My XP machine was freezing after bootup and I could not access utilities to detemine the error. Could not access Sys restore, so my only option was to initiate a an XP repair using my Win XP SP3 disk. I messed up the first time as I missed entering the repair option, so when I noticed the disk was creating a separate install I immediately cancelled it. However, upon reboot I now had two XP installs on the same partition - the original and the incomplete one I had attempted to cancel.

At this point I could not edit the boot.ini file to correct that error, so I started the repair on the correct Win XP install and this completed without any errors. Or so I thought until I logged in and found a generic desktop with ALL icons gone AND Start/ All Programs was empty. My documents was also empty, so I navigated to the C drive and found the folders containing my files and programs and it appears everything is there...

So how do I get my start menu/ All Programs back AND restore the desktop icons for each user on this machine? I've heard about 'unhide.exe' to restore icons/ desktop shortcuts and even if that is a proven solution it does nothing to restore the 'All programs' issue. I also found a hotfix - #941248 ( - in the Microsoft knowledge base but it was desgned to restore the start menu after a malware attack. I'm not sure this was the case and would appreciate your thoughts on using this. FYI - I tried to perform a Sys restore once the repair was complete but all the restore points are gone. Backup is toast, so I have to work with what I've got!! I need to get this operational ASAP - so your help is requested NOW!

I'm not proud - HELP!!


It's possible that the only problem is that your profile has been trashed. One suggestion is to create another user (an administrator). You can run the user manager by running lusrmgr.msc. Then log on to that user. Locate the folder containing your profile. I don't recall where XP keeps them. Just look for a folder on your C drive with your old username. I think it might be something like

C:\Documents and Settings\John

but I could be mistaken.

Once you locate that folder, rename it. For example, if your username is John, rename it to John.old.

It's been a while since I've had to do this, but now log off and relog on with your old username. I believe XP will rebuild the profile using the default profile. You may have to rebuild some shortcuts if you installed any apps at the user rather than all user level.

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