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Blank screen, can only start programms by task manager

Hi there all,
My laptop is a Toshiba Equium P200-178. It was updated by vista (32 bit) the other day, since when it's been failing.
It's all fine until i log on, where then it shows a blank screen, and nothing can be clicked on. At first i thought this was a graphics driver problem, so i brought up DOS and re-installed the correct driver for the card. It installed no problem, but when i reset it the same problem has happened. I then had an idea of opening a programme through the task manager because it was only when i was logged on that i had a problem. I can press Ctrl+Alt+Del and open task manager. then i choose new task etc. and EVERY programme opens with out a problem. I can play videos on youtube, itunes etc no problems at all, which makes me think its not a driver problem, but a start up problem when i log on. Any ideas would be highly appreciated from all.

Thanks all,
Ed

Posted by on

  • 9 more comments 
  • Eifion Edwards Jan 31, 2009

    Hi,
    I opened explorer.exe and the task bar and wallpaper appeared. This is obviously a start up error. Thanks very much for your help. I just reset my pc though, and the same error happened, i started explorer.exe and it was righted again. Do you know how to fix the corrupted start up error? Would be much appreciated.

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Jan 31, 2009

    I loaded in safe mode before, and no icons or wallpaper appeared. I've done what you advised me to do, but nothing worked so I've been searching the MSconfig startups and i cant see Explorer.exe anywhere, so i dont think it will start up unless i create a new start up command. Do you know how to create one?

  • Eifion Edwards Feb 01, 2009

    Hi again, i've tried what you said but the system restore has only one point (i have never thought or setting a restore point :| ) which is at the last switch off time, and it is that point is while the explorer.exe

    So unless there's a special way of finding a past restore point i think that way is out fo the window sorry. im guessing this is pretty annoying for you aswell XD.

    im guessing that the only way to fix it now is by reinstalling windows which wipes everything. tbh i'd rather type in explorer.exe than loose everything. If there is some way to fix my explorer.exe i'd be REALLY grateful if you coulld tell me.

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 02, 2009

    hellooo,

    I've tried the command prompt codes you told me, and neither work i dont think.

    Also i have AVG free and it says i have a .exe virus which may have done the damage. So i deleted that file, and went into Regedt32 and on the shell file it has a load more text than just explorer.exe.

    I would send you a print screen, but dont have account on pic hosting sites, so i could send it to you via e-mail, msn.
    It says "explorer.exe %windir%\system32\drivers\SCtri.exe"

    Obviously i dont want to jump into editing it so i will wait for your reply to do anything.

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 02, 2009

    mate, you are a GENIOUS!
    Thanks sooo much.
    it works absolutely fine now.

    this beats 2 hours on the phone to the toshiba laptop anyday XD

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 02, 2009

    mate, you are a GENIOUS!
    Thanks sooo much.
    it works absolutely fine now.

    this beats 2 hours on the phone to the toshiba laptop anyday XD

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 03, 2009

    really baaadnews :(

    The virus doesnt want too be deleted. neway of compltely getting rid of it? i've AVG'd its ***, deleted it from normal and recycle bin etc.

    this play Y now?

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 03, 2009

    lol. you work in IT then?





  • Eifion Edwards Feb 03, 2009

    Will do. You work in a support centre then? it would have been MUCH easier to hav a guy like you on the phone, not some muppet who doesnt know what vista is, and has something shoved up his a**e lol.

    My dad been working in IT since the first computers, he went through pretty much everything, but must have missed this in the reg.

    I was curious about the .exe file in my C:\

    Thanks alot m8.

    Will message if i get ne other problems.

    Ed


  • Eifion Edwards Feb 03, 2009

    Will do. You work in a support centre then? it would have been MUCH easier to hav a guy like you on the phone, not some muppet who doesnt know what vista is, and has something shoved up his a**e lol.

    My dad been working in IT since the first computers, he went through pretty much everything, but must have missed this in the reg.

    I was curious about the .exe file in my C:\

    Thanks alot m8.

    Will message if i get ne other problems.

    Ed


  • Anonymous Mar 09, 2009

    Hi,

    I have a Toshiba Equium P200-178, some of the keys are not working on the laptop e.g. R, Y, 2, and the centre 'Enter' key. Also how do you switch or activate the wireless to search for local Wi-Fi? Please advise.

    Thanks

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  • 63 Answers

Try to boot Vista into Safe Mode. Tap the F8 Key right after you turn on the computer until you get the Advanced Boot Up Menu
and use the keyboard arrow keys to select Safe Mode. The next screen may ask you to select your operating systm. Select Vista, not the Recovery Console.

Does your task bar and icons appear in safe mode? If so, it might be one of your start up programs that is failing and causing explorer.exe to fail during normal boot-up into Windows and not allowing your taskbar and icons to appear. Click Start and type in msconfig and hit enter then click the Start Up tab and look at all the programs that start up when Vista is starting up. Do Not uncheck anything in the list that you do not recognize as you may uncheck drivers or Vista starting programs that you computer needs to start up Vista properly. Google anything you don't recognize and uncheck any Start Up programs you do not need to start when Vista boots up, like Quicktime player or Adobe Reader for example. (This would also help your boot up time into Vista)

Sounds like explorer.exe crashed. Try opening up the Task Manager again, and Click File > New Task and type in explorer.exe. See if the task bar and your desktop icons appear.

If they appear for a brief moment then disappear again, the Windows explorer.exe is corrupted. Explorer.exe will try to start and then fail again. You may need to use System Restore to bring your computer back to a date and time when the computer was working properly, before the Vista update.

Posted on Jan 31, 2009

  • 7 more comments 
  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Jan 31, 2009

    It may be one of the other programs that start up when Vista starts up that is blocking your Task Bar and Icons from appearing when the computer first boots up.



    Click Start and type in msconfig in the start seach box and click enter. A System Configuration window shouold appear. Click the Tab at the top labelled Startup and take a look at all the programs with a Checkmark beside them that is starting up at the same time Vista starts up. You may have to uncheck the ones you are familiar with (like Quicktime Player or Adobe) one at a time and reboot after each one and see if it was one of these that is stopping your taskbar and icons from appearing.



    If you are very unsure about picking which ones to uncheck you can also perform these steps to do a Clean Boot (start the computer with only the necessary Vista startup programs):



    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/331796



    Since you mentioned a Vista Update, if turning off unnecessary start up items doesn't work, you may want to bring your computer Vista settings back to a date and time to when the computer was working properly as the update may have caused this.



    Click Start and type in System Restore in the Start Search box. Click System Restore in the Start Menu and the System Restore program will open up. Click teh next button on the bottom right and the next screen should show you dates and times of restore points your computer created with a description on each date.



    Click the Time and Date of one of the restore points with the description System: Scheduled Checkpoint that was created before the Windows Vista update. Then click next and then click Finish. The computer will reboot and apply the settings that were present before that update and before you started having this issue.



    Remember, System Restore shouldn't be used for every problem and definitely not as a first step! Try checking msconfig and the startup items first.

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Jan 31, 2009

    Try this first



    Also, boot into Safe Mode as this will only load Vista services and programs that need to start up (It will perform a Clean Boot automatically) and see if the task bar and icons appear at start up in Safe Mode.



    Safe mode loads default video drivers so don't worry if everything on the screen appears MUCH bigger than normal. Just check to see if the icons and task bar appears.

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 01, 2009

    Sorry to reply so late. Couldn't get to this website for hours.



    explorer.exe automatically loads with VIsta. It controls the browsing of the files/drives/icons/task bar menu etc, and is kind of a backbone to the operating system working. So it won't be in the msconfig startup to assure no one turns it off, it should just always load when Vista loads. If you have no takbar or icons in safe mode either, your next step should be to perform the System Restore back to a time and date before this problem started to occur.



    Do the Task Manager > File > New Task > explorer.exe to bring the taskbar/Start button back up, then go to your Start menu and go to System Restore and choose a date before the last Vista update, preferably one of the Times named System: Scheduled Checkpoint. Hopefully that will re-write your explorer.exe back to the way it was when it was working.

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 02, 2009

    In system restore if there is only one point showing, is there a box you can click to put a checkmark in that says "Show Restore Points Older than 5 days" below the box that shows dates and times? Hopefully there is and when you click in that box it will show more dates that you can restore from.



    Unless System Restore is manually turned off or a virus attacks your System Restore and wipes out all the restore points, Windows automatically creates restore points whenever a new driver/program/updates etc is installed. It will be strange if there is no restore points, even later than 5 days ago.



    Just to be sure it isn't a virus, run a full scan with an online scanner like http://security.symantec.com from Norton, or Run the Trend Micro Housecall: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/



    I hope there isn't a virus or I hope you find restore points later than 5 days old.



    There also may be a way to take an undamaged original explorer.exe from the Operating System Windows Vista disk and replace (re-write over) your failed one.



    Click Start and in the Start Search box type in CMD, then right Click the CMD at the top of the Start menu and click Run as Administrator.



    you will be at a commnad prompt like C:\Windows\System32>_



    type in chkdsk /r



    This will run a disk check and repair any problems it finds. It may say it will run the next time you boot your computer. Click "y" without the quotes to choose yes then just reboot and it will probably run on a blue screen before it gets to the WIndows Desktop. If this doesn't work try



    typing in sfc /scannow from the CMD Window



    This will run a system file check and if it sees a problem with explorer.exe it may ask you to put in your Operating System Disk and try to repair it.



    The last thing I can think of and could find to do and this gets a bit dangerous, as it requires going into your Windows Registry. If you want to try this, please have any important files you need saved (backed up) to a CD/DVD or external Hard Drive) and regular backups of your stuff is always a good idea anyways just in case. If you are unsure maybe get someone who is more familiar with the Registry.



    Click Start button then type in regedit in the Start Search box and click enter.



    Click File at the top of the registry editor box that opens up and click Export. This will open a save box, and at the bottom make sure the dot beside All is selected. Choose to save it to C:\

    and click save. It will take a short time but will save a backup of your registry. Here's the steps you need to take:



    You don't need to replace explorer.exe. The fact that you can manually start it and everything is fine is an indicator that nothing is wrong with the file itself. Rather I suspect a problem with the initial logon.


    Click the Box with the + sign beside: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and it will open up. Then click the + sign beside each of these (You may have to scroll down to find each one as these may open up a long list:



    SOFTWARE

    Microsoft

    Windows NT

    CurrentVersion

    Left click on the "Winlogon" key to highlight it, then look on the right hand side pane for the Shell string.It will look like this:



    String REG_SZ

    and it should have explorer.exe beside REG_SZ.



    I created a screenshot of my registry so you can see what it looks like and where the Shell key is:

    http://img230.imageshack.us/my.php?image...



    If something else is to the right of REG_SZ:



    Double click the word Shell and erase whatever is in the white box and type in "explorer.exe" (without the quotes). Click ok, close the registry editor and reboot. And just report back what in that white box before you replaced its contents with explorer.exe. (I'd like to know out of curiousity if it was rewritten to somthing else)



    Really hope this works for ya, and let me just re-interate that the registry can be delicate and the wrong key, or change can mess up the computer and only a format and reinstall can fix it.




  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 02, 2009

    Wow, this site goes down too often.



    I wanted to add that you should check the Shell Key in the registry first before you go through the other things I listed (chkdsk, sfc /scannow, virus check, etc.). And if that key has something other than explorer.exe beside REG_SZ then use the steps I listed and hopefully that was the fix. If the Shell key does have explorer.exe beside the REG_SZ then start trying the other steps I listed.



    Hope this works for you, I know formatting and reinstalling everything can be such a hassle.

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 02, 2009

    Ok, so the Shell key is showing:



    Shell REG_SZ explorer.exe %windir%\system32\drivers\SCtri.exe



    Double click on the word Shell, then a little box will open up. You will see the heading in the box



    Value Name:

    Shell



    And below that you will see:



    Value Data:

    explorer.exe %windir%\system32\drivers\SCtri.exe



    Click in the box to put the cursor at the end of the "explorer.exe %windir%\system32\drivers\SCtri.exe" and then click Backspace button and erase everything except for explorer.exe.



    So all you should have in that box under Value Data is explorer.exe



    Click the OK button, close the registry and reboot your computer.



    Glad your AVG found the virus and deleted it, and hopefully fixing the explorer.exe in the Shell key fixes your Taskbar/Icons. It does look like the virus added some extra stuff to the end of that key.

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 03, 2009

    Fantastic!



    Glad to have got ya through it, and give yourself a hand for getting in the registry. That can be a scary place! Kept Format/Reinstall as Plan Z, and I think we were up to X, lol.



    I'm just pleased we had positive results and everything is working great.



    Ry

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 03, 2009

    yay Ryan

  • Ryan Stiers
    Ryan Stiers Feb 03, 2009

    Sorry about previous message, that was from a colleage here at work. Yes I work in tech support, have been through a few different campaigns/programs.



    go to:



    http://www.symantec.com/nss1



    Load it and it will update itself with the latest virus definitions, then run the full scan, hopefully this will catch and remove what AVG has been upable to get.

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