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All of my start menu "All Programs" items have disappeared. I think they are still there as evidenced by the fact that i can search them, the list is just empty.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is a known bug with Windows 7 after the number of programs in the menu exceeds 70. It has also been posted on Seven Forums if you would like more information.

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Ok, i have a follow up question then. Where is the start menu folder located? –  RCIX Aug 12 '09 at 1:34
2  
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu –  John T Aug 12 '09 at 1:39
    
Thanks! i'll test this out right away. –  RCIX Aug 12 '09 at 1:53
    
I had the same problem and the menu items reappeared when I got the number of 'All User' items below 85 –  pelms Sep 27 '09 at 2:24

Yes, it is true that this is a bug in build 7100, but you DO NOT have to delete all your shortcuts to bring them down to 70.

Well, yes and no. What do I mean? Open your "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" Do you notice how many programs you have installed on your PC? Software junkie aren't you? Well, like me, I have tons of programs installed and I want to be able to click on the shortcuts to find them.

Here is the solution:

  • Create CATEGORIES such as VIDEO EDITING, PHOTOGRAPHY, PC MAINTENANCE, BROWSERS, etc.
  • Now, take the related software shortcuts and folders within "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" and cut and paste into the correct category.
  • For example, I have Picassa in PHOTOGRAPHY, I have FireFox in "Browsers"... Do you get the idea?

Now, when you click on Start, All Programs, you will see your Categories listed. For exampple, PHOTOGRAPHY... and under PHOTOGRAPHY you will see Picassa. As you can see there are many of us who are constantly thinking outside the box.

Enjoy Windows 7 and the "Missing Programs" mysterious problem. :-) Have a nice day. Visit us at www.pctechsonthego.com for all your computer needs.

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If you have not already tried, it is worth checking the event log to see if there is anything interesting then logging off and back on. Sometimes Windows seems to loose my profile for no reason and loads the default profile, but a logoff / on cycle usually fixes things.

Other than that, is this a domain computer or just a single client? It could be caused by a group policy object or restriction.

If this does nothing, you may want to:

  1. right click on the Start button
  2. select Properties
  3. then on the "Start Menu" tab, click "Customise".
  4. Have a look to see anything obvious or click "Use Default Settings"

Please note that what I wrote above was over 2 years ago and good at the time, however, since then, I have seen this happen a lot of times as a result of Malware.

Recently, there have been a few cases of malware which attempt to hide all icons on your start menu, my documents and desktop.

To undo this, there are two ways.

Firstly, the GUI way, go to Folder Options from any explorer window and enable hidden files, then, select everything in your desktop and right click, then disable hide.... repeat for my documents and also do this for your start menu (by right clicking on all programs and choose open / open all users).

Or, the more advanced, and in my opinion better way, open a command prompt window and go to your home path (usually open by default) then type the following, in this order (press return/enter after each line and wait for it to finish).

cd desktop
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd documents
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd "start Menu"
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd ..
cd "all users"
cd "start menu"
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd desktop
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd documents
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd ..
cd default user
cd "start menu"
attrib -h /s
cd ..
cd desktop
attrib -h /s
cd documents
attrib -h /s
exit

And you should be done - this however may make a few items such as thumbs.db visible - you can delete these and they will be automatically recreated (safely) as hidden, or, you just manually hide this by adding attrib thumbs.db +h /s after each attrib command that you run above.

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2  
Brilliant! This right-clicking on the Start button has solved my problem, after some scare-ware trashed the Start menu on a computer I look after... If the moderators allow it, I've changed the formatting a bit, to try and make this suggestion as obvious to others as possible. –  Clare Macrae Oct 29 '11 at 17:38
    
@ClareMacrae I have accepted, thanks! Also updated as since I first wrote this 2 years ago, I have seen this problem happen a few times for different reasons. –  William Hilsum Oct 29 '11 at 17:50
    
Thanks very much for the extra info added: really helpful... –  Clare Macrae Oct 29 '11 at 18:04

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