This post will cover my dealings with a recent computer I worked on. It was a HP DV6000 laptop. There were lots of complaints about this machine, but the biggest one was the start menu didn’t work. If you BING or Google “Vista start menu doesn’t work” you’ll find a ton of posts but no answers. I am going to be upfront that I did get the start menu working but I didn’t completely fix the machine due to the amount of time it was going to take.
Basically the long and short of it was the start menu wasn’t working because the profile permission’s were messed up. There had been a virus on the machine and the UAC system file plus numberous other system files were messed up.
Disabling the UAC ended up being the only way I got the Vista start menu to work. I first did my usual array of top secret virus scans and removed 8 trojans. Next I had a feeling there was some hard drive corruption. I ran an intensive chkdsk scan I was able to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive. I also ran System File Checker scaner (sfc /scannow) and it died at about 86%. There is some mentions that you can check the logs and start manual copying files from the Vista DVD using a PE disk but felt that was just too much work for the price I was charging. Even then you are never garunteed that the machine will work 100%.
So if you are experiencing the Vista startmenu doesn’t work issue it is most likely due to hard drive corruption that happened after a virus had it’s way with your computer.