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all desktop icons, start menu, task bar is missing from Win XP


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#1 biddlebanks

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:27 PM

Just returned to my (I know I shouldn't be using it still.....but) Win XP computer following a day's absence.

 

I got a message that the updated Malware Bytes program couldn't install [something which I didn't get the gist of] did I want to restart and try again?  

 

I did that and after a reboot, I had no desktop icons, no start menu and no task bar.

 

I do not have the OS disk, nor do I have a restore disk. about the only thing I can do is stay online!

 

...oh and ask for help at this point.

 

Thanks to anyone who can assist me.

 

biddlebanks



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:35 PM

Hello, and Welcome

 

At the blank desktop presss Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up Task Manager. Select File > New Task (Run) in the menu bar. Type explorer.exe then press okay. Does the start menu come back?



#3 biddlebanks

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:26 PM

Hello JohnC_21,

 

Thank you very much for your response.  I did what you specified but didn't get the result I was hoping for.  No Icons and no task bar and no start menu.

 

I did, however, keep the Chrome browser running and minimized the application (which shows as a black rectangle where the task bar would normally be).  I can click on it and get all the normal commands to show, and I can restore the browser with all its open tabs still intact.

 

I am actually afraid to go close the browser (Chrome), as it is the only part of my computer that seems to function at this point.

 

I am really concerned that if I shut the computer down, it will never boot up again.

 

That being said, I'm open to any additional suggestions.  

 

Thank you again.

 

biddlebanks



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:54 AM

If that did not work, I would not know how you would be able to fix it without a XP install disk. I cannot guarantee it but if you reboot, I think you would be able to access safe mode by tapping F8 at boot. This would load XP with a minimum or drivers. Then you could use System Restore to take your computer back to a date when it was working. This is if you have System Restore enabled

.

Do you have another XP computer that is working? Do the steps here to create a bootable disk that will let you do a System Restore on an unbootable XP. You can use isoburner or Imgburn to burn the iso if you do not have software that can burn an image. You can also use this disk to back up data to an external USB drive but you first have to attach the USB drive to the computer before you boot the disk.

 

If you do not have another XP computer:

For XP I recommend you download Puppy linux 5.2.8. You can burn the iso file to a disk using Windows 7 by right clicking and selecting Burn Image or use a image burning program like isoburner or Imgburn. If you decide to use Imgburn, opt out of any optional programs. Burn the iso at 4X if possible.

 

After burning the iso, boot the Puppy disk. Nothing is written to the hard drive. It runs from RAM and the CD.  Using Puppy you can backup the data to an external drive.

 

If you decide to use Puppy post back and I will give more details. The other option of getting your data is to remove the hard drive and attach to another computer via an adapter, external enclosure, or internally.



#5 biddlebanks

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 03:28 PM

JohnC_21:

 

Please do not think I am an ingrate.  I really appreciate your advice.  I haven't acted yet because I'm not certain I've lost everything.

 

Although all the icons are gone from my screen and the start menu is gone -- it's all gone from the log-in with admin privileges -- They still appear when I log into the other account that doesn't have admin.   For that reason, I'm convinced that I haven't lost everything.

 

So, I'm going to see if I can get to system restore in the other account and get everything back that way. This should make it clear what  novice I am at this!  Anyway, here goes....       And thank you again.  I'll post after I try this.



#6 pcpunk

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 05:34 PM

From my experience you probably have not lost anything yet.  If you can Restore you should be alright.  Once you get this figured out you should really consider going with another OS.  If it is an old computer with little RAM and a small HDD then Linux would be a good choice! as I have done with my older XP Machine.  It sounds like you are infected and that has damaged some of the OS operation files, this has happened many times to me.  If this is the issue, then I don't think it would even help to run av software.  Also, if Restore does not work-someone here might see your issue and help you get to the right place, like "I'm Infected what do I do?"  Be patient, I am not sure of the protocol, so stay with this post for another 24hrs or something to see if one of the moderators picks up on it and moves it.


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#7 biddlebanks

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 06:07 PM

Thanks, pcpunk. I hear you.

 

Haven't tried system restore yet because when I do, I'll close down everything else.

 

Don't know whether I'll be able to even get back online then.  So all urgent emails are being attended to before i close down.

 

In the meantime, I think I've discovered that the second user account has admin privileges, too....inefficient me may have done myself a favor inadvertently.

 

Anyhoo, again, thank you.

 

biddlebanks



#8 quietman7

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Posted 21 November 2014 - 09:40 PM

To restore the defaults for the Start Menu/Accessories group, please refer to:For any other missing program shortcuts you will probably need to reinstall the application or manually create new shortcuts.


Click on the link below:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm
Scroll down to #195 and click "Restore Desktop Icons and Taskbar" in the right column. Go to File, choose "Save page as" All Files and save xp_taskbar_desktop_fixall.vbs to your desktop. Double-click on that file to allow the script to run. Since the script modifies certain registry settings you may receive an alert from your anti-virus or any script blocking program. Ignore the warning and allow it to continue.
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#9 pcpunk

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 12:07 PM

biddlebanks

In case you don't know or see, quietman7 is a Moderator-so follow what he is presenting to you, this will be your best path for now.

 

I would love to suggest again that you consider a new free Linux OS once you get all this sorted out.  There used to be a great Thread about XP and it's death lol, and guidance as to what to do from here on-out but this Thread was closed.  Even the more advanced users here always suggest to stop using XP as it seems you already know.  If you are like me and don't have ANY extra cash to get a new OS, or if your pc is not able to run a newer OS-then Linux is super awesome!  If you can get your XP running and you have a big enough HDD then you can still easily install/dual boot a Linux OS along side of XP.  This way you will have that Xp around for emergencies and preferably offline stuff.  It's a bit scary at first but if you just need to surf the web, email, create documents then you will be set.  Bootup, internet surfing etc. will be faster also, and as many of the good people here have stated Linux uses less resources also which will allow your pc to run cooler and longer.  There is much more you can do just like XP but it takes a bit of getting used to.  I started using Linux in June and am going strong still, no virus's, no av software for the most part, love it, XP caused me nothing but problems.  I'll be following this, see ya  


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#10 biddlebanks

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 03:08 PM

quietman7

 

Many thanks for your reply and directions.  

 

Just as I was about to follow your directions, everything that had been missing returned to my desktop.  That means I haven't lost all my programs and still have (for now) everything saved to my machine.

 

Clearly I'm dealing with a computer that is seriously unstable.  I am anxious to replace it, but it will take some time.

 

It would be very helpful to be able to continue to use this machine online safely as pcpunk has suggested.  

 

I will hunt for the old WinXP thread -- hoping it may have survived. 

 

Otherwise, I must take other action to prevent this from happening to me again!

 

Thank you again to you, quietman7 and to pcpunk as well.

 

biddlebanks



#11 hamluis

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 03:55 PM

Please download MiniToolBox  , save it to your desktop and run it.
 
Checkmark the following checkboxes:
  List last 10 Event Viewer log
  List Installed Programs
  List Users, Partitions and Memory size.
 
Click Go and paste the content into your next post.
 
Also...please Publish a Snapshot using Speccy - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic323892.html/page__p__1797792#entry1797792 , taking care to post the link of the snapshot in your next post.
 
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#12 pcpunk

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 01:19 PM

quietman7

 

Many thanks for your reply and directions.  

 

Just as I was about to follow your directions, everything that had been missing returned to my desktop.  That means I haven't lost all my programs and still have (for now) everything saved to my machine.

 

Clearly I'm dealing with a computer that is seriously unstable.  I am anxious to replace it, but it will take some time.  No need to replace, just follow Hamluis's directions to make sure that you don't have a virus, then consider installing a Linux Distro to use online.

 

It would be very helpful to be able to continue to use this machine online safely as pcpunk has suggested.  This is not advisable, you will risk everything you have.  If you SURF, only go to sites you trust and don't download unless using a download manager of some kind.  Then do av scan on the file before opening.  

 

I will hunt for the old WinXP thread -- hoping it may have survived.  The Thread is gone.

 

Otherwise, I must take other action to prevent this from happening to me again!  Installing Linux is the only real safe way.

 

Thank you again to you, quietman7 and to pcpunk as well.  You're welcome. :thumbup2: 

 

biddlebanks


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#13 quietman7

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 07:35 PM

Thank you again to you, quietman7 and to pcpunk as well.
 
biddlebanks

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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