Why don't I have any icons on my desktop


What can cause the desktop icons and taskbar to be missing on start-up. It has happened on a number of computers with 98, ME oe XP on it. Once the unit boots to the desktop, all that appears is the mouse and background. If you perform a control-alt-delete you will usually find nothing running, not even explorer. so the only option is to shutdown. This also happens with the same results in safe mode. So far the only solution is to reload the operating system over the top to get the computer functional. This is something that is very recent and has affected at least 7 computers that i know of. A removal and scan of hard drive results in no viruses. I am at a lost. Please help!


This question was answered on May 3, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

I had the same symptoms with Windows 98

Just a background, no icons or task bar, and with only the mouse pointer which I could move

I booted up in DOS mode and DIR'd the C-drive

There was the culprit Somehow a program called "explorer.exe" was sitting at the root This was not the MS version I renamed it, and rebooted The machine came up with all the icons

I don't know what virus, trojan, or malware caused this.

Hope it was helpful.


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Posted by Ezequiel of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on May 3, 2004