How To Fix Critical Error Start Menu And Cortana Aren’t Working

If you use the Windows 10 OS, then you are probably no stranger to issues cropping up. Despite the fact that almost 40 percent of desktops run this operating system, it is victim to various bugs and crashes. While some are relatively mild, there are others that are more inconvenient.

Such is the case of the issue:

“Windows 10 Critical Error Start Menu and Cortana aren’t Working”

This is something that a number of uses have been experiencing across the board. While Microsoft has been working to plug these issues as they appear, they haven’t been entirely successful.

The good news is that while the solution may be a bit tricky to figure out, it isn’t impossible. You simply need the right information and determination to solve this problem…

What Is the Cause of this Error?

There is a reason that this particular flaw continues to be a problem several years after it first emerged. This is because no one is quite sure what the root cause is. Of course, there are several theories as to what may be causing such an error.

Some believe that it may be due to incorrect Windows configuration. Others imagine that a clash with the given antivirus software is to blame. Then there are those that claim that damaged Windows updates are the source of the problems.

However, according to the solutions that have worked so far, it may be that there isn’t a singular cause. Instead, it could be a number of factors all rolled into one or the problem can change from device to device.

The Solutions to this Critical Error

As mentioned in the above sections, it is tough to narrow down just what causes this error. Due to this, it can be difficult to know which solution may work and which one might not. Thus, there are a variety of remedies available for this particular issue.

This is why you shouldn’t give up just because one avenue doesn’t work for you. For the best results, give them all a try until you find the one that sorts out the error for you. Here are the best options to consider:

Update Your Operating System

Remember how one of the possibilities laid out was damaged Windows updates? Well, if Microsoft has been notified of the issue, they may have already fixed the flaw and rolled out a patch. These can be found in the new updates.

Thus, the first thing that you should do is to check if there are any OS updates available. If possible, allow these to load onto your computer. If there is a patch here, you may find that the problem is sorted out by the time that your computer restarts.

Uninstall Antivirus Software

On occasion, your antivirus software may cause conflict with other programs on your computer. So, one of the first things that you can do is to disable your antivirus software. To do this, these are the steps:

Control Panel > Uninstall a Program > Antivirus program

Just double click on the program to uninstall it. Then, restart your computer and see if the problem is gone. If the issue has subsided, remember to download a new antivirus program and install it before doing anything else on the internet.

If the issue hasn’t abated, though, then you will have to consider other avenues.

Boot Your Computer in Safe Mode

One of the first things that you can try is to boot your computer in Safe Mode. This is a great option if any drivers or applications may be malfunctioning in any way. Booting in Safe Mode should be able to fix these. Here is how you can do this:

  • Press the Win key and type Settings into the search box that appears
  • In the results, select the Update and Recovery

Then, you can follow this process:

Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup settings > Restart

Of course, the above steps only really work if you are able to start your computer as normal. If you are having difficulty doing this, you will have to resort to another tactic. You can then try this:

Click on the Win key and press the Shift key. After this, this is the procedure:

Restart > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup settings > Restart

After your computer has booted up, you can select the Enable Safe Mode with Networking option.

Use Command Prompt

This next step is quite simple to carry out. To get things started, just right-click on the Start button. Here, you will be presented with a menu from which you must select Command Prompt (Admin). Once the window pops up, then type in the following:

ren %windir%\System32\AppLocker\Plugin*.* *.bak

Press on the Enter key and then restart the computer.

Scan for Corrupted Files

If the above solution didn’t work, then corrupted or damaged files may be to blame. Fortunately, finding these out is an easy process. As before, just right-click on the Start button to access the Command Prompt window. Then, type in the following text and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

If there is nothing wrong, then this message will appear, “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations”.

In case there was an error, though, then this message will pop up instead, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them. Details are included in the CBS.Log %WinDir%\Logs\CBS\CBS.log”.

To start resolving the errors here, open up Command Prompt once more and type this text in:

Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Fix Through Elevated PowerShell

For this trick, simply click on Win key + R and type in PowerShell into the bar, followed by the Enter key. When you do this, PowerShell will appear on the taskbar – right-click this. Then, select Run as Administrator.

After this, you should type the following into the window that appears and press the Enter key:

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

What happens afterwards may take a while so you will need to wait until it is complete. Once this has happened, open up Cortana or the Start menu to determine if the issue has been fixed.

There is no denying that these solutions can be rather varied and complex. However, if you are fortunate, one of these strategies should hold the key to your solution. So, go ahead and get started right away.

Updated: June 27, 2019

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