How to Restart the Start menu process in Windows 11

You many need to restart the Start menu process in Windows 11 if it has some glitches or simply misbehaves. Restarting it will reload the menu in memory and should fix most of its issues.


With Windows 11, Microsoft introduced a new variant of the Start menu. It still retains features like pinned apps and all apps view. But its design has drastically changed. Instead of the "left-to-right" style, the Start menu pane is now arranged vertically.

The top area is the Pinned app view divided into multiple pages. It shows app icons that your have manually pinned to the Start. By default, it is full of apps that Microsoft selected for you, but you can manually unpin those and pin your favorite programs instead.

The bottom area named Recommended displays the documents you recently opened. This includes various images, text files, and files from OneDrive.

Unlike in previous releases, Windows 11 Start menu doesn't support Live Tiles. What didn't change is that it still runs in its own individual process. In case of issues with the Start menu, you can restart that process without having to restart the explorer.exe shell.

Restart Start Menu Process in Windows 11

To restart the Start menu process in Windows 11, do the following.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager app.
  2. Scroll down the Processes tab down until you find the Start process.
  3. Right-click the Start entry and select End task from the menu.Restart Start Menu Process In Windows 11
  4. Alternatively, click on the Details tab, and select StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process.
  5. Click on the End task button.End The StartMenuExperienceHost Task
  6. Confirm the operation by clicking on the End process option in the next dialog.Click On End Process
  7. Now, click the Start button. If the menu doesn't open, then press Win + R and launch the C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\StartMenuExperienceHost.exe app from the Run dialog.

You have successfully restarted the Start menu.

Alternatively, you can restart the Start menu process from the command prompt (cmd.exe), or PowerShell.

The Command Prompt method

  1. Open a new command prompt; for that, press Win + R and type cmd.exe in the Run box.Run Cmd
  2. Type or copy-paste taskkill /im StartMenuExperienceHost.exe /f into the command prompt.Restart Start Menu Process From Command Prompt
  3. The StartMenuExperienceHost.exe process should end and then start automatically.
  4. If that doesn't happen, run the start C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\StartMenuExperienceHost.exe command to launch it manually.

You are done.

Similarly, you can use PowerShell to restart the Start menu host app.

The PowerShell method

  1. Open Windows Terminal; it opens to PowerShell by default.
  2. Copy-paste the  Stop-Process -Name "StartMenuExperienceHost" -Force command to terminal and restart the Start menu in Windows 11.
  3. If the StartMenuExperienceHost.exe app doesn't launch automatically, run it manually with the Start-Process -FilePath "C:\Windows\SystemApps\Microsoft.Windows.StartMenuExperienceHost_cw5n1h2txyewy\StartMenuExperienceHost.exe" command.Restart Start Menu Process From PowerShell
  4. You can now close Windows Terminal or PowerShell console.

Restart the Start Menu Process from the Context Menu

In addition to the methods reviewed in the previous chapters, you can make restarting the Start menu faster. You can add a special item to the desktop right-click menu and restart it any time without entering commands or opening Task Manager.

To add the Restart Start menu command to the Desktop context menu, do the following.

  1. Download two REG files in the ZIP archive using this link.
  2. Extract the files to any folder of your choice.Registry Files
  3. Now, open the "Add Restart Start Menu To Context Menu.reg" file by double-clicking it in File Explorer.
  4. Confirm the User Account Control request.
  5. Right-click the Desktop background and select Show more options from the menu.Select Show More Options
  6. Now, you have a new command "Restart Start menu".Restart Start Menu From The Context Menu

Done! To remove the item you just added, use the other file, Remove Restart Start Menu From Context Menu.reg.

The REG file integrates the above reviewed console commands into the Registry, so you can greatly save your time.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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