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How to fix Windows 10 Settings won’t open

The Settings app on Windows 10 contains essential settings and configurations that were once part of Control Panel. Many of these options have been migrated from the Control Panel app completely which means there is no other way to access them. The Settings app is a core, essential app on Windows 10.

Windows 10 Settings

Windows 10 Settings won’t open

If you’re unable to open the Settings app on Windows 10, you will find that you’re blocked from most essential settings, including managing notifications for apps, managing permissions for apps, managing storage space, and changing your desktop background, among other things. 

If the app refuses to open or crashes when it opens, try a few different methods for opening.

  • Start menu: Open the Start menu and click the gear icon above the power button.
  • Keyboard shortcut: Use the Win+I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  • Windows search: Enter Settings in the Windows search bar and select the Settings app from the search results.
  • Run box: Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box. In the run box, enter ms-settings:  and tap enter.
  • Command Prompt/PowerShell: Open either Command Prompt or PowerShell with admin rights and paste ms-settings: in it. Tap enter and the Settings app will open.

If the Settings app won’t open or remain open using all of the methods above, move to the fixes listed below.

1. Run SFC scan

The Settings app is a core app on Windows 10. If it won’t open, or it crashes, it likely points to corrupt system files. It’s best to scan your system and fix them.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: sfc /scannow
  3. Allow the scan to complete and fix any problems it can.
  4. Restart the system.

2. Reinstall default apps

Windows 10 allows users to remove some default apps. In theory, this should not cause a problem but it can. If you’ve force uninstalled a default app that Windows 10 doesn’t allow you to uninstall, it may likely be why the Settings app is crashing or why it won’t open. Install the default apps again to fix the problem.

  1. Open PowerShell with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $Env:SystemRoot\ImmersiveControlPanel\AppxManifest.xml
  3. Restart the system when the command has run.

3. Use DISM tool

The SFC scan can fix some, but not all problems with system files. Where it fails, the DISm tool can fill the gap.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run this command: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  3. Restart the system when the command completes.

4. New user account

If the Settings app still won’t open, you should create a new user account. Your current account likely has other problems in addition to the Settings app not opening/crashing and they will manifest later. 

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run the following command but replace USERNAME with the name you’d like to give the account and PASSWORD with the password you’d like to use for it.

net user /add USERNAME and PASSWORD

  1. Once the account has been created, use the following command to give it admin rights. Replace USERNAME with the name you used in the previous step.

net localgroup administrators USERNAME /add

  1. Log out and log in with the new account. 
  2. The Settings app will open.

Conclusion

Core OS problems on Windows 10 are rare but once they begin to appear, as in this case, it’s often better to create a new account. There will be other problems down the line and the Settings app may just be the start of it. If you have the time, consider resetting Windows 10 or doing a fresh install.

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