Windows 10 → Unable to click on Start Menu or Windows Explorer Taskbar? Try this…

So I ran into a odd issue that I wanted to share the fix to.

BACKSTORY

I am in the process of launching a podcast with my best friend Brent. ( We are currently calling it the Brent & Tony Show…it’s a working title). I installed Pro Tools 12 first, and then realizing I didn’t have a license, I installed Pro Tools 11, which I do have a license to). However, Avid Pro Tools is written like complete shit and their code has been hobbling along for years now. It is the de facto audio DAE of the industry.

When I first started in the entertainment industry, I thought they were god’s gift to the audio world, and I as much as I still like using their program, from a software perspective, how do I say this nicely…

THE ISSUE

The issue I ran into (I believe) is that installing Microsoft C++ redist. from different years might have caused some corruption to some core files in the Windows OS (I have no idea is this is correct, but it’s my hunch).

After I installed the program, I was able to use my taskbar only for a few minutes and then I was unable to use it any longer. I tried to fix it by restarting explorer.exe. In CMD I used:

:> taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

Then:

:> explorer.exe

That would fix it about 30% of the time for around 3 minutes, and then back to a broken taskbar. I also realized that my windows weren’t able to be clicked on either. (If you navigated with the keyboard, you could still access all the active windows and work within them, but that’s it).

THE FIX

I tried a bunch of different ideas, reinstalling my mouse driver, rebooting the computer, completely shutting down the computer, uninstalling everything I did for Pro Tools. All of it….no joy.

I did some research and came across a Windows program called DISM.exe ( https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/what-is-dism )

DISM stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM.exe) is a command-line tool that can be used to service and prepare Windows images.

So I did like any good dev does and tried it on my prod box :)

:> dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Here is what it looks like in the command prompt:

THE RESULTS

After I ran this, I tried to click on my taskbar and it worked!!

Hope this helps you out and gets you back coding!

Happy Coding!