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HELP!! Desktop empty, Start Menu gone, only Wallpaper left after reboot!

By twinkleclair ·
Somebody please help me.. My OS is Window XP Professional.

I downloaded a game, and when I tried to play it, my computer hanged. So I restarted my computer.

However, when I login into my Windows, only my wallpaper appeared. My entire desktop and Start menu plus the toolbar below (stating time date etc) had gone!

I cant click or rightclick ANYTHING on my wallpaper. There is simply NOTHING except the picture. I cant use the Windows flag key to trigger the Start menu.

I can only access programs through TaskManager now.

I have tried many things:

1)Open explorer.exe through TaskManager. The process was not there in TaskManager when I login my computer, but after running explorer.exe, the process was there at TaskManager. But problem still unsolved.

2)Scan with Spyware Search and Destroy, Lavasoft Personal Adware, Registry Mechanic, BOHdemon, Spyware Terminator...nothing!

3)Restart my computer, press F8 so that I can restore it to last good configuration, but there is no such option. The options were harddisk or cd, I clicked on harddisk. Then it showed weird numbers like ST26626246F (example). The desktop is still empty.

Please dont reply asking me to do the above things, rightclick on desktop and using windows flag key, because I have tried them all and failed.

Only once, I finally saw my DESKTOP!! When i tried to go to safe mode using msconfig->boot.ini->/safemode, and the computer began to shut down and restart, just before the computer shut down, THE DESKTOP WAS BACK. But when I logged back into safemode, and then back into normal mode, the desktop was gone again.


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All Answers

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by thomas In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

Sounds like installing the game may have had an effect.

From task manager, start c:\windows\system32\restore (the path may differ slightly)

Run the rstrui.exe application. Restore to a date before everything went wrong.

Its hard to see whats happenening from your description but using system restore should help you out.

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Maybe this could help.......

by Rechno In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

Dude,some time ago,I had the same problem.I had freshly installed IE7 and it recommended me to reboot and I did so.When I rebooted,my desktop had gone.Explorer failed to start.Thankfully,I had 2 computers and so I searched the net.I got a solution which worked for me.Maybe this could work for you too.....

1)Boot your computer as normal.

2)When your computer is started fully,Press: Ctrl+Alt+Del and type the browse to the following:-

3)This will open the System Restore window and restore your computer to an earlier time,probably a time before the problem occured.

4)Your Computer will reboot.If it's ok,then you are lucky but if it's not,try something else.

(P.S:If the system restore windows appears strange,then reboot,press F8,choose Safe Mode with command promptor whatever and type the following again as shown above.This should solve it.Best of luck.....

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Reponse To Answer

by DH_14 In reply to Maybe this could help.... ...

I had that problem too and this solves it. Thanks dude!

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Corrupt Profile

by Fred123456 In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

Seems to me your profile is corrupt. If you have created your own login, that is not the actual default Administrator account. You could recreate the login profile.
You first might want to try creating a dumy account to check to see if the desktop is created correctly.

Try the following in Safe Mode

1. Boot to safe mode

2. navigate to c:\Document and Settings\ and find your profile folder.

3. Copy the desktop folder, Start Menu folder, and your favorites folder out to a location of your choosing.

4. Delete your login profile and then log back in having the PC recreate your profile.

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VISTA Desktop BLANK/ explorer error

by mohit_here In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

Destop is Black/Blank. Only my documents is open. ctrl+alt+del Works and running explorer.exe brings everything back to life but only until restart. Want a solution.

Visit forums section at for the solution.

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These Worked For Me

by mhanson In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

I have four machines in the office displaying this problem. On 2, reinstalling Windows SP2 solved the problem. On a third machine that didn't seem to work, but a few days later it started working normally. On the fourth machine, I followed a suggestion I found online that sounds crazy... but it worked! On a Dell machine right after booting, I pressed F12 to get a list of boot options. I selected boot from CD ROM. When the message displayed "Press any key to boot from CD," I just ignored it and let the machine boot normally. It came up with icons and taskbar and continued to work properly after that.

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It solved my problem

by venkatonchat In reply to These Worked For Me

I also have dell laptop and i had the same blank desktop problem. I tried the F12 -> boot from CD ROM -> enter. It solved my problem.. thanks a lot for sharing the solution.


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HELP!! Desktop empty, Start Menu gone, only Wallpaper left after reboot!

by vibranttrolley In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

I'm using Windows XP. To make a long story short, when I opened my desktop yesterday, no desktop icon appeared and there was also no START bar/menu.

I got this problem about 8 hours ago, and have just managed to fix it after hours of forum searching, various scans and system tweaks.

I found the cause of my problems was a 'Vundo' trojan.

Here's the fix that worked for me:-

Download SUPERAntiSpyware (it's free).
Run a full scan.
Fix whatever you feel needs fixing.

SUPERAntiSpyware picked up 18 instances of the Vundo virus on my PC, and after clearing these, my PC is back to normal.

I'd never heard of SUPERAntiSpyware before today, but after reading many forums and other user's comments, it's now my preferred freebie scanner (previously used Lavasoft Ad-Aware free version).

If you do have the Vundo trojan, another fix that I found (but didn't try) is a piece of software specifically programmed for Vundo deletion:-
"Vundofix by Atribune".

Hope this helps someone!
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This solution worked for me

by niccarpediem In reply to HELP!! Desktop empty, Sta ...

I had the same problem. Found this thread,
ran SUPERantispyware, it found some Vundo
infections cleaned them. Smooth sailing
since. Posting this reply was my only reason
for getting an account on this site. Thanks

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A Repair Install might come in handy for you. :)

Repair Install
If XP is corrupted to the point where none of the previous solutions get it to boot,
you can do a Repair Install that might work as well as keep the current settings.
Make sure you have your valid WindowsXP key.
The whole process takes about half an hour depending on your computer
If you are being prompted for the administrator's password, you need to choose the 2nd repair option, not the first.
1.Insert and boot from your WindowsXP CD
2.At the second R=Repair option, press the R key
3.This will start the repair
4.Press F8 for I Agree at the Licensing Agreement
5.Press R when the directory where WindowsXP is installed is shown. Typically this is C:\WINDOWS
6.It will then check the C: drive and start copying files
7.It will automatically reboot when needed. Keep the CD in the drive.
8.You will then see the graphic part of the repair that is like during a normal install of XP (Collecting Information, Dynamic Update, Preparing Installation, Installing Windows, Finalizing Installation)
9.When prompted, click on the Next button
10.When prompted, enter your XP key
11.Normally you will want to keep the same Workgroup or Domain name
12.The computer will reboot
13.Then you will have the same screens as a normal XP Install
14.Activate if you want (usually a good idea)
15.Register if you want (but not necessary)
17.At this point you should be able to log in with any existing accounts.

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.
If this information is useful, please mark as helpful. Thanks.

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