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Filed Under: Windows XP   

The start menu, first introduced with Microsoft Windows 95, is one of the most significant features of Windows operating systems. Located on the bottom left corner of the screen, the Start menu consists of various commands to launch programs, perform searches, and open system configuration utilities. In Windows XP, the Start menu has been redesigned to make it easy for you to access frequently used programs on your system and makes your computing experience a pleasure.

Fixing Common Start Menu Problems

Here, we discuss some of the common problems that you might encounter with the Windows XP Start Menu and how to repair them.

Most of the Start Menu repair solutions require you to modify the registry. Remember that a damaged registry can render your system unbootable. Therefore, always make a backup of the registry before making any changes to it.

Additionally, to perform Start menu repair, you must log in as a user having administrative privileges to your Windows XP system.

Empty All Programs menu due to lost links

To fix empty All Programs menu problem, run the regsvr32 /i shell32.dll command and then restart your PC. Your program links must be visible in the All Programs menu after restart.

If not, then you will need to check Shell Folder data for certain values in the registry. For this, open the Registry Editor window by running the regedit.exe command.

Next, navigate to the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\ExplorerUserShellFolders folder and check if the entries listed below are visible in the right pane.

Value name Value data
Start Menu %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu
Programs %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs

Also, navigate to the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentV ersion\Explorer\UserShellFolders folder and check the values given below.

Value name Value data
Common Start Menu %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu
Common Programs %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs

Next, to repair the problem, add the missing expandable string values to their specific locations. Finally, restart the system to implement the changes.

Missing ‘Turn Off Computer’ icon

To perform Start Menu repair to restore the lost Turn Off Computer icon, open the Registry Editor window. Next, set the value of NoClose to 0 in the locations given below.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Policies\Explorer

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentV ersion\Policies\Explorer

Finally, restart the PC to implement the changes.

Unable to right-click Start menu icons and drag and drop shortcuts in the Start Menu

To fix this problem and perform Start menu repair you need to open the Taskbar and Start Menu properties dialog box.

For this, right-click taskbar and select Properties. Next, open the Start Menu tab and select the Customize button. Now, if you are using the classic Start menu, select the Enable Dragging and Dropping check box and close the dialog box.

In case, you are using the XP style Start menu, then select the Advanced tab after selecting the Customize button. Here, select the Enable Dragging and Dropping check box and close the dialog box.

If the Enable Dragging and Dropping check box is missing from the properties dialog box, then in the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Policies\Explorer and set the value of NoChangeStartMenu to 0.

Forced to use classic Start menu because Start Menu option is missing from the Taskbar Start Menu Properties dialog box

If the Start Menu option is missing from Taskbar Start Menu Properties dialog box, you are forced to use the classic Start menu. This problem is tackled differently in Windows XP Home and Windows XP professional operating systems.

In Windows XP Professional, run the GPEDIT.MSC command and, open User Configuration – Administrative Templates folder. Here, select the Start menu and Taskbar option and set the value of Force classic Start Menu to Not Configured.
In Windows XP Home, navigate to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVe rsion\Policies\Explorer and set the value of NoSimpleStartMenu to 0.
Finally, restart the system to implement the changes.

To sum up, we can say that because most of the Start menu related errors occur due to registry related issues, it is very important to perform regular registry maintenance to keep it healthy. For this, you must try to use a registry cleaner utility that will enable you to scan and clean the registry and keep it free from redundant and obsolete data that can damage it and generate errors.

Additional Recommendations...

Driver Update: Many errors are related to driver problems such as obsolete, outdated or incompatible drivers. A driver update tool is recommended to scan your system for corrupted and outdated drivers and to ensure that all your drivers stay up-to-date.