Explorer.exe not loaded on startup

By BBoW ยท 4 replies
Dec 15, 2008
  1. Hello all,

    Just came back from a businesstrip and the Misses said that after a reboot the problems with windows started.

    Here's what happens:

    On startup it seems that explorer.exe is not loaded. I can see the wallpaper picture but nothing else, no icons, taskbar, nothing. I can uses the task-manager to see that other applications have been loaded that are part of the startup, but not explorer.exe. I tried to start it up manually (running explorer.exe) but windows says it can't find it.

    I locate the explorer.exe file under C:\Win and try to start it that way. Again, windows says it can not find the file, even though I saw the file and selected it and clicked RUN.

    I tried doing a system restore to 2 days ago when everything was working fine, but not luck.

    I tried Win SAFE mode, and I get the some problem, just a blank desktop.

    Any suggestions?

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    So without explorer, you cannot get online to update the installation?
    You will need to insert your install, restore, or recovery disk... or download Internet Explorer on a different computer then copy the download to your computer to install.
    Just remember that the number one cause of this error is an infestation of some spyware or virus.
    You should first run your antivirus and antispyware. If you have none you are in trouble, but you can download something like Antivir, AVG, or Avast to another computer, then move it to yours. Also download and move something like SuperAntispyware, Malwarebytes, HiJack This, and perhaps Adaware 2008. Update them and run scans with them to see what infestations you have. Remove or quarantine anything listed as dangerous.
    To run a repair install, first, backup your important files. Then put your CD in the optical drive, and cold boot to it. You may have to change your settings to make your CD player first in the boot order.
    Boot to the CD carefully, you are looking for the choice to run "Repair" mode, NOT Repair Console. When this works properly, the Windows disk will remove and replace all your Windows files, but will (usually) not damage nor remove your drivers, software, documents, or files.
    During this process, Internet Explorer will be automatically reinstalled, then you can run all the Microsoft Updates or whatever software you use.
    But then, if you really have a "blank desktop", your problem may be a more severe one of a bad hard drive or other defect.
  3. BBoW

    BBoW TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

    When windows boots up, it boots as normal...apart from that the desktop doesn't display any icons or taskbar, just the wallpaper.

    Internet explorer works fine, as long as I start it through the task manager (run command iexplorer.exe). Infact, as far as I can tell, all programs seem to work fine, if I can access them through the run command in task manager.

    It's the Windows Explorer is what I'm having a problem with. It doesn't seem to load on startup. After reading several threads on here I tried adding "Shell" (with binary data explorer.exe) to the HKEY_current user/Software/Microsoft/WinNT/Currentversion/Winlogon folder. But that didn't fix it.

    I just need to get explorer.exe to boot during windows startup somehow, but I don't know how. And the strange thing is, when I try and open the file after locating it with the run command (task manager) it says it can't locate the file! Even though I can still see it.

    I'll run AdAware, AVG and see if I can find any clues.

    OH OH! I think I may have found the culprit!

    This is the start of my anti-Malware log:

    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.31
    Database version: 1478
    Windows 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3

    10-Dec-08 10:56:16
    mbam-log-2008-12-10 (10-56-16).txt

    Scan type: Full Scan (C:\|)
    Objects scanned: 160927
    Time elapsed: 57 minute(s), 54 second(s)

    Memory Processes Infected: 0
    Memory Modules Infected: 1
    Registry Keys Infected: 10
    Registry Values Infected: 6
    Registry Data Items Infected: 3
    Folders Infected: 4
    Files Infected: 20

    Memory Processes Infected:
    (No malicious items detected)

    Memory Modules Infected:
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\mt49hub.dll (Trojan.Agent) -> Delete on reboot.

    Registry Keys Infected:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe (Trojan.Agent) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

    Would this be causing my problem? If so...what can I do?
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    See if you can find a copy of Windows Explorer at C:\Start\Programs\Accessories, then drag and drop a copy (very important to only make a copy) to your desktop.

    If it is not there, you need to reinstall Windows XP in repair mode, per previous instructions.
  5. BBoW

    BBoW TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Ok, found the file, that I think you mean, under

    C:\documents and settings\user\start menu\programs\Acccessories

    But can't copy it onto the desktop. If I try and open the file i get the same error saying it can't find it.

    I do have an old hard drive stashed away somewhere with the same WinXP installed on it, (perhaps with fewer updates, but it is SP3). Could I possible copy the explorer.exe file from that drive onto this one?

    IT'S FIXED!!!

    See here how:


    some nice chap at the malware forum made a reg-file and that fixed it.
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