Settings App Not Working in Windows 10? Here’s How to Fix It

While many people will balk and wish that Microsoft wasn’t slowly burying the trusted Control Panel, the Settings app has grown into a key feature of Windows 10. It’s the launchpad into controlling your system – from adding devices to controlling users and gaming features. If Settings stops working, Windows becomes pretty dysfunctional.

So if your Settings app is stalling or just not opening in the first place, here’s a bunch of fixes that should get it back to working order.

If you’re just looking for a quick workaround to a misbehaving Settings app, then your best bet could be to try and open it another way.

One method is to press Win + I to try and open the Settings app.

Alternatively, you can click the Action Center icon in the taskbar (the speech bubble at the bottom-right), and then click “All Settings.”

access-windowsapps-folder-location-all-settings

If these methods don’t work, or if your Settings app still can’t be accessed the normal way via your Start menu, then it’s time to try something a little more involved…

The Settings app in Windows 10 is counted among the official built-in Windows apps, so reinstalling it (along with every other Windows 10 app) should fix whatever problems you may have with it.

fix-windows-10-settings-app-not-working-reinstall-windows-apps

To do this, open the PowerShell (just type “powershell” into the Start menu Search, then right-click it and “Run as administrator”) and enter the following command:

That will re-register and reinstall all Windows apps, hopefully getting the Settings app (and others) back to full working order.

Before trying the more elaborate method of fixing the Settings app, here are a couple of quick fixes that might do the job:

  • Scan your hard drive for errors – go to the Start menu, type cmd, open the command prompt, then type sfc /scannow
  • That failing, you should try downloading the Windows Update Troubleshooter and see if that helps.

settings-not-working-win10-troubleshooter

If you still can’t open the Settings app, then it’s time for the more radical solution of creating a new administrator account and transferring your files over to it. Seeing as you can’t use the Settings app to create a new account, you can instead use the Microsoft Common Console Document if you have Windows 10 Pro.

1. Click Start and type lusrmgr.msc. In the Common Console Document, click Users, right-click users, then “add new user.” Enter your info, then sign out of your current account and into your new one either through the Start menu or Ctrl + Alt + Del.

If you have Windows 10 Home Edition, then you’ll need to create a new user through the command prompt instead.

Click the Start menu, type cmd, right-click Command Prompt, and then click “Run as administrator.”

In the Command Prompt type the following command but with the username and password that you want to create for the new administrator account:

settings-not-working-win10-cmd

You should see the message “The command completed successfully” to inform you that the account has been created.

2. Next, go to “Control Panel -> User Accounts -> User Accounts -> Manage another account.”

3. Select the new account you just created, “Change the account type,” then click “Administrator” in the new window, followed by “Change Account Type.”

settings-not-working-account-type

The new user is now the administrator.

4. Sign out of your current account and into the new user account. Try accessing the Settings app, and it should now be working.

The next step is to transfer your files from your old Windows account to your new one.

Go to the system hard drive (where Windows is installed) in File Explorer, click View in the tab at the top, then tick the “Hidden items” box.

settings-not-working-win10-hidden-items

Navigate to your old user account in File Explorer (C:/Users/old account name by default) and double-click it. You’ll see the following prompt.

settings-not-working-win10-permissions

Click Continue, enter your account password when prompted, then copy and paste all the files from that account to your new one (located at C:/Users/newusername by default).

settings-not-working-select-all

You’ll see a message asking if you want to merge the folders from your old account to your new one. Click Yes.

It’s not simple, but creating a new Windows account is sadly the best workaround to this problem that’s managed to persist for some despite patches that have been released to tackle it. It’s worth stressing again that you should try the two simpler solutions at the start of this article before going through the hassle of creating a new account.

This article was first published in September 2016 and was updated in June 2018.

34 comments

  1. i tried all suggestions on this page and nothing worked, so, is it time to kick my screen in now or is there another potential way to fix it??

  2. hi guys, my start menu Cortona won’t load after i right-click
    When i right-click on taskbar neither does my wifi connection tab, Same with notification tab
    not loading either, Question do i need to create newuser account on my version of win 10 64 bit home edition?

    please email me, if i need new account??? Greg

    • Create an Admin user with administrative priveleges, and restore your settings and task bar in it. It will carry over. :)

  3. I have been having problems with windows 10 since I installed it, or Microsoft Middle East installed it.
    Please understand that I am not biased but I can’t understand them when the talk to me. I have been on the phone about 10 times with Microsoft for hours on end. The first time being when my windows 7 pro all of a sudden decided it wasn’t genuine anymore. And then they said that the product key was on a different computer and was transferred to the computer I put the product key into 2 years ago. Then I called again and they said that it wasn’t activated. Then they upgraded me to windows 10 and I was doing fine for about 3 days and yesterday I right click on the desktop to go to display settings and settings pops up and then closes, and I go to the search bar on the desktop and it doesn’t bring up anything where I can type. Then Cortana isn’t responding. Then whenever I open up google, the desktop goes black for a second.
    I then try to reinstall windows by USB and I boot with the right drive, and it comes up with a screen where the windows 10 icon is and does nothing.
    I then restart going back to the non working so, and somehow after like 20 minutes finally get to settings- updates- reset computer and it installed and says it had a problem or something. Then I finally get into the computer and its doing the same thing as it was last time. I am fed up at this point and call tech support for the unteenth time and they send me to the wrong department, the rep says to hold for 3-4 minutes- 30 minutes later he comes back on the line and says thank you for holding, please hold for 3-4 minutes not caring that I was on hold for 30 minutes at all. And I asked for compensation for all the inconvenience and they told me that they don’t compensate for inconvenience.

  4. Post number 2:
    I then got hung up on by Microsoft Middle East and called back and they told me that they can set up an appointment to have windows fully wiped and then reinstalled on the system. So I go to the Microsoft store an hour away to have them tell me since it is a custom built computer, they have to run diagnostics on it to make sure that everything is ok with hardware before they reinstall windows. So I left my $1000 gaming computer with Microsoft to have them diag the hardware and the wipe the drive clean and then they are going to reinstall windows. Oh and by the way, they said they can’t guarantee anything since it’s a custom built computer.

  5. This is one of the legacies of the move to Windows 95, from Windows 3,1. The registry. As far as I could tell, it was because the brightest graduates, who were hired by MS fresh out of school, were (and are) seldom the most experienced people. They couldn’t see that Windows would have to be reinstalled. Or the different parts of the project didn’t talk to each other.

    On the plus side, Windows 95 gave us cut and paste, which brought so many corporations into the fold!

  6. There is a typo in the first hint. The command should read:

    Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)/AppXManifest.xml”}

    (note the path seperator before the “AppXManifest.xml”)

    But still didn’t work for me

  7. Another, found an easier work around. You can access your setting menu thru your account setting. If you click the top most icon (above setting and folders) and then select “Change account settings” it will bring you to your settings menu.

  8. Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

    not

    Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

    (missing backslash between the installloc var and AppXManifest.xml)

  9. I didn’t want to re-register all of the Windows Store apps, so I used this command to just re-register just the Settings (“Immersive Control Panel”) app and it worked! Thank you.

    Add-AppxPackage -Register “$($(Get-AppxPackage -Name ‘windows.immersivecontrolpanel’).InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml” -DisableDevelopmentMode

    I tried leaving “-DisableDevelopmentMode” off, and it didn’t work, so apparently that particular option is important.

  10. I was able to resolve the issue by using the Windows Media Creation Tool. Before doing anything, make sure you are logged into the PC locally with admin rights. Download the tool here:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

    Run the .exe and create an ISO file on your desktop. Right click on the file and select “open with Windows Explorer”
    Right click on the .exe file and select “run as Administrator”

    Takes about an hour for the total process. I’ve successfully used this on several PCs that had the same error.

  11. Nothing has worked for me! So much conflicting information and help. None have worked..commands/downloads/links! Best to PAY an expert to get settings back and shame on Microsoft advertising fixes/links which either don’t work or even exist. Losing the use of settings is just ridiculous and it’s clear that it needs professional help to put it right. Ive given up and going to replace my pc!!

  12. A workaround to create a new user and copy data over to profile is NOT an answer. This problem is and has been persistent for over 3 years. It is obvious that something within the Microsoft code is BREAKING this functionality.
    The disaster that is windows 10 is very apparent, but moving back to windows 7 won’t help much either considering the monthly 300mb patches that are needed and host of other daily patches.
    The most widely used software is also the most dysfunctional software. Moving to an Apple with OSx is NOT an option (yes it has problems too)
    Personally screw all this GUI crap and lets just go back to old dot-matrix style command line service!!!!!!

  13. None of the re-registering commands work, probably because of the latest updates.
    When i run them i get this:
    Add-AppxPackage : Cannot find path ‘C:WindowsImmersiveControlPanelAppXManifest.xml’ because it does not exist.

    Maybe because it now has it’s own folder, so the new location of the file above is ‘C:WindowsImmersiveControlPanelappXmanifest.xml’

    And unfortunately i do not know how to modify the code to reflect this, i don’t even know if it can be.
    I mean the code says “InstallLocation”, which windows itself should know or figure out, but it looks like it has the wrong information saved, maybe that’s why the Settings app isn’t running in the first place.

    If someone figures it out, please leave a reply.

  14. So glad I found this article. I had to first fix Windows Update. To do that, I had to click on Windows Ink Workspace. Then settings opened by clicking on Pen & Window Ink Settings. I typed in “update” to get to the Win Update settings. Then in the left column select “Troubleshoot” then select “Windows Update.” It then fixed the problems with updating. I updated then rebooted. Then I reinstalled the apps according to his instructions on Powershell. That did the trick.

  15. Creating a new user account is by far your worst nightmare. When you have your working machine already set, you don’t even believe that there is a “start again from zero” to fix things.

    BTW, using the powershell applet did the work for me, although the “Settings” is more of a convenience… I usually just type
    “control” on one of my four opened cmd windows and off I go.

  16. My case: somehow the account was placed to local group , the respective profile was marked (see registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S-1-5-21-xxx \State = 0x80).
    The solution: remove this account from
    command-line: net localgroup Guests username /delete
    Powershell: Remove-LocalGroupMember guests username

  17. The comment-engine [is not a WYSIWYG :( ] has swallowed some parts of my former comment.

    My case: somehow the account was placed to local group “Guests”, the respective profile was marked “Temporary” (see registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows NT\\CurrentVersion\\ProfileList\\S-1-5-21-xxx \\State = 0x80).
    The solution: remove this account from “Guests”
    command-line: net localgroup Guests username /delete
    Powershell: Remove-LocalGroupMember guests username

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