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  1. #1
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    Press start doesn't show icons & programs they are gone-empty

    Click start nothing there empty
    I have windows XP media edition service pack 3 and all icons on left side of monitor along with those in the start menu are gone. Go to properties says empty. Have been able to restore internet explorer and Aol e-mail and thats it. How do I restore programs so I can open them? Go to control panel add or remove programs shows they are still there.Need solution in simple terms,age 70 only into comuters last five years still learning.One other item have a Dell DIM E520 and Trend Micro Tatanium.

  2. #2
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    Virus.
    I have seen it and fixed it several times. It changes the attribites of all you folders to "hidden". It makes life difficult. Try installing Malewarebytes and scanning from safe mode. If you Google the problem, you'll find a registry fix. It IS fixable without a re install.
    When in doubt, Google!
    Good Luck

    Dr Mike
    Dr Mike Logo_thumbnail.jpg

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    jderrico (2012-05-17)

  4. #3
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    I have gone to safe mode and managed to get rid of the hidden files that appear on the right side of the start screen such as my computer, pictures,etc.put curser on all programs still comes up as empty.I don't fully understand where you say try installing malewarebytes and scanning from safe mode . I did Google and if I got it right it sent to the advance boot menu and chooser repair my computer,couldn't find repair my computer.So far I have made some progress due to your help and I thank you and perhaps with a little more guidence we can solve this.

  5. #4
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    The hidden files is a sure symptom of malware.

    You have to download the free version MalwareBytes and install it. Let it update. (Decline to start the trial...)
    http://www.malwarebytes.org/

    Restart in safe mode no networking. Run a full scan with MalwareBytes. This could take a while.

    Restart into safe mode with network support. Use IE and go to http://go.eset.com/us/online-scanner and run their scanner, too. It could take a while.

    This is the registry fix such as Dr Mike mentioned. Run it, and all your stuff should reappear.
    http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/grinler/unhide.exe

    Run MalwareBytes again, full scan. If it doesn't come back clean, you have a more serious malware problem.
    Last edited by John-O; 2012-05-13 at 22:45.

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    jderrico (2012-05-17)

  7. #5
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    Dear John-O , you have been a great help and a big sincere thank you. Everthing looks normal except when I go to all programs I can now see the programs and when I click on 29 out of 54 programs they come up as empty. A web page, will show with the programs name but the pge is blank. In control panel,add or remove programs, alll the programs are listed along with there file size so I assume they are there so how do I get to the content in these programs?

  8. #6
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    Dear Dr Mike ,you have been a great help to me in restoring my computer but one problem still lingers. I click all programs in start I see the program names but 29 out of 54 programs comes up empty, no content. How can I get the content to display?

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jderrico View Post
    Dear Dr Mike ,you have been a great help to me in restoring my computer but one problem still lingers. I click all programs in start I see the program names but 29 out of 54 programs comes up empty, no content. How can I get the content to display?
    Hi there,

    Please do the following.

    1. Go to "Start", then "Programs", find the links which won't load a program and make a note of them on a piece of paper.
    2. Next, right click each of them and choose "Delete".
    3. Next, right click the "Start" button and then click "Open All Users".
    4. Open the "Programs" folder and you'll see the list of remaining programs.
    5. Right click a blank part of the right hand panel and choose "Shortcut" from the menu. This will launch the Wizard.
    6. Use the "Browse" button to navigate to the .exe in C:\Program Files and then click "OK" to add it as a new link to the Programs menu.

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    jderrico (2012-05-22)

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xircal View Post
    Hi there,

    Please do the following.

    1. Go to "Start", then "Programs", find the links which won't load a program and make a note of them on a piece of paper.
    2. Next, right click each of them and choose "Delete".
    3. Next, right click the "Start" button and then click "Open All Users".
    4. Open the "Programs" folder and you'll see the list of remaining programs.
    5. Right click a blank part of the right hand panel and choose "Shortcut" from the menu. This will launch the Wizard.
    6. Use the "Browse" button to navigate to the .exe in C:\Program Files and then click "OK" to add it as a new link to the Programs menu.
    Followed your instructions and when I used the browse button to navigate to the .exe in C:\ could not find this .exe in C:\.Programs Files.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jderrico View Post
    Followed your instructions and when I used the browse button to navigate to the .exe in C:\ could not find this .exe in C:\.Programs Files.
    I suspect that's because you have file extensions hidden which is the Windows default setting. So please do the following.
    1. Launch Windows Explorer (press Windows logo key + E is a quick way to do that).
    2. At the top, click "Tools" and go to "Folder Options".
    3. Click the "View" tab and then click the radio button to the left of "Show Hidden Files and Folders".
    4. Underneath that, remove the checkmark from "Hide File Extensions for Known File Types".
    5. Click Apply/OK.

    You should now be able to see the .exe file for the program you want to create a new link to.

    N.B. You have to open the folder to the program in C:\Program Files of course, but I think you know that already.
    Last edited by Xircal; 2012-05-21 at 01:30. Reason: Added hint

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    jderrico (2012-05-22)

  14. #10
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    I have followed your instructions as above and after clicking show hidden files and folders,etc, nothing when I click apply/ok .I cannot find the exe file for the programs I want to create a link to nor can I find c\Program Files to open a folder in.

  15. #11
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    Could you try this please.


    1. Hit "Windows logo key + F" to launch the "Search" tool.
    2. Type: Program Files and then click the "Search" button.
    3. If it finds a folder called "Program Files", right click it and choose "Open Containing Folder".
    4. Scroll down to the folder called "Malwarebytes Anti Malware" and open that.
    5. Find the file called mbam.exe and double click it.
    6. When the program launches, run a full system scan. You may have to update it first.
    7. If you cannot see "mbam.exe", then the program is not installed. But here's a screenshot of what you should be able to see in that folder.

    malwarebytes_install_folder.png

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