dadinvac, Go to the link below and scroll down to line 195(right column) and download the "Restore Desktop Icons and Taskbar" .vbs file. Save it to your hard drive (you may want to right click and use Save Target As). Double
click the vbs file. You will be prompted when the script is done.
"NOTE: If your anti-virus software warns you of a "malicious" script, this is normal if you have "Script Safe" or similar technology enabled. These scripts are not malicious, but they do make changes to the System Registry".

http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

It very well be a malware or virus related problem if the above fix doesn't work.

Tufenuf