Fix: Start menu, Cortana, Notification Area not launching in windows 10

Story by Abhilash on Windows


From Day 1 after upgrading to Windows 10, exactly 1 year before, there was an annoying bug which stabs me randomly when I try to use my Windows 10 PC.

Below were various symptoms:

  1. Start menu not launching
  2. Cortana UI not launching
  3. Notification area not launching
  4. Start menu and Notification area launches, but Cortana UI not launching

In symptom #4, if you try to perform a search after launching Start menu, nothing will happen since Cortana UI can’t be launched.

Searching through Microsoft Answers forums showed that this bug is dated back before the RTM release of Windows 10 which means they exists during Preview build days but neither of the solution worked perfectly. It’s still an open bug as far as I am concerned. Most of the solution suggested are:

  1. Run a lengthy PowerShell script
  2. Create new local account and copy settings
  3. Series of registry edits
  4. Scan for file system errors
  5. Restore your PC to previous state
  6. Fresh install Windows 10

All the above solution mentioned, involves manual edits, running scripts, changing states, etc. which is a No-No. Because you are spending your times to fix a problem which again takes time to bring your machine back to it’s current state. That’s not an ideal solution at all since this issue can comes back again anytime and you are gonna spend more time on it.

Luckily, after many frustrated days and trial-and-error, I somehow devised solution to fix the above issue.

This is one of the event message that’s logged in Event Viewer;


“Activation of app Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy!CortanaUI failed with error: The app didn't start in the required time. See the Microsoft-Windows-TWinUI/Operational log for additional information.”

One main reason for this was, Windows Updates was downloading in background. If that’s the case, let the download complete and reboot your system and see whether it’s fixed. If that solved you problem, cool.


If that didn’t helped, keep reading.

  1. Open This PC (Ctrl+E), select Settings.

  2. Select Upgrade and Recovery.

  3. Select Recovery –> Advanced Settings –> Restart now.

  4. After reboot, you’ll be taken to Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.

  5. Select Advanced options.

  6. Select System Restore.

  7. System will prepare for restoring. Enter you account password when prompted.


  8. You’ll get System Restore prompt, choose Next.

  9. Once your restore points are listed, stop right there. Now, CLOSE the System Restore prompt.

  10. Turn OFF your PC.

Now, turn ON your PC, wait for system tray items to load.

Check you Start menu, Cortana and Notification area. Everything works fine and your system is back to normal.

Hope this helps.

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