Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator - no desktop, no taskbar, no command line

Posted on 2009-04-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-22
I have a computer that was badly infected with viruses and would not boot into windows at all. I slaved the drive, ran lots of virus scans, and cleaned up hundreds of files. Now windows will boot, but all I get is the desktop background. If I try to control+alt+delete it says "task manager has been disable by your administrator." I tried a repair install without any change.

I have googled for the issue, but only come up with people who also had access to their start menu, desktops, or run commands, whereas I have access to none of these things. Anybody know what I need to delete or restore to get this thing running again?
Question by:zoogelsnof
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    You need to disable group policy.
    1. Log in as admin
    2. Go to start then run
    3. Type gpedit.msc
    4. right click on local computer policy
    5. check both boxes for disable and hit ok.

    This should resolve the issue, but there may need to be a reboot.

    Author Comment

    as indicated, I can't go to start, or run. This doesn't help at all.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, I missed that part.
    Can you get to the management console? Right click my computer, managment?
    What about control panel user accounts, then the advanced button?
    Basically we need to get an mmc opened. Then you can go to file and add/remove snap-in and add the group policy snap in.

    Author Comment

    I appreciate your continued assistance, so let me be a little bit more explicit:

    I can't access ANYTHING. No desktop, no icons, no task bar, no right click, no safe mode with command prompt, absolutely nothing nothing but a background image. I imagine the solution here is going to involve going into the recovery console and deleting/restoring something, I just don't know what?
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Ohh sorry.

    I would start with a windows repair. This may resolve the situation enough to get some icons.
    If that does not, I would suggest copying data off and rebuilding as the recovery console will not clean it all up. It would be faster just to rebuild.
    Sorry about your luck.

    Author Comment

    I have already attempted a recovery install, it didn't work.

    Don't want to reinstall windows. Thats a coverup, not a solution.

    Any experts ever seen this before?
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    Have tried replacing explorer.exe?
    Slave it back on the other machine then:
    1- copy explorer.exe from other clean computer (from C:\WINDOWS)
    2- in your computer go to C:\WINDOWS
    3- show hidden files from (Tools - Folder Options - View - Show hidden files and folders)
    4- delete explorer.exe and any other files start with explorer...
    5- put the new file (explorer.exe)

    If that does not do it:
    You can try using ERD commander.
    Once you are in you should be able to check system files.


    In part one, you start the Recovery Console, create a temporary folder, back up the existing registry files to a new location, delete the registry files at their existing location, and then copy the registry files from the repair folder to the System32\Config folder. When you have finished this procedure, a registry is created that you can use to start Windows XP. This registry was created and saved during the initial setup of Windows XP. Therefore any changes and settings that occurred after the Setup program was finished are lost.

    To complete part one, follow these steps:
    Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.
    Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
    When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
    If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you want to access from the Recovery Console.
    When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
    At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:
    md tmp
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
    copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

    delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
    delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

    copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
    copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
    copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
    copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
    copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

    Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart.
    Note This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows_folder if it is a different location.

    If you have access to another computer, to save time, you can copy the text in step five, and then create a text file called "Regcopy1.txt" (for example). To use this file, run the following command when you start in Recovery Console:
    batch regcopy1.txt
    With the batch command in Recovery Console, you can process all the commands in a text file sequentially. When you use the batch command, you do not have to manually type as many commands.

    Author Comment

    there ya go! those are the kind of ideas im talking about =)

    I'll give them a shot and let ou know...

    Author Closing Comment

    that third one, the batch file, that did it. Thanks!

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