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How to fix a frozen Windows 10 Start screen

Windows 10, certainly in our experience, has been Microsoft’s most reliable consumer operating system yet. In the three years it has been on our machines, we have only seen three complete lock-ups (with the new green screen of death) and very few other problems.

That isn’t to say it’s everyone’s experience, though. The OS has had its fair share of teething troubles and problems with dodgy updates, causing system crashes and more.

Unfortunately, one issue which persists on some PCs and laptops is a locked-up Start screen. When you first boot up your computer, the Start menu will open, but then everything freezes and you can’t click on apps or even the Start button.

The good news is that fixing it is relatively easy, so long as you have a keyboard. That is going to be an issue for those with Windows 10 tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface, unless you also bought a keyboard for it.

Essentially, the fix is to use the Ctrl-Shift-Esc shortcut to open up Task Manager.

If you haven’t used it before, or you keep it in ‘compact’ mode, click on More details at the bottom to show the full list of running processes. Find Windows Explorer in the list, right-click on it and choose Restart.

Windows Explorer is the main Windows interface, so restarting it will cure the problem: you should see the Start menu and Taskbar disappear and then reappear. Then, everything should work as normal.

If the problem rears its head again, then just repeat the process to un-freeze the Start menu.

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