On a Windows XP-based computer, the following Start menu-related issues may occur:
When you click Start, and then you point to All Programs, the list of programs does not appear.
If you use the Classic Start menu, an empty list appears when you click Start, and then you point to Programs.
These issues occur if you cannot access the Start menu folder. For example, these issues occur if you do not have permission to access the Start menu folder.
These issues occur if the value of the Common Start Menu registry entry is inaccessible or if the value is not valid. In this case, Windows XP cannot initialize the program shell.
A hotfix is available to resolve this problem. After you apply this hotfix, Windows XP ignores all errors when Windows XP initializes the program shell. If the value of the Common Start Menu registry entry is inaccessible or if the value is not valid, Windows XP loads a default Start menu.
A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.
If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.
Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.
You must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed.
You have to restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.
Hotfix replacement information
This hotfix does not replace any other hotfixes.
To use this hotfix, you do not have to make any changes to the registry.
The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time item in Control Panel.
Windows XP with SP2, 32-bit versions
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.
The location for the Start menu depends on the value of the Common Start Menu registry entry that is located under the following registry subkey: