In this document, I will take you through, step-by-step, how to get around that annoying bug in Windows 10 where you click on the start menu and get that annoying error message stating that the Windows Start Menu, Cortana and some apps may not be available.

Windows 10 Start Menu Error

Before you run these steps, you must try the following first:

  • Run a check on file consistency
    • Right-click on the start-menu and choose 'Command Prompt Admin'
    • Accept the security message if you receive one
    • At the following prompt, enter 'sfc /scannow' and press Enter
    • The script will run and it will take up to a couple of hours, this is important
  • Reinstall the default Windows 10 apps
    • Right-click on the clock
    • Click on 'Task Manager'
    • Click 'File'
    • Click 'Run New Task'
    • Enter 'powershell' and press Enter
    • In the blue window (copy and paste this) enter this 'Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}'
    • Press Enter and allow the script to run. When completed (ignore the red text), restart your machine

It is important that both of these steps are completed as they ensure system files are intact and complete.

This basic process will take you less than 5 minutes to complete but the process of copying your data will depend on how much you have to copy.

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu and choose 'Command Prompt Admin'
    Accept the security warning if you get one

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 5

  2. You will be shown a black box with a cursor, at the prompt enter 'net user /add USERNAME PASSWORD' - replace the uppercase with the new username of your choice and the new password of your choice, then press Enter

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 3

  3. It will inform you that the command completed successfully
  4. Close this window with the X in the top corner
  5. Rick-click again on the Start Menu and select 'Control Panel'
  6. Double-click on 'User Accounts' - you may need to View By 'large icons'

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 6

  7. Click on 'Manage another Account'

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 7

  8. Select the account with the new username which you created earlier

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 8

  9. You will see the account is a 'Local Account', you need to change that by clicking on 'Change the account type'

    Windows 10 Start Menu Error - Step 9

  10. Select 'Administrator' and click 'Change Account Type'
  11. Close this window with the X in the corner after acknowledging any final windows
  12. Restart the computer by right-clicking on the Start Menu then selecting > 'Power' > 'Restart'
  13. When the machine restarts, the welcome screen will now display icons for both users, the new one and the old one. Select the new one. You will probably see a screen saying the system is preparing your desktop, getting things ready and your files are where you left them. 
  14. Once this is complete, you will see the desktop, once the machine settles down, try clicking on the Start Menu, it should now work. It will be set up with the default settings so you will need to reset these to how you prefer the menu to appear. Once you've done that, restart the machine again.
  15. When the machine restarts, log in as the original account, remember, the start menu doesn't work in here.
At this point, you are now ready to copy your files to the new profile. You must remember than any information stored within your profile will not be in the new one just created. This includes files, folders, preferences, settings etc. We will copy your files in the following steps but if you use applications which store information such as program content within your profile, that is beyond the scope of this document.

To copy your files:

  1. Right-click on the Start Menu and choose 'File Explorer' 
  2. Holding the left mouse-button down, click on the top bar of the window which appears and drag it to the right-hand side of the screen. It will 'snap' to half fill the screen
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2 but this time, drag the window the left of the screen. You will be left with a split screen.

    Split Screen

  4. In the left-hand pane of the left-hand window, click on the arrow beside 'This PC'
  5. Click the arrow next to 'C:\'
  6. Click the arrow next to 'Users'
  7. Click on your old Profile name and you will see the core folders within your profile
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 in the right-hand window but click on your new profile name
  9. Systematically, work down the folders for Contacts, Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Favourites, Music, Pictures and Videos.
    1. Open each folder in turn by double clicking on the folder, e.g: Documents to reveal the folder contents
    2. In the right-hand pane, double click on the corresponding folder in the new profile to show an empty folder
    3. In the left hand window, click any document, then press CTRL+A and all of the documents will be selected
    4. Press CTRL+C
    5. Move to the right-hand pane and click anywhere in the empty folder
    6. Press CTRL+V, copying from Documents to Documents will begin (or whichever folder you are currently doing)


    7. Wait for the copy to finish and then move onto the next folder copying the contents from the left window into the new folder in the right window. Copying Photos, Music and Videos will take some time if you have a lot
    8. Once the process is complete, you will have copied your files to the new profile. Log off from this profile and switch to the new one to ensure the files are where they should be

After you have your new profile, you will need to set up any remaining applications such as re-establish connections to your email accounts, log into apps such as Dropbox, One Drive, People etc, as far as the computer thinks, you are a new user.

Once all that is done, use the profile for a few weeks to ensure you have your files, once you're happy, you can delete the old profile.

There is no guarantee the fault won't occur again but this is a work-around. Rebuilding the machine is the final resort to fix the problem.