you use the Task Manager to run explorer.exe, (C:\Windows). Does the Desktop appear then?
If not, see if the full desktop appears in Safe Mode. If that doesn't work, try Last Known Good Configuration in the Safe Mode options.
Last night, I backed up files to external harddrive and when completed, shut down desktop. Upon startup this morning, I noticed my desktop icons disappeared but wallpaper remains. No start button, no taskbar, no icons, etc. I did try to right click on desktop, but do not get window to arrange icons by or click to show desktop icons. Is there another way to do this? Currently I am opening programs/files through task manager and browsing. I do have a reinstallation CD for XP. Should I reinstall? Will I lose programs/files not backed up? Thanks in advance for any/all help.