Desktop icons are gone, taskbar won't show up [Solved/Closed]

Ask a question ImperfectMyth - Last answered on Mar 24, 2017 at 12:35 AM by guy123
I restarted my computer yesterday, and it restarted normally. I got on Myspace, Facebook, and AIM. Random tabs kept opening up containing ads. My McAfee service popped up, saying it caught and removed a trojan. I clicked "ok", and went on. when I closed everything to go to bed, I noticed that my desktop had no icons and I could not open my taskbar. I did find out that I could open the taskmanager using ctrl+alt+delete, and open Firefox and all of my other documents.

I have tried rebooting the computer, doing a system restore, and I used my McAfee 3-User Total Protection to do a full scan of my copmuter for trogans, spyware, adware, and other viruses and it came up with nothing.

I really need a good, full, descriptive answer.

Thank you!
See more 
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Ok This Is where I am experienced at, either you can:

1. Go alt+Ctrl+Delete at the same time and wait for a box to open
2. when the box is open Click "file" at the top and then Click "New Task (Run...)"
3. When you get another small box with something to type in, type in "explorer.exe" (without the ")
4. Your Taskbar and Icons will now load, If not your computer is corrupt. If that happens take your computer to your local IT Guy and ask Him to install explorer for you because it is corrupt

Or you Can do This : (You Have to know a bit about your computer)

1. Go to Run Like in Above
2. Now instead of typing "explorer" type in (or any other web address)
3. Your Default web browser should open. Now type in in the top "C:\" (without ") and your files should open. dont do anything yet
4. Now go Alt+Ctrl+Del and click on the tab "Processes" Find Explorer.exe in that list and click end process.
5. Now In Alt+Ctrl+Del click on the tab "Applications" and end your browser, Normally "Internet Explorer.exe"
6. Restart By going to Alt+Ctrl+Del and clicking "shut down" at the top.
7. This Refreshes your computer and maybe when you have finished restarting you can have your old pc back

P.S If google loads go to at the top and download and run the software. it will make your computer work
In Need- Jun 26, 2010 at 08:51 AM
wellhrd- Mar 19, 2013 at 01:57 PM
yh it worked I was close to t-doitht thei
Fito- Mar 20, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Hi there, I was having a problem with windows installer on windows xp, so I started reading some texts in microsoft website, and I started to configure the system, when I restarted my lap top the desktop and everything just didint show up. Is there anyway that you could help me? thank you
nick- Mar 24, 2013 at 12:32 AM
thankyou so much it works for me
guy123- Mar 24, 2017 at 12:35 AM
Thank You soooooo much.This really work mate.Thank you once again :*
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ye im having this problem but I cant open task manager or anything else
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Hegge- Aug 2, 2009 at 01:10 PM
In case anyone is interested, I had a slightly different version of the problem than the one described in the other thread. Under the registry key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

the value for Shell was "Explorer.exe C:\Windows\Config\csrss.exe". However the path C:\Windows\Config didn't even exist. I removed the later part and changed it to just "Explorer.exe" which solved the problem for me. My guess is that this was a virus that was removed by the anti-virus software, but it didn't correct the registry.
Oddjob- Mar 18, 2010 at 05:24 PM
Thanks, been struggling for an hour, luckily I had another machine running so was able to search google and found this almost immediately. Thanks again.
zie- Jun 30, 2010 at 09:31 PM
...whew thanks a lot!!!...i thought im screwed...thanks for the help...
Desire- Jul 7, 2010 at 04:26 AM
this is the best help I ever got on forums. thanks a lot. My shell key has been changed to userinit.exe and I changed to Explorer.exe and it worked
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If I do F8, how do I know what filee to remove?
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I cant believe how simple that fix was.

Thanks alot dude. Soooo appreciated.

For all numpties out there if you dont understand the fix.

PRESS Ctrl + Alt + DEL together.

Then on process tab close explorer.exe if its open.

Then on the applications tab click start new task.

Finally in the box type ''explorer.exe''


Thanks alot again.
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I am having a similar problem. No start button or task bar. Am working around by using my desktop which has not been affected. However, when I try to open documents, Word stops responding. Once a get on the internet, it frequently stops responding. I did a OneStop free checkup last night and it found and fixed a virus named Trojan:Win32/AgentBypass.gen!K. My computer also downloaded Service Pack 3. I think the virus may have come in with the SP3 download, but no way to prove. I am now doing an sfc / scannow at command prompt, but in order to complete, I need a SP3 CD and I need it quick, so I thought that if I could find a way to download SP3, maybe I could make my own disc. Do you know where I can download it for someone like me who is not an IT professional. I see where we can download the IT Professional version, but can't find a version that is for individual PC's. Can anyone help?
Gee- Dec 26, 2009 at 11:52 PM
I just have the same problem and it was fixed only by doing simple task.
1. Press Windows+R (shortcut to launch Run.exe)
2. in the Run program, type "regedit" (without ")
3. and then in the Registry Editor program. follow this folder route :
okay stop right there..
now you have to see in the right side of the bar.
find the item called "Shell"
click it twice.
in the Value data bar, type Explorer.exe
click OK.
4. Restart your computer. maybe you can do it by launching Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del)
choose Shut Down on the top taskbar. Then click Restart.

See if the problem still exist.
nice to helping you.
RoW Da DeGO- Apr 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM
same here my computer will not show any icons my computer is vista plse help.
RoW Da DeGO- Apr 26, 2010 at 10:14 AM
i got on 2 diz by my desktop though my documents which was the only thing there and the background is black
h34v3n- Apr 26, 2010 at 05:29 PM
i got a similar problem but my laptop doesnt respond to windows logo + r.... well nothing
sue- May 28, 2010 at 11:10 PM
guys the screen being black just go to customize dock k
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hi had a similar problem yesterday....and I was working the whole day through task manager!

It did strike me later that last night I did run quickheal antivirus before going to bed and it might hv deleted some system files considering it to be virus!

in my case the file "svchost.exe" was quarantined by quick heal,so I restored it back.

now after restarting the computer, the desktop and other icons are showing up!

Hope this helps.

singaraju- May 4, 2009 at 08:25 PM
sir quick heel antivirus remove svc host .exe how to restore svchost.exe
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Keep my PC running fast and efficiently.
I have searched for and tired many different types of scanners to keep my PC running fast and efficiently. Many of them are similar when it comes to picking up the same types of viruses but there is a big difference when it comes to price. Search-and-destroy Antispyware is one of the best that I've used so far and it's even cheaper than some of the better known scans like Norton and similar scanners. I found the antispyware solution from Search-and-destroy to be the answer to keeping my PC like new and you can check it out for yourself at
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joyce- Aug 14, 2009 at 01:12 PM
where did you get your nick name?
darogaa- Apr 1, 2010 at 09:17 AM
if u ppl find regedit difficult as sum viruses disable regedit copy n paste these lines in wordpad and save as anyname.vbs then doble click it and poof ur regedit is enabled.

'Enable Registry Editing'
'© Veegertx - 4/7/2004
'This code may be freely distributed/modified
On Error Resume Next
'Prevents errors from values that don't exist
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
'Delete DisableRegistryTools registry values
WshShell.RegDelete "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\DisableRegistryTools"
WshShell.RegDelete "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\DisableRegistryTools"
'display message
Message = "You should have access to Regedit now"
X = MsgBox(Message, vbOKOnly, "Done")
Set WshShell = Nothing
Set fso = Nothing
none- Apr 16, 2010 at 01:10 PM
Iiii have no nicknasmei have no nickname
Meow- May 28, 2010 at 12:04 AM
Hell no. It won't work out at all
motherboard- Jun 4, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Note: If you upgrade a previous version of Windows to Windows XP, and Show Desktop Icons was turned off in the previous Windows version, this setting is maintained, and user icons appear to be missing from the desktop. The Show Desktop Icons setting is ignored in previous versions of Windows if Active Desktop is turned off. In Windows XP, Active Desktop is always turned on and cannot be disabled.

To resolve this behavior, turn on the Show Desktop Icons feature:

1. Right-click the desktop.
2. Point to Arrange Icons By.
3. Click Show Desktop Icons.
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restore your system to an earlier point and uninstall your anti virus then reinstalll it again or better still use another... thanks
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Hi guys,
after much time and even more anger... here's what fixed my missing desktop icons and basic windows functions.

1. Copy a known good clean explorer.exe file from the windows folder.
2. Copy a known good clean userinit.exe from c:\windows\system32.
3. Copy these files to a usb flash drive.
4. Rename both files to dot new meaning... instead of explorer.exe.
5. Boot dead p.c. into safe mode.
6. Copy each file back to where you got them from... c:\windows (for explorer) And c:\windows\system32 (for userinit.exe)

7. Rebbot machine into safe mode with command prompt only.
8. delete the c:\windows explorer.exe file by typing..

cd\ press enter
cd windows press enter
del explorer.exe
Now rename the new file by typing

ren explorer.exe press enter

change to the system32 folder by typing cd system32 press enter

delte userinit.exe type del userinit.exe

rename the new file by typing ren userinit.exe press enter

and that's what worked for me.

There was also one other registry setting that had been altered.

And that was located here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

The value for the shell key had been renamed. Instead of it reading Exploere.exe
It read Explor e.exe There was a space in the filename, thus windows would never load that file as it didn't exist.

Hope this helps someone out. It sure was a pain in the butt to fix.

I did run a current version of the Malwarebytes and it came up with no errors.
That's what gave me a hint that these two files had been altered - I checked the time stamp on both files. Date was correct, the time was not.


FREAKING OUT- Jun 23, 2010 at 08:17 PM
ACCESS DENIED... do you got other ideas.. because I tried to delete those two files and all it says is ACCESS DENIED..
Ambucias 39695Posts Monday February 1, 2010Registration date ModeratorStatus March 24, 2017 Last seen - Jun 24, 2010 at 06:29 AM

See Darkmood's solution, it is much simpler and quicker.

Good luck
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Check what programs you have installed recently.

What I would suggest is uninstalling any recently installed programs, ensure your pc is not connected to any networks and then see what happens.

I had this same issue on a clean-boot after isntalling SAV 10.1.5 Corporate the system wouldn't show the icons/start menu etc as it was corrupting explorer.exe.

Opening the task manager and creating a new explorer.exe and ending the one that appeared to be stuck in memory I would then see some icons but the computer's HDD would then skyrocket and it would literally hang.

Booting into safe mode, enabling the Windows Installer Servic and uninstalling SAV 10.1.5 then rebooting did magic. System is totally responsive and runs fantastic.
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Okay. One solution is to follow the Windows Task Manager then from there click on File -> New Task (run) -> Browse -> C drive -> Program Files folder -> Internet Explorer Folder -> Internet Explorer.exe and run it.
Now your connected to the web and go to and download Malwarebytes -> Install it -> Updated it -> Run it -> Reboot -> Run it in safe mode if that didnt work. That should be one viable way. Also from the Windows Task Manager you can run any anti-virus, anti-malware, or anti-spyware virus program that you have on your own system. So you do have a way into your system.
Hope that helps
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Guys thank you for ur expertizzz. We thank you u all for the great help.

Guys if u have vista or xp esy way is this.
1) CTRL+ALT+DEL = Task manager. AFter that add explorer.exe (For vista press file and ad task xD) (for xp srry no idea xD) then it should work xD. AFTER THAT DELETE THE FILE U MIGHT THIN HAS IT OR SCAN UOR COMPUTER.
---------VIsta only or xp (i have no idea cant remeber----------
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Yes the open up processes and start a new task explorer.exe works!
ty ily forever!!
Ok people it took me awhile to figure this out but to start a new process when your in processes tab go to new and it says something like new task. go there and yah it works :D
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Googledesktopsearch.exe does that as well, remove it and reinstall it will fix the problem for those of you explorer.exe do not help.
clavicle44- Feb 17, 2010 at 08:39 PM
Icons dissapeared from my desktop on vista. Right click did not work . Blank screen only . No start menu.

control alt - delete has no task manager option. Was a virus . internet security 2010.

there was one opening I found , The windows key an "U" brought up window ,From there I was able to navigate aroound . I downloaded malware bytes and it found 16 , rebooted and all my I cons came back ..
mitsimistrator- Mar 11, 2010 at 10:58 AM
for xp sp3 concerning quick launch :

start-run : %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

tools - folder options - view - ghange to "show hidden files and folders"

If the quick launch icons appear just right-click on them - properties - untik the box hidden - apply - ok*

Restore the setting "show hidden files and folders"

If the icons in the quick launch won't appear again just right click on the taskbar - properties - untik the box "quick launch" - apply - tik again the box "quick launch" - apply and here you are...

Worked for me.... :)

if they are not any then you don't have any icons in quick launch and here's the link to create a new "show desktop" icon
Rogie- May 3, 2010 at 10:23 PM
i cant connect to my internet?? help please how can I Download that if I dont have icon taskbar and internet huhuh!
Ambucias 39695Posts Monday February 1, 2010Registration date ModeratorStatus March 24, 2017 Last seen - May 4, 2010 at 05:11 AM
Rogie, Rogie, Rogie,

The solution you are seeking is on this thread, that's why it was marked as solved!

File -> New Task (run) -> Browse -> C drive -> Program Files folder -> Internet Explorer Folder -> Internet Explorer.exe and run it.
Now your connected to the web and go to and download Malwarebytes -> Install it -> Updated it -> Run it -> Reboot -> Run it in safe
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ctrl+alt+delete-->task manager-->file-->type "explorer.exe"-->everything shows up......^_^
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the only way for u is to format the computer.
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just kik ur system and.... fuck all
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sue thank you your info was so helpful u saved me plenty of money
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