XP Pro no icons on desktop, no shell

Posted on 2004-09-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a windows XP pro box that has no icons on the desktop, no start menu,  and no taskbar.  They do show up if you start in safe mode with no networking however.  If you start in safemode WITH networking they do NOT show up.  Anyone have any ideas?  Im sure its some virus but i dont know which one.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:mikeleebrla
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Assisted Solution

kmorris1186 earned 1000 total points
ID: 12180135
Can you press Control-Alt-Delete and get the task manager up?  If so, you can then goto file....NewTask...  and type in "explorer.exe".  If that can run, then you can try to figure out what is causing it not to open explorer on startup...  Try this:
Start ---> Run ---> "Regedit.exe"

Expand Windows NT
Expand CurrentVersion
Expand WinLogon

there will be a Key called "Shell".  It should contain the value "Explorer.exe".  If not, Make it that.

(You can also do this is safemode if you cant control-alt-delete)
LVL 65

Accepted Solution

SheharyaarSaahil earned 1000 total points
ID: 12180217
Hello mikeleebrla =)

When did this problem start ?? Was system restore turned on ??
if Yes then try to restore ur system when it was working fine and then scan ur system with spyware and viruses removal tools !!

Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP:


HOW TO: Start the System Restore Tool from a Command Prompt in Windows XP:
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 12180318
thanks for the quick response,,, it turns out the problem came from 250 instances of spyware.... all i had to do was start in safe mode and remove them.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12180335
250! wow.  The highest i have seen was a friend of mines PC.  I ran Adaware and it found 700+ errors.  Then i ran Mcafee VirusScan and it found about 40 viruses.  Just goes to show you how bad some of this crap and make your PC run.

Spyware needs to be illegal.....
LVL 65

Expert Comment

ID: 12180358
>> Spyware needs to be illegal.....

THEY ARE ILLEGAL !!!  but Illegals dont care abt the legal rules,,, do they ?? =\
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 12180460
i agree 100% that spyware should be illegal, i manage 600+ computers and it is a pain to deal with.  But to the best of my knowledge spyware (as is port scanning) is legal.

Expert Comment

ID: 12396856
The largest infestation of Spyware I've found on a client's computer was 1584 (found with AdAware  Personal). We deleted the quarantined file, downloaded AdAwareSE Personal, and found another 300+. Then, Spybot Search & Destroy got another 48.

After that, trendMicro's HouseCall found 18+ viruses (that had gotten past NAV).

Witihin 3 reboots, and without an internet  connection, there were another 18 instances of spyware.

HiJack this found a number of problems after that, so we advised the customer that he could either do a wipe/reload, or we'd see him again in a week - no warranty for spyware/adware when the client's kids are downloading music from the web, visiting warez sites, and swapping things with friends through IM - and cancelling LiveUpdate sessions constantly.

We're thinking about a policy that any AdAware scans in excess on 350-400 instances of spyware need a wipe/reload; otherwise, we spend well in excess of 2 hours cleaning out a machine, with no guarantee we've gotten everything. And the customer seems to like paying the 1.5 hour fee, rather than the 2 hour fee.

Of course, data backup and restoring to an "olddrive" directory is an additional 1.5 hours.... And I still think we're charging too little....

I know the topic is closed, but just wondered if anyone else had any comments on this topic (or if I should start a new 0 point question, looking for comments and opinions) ?


Expert Comment

ID: 12428432
I also have the above problem on a friends computer (windows xp) where the desktop, taskbar etc does not show up.  I tried to do a restore thru the command prompt but all i get is a blank restore window.  I did the control alt del and typed in explorer.exe for new task but i get the following error:  This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action.  Create an association in the folder options control panel.  Any suggestions on where I go from here??  From what I researched I need to do a clean install.  If that is the case, this computer was given to my friend without any CD or floppies.  For free what do u expect.  I do have a Windows XP installation disk that the friend brought to me from her work.  I know if I try to reinstall if we ask for the product id #.  Do I enter the one on the CD that was given or do I need her product ID for the windows xp already installed on her computer.  If so, how do i go about getting it.  I know I am loaded with questions here, and if i need to start a new topic please let me know.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks Marti

Expert Comment

ID: 12553712
Dapperma, my suggestion is to follow the rules.... post a question, assign points to it, then people will be willing to help.

Kmorris, you think that's a lot?  We have had a few PCs in with over 1000, the record so far is 6746!  I have a printout of Ad-aware stuck on the wall as proof.

Expert Comment

ID: 12559108
cheritonit  - wow. Curious, how did you even download Sybot after having that many?  On the PC i fixed that had 700+, we were about to format.  We couldnt get to any wedsites (IE hijack).  I finially had to put Adaware on my FTP server and use DOS to download it.

Expert Comment

ID: 12564050
I keep some spyware tools on a CD, and also try to keep a recent definition on the CD.  If the computer has LAN then I'll update it over the Internet.

My usual spyware removal procedure is:

Install Ad-aware SE
Install CWShredder
Install HijackThis
Analyze log file (with help of www.hijackthis.de)
Cleanup with HJT

Spybot doesn't come into the equation much for me, as I prefer Ad-Aware.  It is partly personal preference, of course, but I find Ad-aware generally better.  Having said that, sometimes Spybot finds and removes a couple of things left behind, like stray Gator files.  Still, you can clean these yourself with HJT.  It is, however, very good for restoring a certain type of file that HJT can't.

With a PC that slow, you may sometimes experience lag when installing or when removing.  If it crashes, or won't boot properly, then I would take the hard drive out, set it to slave, bung it in another PC and run Ad-Aware (and Norton) on it.  This usually gets it clean enough to continue.

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