What to Do When Windows 10 Settings Are Not Working

A troubleshooting guide for a malfunctioning Settings app in Windows 10

A man is working on a laptop computer looking frustrated.

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When Windows 10 settings are not working, it may manifest in one of several different ways:

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

This problem often occurs after a Windows update.

This issue 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.

How to Get Windows 10 Settings to Work

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

  2. Try different ways to open Settings. First, select the Start Menu (Windows logo) 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.

    Another method is to select the Search (magnifying glass) icon in the lower left part of your screen, and type settings. When the Settings app appears in the results list, choose it, and the Settings app should open.

    The keyboard shortcut to the Settings app is Win+I. In other words, press the Windows logo key and the I key on your keyboard at the same time, and the Settings app should open.

    You can also click the Action Center icon on the taskbar (comment bubble on the lower-right part of your screen) 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 issues 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. First open a command prompt by clicking the Search (magnifying glass) icon in the lower-left part of your screen. In the search field, type cmd. From the menu, select Command Prompt. At the prompt, type sfc/scannow, then Enter. 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. When you click the link, a Save As dialog box will open. Navigate to your Downloads folder, or another folder where you want to store the file. Once you’ve saved the file, open it, and follow the on-screen instructions to run it. When the process is complete, restart your system and check to see if Settings is now working correctly.

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

  5. Reinstall the Settings app. Open a command prompt by clicking the Search (magnifying glass) icon in the lower-left part of your screen. In the search field, type cmd. From the menu, select Command Prompt. Starting where the cursor is, type the following command, then press Enter:

    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 is now working. 

  6. Log on to your computer using another user’s login credentials. Make sure the user has administrator rights. If that account isn’t experiencing the same issues, 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. (You will replace “newusername” and “newuserpassword” with the actual user name and password you want to use.) You should get a message letting you know the command has been completed successfully. Next, type the following command to make the new user an administrator: net localgroup administrators Admin /add. Then, sign out of your current account and log on to the new one. 

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

    This method completely 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