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Thread: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

  1. #1
    freezette Guest

    Default Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    Please help me, I am new to ZA.
    I ran a virus scan after installation which took longer than expected so I had to run off to work and when I came home my computer was off so I turned it on and oops! I have a blank desktop with no task bar and I am unable to access the task manager(ctr+alt+del). What I do have is my mouse cursor which is able to move. This happens in safe mode also.
    I have windows xp sp3. Oh and also when I expect my windows login page to appear, instead what looks like a different version of it appears for me to log in. It is just a pop up box instead of the entire page I am used to.
    If anyone has any ideas, I would welcome them.
    Thank you.

    Operating System:Windows XP Home Edition
    Software Version:6.5
    Product Name:ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,056

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager


    <blockquote><hr>freezette wrote:
    Please help me, I am new to ZA.
    I ran a virus scan after installation which took longer than expected so I had to run off to work and when I came home my computer was off so I turned it on and oops! I have a blank desktop with no task bar and I am unable to access the task manager(ctr+alt+del). What I do have is my mouse cursor which is able to move. This happens in safe mode also.
    I have windows xp sp3. Oh and also when I expect my windows login page to appear, instead what looks like a different version of it appears for me to log in. It is just a pop up box instead of the entire page I am used to.
    If anyone has any ideas, I would welcome them.
    Thank you.

    Operating System:
    Windows XP Home Edition
    Software Version:
    6.5
    Product Name:
    ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

    <hr></blockquote>


    Login is different because the welcome screen is no longer enabled in the user accounts (control panel) and it is now using classic logins.

    If you press the Start key of the keyboard, does the windows panel appear?

    It could be you have a virus OR it could be somebody is playing a trick on you (made the blank desktop as an image and then set the desktop wallpaper/background to the phoney blank and set the taskbar to be under) or it could be windows 'lost' the desktop.

    You have scanned for malware yet?
    If not then do immediately.
    Is the desktop appearing as black or white?
    Tried resetting the desktop in the Properties of the desktop?
    Often malware will disable the task manger ... and wreck the desktop and the task bar along with a few other ruined windows files... usually a virus or nasty troyan will do these things.

    Oldsod.
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  3. #3
    freezette Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    Thanks for the reply OldSod and to answer all your questions:
    -Start key does nothing as does any other key I press
    -It is not a trick being played on me as no one else has access to my laptop, I live alone and no one I know would even know how to do this PLUS this has happenned to me once before but that time I was able to open the task manager and delete a suspected virus iexplorer.exe which was in the wrong place with the hkeys. (I found that fix on a tech forum and it worked)
    -I would love to scan for malware BUT I am a tech noob and have no idea how to do this with no start menu, desktop icons or a task manager. Also scanning for malware got me in this mess to begin with.
    -Desktop is Blue, as in Windows XP background blue except in safe mode it is black and white.
    -I also have no clue as to how to reset the desktop properties on a blank screen.
    So if you could give me instructions as how to do any of your suggestions or maybe have any other questions, I would appreciate any insight.
    Thank you,freezette

  4. #4
    freezette Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    This is how I fixed it when this problem occurred before but I was able to access task manager,
    1. CTRL-Alt-Del to bring up Task Manager.
    2. Click File | New Task(run).
    3. Type regedit in the Run box and click OK.
    4. Browse to the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
    Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution.options

    5. Under this key there will be subkeys named explorer.exe and iexplorer.exe.
    These keys are pointing to files that have been removed (virus/spyware); explorer32dbg.exe and iexplore_dbg.exe. Delete the explorer and iexplorer keys entirely. The should not be listed under the Image File Execution.Options key.
    6. Close the Registry Editor.
    7. Restart the computer.

    I could not find the iexplorer key but did find the explorer key, deleted it and rebooted and my desktop icons
    reappeared along with my taskbar.
    Unfortunately I cant get into regedit like I did previously and I am afraid this time my problem will be more difficult a fix.
    Thank you,freezette

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,056

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager


    <blockquote><hr>freezette wrote:
    Thanks for the reply OldSod and to answer all your questions:
    -Start key does nothing as does any other key I press
    -It is not a trick being played on me as no one else has access to my laptop, I live alone and no one I know would even know how to do this PLUS this has happenned to me once before but that time I was able to open the task manager and delete a suspected virus iexplorer.exe which was in the wrong place with the hkeys. (I found that fix on a tech forum and it worked)
    -I would love to scan for malware BUT I am a tech noob and have no idea how to do this with no start menu, desktop icons or a task manager. Also scanning for malware got me in this mess to begin with.
    -Desktop is Blue, as in Windows XP background blue except in safe mode it is black and white.
    -I also have no clue as to how to reset the desktop properties on a blank screen.
    So if you could give me instructions as how to do any of your suggestions or maybe have any other questions, I would appreciate any insight.
    Thank you,freezette
    <hr></blockquote>


    Find a good friend with a safe computer (clean) and download the rescue system to their computer.
    Then burn this to a cd, start your own laptop with the boot from the media drive (not the hdd) and then clean and repair the windows. Change the boot to the cd/dvd drive in the laptops bios settings (using F12 at bios boot time to get into the BIOS).

    http://www.free-av.com/en/products/1...ue_system.html

    If the windows is really badly damaged, it may be just the same to wipe the drive clean, then reformat it and install windows with the drivers. Probably faster and easier in both long and short terms.

    Oldsod.
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  6. #6
    samlar Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    have you tried hitting the f8 key and going to safemode and then to the registry and do what you listed above?

    You can hit f8 and go to safemode command prompt and type in regedit and it should allow you to go to the registry.
    You might have to do a cd\ first to go back to main directory for hard drive. I just did this and it worked had not ever tried it until now something I will have to remember.

    Message Edited by samlar on 03-19-2009 06:10 PM

  7. #7
    freezette Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    Thanks again Oldsod, guess this isnt going to be such an easy fix.
    I will attempt to try out your suggestion and going to keep my fingers crossed, will let you know the outcome.
    Thank you,freezette

  8. #8
    freezette Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    Ah ghosts,
    I am using spybot, and used CCleaner about a week ago. I think thats the one I used to clean my registry. Had a bad virus infection in January and I was told to try superantispyware and malwarebytes together to clean it up so I did. Then superantispyware became infected I believe cause everytime I tried to run a virus scan my screen went black after about 10 minutes. I tried uninstall and reinstall but it didnt help so I got rid of it.
    Then I was having firewall problems also using **bleep**. It said it wasnt functioning properly but diagnostic scans came up clean. I uninstalled and reinstalled this too several times with no success. This is when I decided to go with ZA and viola here I am.
    I have heard good things about Avira and if I ever get my computer up and running I will try it out but untill then I have no clue how to download and run or uninstall anyprograms from a blank desktop without a task manager.
    Thank you,freezette

  9. #9
    freezette Guest

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager

    Thanks samlar,
    I have been in safe mode but it is also blank with no task bar and I am unable to access the task manager. So I have no idea how to get to command prompt to get to regedit. All I have on my desktop is my lonely little mouse cursor which can move around but cant do anything else. So that is where I am stuck at so far.
    Thank you,freezette

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,056

    Default Re: Blank desktop and unable to access task manager


    <blockquote><hr>freezette wrote:
    Thanks again Oldsod, guess this isnt going to be such an easy fix.
    I will attempt to try out your suggestion and going to keep my fingers crossed, will let you know the outcome.
    Thank you,freezette
    <hr></blockquote>


    If there are no files of any importance on the hdd, wiping the drive and reformatting and reinstalling windows is the easiest method.
    If there were files of importance and reformatting is the only option and these important files cannot be lost but must be recovered, then a live distro linux such as knoppix can be used to copy and move the files to exernal usb drives before wiping the drive.

    If the av recovery scanner does remove the malware and then windows is not useable, the removed windows files can be copied from the i386 folder to the correct locations for replacements - done in either the dos or with the live distro linux.

    Another option is a recovery or repair install of windows - not always the best approach, but windows will be useable again in some shape or form. Just enoough to get the important files copied to usb drives or burned to media disks and then perform a wipe, reformat and reinstall of windows.

    Another option instead of using the antivirus recovery disk or dos scanners is pull the hdd out of the computer and slave the infected drive to a good machine. The windows will not be active on the infected drive and then the windows files are easily cleaned or deleted... any deleted files can be easily copied from the clean machine to the replace the files or copied from the windows media disk to the scanned drive.
    Plus there is the extra benefit of not just using the cleaning computers resident scanners but also doing online scans for further detections and removals.
    I use this approach myself - it is very fast to setup and very effective as the infected drive is 'dormant' and not active, so the cleanups are very good and effective.

    Just some guesses and other ideas for you.

    Oldsod.
    Best regards.
    oldsod

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