"Computer", Search, Control Panel, everything inherent to Windows Start menu not working in Windows 7 x64

Start menu Search does nothing (it's blank) and neither does "Show More Results".
Control Panel opens a blank window.
Computer [also the desktop shortcut], Music, Documents, etc also does nothing.
The frequently used icons still work, for example Dropbox and Malware Bytes on this machine.
"All Programs" also works.

Edit:
I just realized the blank Control Panel window won't close.
It won't X-out and Alt-F4 doesn't work.

I ran the Microsoft Windows "FixIt." That said it would fix the search problem, it found the search problem, then it said it fixed the search problem (and just that problem) but it didn't work. 

It appears that my computer has been rebooting at night, or possibly crashing and rebooting.
The first time that happened I assumed it was my antivirus (Webroot) restarting or something similar, because the timing was right for that.
But now that it's happened
a couple times, I'm a lot less sure about that.
I'm not running anything overnight (like video compression or downloading).

I haven't rebooted, which I'm really hoping will fix this.
But there's a lot of windows quirks that you fix with reboot (less so in newer versions of Windows)...this is not a quirk.
This is a pretty big failure.
It's not like "Oh, it's not recognizing the printer,
I'll reboot."

A successful OS should not shut down the OS/utility side of the UI like this.
Even if a reboot "fixes" it, that's a major issue.

I'm an advanced user, but not a pro.
I've done user support off and on, I build my own PC's, I've owned them for 20 adult years, and I'm a Computer Science major.
Unfortunately I don't have much experience with advanced Windows troubleshooting, I usually just
use Google and a few tried-and-true solutions to fix user PC's.
I've never done anything with Windows log files, and I'm not anywhere close to MCSE, obviously.

Keys to the Problem "Computer", Search, Control Panel, everything inherent to Windows Start menu not working in Windows 7 x64


Hi JCalton,
 
Thank you for posting in Microsoft Community Forums!
 
I am sorry to hear that you are having issues with Start search, Control Panel, Start menu and also Internet.
Surely, I will try my best to resolve the issue.
 
I would like to know more information about the issue, so that we could help you better.
 
- What is the "Microsoft FIXIT" you tried to resolve this issue?
- Do you receive any error message while opening or closing any folder or any application?
- Have you made any changes on the computer prior to this
issue?
 
Method 1:
Step 1: Place the computer in a clean boot state to check for the issue
Start your computer in safe mode
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Start-your-computer-in-safe-mode
If the issue does not persist, then follow the article to find the cause of the same.
 
Step 2: I would also suggest you to keep the computer in clean boot mode and check if it helps.
A clean boot helps to verify if any third party application services or startup item is causing this issue.
You may refer the following KB article to set the computer in clean boot:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135
Note: After the trouble shooting steps, refer to Step 3 from clean boot link to set the computer back to normal start up mode.
 
Method 2: For the issue related to Search and Index, I would suggest you to follow the steps to run the troubleshooter from the link and check the status of the issue.
Open the Search and Indexing troubleshooter
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Open-the-Search-and-Indexing-troubleshooter
 
Method 3: Also, I would suggest you to run the Microsoft FIXIT from the link and check if it helps.
Fix Windows Desktop Search when it crashes or not showing results
http://support.microsoft.com/mats/windows_search/
 
Method 4: To ensure that your computer is virus free, I would suggest you to run Microsoft Safety scanner and check if it helps.
Microsoft Safety Scanner
http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx
Note: The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires 10 days after being downloaded.
To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and run the Microsoft Safety Scanner again.
The Microsoft Safety Scanner is not a replacement for
using an antivirus software program that provides ongoing protection.
For real-time protection that helps to guard your home or small business PCs against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, download Microsoft Security Essentials.

Method 5: System File Checker (SFC)
SFC tool scans system files and replaces incorrect versions of the system files by using the correct versions.
To run the System File Checker tool, follow these steps:
a) Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
b) Right-click cmd in the Programs list, and then click
Run as administrator.
If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type your password or click Continue
c) At the command prompt, the following line, and then press ENTER:
sfc /scannow
How to use the System File Checker tool to troubleshoot missing or corrupted system files on Windows Vista or on Windows 7?
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929833
 
Hope this information helps.


Click here to download the registry repair application


Another Safe way to Repair the problem: "Computer", Search, Control Panel, everything inherent to Windows Start menu not working in Windows 7 x64:

Click here to download the registry repair application .

How to Fix "Computer", Search, Control Panel, everything inherent to Windows Start menu not working in Windows 7 x64 with SmartPCFixer?

1. Click the button to download Error Fixer . Install it on your system.  Open it, and it will perform a scan for your system. The errors will be shown in the list.

2. After the scan is finished, you can see the errors and problems which need to be repaired.

3. The Repair part is done, the speed of your computer will be much higher than before and the errors have been removed. You can also use other functions in this software. Like dll downloading, junk file cleaning and print spooler error repair.


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