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I recently encountered some strange problems with my computer after surfing the net (Norton firewall was running as was a spyware program...).

My shortcuts under the start menu all have the same icon even though the names are different. Also, when I click on any icon, the same program is launched. If I right click the icon to try and change the properties (i.e., icon), it appears to accept my request but does not reflect this change once I exit the routine. The correct target executable program is defined in all cases (right click icon, under properties / shortcut) even though another program is launched. If I go directly to the 'programs' folder and double click the program icon, it will launch and run properly (the correct icon is displayed here).

I ran several disk registry programs to try and resolve the problem, but no luck. I could not restore even from the safe mode and with all Norton programs deactivated.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I would prefer not to completely (fresh) reinstall Windows XP if possible.

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Sometimes because of poltergeists, moon shadows, and/or Windows normal use, shortcuts become broken. I agree that your situation is different from usual, but the fact that things work normally from All Programs is heartening.

There is a small free program that does nothing but "fix' broken shortcuts:
Shortcutsman- http://shortcutsman....tware4free.com/
I often find that it is able to correct broken/dysfunctional shortcuts.

If not, simply delete the shortcut from the Start Menu, go to the program's entry in All Programs, and right click. Select "Pin to Start Menu," and you're done.

To place a shortcut on the Start Menu which does not offer a "Pin to Start Menu" context choice:

Create the shortcut on the Desktop.
Drag the shortcut to the Start Button and hold till it opens.
Continue dragging to the place you want and drop.
(Can also continue into All Programs the same way.)

A left-click drag makes a copy by default.
A right-click drag will offer choices, including "Move Here."
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