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  1. #1
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    No icons and no taskbar on desktop

    Windows XP SP3 no icons or taskbar


    When I boot XP there are no icons and no taskbar, just the desktop wallpaper.


    I did a google search and applied the solution suggested there: to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and in Processes to select explorer.exe and click on End Process.


    Then go to New Task and enter explorer.exe and click OK.


    This restores the icons and taskbar on the desktop, but the problem recurs on reboot.


    Also a DOS window keeps flashing up on the desktop for svchost.exe. This happens every few minutes.


    I have run Malwarebytes and cleared out numerous PUP malware. Also Run a full scan with Avast, and a scan from Bitdefender boot CD. Several viruses were found and all were quarantined.


    But the original problem remains each time I bot the computer again.


    Any suggestions will be most welcome.

  2. #2
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    There are many things that could cause this - I once came across it when the user had uninstalled SP3, and it hadn't returned the machine account back to its SP2 settings, and Explorer.exe wasn't called.

    The first thing I'd do is open the Registry Editor. Click Start, Run, and type regedit, then press Enter.

    Sorry if you've heard this before, but *****be very careful what you do in the Registry*****. If you think you've made a mistake, click Cancel and start again.

    Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ Winlogon. In the right pane, look for an entry titled Shell. Check that it exists, and that its value is set to Explorer.exe. It should be a string value, with an "ab" icon.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks tonyl. I have followed your directions in the registry and the Shell entry is already correct, with Explorer.exe, with an 'ab' icon as you describe. So I have not changed anything and await your further advice.

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    While you are waiting for tonyl to get back to you, run the ESET Free Online Scanner to ensure you are completely infection free - it's always best to run more than one robust anti malware scan. http://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/

    Click on Advanced and check all of the boxes except the bottom proxy one and disable your AV program immediately before clicking on Scan.

    There's also a box to check for its auto uninstall.

    When you've run that open a command prompt and enter chkdsk /f - type y and press enter for it to execute on the next reboot.

    Enter exit to close the command window then reboot.

    You can view its full report in Event Viewer by going Start - Run - type eventvwr and press enter.

    When it has read all of the logs, click on the arrow next to Windows Logs - click on Application/Action/Find then type either chkdsk or wininit into the Find box and click OK or press enter then close the Find box to read the report.

    If it has fixed anything then your desktop should return to normal after it reboots on completion of the chkdsk /f.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-01-30 at 05:25.

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    I'll wait to see how you get on with Sudo15's idea. Once you're sure you've got rid of any malware, we'll take it from there.

    To be going on with, are there any other user accounts on the machine? Does it happen on theirs? Try the guest account too.

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    It's probably just something is startup (System config utility) that's conflicting with the startup of explorer.exe at a critical time (when everything else is also initiating). You might try disabling all your startup items for a boot as see what happens.

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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    While you are waiting for tonyl to get back to you, run the ESET Free Online Scanner to ensure you are completely infection free - it's always best to run more than one robust anti malware scan. http://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/

    Click on Advanced and check all of the boxes except the bottom proxy one and disable your AV program immediately before clicking on Scan.

    There's also a box to check for its auto uninstall.

    When you've run that open a command prompt and enter chkdsk /f - type y and press enter for it to execute on the next reboot.

    Enter exit to close the command window then reboot.

    You can view its full report in Event Viewer by going Start - Run - type eventvwr and press enter.

    When it has read all of the logs, click on the arrow next to Windows Logs - click on Application/Action/Find then type either chkdsk or wininit into the Find box and click OK or press enter then close the Find box to read the report.

    If it has fixed anything then your desktop should return to normal after it reboots on completion of the chkdsk /f.
    Thank you. I will follow this routine up in the morning. I should mention that on one bootup already Windows did a checkdsk and found one error which it repaired. This made no difference to the main problem. I think this might have been because my friend, who's computer this is, several times turned off the computer by the switch because he could not access the shutdown. This was before I looked at it and told him not to do that!

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyl View Post
    I'll wait to see how you get on with Sudo15's idea. Once you're sure you've got rid of any malware, we'll take it from there.

    To be going on with, are there any other user accounts on the machine? Does it happen on theirs? Try the guest account too.
    There is only one account and this one requires no login - it is straight to administrator without a password. I will certainly run the new visus check sudo15 recommends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    It's probably just something is startup (System config utility) that's conflicting with the startup of explorer.exe at a critical time (when everything else is also initiating). You might try disabling all your startup items for a boot as see what happens.
    Thank you. Yes, I thought of this yesterday and will try your suggestion and see what happens. There are a lot of things in the startup which I am pretty sure need not be running at all. I also suspect there are one or two programs that have not been properly uninstalled and bits and pieces remain. I will try and clear these up.

    I should say it is my neighbors computer, and he is very elderly and really does not know how to use the machine very well and it all looks very untidy. I help him out and usually solve his computer problems fairly easily, but this one has beat me. I also suspect he has been running it without Avast monitoring when he is online and and he picked up a huge number of PUP malware, which I removed with malwarebytes. I think there are some browser hijacks lurking too, although when I ran a full scan with Avast it found five and removed them. A spring clean is in order I think.

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    While ESET may find the browser hijacks, the best two programs I've found for that are AdwCleaner and Junkware Removal Tool.

    I run ADW first and then JRT.

    The link for JRT is lower down the ADW page http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/adwcleaner/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    While ESET may find the browser hijacks, the best two programs I've found for that are AdwCleaner and Junkware Removal Tool.

    I run ADW first and then JRT.

    The link for JRT is lower down the ADW page http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/adwcleaner/
    Thank you again. I will follow this up too.

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    I am currently working on a customer's Win7 x64 desktop PC that was also halting either just before the login screen (with a black screen), or immediately after password entry (with just the desktop background, no taskbar or shortcuts). Ctrl-Alt-Del failed to launch Task Manager.

    The customer told me that the PC is about three years old, and that he had run a system recovery (it is an OEM "Medion" brand) less than a month ago, so there are not many programs installed.

    After a forced power-off I booted to Safe Mode, installed and ran MBAM (free) which found only three PUPs. I then ran Tweaking.com Windows Repair (All In One). Windows Repair's initial chkdsk detected NTFS errors, so I allowed it to run the full chkdsk scan which reported "4KB in bad clusters" (WD 1.5TB HDD).

    Nevertheless, after working through the Windows Repair stages and rebooting to Normal Mode, the login screen displayed correctly, and the taskbar and shortcuts were back.

    When I checked the Windows logs in Event Viewer there were no entries about NTFS errors or anything else to do with HDD errors, so the "4KB in bad clusters" must have been caused by something that happened some time before the customer ran the system recovery.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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  16. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    I am currently working on a customer's Win7 x64 desktop PC that was also halting either just before the login screen (with a black screen), or immediately after password entry (with just the desktop background, no taskbar or shortcuts). Ctrl-Alt-Del failed to launch Task Manager.

    The customer told me that the PC is about three years old, and that he had run a system recovery (it is an OEM "Medion" brand) less than a month ago, so there are not many programs installed.

    After a forced power-off I booted to Safe Mode, installed and ran MBAM (free) which found only three PUPs. I then ran Tweaking.com Windows Repair (All In One). Windows Repair's initial chkdsk detected NTFS errors, so I allowed it to run the full chkdsk scan which reported "4KB in bad clusters" (WD 1.5TB HDD).

    Nevertheless, after working through the Windows Repair stages and rebooting to Normal Mode, the login screen displayed correctly, and the taskbar and shortcuts were back.

    When I checked the Windows logs in Event Viewer there were no entries about NTFS errors or anything else to do with HDD errors, so the "4KB in bad clusters" must have been caused by something that happened some time before the customer ran the system recovery.
    Thank you for this further advice. I will follow this up along with all the other advice and suggestions. My neighbour is out at the moment so I cannot access his computer for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cornfield View Post
    Thank you. Yes, I thought of this yesterday and will try your suggestion and see what happens. There are a lot of things in the startup which I am pretty sure need not be running at all. I also suspect there are one or two programs that have not been properly uninstalled and bits and pieces remain. I will try and clear these up.

    I should say it is my neighbors computer, and he is very elderly and really does not know how to use the machine very well and it all looks very untidy. I help him out and usually solve his computer problems fairly easily, but this one has beat me. I also suspect he has been running it without Avast monitoring when he is online and and he picked up a huge number of PUP malware, which I removed with malwarebytes. I think there are some browser hijacks lurking too, although when I ran a full scan with Avast it found five and removed them. A spring clean is in order I think.
    It does sound a mess. Going straight to the Administrator account worries me - he should have his own account, even if it's without a password. The problem does seem to be in the user profile, the clue being the DOS window you spoke of. If he was using his own account, the fix would've been to just create a new account, copy any of his data across, and remove the old one. But seeing as the Administrator account is broken...

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  19. #15
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    I saw where this nice neighbor couldn't access shutdown. I have Windows XP mode, so I cannot parallel test for missing shutdown. What would cause the Start - shutdown area to disappear?
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

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