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Kothos

Start button and Taskbar missing on Win7

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This isn't a big problem for me but it's gnawing at me that I can't figure it out. (One of my work laptops is 5 years old and I just quit. I'm pretty sure once I had it back they'll throw it in the bin.)

 

I hadn't rebooted one of my work computers in months so I finally cleaned it up and shut it down one night. Restarted the next day - no Desktop! No Taskbar, no Start button.

 

I'm running Window 7 and it had been working just fine and was fully updated. Virus and malware scans have found nothing significant.

 

It still works just fine and all the data is still there (including the Desktop folder and contents). I can login and run any program I want from the Task Manager. I've tried running explorer.exe and iexplore.exe both with and without the full path, I've tried rebooting.

 

I found two bits of advice regarding Registry hacks but neither made a difference.

 

I thought the Desktop was part of Explorer - if Windows Explorer was running, the Desktop had to be running?

 

What gives?

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Try connecting it to an external monitor. Or just get into the Display Settings and have a look. Maybe it thinks there's a second monitor and it's assigned as "primary".

If you're not running cloned with 2 monitors then I'm pretty sure only the primary monitor will get the taskbar.

 

It's fairly common for the taskbar to disappear for a few seconds if you get an Explorer crash (classic way is when a file explorer window locks up and you force close it).

Usually Explorer will restart itself but occasionally you have to do it yourself.

 

Alternate reason - some sort of kiosk mode hack or 3rd party software. Not sure if ClassicShell allows disabling the taskbar.

Haven't tried it myself - I hate it when people or businesses run kiosk type setups, I want to control the computer, not be a scabby guest.

Edited by Rybags

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Fair point but it's already connected to two external monitors and both are working. But it's not just the TaskBar, the whole desktop is missing. Windows opens on a black background and if I try to drag a file there I just get a No Smoking sign (you know, except without the cigarette).

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Can you get the Personalisation panel by right-click on the desktop?

From there you can get the taskbar/start menu options that you'd normally get by right-click > Properties on the taskbar.

 

I had a quick look through group policy editor earlier - couldn't find any options that disable the taskbar.


Another thing... can you create a new user to test to see if it happens there too?

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Nope, no Desktop at all - just a black void. Can't right-click on it, nothing happens. It's like the background to a DOS prompt or something.

 

I'll try the new user thing though, didn't think of that. I'm pretty sure I have admin rights.

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Maybe somehow the shell has been replaced or the definition corrupted.

 

Can you check in REGEDIT:

 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell

should have "explorer.exe" as it's value (without quotes).

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Yep, that's there. It's definitely a weird one.

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

*scratches head*

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Got me buggered.

 

Possibly an SFC /SCANNOW (CMD with Admin) might show something up.

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FMD I worked it out.

 

I noticed someone have a similar problem online but with a different cause (a virus modified their HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell entry to "Explorer.exe C:\Windows\winlogon.exe" with the latter being a fake .exe that runs a virus.

 

But I noticed the capitalisation of Explorer.exe, so I changed mine from "explorer.exe" to "Explorer.exe" and hey presto, it worked!

 

It even worked when I just ran Explorer.exe from the Task Manager.

 

Since when is Windows case sensitive? This is insane.

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The initial shell execution might be using lower level access so might miss out on luxuries like wildcards and case independence.

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