How to Fix “Critical Error - Start menu and Cortana aren't working” error on Windows 10?

by Julie Splinters - -
12

Question

Issue: How to Fix “Critical Error - Start menu and Cortana aren't working” error on Windows 10?

I have one issue on my laptop. I have installed an upgrade to Windows 10 about a week ago, and no problems until yesterday. For now, after signing in to Windows 10, a window comes up saying “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in.” There is a button on that window that says “Sign out now.” When I click on it, the laptop restarts and I’m able to enter my password. After that, the same critical error shows up again. Could you please help me to get out of this vicious circle?

Solved Answer

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Windows 10 is unpopular due to a heavy occurrence of system errors. Registry errors, update errors, software compatibility errors, hardware errors, and similar are disrupting millions of Windows 10 users every day. While Microsoft is continuously working on the improvement of its newest OS version, the amount of bugs is so big that each of them cannot be solved quickly. Several days ago one of the followers of our blog informed us about “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working. We’ll try to fix it the next time you sign in” error, which happens right after signing in to Windows 10 PC. After this report, we’ve initiated a research and found out that this bug is quite common, especially for those who have installed Windows 10 Update KB3194798. The reason of “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working” error is not clear yet, but there are several speculations that it might be springing due to incorrect Windows configuration, conflict with antivirus software or damaged Windows update files. Despite the fact that there is no official patch published, IT specialists have revealed several fixes that might help in this situation.

How to Fix “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working” error on Windows 10?

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Since it’s not clear what kind of system problems prompt “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working” error to show up, the first thing that you should try is a system boot in Safe Mode. For that, perform these steps:

Solution 1. Boot your PC In Safe Mode

  1. Press Win key and type Settings in the search box.
  2. Click on the search results and select Update and recovery option.
  3. Navigate to the Recovery and find Advanced startup.
  4. Under this option, select Restart now.
  5. Then click Troubleshoot and select Advanced options.
  6. After that, find Startup Settings and press Restart.
  7. To Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt, press F6 on your keyboard.
  8. Type start %windir%\explorer.exe “C:\Program Files (x86) in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter.

These steps apply in case you are able to boot up your PC in Normal Mode. In case you are not able to boot your PC, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Click Power button and press Shift key.
  2. Select Restart and then Troubleshoot.
  3. Click Advanced options and select Startup Settings.
  4. Finally, select Restart.
  5. When the system boots up, select Enable Safe Mode with Networking.

Solution 2. Open an Elevated PowerShell

  1. Click Win key + R, type PowerShell, and press Enter.
  2. Right-click on the search results and select Run as Administrator.
  3. Type Get-AppXPackage –AllUsers | Foreach {Add –AppXPackage –DisableDevelopmentMode –Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”} in the PowerShell window.
  4. The process will be carried out for several minutes, so be patient.
  5. Once done, check if the “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working” bug has been fixed. Since usually it emerged when clicking on the Start (or Cortana) key, try to press it and see what happens.

In case you are still unable to perform some task on your Windows 10 due to this error, try to disable your antivirus or install all available Windows updates. Besides, a full system scan with an optimization utility, such as Reimage may also help to fix “Critical Error – Start menu and Cortana aren’t working”.

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About the author

Julie Splinters - Computer optimization specialist

When it comes to computer optimization, Julie Splinters is the expert. Whether it is a slow smartphone, Windows, Mac or Linux operating system, she will find a solution within minutes.

Contact Julie Splinters
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