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Dwight BaerFlag for Canada

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My taskbar won't appear when I log in!

I have a Dell Inspiron 6400 that won't bring me to my desktop.  It boots normally, presents the login dialogue window, accepts the userid and password, does the Windows "Chime", shows the desktop wallpaper and stops.  No icons, no Start button, no taskbar.
If I press CTRL-Alt-Del, then choose Task Manager --> Applications --> New Task, then type "Desktop" ... Voila!  My desktop immediately appears.  And everything works normally.
But it registers an error:
"Windows cannot find '/idlist,:4040,C:\Documents'.  Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.  To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search."
If I then log off, it says "Saving your setting" (like normal) and produces the Log On dialogue window, like normal.  If I now try to log on, it accepts my password, then says "Logging Off" ... and eventually logs off.
If I  try logging on as a different user, e.g. "Administrator", it says "Saving your settings", then "Logging Off" (for a long time, like 5 minutes) then it goes back to the log on dialogue.
The only way to get my machine functioning again is to completely shut it down, reboot, then do the CTRL-Alt-Del --> Task Manager --> Applications --> New Task --> Desktop trick again.
Any clues?
Thanks
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orangutang

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Hmmm ... That sounds like a good idea Deb, except when I log on as administrator it just logs me out again.
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Summary so far:  I'm real clear that this problem was caused by some kind of virus, as evidenced by when I create a new user and log in, it immediately logs me out again.
I'm reluctant to trash the files beneath Documents and Settings because:  a)  The symptom isn't limited to just one user and b) I can't afford to trash this customer's personal stuff.
I'm proceeding with doing full system scans with every antivirus product that I think is good.  (AVG, Spybot, AntiMalware).  Then I'll try to do System Restores to different dates and see if that does anything.  Then I'll try an XP  Repair, although I'm not optimistic about that.  As an end resort, I'll have to reinstall.
P.S. to  Deb:  Safe Mode functions similarly to real mode.  But there are differences.  I should document the differences - there may be a clue there.
OK ... Malwarebytes, full system scan, fixed it.  Yeah!  Thanks Oranqutang!!
Thanks a lot, Oranqutang, Huangyonghan, Debgary, and Flubbster!