After start up only wallpaper shows, no icons

Challanged - Updated on Jul 5, 2017 at 04:19 AM
 balbhadra - Jul 24, 2022 at 05:20 AM

Upon start up only my wallpaper shows. There are no icons, no task bar, no start menu, nothing, just a blank screen other than my wallpaper. When I right click just to get into the desktop, I select display and even that gets no response. Can someone please help me.

Thank you

67 replies

1. booted up to windows
2. ctrl+alt+del to get windows task manager
3. File, new task, typed regedit, clicked ok
4. go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current
Version\Image File Execution Options\
5. In there I had an explorer.exe folder that I deleted (you may have an
entry in the root of the Image File folder as well.. delete them also).
6. Rebooted and everything was back to normal.
how can change time format 24 to 12 bcoz taskbar showing 24 hr and time properties show ed 12 hre
For me only this option worked permanently.


When the computer is booted, everything looks fine initially with all the Desktop icons and the Task bar. The programs appear to be running fine. But all the icons and task bar disappears suddenly. Then it all reappears and this process continues without letting the user to perform any tasks.
This problem recurs always when the computer is booted.



The above described problem appears due to corrupt EXPLORER.EXE file. This may have happened due to some trojan attack through internet file downloading. The solution in this article deals with solving this problem. However, it is recommended to reinstall Windows XP some time soon.

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If the task bar is not visible at all, you will need to press Ctrl+Alt+Del key to bring up the taskbar. Go to "New Task" from the menu bar and enter "explorer.exe". You will need to do this several times if your task bar disappears again.
Go to "C:\WINDOWS" folder through "My Computer". If accessing the My Computer folder is not possible then you can go to Command prompt by typing "cmd" in the "Run" command line and accessing the "WINDOWS" folder from here.



Copy the EXPLORER.EXE (Computer icon) file and paste it in the same folder. A file "Copy of EXPLORER.EXE" will be created in the folder. Now change the file name to your name.exe. For example, I renamed mine to "deshmukh.exe"



Now go to Start >> Run and type "regedit" and press enter key. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon. In this folder, you will find a sub named "shell". Double click it and rename the "explorer.exe" to "deshmukh.exe"


Restart your computer after making this change. Everything will be back to normal without any problems!

hope you fil find this usseful
Hi m8s,
First I would like to express my deepest gratitude for those of you who are finding time to help poor bums like me.

With that said, I would like to somewhat expend the domain of the problem;

There are three user accounts on my machine. I was able to get to the "wall paper & no icons" by logging into the one of the secondary (no admin privileges) accounts, but every time I try to login into the main account, my machine freezes. Additionally, task manager would not start any new process, not even explorer.

To make things funnier, it is an old laptop with a DVD drive that is out of commission, so I cannot even reinstall the OS. I already see my hard drive in a nice little enclosure so that I can salvage at least some of the data (I hope).

As a final thought, after researching this and other forums, I am pretty damn sure that it is some nasty malware creating the havoc.
what did u do in the end cos im in exactly the same position as you without a disk drive
MY Ctrl alt delete doesn't work no task mannager or even right click nothing works some body help me plz!!!!!

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Hi, I'm having the same problem--only wallpaper, no icons, start or task bar.
So I ctl-alt-dlt ed and I can get the task manager up and running. However, I try running explorer.exe, and I get "Windows cannot find 'C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe'" etc. I even try to browse for it, find it, and run it but same result. I would appreciate any help! Thanks!
when windows runs a task it searches everywhere so if it can't find it, it's been deleted and your going to have to get a new one possibly download from Microsoft might work
thanks a lot people.,you saved my life!!!!
Ok this is for those of you who can access task manager through the Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Go to the file tab, new task (Run...) and type "explorer.exe" with the quotation marks. If explorer.exe is already there end the process and restart explorer. This should get your desktop and icons back, but keep in mind this is only a temporary fix. I've done research and found that this is a spyware that hijacks your antivirus and uses it to delete files. That means that any other program won't recognize it as a problem. I have at least 10 spyware and antivirus programs, and none have found anything wrong with my computer. I stayed up all night scanning my registry and optimizing my computer until I'm at 100% with everything and that helps allot, but it only last for so long. I would suggest the newest version of Fix-It Utilities. It helps allot, but for those of you who can't access anything I can't help you. Try a system restore or format your hard-drive.
replying to seymore,

my computer with the problem no taskbar, no icon, Ctl+Alt+Del disable has been solve, after reading some of the post. here's the solutions:

1. log into safe mode with command prompt.
2. in the command prompt:

to enable Task Manager, type in this in 1 line=>
REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableTaskMgr /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
to enable Registry Edit, type in this in 1 line =>
REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableRegistryTools /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

3. press Ctl+Alt+Del, restart computer
4. to enable explorer autorun, go this web and read =>
Download the fix...=>
open task manager, File > New Task (Run) > type "shellfix.reg" and press ok

5. Restart. the system should be ok.

If not... continue 1 of the below steps:

1. Repair system by download TweakUI. =>
since taskbar is disable, u have to use Ctl+Alt+Del to run "TweakUiPowertoySetup.exe ", click ok to install
Press Ctl+Alt+Del again > File > New Task > Tweakui
at left panal, choose "Repair" at the last, choose "Rebuild Icons", and click "Repair Now", click "Ok" to exit.
Restart computer.

2. Create New User Account: Press Ctl+Alt+Del, File > New Task > explorer. go to control panel > user accounts and create a new user account. Restart Computer. Log in as the new created user.

3. Use System Restore to go back to the previous days which ur computer functions well.

4. Lastly, u may download "Remove Restrictions Tool" which will solve "folder options disable" and others restrictions problems. download here =>

5. install anti-virus product. (ie. AVG, Avira)
registry keys deleted and i'm back up and running.

Thank you guys so much.

you really saved my life.

i have a presentation in about 3 hours and I almost saw me crying.
you guys are live savers.

i deleted the regisrty key and now i'm back up and running.

i already saw me going down the drain on my sales presentation in 3 hours.
HijackThis downloaded after using the registry, but whenever I try to open it and install it after download, I'll click HJTInstall.exe and it will come up asking me if I would like to run it. When I click "Run" the window goes away and nothing happens. Any alternatives to opening the installer?
numbersinthedark Posts 3 Registration date Friday December 19, 2008 Status Member Last seen December 20, 2008
Dec 20, 2008 at 05:21 PM
I had the same problem with installing HijackThis. I assume the trojan recognizes the name of this program. After downloading HJTInstall.exe, I went into the Task Manager and started a new task, then clicked Browse. I went to the desktop where my HijackThis installer was located. I then changed the name from HJTInstall.exe to some nonsense word, like hlep.exe. Then I was able to run the installer and start HijackThis! Hope this helps. As an extra precaution, I also changed the name of the folder directory in which it installed. Example: C:/Program Files/hlep instead of C:/Program Files/Trend Micro/HijackThis
numbersinthedark Posts 3 Registration date Friday December 19, 2008 Status Member Last seen December 20, 2008
Dec 20, 2008 at 04:36 PM
I have the same problem as dead leaves:

"same here...i got into my reg. and those 2 files everyone has been saying are there are not there.

i went and did the other thing where they said change the value of the shell to explorer.exe and I found it already had that value..."

Furthermore, when use control+alt+delete I am able to pull up the task manager, however, when I start a new task called [explorer.exe], I see my task bar appear for half a second and then disappear again in a flash.

I received a message earlier that some files that Windows needs to run were missing/damaged, so I ran the repair install from my windows xp home CD.

I have also downloaded and installed several virus programs and run them. They did find a delete several viruses and trojans, but I still have the same problem.

This virus is also blocking some of the major antivirus/antispyware websites I have been visiting, however, I have been able to download them via, since that website does not seem to be blocked.

When I do install several of the antivirus applications, the virus does not allow me to download updated definition files.

This is one smart virus! Has anyone found a solution for those who are missing explorer.exe and iexplorer.exe from their registry? As mentioned before, I have already tried renaming the shell value to explorer.exe.

Thank you!
numbersinthedark Posts 3 Registration date Friday December 19, 2008 Status Member Last seen December 20, 2008
Dec 20, 2008 at 05:14 PM
I came across this solution and thought I'd post it here in case it will help anyone else:

Microsoft TechNet Forums - vundo trojan

If you are experiencing the problems named in the topic thread you may be losing your patience and mind by now!
I picked up this trojan 2 days ago and it has taken me one re-install and that long to fix it.
Forget the advice from symantec and microsoft - the vundu removers do not work.

The answer is to install and run 'superantispyware' - this spotted 4 vundo varients immediately, removed them and all if working fine.

I post this because I have encountered many confused solutions during the past 2 days and would like to spread the word about the solution. But now we must keep it out!


First of all I NEVER post comments but this really, really works!!!! Yesterday, my computer started acting weird. The desktop icons and bottom task bar began flashing then disappeared all together. The only tool I was able to use was the ALT-CTRL-DEL -Task Manager.... I was able to get online so I searched the problem and found out this is pretty common. (Unfortunatley, I didn't come across this website until this AM!!!) So anyway, I took all the advise from other sites...Safe Mode restart, System Restore (no dates were bolded), Creating a New User, Run Explorer.exe, Antivirus and spyware sweeps ..... I even called the "geek squad" 800#. I was told the only option left was to re-install Windows which in turn would erase everything from my computer!!! Pics, music... everything! So as a last resort this AM (as I was packing my computer to bring to the local support center) I did one more seach on the problem. found this website, ran the "superantispyware" (I figured I had nothing to lose) and it worked!


I haven't tried it on my machine yet, but I hope this helps some of you out!
Jim333c, on Wednesday July 16, 2008 03:16:42 PM
I had the same problem. It's just some stupid spyware garbage. This is a very simple fix. Just download (HiJackThis)­0227353.html

It only took me 10 sec. to do the scan. It will ask you if you want to delete everything, I clicked yes. Just make sure that there are no other programs (including the internet) running. This just make it easier to delete the files encase there running. MAKE SURE YOU RESTART YOU COMPUTER, when it comes back on you will have you lovely computer computing for you again!!!

I understand that nothing is a guarantee, but all I see is people coming up with these crazy answers to solve this problem and their all over thinking it. It's spyware, just spyware. So try my way out its very fast and easy. Feel free to respond with any question I'll be glad to help. Good Luck!!!

The above is what Jim333c wrote, I followed his advise and it works, not just in one laptop but two, with two different problems.
My laptop had a black screen but I could see the mouse, my co-worker couldn't turn off or restart his, we installed and ran the program, delete some files that the program recommended and bingo, both laptops were back in business.

Saludos and thanks Jim
Perro (Roo)
i just fixed this trend micro hijackthis...

scan and then check anything that looks weird and have it fixed. :D

this worked for me and I tried everything else :D
ok, I have same problem anda I install and run hijackthis... But how do I know what look weird , I what I need to delete?
OH! Finally! after all the "fixes" i'we been read here, (i'we been doing all the regedit stuff nad Hijackthis stuff and nothing help..) , the solution is very simple.... I just copy file "expolorer.exe" from ok comp and paste in same place on problem comp and restart him! after restart everything is ok!
Aspyre Posts 1 Registration date Monday February 23, 2009 Status Member Last seen February 24, 2009
Feb 24, 2009 at 04:39 AM
Hey there!

I had this problem about 2 days ago, and I tried many stuff that people wrote on this forum. I tried that thing with ctrl (hold it till it starts up); then the deleting of they hkey user keys and everything, even system restore didn't work. But I found a way to do it, by following an advice from a person from this forum (thank you very gave me an idea xD hehe) and I will also give a few pointers and ideas on good defense if people don't mind that is :)

So, as I said before, none of those above solutions did actually work. However, one of the other ones did. The things is: If you have two computers, use your usb stick and get 'explorer.exe' from your other pc (location: C:/Windows/explorer (take both of the explorers you find in there just to make sure ;D) and then just start up your other pc. While starting it up at the start when there is only black background and white letters hit 'F8' to bring up the menu with safe mood. Choose 'safe mood' and wait for it to boot up. (Might take some time). Log in as administrator. Then, when you get the black background with white letters 'safe mood' in corners, make key combination 'ctrl+alt+del' to bring up the task menager. Then, open your usb stick ( attention here! Your pc is very much damaged so it cant open the usb stick as it usually does - automatically- ) So, to open it, go to task menager -> new task -> browse -> find your usb stick in my computer, right click-select it (to open it) then right-click - copy on explorer; close that; again - new task- browse- (C: Windows) when in windows, paste the explorer. Close that window. Then, go 'new task' in task menager and type in 'explorer' or 'explorer.exe'. It should bring back your taskbar, start button & icons. However, many programs should be damaged, because this is a virus (Trojan) which affects and corrupts (worst case: destroys) exe files. Many of them are connected to your system working properly like for example, explorer.

So yeah, after you get your normal desktop up, I suggest you download superanti spyware or spybot (chose one of those...not both! it might make conflicts in your pc) & malware bytes anti-malware to get rid of any malwares, spywares, threats & trackers (I suggest superanti spyware & anti malware because spybot cannot remove some pops like those from zwinky). Works wonders. Oh, also get a new anti-virus, it can be some free one like AVG or take Avast home edition with license for 1 year. They are okay, heck, since no anti-virus program can prevent all of the viruses getting in your computer, because new viruses are out all the time. Sadly.

Easiest way to get a virus:

Piece of advice: If you think hacking is just getting files from you're wrong. Warez or any other site; be coutious that you don't get a zip file from there; it's trojan, aha. And even if you take some free trial of a program from net and then find some license key and then it says that you have license on the program and you go all 'YAY I have a new free program! I didnt even have to pay for it!! Woot <- then you're hella lot wrong. You see, every 'free' program on net has a catch with it. Some carry trackers, some cookies, some viruses, some worms and the worst case is that they have backdoors all in all. So let's say, be careful about what you get from net. There is no 'free stuff' on net. Okay, there might be pictures, some documents & downloading videos from youtube, but hey, I mean other stuff then that. Also, hate to say this, but zwinky and mywebsearch they ask you to install on internet explorer is a virus. Aka TrojanAgent and some pretty nice lil Pups and so and so. Lovely.

After some time of researching, I have found out that this type of defense is quite good and keeps the bad stuff (viruses, trackers, worms) away. See if you like.

1. Get everything from the list down there from net on your desktop.
2. Turn off your net.
3. Delete all your cleaners, antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malwere or something...whatever and whichever program that IS HACKED. (By hacked I mean that you used keygen on it; or typed in license from some site or so)
4. restart
5. install all of these new programs, set them up and update
6. just chat on msn (msn...wooot!) and you can scan with those in background :]

1.Bittdefender 2009 anti-virus
Use this 30-days trial because in first month; it will remove all of your old viruses and can help alot). When it expires I suggest you download Avast Home 1 year licensed. It's ok anti-virus and even I use it. Yups.

2.Filseclab Personal Firewall -
(Free personal firewall, might annoy you sometimes with all 'allow, grant as rule and stuff' but it's really good and blocks many dangerous things. Also, to get it working, you should turn off windows firewall.

3. Spyware Blaster-
Spyware blaster is not a 'cleaner'. It's just a program that prevents spywares from getting into your pc. Just tick all the options you want in it and update once in a while and then simply forget about it xD

4.Spybot search&destroy-THE program for spyware-
As it's name says, for removing spywares. Good tool. (When installing, don't thick that tea timer stuff, it's not needed and it's annoying).

5. A-squared free -
Protects your pc from many tarcakers and cookies, also with it you have a great defense on Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Opera not implied. Sorreh.

6. Anti-malware -
Cleans any bad stuff that is left. Also, removes anything that you cannot remove with other programs.

7. Eusing registry cleaner -
A little tool to take care of your registry sometimes. Repairs any invalid registry or so and just keep it up to date. He.

~ All of these are 'free' and no, by 'free' I mean really free, no backdoors xD They are not licensed so they can help. Yup.

Okay, so after you do this all, just scan sometimes. Like, make a folder on your desktop with all icons of these programs and just scan with all of them whenever ya want ;D It should make a good defense shield and none of these progarms have conflicts with one another.
So it won't be all that bad, eh? But if you feel that the idea is not safe, fine by me. Your choice.

Hope it helped,

I had this problem for over a week. I tried EVERYTHING posted on here. But I finally fixed the problem. Here is what I did.

My norton anti-virus subscription was up. I found a site on the net and downloaded a free 15 day trial of norton anti-virus. I then ran a full computer scan. It showed it deleted a few things, one being a trojan. Next, I opended task manager, typed in "explorer.exe" and voila! it worked. hope this helps for those of you who the other fixes wouldn't help. Give it a try!!
ibetucanget > ibetucanget
Mar 10, 2009 at 12:39 PM
I take what I said earlier back. It worked last night, but this morning there was a box that said it detected a virus and recommended that I restart my computer. I did that and when it restarted back up everything went back to the way it was. I can't even type in "explorer.exe" anymore like I could before when it was broke. This is very frustrating. This happen to anyone else?
Hey bro you fixed my problem thanks !
Your the kind of dumbshit person that spreads rumours and makes panic. You dont "get" a virus by putting a key you got off a website into a program you tard.

And FYI, I have Photoshop, Flash, Tonnes of music and videos even NOD32 antivirus, free off the internet and guess what? NO VIRUSES. NO TROJANS. NOTHING.
onlinealias12 Posts 1 Registration date Monday March 9, 2009 Status Member Last seen March 10, 2009
Mar 10, 2009 at 11:32 AM
I pretty much have the same problem, except worse. In addition to only a wallpaper, no start menu, and no icons, when I press ctrl+alt+delete, I get the message "Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator." To make things worse, there is the "svchost.exe - Application Error" that pops up. And lastly, Safe Mode will be blank as well (Task Manager seems to be disabled there too). I do, however, have access to a command prompt via mini Windows 98 system located in one of the RAM drives. I figure the easiest course of action would be to remove the option to disable Task Manager and go from there, although I don't exactly know how to do this. I gather the command would need to include specifications concerning which drive the file is located. Any advice would be appreciated.
Hey guys ive read all your comments but when I do cntrl alt delete it doesnt do anythng just stays blank--the reason my computer did this .. I unlugged it while it was running by acsedent...if anyone can help me please email me ( please I need hepl im 15 and I dont have the money to get it repaired -- I also did f8 and I did a scan but didnt do anything :P please helpl me out im in dire need lol thanks
Guy from Quebec
Mar 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM
Have the same problem on my computer and it works like a charm
Save a LOT of time

Many Thanks

i had wallpaper but no icons or or anything.....just my fall trees wallpaper. I did control-alt-delete. That brought up the task manager. I clicked on File......then new task run. I simply typed in brought all the icons back. It still doesn't bring them up after a restart,but I use the task manager to bring them back up to keep fighting whatever is doing all this.