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Desktop doesn't load

Posted on 2013-12-27
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Last Modified: 2014-01-05
User is running Windows XP Home and after he logs in the desktop wallpaper shows up, but nothing else. Ctrl+Alt+Del opens task manager which shows 'explorer.exe' running. If I stop it and run it again, nothing happens. I can manually run the command prompt and then launch any application through the command line. MalwareBytes full scan found and removed a trojan, but the desktop still doesn't load. Ran 'sfc /scannow' twice with no improvement. 'chkdsk' found and fixed errors, but it still doesn't load.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Broadsound
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16 Comments
 
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by:Christopher Jay Wolff
ID: 39742966
I hope you have some free time for this.

If you have DOS working you should backup data you want to save first.  My XP system is down, but I think the DOS prompt is looking for you to type  MSBACKUP or something similar.  If you can't find or launch MSBACKUP.EXE or whatever your version has for backup, try to copy everything you want.  If you don't need any of the data, a clean reinstall is even better.  It sounds like you had a Trojan, and therefore there is no way to know exactly all the things that ended up damaged or missing.  You need Windows installer to analyze the situation after you back it up, and automatically put back what you need.

This Microsoft support article has a good foundation and maybe some helpful links to other related articles for you.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978788/en-us

Probably good to read through the whole article first before trying it.
Let us know how it goes.  Happy rebooting Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
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by:akahan
ID: 39742995
If you RIGHT click on the destkop, do you get a dropdown menu in which the first item is "Arrange icons by..." ?  And if so, is "Show desktop icons" unchecked?  If it is, try clicking it and see if the desktop icons redraw.  (It may take a moment or two.)
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by:Christopher Jay Wolff
ID: 39743008
That would be incredibly good!!
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by:willcomp
ID: 39743018
I suspect that akahan is correct. If that does not work post back and we'll try some other fixes.
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Author Comment

by:Broadsound
ID: 39743035
Right-click doesn't do anything on the desktop.

I thought I would be reinstalling the OS, but I figured I'd ask around to see if there was anything simpler to try.
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by:willcomp
ID: 39743039
Dinner is ready. Give me a little while.
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by:willcomp
ID: 39743044
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by:nobus
ID: 39743214
try a system restore to a date it was ok :
-open elevated command prompt
- type      %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe
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Author Comment

by:Broadsound
ID: 39744200
How do I open an elevated command prompt without the GUI?
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by:akahan
ID: 39744259
There's no such thing as an elevated command prompt in XP.  You just log into an account with administrator privileges.
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by:Rob Miners
ID: 39744354
Sometimes worms and trojans will make changes to the shell\open\command registry entries as part of their infections.

Run Regedt32

Navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
 
Check that these two values in the right pane are set exactly to these properties:

Shell    REG_SZ    explorer.exe
Userinit    REG_SZ    C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe,

or run this command line first to check

reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon" /s > %temp%\winlogon.txt & notepad %temp%\winlogon.txt
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by:nobus
ID: 39744408
Windows NT, 2000, and XP users
 1.Click Start.
 2.Click Run.
 3.Type cmd or command and press enter.
 Difference between the command.com and cmd.exe.

Tip:How to use the Windows command line.

If you're attempting to get into a MS-DOS prompt to troubleshoot the computer, boot the computer into Safe Mode.

Tip: Windows 2000 and XP users who are unable to boot the computer into Normal Windows mode or Safe mode, can also enter and use the recovery console to manage their computer from a prompt.

Finally, if you are experiencing issues getting into Windows NT, 2000, or XP, it may be necessary to run troubleshooting steps from a MS-DOS prompt. It is recommended that the Network Administrator get into the MS-DOS prompt by using either a standard MS-DOS boot diskette (note: will not be able to access data using a standard MS-DOS bootable diskette) or the ERD diskettes created after the installation of Windows NT, or boot from the Windows XP CD.

from : http://www.computerhope.com/issues/chdos.htm
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Accepted Solution

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Broadsound earned 0 total points
ID: 39748324
I was able to restore the system to a week before this problem started, but still no luck. Explorer still doesn't load.

I checked both of those registry key and they are there and entered correctly.

We are buying this user a new computer as nothing I do will fix this problem.

Thanks for the help everyone :)
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by:Christopher Jay Wolff
ID: 39752512
Close request is fine by me, yet for the sake of anyone wanting to see if they can figure out what went wrong, I thought I'd post a couple last gasp things about desktop icons that I would try if it were my system, or if I had a working xp system.  Feel free to delete my post.

This articles title doesn't match symptom exactly, but useable info on resetting desktop icons that are supposed to come from cache, from their originals.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/132668/en-us

 C:\WINDOWS\system32\SHELL32.dll is supposed to be the location of XP OS icons, but then you need a tool to extract the .ico file from the .dll which I'm told can be...
http://download.cnet.com/Resource-Hacker/3000-2352_4-10178587.html


Tools I haven't tried  that will supposedly repair a damaged or missing .dll (typical Trojan prank)  which can be downloaded at...
speedmaxpc.com
pchealthboost.com

Interesting problem.  Good computing to you all!!
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39753203
i'd be very careful with these sites..
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Author Closing Comment

by:Broadsound
ID: 39757132
None of the other solutions provided fixed the problem
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