No Startmenu bar, background, just a black screen with an Windows Explorer pane open

I needed to install Norton Antivirus 2007 for a friend's laptop today - HP Pavilion 9417 or whatever it is.. I downloaded this keygen file separtely, as there was already a 60 day trial of Norton Antivirus...

The keygen file gave me some runtime error that I cannot remember, so I gave up. And then I tried downloading another keygen file on my own laptop, same error. So I rebooted my friends computer, and here are the symptoms :

As it boots up, it opens one lone window - a Windows Explorer pane that shows the last open directory I had since the last shutdown. ANd nothing else. No start menu bar, no background, none of teh desktop icons, NOTHING. I can run the task list, however, by hitting ctrl alt del, and I can reboot the system etc.

And then, when I re-booted my own laptop, which is an HP Pavilion 9205 (hence a slightly older model than my friend's, but still the same thing more or less) I have the same symptoms. So it must be from the keygen.exe file I ran on both computers that gave me errors...

Here's some things I tried :

System Restore - It doesn't show any restore points. Unbelievable - this must be the virus that wiped it out somehow? I just had my own system set up about 2 weeks ago after a full recovery using the factory recovery disk, and never turned off restore so there should be restore points.

Tried rebooting in safe mode and re-booting again in regular mode - still teh same thing. Just the 1 windows explorer pane shows, nothing more...
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SheharyaarSaahilConnect With a Mentor Commented:
that's what i was trying to tell....the explorer.exe must be having problem and is not starting up at windos start and thus you cannot see the task manager and desktop :)

you can try running sfc /scannow from the command prompt
open cmd from start>run and then write down sfc /scannow
hit enter and it should start the scan
>> Tried rebooting in safe mode
its good that you can work in safemode

run your antivirus scan in safemode to start....
also in normal mode, launch task manager and check if explorer.exe is running or not?
if not then goto Applications and click on New Task, write down explorer.exe and hit enter
does it bring back the normal taskbar and desktop?
jeffkee1985Author Commented:
Hey, running the scan on regular mode for now.. i already started running it before i read your post so ill see where this takes me.
explorer.exe is already running.

On another note - my friend's laptop managed to run system restore to a certain point - but as the restore progressed, it's gotten to the point where it says "Shutting Down" and it's been there for almost 15 minutes. I just manually shut off the power with the button and rebooting... and same thing. Nothing fixed. just black.

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jeffkee1985Author Commented:
OH actually. My friends computer JUST showed a proper scren - the restore seems to have worked. It's good now....

My own one however. Whole other story. STill runnig virus scan.
if it comes clean, try running sfc /scannow from task manger new task
you may need to provide your xp cd in order to fix any corrupted system file.
jeffkee1985Author Commented:
Hey, virus sweep came out clean.

i did the sfc /scannow thing, and i see the command prompt window popping up briefly and then it just disappears and nothing more happens...
jeffkee1985Author Commented:
OK, just now, as i needed to open another windows explorer window to transfer files, i did "explorer.exe" on the task run thing.

It showed up my entire desktop... I'll go about and see if I can reboot and fix things.
jeffkee1985Author Commented:
Strange... i saw the explorer.exe under tasks. I guess it needed re-running even after that?

Anyhow I ended up re-formatting teh whoel thing.. didnt have time to mess around so much. I had to get my systems up and running today...

Thanks for your help.
atleast a good lesson that don't trust keygens! :)
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