On my Galaxy S Android 2.2 , I just got the 'Activiate Starter took too long to respond . Force close ?', which I did.

Now the home screen is black. :)

So I killed the starter program, so it seems. I should have looked at the message closer.

Apart from turning off and restarting the phone, is it possible to restart the main program on a phone ?

  • 5
    Did you try pressing the HOME key?
    – Sparx
    Commented Dec 11, 2010 at 5:47
  • @Sparx: Yes , I'm 99% sure I tried all sorts of combinations, including pressing the home key. But as in all such things, one cannot be 100% sure, sometimes you overlook the obvious. Next time, if ever it occurs again, I will certainly try this.
    – Edelcom
    Commented Dec 13, 2010 at 14:44
  • 2
    Just a hint, not an answer: you can reboot the phone quickly by holding the power button until the boot screen appears (about 10 seconds) instead of holding it for a second and choosing "Power off" and powering on again. Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 6:24

4 Answers 4


10 years later...

The first step is to find the name of your current launcher a.k.a. "Home app". Unless you switched away from the one provided by default, you probably don't know that. The default launcher can be different on every phone. Finding its name also depends on your Android version. Fortunately, there are plenty pages on the Internet explaining that for every Android version so I won't copy/paste them all here. With a recent Android 11, go to Settings -> Apps -> Advanced -> Default Apps -> Home App.

Once you found the precious name, go back to Apps and scroll down until you find it. Tap on it then "Force Stop", done!

If you still can't find your launcher in the list of Apps then click on the three dots and try "Show system (apps)"


You could probably start the application with the abd shell

in the shell type

am start [DETAILS]

the usage is

usage: am [start|broadcast|instrument]
       am start -D INTENT
       am broadcast INTENT
       am instrument [-r] [-e <ARG_NAME> <ARG_VALUE>] [-p <PROF_FILE>]
                [-w] <COMPONENT>

       INTENT is described with:
                [-a <ACTION>] [-d <DATA_URI>] [-t <MIME_TYPE>]
                [-c <CATEGORY> [-c <CATEGORY>] ...]
                [-e|--es <EXTRA_KEY> <EXTRA_STRING_VALUE> ...]
                [--ez <EXTRA_KEY> <EXTRA_BOOLEAN_VALUE> ...]
                [-e|--ei <EXTRA_KEY> <EXTRA_INT_VALUE> ...]
                [-n <COMPONENT>] [-f <FLAGS>] [<URI>]

Some examples can be seen on this page.

It would require you to know a few details about the launcher in question though. It may be worth reading this thread about am usage from the android-framework google group.

  • I don't understand, if my launcher application is not running, and my screen is blank, how am I going to be able to start an abd shell ?
    – Edelcom
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 9:27
  • You'd have to connect via usb Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 12:20
  • 1
    Note that whatever home screen you use, you can always use am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -c android.intent.category.HOME to start your default home screen.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Mar 26, 2011 at 16:50

Pressing the home key on my Dell Streak prompts me to choose a launcher program if there isn't currently one running after it's crashed or re-installed.


Note that some Home launchers may have the option built into the user space for convenience. For example, I use Nova Launcher myself, and under the settings you can find this option: enter image description here

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