WordPress 3.2 Upgrade: Missing Dashboard Admin Menus Fix

If you’re a Worpdress user then you may have awoken to find a fresh new version (3.2) of the free CMS system ready to install this morning.  Unfortunately, if you prematurely kicked off the upgrade before updating any plugins that required one, you may have noticed that your administration menus on the left hand side of the dashboard disappeared.  I personally experienced this issue, but luckily I found a quick and easy fix that worked for me.

First off, if you have the WP-Insert plugin installed you MUST (can after but a pain in the a*s) upgrade it before you run the WordPress 3.2 update!  This plugin will break your WP dashboard menus if it isn’t updated before the core WP files are.  This is a known issue, and luckily the plugin developer has swiftly provided the update.  Although, even if you update the WP-Insert plugin before you do the WP 3.2 update, you still may find yourself without any menus in your dashboard.  This is the scenario that I found my WordPress install to be in.  I updated the plugin, ran the WP 3.2 update, and then BAM!  Nothing in my dashboard outside of the default page.

Luckily, I found a post on the official WP site to give me some ideas as how to correct it.  To correct my WP 3.2 dashboard issue I just logged out of the DB, cleared my cache, and then logged back into the DB panel (thanks to Sacred Path for the tip).  Bing, bang, bam!  All of my menus were back on the left hand side of the Dashboard.  Life was good!  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this fix is working for everyone, so you may have to go a little deeper than just clearing the cache and logging back in.

If you still can’t see the DB menus then you will have to start messing around with your plugins, but since you can’t see your admin menus you have to go about it in a slightly inconvenient manner.  If you have FTP access to your site just rename your plugins folder, and it will inactivate all of them right away.  This should get your menus back, but you won’t have any plugins on your site anymore.

Since this isn’t the ideal solution, especially if you have tons of plugins, you could try browsing to (thanks to vinkumar721 for the tip).  This should take you to the Plugin Admin page where you can disable plugins 1 by 1 until you find which of them is the culprit.  I know WP-Insert is an issue for sure if you don’t update it prior to updating WP, but I’m positive that there’s more out there that will break the WP dashboard.

To sums things up in regards to missing Dashboard menu items in WordPress 3.2:

  1. Make sure to update WP-Insert if you have it installed.
  2. After WP update and WP-Insert update if needed) logout of your dashboard, clear the cache, and then log back in
  3. If that didn’t work it’s probably another plugin, so either rename your plugin directory via FTP to inactivate all of them, or browse to to individually turn them off and back on.
  4. If you do find the rogue plugin you will have to keep it disabled until the developer makes it kosher with WordPress 3.2.
  5. If all else fails you’ll have to roll back your site via a host backup, or the backup you made before you installed the update ;)
There you have it.  I hope one of these fixes works for you.  I know how sh*tty it is to upgrade something only to have it break a working system.  Thankfully WP is open-source, so there’s all kinds of awesome geeks out there with tips and tricks to get you back on track.  It’d be nice if an “Upgrade”  would just work, but in the land of freeware there’s just too many pieces of software to test to make sure they all jive with a core WP update.  Live and learn!  You’ve been wondering what else the WP 3.2 update broke…


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Tags : Software UpgradesTroubleshootingWordpress
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.


  1. Thanks for the information, without your info I was still in the dark and would not have known what to do. I deactivated all the plugins on the site where the administration menus disappeared and checking with another site where the update went ok, I figured out which plugins I needed to update. Now everything is working fine again. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for the tips, it got me back working.

    After reading all, I still did not have a menu but your tiop about WP Insert got me thinking. So I FTP’ed in and renamed the wp_insert to .wp_insert until I have time to update.

    This might not be for everyone, as it could hide the folder but it is a quick fix for me.

    Thanks again for getting me on track!


  3. Good work, I followed your steps and found the offending plug-in which in my case was Digi Article Blaster. I then checked with the coder and he had already fixed the issue in v1.3 so I’m back, the plug-in is back and most importantly…. my menu is back.

    Thanks for blogging about it, I’ve given your article a +1 on Google

  4. I wound with with wordpress 3.2, I can’t find the plugins menu. Does anyone know a fix to this? Or where can i find it. Thanks

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