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Desktop disappeared


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#1 PhotoAce

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 04:25 PM

The computer runs Win7 Pro. When I booted up this morning, it came up with an error message, that the desktop file wasn't available (I didn't note the exact wording). When I clicked OK on the message, a black screen came up, with the recycle bin in the top left hand. Inside the recycle bin were the desktop files - programs could be opened from there. I ran 3 different malware scans, and found nothing. I did a system restore - the latest was from 4th April, the computer did a warm boot, and still no desktop. I did a power off boot, and this time the desktop appeared, with an error message that system restore had been unable to complete, and no changes were made. Any suggestions as to what is happening?



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#2 PhotoAce

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 08:19 PM

Since I started this topic, I found this thread, with a similar problem:

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/674055/windows-7-sometimes-booting-to-a-black-screen-with-cursor-and-nothing-else/

 

I have followed OldPhil's suggestion from the thread, and run the sfc /scannow command. A number of errors were repaired.



#3 hamluis

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 02:34 PM

If you run that commnd a second time...the results may be even more rewarding .

 

Louis



#4 PhotoAce

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 05:12 PM

I ran sfc /scannow again, Louis; more errors were repaired. There was one set of failures - files associated with Windows DVD maker. This also failed the first time I ran the command. Since I rarely burn DVDs, I've noticed no problem with this,



#5 hamluis

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 06:03 PM

Program corruption can probably be overcome by uninstalling said program...and then reinstalling it.

 

Louis



#6 joseibarra

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 12:36 AM

Sounds like you have two probably separate issues.

 

At the bottom of this reply is a suggestion about what to do about SFC errors that can't seem to be remedied.

 

Here are some idea about your missing desktop items including how to deal with a corrupted user profile:

 

When Windows starts and attempts to log in your user if it finds or has a problem with the user profile Windows will log you in to a temporary profile.

 

When you login you might briefly see a message "Preparing your desktop" followed by a message like this:

 

[attachment=203793:1.jpg]

 

That message will fade away leaving you with a desktop with just a few icons - maybe all you see are a few basic things like a Recycle Bin.

 

A temporary profile does not last...  as soon as you shutdown or logoff the temporary profile is deleted and when you restart your system or login again you will see the same thing again (a good thing to test).

 

Sometimes the problem is temporary and if you restart your system a few times things might start working again (lucky you) but if that does not work you are going to have to create a new Windows user and copy parts of the afflicted user profile to the new user profile.

 

When this happens folks sometimes panic thinking all their files have been lost since they will not show up in the usual places under the temporary profile and post messages like this:

 

all my personal files were gone. My Pictures, documents, music all gone

 

If the situation becomes chronic (all the time) you can create a new user profile and copy MOST of the things from the afflicted profile to the new user and abandon the corrupted/suspicious profile.

 

Here are some other notes about how to troubleshoot a desktop that seems to be missing all the icons/folders:

 

If all the icons on your desktop are missing or the desktop is completely empty but you still have the Windows Taskbar, check some simple things first:

 

Right click on your desktop, Choose View and make sure the option 'Show desktop icons' is checked/enabled:

 

[attachment=203794:2.jpg]

 

If all the icons on the desktop are missing AND the task bar is also missing (all you see if your background image or wallpaper), launch Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and check the Process tab to see if explorer.exe is running (it needs to be).

 

If explorer.exe is not running in Task Manager click File, New Task and in the Open box enter:

 

explorer.exe

 

Then click OK to launch explorer.exe.  Notice in the example below explorer.exe is not listed in the Processes tab and it needs to be:

 

[attachment=203795:3.jpg]

 

Another option is to perform a System Restore to a date/time prior to this incident.

 

If you see the taskbar and desktop with just a few icons and it appear that all or most of your installed programs and personal files are "missing" it could be that you have a corrupted user profile...

 

It is extremely unlikely that all your documents (or anything else) has vanished or been deleted...  they are just in a place where you can't see or find them

 

This condition sounds like a corrupted user profile.

 

Sometimes (for some reason) Windows has a problem reading your profile information when you login and that condition could just be temporary and simply restarting your system will get things going again and if that works you should keep an eye on things because it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

 

When your user profile is corrupted Windows will log you in to a temporary profile and that temporary profile is not going to have any of the things that you are used to seeing - but you can fix it.

 

Every user on your system has a user profile and under each user profile are all the things what belong to that user - the Windows desktop, the taskbar, the All Programs menus, Documents, Music, Images, etc.  Each user has their own set of these and if Windows has logged you in to a temporary profile you are not going to see any of these things.

 

You can use Explorer to navigate to the c:\Users folder and look for a folder that has the same name as the user profile you are used to using - that is where all your "missing" items are.  You might see something like this in the Users folder:

 

[attachment=203796:4.jpg]

 

If your user profile is corrupted and fails repeatedly to login, you cannot fix or salvage it - you must create a new Windows user account and copy most (not all) of the files from your corrupted profile to the new user account and then use that new account from now on.

 

Microsoft has an article that tells you how to do that:

 

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/14039/windows-7-fix-corrupted-user-profile

 

The problem is likely that one of these files in the afflicted user profile is corrupted so don't copy these to the new user account:

  •  
  • Ntuser.dat
  • Ntuser.dat.log
  • Ntuser.ini

 

One of those files has the corruption in it so you don't want to bring those corrupted files (or any that look like it) into the new user account you have created.

 

For example you would NOT want to copy files that looks like these from the corrupted profile into the new profile:

 

[attachment=203800:8.jpg]

 

 

 

 

For SFC errors I would do this:

 

Depending on what has happened to your system the fix could be very easy or you might need some help so I would downloading SFCFix.exe to your desktop from this link:

 

http://www.sysnative.com/niemiro/apps/SFCFix.exe

 

For testing, learning and practice purposes it is easy to create corruption issues that cannot be fixed by sfc  /scannow.

 

First I manually created a problem that sfc /scannow reported but could not fix (SFC is not as smart as some folks think) then ran SFCFix.exe to see what it had to say.

 

Sometimes the SFCFix.exe process will fix the problem all by itself as you can see in this simple example where I created a corruption that sfc /scannow could not fix but SFCFix.exe was able to fix an "unimportant" corruption in one pass:

SFCFix.exe fixed one corruption all by itself:

 

[attachment=203797:5.jpg]

 

 When I ran sfc /scannow again the problem I created was fixed and running sfc /scannow again reported no issues.

 

[attachment=203798:6.jpg]

 

That was pretty easy.

 

If SFCFix.exe can't fix the problem you may be promoted to insert your genuine Windows 7 SP1 installation CD/DVD and SFCFix will try to get the missing file(s) from there but if you don't have that or SFCFix can't find what it needs a results and log file called SFCFix.txt will be created on your desktop:

 

[attachment=203799:7.jpg]

 

If SFCFix.exe can't fix the problem you then register a new account at Sysnative, follow the directions and they will send you back a ZIP file with the fixes for you to apply.  Often you get the fix in one message cycle because they know what they are doing.  It might take a little more depending on what is wrong.

 

Be sure to read, understand and follow their directions exactly:

 

https://www.sysnative.com/forums/windows-update/4736-windows-update-forum-posting-instructions.html

 

Following the directions will get you the fastest and best reply in the fewest message cycles.

 

For simple cases what usually happens is they will analyze the report (may ask for more details) and eventually send you some instructions and a ZIP file that has in it the files you need to correct the problem and you are done.

 

Sometimes the problems are more complicated but eventually they should help get things squared away.

 

Be a mench and come back and tell us how it goes!


Edited by joseibarra, 08 April 2018 - 12:42 AM.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.


#7 PhotoAce

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 01:02 AM

Joseibarra - thank you for your suggestions. The error message said that the desktop files could not be found, and suggested other locations for them. Since I did the system restore, the computer appears to be working normally, so I'll just watch to see that this continues.

 

John.



#8 m2ki

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 10:15 AM

Same problem, on two different computers at different locations. Appeared yesterday and today.

 

Displays message Windows 7: User Profile Service failed the logon. and loads a new default profile.

Was able to get profile back working with this instruction, but after reboot same issue.

 

https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/186131-user-profile-service-failed-logon-user-profile-cannot-loaded.html



#9 5h1nj1

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:29 AM

Maybe this applies to you:

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/675082/malware-check-pllease/



#10 PhotoAce

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:39 AM

I saw that thread....my computer is still working OK, after the system restore. I have run a number of malware scans, including an FRST scan - I know enough to recognise malware, and I have seen no infection on my system



#11 homercrispy

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:11 PM

try uninstalling Microsoft Security Essentials.  it seems to be causing this problem.






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