu icon and select Task Manager from the menu, or hold down Ctrl+Shift+Escape.

  2. Now, scroll through the Processes tab until you find Windows Explorer. If Windows Explorer is already open, you’ll see another entry with a dropdown option, as shown below. Ignore that entry and choose the one without a dropdown.

  3. Next, right-click on the process and select Restart from the menu.

If restarting Windows Explorer does not solve your freezing Start Menu problem, move on to Solution #3.

Rebuild the Index to Repair Your Frozen Windows 10 Start Menu


Indexing is the process of inspecting files, emails, and other types of content within your Windows 10 OS. The method also involves cataloging essential data, such as words, file locations, metadata, etc. If you perform a keyword search in Windows Explorer, you are using the indexing process that reviews all stored data to match your search criteria. The index of data helps speed up the search process significantly. Here’s how to rebuild the Windows 10 index.

  1. Hold down the Windows Key+R to open the Run window. Alternatively, right-click the Start Menu and select Run.

  2. Now, type in control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions, without the quotes, and click OK.

  3. Next, click Modify on the bottom left of the Indexing Options window.

  4. From here, click the Show all locations button.

  5. Then, uncheck all the currently ticked locations and select OK.

  6. Now, click Advanced, then click on Rebuild in the Troubleshooting section. A message will pop up, stating that this may take some time, click OK to continue.

  7. Once the rebuild is complete, hold down Windows Key+R to open the Run window again, type in shutdown /r, without quote marks, and click OK to restart your machine.

If rebuilding the Windows 10 index hasn’t fixed your reluctant Windows 10 Start Menu lockup, it’s time to create some media.

Frozen Windows 10 Start Menu: Use the Media Creation Tool

There are several fixes to the Windows 10 Start menu issue, but the Media Creation Tool is the only method widely reported to solve the freezing Start Menu problem. So, if you’ve already made the mistake of embarking on some long-winded fix from a random internet forum and it didn’t work, give this process a try.

The good news: While using the Media Creation Tool is a bit elongated, it’s the most likely method to fix your issue. The tool won’t delete your existing files when used as directed, although it is worth backing up anything important.

The bad news: This procedure involves downloading the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool and creating Windows 10 installation media on a DVD or USB storage device. If anything goes wrong, you’ll have to perform a clean install of Windows 10 and restore your data from the backup.

How to Use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

  1. Go to Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool site and download the Media Creation Tool, which appears on the page’s bottom section.

  2. Create a system installation disk using the Windows Media Creation Tool.

  3. Double-click on setup.exe from the media you’ve created to launch the installation process.

Note: When you go through the menus for the installation above, make sure to click “Keep files and applications.” This step ensures that the install process updates and replaces the necessary files, and preserves your data and applications. However, it generally won’t keep installed programs.

Perform a Fresh Installation

When none of the above procedures stop the Windows 10 Start Menu from freezing or locking up, back up all your data and start a new Windows 10 installation from scratch. Ensure you have your Windows 10 product key on hand! If you have a fast USB thumb drive or external SSD, installing Windows from there is your best bet—you’ll be done in a half-hour or so.

One Solution at a Time

A lot can go wrong with an OS, especially one as prolific as Windows 10, after all, there’s more than 50 million lines of code running behind the scenes of your device.

Did any of these solutions work for you? Do you know of any other tips or tricks to solve this problem? Feel free to share with the community in the comments section below.

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