The Settings app that’s accessible through the Start menu in Windows 10 is important, taking you to a neat interface that’s like a more accessible version of the Control Panel. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t use this feature because of a bug that causes it to not work when you click it (or, bizarrely, redirect you to the Windows Store). Here are some fixes for this common problem.
Reinstall and Re-Register Windows Apps
The Settings app in Windows 10 is counted among the official built-in Windows apps, so reinstalling it (along with every other W10 app) should fix whatever problems you may have with it.
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.
Run an SFC Scan
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
- That failing, you should try downloading the Windows Update Troubleshooter and see if that helps.
Create a New Windows User
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:
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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 March 2018.