Several of my users with the newer Lenovo Thinkpad laptops are having problems with explorer.exe not starting during boot up (I am not talking about about internet explorer or windows explorer. This is explorer that handles the desktop icons and such). Intermittently, when the computer boots, none of the desktop icons load nor does the task bar. The only thing I can do is pull up Task Manager. I called IBM and they recommended that I start explorer.exe manually by using the Task Manager. They said a permanent fix would be to reformat the computer and reinstall the operating system because that is where the problem lies, in the operating system install.
Today, I reformated one of the affected computers. After installing Thinkpad updates and rebooting several times, everything was fine. But as soon as I installed Windows XP Service Pack 3, I rebooted and the desktop items were missing again. Therefore, I think that the problem is in one of the Windows updates that was added in the later part of SP2 and that has been carried on into the SP3 install because the other affected users are on SP2. However, the fresh install I did of this particular computer had SP2 installed also, but not all of the updates that came out later on. It did not show symptoms of the problem until SP3 was installed. I removed SP3 and there were no problems. I would prefer not to just leave SP3 off because there are so many security updates the system needs.
Does anyone know a permanent fix to this problem? Do you think it is possible an Lenovo/IBM driver is conflicting with a Windows Update? I have researched Microsoft's website and all over the internet. It appears to be a known issue but everyone else says it is infected with a virus or malware. This is not the case here because it was just reformated. I appreciate your expertise.