How To 

How to fix Windows 10 Shell Infrastructure Critical Error

The Windows 10 Shell Infrastructure Critical Error looks far more serious than it is. Generally, it signals an issue with user account file association that interrupts normal operation. There are a couple of ways to fix Windows 10 Shell Infrastructure Critical Error, I’ll list them below.

The full syntax of the error reads ‘A critical error has occurred in the Shell Infrastructure Host. Start Menu, Cortana, and some apps may not be available. Please save your work and sign-out to recover.’ Signing out doesn’t always stop the fault but the following methods do.

Fix Windows 10 Shell Infrastructure Critical Error
There are a few things you can try to overcome this error.

Try a cold restart. Switch the PC off, leave it a minute and restart.


Create another account on the computer, log out, log into the new account and log back into your main account.
This somehow forces a file refresh within Windows to fix the issue.


Log into your new second account, open a CMD window as an administrator and type or paste ‘dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth’. Reboot and retest.


Download Microsoft Visual C++ packages and install them manually.

In most cases, one of these steps fixes the Shell Infrastructure Critical Error. In only a few that I have seen, a system refresh did the trick.

1. Navigate to Settings, Update & Security and Recovery.
2. Select ‘Get started’ under Reset this PC.
3. Select ‘Keep my files’ and complete the process.

If you like this tutorial, you might also like:
How to Enable or Disable Built-in Elevated Administrator Account in Windows 10
How to uninstall and reinstall Windows 10 built-in apps
How to prevent users from installing software in Windows 10