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It is most likely that the use of visual styles has been disabled.
Right click My Computer and select properties, then select the advanced tab and in the performance section select the settings button. On the list that appears, make sure that the use visual styles on windows buttons is checked. then apply and ok
Right click My Computer and select Properties, then select the Advanced tab and in the performance section select the Settings button. Make sure that "Let Windows choose what's best for my computer" is selected. Then see if you can change the Start Menu type.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.