You can check for corrupted system files. Open an administrator command prompt and run SFC if the above doesn't help. Click START, then type CMD in the search box, right-click CMD.EXE and click Run as administrator. Then from the command prompt type sfc /scannow.
I have to caution you against running programs that fool with the registry. They don't help and can cause problems. They are snake oil.
If all else fails, you can check the rather cryptic system event log. To do that click Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer. Once in Event Viewer click on the system log and scroll through the entries looking for those flagged "error" to see if you can find hints as to where the problem could be.
When you get your system back in good working order, I urge you to back your system up to an external hard drive and make regular periodic updates to it.
I'm new here, but maybe you folks could be of some help. I'm at my wit's end and ready to reinstall windows (although I hate to do that).
My problems began last Friday. I had shut down my computer Thursday night without a problem, but upon turning it on Friday morning, I found that my desktop did not completely load. What I mean by this is that my background and regular program icons would show up properly, but the system tray (I think that's what you call the little area in the bottom-right where icons show next to the clock) was missing a couple icons, including the one for my internet connection. Furthermore, I could double-click on a program, but it would not open. After so clicking on any program, I could not click on anything else, the entire desktop area freezing up. The only thing I could get to work in any way was Task Manager (through hitting control + alt + delete), although this behaved sluggishly and would freeze up. I tried restarting and then shutting down my computer through Task Manager, but nothing happened after about 2-3 minutes, so I hit the power button to turn it off.
I thought that was odd and rebooted. Same result. I then rebooted in Safe Mode (in which my computer ran without problem!) and ran a scan with Microsoft Security Essentials and downloaded, updated, and ran Malwarebytes. Both programs came up clean. I also opened up the case and blew out the inside, just to make sure it wasn't dust. At this point I figured why not try a system restore, so I restored my computer to a restore point form a few days previous. After this, my computer rebooted and worked just fine for 30-45 minutes before completely freezing. I've tried rebooting many times, going into Safe Mode (in which my computer continues to work without issue), and using 4-5 different restore points, the earliest of which was all the way back to December 3. All to no success.
Eventually, I purchased, downloaded, and ran Uniblue Registry Booster because the program was recommended to me by a family member. It found many registry errors and fixed them. I then rebooted, with no result (I was still missing icons). After this, I have been able to use the "restart" and "shut down" commands in Task Manager, but it takes a good 10-15 minutes for the processes to finish and actually restart or shut down the computer. This evening, I just did another restore point back to Tuesday (Christmas day) during the evening of which my computer worked for about 30 minutes after the December 3 restore point. After this, it did not load properly as it had before after doing previous system restores. I'm not sure what else I can do from here aside from reinstalling windows. If I could, I would purchase a new computer, but I cannot afford to at the moment.
Please help if you can.