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Windows Start Menu not starting? You're not alone

Known Issue Rollback for affected Windows 11 users

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 beginning of the month.

Microsoft admitted the issue was present in the release notes for KB5015814, which was downloaded automatically as part of the company's usual updates on 12 July, as well as in KB5014668, a preview issued in June which introduced Search Highlights and, it seems, a non-functioning Start Menu (for some users, at least.)

Meanwhile... If you're running Windows 10 or Windows Server, updates released June 28 (KB5014666 and later) may have broken your USB-connected printing. Microsoft has potential workarounds and more info here.

The complication is also present in Microsoft's latest update preview. Released on July 21, KB5015882 added the ability for new users to update to a newer version of Windows 11 on startup.

It's worth noting that the June update preview, KB5014668, also contained a fix for Wi-Fi hotspots that were broken in the previous raft of patches. It is heartening to see Microsoft continue its rich tradition of fixing one thing and breaking another.

As for the problems this time around, Microsoft added the comment below to the known issues list:

"After installing this update, we have received reports that a small number of devices might be unable to open the Start menu. On affected devices, clicking or selecting the Start button or using the Windows key on your keyboard might have no effect."

Fortunately for users concerned about the prospect of rolling back the security fixes in the release, the issue has been resolved using Known Issue Rollback (KIR). KIR is a tacit admission from Microsoft that occasionally an update might break one or more of the many Windows configurations out there. The particular regression can be quietly rolled back without hitting other critical updates.

"Please note," said Microsoft, "that it might take up to 24 hours for the resolution to propagate automatically to consumer devices and non-managed business devices. Restarting your Windows device might help the resolution apply to your device faster."

So, maybe turn it off and turn it on again? ®

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