What to Do When the Start Button and Cortana Search Stops Working in Windows 10

Today’s post is in response to a recent reader question: “I use Windows 10 and for some reason, my Start menu and Cortana search field no longer work, which means I can’t really use my computer. Very frustrating. HELP!"

Windows 10 introduced a slew of new features when it was released last year. Two of those new features is an all-new Start menu and an integrated Cortana-based search engine. As with most technology, these new features can sometimes be a little buggy for the first year. In this case, it sounds like they are completely unusable. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is a solvable problem (and pretty easy, once you know how to solve it).

The first thing to try whenever you run into a problem with Windows is to restart your computer. I know that is very cliché, but it really does resolve most of the common issues that plague Windows PCs.

If a simple restart doesn’t solve it, it’s time to take out the big guns… the Command Prompt.

Since the Windows button doesn’t work, we will need to get to our Command Prompt another way. Let’s right-click on the Start button to reveal a hidden menu. From here, we’ll choose to run the application “Command Prompt (Admin)"

When the Command Prompt is open, we need to enter powershell mode. We do this by typing “powershell” at the prompt, followed by the enter key.

Next, we need to type the following command (it's best to copy and paste from below), followed by the enter key:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

This command will take a few minutes to run and you will see a lot of red text on the screen:

Don’t let this stress you out. It’s totally normal and expected. After it has completed running the command, you should be good to use the Start button and Cortana search again!

Posted on January 21, 2016 and filed under How To.