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Windows Explorer error at start up!


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#1 jenim

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:32 PM

Hi..

I'm in a big fix. The (Windows XP ) machine that I'm using to prepare for job interviews is now a mess. Please help!

I went to some interview preparation websites and don't know if I inadvertantly got infected. I tried to shut down my machine a few days ago and it was taking very long to shutdown. Since it appeared to be stuck, I manually killed some programs that Windows was taking too long to close.

Since then, whenever I try to log in, I always get the "Windows explorer error" and it doesn't go anywhere from there. My desktop doesn't load up. It simply shows the blank blue screen. I am not able to see the "Start" button, system tray,desktop items or the other things that usually shows on the bottom of the screen.
There are two users on this and even when I try to log in as the other user, the same Windows Explorer error appears and Desktop doesn't load up for the other user too.

I'm using some one else's computer to send this message.
Can someone please advise how to proceed? Am I infected?

Edited by jenim, 08 September 2009 - 09:33 PM.


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#2 Budapest

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 10:14 PM

If you press CTRL+ALT+DEL can you access the Task Manager?
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#3 jenim

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 01:14 AM

Yes. I can see task manager when I hit Ctrl + Alt + Del.

#4 jenim

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 07:27 PM

Hi..

Can some one please tell me if I'm supposed to be specifically looking for some processes or applications in the Task Manager? Right now, when I look at Task Manager, there are several processes running but there are no applications running.

Also I tried to boot in Safe Mode, and yet I get the same Windows explorer error and no desktop or Startup.
Then I tried the boot to the "last good configuration" and still get the same error.

Please tell me what's the next step in this. I really appreciate any help.
I forgot to say before, that this is a laptop.

Edited by jenim, 12 September 2009 - 07:59 PM.


#5 Budapest

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 04:48 PM

In the Task Manager go File > New Task and type "explorer.exe". Can you now see your desktop?
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#6 jenim

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:03 AM

In the Task Manager go File > New Task and type "explorer.exe". Can you now see your desktop?


No. When I type explorer.exe, it still gives the same Windows explorer error.
Additionally, I also tried the "iexplore.exe" for starting IE and it gives the Internet Explorer error also.

#7 Budapest

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:05 AM

Are you able to boot into Safe Mode?

How to start Windows in Safe Mode
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#8 jenim

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:09 AM

Hi..
As I mentioned earlier in my post:

"I tried to boot in Safe Mode, and yet I get the same Windows explorer error and no desktop or Startup.
Then I tried the boot to the "last good configuration" and still get the same error."

#9 Budapest

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:18 AM

Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD drive, and then restart the computer. Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD drive if you are prompted. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you must access from the Recovery Console. When you are prompted, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.

Type: chkdsk /r

It's important to have a space before the "/".

To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#10 jenim

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:00 PM

Thank you. I did what was suggested.
At the end of the process, it said:
"CHKDSK has found and fixed one or more errors in the volume".

After typing "exit" and hitting enter, the machine restarted. But I still get the same error:
"Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close."

I believe what I did was a system restore. Even that hasn't helped.. Is there something else that can be done? Do I need to run ComboFix? But since I don't have access to the desktop, I'm not sure how to install and run it either. Anyway, I'll wait for your advise.

Edited by jenim, 14 September 2009 - 02:19 PM.


#11 Budapest

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:24 PM

Please run CHKDSK again. If it finds errors again then it may be that your hard drive is failing.

If it finds no errors, you could try a repair install:

How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#12 jenim

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 06:59 PM

I ran the CHKDSK again and it still said the same thing at the end of checking.
"CHKDSK has found and fixed one or more errors in the volume".

I ran CHKDSK one more time just to be sure and it repeated the exact same message as before.

I just decided to do the "Repair/Install" as in the link that you sent. And now after the automatic reboot at the end of that process, my desktop is back again with items and it appears normal.

Would you suggest that I run MBAM? I just copied it to the desktop from my flashdrive, but haven't installed it. I'm not sure if it's safe to connect to the internet at this point. So, what'll be the next step to ensure that my laptop is good?

#13 Budapest

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:13 PM

Yeah - you could run Malwarebytes as a check.

I would be concerned about those CHKDSK errors. If CHKDSK repeatedly finds errors it can mean your hard drive is failing.

What is the make and model number of your computer?
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#14 jenim

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 07:46 PM

The laptop is Dell Precision M65.

Running Malware Bytes on it now. Will post the log as soon as it's done.

I was relieved that I could get it to work as before, after the repair. Thanks for your help!
But since you mentioned those concerns about CHKDSK errors, I'm worried now. Do you even think that I could have got infected and that's why I kept getting those windows explorer errors?
I saw a few posts on BC forums reporting similiar errors. Don't know if there's anything common.

#15 Budapest

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 08:00 PM

It is possible that you have an infection. But it's very hard to say what was causing the errors.

I think you should run a diagnostic test on your hard drive to make sure it is okay.

http://support.ap.dell.com/support/topics/...&doclang=en
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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