Your prior PC crash might have something to do with what is happening now. To view error messages form your computer:
Start--Control Panel--System and Maintenance--Administrative Tools--view event logs
It's a long and drawn-out process (to check through the logs), look for any 'Errors' and 'Critical' messages within the last few days. This will give you a good idea as to why your computer crashed, and will provide an error code (to research via Google/ Bing/ CNET Forums etc.).
I am running 64-bit Vista on my HP Pavilion laptop. Recently I noticed that the shortcuts inside most of the program folders in the start menu have disappeared. The program folders and sub-folders are still there, but the actual shortcuts are gone. When I expand them, they say "(empty)".
This only happened to the shortcuts in the following folder: C:\Users\irina\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu. The shortcuts are still funtion in the following folder: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\
My PC did crash a couple days before I noticed this problem but I'm not sure if the two issues were related. PC restarted fine after the crash. I tried System Restore, which did not work at first but was able to run it safe mode. I only went back a couple days (before the crash) and that did not fix the issue.
I have also tried to consolidate all the start menu folders into a few categories to reduce the number of folders in the start menu because I read that this may have been the cause. It was not.
I have back-ups of my PC (windows backup) but I'm not sure if there is a way to restore just the start menu. Plus, I really would like to know what could cause something like this. Could it be caused by a virus? Norton Anti-virus "helpful" feature?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.