Go Premium for a chance to win a PS4. Enter to Win


Reinstall Win98 - Cleared out start menu, any easy way to re-create it?

Posted on 2003-11-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-29
A user here was attempting to fix his home windows98 machine's booting problems by doing an install of windows98 over the current install. This fixed his boot problems but reset his start menu to a default clean install start menu.

All the programs are still on the computer, and functional, just no shortcuts in the startmenu anymore. Is there an easy way to restore this aside from manually browsing the computer, looking for programs and manually creating a startmenu?

Bottom line; are there registry keys or files that would still exist that would not have been cleared by the OS's reinstall that could be used to restore the startmenu?

Thanks for comments.
Question by:Mooligan
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 9797671
Hi Mooligan,
sorry no but you can save having to browse to them by dropping them back on the start menu

Click the Start button once with your right mouse button. You should see a context menu pop-up
One of the items is Explore, click this with your left mouse button
An Explorer window opens in \Windows\Start Menu
Right-click any empty space within the right pane. A context menu should appear, click New > Folder
This will create a highlighted icon called New Folder, just name it how you like. You can add shortcuts and/or actual files in this folder. The location on your hard drive is: \Windows\Start Menu\<your folder>

LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 9798079
Greetings, Mooligan!

If you have lost your start menu items, I agree with PeteLong that you will have to put them back one by one.

But your start menu items may not be lost, but hidden. Go to Start > Settings > TaskBar and Start Menu.  Uncheck "Use Personlized Menu" and then click OK.

Here are other ways to personlized your start menu


Best wishes, war1
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 9801162
Humm, sounds like the user didn't really install over top of the old install, I would guess it install into a different folder like maybe "windows.000"
Check in Windows Explorer and see if there is a Windows folder and a windows.000 folder, if there is then it is still fixable by reinstalling Windows again and make sure it is installed into the "windows" folder, then when done simply delete the "windows.000" folder.
What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.

LVL 65

Expert Comment

ID: 9803733
that's why we always say to the people....that before doing any type of istallation or repairing of windows......first make a backup copy of ur personal data......in this case also....if the user had made a backup copy of "C:\Windows\Start Menu" folder, then it would  be able to copy this folder now in C:\Windows folder to get the Start Menu as it was before!!

But as Windows has restored all its original folders and files.....it has created the Start Menu folder again......so ur old Start Menu has replaced by this new Start Menu.

Now only one thing u can do.....open C:\Windows, there will u find the folder, Start Menu, open it and here creat as many shortcuts of the programs, as u want or as u need. and after u have done it, make a copy of this Start Menu folder and save it in a safe place for the future sake!!
LVL 65

Accepted Solution

SheharyaarSaahil earned 1000 total points
ID: 9803754
sorry i forgot to mention abt ur profile folder in C:\Windows\Start Menu folder, coz here all the folders of all the users present on this system will be present, ur Start Menu will be stored in ur profile folder :)
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 9806046
It's strange that it should void the start menu.  I've done this more times than I can remember, and it has never done this with me.

Are there multiple profiles and he is now logged into a different one or maybe the default user's one?  This has already been covered by SheharyaarSaahil, but I typed this quite a few days back and she has seen the same possibility as I have.

Are their any others profiles in C:\windows\profiles\<name>\start menu?

That's a strange coincidence, war1, I was just reading the downloaded version of that this afternoon during a clear out.

There would be a way of restoring this in one go from a batch file by calling the program Shortcut.exe. In honesty though, it would take longer to set this up than just doing it manually.

If you are interested, I have it as a self-extracting PKZIP file named "ENVARS.EXE" and I believe it was from http://www.ericphelps.com/ that I got the idea.

Windows 95 CD  \admin\aptools\


shortcut: [-? -h -f -c -r -s] [[-t] target [[-n] name]] [-d working directory]
        [-a Arguments] [-i Iconfile] [-x Icon index] [-u {all|[natdix]}]

  -? -h        This help
  -f           Force overwrite of an existing short cut
  -c           Change existing shortcut
  -s           Make shortcut non tracking (Stupid)
  -r           Resolve broken shortcut
  -t target    Specifies the target of the shortcut
  -n name      Specifies the file name of the shortcut file
  -d directory Specifies the directory name to start the application in
  -a arguments Specifies the arguments passed when the shortcut is used
  -i iconfile  Specifiles the file the icon is in
  -x index     Specifies the index into the icon file
  -u [spec]    Dumps the contents of a shortcut. 'all' is the same as 'natdix'
               but the letters of 'natdix' can be specified to display specific
               fields in the shortcut (repeats allowed, and order followed)

A handy way of finding and saving fully qualified paths would be with the DOS command "WHERE.EXE" from the Win98 CD Rom under \tools\reskit\file

Usage: WHERE [/r dir] [/qte] pattern ...
    /r - recurse starting with directory dir
    /q - quiet, use exit code
    /t - times, display size and time
    /e - .EXE, display .EXE type
    /Q - double quote the output
    WHERE notepad.exe            Find ALL notepad.exe along the path
    WHERE $windir:notepad.exe    Find ALL notepad.exe along %windir%
    WHERE /r \ notepad.exe       Find ALL notepad.exe on current drive
    WHERE /r . notepad.exe       Find ALL notepad.exe recursing on current direc
    WHERE /r c:\windows\system notepad.exe   Find ALL notepad.exe recursing on c
        Wildcards, * ?, allowed in bar in all of above.


where /r c:\  powerpnt.exe > paths.txt
where /r c:\  winword.exe >> paths.exe

and then begin compiling the batch file from there to call shortcut.exe.

So, that's it in a nutshell.  You did ask  :-)

Author Comment

ID: 9810433
I didn't actually know there was a profile folder in Win98, I thought the start menu was under \windows\start menu. I don't have access to the computer, so this is the only suggestion I feel I can really pass onto the user aside from rebuilding his start menu the long way.

As for unchecking personalized menus..not in win98 the last I checked!

Thanks for comments once again.

Featured Post

Industry Leaders: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

A small collection of useful tips and tricks for Windows 10 users that I decided to write as a result of recent questions that were asked and answered at Experts Exchange. Two short video tutorials included. Enjoy..
In the absence of a fully-fledged GPO Management product like AGPM, the script in this article will provide you with a simple way to watch the domain (or a select OU) for GPOs changes and automatically take backups when policies are added, removed o…
This is used to tweak the memory usage for your computer, it is used for servers more so than workstations but just be careful editing registry settings as it may cause irreversible results. I hold no responsibility for anything you do to the regist…
In this video, viewers will be given step by step instructions on adjusting mouse, pointer and cursor visibility in Microsoft Windows 10. The video seeks to educate those who are struggling with the new Windows 10 Graphical User Interface. Change Cu…

926 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question