Microsoft has offered a workaround of sorts for Windows 10 and 11 users who've noticed their Start menu is suddenly unresponsive and that some applications won't open or work correctly.
Unlike previous headaches with the Start menu and similar features, the latest problems are not caused by bad operating system patches but possibly by broken updates for third-party applications that rely on Microsoft Office, according to the IT giant.
More specifically, some third-party apps, following an update or not, appear to trigger one or more bugs when interfacing with Redmond's software, disrupting people's desktop productivity.
Microsoft is pointing the finger of blame in the general direction of app makers; at least one third-party developer is blaming a programming flaw in the mega-corp's code.
"Affected Windows devices might have damaged registry keys or data which might affect apps using Microsoft Office APIs to integrate with Windows, Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Calendar," Microsoft offered on its Windows Health Dashboard.
At the heart of the issue, users not only find the Start menu unresponsive, but Windows Search and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps don't work properly either. This affects Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 21H2 and Windows 10 versions 22H2, 21H2, and 20H2.
As a workaround, kinda, Microsoft recommends users uninstall misbehaving apps that integrate with Windows, Office, Outlook, or Outlook calendar, and also check for updates to affected software or guidance from developers of those apps.
In particular, the tech goliath pointed to ClickShare, an app that is used to wirelessly share the screen of a laptop or mobile device via a meeting or office room's audiovisual system. Users will run into problems "when a third party process such as ClickShare uses Office APIs on a computer where Office is deployed by using Office ClickToRun," Redmond wrote in a support file.
According to Barco, ClickShare's maker, when the app begins to read the Outlook Calendar, the Start menu may ignore mouse clicks, the Windows key may not work, and the desktop Search feature may ignore mouse clicks on the Search button as well as the Windows+S key.
In addition, Outlook or OneDrive can no longer connect or sync.
"More investigation has shown that the ClickShare App triggers a bug in the Microsoft Office API (MAPI)" that removes application packages' permissions from a particular Registry entry, Barco wrote on its own support page.
The biz said users should ensure the ClickShare app is updated to version 4.27.2 or higher, and that Calendar integration in the app is disabled.
Barco also directed users to Microsoft's pages addressing the issue.
Microsoft said it was investigating the weirdness and is expected to deliver some kind of solution.
The technology titan has run into a few snags with its operating system in recent weeks. Its Defender for Endpoint this month went awry, removing icons and application shortcuts from the Windows 10 and 11 desktop, Taskbar, and Start menu.
Days later, Microsoft reported that users running the latest versions of Windows 11 were losing some Office apps after running System Restore. There also were problems with such tools as Notepad, Paint, Cortana, and Terminal.
The mega-corp offered some workarounds for those issues. ®
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