Shortcuts started mysteriously disappearing from the Start menu and Windows

Shortcuts started mysteriously disappearing from the Start menu and Windows taskbar – Friday the 13th has nothing to do with it

It seems that a recent Windows Defender update has caused program shortcuts to disappear from the Start menu and taskbar. The issue affects businesses and organizations that use Microsoft 365 and Windows Defender to protect against malware, viruses, and other threats. Also, all the shortcuts are gone, not just the Microsoft application icons.

Microsoft said it is investigating an issue caused by a new security rule called Attack Attack Surface Reduction Capabilities Configuration (ASR). Microsoft says it’s temporary “Rule lifted to prevent further repercussions while investigation continues”. However, the software manufacturer has not published any workaround or instructions on how IT admins can restore shortcuts on affected computers.

Currently, IT admins are attempting to circumvent the issue themselves by configuring the “Block Win32 API calls from an Office macro” rule for auditing only. In many cases, the only effective advice for users was to manually start their applications from the folder where they are installed, using Start or the Run command.

This strange error does not affect regular Windows users and consumers, only managed computers within organizations. And there are hundreds or thousands of machines in large organizations that rely on a threat detection system.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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