For the reasons Windows 10 is an upgrade, a freezing start menu is beyond frustrating. After rebuilding the Windows Search database, confirming DISM is healthy, did a CHKDSK and System File Checker, I was running out of ideas.
Then I came across this: Reset Windows 10 Start Menu “TileDataLayer”. which led to Fix Windows 10 Start Button Does Nothing in 10 Minutes and a repair tool from Microsoft released in June 2016 (direct link). So this is a known issue.
Before becoming aware of the Microsoft utility, I did my own fix. Using a tool called Unlocker (portable version; part of my digital toolbox) you can forcibly rename/delete files locked by the system. FYI, Unlocker can cause false-positives with anti-virus software. If you are concerned, please upload your downloaded copy to VirusTotal for a second scan.
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer or %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\TileDataLayer\
Hit “OK”. Action should be “Rename” and change the name to “DatabaseBackup“.
Finally you should get the following prompt; his “Yes”.
Let the system reboot.
Now – Reboot again – a second time
You will have to recreate your tiles but your start button should at least work and search.