The PHONY alert is the clue. Grif writes about the OTHER SCANS you need to do as well as UNHIDE in recent discussions. You can see more at this next link.
all my start menu items are gone except a partial list of programs. I can use the search bar to get to any program. Also gone are all my favorite links, nearly all desktop icons, stored passwords and usernames.
I was on a website I use often when first came an alert that said my hard drive was failing, a second later my virus alert sounded but I was unable to read what it had discovered, then phoney alert windows bagan opening until screen was filled. Next the laptop shut itself off and restarted, that's when I discovered everything missing.
Two days have passed, virus scans and updates find nothing wrong.
I can't remember the process for getting everything back on the start menu, other than possibly going to each program, clicking to properties, then creating shortcut then dragging shortcut to start menu.