Solved

Empty desktop when logging into new account

Posted on 2013-10-25
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Last Modified: 2013-11-22
Windows 7 Pro SP1 32-bit
Local administrator account works fine.
When logging in with either a domain account or local account, the desktop is blank (no icons, no wallpaper, no start bar, just the mouse cursor).  I am able to bring up the Task manager but when I type "explorer.exe" I then get the following error message:

"Your internet security settings prevented one or more files from being opened"

I have already tried all the suggestions posted here: http://www.ilertech.com/2010/05/these-files-cant-be-opened/

So there seems to be some permission problem for writing the files for a new user account and accessing any system files from new user account.  Again the administrator account works correctly.

I also verified that Authenticated Users and NT AUTHORITY\INTERACTIVE groups were part of the Users group per this article: http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2009/03/27/the-case-of-the-mysterious-blank-desktop.aspx

Thanks for the help! This is looking to be a real teaser.
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Question by:TomPro
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25 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:ZamZ0
ID: 39601799
Anything pertinent in the event logs?
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39601833
TomPro--
The profile may be corrupt.  As Admin, create a new one.
I understand this PC never had a proper Desktop.  If it did run a System Restore.
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LVL 21
ID: 39603033
Sounds like the PC got infected. There are server viruses that change the permissions of the files to have the results you are describing.

One way that might quickly fix this is to run a system restore from a pint before the issue started.

This guide may help:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-windows-recovery
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39603093
TomPro--
Unless you see the Windows Recovery screen when you boot, you may want to first try the suggestions in http:@a39601833
Note that System Recovery was suggested there.
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39605524
The system is running at a remote location.  I was using dameware to control the console session under the administrator account (which continues to work fine).  I saw the empty desktop for other accounts while using Dameware and saw this in the event log.


Log Name:      Application
Source:        Desktop Window Manager
Date:          10/23/2013 10:41:04 AM
Event ID:      9011
Task Category: None
Level:         Information
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      XXXXX
Description:
The Desktop Window Manager was unable to start because a mirroring driver is in use
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
  <System>
    <Provider Name="Desktop Window Manager" />
    <EventID Qualifiers="16384">9011</EventID>
    <Level>4</Level>
    <Task>0</Task>
    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2013-10-23T15:41:04.000000000Z" />
    <EventRecordID>1577</EventRecordID>
    <Channel>Application</Channel>
    <Computer>XXXX</Computer>
    <Security />
  </System>
  <EventData>
  </EventData>
</Event>

So I disabled Dameware's mirror driver but I still get the same blank desktop but no event log messages.  I have also tried to not use Dameware at all but use Windows's RDP but still get the same blank desktop for any user other than administrator.

And to reiterate above actions: I have created new user accounts and even with those get a blank desktop, so if it is a corrupt profile issue, the profile is getting corrupted on creation.

I would like to explore all possible solutions other than system restore.  Is there a way to view a log of actions taken during account login? Or turn on verbose logging if that information is not currently logged by default?
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LVL 21
ID: 39606209
I was suggesting a system restore point to be restored not a full system restore/reinstall.  I use this regularly on systems to fix issues. It only takes a few minutes.

TIP: Make a restore point before you start. You can easily revert back is needed. I would make a restore point before trying any fixes just to be safe.

Have you scanned for spyware and viruses?
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39606515
I do not have any system restore points to restore back to.  So that is not an option.

I have performed virus and malware scans and both came up with nothing.

Is there a place to find detailed documentation on the expected windows permission security settings for specific folders? Or a way to reset the permissions back to expected defaults?

Any way to get detailed logs on events taking place during an initial account login/creation.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39606551
TomPro--

Based on the message you got from the Event Log, you have to determine which Mirror Driver is the problem.  Several apps have a problem leaving their Mirror Drivers in action.  See here how to determine.  
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/how-do-i-find-and-close-a-program-using-mirror/2e31913a-a730-4ee5-906b-9741e47dc498

If no help, see this lengthy reference which contains several different fixes to a similar problem which fixed several posters.
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-desktop/blank-desktop-no-start-menu-in-windows-7-home/0f84c3b1-94bd-4fbc-aff6-977f9e7d1e6c?page=1

Or use Clean Boot to troubleshoot.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135


System Restore has many times saved me a lot of work.  I suggest you turn it on for the future.
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39607146
C:\Users\Administrator>SFC /scannow

Beginning system scan.  This process will take some time.

Beginning verification phase of system scan.
Verification 100% complete.

Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.

Open in new window




Still looking for some method to verify the security settings are correct for windows folders.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39607188
TomPro--Did you try the suggestions made in http:#a39606551  ?
You could have mirror drivers from apps other than Dameware.

Also to whom were you responding in your post immediately above?  http:#a39607146
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39608983
I was responding to one of the links in your previous post.  It said to go in safe mode and run the SFC /scannow command.  This confirms that windows does not detect any problems with its own files.

I also have tried booting the system in "clean boot" mode and confirm that I still see blank desktop for new/existing accounts.

Still looking for some method to verify the security settings are correct for windows folders.
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39631687
TomPro--I think there are two different issues here.
One is the blank desktop.  Potential solutions are
Have you tried running SFC /SCANNOW from a command prompt?

Did you try creating a new profile?  See http:#a39601833
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/fix-a-corrupted-user-profile

The other is the message you are getting about internet security settings.

How to set Default security settings
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2588679
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 39631744
If this is just on one machine take a copy of the "Default" profile from a good machine and stick it on the dodgy one, if that doesn't do it rebuild it, it will probably be quicker than trying all this stuff out.
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39631752
Have you tried running SFC /SCANNOW from a command prompt?
Yes see my previous comment SFC Scannow results

Did you try creating a new profile?
Yes, local accounts both simple user and administrator -- all give blank desktop

How to set Default security settings
I have been through the MS link on resetting IE settings and it made no changes or improvements

While there are two separate issues, both are seemingly related.  Maybe there is some permission on a registry key that is not set correctly that affects opening files and logging in to new user accounts.
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Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39631768
MojoTech:
For what you are suggesting, is that simply copying C:\Users\Default\* from a working machine to the blank desktop system?  Anything else?

I am near the point of just restaging, but I thought I would post here to try and get any solutions so I know what is wrong if this ever happens again.
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 39631780
Yes Tom, exactly that,

All new profiles are created from the "default" if that is corrupt all new profiles will also be corrupt, it takes 2 mins and is definately worth a try before a rebuild.
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Accepted Solution

by:
jcimarron earned 500 total points
ID: 39631793
TomPro--
There is no group of security settings that are "correct".  There are security settings that are Default, but the last link I suggested apparently has not helped.
I suggest you consider a Repair Install.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html
This will not affect your personal data or installed programs, but it is always wise to backup first.
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Assisted Solution

by:TomPro
TomPro earned 0 total points
ID: 39631828
I tried restoring the Default folder from a known working system and it did not resolve the blank desktop nor Internet Settings error.

I guess I will be doing a re-install.
0
 
LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39631967
TomPro--
I suggest you consider a Repair Install.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html

A lot less painful and time consuming than a Clean Install.

A Repair Install will not affect your personal data or installed programs, but it is always wise to backup first.
0
 
LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 39632195
I think this system was using two monitors mirrored, and this system was using the secondary monitor as default monitor,
Monitors are plug and play and windows assigns the default according to position.

Maybe need to go back to original user account as you may have logged on to account but it's using the wrong Monitor??
 remove secondary monitor
I haven't seen this problem before so dont know what language to use, but I'd simply log off the users account, shutdown the system and remove secondary monitor if there is one.
Then start system again and check display center /control panel or on the video card make the default one the only one.
Nvidia control panel or ATI.

Part Two, when I was in windows xp
I have seen this happened if the Uxtheme.dll was installed and replaced the windows default, it was used to install a theme as I have done it myself.
If the dll is placed in the wrong place when you boot the desktop is gone that was how I discovered navigating via ctrl alt del new file browse to the uxtheme.dll  rename it old  then rebooted.
UxStyle is a bit of software that relaxes Windows theme signature requirements to enable third-party customization.

Let us know if it helps
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39653540
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for TomPro's comment #a39631828

for the following reason:

The original problem was not solved.  Performing a complete re-installation of Windows did get around the errors.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39649626
TomPro--I suggested a Repair Install in http:#a39631793
Are you sure that did not lead you to the idea of a "complete re-installation?

Your very next post after mine ( http:#a39631828 ) reads "I guess I will be doing a re-install"
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LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 39653541
See my post http:#a39649626

I suggested a Repair Install in http:#a39631793

TomPro's very next post  ( http:#a39631828 ) reads "I guess I will be doing a re-install"

I feel I led TomPro to the idea of a "complete re-installation".
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Author Closing Comment

by:TomPro
ID: 39668421
re-install was performed which got rid of the issue but solution to original problem was not found.
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