Start Menu Missing Items

Category: Quickies , Windows


All of a sudden, the Run and Search options are missing from the Windows XP Start Menu. What caused this, and how can I get them back?


What caused it? Probably evil gnomes... or an errant cosmic ray. Here's one way to fix it:

  • Right-click on the Start button

  • Click on Properties

  • Select the Start Menu tab

  • Press the Customize button

  • Select the Advanced tab

  • Scroll down through the Start menu items list

  • Check the box next to Search and/or Run

  • Press OK twice

If that doesn't work because the item was already checked, then UNcheck it, press OK, go back in and then REcheck it. Some people report this works for them. If you still don't the menu item back, and you're on a Windows 2000 system, try this to get your Run button back:

  • Use Windows Explorer to find gpedit.msc (probably c:\winnt\system32\gpedit.msc) then double click on it to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  • Go to User configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu & Toolbar
  • Double click on Remove Run from start menu
  • Select Disable, then press OK

It might sound backwards, but there's a double negative there... You're disabling the removal of the the Run button.

This article was posted by on 26 Sep 2006

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Most recent comments on "Start Menu Missing Items"

Posted by:

05 Dec 2006

Also, this could be a sign of a virus. Try to go to your task list by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC and see if you get a message that says THIS HAS BEEN RESTRICTED CONTACT ADMINISTRATOR. If it does, you got a virus.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Maybe, but I'm sure there are MANY viruses that don't prevent you from viewing the task list. Better to scan for badware. See

Posted by:

10 May 2007

Sir, In my system "run" menu missing from start menu items. am using win2k operating system.Please give the solution as soon as possible.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Did you try the proposed solution above? I recently updated the article with additional information.

Posted by:

22 Nov 2007

thanks this article solved my problem.
it is a virus. run,search and task manager will not be opened you will be stripped of your administrator's account and your system joins a workgroup all without your permission

Posted by:

31 May 2008

I tried the above solution but when I open the Start menu items list... run and search are not there to check or uncheck. Solutions?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Maybe a System Restore can help. Do you remember when they disappeared?

Posted by:

18 Jun 2008

Wow, it is great. Your steps are short and clear. Thanks a lot. Now I can find my search button from the start menu already!!

Posted by:

26 Jun 2008

I can't find Search and/or Run on the Start menu items list. What should I do?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Read the article, and follow the instructions. Or did you already try that?

Posted by:

19 Sep 2008

when i go to start my search is not there. i used to go there to search files now there is a search with a magnifying glass there instead. how can i get the old one back.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Search option is supposed to have a magnifying glass next to it...

Posted by:

08 Oct 2008

sir the search options keeps on disappearing from the start menu.. and now it has permanently disappeared from the start menu. and when i go to start menu = properties= customize => advance => (the search button is not present in the start menu item's list ) .. the search option is not present there to check or uncheck ...? what to do ..?

Posted by:

14 Jan 2009

Thanks. I have never had the "run" option in my start menu, so anytime you had to use it I obviously couldn't. I asked many people and the answer had always been I'd need to re-install XP and loose everything else. Today a friend told me about this web site and I immediately was able to fix it with simply checking s box saved many hours of work.

Posted by:

13 Feb 2009

None of the 2 solutions above work for me, all those options are missing :-( run, search, folder options, system restore says its disabled by the admin, thats me.. PLEASE HELP!!!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Are you logged in as an Admin user?

Posted by:

30 Apr 2009

search option is missing in start menu.when i go to start menu = properties= customize => advance => (the search button is not present in the start menu item's list ) .. the search option is not present there to check or uncheck ...? what to do ..?

Posted by:

Dan Barnhart
18 Jul 2009

I like a couple of others there went to check the search and run but it is missing. And to top that off my restore does not restore on any of the high lighted dates. I can use a restore with system suite but then my adobe icons don't look right and wants to know what program to open with. Adobe is not on that list. When I tried to reinstall Adobe I got the message "the paging file is to small for this operation to complete. So I keep this setup here so my adobe works. What a mess.

Posted by:

13 Dec 2010

Hey There,

That was an excellent tip I got my run and search to come up in the start menu



Posted by:

sohan sewta
28 Oct 2013

i can't view images in photos apps

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Start Menu Missing Items (Posted: 26 Sep 2006)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved