How do I fix the Empty Windows Start bar

Category: Tutorials

How do I fix the Empty  Windows Start bar

Data Points:

  • All the programs, shortcuts & folders in the All Users and current user Start Menu/Programs folders were there
  • The Shell Folders and User Shell Folders in the registry (both current user and local machine) were pointing to the right folders
  • Permissions on said folders were all set as expected
  • Able to reproduce on BOTH a Clean Windows 7 RC install and upgrade (but it’s much more likely to been seen in a upgrade).
  • To reproduce on a clean install, open either All Users or current user’s Start Menu and create a ton of shortcuts. I took the IE shortcut, copied and pasted it until I had 80+ copies. At that point, even the lean install’s All Programs broke. After deleting those copies (and end-tasking and running Explorer) the Clean’s All Programs came back. 

Research:

This link lead me to a true fix for the issue, Windows 7 Forums - Program Icons Missing in All Programs Menu 

Root Cause:

It seems that Windows 7 doesn’t currently like having too many shortcuts/folders in the Start Menu/Programs folder. With something close to 70+’ish shortcuts/folders in the combined All Users & User Start Menu/Program folders (common in an upgrade scenario) the All Programs list will end up being blank/empty 

Resolution:

Move a number of shortcuts/folders from Start Menu/Programs into a new subfolder, like Start Menu/Programs/Stuff, and then restart Windows Explorer. Wash, rinse, repeat until your All Programs works. 

Quick Resolution Walk Through:

Disclaimer: This is what worked for me, on two systems. Your mileage may vary. You do this at your own risk and while this should not break your system (nor is it really even dangerous), take care and do it slow. You assume all the risk and liabilities in this process and I assume none (i.e. don’t blame me if you jack up your system). This resolution is provided as a good faith effort to help, yada, yada, yada..

a) Left click on the Windows orb to open the Start Menu

b) Right click on the All Programs. You should see a menu like the one pictured below

image

c) Left click on the Open menu item (aka the current user’s, yours, Start Menu). You should see something like what is pictured below, though the actual contents may be a little different

image

d) Double left click on the Programs folder. You should see something what is pictured below, though the actual contents will be different, you should see a “bunch” of folders

image

e) Create a new subfolder called “Stuff” (no quotes, and you can name it what ever you really want too)

image

f) Select a bunch of the folders/shortcuts and drag (i.e. move) them into “Stuff”

image

 image

g) Start Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, select “explorer” and then click on the “End Process” button. This will kill the explorer process, taskbar, start menu, etc.

This step is very important. Unless you restart Windows Explorer your results (i.e. what you see in All Programs) will not be reliable. Believe me, I’ve found this out after many false starts. Make a change, kill and restart Explorer. Wash, rinse, repeat…

image

h) Now in Task Manager, select the File menu, Run submenu.

image

i) Enter “explorer” (no quotes) and click OK. This will restart Explorer, and the taskbar, Windows orb, etc should all re-appear

image

j) Try your All Programs now… If enough things have been moved, you should be good!  :)

image

k) If you’re All Programs is still empty, then repeat the above steps in the All Users Start Menu folder (i.e. the “Open All Users” menu choice when you right click on “All Programs”)

 

Now you can also begin to move stuff back up from Stuff into the Programs folder as need be. Remember to end/run Windows Explorer during this process. If/when your All Programs go blank again, you now know how to fix it..

 

 

Source: http://coolthingoftheday.blogspot.com

Thanks to: Greg Duncan



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  • Views: 2372
  • Date: 5-06-2011, 14:15
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ederviss ¦ 30 May 2011 18:59

Or try this:

1. Click on the Start Menu.
2. Right Click on “All Programs”.
3. Select “Open All users”
4. Open the Programs Folder.
5. Create a new folder named “A”.
6. Drag all the other folders into the A folder.
7. Close Windows Explorer.


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