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"All programs" empty after in-place upgrade from Vista

    Question

  • As the title says the "All programs" menu in start menu is empty after upgrading from Vista SP2 beta to Windows 7 RC. I did some googling and other people seemed to have the same problem. Creating a new account won't fix the problem as the problem persists in every new account. Maybe it has got something to do with permissions?

    I think this is a major issue if other people can reproduce it as Vista -> Win7 upgrade path will be used extensively after Windows 7 has been released.

    http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/2315/win7problem.jpg
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 6:36 PM

Answers

  • Ok one more to go!   NOW ANOTHER PROBLEM (But ill get to that after the workarround)!!!! This one is resolved... (This time already rebooted several times!!!!!)

    1st- Install a new software (ny kind as long as it creates a sortcut in start menu and registers it in registry!
    2nd- You'll notice if you still have inside "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder" a "Programs" Subfolder that now is duplicated!
    3rd- Copy all contents of the older "Programs" Subfolder to the new one tha was just created (it shoul contain only the software just installed).
    4th- Verify you have all your programs in the correct folder and delete the old Subfolder.
    5th- Reboot and verify that all is there as always, but....

    It just happened to me this: When i logged on for like the 3rd time (always with the same user) it defaulted my screen to the Windows Classic Theme and

    gave the following error:

     c:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to alocation that is unavaiable.(bla... bla... bla...etc...)

    So what i did was Creating this "Desktop" folder in the destination required. Then Logged off and Logged On again and voila.... all okay....... Until a few other reboots.... Happened again...

     Lets investigate this....

     But the issue with "All Programs is resolved!" Hope it helps.... Please Reply....
    • Proposed as answer by Nuno_Relvao Friday, May 08, 2009 11:41 PM
    • Marked as answer by Nick FV Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:29 PM
    Friday, May 08, 2009 11:39 PM

All replies

  • As the title says the "All programs" menu in start menu is empty after upgrading from Vista SP2 beta to Windows 7 RC. I did some googling and other people seemed to have the same problem. Creating a new account won't fix the problem as the problem persists in every new account. Maybe it has got something to do with permissions?

    I think this is a major issue if other people can reproduce it as Vista -> Win7 upgrade path will be used extensively after Windows 7 has been released.

    http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/2315/win7problem.jpg
    I have just upgraded Vista SP1 x86 to '7' RC and have the same problem. All the links and folders appear in the correct place 'C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu' and 'C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu' and the Explorer shell registry entry is pointing to the correct place.  Also, the taskbar items did not transfer across.

    I am up and running by copying the programs that I use into the taskbar but for an average punter, this fault would be catastrophic.  Interestingly, researching solutions on the web, this problem has been reported for XP->Vista as well as Vista->'7'.
    Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:57 PM
  • I have the same problem.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 9:34 AM
  • It would be nice to be able to report bugs.
    Friday, May 01, 2009 10:16 AM
  • It would be nice to be able to report bugs.

    You are. Right here in these fora.
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 10:47 AM
  • I have just upgraded Vista SP2 to Windows 7 RC and have also found my "All Programs" links are missing (although the link files are still in the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder). I have seen some people say it's an issue if you have more than 70 folders (I have 98 in All users and 18 in my folder).

    This is a big problem that needs to be sorted out ASAP!

    How can this be fixed?

    Andrew
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 12:04 PM
  • It's surprising that there's still no MS response.

    Saturday, May 02, 2009 3:37 PM
  • It looks as though you need to move the links and folders to a different location and then back into C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder one at a time. If you move them all back in one go they do not appear in the start menu. One folder at a time seems to be the only way to guarantee they appear in the start menu.

    Microsoft response ASAP please!

    Andrew 
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 4:58 PM
  • It looks as though you need to move the links and folders to a different location and then back into C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder one at a time. If you move them all back in one go they do not appear in the start menu. One folder at a time seems to be the only way to guarantee they appear in the start menu.

    Microsoft response ASAP please!

    Andrew 


    I've tried this but after restarting the computer All Programs is again empty.
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 5:14 PM
  • Yes you are right. I have 972 items in my start menu folders and I simply think it's too many! There must be some sort of limit. I have to go out this evening but tomorrow I'll try and work out if the limit is on the number of 'public' or 'private' items or if it's a limit on the total number of items in the start menu.

    To work around the problem I've copied the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and C:\Users\Andrew Jones\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu folders to the desktop so I can launch everything from there.

    Let me know if you make any progress.

    Andrew
    Saturday, May 02, 2009 6:35 PM
  • Here's my work around that works even after rebooting:

    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.

     

    You’re done. When you click on “All Programs” you’ll see a limited number of Program Items. If you click on the A folder, you see all of your Programs. NOTE: In this folder the folders follow single shortcut items.

    Saturday, May 02, 2009 9:54 PM
  • It looks as though there is a limit of around 100 items at the top level. I have not been able to work out if this limit is on the number of items or the total string length. In order to test you need to log off and back on so it takes a while to work out the limits.

    Microsoft, can you let us know what the limits are.

    Andrew
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 6:49 PM
  • http://coolthingoftheday.blogspot.com/2009/05/story-of-windows-7-and-empty-all.html

    Take a look at the above link, it would seem that, on an upgrade, the limit is 70 programs. I fought with this the whole day yesterday and can't wait to get home tonite to fix it. The true proof is set up another user account and the program files are there because of the lower number of programs. I just didn't think it through far enough to arrive at the conclusion in the above article. it would have been nice if Microsoft had advised but, I guess, it is a learning process. More justification for a clean install rather than an upgrade
    Monday, May 04, 2009 6:18 AM
  • http://coolthingoftheday.blogspot.com/2009/05/story-of-windows-7-and-empty-all.html

    Take a look at the above link, it would seem that, on an upgrade, the limit is 70 programs. I fought with this the whole day yesterday and can't wait to get home tonite to fix it. The true proof is set up another user account and the program files are there because of the lower number of programs. I just didn't think it through far enough to arrive at the conclusion in the above article. it would have been nice if Microsoft had advised but, I guess, it is a learning process. More justification for a clean install rather than an upgrade

    I don't believe its 70 items. If you copy more than one item at the time it blanks. if you copy 1 item/folder at a time, it asks for permision to copy the itme into the programs folder (all users one)..

    As a test I only copied about 6 folders over to the all users (programdata) start menu and about 30 minutes later they all had "gone" again. If you delete the start menu folder in programdata, all your per user start menu items reappear (didn't check if they return after a reboot).

    As the win 7 upgrade copies all of theses items out and back, thats one part of the reason this is happening. The second part is what process or what is causing thses items to appear blank on finished upgrade or after x minutes.
    Monday, May 04, 2009 11:55 PM
  • I agree it's not 70 items, I have 98. I suspect the limit is on the total number of characters. Probably this code is written in C++ and a buffer is being allocated with say 3000 characters (I have not worked out what the actual number is). They then get the files and folder names. If the total length of the folder names is more than the 3000 characters an error is caused and nothing is displayed in the menu. It seems that this code only runs when you logon (or after a set period of time?).

    This is not really a setup issue it seems to be a problem with the Win7 menu code.

    Andrew
    Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:08 AM
  • Same problem here, just will try to post another note to Microsoft to resolve this.

    All other things seem okay
    Friday, May 08, 2009 1:05 AM
  • I can see the items in all programs, but after I click on start, I didn't see the list of used programs, for which you can speciify how many items to list. Also I didn't see the Windows Defender in the list of all programs while in vista you can see, don't know if it's normal.
    Friday, May 08, 2009 2:11 AM
  • I posted a bug report to Connect:

    https://connect.microsoft.com/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=444885&SiteID=647
    Friday, May 08, 2009 11:35 AM
  • I think i got it.....

    Try copying all your (Shortcuts in programs as they are!) to :


    C:\Users\"name of user"\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    Put here all the shrotcuts.

    I have tried to reboot also and did it okay! Seems all is ok now!


    Also i have noticed that in some folders (mainly in thos that already existed with vista!) theres a "desktop.ini" file in all of them, i have deleted all ....
    (You must set to see hidden files!)

    Please let me know if this works!
    • Proposed as answer by Nuno_Relvao Friday, May 08, 2009 10:23 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by dwoltersEditor Sunday, May 31, 2009 5:42 PM
    Friday, May 08, 2009 10:23 PM
  • OOpppps... Nahh!!! Just worked once.....

    Rebooted again same problem.....

    Friday, May 08, 2009 10:46 PM
  • Ok one more to go!   NOW ANOTHER PROBLEM (But ill get to that after the workarround)!!!! This one is resolved... (This time already rebooted several times!!!!!)

    1st- Install a new software (ny kind as long as it creates a sortcut in start menu and registers it in registry!
    2nd- You'll notice if you still have inside "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder" a "Programs" Subfolder that now is duplicated!
    3rd- Copy all contents of the older "Programs" Subfolder to the new one tha was just created (it shoul contain only the software just installed).
    4th- Verify you have all your programs in the correct folder and delete the old Subfolder.
    5th- Reboot and verify that all is there as always, but....

    It just happened to me this: When i logged on for like the 3rd time (always with the same user) it defaulted my screen to the Windows Classic Theme and

    gave the following error:

     c:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop refers to alocation that is unavaiable.(bla... bla... bla...etc...)

    So what i did was Creating this "Desktop" folder in the destination required. Then Logged off and Logged On again and voila.... all okay....... Until a few other reboots.... Happened again...

     Lets investigate this....

     But the issue with "All Programs is resolved!" Hope it helps.... Please Reply....
    • Proposed as answer by Nuno_Relvao Friday, May 08, 2009 11:41 PM
    • Marked as answer by Nick FV Tuesday, June 09, 2009 6:29 PM
    Friday, May 08, 2009 11:39 PM
  • I myself will not be trying these solutions out. I will wait in hope that Microsoft will get it sorted out sooner rather than later.

    I have been using windows 7 for just over 24 Hrs and as such I am rather happy with it.

    I was a little unsettled when I first noticed the start menu, but I will not complain (you expect these little problems when you are running a NONE final version of software after all).

    NIK
    Monday, May 11, 2009 1:52 AM
  • For me it doesnt work because there will not be that duplicated folder :( maybe i dont understand well what you wrote because im not a native english speaker :) is it possible to make some screenshots or a could you explain in other word what do you mean with the 2nd :)

    thx Jens 

    Jens Polze
    Monday, May 11, 2009 6:13 AM
  • Ok! Ill try to explain  better!!

    do you have a "Programs" Folder inside

    "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder"?

    you should have this folder with all the programs already installed before in Windows Vista! (remember your instalation must have been an updated one from Vista"!

    If you do have it try this:

    "cut" and "paste" this "Programs" Folder outside in in you Desktop for example!

    Now install any program that makes a start menu icon/shortcut...

    open "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder" again and verify that you have there the "Programs" folder again! This time with only the shortcut for the program that you have installed!...

    If you do then you just have to "cut" and "Paste" back the "Programs" in you Desktop, to the "Programs" inside "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder".



    • Proposed as answer by Jens Polze Monday, May 11, 2009 9:11 AM
    Monday, May 11, 2009 7:33 AM
  • ah now i understood ;) and it work well
     Thank you very much.

    Jens Polze
    • Proposed as answer by Tom221 Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:59 AM
    Monday, May 11, 2009 8:42 AM
  • I did a clean install of windows 7 RC and had the same problem. I tried all of the above fixes and some others and none of them completely worked. I had 110 items in the Users and All Users Program folders combined. I used SchildB's fix and found that the magic number is 80 Items in both folders. Then I downloaded Tidy Start Menu and organized the Items. It's been working ever since. You can do it manually, but the program is so much easier. I have set up 10 folders for different categories. Good luck
    Thursday, May 14, 2009 5:14 PM
  • Hi,

    You may setup other program menu replacement like Vista Start Menu -
    http://www.VistaStartMenu.com/

    This will fix the problem and bring you some new features like -
    1. Power timers and large Power buttons (customizable)
    2. No need to scroll to find the program(like you do in Vista)
    3. resize and scale
    4. Keep the positions feature
    etc.


    --
    Best regards, Dennis Nazarenko
    • Proposed as answer by OrdinarySoft Monday, May 18, 2009 6:16 PM
    Monday, May 18, 2009 6:16 PM
  • You should not attempt to upgrade from Windows Vista if you have SP2 beta installed.  You need to uninstall the SP2 beta before attempting to upgrade to Windows 7 RC1.
    Carey Frisch
    Monday, May 18, 2009 6:36 PM
    Moderator
  • Even though we have all these possible solutions to this problem is Microsoft working on fixing it?

    We should not have to tinker with copy and pasting or installing 3rd party software to try and sort this problem out.

    It is a pity about this problem as apart from this I am quite happy with windows 7.

    NIK
    Monday, May 18, 2009 9:39 PM
  • Even though we have all these possible solutions to this problem is Microsoft working on fixing it?

    We should not have to tinker with copy and pasting or installing 3rd party software to try and sort this problem out.

    It is a pity about this problem as apart from this I am quite happy with windows 7.

    NIK
    Hi

    Of course. This is what 'beta' is all about, finding and fixing bugs.

    A beta is not like a released product where problems are found and fixed with a quick update. With a beta product the fixes usually appear in the next released beta build.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 2:10 AM
    Moderator
  • I too have just upgraded Vista SP2 to Windows 7 RC and have also found my "All Programs" links are missing. I've copied out and back from c:\programdata, and will be rebooting shortly.

    The reboot emptied the "all programs" again <sigh>


    Sunday, July 05, 2009 4:57 PM
  • I am running Windows 7 RC and recently had the same problem with the program files and found that installing and using "tidy start menu" brought back the program files and it even organizes them for me. Here is a link if you wanna try it out:

    http://www.tidystartmenu.com/index.shtml
    Thursday, July 09, 2009 7:07 AM
  • This is so much easier to fix than people are making it. True there is a 70 program limit on the start menu, god only knows why, although, it only counts visable files, but this'll fix it simply.

    left click on start button, right click on all programs, click on open, right click on the "Programs" folder in the opening explorer, click on properties, when that opens up, set the folder and all subfolders to "Hidden".

    wallah!! all proggies are back on the start menu

    :D

    Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:13 AM
  • WOW, a real fix! Last but not least!

    THANKS!
    Sunday, December 20, 2009 8:49 PM