Why is the Start menu, Action Center, or Cortana Search crashing on my Windows 10 BYOL WorkSpace?

Last updated: 2020-09-18

My Start menu, Action Center, or Windows Search stopped working during normal use of my Amazon WorkSpaces Windows 10 Bring Your Own License (BYOL) WorkSpace. How can I fix this?

Short description

Windows Action Center, Start menu, and Cortana Search problems that occur during normal WorkSpace operation are caused by Audit Object Access policies.

Note: If your WorkSpace is exhibiting this behavior after a rebuild operation, see Why isn't the Start menu, Action Center, or Cortana Search responding after I rebuilt my Windows 10 BYOL WorkSpace?

The WorkSpace user profile's TileDataLayer database is closely integrated with the Start menu, Action Center, and Cortana Search. Your Windows 10 BYOL WorkSpace might exhibit the following symptoms due to cross-volume communication:

  • Choosing the Windows Start menu doesn’t produce any effect.
  • Choosing Windows Action Center doesn’t produce any effect.
  • Windows Search doesn’t open from the taskbar.

The above Windows features can become unresponsive if the following Group Policy Objects (GPO) are enabled:

  • Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy > Audit Object Access
  • Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Advanced Audit Configuration > Object Access > Audit Removable Storage
  • Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy > System events

If these policies are enabled, then you must explicitly disable them to clear the settings. The GPOs can’t be set to Not Enabled, as they are subject to Group Policy tattooing.

Resolution

1.    Install the most recent Windows Update on the WorkSpace.

2.    Reboot the WorkSpace. Important: You must reboot the WorkSpace using the Amazon WorkSpaces console or the RebootWorkspaces API.

3.    If the behavior still occurs, open Windows PowerShell as administrator. Then, run the following command to identify any audit policies that are in place:

auditpol.exe /get /category:*

4.    Turn off the audit policies at the GPO level, not just per WorkSpace. If the Security Setting for the policy is Success, then open the policy and clear both options. The Security Setting changes to No auditing. For more information about how to access the Group Policies and then turn them off, see Local Group Policy Editor.

5.    Run the following command to verify that the audit policies are disabled:

auditpol.exe /get /category:*

6.    Reboot the WorkSpace to confirm that functionality is restored.