SOLVED Start Button Doesn't Work


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My Start Button, and all my Apps, Cortana, the Action Center - all of them recently quit working. I posted on the Microsoft Community and was getting some help from a couple of Microsoft Support Engineers, but they have stopped responding to my posts and I am still in a bind with my computer. Here was my original post:

"
My problem is similar to some posts but a bit more extensive. Upgraded my Lenovo Thinkpad S230 U (Twist), which was designed for and shipped with Window 8 and was later updated to 8.1, to Windows 10 several months ago. Had some issues initially, most notably that my USB 3.0 dock would not work. Finally got video working by installing appropriate drivers, but still sound would not work using external USB speakers attached to this dock. This mysteriously just started working correctly recently after what I am suspicious was an update to Microsoft's implementation of USB 3.0 in Windows 10, which seemed to just happen by itself in the background one night. I have this suspicion because another Lenovo machine I have which shipped with Windows 7 was also upgraded to Windows 10 without any USB issues at all, but it did not have any USB 3.0 ports and it's dock was USB 2.

Anyway, I didn't get to enjoy everything working on my S230 for very long because all of a sudden the Start button quit working. Also a few other things quit which I will detail below, but first I want to give some details about the Start button. Clicking on it does nothing. But if I right click on it, a context menu opens up with many of the Start commands on it, but none of my programs and no way to get to them. If I hit the "Windows" key, nothing happens, even if I hit it in combination with Control, or Shift, or Alt. The full programs I have pinned to the taskbar work fine. However, Search/Cortana is not open and will not respond. Further, I have Calculator and Windows Store apps pinned to start and they will not work. Only an empty blue window opens when I click those. I cannot find any other apps to try to test because I don't know how to get to them to try them. Also, the Action Center will not appear if I swipe in from the right.

I did some research on the problem online and one suggestion was to make sure all updates are installed. However, Windows update no longer appears in Control Panel. Further online research determined that this was a change implemented by Microsoft and that I would find Windows Update in the Settings app. Well I can't find the Settings app, or any other app except the two that are pinned to my taskbar.

While all this is happening, my mouse pointer seems to move a bit sluggishly and I get the feeling that there is something major going on in the background. I scanned with Windows Defender and found nothing amiss. I pressed Ctl-Alt-Del and opened Task Manager. There I find that there are 19 processes in one line called Service Host : Local System (19) using about 33% of CPU and 30% of physical memory almost continuously and this never stops. One of these processes by the way is Windows Update. This hasn't been present in the past because I often check this.

Unlike other posters, I am able to use Internet Explorer (thank God) but Edge only opens with a blank window and does not respond.

The whole thing is very perplexing. I am not exactly a novice and can usually troubleshoot these things myself, but I am at a loss for where to begin. It sort of looks to me like there is major corruption in one or more system files?!

Please help.

Frank Fazzio"

Following the advice I got at the Microsoft Community, I did several things which I will now detail:

First I received these instructions:

"Step 1: If you are unable to perform the above mentioned steps, I suggest you to run the PowerShell command and check:

  1. Press CTRL+Shift+ESC, to open the Task manager.

  2. Click File > Run New Task.

  3. Make sure you have a check mark beside “Create this task with administrative privileges

  4. Type Powershell.

  5. Type the following in the Powershell prompt:

    $manifest = (Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.WindowsStore).InstallLocation + '\AppxManifest.xml'; Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $manifest

  6. Close the Powershell window.

  7. Reboot/Restart the computer.
Step 2: Run SFC Scan.

What is SFC (System File Checker)?

System File Checker is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files.

Follow the steps given in the below article to perform SFC scan:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/929833?ppud=4&wa=wsignin1.0

Note: Steps applies to Windows 10 as well.

Step 3: If the issue persists, perform DISM.

  1. Press Windows key + X.
    Click command prompt (Run as administrator).
  2. In the Administrator: Command Prompt window, type the following commands. Press Enter key after each command:
  3. DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  4. To close the Administrator: Command prompt window, type Exit, and then press Enter
Let us know if it helps. For further assistance feel free to post your queries in Microsoft forums. We will be glad to assist you.

So I did those things:

"1. I ran the powershell, copied and pasted the command above in Step1: 5 and hit enter. It seemed to do its thing. I closed the powershell window and rebooted.

2. I ran the SFC Scan. I had a little trouble with this, because Search is not working. However, I discovered that if I right click on the start button, a context menu opens up and one of the choices is "Command Prompt (Administrator). So I was able to run a console session and ran the "sfc /scannow" command. In fact, I ran it twice. Each time it returned something like the following: "Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations." Just to be sure, I shut down and rebooted.

3. I ran command prompt as an administrator again and I ran

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

It returned, "Operation completed successfully. No component store corruption detected"

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

It returned, "The restore operation completed successfully. The operation completed successfully."

I rebooted.

Well nothing changed. Start button still doesn't work. None of my Windows apps work, Edge, Photos, Calculator, etc. So I guess I need to know what to do next."

Next I received the following instructions:

"I suggest you to create a new User Account and check if issue occurs.

To create a new User Account follow these steps:

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Type ‘Add, delete and manage other user accounts’ in search box.
  4. Now click on ‘Add someone else to this pc’.
  5. And follow the instructions to create a new User Account.
Hope this information helps. Reply to the post with an updated status of the issue so that we can assist you further."

So I did this as outlined here:

"Well, after some holiday travel, I'm back trying to get my PC running again. I followed your instructions but with a little bit of difficulty:

1. Click on START. Well START doesn't work!! But I right clicked on it, and found I could choose CONTROL PANEL.

2. Click on SETTINGS. SETTINGS is not a choice in CONTROL PANEL.

3. Type 'add, delete and manage other user accounts' in search box. When I typed this into the search box in CONTROL PANEL, there were no matches. Must be a command from a different version of Windows, not 10. (? 8.1)

From CONTROL PANEL I chose USER ACCOUNTS, then MANAGE ANOTHER ACCOUNT, and then at the bottom of the list in that window, I chose the link 'add a new user in PC settings.' In that window I chose not the family option, but rather, 'add someone else to this PC.' I added a new user with administrator privileges. I shut down and rebooted. I logged in as the new user. Didn't change anything. START button did not work. None of the apps that I can get to work, 'Windows Store', Microsoft Edge.'

Any other ideas? I can tell you that I went looking for a restore point with a date earlier than the problem began. It appears that when Windows 10 Upgrade (from 8.1) was installed, System Restore was turned off. I didn't know this, so I did not go back and turn it on again. I have ZERO restore points."

So here I am, still dead in the water. As I type this, the letters appear with a five second delay!!! Hope you have some suggestions and thank you for your assistance.
Frank Fazzio
 

Trouble

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Well I can't find the Settings app
Right click the start button and choose "Run" and in the run dialog box type
ms-settings:settings
hit enter or click OK.

Normally I would associate the kind of problems you are having with a corrupt user profile, but....
I see that you report that you have created a new local user account as a member of the local administrator's group (not a standard user) and that had no effect on your problem.

I would suggest booting the System into Safe Mode or Safe Mode with networking and see if that has any impact at all on the problem.
https://www.windows10forums.com/articles/safe-mode.3/
Option #4 or #5 when you arrive at the appropriate page.
 
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Right click the start button and choose "Run" and in the run dialog box type
ms-settings:settings
hit enter or click OK.

Normally I would associate the kind of problems you are having with a corrupt user profile, but....
I see that you report that you have created a new local user account as a member of the local administrator's group (not a standard user) and that had no effect on your problem.

I would suggest booting the System into Safe Mode or Safe Mode with networking and see if that has any impact at all on the problem.
https://www.windows10forums.com/articles/safe-mode.3/
Option #4 or #5 when you arrive at the appropriate page.

WOW!!!!!!!
I followed your two suggestions above and I have learned a great deal about what has been going on. I am going to post a pretty lengthy reply here - because I think it may help someone else who might experience my problem.

Using the Run Command, I was able to open Settings. I went to Windows Update and what I saw was very revealing. Windows Update just displayed the little scrolling dots - it was in the middle of doing something!!! This is consistent with what I had previously observed. To get the full picture of what this means, you need to read two more parts of my post when I was trying to solve this problem at the Microsoft Community:

... my mouse pointer seems to move a bit sluggishly and I get the feeling that there is something major going on in the background. I scanned with Windows Defender and found nothing amiss. I pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del and opened Task Manager. There I find that there are 19 processes in one line called Service Host : Local System (19) using about 33% of CPU and 30% of physical memory almost continuously and this never stops. One of these processes by the way is Windows Update. This hasn't been present in the past because I often check this.

And another part of this prior post:

This evening I turned on my Surface Pro I. (This is NOT the computer with trouble that I am posting about, which is a Lenovo Thinkpad S230 U (Twist)). It (the Surface) was powered off, not asleep. Upon booting it quickly became clear that it was in the middle of an update installation and it soon told me my computer needed to restart. I let it go ahead and restart. At one point it seemed to hang for a long time while saying "restarting." Then a blue screen appeared that said something like : "Your computer has encountered a problem with its power state. Please wait while we gather some information about this." This message was accompanied by a large smiley face icon placed on its side in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Well, I have seen this screen before!! A week or two ago, the Lenovo with the trouble seemed to be acting up and I decided to shut it down. (I can see now that it was in the middle of an update in the background.) When I told it to shut down, it started to do so, but then that same screen appeared. I did not recognize this as a genuine Microsoft type message and was alarmed and felt that there was some background process - malware - that was hijacking my computer. So I did a manual forced power down using the power button!! I seems clear now that what I have done is to cause a loss of power in the middle of an update.


So back to following your suggestions.

I restarted my computer in SAFE MODE WITH NETWORKING. Once in safe mode, I could use my start button and I could open the action center. However, none of my apps would work. Each time I tried to open Edge, Calculator, Microsoft Store, etc., I got the same message: "App (Calculator, Edge, etc.) can't be opened using the built in administrator account. Sign in with a different account and try again." I tried opening WORD, and I got this message: "Something went wrong. We couldn't open your program. Please try starting it again. If it won't start, try repairing it from "Programs and Features' in Control Panel." I also noted that I did not have internet access. Internet Explorer would state, "You are not connected to a network." Well I was in safe mode with networking, but on this particular Lenovo, WiFi is turned off and it gets to the internet by a hard-wired Ethernet connection to my router, - but that Ethernet cable is plugged into a docking station and the Lenovo attaches to the docking station with a USB 3.0 cable!!! So, I reasoned, that one of the drivers not started in Safe Mode was USB 3.0. I have had a lot of trouble with USB 3.0 ever since upgrading to Windows 10! Well, I decided that I had made enough observations and I should next reboot into Normal Mode and then return to this forum and post my observations and see what suggestions I might receive next. So I shut down the computer, and then powered it back up. WHEN I DID THIS, I COULD TELL THAT SOMETHING WAS HAPPENING DURING THE BOOT UP, MUCH LIKE DURING A REBOOT IN THE MIDDLE OF AN UPDATE!!!!!! I crossed my fingers! And when my computer finished booting up, the start button now worked, all of my apps worked, the action center worked, and as far as I can tell up to this point, everything is back to normal!!! Someone more knowledgeable than me knows what happened, but to me it seems like booting up in safe mode without certain drivers (USB 3.0 ?) permitted Windows Update to finish doing what it had been trapped in ever since I powered the system down in the middle of an update, and that got things going again. And now when I check Windows Update, it is in the middle of downloading new updates. So it looks now like my problem is solved - I think. Windows Update has been at the same '66% of updates downloaded' for the past two hours, and as I type this, the letters are appearing on the screen with some latency delay! So something major is still going on in the background. I guess we'll just see, but we certainly have made major progress.

Thank you for your assistance.
Frank Fazzio
 
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I found a solution to the problem "left click on the start button doesn't work". It may be a solution that applies in a few situations....it worked for me. I like its simplicity. Right clicking on the start button produced a column of "plain" selections that includes a path to "Restart". I selected Restart and when the screen appeared that has the two selections of "Windows 10" and "System Restore" I chose system restore. In the following screen, I opted NOT to restore by selecting the red X. After a few minutes the screen with the two options reappeared, I selected Windows 10. The PC continued to boot normally. The left click on the start button now works perfectly. I hope this helps someone. (note that the original problem persisted through several shut down and restart cycles, so perhaps the "trick" that worked for me was more than a coincidence or dumb luck)
 

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