Multiple copies of explorer.exe on startup

By parker.rt ·

I have a problem with my computer. When my Windows XP Pro starts without intervention, I am unable to open any programs, or even get a right click menu on any desktop items. The programs appear to open but simply never start. In addition, the Programs, Documents, Settings, ... , Run, Log Off and Shutdown items in the Start Menu never appear. In addition, Ctrl-Alt-Del does not make the Task Manager appear.

In desperation I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del once as the machine started up, as soon as the desktop background appeared. The Task Manager appeared normally and showed EXPLORER.EXE running as my own user. The computer then spawned around 150 extra copies of EXPLORER.EXE all as my user, with initally aroun 64K memory usage, then moving up to around 4.5MB, and then the computer behaved as described above. Manually killing each and every EXPLORER.EXE process, then manually starting a fresh explorer.exe through the Task Manager allows the computer to work properly. In addition, when I start the computer it sometimes spawns "EXPLORER.EXE" copies, and sometimes "Explorer.exe", and sometimes "Explorer.EXE". The %systemroot% copy of explorer is named "explorer.exe".

I've run a full virus scan (AVG 7.5) and a spyware scan (AdAware) and they both have turned up nothing.

I'm not sure how to proceed from here - any ideas?

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No doubt in my mind

by tintoman In reply to Multiple copies of explor ...

I have no doubt that this is spyware, trojan or virus.
The software you are using is not good enough to detect or repair the fault (let's not forget that these programmes allowed the fault through in the first place).
I would advise you to download the latest version of PC Tools Spyware Doctor with anti-virus, you can scan your system for free but you will not be able to remove any bogeys unless you buy the licence.
I have no association or affiliation with PC tools but I can assure you it is fantastic at fixing these issues.
Also you will need to ensure that all your microsoft updates are installed.

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and, don't forget...

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to No doubt in my mind

to try running these detection programs in safe mode. Many of these nasty bugs hide themselves when booting in normal mode.

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