Windows XP desktop icons and start menu disappear on startup

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Thread: Windows XP desktop icons and start menu disappear on startup

  1. #1
    Expensive Sushi kindle139's Avatar
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    Windows XP desktop icons and start menu disappear on startup

    When I start XP the icons and the start menu appear normally for a few seconds and then disappear. My mouse cursor still works, and I can open and execute programs through the task manager. Can somebody please help me with this? I'm not sure what to do short of reformatting and reinstalling.
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  2. #2
    Great White Shark Farmer_BOB's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have a virus. Have you tried running an anti virus program? Make sure you run the scan in safe mode.

  3. #3
    Hammerhead Shark Brahma's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like windows explorer crashed, try restarting explorer.exe

    If you can't use the start menu.. hit CTRL ALT DEL, then go to File...New Task (Run...) Then just type in explorer.exe

    Edit: what Farmer BOB mentioned above could be causing explorer to crash as well.
    Last edited by Brahma; 02-17-2005 at 09:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Hammerhead Shark Cloned's Avatar
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    If you can get safe mode to work try system restore. Maybe a driver or other update caused this. You might try a scanner like this, http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/ , in safe mode. Try a repair install with your OS cd before format reinstall. Boot to cd select install (not rec console) let it find existing OS load then choose R for repair. You will need the XP cd key during install. Good Luck.

  5. #5
    BozoKiller
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    whoaa....hold on there folks
    Maybe it's just the stupid "Hide Icons when Desktop is Viewed as Web Page" nonsense - under Display Settings (Right click blank desktop area - hey for you right now, that'll be Anywhere ) >> Effects Tab and Untick that box.
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  6. #6
    Hammerhead Shark Brahma's Avatar
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    That still wouldn't cause the loss of the start menu and that setting is a 9X/ME setting, not XP, there is no effects tab in XP. I've never seen it happen (never seen XP crash for that matter) but losing the start menu is supposed to be common when explorer crashes.

    The way to hide or show desktop icon in XP is to right click desktop , Arrange Icons By , then click the " Show Desktop Icons " item.
    Last edited by Brahma; 02-18-2005 at 05:31 PM.

  7. #7
    BozoKiller
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    oops - my bad - I should've said on 98, it's here...(Effects tab)
    Also - I didn't read close enough to realize the Start menu is gone.

    Furthering on - Could be corrupt REG entries usually - if it's not a Virus

    Go HERE and do a free online scan - even if you have an installed AV app. The Stinger tool already mentioned is also a good tool - and can be d/l and run easily.

    Have you cleared out all your Internet Caches ??
    SEE THIS for some guidance and THIS

    If and when you're sure it's not Malware - and you're comfortable with doing a Reg dive
    Start > Run REGEDIT
    go to and delete these keys BACKUP each one (the 3 MAIN keys only. which contain all the subkeys) first

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\StuckRects
    and delete "Settings"

    Try again - Reboot and see if it still occurs...If not, continue on

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\Streams
    and delete ALL the Sub keys (numbered 0-99 or higher) EXCEPT for the Desktop subkey
    In the Desktop Sub key - delete these values
    "TaskBar"
    "Toolbars"
    "ViewView2"

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\StreamMRU
    Delete ALL the values in the right pane EXCEPT for "Default"

    Reboot
    Last edited by I4one; 02-22-2005 at 09:43 AM.
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  8. #8
    Tiger Shark
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    Ihave similar problem, persists through two different installs, reformat, hdd. No virus/spyware. Kust occassionally all icons disapperar, no start menu. And using ctrl/alt/key combo does not allow user switch. havent figured it out, just need to hard restart and log back in.

    I concur sounds like explorer flakiness. Have you shut off unecesary processes using services.msc? I did that, thought it migh be issue And re=enabled all the bloat, no joy though.
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  9. #9
    Sushi
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    Talking desktop icons and start button disappeared xp

    i had it happen to me and it was caused by a backdoor trojan virus.
    i downloaded lastest FREE version of AVG free anti-virus software and ran it and it found two trojans, one call trojan backdoor and some other one. after running a high priority scan, the program delete them from my system, i restarted the computer and EVERYTHING went back to normal operation.

  10. #10
    Sushi
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    Windows XP desktop icons and start menu disappear on startup

    Here's what worked for me:
    Go to Task Manager (control-alt-delete) and kill Explorer.exe. Then relaunch Explorer.exe as described above using Task Manager -> File -> New Task (Run...). Type in explorer.exe.

    The problem had persisted after several restarts, and simply launching Explorer.exe did not solve the problem until I first killed the process.

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