TechSpot

Start menu and desktop is missing

By nhelp1
Oct 2, 2009
  1. Hi,
    By mistake I deleted some hidden files (I'm using win XP SP7). After rebooting, I lost my start menu and the desktop is empty. I can only open programs through ctrl+alt+del - Windows Taskmanager - start new task. When I try to open explorer from taskmanager I get an error - "Windows can't find explorer...". I've checked my start menu is not hidden, I've also tried pressing the Windows key on the keyboard. Is there a way to get the start menu back without doing a repair install from the OS disk. I'm not a techie and can't perform those steps required for a repair install.
     
  2. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,274

    You should consider trying System Restore.
    Which operating system are you using?
    Another option is to create a new user account, once you copy all the files over to the new account, just delete the corrupt account.
     
  3. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I'm using Win XP SP3. how do I do the system restore?
     
  4. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,274

    Open Start Menu, \Programs\Accessories\System Tools\System Restore
    Restore to the last known good date. It will guide you from there.
    Try to create a new account 1st though, it may be better.
     
  5. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    System Restore will not work in this case. You have deleted system files. System Restore only reverts settings in the Windows registry. You need to perform a Windows Repair. For this you need a Windows XP SP3 installation CD.

    Repost if you need assistance in initiating the Windows repair.

    -- Andy
     
  6. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I have the disk that came with the laptop from the manufacture
     
  7. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I have the disk that came with the laptop from the manufacture - "reinstallation cd, ms win xp home edition, service pack 2". I'm running IE 7 on my machine? Can I do it with that disk? What do I need to do? The MS website recommend remove ie 7 before during the installation, I can't get to the add/remove programs?
     
  8. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    nhelp11,

    First and foremost, do you now own this company PC or is it loaned to you by the company? If it's the latter, don't do anything as you'll get in deep doo-doo (deeper than you already are for deleting system files!) Call the IT department and get them to fix this. If you do own it, check for a Windows sticker on the side of the chassis. It will tell you which version of Windows Xp it is and the product key. If there isn't one, then it's Windows XP Professional using a Volume License Key.

    Repost with answers so we can decide what to do next.

    -- Andy
     
  9. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I can do the restore. How do I get a Windows XP SP3 installation CD. The CD that came from the manufacturer is xp home edition sp2
     
  10. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    I apologize, I got your problem confused with someone else who has a company laptop.

    There may be a way to get your start menu and desktop back. Do the following

    cntr-alt-del -> Windows Task Manager -> File -> New Task (Run ...) -> desktop <return>

    See if the Desktop appears.

    Report back with results.

    -- Andy
     
  11. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    Go to the Microsoft download site and download and install SP3.

    Consider the those files and folders are hidden for a reason- one is to prevent what you did. You should make sure the files and been rehidden:

    Control Panel> Folder Options> View tab> UNCHECK 'shows hidden files and folders'> Apply> OK.

    Keep them that way.
     
     
  12. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    when I typed dekstop in the taskmanager it said "windows cannot find desktop"
     
  13. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,274

    You are correct, ther is no such thing as 'desktop' under task manager. I don't know who thought that one up.
    Try creating a new account, whether or not it works depends on where the files were deleted from.
    Otherwised, do as recommended by Bobbye.
     
  14. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    If I delete the windows registry key: hkey_local_machine\software\microsoft\windowsNT\currentversion\image file execution option\explorer.exe will that automatically restore the desktop?
     
  15. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Hi, I'm running SP3 on my machine. Are you saying an installation of SP3 will make the start menu and desktop icons reappear?
     
  16. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,392   +36

    An observation: don't you think you have done enough damage with your deleting? First, system folders, now you want to do it in the Registry.

    IT appears that you do not even have a basic understanding of the system you are working with and it's structure. You can just delete files at random. Your lack of knowledge is very evident in your comment about looking for a process that says 'desktop.'

    Until you have a better understanding of the system, I suggest you stop removing/deleting files and folders. You created the problem, then handled it incorrectly. Further deletions may very well render you system inoperable.
     
  17. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    Get your hands on a Windows XP Home SP3 installation CD. If you're sure you didn't install SP3 yet, you can use the SP2 version you mentioned above. We then need to run a Windows XP repair installation. If you don't know how to do this, repost and we'll give you the instructions.

    -- Andy
     
  18. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    The machine is running SP3. How do I find a SP3 version?
     
  19. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    First, the IE version doesn't matter.

    You need a Windows XP Home Edition SP3 installation CD. You can use one with a higher service pack but not a lower one. It will mess up the installation. Since your installation CD is up to SP2, you can't use it. You need to get your hands on one with SP3.

    -- Andy
     
  20. nhelp1

    nhelp1 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 42

    Ok. I will find one and post back.
     
  21. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,554

    The other option is we can perform a Windows XP re-install with the SP2 CD but that will force you to re-install all your programs and setup your user account all over.

    -- Andy
     
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.