explorer.exe will not launch desktop/start menu after updates (W7 SP1 Ultimate)

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by trlkly, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. trlkly

    trlkly MDL Novice

    Aug 25, 2010
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    This happened back on December 24, when I finally gave in and let Windows install updates, despite getting spooked about a few updates that reportedly caused Windows to break in some cases.

    When Windows restarted after the updates, explorer.exe just launched a folder window instead of anything else. I looked through my logs and saw that a lot of updates did not install, and that the System Restore it tried to do before the updates had failed. In fact, upon trying System Restore, all restore points were gone.

    There were other symptoms at the time: Networking was down, and I had trouble getting certain Control Panel items to launch. Some services seemed to be broken. Windows would sometimes lock up seemingly randomly. I went into a repair mode command prompt and did a chkdsk and an offline SFC /scannnow, and was told there were no errors on each.

    So I eventually got around to doing a repair install (doing a fake upgrade using Compatibility mode), which worked without Windows locking up. Even after getting activated again, explorer.exe still will not launch my desktop or start menu. The desktop is just blank (no wallpaper, even), and an Explorer window pops up after I log in. The same thing happens in Diagnostic mode (from msconfig) and in Safe Mode. Creating a new account does not help, either.

    The other problems I mentioned did seem to be fixed by the repair install, but not the problem with explorer.exe. I have used Google to try and find a solution, but all of them are about explorer.exe not starting. Mine starts. It's explorer.exe is running Task Manager. But it only launches Explorer windows, not the desktop/start menu.

    I am about to just give in and do a complete reinstall from scratch, but I'd really rather not do that. I'm not really one to actually stop and ask about computers instead of fixing it out myself, but I'm at my wit's end trying to get this straightened out.
     
  2. trlkly

    trlkly MDL Novice

    Aug 25, 2010
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    Oh, wow! I totally did not expect that to work, since the repair install was supposed to take me back to SP1, removing any other updates. But somehow whatever Microsoft screwed up persisted across the repair install. I installed that hotfix, started explorer.exe (even though there were other copies of explorer.exe running) and it gave me that "personalizing your settings" dialog and then launched the start menu/desktop.

    Makes me wonder what would have happened had I found that before I did the repair install. I tried manually uninstalling the update you mentioned, but the uninstall failed.

    For future reference, before I started explorer.exe, I also installed a replacement shell called Emerge Desktop. I never actually ran it, uninstalling it once Explorer started working right. So, while I think it's highly unlikely, maybe that installation did something, too.
     
  3. oldsh_t

    oldsh_t MDL Expert

    Dec 23, 2009
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    I have never done a repair install myself because I have never needed to, but I would not think that a repair install would eliminate any updates. As far as I know it is to repair screwed up and missing files. Yes KB3004394 was a screwup and yes KB3024777 fixed it, but neither one of these would have been on your disc anyways. So the repair install would have done nothing for you, if you follow me;)

    Emerge Desktop would have nothing to do with this since the KB3024777 fixed the problem. This was a problem with M$ only.
     
  4. trlkly

    trlkly MDL Novice

    Aug 25, 2010
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    If it didn't uninstall them, it sure thinks it did. I have over 600 MB listed in Windows update, and my installed updates list is empty. (I'm hesitant to install them, for obvious reasons.) And every guide I read told me I'd have to install a bunch of updates when I was finished.

    I actually assumed it was just that the root certificate store was not rolled back, for security reasons. The one from the disk was older, so it was ignored.
     
  5. oldsh_t

    oldsh_t MDL Expert

    Dec 23, 2009
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    Well like I said I have never done a repair install, and I guess that I was wrong in saying that the updates would not be eliminated. Sorry!:( But the fact is you have done the repair install, and if the updates are missing then you will have to Install them again. Not to worry about the updates, the one that screwed you up was removed by M$ in their update server. So all is good to go as of now.