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Desktop Icons and Task Bar not loading

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Okay so I was using my computer normally, turned it off. A few hours later, came home and the desktop icons and task bar wouldn't load. So, via Task Manager, I managed to load Chrome to investigate. Research told me to just run a new task in Task Manager and to type "EXPLORER.exe". Originally, nothing happened upon pressing enter. It then told me to go into the Registry and to navigate: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Image File Execution Options and to delete the explorer.exe and iexplorer.exe (or the debug keys inside them) but there was no trace of them. Then it said to go into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon and change the shell key to "Explorer1.exe", which I did. I also found a, somewhat, suspicious folder here called "Insert your Image File Execution Option pathname here" (or something along those lines) which contained 3 files, one called "DEBUGGER". Obviously, I deleted this.


Upon restart, running EXPLORER.exe via Task Manager would load the explorer window this time, but not the task bar or desktop icons, like they said it would. Out of curiosity I logged out of my user profile and into my fathers and everything loaded perfectly (although somewhat sluggishly). Full desktop items and task bar, the works.


So, I restarted in Safe Mode and ALL the user profiles had no task bar or desktop icons. Upon another reboot my fathers profile no longer worked. (Wtf?)


I have no external HDD to backup data (so format is not an option). I have also tried running "sfc /scannow" from the cmd. It said there were .dll files missing and I needed to insert the Windows XP Home Edition CD-ROM, which I don't have (yet, I can get tomorrow). Also, an AVG full, high priority scan also returned nothing.



I'm out of ideas here..




I've also run a CHKDSK and it turned up nothing. It said the disk volume was clean.

Also, when running "Explorer.exe" in any user account, sometimes "rundll32.exe" pops up for a split second in processes. In the past I have known these files to be quite bad. I don't know if that helps or not..

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Sounds like your profiles have gotten seriously messed up.


I don't want to sound patronising, but backups are becoming a necessity these days, with the amount of hard drive space you can get for £50 (1TB?).


Does the local admin account work under Safe Mode?

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I would say that something has gotton seriously corrupted. Has the computer been switched off without proper shut down? Or BSOD? Maybe a virus that AVG cant pickup. Or maybe (and i've had this) WIndows has jsut got corrupted randomly out of no where, I would suggest that you put the XP disk in (when you get it) and try repairing the XP installation.

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I've added more info into the main section of what I've done since then, btw.



No, local admin doesn't work until Safe Mode.


And I'm going out to get an XP CD today to try and run the scan crucial file function again. It doesn't have to be the one registered to your computer does it?

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  • 2 years later...

This sounds like you have a virus/spyware or you have some corrupt files in your OS.Try to boot the pc into safemode. Once you are in safemode do a system restore on the computer. Try and pick a date that you know the computer was working on. This is very important.

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  • 5 years later...

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