How can I remove a virus if all items in my Start Menu are missing?

Gina Casey March 9, 2012

I think I got a really aggressive virus on my laptop. It ran a “system restore” and now it says the only way to fix it is to buy a program that costs $85! I don’t have the money to buy it. And all the options in my Start Menu are gone!

Btw, the last thing I clicked on before all hell broke loose was a link to this page from my Facebook. But I walked away from my computer for a couple minutes, so I’m not sure what popped at after I clicked on your link.

  1. Sara M
    March 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    do NOT run an antivirus program or temp file cleaner until you get your menu items out of the temp folder. your start menu, favorites, etc are in your windows directory temp folder (location depends on your version).  The folder is called stmp.  inside it will have up to 4 folders named "1" through "4".  Copy those to your desktop or somewhere safe, then you can run the antivirus program.  It's usually just an executable that downloaded within the last 1-2 weeks. This virus tends to block out your desktop so you can click my computer if you can see it, or you can press the windows logo key + E to open explorer and navigate or search for those folders.  After removing the virus/malware, you can copy the contents of those 1-4 folders back to your start menu, etc.  The previous poster, Mike, has the correct link "these instructions" to tell you where to copy them back to.  If you already cleaned your temp folder when you did your restore then your menu and start up is gone whether you remove the scareware or not - to get them back you may need to completely restore windows (not just a rollback called restore to earlier point) or start a new user profile.  Sorry to sound scattered, I have to run, but wanted to be sure you didn't run anything until you copy those out since you can't recover them easily.  Good Luck!

  2. Ginamay102
    March 10, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Wow! Thank you all for helping me with my issue. I have not actually had a chance to thoroughly explore all of the answers that were posted. Luckily for me, a friend of mine just happened to stop by during my "crisis". He went into safe mode and removed the virus for me and installed avg so I could at least get back on. I am definately going to read all the answers and use what I need. For my own personal knowledge and to restore my laptop. I just wanted to let everyone who took the time to help me that I really appreciate it. thank you. I love this site! :)

    • Anonymous
      March 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Glad that you have fixed the problem and recovered pc, do you know which virus caused this?

  3. Alexander Kenter
    March 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    If it has already done a 'system restore', you've probably already lost all that was on your laptop before that, right? So basically, there's nothing left to save. With this kind of Malware / Scareware / Crapware, I usually find it is faster and easier to do a full reinstall than it is scouring the internet to find a 'fix' for this particular problem; even if you find it, it usually takes many steps to complete, and will sometimes still not totally remove all traces of the programme.

    My not-so-humble-through-experience opinion is therefore to do a genuine system restore - preferably with the install disks of the operating system, and otherwise with the rescue disks that probably came with your laptop when you bought it.

    If you don't have either, and you can't afford a new 'Windows', you might want to use Ubuntu. Google it, download it, and either install it or run it from disk if you feel like you still want to try it out before completely doing away with your existing OS.

    Good luck!

    March 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Hello, I would say the best thing to try would be a CD/DVD antivirus program.  You would have to download one and burn it to CD.  The following link will take you to a list of antivirus CDs and the instructions on how to build the CD, etc.  Try bitdefender or karspersky:

     Once you get the image file and burn it to CD, make sure to change boot order of computer to start with CD.  To do so, you would have to start computer and press a key to enter BIOS.  The following site will show you what button to press to enter BIOS in your computer.  There are different buttons to do this, it depends on the BIOS manufacturer or computer manufacturer:

    This should take care of your problem.  If you are not comfortable with the above option, you could try accessing safemode on startup.

    -- restart computer
    -- keep pressing F8 key
    -- once a menu shows up, select safemode with networking
    -- once black page saying safemode in four corners show up, download and run full scans with following software:

    SUPERANTISPYWARE(portable version)

    MALWAREBYTES: make sure to download free version and also make sure to update the signatures once installed

    If you have an antivirus installed, make sure to update it and run a full scan after the tools above have been run.  Once all scans are finished, restart computer in normal mode and run a scan with superantispyware again.  If everything shows cleaned, make sure to remove all system restore points.  Let me know how it goes.

    • Ginamay102
      March 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you so much! That is such a good suggestion!

      • FIDELIS
        March 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

         Hello, glad to be of help

  5. Kevin Lloyd
    March 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Download Combofix on another computer and run it from the thumbdrive in Safe Mode. Then run Malware Bytes and Super AntiSpyware. The combination has worked well when I've helped my clients with similar problems.

  6. Joffe Family
    March 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    You have a "rogue antivirus". I find the best way to remove these is with an antivirus on a bootable CD/USB drive. There are several of these available out there, but personally, I've used Kaspersky AV (KAV) and AVG "recovery disk" to good effect.
    You can download these for free from the internet as a "disk image" file and burn them onto CD or copy to USB as explained on the web site. Then you reboot your PC from the disc, run the antivirus and let it do its thing.

  7. Anonymous
    March 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    How to remove and decrypt the ACCDFISA Protection Program

    reboot to safe mode and scan with malwarebytes antimalware

  8. Mike
    March 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    If the "program" is asking you to pay money to fix the problem it is most likely some Scareware.

    If possible download and run one of the suggested anti-virus programs from the Best of Windows Software list.

    As for the start menu I believe this instructions should solve your problem.

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