General discussion

My desktop has disappeared leaving nothing but wallpaper

Everything on my desktop has disappeared on my Sony Vaio laptop. It's running XP Professional (I took it in for some work running XP home and it came back with XP profeesional - now I don't have the proper backup). When I boot it up, the XP screen comes on with my user accounts. Regardless of which account I choose, I get a blank screen with just the wallpaper. I have to shut down with the task manager. Starting in safe mode produces the same results (last know good configuration does no good either). If possible, I would like to salvage some files before a reformat if it is necessary. Is there any way I can recover the desktop?

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Had all Icons disappear, Taskbar also. Problem was me.

I had put in a password, removed it (or so I thought). Hard booted computer and it asked for the password. In Safe Mode, I kept tapping F8, went to Users and selected no password. Did it again, went to Safe Mode and put password in. Don't forget the hint. Darrell L.

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no taskbar or icons

Try booting up in safe mode then hit alt/ctrl/delete to bring up the task manager then if you have avg antispy or a similar program or antivirus etc. you can browse to its folder and run the exe. Even trying to open explorer should at least give you a start button. But the first worked for me. ..... good luck hope this helps

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ok i think

if possible click on the rigth click on the mouse and go arrange icon by and then click on lock web icons on the desktop,i hope that,

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sounds like...

you somehow corrupted your explorer.exe or changed a registry setting for it to look for a different file when loading the shell.

If you corrupted explorer.exe, best bet is to do a repair or system restore.
To check if explorer.exe is set to your shell:
Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up task manager. Click File>New Task.
Type REGEDIT, click ok.
Click the plus sign next to these entries:
Click the folder WINLOGON
in the box to your right, find the entry Shell. If the data correspondig to it is not Explorer.exe, double click Shell and modify it to Explorer.exe.
Close the registry, Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up Task Manager.
File>New Task. Type explorer, click ok.

Good luck.

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Explorer won't load

Thanks. Using your instructions I checked the entry Shell and it was set to explorer.exe. However, explorer would not open through New Task by typing explorer. Explorer also would not open by browsing to it's location in Accessories, nor would it open from the shortcut I had placed in the desktop folder. I can open most everything else by browsing in New Task, but all programs aren't there in System Tools, such as System Restore which I would like to try. By the way, the task bar will briefly flash as if it were trying to appear. Is there anything else I can do?

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Re: Explorer won't load

valleyrider, "but all programs aren't there in System Tools, such as System Restore"

Go to the link below and download AccRestore v2.0 and open it and run the exe. It should restore all of your System Tools to the Accessories menu.


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Have you tried SFC?

Get your XP CD handy and go to start | run sfc /scannow(with the space after sfc) choose the repair option from the four options you get, and this will reinstall any system files that are missing/corrupt directly from the disc.

If you can't access the Start | Run use the TaskManager to start CMD.EXE then run the sfc command.

Also, have you tried a system Restore? Here is a link for using it from a command prompt.;en-us;304449

You didn't mention, but can you run Internet Explorer? From the command prompt try running IEXPLORE.EXE. If it too doesn't run open REGEDIT from the command prompt and try deleting these two keys (should resurect Explorer and Internet Explorer):
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\iexplorer.exe

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This really helped.

Thanks. The keys were weren't there in the registry when I checked, but I was able to run a system restore after getting to command prompt through the Task Manager. You pointed me in the right direction, and I appreciate it.

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No Desktop and no Taskbar!

Many thanks to Edward O'Daniel, whose advice solved the problem. I found I could not run IExplorer, but not Explorer, so went to the registry, found the HKEY for that and deleted it - bingo!

I can't thank you enough, Edward!

Bath, UK

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That did it.

Thank you Edward. I had been battling viruses on another PC most of the day and accidentally infected mine. When I got mine clear, Explorer wouldn't start and it turned out to that that registry entry. Deleted and it I'm back on my desktop.

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i tried deleting the things u said but they werent there wen i went to look for them
when i reboot my laptop a window pops up that says something about the application (explorer) has failed to start and i should try re installing the application. now i can run firefox but only through my task manager and i have no icons or start menu its just the wallpaper...this happened after a prompt for me to upgrade my explorer was made and i clicked ok and after it finished installing it asked me to restart , so i did and now i dont know what to do
please helpppp
plus i just had my laptop formatted..

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3 years later.

Digging up old posts often doesn't work well. No one may go over the 3 year old post and always expects you to have read the entire post to try the suggestions given.

Start a new post if the suggestions so far don't work out.

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Before doing a system restore

See if you can't just copy explorer.exe off of a Windows XP cd and replace the current one, which seems to be in error state. Bring up task manager> New Task> type command.
Use the command prompt to copy explorer.exe from the XP cd to the proper directory on your PC (usually C:\WINDOWS).

Refer to this for help.

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same problem

My problem is intermittent but i need to reboot for about 10 minutes. I have an XP Professional and I tried to do a restore (no restore found before 2007) and the regedit (not a valid win32 app) and it wont let me. Would appreciate any help. Thanks.

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Ohh shytt

i've googled tons of ways to restore my desktop and ur advice is the only one that works!!! thank u sooo much!!
i was sooo worrieed that i had trojan virus or something on my laptop!!

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tried it, didn't work.....

Sounds like u pretty know what to do but it didn't help me. My desktop is blank and i'm not able to click on the screen. i have to Use Task Manager for everything. How do i get system Restore???? I do have the the CD for the computer so that option is a NO NO. Plz Help me out, I'm aggravated and well about to throw my PC through tha dang window, Thanx

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thanks buddy it worked.

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That repair company failed you.

By installing XP Pro and not supplying the XP Pro CD, almost any chance of repair vanished. It's also possible that the license was illegal so you couldn't fetch critical updates that this old OS needs to protect itself.

-> Let me skip to what I might do to save the files.

1. Since our office has other PCs we would connect the ethernet to the network and boot up KNOPPIX to get to the files and copy those off to our network. I helped spark this following article about this. Read

2. Let's say you don't have other PCs and a network. Then my choices are to either replace the hard disk or try knoppix with some USB hard disk.

a. The hard disk would have to be in FAT32 unless you can get INSERT LINUX working. INSERT LINUX has NTFS write capability. See this link.

3. Once the files are saved I could use Sony's RESTORE CDs (see ) to reinstall the OS as the maker intended. From there I could reclaim my files from my backups.


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Thanks for everyone's help and suggestions!

Thanks to all of you. I've restored my desktop and will attempt to find the cause of it's slowness. One more to go - my daughter's computer won't even get started, and her new school semester has just started. If anyone has suggestions on this problem, I would appreciate any input. That can be found at:

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hey valley rider
can you plz tell me wat exactly can i do

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desktop restore

hey plz ell me how u restored ur desktop

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desktop restore?

hey plz tell me how u restored ur desktop

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Everything on my HP Compaq (dxd120/dx6128)desktop has disappeared,It's running on XP Professional please help because I suspect it has been eaten out by a bad virus.I can't install anything.Your help is urgently requested.

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