How to Fix: Windows 10 Start Menu Not Working

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Sam S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

A few days ago I booted my computer to the Windows 10 desktop, but now my Windows 10 start menu doesn't work. If I click on the start menu, it doesn't do anything at all - no menu, no tiles - nothing at all! The only options I have are the Windows 10 task bar which allows me to click on Microsoft Edge browser, so I can at least get on the Internet. Can you tell me why my Windows 10 start menu disappeared? I need to get into my tiles so can access my apps. Thanks for any help you can offer. "

My response:

This is a very vexing problem (based on my experience) and also happens to be a very frequently asked question. I just spent almost this entire weekend trying to fix a broken Windows 10 start menu for another user via my remote desktop service, and I can say that 'your mileage may vary', depending on how badly corrupt the start menu or user profile is. That said, many of the 'fixes' I came across online were rather confusing and long winded, and some were not even necessary. As such, I have optimized the steps necessary to fix a broken and disappearing windows 10 start menu - described below.

How to Fix: Windows 10 Start Menu Not Working

As I mentioned above: when the windows 10 start menu stops working, it is usually because of a corrupt user profile, or user profile setting. Oftentimes this can be fixed if you can reset the profile setting, which happens to be located in the user profile "Tile Data Layer" database folder. The steps below explain how to just that.

To do so:

  1. Bookmark this page so you can access it later (you may need to). Save and close all of your work, such as open documents, etc - except for the web browser. Next, right click the task bar and select Task Manager from the dialogue menu; when Task Manager appears, click the File -> Run new task. In the "Create new task" window, type in "cmd" (no quotes), then check mark the option that says "Create this task with administrative privileges," then click OK. If successful, a black administrative command prompt window will appear.
     
  2. Next, highlight the text below using your mouse:

    taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    rename %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database.old
    start explorer
    echo this is a dummy line
     
  3. Right click over the highlighted text above, then select Copy from the dialogue menu.
     
  4. Go to the administrative command prompt you opened in Step #1 and right click in the middle of the window, then select Paste. The text you copied in Step #2 should now be output onto the command line, your task bar should now appear, and your "Tile Data Layer" database folder should now have been regenerated by Windows. Try clicking on the Start button - hopefully it should now work.
     
  5. If that didn't fix your Start menu, continue on. The next sequence of commands requires the Windows firewall be temporarily disabled so that files can be downloaded to your machine in order to fix the parts of the broken Start menu. To do so: right click the task bar and select Task Manager from the dialogue menu; when Task Manager appears, click the File -> Run new task. In the "Create new task" window, type in "powershell" (no quotes), then check mark the option that says "Create this task with administrative privileges," then click OK. A blue Windows PowerShell window should now appear. Next, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    NetSh Advfirewall set allprofiles state off
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
    NetSh Advfirewall set allprofiles state on
    cls; echo "`nTask complete - try using the Start Menu now.`n"
    echo this is a dummy line
     
  6. Right click over top of the highlighted text above and select Copy from the dialogue menu. Next, right click in the middle of the Power Shell window you opened up in the previous step and select Paste from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #5 should now have been output onto the command line. This process will take a while - anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes or longer; if you see red text being output during the process, you can safely ignore it. At the end, your firewall will be re-enabled and the Power Shell window will say "Task Complete - try using the Start Menu now." Do just that.
     
  7. If that did not fix it, another option is to copy over the Tile Database Layer folder from another, properly working user account; in this case, we will use the built-in Administrator account. To do so: right click the task bar and select Task Manager from the dialogue menu; when Task Manager appears, click the File -> Run new task. In the "Create new task" window, type in "cmd" (no quotes), then check mark the option that says "Create this task with administrative privileges," then click OK. Next, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    net user administrator /active:yes
    echo this is a dummy line
     
  8. Right click over top of the highlighted text, then select Copy from the dialogue menu. Go to the administrative command prompt, then right click in the middle of the window and select Paste from the dialogue menu. The text you copied in Step #7 should now be output onto the command line.
     
  9. Bookmark this page if you have not already, and optionally print this page - please also read Step #10 and #11 before you execute this step. In the following instructions, you will need to log off as the current user, then sign on as the Administrator user to generate the Administrator desktop profile. Following that, you will then need to log off as Administrator, then sign back on as your regular user account and come back to this web page.

    To do so: right click the task bar and select Task Manager from the dialogue menu; when Task Manager appears, click the File -> Run new task. In the "Create new task" window, type in "shutdown /l" (do not use quotes). IMPORTANT: the command to type in is: the word 'shutdown' followed by a space, followed by a forward slash, followed by the L key - as in 'logoff'. Next, check mark the option that says "Create this task with administrative privileges," then click OK. If successful, you will be logged off of Windows.
     
  10. Click the Welcome Screen picture to activate the sign on, then select the Administrator account near the bottom left of the screen - do not login to your account yet. Once the administrator user is selected, it will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to generate the Administrator's desktop profile.
     
  11. When you reach the administrator desktop, the Start menu should work. Click Start, then click the Administrator's name at the top of the Start menu, and select "Sign out". When you get back to the Welcome Screen, login as your user as you normally would. If the Administrator's Start menu isn't working either, then you have a very deeply rooted problem - in that case, you can stop now and optionally contact me below (see: Additional Support: From Dennis) section.
     
  12. Next, right click the task bar and select Task Manager from the dialogue menu; when Task Manager appears, click the File -> Run new task. In the "Create new task" window, type in "cmd" (no quotes), then check mark the option that says "Create this task with administrative privileges," then click OK. Next, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    Taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
    net stop tiledatamodelsvc
    move %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database.old2
    net stop tiledatamodelsvc
    mkdir %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database
    net stop tiledatamodelsvc
    copy c:\users\administrator\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\Database %userprofile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\database
    net start tiledatamodelsvc
    start explorer
    echo this is a dummy line

With any luck, that would have copied over a the "Tile Data Layer" database folder from the Administrator's account onto your account, and the Start menu should now work. If it does not, then you may have some other deeply rooted problems - and in that case, you are welcome to contact me (described next).

Additional Support: From Dennis

If this is all over your head, or if you can't get your Start Menu working even after reading this guide, I can connect to your computer and troubleshoot this problem for you using my remote desktop service. Simply send me a message using the contact page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

therobertsonsca_0106's picture

I'm so happy my problem has been resolved. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I was thinking I was going to have to take notebook to a tech. You're the best. Yeah I'm probably over doing it, but you made my day. THANK YOU.

Dennis Faas's picture

You're quite welcome. If you or anyone else reading this needs help with anything to do with the computer, I can assist by remote. Just send me an email and I'll do my best to answer ASAP!