I've seen problems like this on the forum, but nothing exactly the same. I've just done completely clean re-install of LXDE (2012.06) on my partner's computer and updated it immediately. At some point - I really can't say when though i suspect it was after that update - I lost the program menus. Clicking on the main menu launcher bottom left of the screen gives me only two options - 'Run' or 'Logout'. The few icons that remain from the previous install on the panel work OK. I can't however, add others. I can increase the size of the panel etc.but I can add no program to it, although I can add panel applets. I added an application launch bar, but when I click on that, the right side of the box that comes up contains no programs.
Having said all that, I can launch programs either via a terminal (the icon for that is left over from the previous install) or entering the name of the program in the 'Run' box which comes up if I click on the main menu launcher. So all is not lost. But it aint right and my lady isn't the one to be fiddling - as she puts it - with such things as terminals If that's what it comes to however, she'll have to. But I suspect there's an answer somewhere.
Out of interest, there is no such problem in the 'root' account, nor in a test user account I created just to check it out.
The computer is old-ish but adequate. Abit mobo: AMD Athlon 2800+: 160gb WD IDE drive: 1.5gb DDR RAM
Any assistance gratefully received.