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Missing Desktop/StartMenu Icons and Shortcuts

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#1 A_A_M_I_R


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Posted 26 June 2011 - 12:55 AM

Vista Home Premium 64-bit SP2


Someone got me a free 1 year Norton 360 license (not pirated) so I uninstalled my free avast5 version today, and went on to install Norton360. After the installation was complete I just looked around the software a bit, made little changes here and there to its settings which I knew about.

Once I rebooted, a lota weird things started happening. Now the thing is, I don't remember if I actually did reboot or I just held down the power button to shut it down (While Gamebooster was running). Gamebooster turns off a lot of windows services while in gaming mode, but anyway I've checked and they're running now so I guess that puts it out of question. I'm guessing Norton360 probably has something to do with it since it's not like I visited any website either (except the usual checking mail etc.) before my problem came up. I got Adblock on my firefox and there's never a pop-up so there's 0 chance that I clicked an ad and caught a virus or something. I think Norton got attacked by something and couldn't handle it in time? It's LiveUpdate wasn't up-to-date at that point since it was just installed so it's possible that might be the cause but I really got no idea.

My laptop has a charging problem, so it freezes sometimes which is why I 'think' I forced it to shut down. Anyway, after it restarted, first thing I noticed I had a whole bunch of missing desktop icons. I used to have my icons arranged in 2 rectangular blocks. This is what they looked like after some of the desktop icons went missing:

There's supposed to be icons in the gaps making 2 large rectangles!! Some of them stayed, others went missing??

Malwarebytes stopped workin

Malwarebytes also stopped working at that point and gave me an error similar to this:

^ The difference was mine just had different values (2,2, Createdsk) and in the bottom line it said "The system cannot find the file specified" instead of "bad length".

I followed someone's advice on some forum and removed malwarebytes, ran its cleanup utility and re-installed it. It started working then and I did a full scan after updating but nothing came up.

internet disconnected?
Also, my internet got disconnected after that reboot. I was connected via wireless, and its normally connected after bootup but this time I had to manually do it and even enter my network key again to re-connect. It's back to normal now, connects at startup.

Read somewhere that this would repair corrupt windows files so I opened up the command prompt and ran the 'sfc /SCANNOW' command. It found corrupt files but was unable to make repairs. Here is the CBS log file:

Start Menu

(1) My start menu also looks weird now:

^ All those programs you see without their icon image, if I click on them it says its a missing shortcut and I should remove it!!

I know Paint and a few others I have. In the list in the pic above, there's also Microsoft Word. I decided to open a word document, and guess what happened:


Later, since I cancelled the setup, it gave me an error on the Microsoft Word Default Window saying 'Microsoft Word is not installed for this user'. So maybe this means something with my profile has been messed up. I'm the only user on this computer and UAC is turned off if that helps.

(2) 'All programs' is pretty much empty (used to be around 20-30)

^The Maintanance and Startup folders you see in the above pic also are empty when you click on them.

(3) System Restore Points:

I installed Norton 360 around 2:00 pm. I rebooted some time after that, so my best bet is that the 2:26 pm system restore will bring back things just fine but I'm not sure. I'm just worried that things will get even more screwed up when I restore.

Update: Just tried system restore and it failed!

(4) So I guess so far I already tried:
-> Restarting a ton of times.
-> Gettin help from Norton360 live tech, they made me download a bunch of programs to check for a threat but nothing came up.
-> I've tried the 'view hidden folders' options so it's not like the shortcuts are hidden or anything on the desktop.
-> Full System Scan with Malwarebytes after I reinstalled it as it didn't work after the reboot and nothing came up so I guess there's no threat.
-> Killing and restarting the explorer.exe task
-> Scanned registry for issues using CCleaner but then it started showing me invalid registry entries for items not present under the StartMenu (those that disappeared) and I don't wanna remove them.


All my programs are still there under "C:\Program Files" and "C:\Program Files (x86)", it's only the shortcuts that are missing on the desktop and the Start Menu.

I've heard this problem is pretty common with XP but I couldn't find many posts about Vista and how to solve this. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Edited by A_A_M_I_R, 26 June 2011 - 02:47 AM.

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#2 A_A_M_I_R

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 09:20 PM

It seems my problem is resolved. It was really quite simple, in Normal Mode the system restore kept failing. All I had to do was run the System Restore without starting it (pressing F8 at bootup and then going to the 'Repair your computer' option which had a System Restore option).

Hope this helps, if anyone comes by across this problem o_o

#3 hamluis



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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:31 AM

Glad you resolved it, thanks for posting your solution. Happy computing :).


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