"explorer.exe" not loading on boot in Normal Mode

Avatar

Please consider registering
Guest

Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_topic_old
"explorer.exe" not loading on boot in Normal Mode
Avatar
Flying Dutchman
Member
Forum Posts: 278
Member Since:
September 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
February 22, 2011 - 2:44 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hi guys,

Sorry about not participating for so long, but around mid Jan. I got hit by the carpal tunnel syndrome (both hands) and am not allowed to use mouse+keyboard, unless absolutely necessary and only briefly.

I'm trying to help a friend (the same one from [url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1086:6xgp6ej6]here[/url:6xgp6ej6]), so I'm going against doctor's advice by posting this as I could use some advice/ help.

After shutting down the laptop normally last evening, this morning it wouldn't load "explorer.exe" in Normal Mode - no, taskbar, no desktop shortcuts/icons, just the wallpaper and mouse cursor.
Task Manager opens normally, but there's no explorer.exe process listed and it's not possible to manually load it (keeps looking and finally freezes). Laptop works fine in Safe Mode (used it to create a new user for testing).
I had my friend go through the following:
1. "explorer.exe" is in the right paths and of correct size/ date, etc.
2. Corresponding registry entries (Shell, Userinit, etc.) are correct.
3. No other funny registry entries with "explorer.exe".
4. Loading the new user is not possible (Normal Mode), stays on the "loading personal settings, etc." screen for ever.

Yesterday, he run his security routine (Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, Hitman Pro), which came up clean.
He also got an update for a program he uses for his work (custom made), which I couldn't get uninstalled from within Safe Mode (in case the update caused some conflict).

Could it be a rootkit infection? How to run gmer in Normal Mode?
He's got Avast free installed. I'm thinking of doing a boot scan (if I can tell Avast from within Safe Mode).
Or is this a sign of Windows corruption? Can I run a repair with the slipstreamed CD that was used to install Windows? Or would I need to reinstall Windows from scratch?

Anything else I haven't thought of and should try?
Thanks.

I am human

Avatar
Jim Hillier
Admin
Forum Posts: 2492
Member Since:
August 9, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
February 22, 2011 - 4:19 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hey FD - Sorry to hear of your health problems, hope you can shake the syndrome soon.....we have missed ya!!

Oh boy, there is a multitude of possibilities here. Must admit, I was surprised to hear that no malware is involved, that would normally be the number one suspect.

Here is what I would be trying:
1) Try booting (after F8) to 'Last known good configuration'.
2) [b:n5oukxn7]Run>msconfig[/b:n5oukxn7] and click on the [b:n5oukxn7]Services[/b:n5oukxn7] tab. Disable all non-Microsoft services. Reboot and test.
3) Download ShellExView (portable freeware) from [url=http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html:n5oukxn7]HERE[/url:n5oukxn7]. Run ShellExView and disable all non-Microsoft shell extensions. Reboot and test.

I know you said you can't locate any abnormal registry entries with "explorer.exe" but this is a solution that I found on another forum and plenty of users reported that it had worked for them to fix the same problem:

Search for and delete these registry keys if found:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionImage File Execution Optionsexplorer.exe
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionImage File Execution Optionsiexplorer.exe

[quote:n5oukxn7]Can I run a repair with the slipstreamed CD that was used to install Windows[/quote:n5oukxn7]
Provided it was only the service packs which were slipstreamed and no changes were made to the original XP...yes, you can use that to perform a 'repair installation'.
Here is a link to an excellent guide from the respected Fred Langer for performing a non-destructive repair installation: http://www.informationweek.com/news/win ... =189400897

You could also run[b:n5oukxn7] sfc /scannow[/b:n5oukxn7] to replace any corrupted or missing files. If prompted to insert CD just put in the slipstreamed disc (should work OK).

Last resort: System Restore?? (You would need to be 100% certain no malware was involved before trying System Restore)

Hope that gives you some ideas. Dave and Ziggie will likely have other suggestions too.

Get well soon!!!
Cheers....Jim

Avatar
David Hartsock
Admin
Forum Posts: 1105
Member Since:
August 7, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
February 22, 2011 - 7:32 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hey Dutchy! Glad to have you back (soft of) and sorry to hear about the ailment.

Would you care to run CHKDSK with /r /f?

The registry key for Explorer is [b:2l85msty]HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon[/b:2l85msty] with a value of [b:2l85msty]shell="explorer.exe"[/b:2l85msty] if I remember correctly.
Also check the boot.ini tab of MSCONFIG and make sure none of the options are checked (No GUI, etc).

Avatar
Chad Johnson
Mod
Forum Posts: 867
Member Since:
August 11, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
February 22, 2011 - 11:48 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

and before doing anything, back up your data!!

Avatar
Flying Dutchman
Member
Forum Posts: 278
Member Since:
September 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
5
February 23, 2011 - 10:44 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Thanks for the replies.

Here's an update:
1. Had already tried "Last known good configuration" yesterday (forgot to mention it) - it just hangs.
2. Had already checked those registry entries - they're not there.
3. Can't do a System Restore.
4. Tried to run sfc /scannow, but from within Normal Mode we have access only to Task Manager which also hangs if asked to do anything and from within Safe Mode it won't run (a window pops up and vanishes in light-speed, no chance to read it).
5. CHKDSK with /r /f returned no errors or problems.
6. The boot.ini tab of MSCONFIG is correct, no boxes checked.
7. A clean boot is possible - looks like being in Safe Mode. Find which services may cause this sounds exhausting.

Since data was already backed up, tried the non-destructive repair installation (thanks for the link, Ozbloke ), but got a "Line 0 in dmreg.inf is corrupted. XP cannot continue installation." error. Funny thing is that I could not find any helpful info about this kind of error. Does it mean that the CD is corrupt? Would it help to slipstream a new one?

Frankly, I'm seriously thinking of just doing a format and clean OS reinstall, unless you have any more ideas.

In the meantime, we started looking for a new Laptop - that should fix all sorts of problems, right?

I am human

Avatar
Jim Hillier
Admin
Forum Posts: 2492
Member Since:
August 9, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
February 23, 2011 - 5:41 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hey FD - I have no idea what "dmreg.info" is, where it is or what it does.

Lots of reports across the net of new (and repair) installations stalling/failing at dmreg.info, but no definitive information as to what it is and no real solutions.

One site I looked at said dmreg.info is part of Service Pack2 for XP but I have been unable to confirm that. Seeing there are heaps of reports of the same issue in WinK2 (regarding dmreg.info), that information would appear to be somewhat dubious.

Only other thing I can suggest is if you (or your friend) can get hold of an original XP installation disc. It would need to be the same edition as the existing OS (i.e. Home or Pro).....and run a repair installation from that.

Did you try ShellExView? It may not help but it is at least a quick and easy way to test if perhaps some 3rd party shell extension is causing the problems.

[quote:202ea237]Does it mean that the CD is corrupt?[/quote:202ea237]
Probably but couldn't say for certain.

[quote:202ea237]Would it help to slipstream a new one?[/quote:202ea237]
Wouldn't you need an XP installation CD to slipstream? If you have an XP installation disc (or can get hold of one) then just use [i:202ea237]that[/i:202ea237] to perform a repair installation. Means you may need to re-install the service packs again but at least all personal data, programs and settings would remain intact.

[quote:202ea237]In the meantime, we started looking for a new Laptop - that should fix all sorts of problems, right?[/quote:202ea237]
LOL....yep, that will generally fix pretty much everything!!

Cheers......Jim

Avatar
Flying Dutchman
Member
Forum Posts: 278
Member Since:
September 2, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
7
February 23, 2011 - 6:13 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hi Ozbloke,

We do have the original installation CD (it's only Win XP SP1) and it's the one I used to slipstream the other Service Packs. Remember, this is an old laptop bought back in the good old days when you were also given CDs, not just a hidden recovery partition.

I didn't get a chance to try ShellExView or anything else for that matter, as after the failed repair, the laptop now spits up a BSOD during boot, so I can't even get into Safe Mode anymore.

Anyway, today was quite exhausting and with my problem + work, we've agreed for me to look into it again over the weekend.
So, any other suggestions given the current state we run into?

Thanks again.

I am human

Avatar
Jim Hillier
Admin
Forum Posts: 2492
Member Since:
August 9, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
February 23, 2011 - 7:42 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

[quote:31bx1oaz]So, any other suggestions given the current state we run into?[/quote:31bx1oaz]
No, sorry FD. You really should have tried the other solutions[i:31bx1oaz] before[/i:31bx1oaz] the repair install....but hey, spilled milk and all that.

I would try the repair install again via the original installation CD. If that doesn't work, I guess the only remaining option is a clean install.....or the new machine.

Can't really see what else could be done.
Cheers....Jim

Avatar
David Hartsock
Admin
Forum Posts: 1105
Member Since:
August 7, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
February 24, 2011 - 5:48 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

We do have the original installation CD (it's only Win XP SP1) and it's the one I used to slipstream the other Service Packs.[/quote:r1d4cy4r]
This disk alone won't word to repair your current installation if I remember correctly. XP SP2 won't allow the SP1 disk, so I think you'll have to slipstream SP2 into the disk. If you do go that route I highly recommend you burn the new disk at a VERY slow speed (2x or 4x) and verify if your burning application allows.

If the repair with a new slipstreamed CD doesn't work your only option is the save the data and reinstall.

Forum Timezone: America/Indiana/Indianapolis

Most Users Ever Online: 188

Currently Online:
14 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 10

Members: 1272

Moderators: 3

Admins: 4

Forum Stats:

Groups: 8

Forums: 19

Topics: 1538

Posts: 11824

Administrators: Jim Hillier, Richard Pedersen, David Hartsock, Marc Thomas

Moderators: Judy Novotny, Jason Shuffield, Mail Poet