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Why does explorer.exe error message pops up?

Posted By : Kera of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on February 23, 2005

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My computer , at startup, will not load the start up icons. It immediately pops up an illegal operations warning from explorer.exe. It then shuts down whatever was opening and my computer sits there with nothing but the picture background displayed. I can't get into it at all.

This question was answered on February 23, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

This behavior can occur because Windows Explorer is configured to automatically run a program on startup and that program file is missing or damaged.

To resolve this behavior, edit the System.ini file to remove the reference to the program, and then scan the computer for a virus To edit the System.ini file, do the following:

1 Insert a Windows 98 startup disk and start the computer to a command prompt.

Note: If you do not have a Windows 98 Startup disk, you can follow these steps on a Windows 98-based computer:

(a.) Start the computer When the Power On Self Test (POST) is complete, press and hold the CTRL key The Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu appears.

(b.) Use the ARROW keys to select Safe mode command prompt only, and then press ENTER.

A command prompt appears.

2 At the command prompt, type C: and then press ENTER.

3 Type CD\Windows, and then press ENTER.

4 Type Edit System.ini, and then press ENTER.

5 Use the ARROW keys to place the cursor at the line that starts with shell=Explorer.exe.

6 Type a SEMICOLON at the beginning of that line The line should now appear similar to the following:

;shell=Explorer.exe unknown program name

7 Use the ARROW keys to move the cursor to the end of the line, and then press ENTER A new blank line is inserted.

8 On the new blank line, type Shell=Explorer.exe This portion of the System.ini file should appear similar to the following:

;shell=Explorer.exe unknown program name


9 Press ALT F.

The File menu appears.

10 Press S.

The file is saved.

11 Press ALT F, and then press X

The command prompt re-appears.

12 Remove the Windows 98 Startup disk, and then restart the computer.

About the author

Posted by Kera of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on February 23, 2005

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