[Fix] Start Menu and Taskbar Icons Not Working in Windows 10

PROBLEM SYMPTOM:

In Windows 10, when you click on Start button, the Start Menu doesn't open. Also nothing happens when you press WIN key on your keyboard to show Start Menu. So basically Start Menu won't launch.

Same thing happens with Taskbar notification area icons such as Action Center, Volume, Battery, Network, Clock, etc. When you click on them to launch the fly-out, nothing happens.

Start_Menu_Taskbar_Icons_Broken_Windows_10.png

So Start Menu and Taskbar icons are broken in Windows 10. Sometimes the Start Menu may open but it'll be grayed out i.e. disabled.

PROBLEM REASON:

It seems the problem is related to removing all modern (UWP) apps using PowerShell method in Windows 10 newer versions such as Creators Update and later. If you remove a few apps, it doesn't cause this issue but if you remove all apps at once, it breaks Start Menu and Taskbar notification bar icons. I think removing all apps triggers some check in the system which forces some system apps such as ShellExperienceHost.exe, SearchUI.exe, etc to stop working which are responsible to provide functionality to Start Menu and other modern (metro) UI elements as mentioned in "Important Note 3" given at the end of this tutorial. You can check it yourself by opening Task Manager. You'll find that these services are no longer running in the background, that's why all modern UI elements such as Start Menu and Taskbar fly-outs don't work.

Related: Following tutorial contains the PowerShell method to remove all or selected apps:

[Guide] How to Remove All Built-in Apps in Windows 10

PROBLEM SOLUTION 1:

There are many solutions to fix the issue. You can use "Reset This PC" feature to restore your Windows 10 to default state, you can repair or reinstall Windows using setup disc or you can try to create a new user profile.

The most easiest and quickest solution to fix this issue is reinstalling and re-registering apps as given here.

If you are also facing this issue, following steps will help you in resolving the issue:

STEP 1: Open PowerShell as Administrator:

Press WIN+X keys together and click on "Windows PowerShell (Admin)" option present in the menu. It'll launch PowerShell as Administrator.

STEP 2: Run Required Command:

Now copy/paste following command in PowerShell window:

Get-AppxPackage -allusers | foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}

Reinstall_All_Apps_Windows_10.png

This command will take a few seconds in completion and will reinstall and re-register all built-in apps. If you receive any error message, ignore it. You may need to restart the computer to take effect.

That's it. Now try to open Start Menu or Taskbar icons and it'll work without any problem.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

If you deleted or renamed "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps" and "C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Local\Packages" folders to permanently remove apps, restore the folders again. If you just renamed the folders, you can restore their names. If you deleted the folders, you can restore the folders using Windows 10 setup ISO. First mount the ISO and then extract the folders from Install.WIM file using 7-Zip program as mentioned in following tutorial:

How to Extract Original (Default) System Files from Windows Setup Disc

You can also copy these folders from another Windows 10 machine.

PROBLEM SOLUTION 2:

If the above method doesn't work for you or if you don't want to reinstall all apps, you can try the built-in Windows Store apps troubleshooter tool to fix this issue:

1. Open Settings from Start Menu or press WIN+I keys together to directly launch Settings app.

2. Now go to Update & security -> Troubleshoot page.

PS: Alternatively, You can directly launch this page using "ms-settings:troubleshoot" command in RUN dialog box as mentioned here.

3. Now scroll down to bottom and click on "Windows Store Apps" label. Now click on "Run the troubleshooter" button.

Windows_Store_Apps_Troubleshooter.png

It'll launch the troubleshooter tool which will detect the issues and will fix them.

It should also solve the Start Menu and Taskbar notification area icons problem.

PROBLEM SOLUTION 3:

If nothing works for you and also you don't want to restore all modern (UWP) apps, you can install 3rd party software to bring back classic or Windows 7 style Start Menu in Windows 10. Check out following article to learn more about these software:

[AIO] List of Free Software to Get Start Menu and Start Button Back in Windows

All software mentioned in the above article will work fine in Windows 10.

To fix Taskbar notification area icons, you can restore classic UI of these icons with the help of following tutorial (check point 5):

[Tip] Restoring Classic Programs and User Interface in Windows 10

Once you restore the classic UI, the notification area icons will work fine as it doesn't require ShellExperienceHost.exe service.





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 10


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Comments

  • thank you!

  • Another solution is simply use another start menu like Classicshell. (Notification area icons have never stopped working for me, even if I uninstall all apps, probably because I never uninstall windows store).

  • I had tried this powershell trick earlier but didn't work for me. I hope, this time it will works.

  • Nice! I had this problem and annoyed me so much that I had to fresh install windows 10.

  • Thank you very much Vishal Gupta.
    But too unfortunate that i saw this article after formating windows anniversary and clean installing creators update. Actually i've still have old system's image but was already going to format though

  • On a completely fresh install of Windows 10, I'm having this issue, but none of these fixes work. "sfc /scannow" doesn't work. All of the "DISM" commands don't work. The "tweaking" program someone suggested didn't work. I ended up reinstalling Windows from scratch. When I finished up and restarted, it did the same exact thing.

    All I do on this machine is run a Plex Server, so this is ridiculous. It ran Windows 7 for 4 years without skipping a beat, but since making the move to 10, I've had nothing but issues. I migrated to 10 for the faster bootup, the Netflix app, which has surround sound, Cortana, and Halo 5: Forge. None of these things outweigh this stupidity.

  • awesome!
    my problem was that all uwp apps can't be seen on taskbar, nor as tiles on the start menu. this solution 1 here resolved that perfectly! thanks a lot!

  • are you people retarded? seriously, personally I'm here because my START BUTTON along with other microsoft elements on the taskbar DOESN'T WORK, and the first step of solution involves the opening of START MENU.

    WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

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