Windows 11 preview glitch hits Start menu and Taskbar

Microsoft blames server-side deployment issue for problem and has a workaround.

Windows 11: Everything you need to know

As Microsoft gears up to release Windows 11 on October 5, the software giant has confirmed reports of a glitch that meant key components in a preview of the OS didn't work for some users.

The issues affected people participating in the Windows Insiders testing program in the bleeding edge Dev channel and the more stable Beta channel. 

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"Recently, Windows Insiders in both the Dev and Beta Channels began reporting that Start and Taskbar were unresponsive and Settings and other areas of the OS wouldn't load," wrote the Windows Insiders team at Microsoft in a blogpost

SEE: Windows 11 FAQ: Here's everything you need to know

"We quickly discovered an issue with a server-side deployment that went out to Insiders and canceled that deployment. If you were impacted by this issue, you can use the following steps to get back into a working state on your PC."

The issues affect Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.176 for the Beta channel and Release Preview channel. They're all important visual elements of Windows that have been given a major revamp in Windows 11 amid Microsoft's decision to shelve Windows 10X – its would-be answer to Chrome OS.   

Microsoft has now provided a workaround albeit involving six steps that general Windows users might struggle with. However, most Windows users will wait for general availability in October. 

  • Step 1: Use CTRL-ALT-DEL and choose to open Task Manager.
  • Step 2: Choose "More details" at the bottom of Task Manager to expand Task Manager.
  • Step 3: Go to "File" and choose "Run new task".
  • Step 4: Type "cmd" in the "Open" field.
  • Step 5: Paste the following (everything in bold):
  • reg delete HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\IrisService /f && shutdown -r -t 0
  • Step 6: Hit enter, and then your PC should reboot. After rebooting, everything should be back to normal.

The preview builds of Windows 11 offers easily accessible controls for pinning Search, Task View, Widgets and Chat to the Windows Taskbar. What's visible or hidden can be controlled from a right-click of the mouse on the Taskbar which brings up "Taskbar settings". 

Microsoft yesterday made Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11 available to business for testing ahead of their releases

Its free support for these preview builds should help businesses test and validate these builds before Windows 11's general availability. Windows 10 21H2 will also likely be released around October. 

There are new hardware requirements for Windows 11 that mean some PCs won't immediately be suitable for the upgrade to it, but Windows 10 21H2 is available for these devices. 

The latter OS isn't packed with new features and changes like Windows 11, but it will include better wi-fi security, improved Windows Hello biometric authentication, and the ability for Windows Subsystem for Linux to use graphics hardware for machine learning use cases.