If I click the start menu -> All Programs almost all my installed programs seem to be missing from the start menu despite some of them being on the initial regulalry used screen. As far as I can see this has happened within the last week possibly after windows updates installed.

Does anyone else have this issue?

Anyone know a fix?

I have looked in all the locations I can think of for start menu items and can't see them anywhere so it does actually look like they have been removed. I tried as system restore that didn't work.


I went to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and found that all of the folders were shown as "Hidden" so I clicked on the properties and then unchecked the Hidden box, clicked on the start menu, all programs and everything was there!

Easy fix!

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Navigate to "C:\Users\%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\". I believe this is where the shortcuts to the programs displayed on the start menu is stored. Is there anything in there?

Not really a decent answer, but whatever.

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Have you gone far enough in system restore to before the problem?
Have you looked in the Recycle Bin?

The last time this happened to me, it was AVG that decided to erase half of my Programs menu (which is why I now use Avast). The deleted shortcuts might still exists in your antivirus vault.

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This has also happened to me before. What I did was search for the deleted shortcuts and added them manually. While time-consuming, it's only happened once. As suggested above, you might want to run a virus scan just to make sure there's nothing fishy.

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The start menu is made up of two folders:

  1. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
  2. C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

If you can't access the two folders, the start menu will break. If those folders exist, the registry could have been changed to point to other locations. Here's some info I found on the web:




If you are on a domain, it could be an issue with group policy.

Hope this helps

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%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs is probably "partly read-only":

Just uncheck Read Only and all programs will get listed again.


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