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As we all know, Microsoft released a bundle of updates on Patch Tuesday yesterday. I dutifully told Windows Update to install and I went to bed. This evening, when I finally got back on my computer, things are weird.

First thing I noticed is none of my pinned Start Menu items are in the pin area. But if I go to any of the shortcuts in All Programs and right-click, the option says "Unpin from Start Menu." I rebooted, and this behavior persisted. I went to Outlook 2007's shortcut and told it to unpin and it appeared in the pin area (highlighted, too -- I turn highlighting off).

I opened Filezilla, and it welcomed me to the latest update, which I haven't done in a couple weeks. My site manager was empty. Grrr.

I opened Outlook, and immediately got "an error occurred in the folder shortcuts file (.fav). Outlook will recreate the default folder shortcuts." I reopened Outlook with the /resetnavpane switch and got the same. My favorites are gone.

Also, dropdown menus throughout Windows seem to be aligned along their right edges (not the text, just the menus).

I've tried searching, but I'm not sure what to search for. Everything I found regarding Outlook told how to fix it (which didn't work) but not why it was happening. Everything I found regarding Windows 7 was release candidate. I also pored through the event viewer but didn't see anything untoward. I ran a full scan in Security Essentials, everything came up clean.

It really seems like something in my profile got hosed. I haven't noticed any missing files, nor missing browser favorites, but clearly something has happened. I'd really like to avoid reinstalling. I also haven't tried using a restore point because all the updates will want to install again, and I just don't have the time to install them one by one.

EDIT: By the way, Outlook won't Send/Receive. No error, it just doesn't do anything. My account settings are still there. Also, I performed a System Restore, and no change. Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the updates, but it still seems awfully coincidental to me.

So... any ideas?

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I fixed the menus flying out to the left by going to the Tablet PC settings and changing the "handedness" setting to left-handed. Odd because 1) I didn't change this and 2) I'm not using a tablet PC. – Michael Itzoe Feb 12 '10 at 3:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't know if Window Updates caused this or not, but I found the fix.

In the registry, I went to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Volatile Environment. The AppData key's value was, literally, %APPDATA%. I changed it to %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming, rebooted, and everything is working again.

I found the solution in Nihir's post here.

So, yes, basically, it was an issue with my user profile, as Windows no longer had a valid value for the %APPDATA% system variable.

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Sounds like you're right about the profile.

Take a look in your C:\Users\ directory and see if there is another profile folder with a similar name - so if your username is michael, look for michael.000. If you see a folder like this, Windows created a new profile folder for you. You should be able to copy over your favorites, documents, etc, from the .000 folder to the current one.

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Nope, nothing there that shouldn't be. – Michael Itzoe Feb 11 '10 at 3:10

System Restore probably would have helped...for future reference...

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I did do a system restore and it had no effect. – Michael Itzoe Feb 14 '10 at 4:03
thanks for the info... – studiohack Feb 14 '10 at 5:37

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