FYI - As I received no replies to my query, I tried a few other things to help my situation. As noted previously, I was able to open in Safe Mode, but couldn't access the programs. Whenever I attempted to open a program, a screen came up wanting me to choose the program to run it with.
Since I was able to access my USB key but typing in the drive letter at the RUN option, I located MALWAREBYTES and just kept clicking on the program. It finally started (leaving several open windows wanting me to choose the program again). It ran an immediate scan, locating PUM.WHITE SMOKE, along with numerous other files with the same prefix. I was able to eradicate the infections, but still have an EMPTY start menu.
As a precaution, I have run RKILL and MALWAREBYTES again, along with my AVG to make sure that all is well. However, AVG did not detect this originally.