Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
One morning I went to use my Windows 10 PC and brought up the start menu only to get an unpleasant surprise. The contents of the menu scrolled to the end uncontrollably, rendering it unusable. If your start menu keeps scrolling down, here’s how to fix it.
Generally speaking, a scrolling start menu or other menu is due to a fault on some USB-attached peripheral, such as a game controller or keyboard. Unplugging USB devices should allow you to isolate the problem.
- It’s almost always due to a USB device malfunctioning.
- Unplug USB devices until the start menu stops scrolling down on its own
- Wait a few seconds and then start plugging devices back in
Fixing start menu scrolling
This is one of those issues like the mouse cursor moving on its own that can make your computer feel haunted. Fortunately, this issue also usually has a fairly simple solution.
Typically, start menu scrolling is due to a USB input device malfunctioning. In my case, it’s usually my game controller. As soon as I unplugged my game controller, my start menu started working again. This problem also occurs with external mice, and I’ve had it happen with a USB keyboard as well, usually when I have a USB keyboard plugged into a laptop that has its own built in keyboard.
You can isolate the problem by unplugging input devices one by one and then bringing up the start menu again. Once the menu quits scrolling, you know you found the problem. Usually if you wait a few seconds (15 seconds is probably overkill but safe), you can plug the device back in and it will work normally. What if it acts up again? Try a different USB port.
If the problem recurs after plugging the device back in, even after changing the USB port, try removing its device driver. The instructions in the link work for Windows 7 and Windows 10. Then plug the device back in and let the device driver reload.
If your keyboard, mouse, or game controller malfunctions after plugging it back in at this point, you may need to replace it. To be sure, try it in another computer if you can.
USB devices causing weird problems happens a fair bit. I’ve even seen it cause boot issues.
Dealing with laptop built-in devices
If you have a laptop with a built-in keyboard and trackpad or other mouse-substitute pointing device, you can’t disconnect it of course. Rebooting is your only option in that case. So if you disconnect all external USB devices and still experience out of control start menu scrolling, you’ll have to reboot. Or better yet, shut down and restart. To reboot or shut down without using the start menu, hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE, then click the power symbol in the lower right. Rebooting gives your system a chance to recover from the fault, and from there it will work normally again.
Shutting down is preferable to rebooting in this case because you want the input device to actually lose power. Shutting down and restarting makes that happen. A plain old reboot without cutting power may not.
While this problem is annoying and confusing, at least it’s easy to fix, and unless there’s something seriously wrong with your input device, the fix doesn’t cost anything either.