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XP startup problems

Hello everyone,

I've been having trouble recently booting up XP. For the past week or so, I've noticed that when I start up my computer, about 1/4 of the time, explorer won't load (meaning no taskbar and no desktop shortcuts, just my nice backgorund and nothing else). If I hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, I can see in the processes tab that everything (as far as i can tell) that's needed is running, except explorer.exe.

Now, as for my technical situation:

I'm running Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 6400 / E1505 (In Canada), it has an Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2GHz, 2GB of RAM, an ATI X1400 256MB video card, a 160GB HDD, etc. Standard stuff. I'm running AVG free as my antivirus and Threatfire as my antispyware.

One thing to note is I've taken to tweaking my computer quite a bit, meaning I've been into msconfig to modify startup processes in order to speed up windows booting, as well as running TuneXP to modify certain things in order to increase performance.

Being an avid tweaker I can understand something might have gone wrong in what I've done, but all these mods were done a while ago, and I've only been getting problems now. I can't link the problems starting to any particular event or installation, so I was wondering if anyone here had any idea what's wrong, and how I could fix it. I've been contemplating a reformat, but if there's an easier way out I'll take it.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Head back to stock.

In reply to: XP startup problems

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Thanks, but...

In reply to: Head back to stock.

Thanks for the tips, that's what I'll be undertaking now, and that website is great! I only changed a few services, however, as the majority were fine, so I doubt it'll make a difference. What else could have cause this?

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Any "theming"?

In reply to: Thanks, but...

If so, undo all that.

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In reply to: Any "theming"?

If by theming you mean changing taskbar style and/or startup screen, then no, none of that...

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In reply to: No...

XP REPAIR INSTALL. (see google.)

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Some malware can do this.

In reply to: XP startup problems

I see you're using AVG and Threatfire, but these don't necessarily remove suspect BHO's from Internet Explorer, and as IE and Windows Explorer are closely integrated into the OS, those BHO's can cause problems.

I would remove them all from IE, reboot and see if that helps.

I would also do some housekeeping with a utility like CCleaner, ( ), and then update and run your own anti-malware in Safe Mode, where most of the common viruses and spyware can't get started.

Also, perhaps some second opinions would help.

1] Online anti-virus scan at Housecall, and

2] Online anti-spyware scan at Ewido,

Let them delete all the find.


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In reply to: Some malware can do this.

Thanks for the tips...

Just so you know, however, I use Firefox (I don't touch IE with a ten-foot pole), and I use CCleaner regularly already.

Also, both those online scans only found some low-risk tracking cookies, which I doubt are what caused this problem...

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But, Explorer seems to be the problem here

In reply to: Thanks

I take your point about not using Internet Explorer, but it could still be an 'Explorer' problem. With Explorer not loading at startup you need to remove all the things that may affect it. Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, and the Desktop Explorer are all closely integrated into Windows, and what affects one may affect the others.

Before you try anything else, I would certainly look up BHO's and see how to remove them. Getting back to a lean 'explorer', whichever it is, may be the key here.

By all means uninstall the Threatfire later if that is also suspect. I know nothing about it.

I see you are an avid tweaker, (me too), and it is quite possible you tweaked something too much, but that could prove much more difficult to track down, and if this were me I would try everything else first.

Good luck, Happy


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In reply to: XP startup problems

Dear "pizza", I read your post, and about 2 weeks ago, I had a same problem with pretty same configuration.I found that my problem was in "THREAT FIRE" program.I'm also using AVG Free and I found out that "THREAT FIRE" doesn't work well with AVG Free.Uninstall "THREAT FIRE" and start using some other antispyware program instead.My problems despaired after uninstalling "THREAT FIRE".Some of my friends download "TF" and encounter same problems with the system.That is my advice.Tell me if that solve your problem.I hope it will.

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In reply to: Answer

Well, it's worth a try, but I've had Threatfire for at least 6 months, and the problem has only started a week ago or so.

What other program do you recommend as Antispyware? What do you use? I'll switch to anything that works well enough, I really don't even know if TF works since i never get warnings from it...

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