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Explorer.exe will  NOT run.  At windows start or from task manager

Posted on 2005-05-03
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
pc is running xp prof.  
Xp starts up to just mouse curser on black screen.  Safe mode same problem
I can bring up task manager and run any progrom BUT explorer.exe
When I try to run explorer.exe I get the message
"Windows cannot find "explorer.exe"      I browse to the windows directory and click on explorer but still get the same message.  
>>>>I JUST COPIED EXPLORER.EXE FROM A XP PROF DISK   and now instead of "Windows cannot find"  a dos windows pops up and says "Program to big to fit into memory"
????????
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Question by:kcoceres
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by:redseatechnologies
redseatechnologies earned 400 total points
ID: 13924128
Hi kcoceres,

wow, sounds like you have some big problems there

have you tried doing a system recovery with the XP CD?

it sounds like you have either had viruses (or virii) or something in there that has attached itself to explorer and then died (or been killed)

I would run a recovery, or reinstall XP over the top and then get in safe mode with networking to see if i can get online and virus free

thanks

-red
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924163
There is a 2nd xp installation on the pc  (boot up choice) that runs fine and I ran avg so I'm pretty sure it's virus free now (it did find one)   Also ran Adware se to clear out alot of adware spyware on the hard drive.

I don't have the cd's the pc came with.  I do have a xp proff cd however but I'm a little nervous about running repair with it.
Once before I ran a repair on a pc and my xp cd was NOT the exact version as the pc  and it proceeded to load the version off my cd (which of course there product key did not work with since it was a different version).

I'm hoping to find a solution Without trying repair.

I did just install SP2,  which I thought would fix ,   but the problem is still there.
I also tried to access system restore through the task manager.  It showed up in the running processes but I couldn't see anything running on the screen.

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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924175
Right now I'm running sfc /scannow
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LVL 20

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cpc2004 earned 400 total points
ID: 13924178
Maybe the registry is corrupted. Do you find any red alert event at the application event log?
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924205
you can run a repair without having to reinstall - hence bypassing the need for a different CD Key
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by:slow1000
slow1000 earned 400 total points
ID: 13924222
Did you try running any spyware removal tools?  I'm paranoid:  I automatically run Spybot and Lavasoft Adaware if I have problems with Windows.
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924240
Yes I ran adware pe also.

True.  I think I was remembering doing an install over top of the xp and THAT caused the problem since I had a different version. My sfc just finished so I'm going to see what happens.
If that didn't do anything then I will try a repair install  - be back soon guys
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924251
Oh well sfc didn't do a thing - on to xp repair
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924260
Oh yes I did check check the  system and application event log and do not get any red alert.
It seems to run any program I want it too but explorer.
I also checked in the registry to make sure shell=explorer was there.  It was
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924291
Tried booting from xp prof. disk.  Got the same error twice.
STOP: c0000221 Unknown Hard Error
\SystemRoot\system32\ntdll.dll

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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924320
what point did you get that error?

is your disk scratched or dirty?
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924357
In the beginning when it was loading files off the cd.
No the cd only has a few scratches.  
I'm burning a new copy of it right now and try again.
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924397
According to that technet article you referenced it  is a bad medium.  
I'm just about finished burning a new cd to try.  
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924413
Repair finished and still a blank screen.   Except now when I try to run Explorer.exe from the Task Manager I'm back to getting the message "Windows cannot find c:\winnt|explorer.exe"  even though the file if definitely there?

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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13924426
Just finished Repair of cd and still a blank screen.
Now when I try to run explorer.exe from the Task Manager it's back to giving me the message
"Windows cannot find c:\winnt\explorer"  even though the file is definitely there!!!!!!!
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 13924581
can you use the recovery console on the windows xp cd to delete and copy over a new version of explorer.exe

it is looking more and more likely that you will have to reinstall to me
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by:cpc2004
ID: 13924867
\winnt\explorer is the path for W2K. Do you  use XP CD-ROM to do recovery?
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Assisted Solution

by:Mohammed Hamada
Mohammed Hamada earned 400 total points
ID: 13925959
? Did you upgrade from windows 2000 to xp ? or NT to XP?
If Not, then this must be a problem with the registry keys for the explorer.exe, the path maybe is incorrect.
Have you tried to restore to an earlier point?
try to run the system restore from the task manager, as you tried to run the explorer from it.
%SystemRoot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe or, c:\windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe, if windows xp is installed on C.

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Assisted Solution

by:trulu
trulu earned 400 total points
ID: 13926065
I think the best thing to do is:

1) Take the hard disk out of the pc and link it as a slave to another computer
2) Copy the most important data of the hard disk to another drive
3) Run a virusscan on that drive
4) Put the hard disk back in the pc and reinstall it
5) Transfer the data back
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Expert Comment

by:andymsmith18
ID: 13926213
did you run spybot or addaware or any other spy cleaner or any antivirus scan befor this happed if yes run it again and select undo changes
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13928195
Good morning.    
There are two installation of xp on the pc and the one I am trying to revive is under c:\winnt.
I have tried to run system restore and even though it shows up under the task manager processes the windows never comes up - and I tried it from a Safe Mode Dos prompt boot and also from normal mode.

When I ran the repair install it did give me the option of which xp install I wanted to repair so I was able to pick the correct one under c:\winnt.

Yes copying the data and reinstalling is always an option, trulu   but there are some programs on there that cannot be reloaded -  that's why I'm spending so much time trying to get it going.    But of course in the end I might have to do that anyway.

I'm going to ghost the whole hard drive now and try reloading xp pro over top of the installation .   At least then if the version on my cd is different  I will not have messed up the original Hard drive.

Anyone with  any registry Ideas?    I've tried searching on the web and so far I have only come up with checking to make sure that shell=explorer.exe
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by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 13930323
There's alot of paths in the registry that you need to make sure it's right, but the only way to work on is to get the system restore working for you so you can restore to an eariler point.....!

Does the recovery console works for u? as redseatechnologies suggest for you, if the xp cd doesn't work for you try using 2000 cd. It will work as another asker has tried it and it works for him.

That's the link for how you can goto Recovery console using 2000 cd
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21391908.html
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by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 13930345
for you? why i keep saying typing these 2 words.
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Author Comment

by:kcoceres
ID: 13956170
Thanks for trying guys.    I finally gave up.
Oh Moh10ly   I could always get to the registry just by typing regdit in the task Manager Run.
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Expert Comment

by:brett_jervis
ID: 23415833
Just to let everyone know.... While surfing through the internet I found someone who solved this problem and has a way to fix it. There is a registry key in the registry that are causing the problem. It affects the explorer.exe.

This is the key that needs to be deleted...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe

Once this key is deleted, and you reboot, the desktop should come back to life.

Thank you whoever found this information and I hope this will be a benefit to someone else out there.
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Expert Comment

by:cgones
ID: 23892972
Brett jervis.... thank you, thank you, thank you.... that registry key deletion fixed my explorer problem that I have been working on for two days.
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