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Q: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: alkeme-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 19 Aug 2005 08:40 PDT
Expires: 18 Sep 2005 08:40 PDT
Question ID: 557699
My computer running Windows XP service pack 1 has suddenly lost all
Desktop icons and menu bars. The only thing remaining is the Wallpaper
background. I cannot right-click to get Desktop menu. I can bring up
the Task Manager with ctrl-alt-delete. I can use this to Browse to my
Desktop items and most will start except windows explorer. I can
browse to C:\windows\explorer.exe and run this, but nothing happens. I
have replaced this file with the backup in
C:\windows\system32\dllcache, but this does not fix it. I have run
suggested VBscripts to restore icons and taskbar, but these do not
work. I have installed all Microsoft updates, still does not fix. I
want to avoid a reinstall of Windows XP. Is there another way?

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 19 Aug 2005 08:55 PDT
Sounds like a bug to me. I know some of the newer ones out there are
trashing desktops as a first sign of infection. I recommend you
perform an online scan and see if you have a malicious critter running
on your box. The best one I know of is here:


Let me know if this helps.


Request for Question Clarification by hummer-ga on 19 Aug 2005 14:08 PDT
Hi alkeme,

I found someone who seemed to have the same symptoms you are
describing - perhaps the fix will help you too?

"Problem: Desktop is blank, only wallpaper is displayed, icons and
taskbar diappeared. Rightclick doesnt work. explorer.exe not working.
Can't use kelly's tweaks as they don't start (I believe due to
explorer.exe not working). Tried to activate it by running it at task
manager, not having any of it. Adaware couldn't find any virus or
worm, etc. It feels like a program is blocking explorer.exe from
running as it tries and the taskbar appears for half a second but then
vanishes again. Tried creating new user, the same problem. Tried
launching system restore it doesn't let me go to a previous date as no
other date is bold. Finally I am thinking of xp repair install."

Good luck!

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 20 Aug 2005 00:11 PDT

In case the promising solutions referenced in the post by
hummer-ga don't pan out...

I recently had this same problem, and was reduced to using 
Ctrl-Alt-Delete to access Task Manager, and an alternative
to Windows Explorer called xplorer2 lite: well as a tiny Windows shell alternative called, aptly,
LiteShell, which allowed me access to my Start menu, sort of:

I wish I could say I'd found a solution, but I eventually
had to bite the bullet, reformat the drive and overwrite
it with a clone backup.

What may be of some value is that it was definitely not
a virus. The same drive eventually exhibited other odd
anomalies, such as spinning down briefly, and then back
up, during maximum activity such as Windows startup.
This would increasingly cause a freeze, requiring a 
hard reboot.

I was using a wonderful piece of freeware called MBM,
Motherboard Monitor, which provides active monitoring
from Windows of all voltages, temperatures and fan
speeds for which your motherboard provides sensors:

I gradually became aware that the +5V supply was 
running low (~4.58V, and lower during high activity),
and suspected this might be negatively affecting my
hard drive's performance and reliability. The specs
for the +5V supply are +/-5%, so it should go no 
lower than 4.75.

I eventually confirmed this to be the problem, but,
sadly, not before losing both the power supply and
hard drive.

I would suggest performing a complete backup as soon
as possible, but, since you'll be backing up the
corrupted system, it will not preclude reinstalling
Windows - it will only save everything else you may
want to keep.

I would then suggest using MBM to check out your 
system voltages, and replacing the power supply if
the voltages are out of tolerance.

It's doubtful if this will immediately correct your
problems, as there are probably corrupted system
files as a result of previous glitches in your drive.

Let me know where this takes you...


Clarification of Question by alkeme-ga on 22 Aug 2005 05:35 PDT
I ran a pandaware scan and found some adware and low-level virus which
were corrected. Problem still persists. Tried a repair from CD and
this did not help either. My machine is only a few years old. I have
seen this problem elsewhere. There must be a solution.

Request for Question Clarification by hummer-ga on 22 Aug 2005 06:19 PDT
Hi alkeme, did you click on the link I sent you? The fix (there is a
link to it within the one I sent) worked for the person I quoted.

Clarification of Question by alkeme-ga on 02 Sep 2005 16:35 PDT
None of the suggestions worked, though some were helpful, especially
the link to the explorer.exe light version. I finally got the desktop
back by changing the dpi settings in the Display module and then
changing them back. I have no idea why this worked.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP
From: tan1010-ga on 22 Aug 2005 07:43 PDT
Yuor display setting may have been altered. Right click on the desktop
and change diplay setting to alter the screen area to 1024 X 768 or
800 X 600 pixels
Subject: Re: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP
From: jebi_ko-ga on 22 Aug 2005 13:33 PDT
Same thing happened to me. And yeah, it's some sort of a trojan that
does something with "shell". So says my friend. Go to Look for sysclean. Download that.. and download the
pattern at Unzip
it, and put it in the same folder as sysclean..
Subject: Re: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP
From: fireblade12184-ga on 25 Aug 2005 19:16 PDT
spyware spyware spyware ... download adaware, spysweeper,  spybot,
spyware doctor, avg, and micro anti spyware... to a cd run it in safe
mode clean all the crap and watch your desktop come back to life
Subject: Re: Desktop Disappears from Windows XP
From: fireblade12184-ga on 25 Aug 2005 19:16 PDT
by the way there all free programs

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