I’m helping a friend out with this laptop. It had some malware on it, and I just ran the kaspersky rescue cd. I don’t get any pop ups on startup of windows anymore, but I don’t have anything after I click the start button. I’ve had this problem before where the search shows up blank. But search seems to work just fine.
This also is happening. There are libraries, but not being shown in explorer.
go and download that program and it will fix your problem. then run malwarebytes through the safemode and it should fix any other malware problems that is associated with this.
Those items (Documents, Pictures etc.) can be restored via
Taskbar properties / Start Menu tab / Customize.
If you want the default shortcuts back, you can create a new user account. If the existing one needs to be retained, you can create a new one, copy all the default shortcuts to the existing account, then delete the new one.
An easier option would be to simply use the fixes (archives of all default shortcuts) mentioned in this article: How to Restore Missing Default Shortcuts in the Windows 7 Start Menu.
I think what your friend is going to have to do is create a new user, copy over files/settings, and then delete (or disable) the old user.
In theory if they create a new user there shouldn’t be any cruft from the old user unless the malware is still there. And things like the start menu should look like the default.