I was asked to run Windows Update on someone's laptop which hadn't been updated since they bought it (no internet access). There were about 500MB worth. Once they finished installing, the start menu suddenly stopped opening. I tried restarting the system, but no change. In addition, when right-clicking on the start button, the last 3 menu items are completely blank.
I've run various malware scans and nothing is coming up, so I suspect it might have been an update that tweaked something, but there were so many that I don't know where to begin looking. I'd really like to fix this without doing a complete reinstall. But I'm out of ideas.
EDIT: In safe mode, the start button is completely gone (but the rest of the taskbar is there). I tried running
sfc /scannow, but it exited with "Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation."
At this point, I'm thinking the system is FUBAR'd...
EDIT 2: The Start Menu and Taskbar control panel applet doesn't work, either. The window appears for a split second and then closes.