Nodes not showing up. (Most versions, including 2.74)

My question is this… I do not have access to nodes all the time. It is hit or miss. Was trying to reproduce it to take screen shots and of course everything is working fine. So… If I’ve installed the Windows version (instead of downloading the ZIP file and extracting it.) are there configuration files that could have saved a previous blunder of mine and cause the nodes to not appear all the time? If so, where do I find them to get rid of them, and have a clean fresh copy to work with? I have uninstalled the previous versions to see if that doesn’t resolve the issue. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

Here is a .blend file I just created that is not letting me use nodes on the ball object.

Here is a screen shot showing that nodes are not available.

You need to make New Material first.