All my programs (Start / Programs) are hidden from view. How can I get them to re-appear?

In Windows Explorer, I checked "Show all hidden files and folders (including system files)

I went to Start Menu / Programs.  Sure enough, my microsoft product shortcuts were hidden.  I unhid them.

Yet, all the software I have installed on my computer, does not show in Start / Programs.

When I go to control panel and click add/remove programs, all my installed programs are there!  I want that same list to appear when I click Start /  Programs.

I thought about (a) reinstalling Windows XP Service Pack 3, or (b) reformatting the hard drive and start over.

I cannot use Window Restore because it was disabled months ago.

Note:  When I click on My Documents, there all hidden from view.  I had to manually unhide all of them.  (I thought I may have a virus so I ran Norton full system scan with the latest a/v definitions.  No virus found).

What would you recommend I do to solve this problem?
WeThePeopleAsked:
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flubbsterCommented:
Try this:

Right-Click on START

Select the Start-Menu, Tab

Make sure the Start Menu 'radio-button' is selected

Select the 'Customize button'

Select the 'Advanced Tab'

Scroll about 3/4 of the way through the list and you will find a check-box, indicating:

Scroll through Programs

Put a check in that box.

Shut down, re-start, and you should be good to go.

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BCipolloneCommented:
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WeThePeopleAuthor Commented:
The solution above did not work in my case.  

I just tried Internet Explorer.  When I clicked on My Favorites, it indicates "empty".  Yet, in Windows Explorer, it shows them all there, only hidden.

This tells me, all the programs that would normally appear when I click  "Start / Programs", are hidden.  How do I unhide them?
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WeThePeopleAuthor Commented:
I am re-installing Windows XP Service Pack 3, if that does not work, I will reformat and reload all software, that's much easier then spending hours trying to troubleshoot this thing.
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CianoxCommented:
Just a thought, but maybe your shortcuts to the programs have been moved from C:\Documents and Settings\all users\Start Menu\Programs folder to somewhere else. Or they are still there but security permissions have been changed, so non administrators users can't see them anymore. Try to check the permissions on ..\All users\Start Menu\ to see if there are limitations set in the security tab.
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WeThePeopleAuthor Commented:
I have reformatted the hard disk drive and reloaded all the software.  The computer works fine now.
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WeThePeopleAuthor Commented:
My solution worked best in the time frame allotted to get the computer up and running again.
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