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Microsoft fixed the problem with the disappearance of application shortcuts in Windows.
Earlier this week, we learned that installing a recent Windows Defender update was causing app shortcuts to disappear from the Start menu and taskbar. Now it is reported that the developers have released a patch to solve this problem, but installing it does not restore the shortcuts that disappeared earlier.
The issue with missing app shortcuts in Windows is reportedly affecting businesses and organizations that use Microsoft 365 and Windows Defender. It is noted that after installing the latest update, all application shortcuts disappeared from the Start menu and taskbar, and not just icons related to Microsoft products. At the same time, the problem did not affect ordinary Windows users, only users of computers within the networks of organizations encountered it.
Some time after the launch of the Windows Defender update, the developers announced that the problem with the disappearance of shortcuts is related to the new security rule "Attack surface attack surface reduction capabilities configuration." Microsoft even temporarily blocked this rule to avoid spreading the problem further, but it didn't bring back shortcuts where the update had already been installed.
According to the source, the bug causing the disappearance of application shortcuts in Windows has been fixed in update 1.381.2164.0. Installing this package and later updates will resolve the disappearing shortcuts issue. However, the patch will not bring back missing shortcuts where an earlier version of the update was installed. Users will have to restore them themselves.