Windows: Desktop Fails to Load at Startup

Posted November 17, 2008 by Troy Newton in Windows

This tech-recipe provides solutions for four of the most probable causes for the Desktop icons and Taskbar not appearing after startup.

This problem may be fixed by using one of these 4 repairs:
(1) RESTORE A MISSING “USERINIT” REGISTRY VALUE

1. Copy below and paste into Notepad:

———-copy inside only———-
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
“Userinit”=”C:\\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\userinit.exe,”

———-copy inside only———-

2. If your Windows is not on drive C: replace C: with your Windows drive letter and Save-As Userinit.reg (or any name + .reg).

3. Double-click or right-click and merge into the registry.

4. Restart.
(2) DELETE AN INCORRECT “EXPLORER.EXE” ENTRY IN THE REGISTRY

1. Open the Run box and enter: regedit

2. Go to this key:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options]

3. If you see “explorer.exe” as a subkey below, delete it.

4. Restart.
(3) RESTORE A MISSING “EXPLORER.EXE” ENTRY IN THE REGISTRY

1. Copy below and paste into Notepad:

———-copy inside only———-
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
“Shell”=”explorer.exe”

———-copy inside only———-

2. Save-As WinLogon.reg (or any name + .reg).

3. Double-click or right-click and merge into the registry.

4. Restart.
(4) EXLORER.EXE IS MISSING

If explorer.exe is not in C:\WINDOWS\ then insert your Windows CD and, using the ‘Task Manager’ (File -> New Task), run the ‘System File Checker’ utility with this command:

sfc /scannow

If the ‘System File Checker’ didn’t replace it, boot to the Recovery Console with the Windows CD and copy explorer.exe manually:

1. Insert the Windows CD and restart.

2. When setup begins, choose the “Repair or Recover” option by pressing “R”.

3. Once at the command prompt, enter:

expand D:\i386 /F:EXPLORER.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe /y

(D: is the CD drive letter, C: is the Windows partition, change if neccessary)

4. To exit the Recovery Console, type: exit.

If the desktop still does not load then, from within the Task Manager, run a new task to open the Registry Editor:

regedit.exe

and check the registry data from above, adding as neccessary, if it is missing or incorrect.

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