Windows Button Not Working [13 Ways To Fix It]

Reading time: 11 min read
Deyan Georgiev
Written by
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Oct 25, 2023

Deyan Georgiev
Website Manager | Joined October 2021 | LinkedIn
Deyan Georgiev

Deyan is an avid enthusiast and self-proclaimed fan of the Windows operating system. His passion for... | See full bio

Lorie Tonogbanua
Edited by
Lorie Tonogbanua


Lorie Tonogbanua
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Lorie Tonogbanua

Lorie is an English Language and Literature graduate passionate about writing, research, and learnin... | See full bio

Techjury is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

The Windows Start button is integral to the Windows interface. It’s also regarded as the operating system's central hub. This button is typically located in the lower-left corner of your screen. From the Windows Start menu, you can access the following features easily:

  • search bar
  • recently used programs
  • apps you have pinned
  • other system settings 

Sometimes, the Windows Start button becomes unclickable or does not work at all. This can happen for various reasons, and troubleshooting is essential to resolving the problem. 

In this article, you will learn different methods to fix a Windows Start button that’s not working.

🔑 Key Takeaways:

  • The Windows Start button is a crucial element of the Windows operating system, providing access to apps, settings, and other functions. 
  • A simple restart can help resolve the unresponsive Windows button.
  • Outdated Windows systems can cause computer issues, including a Windows button not working. Manually checking for updates can help resolve the problem. 
  • Booting into Safe Mode can troubleshoot the problem with the Window button. 
  • If all other methods fail to address the problem of Windows buttons not working, factory resetting Windows can be a last option.

Methods to Fix Unresponsive Window Buttons

It could be frustrating when your Windows Start button freezes or becomes unresponsive. It may interfere with some of your computer tasks. Fortunately, you have several options for diagnosing and resolving the problem.

The methods listed below will help you restore the functionality of the Windows Start button on your computer:

1. Restart Your Windows PC

Before trying more complex ways to fix your Windows Start button, consider restarting your PC as the first step. Typically, a quick restart can resolve temporary glitches that cause your Windows Start button to be unresponsive.

Since you cannot access the Windows button, here’s an alternative way to restart your PC:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
  2. Click the Power button.
  3. Select Restart

📝 Note:

Press and hold the power button to shut down your PC manually. Save and close everything you work on before shutting down to avoid losing data. To restart your device, press the power button again.

2. Update Windows System

Updating Windows is one of the easiest ways to resolve most issues on your PC, including an unresponsive Windows Start button. Windows updates often include new features and bug fixes that can address issues with the Start button.

To check and update your Windows system, do the following:

1. Go to Settings by pressing the Windows key + I.  

2. Enter Updates in the search bar. 

3. Click on the Check for Updates option. 

Settings search result check for updates

4. If an update is available, click on Install Now

Windows update download and install

5. Restart your computer once the update is complete. 

Another method for resolving an unresponsive Windows Start button is to update drivers. Learn more about it in the next section.

3. Update Drivers

🔖 Definition:

Drivers are software components facilitating communication between your hardware devices and the operating system.

Windows drivers are automatically updated during the Windows update cycle, but you can also check these updates manually. Incompatible, outdated, or malfunctioning drivers can affect the Start button and the overall system functions.

Here are the steps to update drivers manually and resolve a non-functional Windows button on Windows 10 or 11:

1. Press the Windows key + X

2. Select Device Manager to open the Device Manager window.

Open Device Manager

3. Look for the driver you wish to update. Right-click, then select Update driver

Device manager update driver

4. Decide which option to take: 

Device driver: How do you want to search for drivers? 

Choosing the Search automatically for drivers instructs Windows to search the system for the best driver available and install it automatically. 

The following entries can also be examined to see if a driver can be updated:

  • Display Adapters
  • Sound
  • Video
  • Game Controllers

4. Perform a Malware Scan 

Different types of malware can cause the Windows Start button to fail to work properly. This malicious software can manipulate system processes, files, and computer settings.

Run a virus scan to find and remove malware to fix an unresponsive Windows button. One reputable antivirus solution is Surfshark Antivirus. With its advanced features and proactive approach, Surfshark can help keep your system safe and secure sensitive data.

💡 Did You Know? 

Windows computers were the targets of 83% of all Malware attacks in Q1 2020. It has been considered the most vulnerable operating system for a long time, with a higher rate of cybercrime

5. Unhide the Taskbar

There are cases when you can’t use the Windows Start button simply because it is hidden in the taskbar. Windows provides an option to hide the taskbar to maximize screen space automatically. You can hide the Windows Start button and other taskbar icons if this feature is enabled.

To unhide the Windows Start button in Windows 11, move your mouse to the bottom of the screen, and it will appear on its own.  

If, for some reason, you still can’t unhide your Windows Start menu, you can do these steps:

1. Press Windows key + I.

2. Select Personalization and hover over the taskbar.

Settings > Personalization > Taskbar

3. Click Taskbar Behaviors

4. Uncheck Automatically hide the taskbar.

Personalization taskbar, unchecked ‘Automatically hides the taskbar’

The taskbar will automatically appear at the bottom of your computer’s screen.

6. Restart  Windows File Explorer

File Explorer, previously known as Windows Explorer, is a file management application found in every version of Windows. It ensures that all the programs on your computer are running smoothly. 

An issue with an unresponsive Windows Start button can be resolved by restarting Windows Explorer. Follow the steps below to restart Windows File Explorer: 

1. Right-click the taskbar at the bottom of your screen.

2. Click Task Manager.

Right click on the taskbar to show the task manager

3. Select Details.

4. You will find Windows Explorer in the Processes tab under Apps.

5. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.

Windows Explorer select Restart

6. Wait for Explorer to restart and check whether the Windows button has regained function.

7. Remove Corrupt Files

Corrupt files are files that have become damaged, altered, or distorted. These are typically the root of many Windows issues, including an unresponsive Windows Star button. 

The good thing is that Windows' built-in System File Checker (SFC) can fix broken files via the command line. To run an SFC scan, follow these steps:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open Command Prompt.

2. Enter cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run as an Administrator. 

Command prompt using the run dialog

3. In the Command Prompt, type SFC/scannow and hit Enter.

CMD SFC/Scannow, verification 100% complete 

Once the scan is complete, a pop-up message determines the problem with the system files. 

📝 Note:

If you have any corrupt files on your computer, you will most likely receive a message like this: Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.

You may get a message stating that the SFC tool cannot repair some corrupt files. In this case, you will have to replace them manually.

8. Re-Register Built-in Windows Apps with PowerShell Tool

Another solution to the unresponsive Windows Start button is to re-register all the built-in apps using the PowerShell tool. 

🔖 Definition:

PowerShell is a cross-platform task automation solution comprising a command-line shell, a scripting language, and a configuration management framework. Users can use this to automate processes that need repetitions, making work easier and minimizing the chances of errors. 

Below are the steps to re-register built-in Windows apps using PowerShell:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog. 

2. Type PowerShell, hold down Ctrl + Shift, and click OK. This will open the PowerShell terminal with administrative privileges. 

Administrator Windows PowerShell 

3. In PowerShell, copy and paste this command: Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLhit ocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

Administrator Windows PowerShell with command entered

4. Hit Enter

Give it five to ten minutes, and do not close the PowerShell window until it is done. When the process is complete, restart your computer and see if this solves your problem with the Windows button. 

📝 Note:

While the Get-AppXPackage command is running, you may see scary errors. Don't be anxious about them. Most are just warnings about why you cannot reinstall a program.

9. Rebuild Indexing Options

Indexing is a built-in Windows 10 function that inspects your PC's files, emails, and other content. Rebuilding indexing can refresh the search index, potentially resolving issues and improving the overall functionality of the Windows Start menu. 

Here’s a quick guide on rebuilding the Windows 10 index:

1. Press the Windows key + S and type Indexing in the search box.

2. Click on Indexing Options.

3. In the Indexing Options window, click Modify.

Indexing options, click modify

4. From here, click the Show All Locations button.

5. Then, uncheck all the ticked boxes and select OK.

 Indexed location uncheck all ticked boxes

6. Click on Advanced, and then in the Troubleshooting section, click Rebuild.

Indexed settings advanced options rebuild and ok

7. You will see a message that says the rebuild could take a while. Click OK and wait until the process is finished.

8. Once it is done, restart your computer and try clicking the Search button again.

Cortana files could sometimes be why your Windows button is not working. To learn how to disable it, read the next section. 

10. Disable Temporary Cortana Files

Cortana is Microsoft’s visual assistant integrated into Windows, providing voice and text-based interaction to assist users with various tasks. However, many Windows users have disabled Cortana due to its poor system integration. 

On top of this, Cortana's high CPU usage causes many Windows issues, including the malfunctioning Windows 10 Start button.

Check the following steps to disable Cortana: 

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box

2. Type Regedit and press Enter.

3. Right-click on the Windows Search folder in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Registry editor, select new, then DWORD (32-bit) Value

4. Name the new value AllowCortana. Then, double-click it and set the value to zero.

Registry editor edit DWORD (32-bit) value set to zero

5. Click OK and close the Registry Editor.

Restart your computer and check if the Start button has regained function.

11. Create a New Registry

Another fix for the malfunctioning Windows button is to create a new registry. The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores configuration settings and options for the operating system and installed applications. 

If registry entries create problems with the Windows Start button, creating a new registry might help resolve the issue. 

⚠️ Warning:

Modifying the Windows registry can have serious consequences if done incorrectly. It is recommended to back up your registry before making any changes. 

To start a new registry, follow this procedure:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box

2. Tap Enter to open the Registry Editor

3. Right-click anywhere on the screen and click New>DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Registry right click, from new click DWORD (32-bit) Value

4. Name the new file EnableXamlStartMenu.

New file EnableXamlStartMenu

5. Restart your PC, and the Start button should be fixed.

If this does not work, you might need to start your computer in Safe Mode. Learn more about this method in the next section. 

12. Boot into Safe Mode

🔖 Definition:

Safe mode is a diagnostic mode that loads a basic set of drivers and files, excluding unnecessary components. It disables most third-party software-related issues. 

If the problem causing the Windows Start menu doesn't happen in Safe Mode, the default settings and drivers aren’t causing the issue.

Here’s how you start Windows 11 in Safe Mode and resolve a faulty Windows Start button:

1. Press the Windows key + S

2. Click System in the left pane and click Recovery to open.

System recovery 

3. Click Advanced Startup

System recovery Advanced startup restart button

4. A reminder reads: We will restart your device, so save your work. Make sure to save your work before clicking Restart Now.

System recovery warning message to save your work and restart now button

1. When your PC reboots, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings.

2. Click the Restart button and allow the restart process to complete.

3. Select how you want to use Safe Mode on your PC.

You can also choose to do a factory reset to address the problem. Continue reading to find out how it can solve the problem.

13. Restore/Factory Reset Windows

If all of the previous techniques fail to fix the unresponsive Windows Start button, a Windows core function may be to blame. The last option here is to restore or factory reset Windows.

⚠️ Warning:

When you perform a factory reset, Windows will return to its default settings. To avoid losing your data, it is best to do a backup before a factory reset.  

Below is an easy step for factory reset on Windows 11:

1. Press the Windows key + I to open Settings

2. In Settings, click Update and Security.

3. Select Recovery from the side panel and click on Reset PC.

System > Recovery > Reset this PC

4. Choose ‘Keep my files’ in the dialogue box that pops up.

PC reset option: Keep my files

5. Click on Local Reinstall

How would you like to reinstall Windows? Choose ‘Local reinstall’

6. Change your settings and set Restore preinstalled apps? to No

📝 Note:

If you do not see the option to Restore preinstalled apps, your PC doesn't have  preinstalled apps configured.


An unresponsive Windows Start button can be frustrating, affecting how you navigate your computer. However, the good thing is that various effective troubleshooting methods exist. 

From restarting Windows to booting your PC into Safe Mode, you can choose various means. By following any methods you are comfortable with, your Windows Start button can function seamlessly.


Why is my Windows key not working on my keyboard?

One possible reason your Windows key is locked is when you accidentally hit the Windows lock key. Check if you have a Windows lock on your keyboard.

How do I show all apps in the Start menu in Windows 10?

To get all your apps to show up in the Start menu, navigate to Settings>Personalization>Start page. Make sure that the Show Apps list is turned on. 

How do I access the Settings on my PC without the Start Menu?

To access Settings, you can use the Run window by hitting the Windows key + R, typing ms-settings, and then pressing Enter. Another way is to press the Windows key + I.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.