Start Menu Programs Missing

I have a strange problem on a customers pc. It had a virus. I cleaned it up and tried to boot into windows. I got a corrupt software hive. I used registry restore wizard from UBCD for windows. This worked and got the computer to boot up. Now when I go to start - all programs - the program folders are there, but the actual program is not. For example, the itunes folder is present, but when you hover over the arrow, the program is not there. It just says empty. The actual program is installed and can run if you go to program files and run it. How do you get the programs to show back up in the start menu? I cannot remember all the things I have tried already to do this, but here are some I've tried:

Running a regsvr32 command for shell32.dll

Made sure registry keys for user shell folders are present

Changed the view settings for the start menu

Used unhide.exe from bleepingcomputer

Grabbed the old Software hive from a backup, removed all software files from windows/system32/config, and replaced them with the old one

I am about to start a repair install, but if anyone has any ideas, I am willing to try them.


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  1. Best answer
    It's that piece of crap malware Windows Recovery that deletes all the shortcuts from the Start Menu. I'm fighting with it right now.
  2. Yea, I just found that out yesterday afternoon that the stupid thing actually delets the shortcuts for the start menu. I think the only solution is to manually make shortcuts, or reinstall the program to get back the shortcut tree. What a pain
  3. Best answer selected by exit2600x.
  4. I've used System Restore to get the shortcuts back. Just go back to a time before the infection. Freaking chinese hackers!
  5. Too late, we did it the hard way... but thank you. This will help others if they run into the same problem.
  6. Did anyone fine a solution for this? im having a issue trying to get the shortcuts back in the correct folders. ive trid all thats been mentioned so far but nothing :(
  7. Like I said above, you will have to make your own shortcuts and put them into the start menu folder. Go to your program files folder and find the .exe files you need, make a short cut, put that in the start menu folder under the user you are trying to recover them for. There is no automated way to get them back. If this doesn't work for some reason, you have a different problem then what is mentioned above.
  8. Google for Unhide.exe and don't delete temp files before running it.
  9. After trying EVERYTHING under the sun, I finally noticed some BLUE colored folders when exploring the start menu. This means the folder is compressed. Right click on any blue folders, click on properties, click on advanced, and DISABLE compression. Click OK then click APPLY. PROBLEM SOLVED!
  10. Very odd but thanks for sharing !
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