Windows 11 update is crashing Start Menu, Taskbar, Explorer and more

Windows 11 Start taskbar issues

Windows 11’s latest preview release appears to be causing a
whole host of serious problems for several users, including
unresponsive Start Menu, Taskbar, Explorer.exe, Windows
Settings, and other critical bits of the operating system
seemingly disappearing or broken.

This is happening to those who have installed
Windows 11 Build 22000.176 or
Build 22449, which are the latest round of preview updates
for Beta and Dev channel respectively. There is a range of
different issues reported by testers on the Feedback Hub and
our forum, but it appears that the tech giant has rolled out a
server-side fix.

At the moment, it’s not clear how widespread these Start Menu
and taskbar gremlins in the operating system might be. In some
cases, users are reporting that the Taskbar and Start menu are
totally blank, and an hourglass is displayed when users move
the cursor closer to the taskbar.

“In the new version, after startup, the taskbar disappears.
After restart, the machine runs slowly and the taskbar is
stuck. Repeated restarts are still invalid, any software can
not be operated, and some shortcut keys are invalid,” a user
noted in the Feedback Hub and there are similar complaints on
our forum.

Unresponsive Start Menu, Taskbar, Explorer, and slow context
menu in Windows 11

Today’s preview update for Windows 11 is playing with the core
interface of the operating system and the Start menu and
taskbar are unresponsive for a lot of users.

Some folks are also reporting that their context menu
(right-click) menu has become slow post-update and they receive
the following error message when they click on the
“personalization” option:

This file does not have an app associated with it for
performing this action. Please install an app or, if one is
already installed, create an association in the Default Apps
Settings page.

Windows 11 unresponsive taskbar

How to fix Start Menu, Taskbar, Explorer.exe crashes in Windows

If your Explorer.exe, Taskbar, Start Menu, Settings and other
areas of Windows 11 wouldn’t load, use these steps:

  • Open Task Manager using the traditional shortcut
  • In Task Manager, make sure the “More details” option is
  • Click on “File”.
  • Select “Run new task”.
  • Type “cmd” in the “Open” field.
  • In Command Prompt, copy and paste the following
    reg delete
    HKCUSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionIrisService /f
    && shutdown -r -t 0
  • Press enter.

Your desktop will now reboot and the taskbar/Start menu will
appear again.

If you’re still unable to access Start Menu, Taskbar, Settings
or File Explorer and desktop is blank, you can also uninstall
the update by following these steps:

  • Open Task Manager using Ctrl + Alt +
  • Click File.
  • Click Run New Task.
  • Type in Control Panel and click OK.
  • In Control Panel, navigate to Programs
    > Programs & Features.
  • Click on “View Installed Updates“.
  • Select “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB5006050) and
    uninstall it.
  • Reboot.

Some users tried a different workaround by changing their clock
to 24 hours (one day) into the future, rebooting, and then
changing it back. That’s not a confirmed workaround, but it
appears to be working for some folks.

As we mentioned at the outset, Windows 11’s Start menu and
taskbar loading issue affect both version 21H2 (which is set to
ship on October 5) and Nickel development branch builds.

However, Microsoft has clarified that the bug is hitting
devices that have received a server-side patch and it has
nothing to do with the preview builds released today, so you
can install the updates without worrying about these issues.

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