EDIT: I am using an HP Pavilion 563w computer running Windows XP
I think I had an attack from malware and it deleted most of my shortcuts in the "Programs" menu, though not all. The Administrative tools shortcuts in the Control Panel also disappeared.
I think I managed to get rid of the malware after doing a Malwarebytes scan, a Superantispyware scan, a full Comodo antivirus scan, and a final Spybot Search and Destroy scan. Some might think that was excessive, however I am not a total novice. If anyone wants to help me make sure the malware is all gone and I didn't do any damage to my system, I'd appreciate the help. The scans found some malware, adware, trojans, and tracking cookies.
Apart from that, I have been trying to recover the shortcuts from the "Programs" menu in the Start Menu. I already tried Bleepingcomputer's Unhide program, with no success. The only thing it restored was my Recent Documents menu. I looked for a "smtmp" folder with Windows Search and manually and found no trace of it. The temp folders are still intact and if the folder was originally there, it might still be found by restoring a removed item in Malwarebytes.
All the programs still exist in the C:\Program Files folder, so shortcuts can be made. I've already used programs to restore the Accessories and the Administrative Tools. I also found out how to get back my Office shortcuts.
I am wondering if there is still some sort of malware about hiding my shortcuts. I was in the Registry looking for info on something else and came across start menu entries there. I was surprised to see a complete listing of all my now deleted shortcuts and more besides! So the registry keys appear to still exist, even if the shortcuts do not.
I'd like to know if anyone knows of some way to use this list to restore them to the start menu again. If it works, it might be a big help to anyone else that has this same trouble.
Edited by Orange Blossom, 29 March 2014 - 01:26 AM.
Moved from XP to AII. ~ OB