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XP taskbar, icons and explorer.exe missing; no right-click on Desktop

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#1 high55


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:23 PM

Hello. I have posted twice on the Malwarebytes forum and searched on the AVG forum - to no avail. Bleepingcomputer looks like a good alternative.

My computer was running a bit slow. AVG scan found no infections. Downloaded and scanned with Malwarebytes, which found and quarantined eight files. (I can list them here, if that is useful.)

While running Malwarebytes, AVG's Identity Protection box popped up and reported an infection in C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\ Local Settings\TEMP\RARSFXD\USERINIT.EXE which it said contained "Malware.gen" (a "downloader"), which didn't cause much concern, as I regularly clean the TEMP folder every few days. (AVG reported that Malware.gen sometimes masquerades as USERINIT.EXE .) AVG quarantined it. (In the AVG Vault, it appears with the name NIRCMD.EXE - not USERINIT.EXE .) This AVG Identity Protection activity was a surprise, as I had never seen it before.

Malwarebytes then said I must reboot to complete the process. Rebooting, Windows behaved normally through the splash screen/"welcome" screen, but after that only the Desktop wallpaper displayed without it's taskbar and icons. I am also unable to right-click on the Desktop.

I have tried the following without any change in the symptoms::

Booting in Safe Mode.

Restoring to the Last Know Good Configuration point/date. I was only able to do this in Safe Mode and went back to January 28. Now using Safe Mode, the calandar will not go back previous to February. Is this significant?

Did a repair install from my Dell XP Service Pack 2 Reinstallation CD.

Used chkdsk /p (although Windows fixed one error).

Used sfc /scannow.

I read in another forum that "If Desktop is not loading at Windows startup, that means that Explorer.exe is not loading..." I then noted that explorer.exe is not displayed under "Processes" in Windows Task Manager.

I have tried to open explorer.exe in Task Manager's "New Task" and, with each attempt, the taskbar appears for a second or so and disappears again. Explorer.exe continues to not display in "Processes."

My computer:
* Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop
* Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (Last Windows security updates the day before.) Reverted to SP 2 after recent CD repair install.
* AVG anti-virus (Last update and scan the night before using Malwarebytes and both update and scan again yesterday. No infections found.)
* ZoneAlarm fire wall (Latest update.)

Thanks for any assistance.

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#2 Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:33 PM


Please follow the instructions in ==>This Guide<==. If you cannot complete a step, skip it and continue.

Once the proper logs are created, then make a NEW TOPIC and post it ==>HERE<== Please include a description of your computer issues and what you have done to resolve them.

If you can produce at least some of the logs, then please create the new topic and explain what happens when you try to create the log(s) that you couldn't get. If you cannot produce any of the logs, then still post the topic and explain that you followed the Prep. Guide, were unable to create the logs, and describe what happens when you try to create the logs.

Orange Blossom :cherry:
Help us help you. If HelpBot replies, you MUST follow step 1 in its reply so we know you need help.

Orange Blossom

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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#3 Budapest


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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:12 PM

Malware topic here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic379901.html

Now that your topic is, you should NOT make further changes to your computer (install/uninstall programs, use special fix tools, delete files, edit the registry, etc) unless advised by a Malware Removal Team member, nor should you continue to ask for help elsewhere. Doing so can result in system changes which may not show it the log you already posted. Further, any modifications you make on your own may cause confusion for the helper assisting you and could complicate the malware removal process which would extend the time it takes to clean your computer.

From this point on the Malware Removal Team should be the only members that you take advice from, until they have verified your log as clean.

Please be patient. It may take a while to get a response because the Malware Removal Team members are very busy working logs posted before yours. They are volunteers who will help you out as soon as possible. Once you have made your post and are waiting, please DO NOT make another reply until it has been responded to by a member of the Malware Removal Team. Generally the staff checks the forum for postings that have 0 replies as this makes it easier for them to identify those who have not been helped. If you post another response there will be 1 reply. A team member, looking for a new log to work may assume another MR Team member is already assisting you and not open the thread to respond.

To avoid confusion, I am closing this topic.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

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