back to article Windows Start Menu not starting? You're not alone

Microsoft has admitted its last Patch Tuesday (and update previews) broke the Start Menu for some Windows 11 users and issued a Known Issue Rollback to solve the problem. The absence of the operating system's Start Menu was inconvenient for affected customers, who complained of it when the security patch landed at the …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

    Ah, Borkzilla. You can't even guarantee that your Start Menu will continue to function.

    And you want me to believe that your Auto-Update is a Good Thing<supTM</sup>.

    Nah, don't think so.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

      I thought their usual rate was to fix one thing but break at least TWO others!

      1. Kane

        Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

        "I thought their usual rate was to fix one thing but break at least TWO others!"

        One step forward, two step backward

    2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

      Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

      Auto-update is a very bad thing considering the bastards have rebooted my PC twice in the past week without asking nor even warning me, losing whole bunch of work the first time and interrupting an hours-long job the second (yeah I know about out-of-hours settings but I use it on an extremely erratic schedule and they should at least ask).

      I'm glad I don't use Windows for anything that important but MS' utter disdain for its customers is an ugly thing.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

        And even when it doesn't reboot the whole system, it's still a complete and utter pain in the proverbial having parts of your system suddenly decide to shut themselves down to apply an update that MS didn't feel the need to so much as warn you was about to be appliled, let alone having the decency to give you the option of deferring it to a more opportune moment...

        Yes, Office Updates, I'm talking about you right now. Are your ears burning, because by god they bloody well ought to be, along with the rest of you.

        I long for a day when I can log into my work PC and simply get on with my work, without having to wait for Teams, Outlook, Word or whatever it is that MS have decided to screw around with that day, from starting up, then noticing there's an update and shutting themselves down almost immediately to apply said update, whilst leaving me wondering WTF is going on with app windows opening and closing themselves seemingly at random. Bonus points, and a swift kick in the nads for whichever "genius" developer was responsible, for the even more user-hostile ability of said updates to occur WHILST YOU'RE ACTIVELY USING THE APP, if you dare to stop typing/moving the mouse pointer for more than a couple of seconds. FFS MS, just how productive do you think your development team would be if you randomly closed their IDEs without any warning when they were in the middle of updating a chunk of code, destroying whatever train of thought they were in at that moment and forcing them to twiddle their thumbs waiting for stuff to restart and hopefully not have forgotten what it was they were about to write? So why the fuddering juck do you think it's even remotely acceptable to do that to your paying customers? Stop treating OUR systems like your personal playthings, and stop treating US with such disdain!

        Seriously, between the omnishambles that continues to be the Windows UI, and these idiotic design decisions elsewhere, does ANYONE at MS have so much as the slightest clue how to write user-friendly and user-focussed code any more?

        I've said it before, and I'll say it again now. Bring back the good old days of Gates and Ballmer - the code quality might have been just as shit back then, and the business practices no less palatable, but at least the products were somewhat useable and let you get on with what YOU wanted to do with YOUR system.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

          Okay, if you've read my various comments here you'll know I'm not a MS fan and use Linux for serious work. But I do feel compelled to be once again the devil's advocate here:

          I bought a laptop recently, which obviously came with Win11, so, the time to re-partition it and install Linux, I took Win11 (never used Windows since Win7) for a spin. And on this default installation of Win11 Home, Windows Update gives me a little message box telling me the computer will reboot in 5 minutes. Which is indeed annoying, but manageable: I have 5 minutes to save whatever I'm doing and reboot the computer (or let it reboot).

          (I don't know about MS Office, last time I used it was MS Office 2003...)

          Upvoted nevertheless, because I definitely agree usability has gone down the drain. Many things you could do in WinXP and Win7 are impossible in Win11, not to mention the 2.5 different "Settings" panels (I've discovered, there might be more!), the insistence on monetizing you, and all that crap.

          1. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

            Nope, no such forewarnings from Office. You do get notified at the *end* of the process why your apps were suddenly shut down though, which is nice...

            On the subject of the "5 minute warning" that W11 gives - I also had this recently on my personal laptop after asking it to do a network reset whilst trying to resolve an out of the blue loss of connectivity to my network shares. The only problem with that warning was that it failed to indicate that 5 minutes wasn't merely Windows being nice and giving me a bit of time to finish what I was doing before it auto-rebooted, but actually a delay period *required* by the network reset process to give it enough time to complete whatever it needed to do.

            So, as Windows wasn't then giving me any other sort of indication that the reset process was still doing anything behind the scenes, I figured that since I wasn't doing anything else with the PC, there wasn't any need to waste time waiting for the auto-reboot and so I requested a manual reboot.

            At this point, despite Windows presumably being well aware 1 that the network reset was still being worked on, it then accepted my reboot request without the slightest murmur, and thus it came to be that a few seconds later after I was logged back in again, I found myself now sat in front of a laptop which was not only still incapable of connecting to network shares, but had now also rendered itself entirely devoid of any sort of network connectivity... FFS.

            Some frantic searching on my phone later, I then learned about the whole "non-optional 5 minute delay" thing in relation to network reset requests, asked Windows to repeat the reset, sat on my hands whilst the 5 minute delay prompt was shown, then crossed my fingers as it auto-rebooted, and breathed a massive sigh of relief when, upon THIS restart, all network connectivity was back to normal.

            So yeah, even when it looks like Windows is being all user-friendly, it may well just be getting you to lower your defences so it can deliver the takedown blow... Never trust it, always assume it's out to get you, and remember that it comes from the same company which thought releasing Clippy on an unsuspecting world was an entirely reasonable thing to do.

            [1] though then again, if it needs a hardcoded 5 minute delay to be sure that the process is complete before rebooting, then perhaps I'm being too generous here over just how much knowledge Windows has regarding the ongoing status of a process that Windows was told to initiate to reset part of the Windows system...

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

              > even when it looks like Windows is being all user-friendly

              Hey, hey! I never said or even implied that!...

              I can't imagine anybody able to claim this with a straight face anyway. Compared to Linux Mint or older Windows versions (XP, 7) Windows 11 is as user-unfriendly as it can get without actively attacking you. I can understand the Fisher-Price™ interface, supposed to make it more difficult for suicidal idiots to wantonly break things, but MS tends to forget that some rare people might also use Windows for work and would have to struggle with the terminally dumbed-down and inconsistent UI, where the slightest thing takes hunting down where they have moved that setting today (lavatory, leopard), and if there is an undocumented PowerShell command which might help.

              Sorry for the rant. My point was, having read for some years about those mandatory reboots I imagined they would be much more arbitrary. But I admit I was only there as a tourist, didn't actually try to do any work under Win11.

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

      It is a Good Thing(tm) in the larger sense. Even with these occasional cockups, it's still better than the prospect of millions of machines being vulnerable to a remote access exploit that requires no user interaction and then that system becomes part of a DDoS botnet and/or spam relay.

      Software development is HARD. Computers are COMPLETELY literal and do ONLY what you tell them, to the letter. You don't realize just how many little assumptions we all make in a day until you start trying to debug a logic error with a computer program.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

        Ahem. We are not as junior as you think we are. From the sound of your text, most of us were debugging logic errors before you were born, and some of us were debugging logic errors before your parents were born.

      2. CommonBloke

        Re: "its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another"

        Microsoft is actively breaking what they already had fully working. I guess they're counting on the profits they might get from telemetry + ads being worth the constant breaking of stuff that has been working as expected for 5+ years

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Paul Herber Silver badge

    'maybe turn it off and turn it on again'

    Maybe turn it on and then off permanently.

    1. LionelB Silver badge

      Or just leave it off?

      Anyway, mightn't a UIR (Unknown Issue Rollback) be equally if not more useful?

  3. Blackjack Silver badge

    And Microsoft wants to release a new windows every three years? Is like they are pushing to try something else.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    Start menu? Who needs it?

    Just type in the search box... Or is that connected to the start menu too?

    1. Julian 8 Silver badge

      Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

      Bu that is a pile of shite.

      I type in the name of an app that is installed and there is no guarantee it will find it. go off and give me links about it on the web or some other crap like "it is an application" - yes, but actually a link to the installed application on my PC - nope not all the time

      Just tested, Synpatics. I get everything bar the link to the synatics app that is installed on this laptop

      1. Proton_badger

        Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

        Yeah, I wanted to adjust the charge setting on my laptop with that app of which I had forgotten the name.

        As it is an Asus laptop, i typed "Asus". No, nothing, zip, zilch but web results. After manually scrolling through programs I found it, it is called "myAsus" - the app it couldn't find with search string "Asus".

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

        "Just tested, Synpatics. I get everything bar the link to the synatics app that is installed on this laptop"

        But what were you actually looking for?

      3. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

        Jeez man. It's trying everything in its power to tell you NOT TO USE THAT APP. And do you thank it for its sage advice? No. You disparage it. See if it ever tries to help you out again.

      4. Wade Burchette

        Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

        Don't forget that, by default, the search in Win10 and Win11 is to search Bing first then your computer. You need to use registry hacks or O&O ShutUp 10 to change that.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Start menu? Who needs it?

      > Just type in the search box...

      Using Search to find programs you have installed on your computer is like hiring each morning a private investigator to find your coffee machine (or tea kettle if so inclined)...

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Well, that's one way to fix slow boot times in Windows.

    Now just need to get the Start menu to appear at the same time.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised? Nah!

    MS wants to get rid of the start menu stuff. Search is for everything in their mind and sod productivity.

    Every time we search for something they get the data. Then they can line up to pipe adverts into the most popular ones in a future [cough][cough] update they'll force un us, poor unsuspecting users.

    Ok, not me. W10 is it for me. When that goes EOL I'm done with Microsoft for good.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Surprised? Nah!

      "MS wants to get rid of the start menu stuff. Search is for everything in their mind"

      Like a kind of reinvented command line,

      I think I'll just stick with something where start menus, searches and command lines all work.

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Surprised? Nah!

        "Like a kind of reinvented command line"

        Of course Linux was there first:

        $ `find / -name *myapp*`

        Okay, it's not that speedy, and the result is occasionally not quite what you expected, but hey...

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Of course Linux was there first

          I beg to differ.

          I seem to recall 'find' was a UNIX command well before Linus was out of short trousers (if that is a thing in Finland)

          And it still works fine on Linux and even MacOS. At least it does not go trolling through the whole frigging internet as MS would like us to do for everything.

          1. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Of course Linux was there first

            Yes you're right, it was there first.

            Anyway as written it does go trolling through the entire directory tree - which in my case tends to be about the size of the internet. (I couldn't be arsed to look up the voodoo to only search for executables, and only in sensible places - i.e., to make it actually useful.)

        2. ChrisC Silver badge

          Re: Surprised? Nah!

          "Okay, it's not that speedy, and the result is occasionally not quite what you expected, but hey..."

          As compared with Windows search, which is pretty nippy whilst managing to return results which occasionally are what you actually want... Of the two, I know which behaviour I'd prefer, and it ain't the one I'm getting from the Seattle codeslingers.

          1. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Surprised? Nah!

            Of course locate would be faster (modulo the daily updatedb), but real programmers use find ;-)

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Surprised? Nah!

      This bring to mind the situation described in a Brendan Behan quote I read years ago ...

      "If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks."

  7. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Jeez - KIR

    The fact that a Known Issue Rollback system actually exists is mind boggling. How about a Known Issue Not Rollout system?

    1. EnviableOne

      Re: Jeez - KIR

      It's an admission of failure. we get this wrong so often that we will put code into the product to roll back any change we make, that break things, just so we can keep releasing rollups and not individual patches.

  8. Minadein89809344

    In the Windows 10 era, Microsoft is laying off a lot of QA to coincide with the introduction of Windows Insiders, so it's not surprising that patches that don't go through Windows Insiders have bugs.


    "Restarting your Windows device might help" :-)

    "You changed the position of the cursor. For this change to take effect you have to restart Windows. Do you want to restart now? Yes/No/Perhaps"


    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: "Restarting your Windows device might help" :-)

      Whoa there! saying 'no' isn't allowed in Microsoft's world now (and most of the rest of the commercial software world, and a lot of the internet).

      The message will be along the lines of:

      Restart now? Yes / Later


      Restart now? Yes / Remind me in 30 seconds

      It won't be long before we reach the level where the only option is 'Yes' or 'OK' - as parodied in the very funny dystopian novel 'Qualityland'.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft need to hand things over to Wendolene Ramsbottom from Wallace and Gromit...

    Microsoft needs to hand things over to Wendolene Ramsbottom from Wallace and Gromit...

    She knew how to untangle a ball of spaghetti'ed wool, not fit for purpose.

    And MIcrosoft, less of a Preston, when it comes to controlling users.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS Alzheimers

    What's new? I get that on Win10 every other week at least and sometimes mere days in between. Windows just forgets to popup menus from the task bar (including context menus) and the mini-icons button-menu. Usually at the same time it forgets to understand Windows key & Alt-Tab. For chrissssake!

    1. Andy A

      Re: MS Alzheimers

      Various "anti-virus" programs disable the start menu until they have completed their "calling home" sequence at startup. At the end of this you normally see a huge box claiming "We have updated your free....Click here to spend money on the paid version". Closing this gets another box claiming "Your box is at risk! Click here to spend money on the paid version".

      Only after that point is the start menu re-enabled. Try to sneak through by right-clicking Start and using one of the shortcuts there? They kill off anything you launch that way too.

      Sometimes the AV thing doesn't find any update, but it still spends the same amount of time calling home.

  12. Richard Pennington 1

    I've got it...

    Now I know what the KB stands for in all these update issues. Known Bork number (whatever).

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