Windows 10 start menu frozen after Home-Pro upgrade

Sun, 2016-02-07 15:07 by admin · Forum/category:

Microsoft has recently issued a special "default product key" for Windows 10 Professional:


With this key you can directly upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional by changing to this product key. However, the upgraded Windows becomes deactivated in the process and has to be reactivated within 30 days (I think). So then you have to

  1. update to version 1151 through Windows Update, and
  2. activate it with a valid product key for Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate or Windows 8.1 Professional.

The whole procedure is a little bit awkward and can take hours. Microsoft apparently does not want to make it too easy, probably hoping that many customers don't get it and pay the full price.

Considering that you can buy a fully valid Windows 7 Professional product key for around $10 from some internet software shops, this procedure can save you quite a bit of money. (I bought one in Germany from for €9.99 + VAT. It took only a few minutes, as I paid electronically, and they immediately sent me a PDF invoice bearing the product key.)

But to make it really difficult, some programmer added another heavy brick wall to the process, at least in my case of a brand-new Acer Aspire Nitro, delivered with Windows 10 Home.

After upgrading to Windows 10 Professional, I could open the start menu and see the tiles that had been there before the upgrade. But I could not move and arrange them, and I could not add any more tiles. The entire start menu was frozen and unmodifiable.

I could click the start button (bottom left) and thus call up the start menu. The existing tiles even worked. I was just completely unable to change the start menu.

I followed some odd advice I found in the web and checked and reinstalled system components to no avail. At least that did not hurt and luckily did not make matters worse.

Then I began to search in earnest and made use of the newfound abilities of Windows 10 Professional. I fired up gpedit.msc (right-click the start button, select Run, enter gpedit.msc and press return or click on [OK]) and found an interesting setting under (translating this from German, so the wording may be slightly different in an English Windows):

  • Local computer policies
  • Computer configuration
  • Administrative templates
  • Start menu and taskbar
  • Start layout (make it unmodifiable)

This policy was activated on my computer. I deactivated it, which solved the problem. I forgot whether I had to reboot, but you will find out soon enough, if you find that you have the same problem.

I can only imagine that the upgrade process activated that policy, as I certainly did not do it, and I also cannot imagine any other program doing it (unless I want to assume that it was a very special punishment for uninstalling some unwanted stuff that was put on the computer by Acer, but that sounds overly paranoid and is hard to believe).

If you have experienced the same problem and this solution worked for you, please comment here or send me an email.