Skip to Content

What To Do When You Can’t Click On Anything On Windows 10

What To Do When You Can’t Click On Anything On Windows 10

Have you ever been unable to click any items on your desktop on a Windows 10 operating system? You aren’t alone–and there are many simple fixes to your problem!

While you can easily launch applications through the Windows button and navigate between them using the Alt + Tab command, this is hardly an ideal solution. Here are a few simpler troubleshooting tips you can try.

Why Can’t I Click Anything on My Desktop?

The first step to troubleshooting clicking problems on your desktop or laptop is to identify the root cause. Reasons you may be unable to click anything on your desktop may include:

  • Windows Explorer crashed.
  • Your mouse is broken.
  • Your system files are corrupted.
  • Your device drivers aren’t updated.
  • You have third-party apps that aren’t compatible with your operating system.

Whether or not you determine the core problem, below are a few fixes you can try.

1. Find Workarounds Using Keyboard Shortcuts

As we mentioned, keyboard shortcuts aren’t the most practical fix, but they are a temporary solution that may come in handy. Here are the two primary shortcuts you should know about:

  • Windows Key: This launches the menu and search bar. Simply browse the program list to the left or type in the name of the intended program in the search bar.
  • Alt + Tab: After using the method above to a specific program, use Alt + Tab to switch from one to another. 

2. Restart Windows Explorer

Have you ever been asked, “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” If so, a simple restart may be worth a shot. Here’s how to restart Windows Explorer:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard simultaneously to bring up the Task Manager:
  1. Click the “Processes” tab, then click “Windows Explorer.” Finally, click the “Restart” button in the lower left corner.

3. Restart Your Device

Should the Windows Explorer restart method not do the trick, you can always restart your device instead. Just click on the Windows key on your computer or press and hold the power button until your device shuts off. Wait 15 seconds and power up your device.

4. Fix Microsoft Account Login Problems

Another problem that may cause clicking issues is this notification:

When you click on the notification, you’ll see this menu:

If you find you aren’t logged into your Microsoft account, logging back in may fix the issue immediately. 

5. Unplug USB Connections

A faulty USB connection may interfere with Windows functionality, so unplugging it may solve the problem. In addition, you’ll want to remove other externals that connect via USB, like printers, controllers, keyboards, mice, and webcams.

6. Restore the System

If none of the above fixes do the trick, you may need to restore your system to its default settings. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press the Windows key and type “restore.”
  2. Find the “Create” option and press “Enter” to access “System Properties.”
  3. Select the “System Restore” and click “Enter” using the tab key.
  4. Select the option “Recommended to restore.” Hit “Next” then “Enter.”
  5. Confirm the restoration by clicking “Finish” and “Enter.”

7. Uninstall Problematic Apps and Update Your Device

If faulty apps and an outdated operating system are causing your clicking issue, here are a few ways to uninstall broken software:

  • Run the program manufacturer’s uninstall tool.
  • Uninstall the app using Task Manager.
  • Uninstall the app from the Control Panel.
  • Uninstall the app on Safe Mode.
  • Use the Microsoft Uninstall troubleshooter.
  • Use a third-party uninstaller. 

Then, navigate to any available updates by selecting the “Check Your Windows Updates” option from your system settings.

In severe cases, you may have to take your device to a shop. Let us know in the comments if you have other go-to troubleshooting tips!


Wednesday 19th of August 2020

I've found the solution. Kill the Edge App.

When I killed the Explorer with task manager, I noticed that the blue background screen showed some sort of rectangle border. As if something was overlaying the desktop.

In the task manager, I noticed the Edge App was apparently active with no CPU usage but with a changing memory percentage. A bug maybe? I killed it and everything has come back to normal.

Calin Ciabai

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

Interesting find, thanks for sharing. I never use Edge, but apparently that doesn't matter - so definitely something to look at.