Windows 10 Taskbar and Start Menu Broken After Windows Update Today


Senior Member
Jul 24, 2013
Charlotte, NC, USA
After putting off the big update pushed by Microsoft (is it called "Creator's update"?) for a couple days, I finally relented today and did it. It took quite a while, but when it came up, I desperately wished I'd NOT done it.

First, my taskbar lost most of the items I'd customized to it. I had my 2016 Excel, 2016 Outlook and 2016 Word icons on there, as well as Google Chrome. None of these are present now. In fact, none of these even come up when typing them on the Start Menu prompt. In addition, if I open the Start Menu, the items I've added (in the various-sized squares on the right) are messed up -- the squares appear (correct size), but no icon. Instead, it only has a long string that looks like a Registry reference, though ending with what is likely the program's name -- clicking them does nothing at all.

I thought I could just re-build my taskbar simply. However, it took quite awhile to find the Office 2016 applications ("winword.exe", "powerpnt.exe", "msaccess.exe" aren't the obvious file names to look for!). Once found, I was able to rt-click and "pin to taskbar" to put them back (of course, the related pinned files are no longer there and I'll have to re-create them as well). I tried to "add to start menu" as well -- it didn't give an error, but the programs do not appear on the Start Menu's alphabetized list, nor do they appear when I type their name in the Cortana text box.

From what I can see, I'll never be able to get my other 40 or 50 programs to appear in the Start Menu where I can easily find them. I would appreciate advice on my options:

1. Find a way to back-off the update MS pushed on me
2. Find a way to "fix" the Start Menu and Taskbar (though I think I can do this one manually now)
3. Re-install all my apps, hoping that this gets them recognized in the Start Menu again
4. Totally rebuild my PC with Windows 10, get all the updates in place before installing my apps & configuring
5. Totally rebuild my PC with some Unix variant << this is far, far more tempting each time MS does something like this to me

Any help appreciated.
*If your start menu and taskbar don't work at all (can't click on it)*
Well if the upgrade botched your Windows in some way rolling the upgrade may not do anything to fix the issue. Can you verify whether or not the 'Shell Experience Host' process is running this handles the start menu and taskbar? You can try getting task manager running by pressing ctrl+shift+esc or [windows key + r] and type taskmgr

*Resetting the start menu will sometimes fix missing icons and other weird graphical issues*
How to reset the Windows Start Menu

Start Menu items are populated in two places
User Start Menu
Access by pressing [Windows key + r], type shell:start menu

Common Start Menu
Access by pressing [Windows key + r], type shell:common start menu
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