explorer.exe does not load at login

By MathTeacher
Apr 26, 2006
  1. About a month ago I purchased a new Dell E510. It has a Pentium 4 630 chip and runs Windows XP Media Center.
    A couple of weeks ago I had a nasty bout with spyware. According to McAfee Security Center and Windows Defender, all the nasties are out. And everything runs just fine with one irritating exception: explorer.exe does not load automatically on login. This means I get my wallpaper but nothing else – no icons, no start menu, no taskbar. After I use the task manager to run explorer.exe, everything works perfectly. Besides the fact that I don’t really want to manually jump start explorer.exe every time I log in, it makes me wonder if there is a bigger problem lurking in the background.
    I ran SFC and it corrected about five or six files, but that did not solve the problem. Which makes me think this is not a case of a corrupt file, but a registry issue. Having been a Mac user until a month ago, though, I am not very familiar with the registry. (Funny, in eight years of owning a Mac, I never once had a virus or spyware attack. I hope the conversion was not a mistake.) Anyway, I know HOW to make manual changes to it, but I am not sure what to change. I have researched the problem online for a week or so, but none of the fixes have proven fruitful.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on what this might be?

  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Your system may still be infected with some nasties.

    Go HERE and follow the instructions in the order they are given.

    Post a fresh HJT log, only after doing the above.

    If it turns out, that you do have a malware problem. I will move this thread to the proper forum.

    If it`s not a malware issue, then we`ll try and think of other solutions.

    Regards Howard :)
  3. MathTeacher

    MathTeacher TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the tip. I will follow those steps and let you know the results.
  4. MathTeacher

    MathTeacher TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I scanned my computer with several programs and found no malware.
    Eventually I discovered the problem. It was the registry, just as I had suspected. I had simply been overlooking one thing: I was leaving out the quotation marks around explorer.exe when identifying it in the registry as the startup shell [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon].
    I hope this will help someone else now.
  5. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 25,948   +19

    Glad your problem is solved.

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Regards Howard :)
  6. uberfun

    uberfun TS Rookie

    Your explorer.exe problem...

    I found a way that worked for me:

    1. Start--> Run--> regedit
    2. Go to the HKLM/ software/ microsoft/ windows nt/ current version/ winlogin\
    3. double click Shell
    4. put %windir%\explorer.exe

    Good to go!
  7. uberfun

    uberfun TS Rookie

    You should update your antivirus software and run a full scan.

    After this, does my method previously described, work for you?
    let me know
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