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Windows explorer doesn't work

Tags:
  • Windows Explorer
  • Task Manager
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows XP
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October 25, 2009 6:50:00 PM

hello, i'm having a problem with windows explorer... i've had it for a while and i decided to just deal with it but now it's getting really frustrating and i want to fix it.

anyways, essentially windows explorer won't work. there's no start menu, no desktop icons, absolutely nothing, just my wallpaper. to open files and programs i have to go through task manager which works but makes multiple file operations difficult if at all possible.

whenever i do try to run "explorer.exe" through task manager, it seems to initialize but then just shuts down again, no matter how many times i try. the same happens with every windows explorer substitute program i've found online, as well as a number of applications on my computer. it even happens with firefox sometimes, but after several tries it gets past initialization and runs.

what could be the problem? i've already tried disabling 3rd party browsing on IE as many have suggested (not that i've used IE in a long time) but that didn't work. any ideas?

More about : windows explorer work

October 25, 2009 8:02:10 PM

do you mean windows explorer or internet explorer? they are 2 different applications
October 26, 2009 12:27:21 AM

daviduk109 said:
do you mean windows explorer or internet explorer? they are 2 different applications


windows explorer, as in the OS interface
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October 26, 2009 4:20:38 PM

Hi kkatarn. My bro's PC has the exact same problem.

From looking at google search results on the problem, it either seems to be virus or corrupted windows files. I think the later is more likely.

Anyways, I found this link which may help you.:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;Q318027

With my bro's PC, system restore allows windows to load properly (task bar and all icons load). However, when the PC is restarted, the problem starts again. Its incredibly frustrating, and im 99% sure its not a virus as we have alot of security.

If the problem continues, I just plan to use the Repair function in our Windows XP disc to repair the broken files.

Il keep checking back here to see how your getting on.
October 26, 2009 4:42:24 PM

Method 5 on that M$ link would restore the OS back to the point on the Installation CD. That would illeviate the problem.
October 26, 2009 6:02:50 PM

presumably the usual keyboard short cut for opening windows explorer doesn't work either (i.e. simultaneously pressing windows key + e)
October 26, 2009 9:08:32 PM

I'l check that tomorrow when the PC is next restarted.
October 27, 2009 9:50:22 AM

Ok, when I woke up this morning, My bro was on the broken PC playing a game. He said that when windows loaded, the task bar and icons were still not loading.

He said he did ctrl+alt+del and did file>new task and hit Browse and searched for the game file and ran it.

The game worked fine and he reported that after 15mins of playing, the games frame rates dropped dramatically, he minimized the game and he saw they task bar and icons appearing.

So in answer to your question, i guess windows explorer did work as he manged to find the game!
October 27, 2009 12:46:41 PM

are you able to do a comprehensive scan of the computer to check for viruses/malware etc
October 27, 2009 5:06:37 PM

Well, we are using AVG Free (yeah i know) and Zonealarm Pro. Windows was reinstalled about 5 days ago and has run fine till now. the first things we installed after Windows itself was Anitvirus and Zonealarm so its pretty tight.

I have ran virus scans using AVG Free which found nothing at all except some website cookies which were all removed. Probably gunna go ahead and use Windows Repair thing
October 27, 2009 6:41:08 PM

failed ie upgrades can cause this. I have a few computers that didn't load an ie upgrade corectly and they lost all the desktop icons. You can reload ie7 and everything came back
October 27, 2009 7:36:08 PM

when you say windows was reinstalled, what method was used for doing this? was the hard drive fully formatted before the reinstallation, or did you just reinstall without formatting the hard drive?
October 27, 2009 9:15:42 PM

@mlaw. Thats interesting. thanks for the info.

@David. the HDD was formatted during installation.
October 27, 2009 9:31:48 PM

a clean installation just a few days ago should rule out a virus as the culprit anyway.
October 27, 2009 9:52:45 PM

ok, tomoz my Bro goes away for a few days so il try the windows repair then and let you know the results.
October 28, 2009 11:45:43 AM

Windows Repair did not fix the problem! Madness!!

SO the problem has not been fixed. But I did notice something odd during the installation. The repairing of Windows went fine. Then when the black screen containing the windows logo and the copyright stuff (the first windows screen after the install(before the first startup of XP)) the PC just did nothing and stayed on that screen.

I thought it was a bit wierd at first but just put it down to the idea that windows was configuring all drivers and software etc. But after 15mins nothing was loading, just the back screen still. The HDD was making no sound so i assumed that it had crashed. I was about to press the restart button but then windows played the little video that it plays when you first install XP. I went through the small amount of setup options and then windows proceded onto desktop.

But oh no! No icons and no task bar to be seen!

What I find interesting is that the installation stayed on the back screen (the one with the windows logo) for about 15 minutes, which is the same amount of time that it takes for the icons and taskbar to load after my bro begins to play his games. Could they somehow be linked?

So im sitting here now (on my laptop) looking at the windows background with no icons or taskbar. The HDD makes a few noises everynow and then and I look up hoping to see something load.

I tried the explorer shortcut (windows button+e) but it doesnt do anything. Sorry for the confusion earlier. the only thing that works is uring the browse function after clicking new task in the Task Manager window.

This is a very confusing situation. Looking at the processes I can see that all programs that start with windows are there (AVG, Nvidia driver etc) including System and Explorer.
October 28, 2009 12:05:34 PM

I think I have FIXED/FOUND the problem!!


ZONEALARM!!!!!!


After reading back through my previous post I thought that I would check what programs are running in the process tab of Task manager. All programs were there except Zonealarm!

Could Zonealarm be the problem I thought. I loaded up my bro's game (WoW) and after 15mins of faffing around the PC loaded the taskbar and icons. I quit WoW and went into MSCONFIG and then the startup tab. I removed the Zonealarm file from the list and restarted the PC. And woop de dooo, WIndows freaking loaded up perfectly first time. So it was Zonealarm breaking things.

Now whats very odd is that even though the Zonealarm start up file called 'zlclient.exe' was unchecked from the startup list, Zonealarm still starts when Windows loads. And when I check back in MSCONFIG>Startup, the zlclient.exe box is checked again. Somehow Zonealarm is loading itself and putting itself back in the startup list.

Now, I do like Zonealarm, but if using it means that everytime my Bro wants to shutdown his PC he has to go into MSCONFIG and uncheck zonealarm then turn it off it would be a pain. As knowing my bro, he is forgetful and will forget to do it.

Is there anyway to force zonealarm to not run on startup without uninstalling it completely?
October 29, 2009 1:10:32 PM

I have never been a big fan of ZoneAlarm... and you are quickly finding out why. Does your ISP offer any free internet security suites? My ISP gives away ZoneAlarm's security suite for free, so I gave it an honest try. Started having all sorts of browsing and other issues... so I uninstalled it and went with something I paid for... that's how much I dislike ZoneAlarm.
!