My desktop is gone - no icons, no start button, no taskbar

By janfromct ·
I am running Win XP Home SP3. During an upgrade of my anti-virus software I experienced a problem, a conflict of sorts with files associated with Zone Alarm. I eventually resolved the problem and was able to install the required McAfee software, but not before ZA had made changes to some of my files.

Upon rebooting, my desktop wallpaper appears, but nothing else. Clicking on it does nothing. I have to ctrl-alt-del and enter a task to be able to run a program or open a document. Once I do that, it runs fine and the mouse works normally.

If I browse to My Computer, I can see the list of icons that are supposed to be on my desktop.

I think something was changed in the registry that controls whether these items are viewable or not. Or, perhaps the line was erased.

Any ideas? I really don't want to have to reformat. Thanks.

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Is explorer.exe running?

by NormH3 In reply to My desktop is gone - no i ...

When you open Task Manager, is explorer.exe running? if not, try starting it in Task Manager and report back.

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by janfromct In reply to Is explorer.exe running?

is NOT running. When I plug it in, I get an error: Windows cannot find 'explorer.exe'. Please check spelling.... etc.

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by NormH3 In reply to Explorer.exe...

I have seen this before. Run regedit and do the following:

go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image Execution Options\

in this list there will be a entry explorer.exe right click on it and export it. then on the right hand side delete the "debugger" key.

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by janfromct In reply to Remove DEBUGGER

Not sure why I had to export because then I had to save it, but I did. Then I deleted the debugger and rebooted.

Upon restart, msconfig took over and started in "safe" (not their name) mode and warned me of the changes. But I just told it to restart normally and then everything was back!!!

Thank you so much! (And thanks to those others who tried to help.) Jan

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Good deal!

by NormH3 In reply to IT WORKED!!! XOXOX

Glad to hear it worked for you.

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So, now can you recommend a good registry cleaner?

by janfromct In reply to Remove DEBUGGER

Thanks again.

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There is only one that I would recommend

by Jacky Howe In reply to So, now can you recommend ...

Download and install CCleaner to tidy up your Registry. Backup the Registry as you go along, rescan again and again saving as you go until there are no errors left.
Cleaner: Windows
When you first open Ccleaner you will have an option to Analyze or Run Cleaner, after checking the left Pane and making your choices. Delete all Temp Files. If you scroll down you will see a greyed out box that has Advanced next to it. Left click on it and keep pressing OK to all of the responses. I normally Untick Windows Log Files and Memory Dumps as they may come in handy.
You don't have to install all of the add ons or shortcuts just the one to the Desktop.
Keep it updated regularly.

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explorer.exe not found in image exe option

by gauravdalal21 In reply to Remove DEBUGGER

The explorer.exe folder is not found in the path given in remove debugger thread.... do i need to restore my windows XP to a previous point or is there any other method to get back my desktop back with icon and start menu??

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What if....

by Orion92 In reply to Remove DEBUGGER

explorer.exe not in the list? What then? I did find something weird though there's a "Your Image File Name Here without a path" at the bottom of the list. Is it suppose to be there?

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Your Image File Name Here without a path

by seanferd In reply to What if....

Yes, that's perfectly legal. No explorer.exe key is fine as well.

Are you experiencing a problem, or is this just a registry question?

If you are experiencing the same problem, you can do the same thing: Export that registry key (for backup), then delete it. This is assuming that there is a debugger entry in that key, though (an "ntsd" entry).

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