Fixing a broken start menu in Windows 7

I’m putting this here as a reminder to myself, but also in case somebody I know runs into this as well.

This happened to me when I was testing the Beta for Windows 7 – and I was fairly surprised when it happened again recently on my fairly fresh re-install of the release version of Windows 7.  I would go to my Start menu, attempt to Search Programs and Files and all I would get in the list is one item: “Programs”.

I finally had the time to do some searching and try to figure out what actually was causing this – found a blog entry by ‘The Powershell Guy' - http://www.skyeagle.net/blog/post/Windows-7-Search-programs-and-files-from-Start-menu-broken.aspx who was having the same exact issue…

There was a comment in that post by Matthew Evans that resolved the issue for me:

I ran into the same problem over the past couple days with Windows 7 RC and finally dug into it some more.

1. End Task on EXPLORER.EXE from Task Manager. 

2. Start the Registry Editor [ED. Note – Run REGEDIT.EXE from Task Manager | New Task]

3. Look for the following key: 
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\ –>
{EF87B4CB-F2CE-4785-8658-4CA6C63E38C6}\TopViews\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000} 4. Rename the key so it looks like the following: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\ –>
{EF87B4CB-F2CE-4785-8658-4CA6C63E38C6}\TopViews\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}.BACKUP 5. From Task Manager click on File | New Task (Run) and type EXPLORER.EXE and hit return. 6. Now try your search from the Start Menu again.

If the above process doesn't work for you, you can always put it back the way it was by reversing the process above.
I don't understand exactly what this key is controlling, but hopefully someone else can shed some light on why this works.


 

I found in a later comment there is a better explanation of what is actually happening and an alternate way of fixing the issue here:

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/cc378149-8765-498a-9480-b1b494e1a1a9