START MENU / TASKBAR ISSUES


Description:  The Start menu and taskbar in Windows are customizable. Legacy operating systems and Windows Vista\Windows Server 2008 using the Windows Classic theme consist of the word START and the Windows Logo. Vista and its new theme have completely removed the word Start and replaced with a simple Windows Orb.

Users or administrators can add shortcuts and or various folders to customize both the Start Menu and taskbar to their liking.

 

Scoping the Issue:  Identifying steps to replicate any concerns with the Taskbar or Start Menu will help identify what type of information can be collected. Verify if the behavior is per user or per machine. Does the same behavior apply to administrators or in Safe mode?

 

Data Gathering:  In all instances, collecting either MPS Reports with the General, Internet and Networking, Business Networks and Server Components diagnostics, or a Performance-oriented MSDT manifest must be done. 

  • Check the Process.txt to see what if any third-party items are loading under Explorer.exe.
  • Tools such as Autoruns can be used to disable third-party hooks loading under the shell.
  • Collect any screen shots of UI errors, unexplained behaviors, or display problems.
  • Process Monitor logging can be collected against replicating the issue to determine possible registry keys or files that may be involved.

Contents of the following folders and registry key can be examined or compared with working users.

For Windows XP or Windows Server 2003: Documents and Settings\<user profile>\Start Menu\Programs

For Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008: ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

Look in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced registry location as well

 

Additional Resources: