What to Do When Windows 10 Settings Are Not Working

A troubleshooting guide for a malfunctioning Settings app in Windows 10

When Windows 10 settings aren't working, it may manifest in one of several different ways:

  • Settings won't open.
  • Settings won’t work after opening.
  • Clicking the Settings icon opens the Store app instead of Settings.

This problem often occurs after a Windows update.

This problem applies only to Windows 10.

Cause of Windows Settings Not Working

If your Windows 10 has recently updated, an update bug, corrupted system files, or corrupted user account files could be causing the problem.

A man is working on a laptop computer looking frustrated.
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How to Get Windows 10 Settings to Work

If you're having issues with your Windows settings not working, there are a few things you can try that might bring them back to life.

  1. Before you do anything else, restart your computer. This step often corrects errors with the operating system. 

  2. Try different ways to open Settings. First, select the Start Menu in the lower-left part of your screen and choose Settings, and the Settings app should open. If that doesn’t work, try right-clicking the Start Menu and selecting Settings from the menu.

    The keyboard shortcut to the Settings app is Win+I.

    Select the Action Center icon on the taskbar and select All Settings at the bottom of the Action Center.

    If any of these methods works, within Windows Settings, choose Update & Security > Troubleshoot. Continue with any of the listed problems that match the problem you’re experiencing.

    If none of these methods works, try the solutions below. 

  3. To scan for missing or corrupted system files, run a system file check as an administrator. Within the Command Prompt, execute sfc/scannow. After the system file check completes, restart your computer and check to see if Settings is working. 

  4. Download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter. After you run the tool, restart your computer and check to see if Settings is now working correctly.

    You may need administrator permissions to run the troubleshooter. Upgrade an account to administrator status if needed. 

  5. Reinstall the Settings app. You'll need to do this in PowerShell as an administrator. Press the Windows key + X and then select Windows Powershell (Admin). Then execute the following command:

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

    When you use this method, you will actually be re-registering and reinstalling all Windows 10 apps.

    Restart Windows and check to see if the Settings app works. 

  6. Log on to your computer using another user’s login credentials. Make sure the user has administrator rights. If that account doesn't encounter problems, create a new account for yourself and delete your original account.

    To create the new account, click Search and type cmd. Right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator. At the command prompt, type net user newusername newpassword /add. (Replace newusername and newuserpassword with the actual user name and password you intend.)

    Next, type the following command to make the new user an administrator: net localgroup administrators Admin /add. Then, sign out of the active account and log in to the new one. 

  7. As a last resort, you may need to reinstall Windows 10

    This method erases everything on your hard drive and installs a new copy of Windows. Only use this option if you know your hard drive is working properly and you've exhausted all the troubleshooting tips above.

  8. If, after all that, you’re still having problems, consider consulting with a professional to get your computer fixed

Correction 1/28/2022: Corrected Step 5 to include information about opening PowerShell as an administrator.

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