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"All Programs" is blank on Win7x64 (upgrade from Vista Premium x64)

    Question

  • I installed Windows 7 Beta x64 as an in-place upgrade over Vista x64 Premium Service Pack 1. There's one minor hiccup in the UI post-upgrade: when I go to the Start Menu and click on "All Programs", nothing at all is displayed.

    Ironically, this hasn't been a major impediment for me because of how I work. I usually get to what I need through QuickLaunch icons (which came through fine), application launch via hotkeys, finding items in Recent Items, or using the Control Panel. All of those work fine.

    If I right-click on All Programs, I can successfully open my personal start menu folder nested under my AppData, or the All Users menu folder under the root ProgramData folder. I just don't get a vertical list of items as expected.

    Anyone have any ideas? I'm guessing this is probably due to a glitch during the migration process, and since the menu appears very similar to Vista's this may be something that happens there as well. 

    EDIT:
    This isn't the problem documented in MSKB 939041 or 932404. Actual paths to the folders containing the items are:

    C:\Users\<name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    Also note that the menu plainly does "update". I get the <Back displayed after clicking "All Programs".

    • Edited by Alex Angelopoulos Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:15 PM Documented specific paths
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:07 PM

Answers

  • I had the same problem doing an upgrade install of 7100. I found the fix here .

    Basically, the problem appears to lie with the number of shortcuts in your Programs folder. If you have more than 70, then none of them show up. The solution is to backup all your shortcuts from C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs to a temporary directory and then delete enough of them to get the count under 70. Viola, the remaining shortcuts will now show up. You can now copy the rest of the shortcuts over from your backup and they should all be visible.
    • Proposed as answer by charleski Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:54 PM
    • Marked as answer by dwoltersEditor Friday, May 29, 2009 11:42 PM
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:54 PM

All replies

  • They are stored in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. Are the entries present in this folder? If so, I suggest that you try System Restore to back the system to a fine status. 

    Otherwise. If the items are not present, I suggest that you right-click on Programs folder, choose Properties. Then click the Previous Versions tab, and restore this folder to one of the former statuses.


    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 9:34 AM
    Moderator
  • If System Restore, or "Previous Versions" fails to create the "All Programs" entries, you may be able to add shortcuts to most of them in the start menu/Programs folder. Anything that seems to need special arguments will probably be listed in the Programs and Features app in Control Panel. That kind of install will usually include a 'change' or 'repair' item you can use to restore the shortcuts.


    Rating posts helps other users
    Mark L. Ferguson MS-MVP
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:57 PM
    Moderator
  • They are stored in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs. Are the entries present in this folder? If so, I suggest that you try System Restore to back the system to a fine status. 

    Otherwise. If the items are not present, I suggest that you right-click on Programs folder, choose Properties. Then click the Previous Versions tab, and restore this folder to one of the former statuses.


    Arthur Xie - MSFT

    Sorry - I didn't explicitly say this, but normal entries are indeed present in both of the expected locations, c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and my personal Start Menu folder, C:\Users\aka\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.

    System Restore isn't going to help because the problem has been present since the first boot after my in-place upgrade from Vista SP1 to Windows 7 Beta. And there are no previous versions for the folder.

    Since this is a beta test, if it were critical to testing I would just dump everything and do a clean Windows installation. That isn't really necessary, though; I just wanted to know the fix if there was an easy one. Should I report this as a _possible_ bug during in-place upgrades from Vista?
    Friday, April 17, 2009 2:43 PM
  • If System Restore, or "Previous Versions" fails to create the "All Programs" entries, you may be able to add shortcuts to most of them in the start menu/Programs folder. Anything that seems to need special arguments will probably be listed in the Programs and Features app in Control Panel. That kind of install will usually include a 'change' or 'repair' item you can use to restore the shortcuts.
    Mark,
    Sorry - I misled both you and Arthur by not making a key fact explicit: the problem was present immediately after the in-place upgrade from Vista SP1, and the menus were working just peachy before the upgrade. That said, your comment about re-adding shortcuts led me in a useful direction even though it isn't quite realistic on my system (both Start Menus combined have 1992 files and folders under them when I scripted a count - that includes desktop.ini files, but still, that's a heavy Start Menu).

    Anyway, just for kicks I figured I would try something similar: I moved all of my files and folders from my personal startmenu\programs folder to another location, then moved them back. No change. Then I copied them out and copied a couple of the shortcuts back, choosing "replace" for each conflict one-by-one. The icons for those applications reappeared in my Start Menu Programs listing.

    Next, I tried copying everything back at once, telling Explorer to simply replace. After the first item I pulled back this way, nothing was replaced. When I tried one more time, copying several shortcuts and some folders back in-place and confirming each item separately, the top-level shortcuts reappeared, but none of the folders nor their contained items reappeared.

    I think it's pretty obvious that the problem is something wrong on my system with whatever caches the program links under the Start Menu. Any ideas on where to look for that?

    And, given that this may be a rare but occasional problem occurring during in-place upgrade of Vista systems with tons of installed applications, do you think I should bug this?
    Friday, April 17, 2009 3:31 PM
  • I suggest that you should try a clean install of the RC beta when you get it. The input on upgrades will be most relevant after the other bugs are worked out. It's a good find, but there is no telling how the beta will have changed on that by RTM. Thanks for posting it.
    Rating posts helps other users
    Mark L. Ferguson MS-MVP
    Friday, April 17, 2009 6:56 PM
    Moderator
  • Did anyone find the fix for this?  I have a feeling it's something quite simple, since everything's still present -- Windows just has to know that it is. I've certainly seen a few mentions of it but no solutions yet. It's still a potential upgrade issue as of RC.
    Sunday, April 26, 2009 5:49 AM
  • I am also experiencing this issue off a upgrade from Vista64 SP1 to Win7x64 7100

    The shortcuts are physically there on the HDD, I moved them all out of the folders and back in and they appeared in the Start menu until I rebooted and they all vanished again.
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 9:23 AM
  • I am seeing this on an upgrade of Vista 64 SP1 to Win7X64 RC.
    Very strange problem. I can make them come back, and make new ones appear,  but ultimately they keep disappearing.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 6:33 PM
  • +1

    same bug appeared after Vista 64 SP1 to Win7 64 RC upgrade
    • Proposed as answer by GC3333 Friday, May 01, 2009 10:35 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Nick FV Sunday, May 24, 2009 5:06 AM
    Friday, May 01, 2009 7:59 PM
  • I am having the same exact problem in Win7 32-bit build 7100.  It worked fine in beta version.  Nothing changed in between except the upgrade itself.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 10:37 PM
  • Same problem here.  Win 7 32 bit upgrade from Vista Ultimate SP1.  I restored a complete backup to go back to Vista until I can find out why this problem is happening.  I really want to use the RC but I need my program links.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 10:51 PM
  • A couple people on Neowin reported seeing it with a FRESH install of RC. One was 64-bit, the other didn't say. That's obviously no upgrade bug, though no doubt it's more commonly seen on upgrades.

    I saw it on a 32-bit upgrade, but one day it just appeared for me and hasn't gone away since. I can't explain it, but I know I didn't do anything to fix it.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 11:48 PM
  • Dido here,. Came from Vista beta sp2 > Vista RC 7100.  All Programs is empty,.
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 3:37 AM
  • Let me chime in as a "me too" too ... Vista x64 SP1 -> Win 7 RC x64 and the Start Menu items poofed.
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 2:36 AM
  • I had the same problem doing an upgrade install of 7100. I found the fix here .

    Basically, the problem appears to lie with the number of shortcuts in your Programs folder. If you have more than 70, then none of them show up. The solution is to backup all your shortcuts from C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs to a temporary directory and then delete enough of them to get the count under 70. Viola, the remaining shortcuts will now show up. You can now copy the rest of the shortcuts over from your backup and they should all be visible.
    • Proposed as answer by charleski Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:54 PM
    • Marked as answer by dwoltersEditor Friday, May 29, 2009 11:42 PM
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 4:54 PM
  • Try This...
    1.
       
    Click on the Start Menu.

    2.    Right Click on All Programs.

    3.    Select Open All Users.

    4.    Open the Programs Folder.

    5.    Create a new folder named A.

    6.    Drag all the other folders into the A folder.

    7.    Close Windows Explorer.
    The results are not pretty, but in the A folder you'll have acces to all of your "All Programs" items . This will help until Microsft fixes the problem. This works even after rebooting the computer. Several 'fixes' I've seen work until you reboot the computer. There seems to be a limit that the "All Programs" can collect in it's root.

    • Proposed as answer by PC Pete Friday, September 18, 2009 5:26 AM
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 5:52 PM
  • That fixed it for me however I noticed a new possible bug with explorer whilst doing this. Can anyone else reproduce?

    When I "Open All Users", Explorer comes up with the folder in the right pane but the left hand tree view doesn't drill down to highlight the folder location as it should, it just stays on the default listing of folders in the root of C:\ .
    I have tried enabling/disabling the options which should fix this in folder views but it made no difference.

    This is on a upgrade from Vistax64 SP1 to x64 7100
    Monday, May 04, 2009 2:21 PM
  • I can duplicate your Windows Explorer problem. It has nothing to do with the "All Programs" problem. Even if you reset what you did in my above instructions and reboot, WIndows Explorer Left pane does not track the right pane.

    All of the Windows Exploerer windows operate that way, not just the "Open All Users".
    Monday, May 04, 2009 8:24 PM
  • I restored my system back to Vista Ultimate.  I decided to try consolidating my start menu a bit and then to try upgrading again.  I had over 100 entries in my start menu and got it down to about 70.  I tried the upgrade again and everything worked like a charm.  This is definitely a bug that should be fixed before the RTM or there will be some seriously ticked off folks.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009 12:24 AM
  • I can duplicate your Windows Explorer problem. It has nothing to do with the "All Programs" problem. Even if you reset what you did in my above instructions and reboot, WIndows Explorer Left pane does not track the right pane.

    All of the Windows Exploerer windows operate that way, not just the "Open All Users".

    So is it a bug or a feature? I'm missing it alot!
    Tuesday, May 05, 2009 3:48 AM
  • This post helped explain the issue in a little more detail and helped me resolve it. Seems to be a bug when you have more than ~70 shortcuts to programs.

    http://coolthingoftheday.blogspot.com/2009/05/story-of-windows-7-and-empty-all.html

    Hope that helps!
    Thursday, May 07, 2009 3:53 AM
  • Hello
    Got the sam problem. I created a new subfolder in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and I put some shorcut in this folder and all reapper.
    Hope this will help
    Nicolas Oggier
    Nicolas Oggier
    Friday, May 29, 2009 4:49 PM
  • Because of some other problems I decided to clean my laptop and reinstall everything. Here's what I did:
    I Used the Recovery DVDs to do a clean install of Windows XP.
    I Upgraded to Vista Ulitmate.
    I Upgraded to Windows7 Ultimate.
    I Installed all my software.

    So far, the problem I had been having as not appeared.

    • Proposed as answer by Mike.McDonald Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:00 PM
    Sunday, May 31, 2009 3:14 PM
  • Had the same problem when I upgraded from Vista 64 SP1.

    Tried various solutions without success, however have now solved this (at least for me) - and without any data loss, or need to reinstall any versions of Windows.

    My problem was that I had Program shortcuts under the "All Users" profile; I also had Program shortcuts under my specific user profile. Some of the shortcuts in both profiles were contained in folders with the same name (for example "Accessories")

    Under Vista the shortcuts in the two folders "merge" in the All Programs list to show just one combined list of shortcuts; Windows 7 seems to have a glitch doing this so nothing at all shows.

    As soon as I renamed these 'duplicate' folders in my personal user profile all the items in the All Programs list reappearred (so the All Users profile now has a folder called "Accessories", and my profile has a folder called "My Accessories"; both are now visible via All Programs) Note that you only need to rename the folders in one of the two profiles; your personal profile will probably have less shortcuts, so is the obvious one to amend.

    The Programs shortcuts associated with your personal user profile are located in "C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs", where UserName is the name you gave to your account.


    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:17 PM
  • Anyone know if this horrible bug is fixed in RTM/7600 or not? This is a very annoying bug. I can't have 70+ items in my All Programs menu? Way to go MS!
    Wednesday, September 02, 2009 1:01 PM
  • I tried a smilar approach as Mike.McDonald, however, instead of renaming, I just changed the attributes of the "C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" folder to hidden (including all subfolders and files contained therein).  So, I beleive everything only in the "all users" folder got picked up.  That worked fine, but I am still missing some folders (like Accessories, etc.)  This weekend I will try makng certain that the start menu programs folder for "all users" and my username folder contain exactly the same shortcuts (copy and paste as needed).  My guess is that some in the "all users" folder may not be in the "username" folder and vice versa.  I will report back with the results.
    Friday, September 11, 2009 6:56 PM
  • I'll second that request.

    I 'discovered' the bug when I "reverse consolidated" my RC clean install's menu - USING THE START MENU ITSELF. Now there's a "Bugs 101" example of how not to write limiting code...

    So it will be truly fascinating to see if users of RTM code can confirm the same problem still exists.

    I suspect the support and marketing folks will have some "fun" if it isn't fixed by the retail release. I can see the headlines now : "Latest 64-bit MS Operating system unable to handle more than 70 programs!" (No, it's not entirely true, but that's what will get printed).

    I can't begin to imagine the flak once retail users discover that it's possible for the start menu to break the start menu with minimal to moderate software installs! I can hear a "panic patch" being written and released very quickly indeed if that's the case!
    Friday, September 18, 2009 5:38 AM