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Vista Fails To Execute Explorer.exe @ Startup

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#1 Frank Forthright

Frank Forthright

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  • Local time:07:38 AM

Posted 29 August 2009 - 07:35 PM


I am trying to repair a clients computer with the above problem. With 25 years of computer experience, I am stumped.

I have scoured the Google for solutions to this problem, but the only place I find a potential solution to this EXACT issue is on www.experts-exchange.com, where they want you to pay for the solution.

This is the exact issue:

Windows starts normally, up to either the Welcome screen or the Login screen, depending on how it is set to start up. Upon exiting the welcome screen, the screen fades to to complete white. There is no desktop at all. Ctrl/Alt/Del brings up options. Task Manager loads properly. Upon selecting View Processes For All Users, it reveals about 50 processes running. I can execute applications from the Run dialog and they seem to start fine. If I wait a minute or so for the hard drive to stop working, I can even execute Explorer.exe and obtain a complete desktop. I'm then in business, and all, seems to be functioning properly.

What I have tried:

Booting in Safe Mode: Able to boot to desktop in safe mode, but unfortunately unable to install applications properly in safe mode so abandoned it for purposes of fixing problem.

All of the following was accomplished by booting normally/Task Manager/Run: Explorer.exe

Installed MalwareBytes, updated it successfully and ran a complete system scan. It found the Vundo trojan and some others in the registry, plus a few startup entries. I cleaned the system and ran it AGAIN, just to make sure. No problems found.

Installed NOD32 Anti-Virus, rebooted, updated it sucessfully and did a complete scan with ALL SETTINGS set to absolute maximum sensitivity, all files scanned, etc. - Nothing found, as ManwareBytes already cleaned everything.

-- Still same problem on startup --

Unchecked ALL startup entries from msconfig.exe/startup and attempted restart.

-- Still same problem on startup --

Attempted a system restore to a point several days before problem started occurring.

-- Still same problem on startup --

Scanned for malware removal again, just in case anything got placed back on the system by Restore. Nothing found.

Attempted a diagnostic startup using the setting in msconfig.exe.

-- Still same problem on startup --

Executed SFC /scannow from Run prompt. Scan completed.

-- Still same problem on startup --

I am now out of ideas. I can't find any solutions anywhere on the net for this issue. I am ready to backup all personal files and do a complete system recovery (it's a Del Laptop, so it's got the recovery partition built in.). But being a tech who refuses to accept defeat gracefully, I wanted to check here first to see if there might any hope of fixing this without taking the easy way out!

Thank you very much in advance,

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