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  1. #1
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    Non-profit community center I occasionally help with PC problems called me yesterday to help them hook up a printer. When I got there, found a bunch of PC's with problems. One of them is a Dell Dimension 9200 desktop, running Vista Home Basic. Only has two accounts enabled, Administrator and a User. If I click on the User button on the Log On screen, the PC immediately shows "Logging Off" and then returns to the Log On screen.

    If I click on the Adminstrator button, the Welcome screen comes up, with the little spinning circle, followed by a black screen with only the standard arrow cursor. Desktop never appears. This happens in every mode I try: Normal, Safe, Low Resolution Screen, Last Known Good Configuration. In every mode but Safe, the little spinning circle (like the one on the Welcome screen) flashes periodically next to the cursor. In Safe Mode I get the "4 corners" display of Safe Mode and the Microsoft version info at the top of the screen, but I don't see the little spinning circle.

    At first I thought Windows wasn't loading at all, but when I pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del, I get the standard "what do you want to do" screen, and I can open Task Manager. Dell has a special entry in the screen which comes up when I hold F8 down, that says "Repair Your PC." When I used that entry, the first choice was "Fix Startup Problems," so I selected that, and Dell "says" the PC is booting just fine

    Any suggestions? If a Repair Install is in order, do I need a Vista Home Basic DVD for that? The only Vista DVD's I have are for Home Premium.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    See this column, Fred Langa has a brief in there about
    the 'missing desktop' problems that may be of help here.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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    See this column, Fred Langa has a brief in there about
    the 'missing desktop' problems that may be of help here.
    Don't think one can see the story unless one pays a pretty penny (or an ugly one).

    I would try startup repair with a Home Premium version; is there a lot to lose?

    Also might try a chkdsk from the admin account in safe mode ( http://www.ehow.com/how_4967757_run-...ity-vista.html ) and see if you can create a new user account while there (should work if its the true admin account). If a new user account can be established and made to work normally then its just the older profiles that have become corrupt. If a new user account behaves the same way as the others then is something system-wide (drivers, services, OS corruption; all of which could be affected by hardware failure as well) and depending on how long this condition has existed, a reinstall or recovery operation may be required to fix the problem or ascertain the underlying cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Also might try a chkdsk from the admin account in safe mode ( http://www.ehow.com/how_4967757_run-...ity-vista.html ) and see if you can create a new user account while there (should work if its the true admin account).
    Uhh, how am I supposed to do either of these when I can't the Desktop to load?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    see if you can create a new user account while there (should work if its the true admin account).
    I could create new accounts, both Administrator and Standard User, but Explorer wouldn't load for them either. Finally got MalwareBytes Anti-Malware to run, it found 20 pieces of c**p and after that Explorer is loading properly. Running some more scans and checking Windows Update, but it appears the PC is back to "normal."

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    Uhh, how am I supposed to do either of these when I can't the Desktop to load?
    You mentioned task manager so it sounds like you were logging on but explorer was messed up, but from task manager you can start a command line interface and run system checks from there.

    Did you make a boot disc or use a portable USB version to run MalwareBytes from, and did you have to change the name of the program to get it to run?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    You mentioned task manager so it sounds like you were logging on but explorer was messed up, but from task manager you can start a command line interface and run system checks from there.

    Did you make a boot disc or use a portable USB version to run MalwareBytes from, and did you have to change the name of the program to get it to run?
    Some of the malware on the PC was interfering with Explorer, bit I got it going by opening Task Manager and then using File|New Task. MBAM was already installed on the PC. When I tried to update it before running a scan, I got an error about Plug and Play forcing a shutdown of the PC. After the restart, the first scan I tried quit (I think with the Plug and Play error) before completing, but the second time I scanned the PC it ran to completion. Even after MBAM blew out a bunch of stuff, Internet Explorer was still flaky, so I updated and ran Spybot-S&D, and it found some more c**p. Looks at this point like the PC is OK.

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