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Article ID: 318027 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 6.0

This article was previously published under Q318027

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Symptoms

When you start Windows XP or you log on to Windows XP, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • When you start Windows XP, the Windows Logo is displayed, and then the screen turns black or blue, or only the wallpaper is displayed.
  • After you log on to Windows XP, you cannot see the Start button or the taskbar.
  • After you log on to Windows XP, the screen turns black or blue, or only the wallpaper is displayed, or only the icons are displayed.

Cause

This behavior may occur for one of the following reasons:
  • The Auto-hide the taskbar option has been selected for the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties.
  • Your user account settings are corrupted.
  • The core files are damaged.
  • The Explorer.exe file does not load during startup.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Make sure that the auto-hide option is not enabled for Taskbar and Start Menu Properties

To determine whether the auto-hide option is not enabled for Taskbar and Start Menu Properties, follow these steps:
  1. Press CRTL+ESC.
  2. If the Start menu appears, right-click the Start menu, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Taskbar tab, clear the Auto-hide the taskbar check box, and then click OK.

Method 2: Log on as a different user

Log off as the current user, and try to log on to the computer as a different user. If logging on as different user resolves this problem, create a new user account, and try to copy the settings from the old user account to the newly created user account. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Restart the computer. When the Power On Self Test (POST) is complete, press F8.
  2. On the Windows Advanced Options Menu, use the ARROW keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.
  3. When you are prompted to select which operating system to start, select Microsoft Windows XP edition where edition is the edition of Windows XP that is installed, and then press ENTER.
  4. On the To begin, click your user name screen, click Administrator.
  5. Type the administrator password, and then click the arrow button.

    Note In some cases, the Administrator password may be set to a blank password. In this case, do not enter a password before you click the arrow button.
  6. Click Yes to close the message that states that Windows is running in safe mode.
  7. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
  8. In the Computer Management (Local) list, expand Local Users and Groups.
  9. Right-click the Users folder, and then click New User.
  10. Type the user name and password in the appropriate boxes, and then retype the password in the Confirm password box.

    Note If you do not want to assign a password to the user account, do not type a password in the Password or Confirm password boxes.
  11. Click to clear the User must change password at next logon check box.
  12. Click to select the Password never expires check box if you do not want the password to expire.
  13. Click Create, click Close, and then exit the Computer Management snap-in.
  14. Restart Windows as usual, and then log on as the new user that you created.
If the issue is resolved, reinstall the programs that you want, and then copy the documents that you want from the My Documents folder of the old user account. To copy the contents of the My Documents folder of the old user account, follow these steps:
  1. Log off Windows.
  2. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE two times.

    The Log On to Windows dialog box appears.
  3. In the User name box, type Administrator. In the Password box, type the administrator password, and then click OK.
  4. Right-click Start, and then click Explore.
  5. In the Folders tree, expand the old user account under Documents and Settings.
  6. Click user name's Documents where user name is the name of the old user account with which you experience this issue.
  7. On the Edit menu, click Select All, and then click Copy on the Edit menu.
  8. Under Documents and Settings, expand the new user account folder.
  9. Click new user's Documents where new user is the name of the new user account that you created.
  10. On the Edit menu, click Paste.
  11. If you are prompted to replace files or folders, click Yes to All to confirm the replacement.
  12. On the File menu, click Close.
  13. Log off Windows.
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
811151  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/811151/ ) How to copy data from a corrupted user profile to a new profile

Method 3: Start your computer in safe mode with networking enabled

Restart your computer, and select the Safe Mode with Networking option. If some application is loading or crashing before Explorer loads, follow these steps:
  1. If you have a virus scan utility on your computer, run a full scan of your computer.
  2. Run Microsoft Update or Windows Update, and apply all the updates.
  3. Restart your computer to see whether the problem goes away.

Method 4: Start your computer in safe mode

Restart your computer, and select the Safe Mode option. If Explorer is starting, check whether any startup applications are causing the problem. You can use Windows Defender or the System Configuration Utility to check the startup programs. For more information about how to download and to install Windows Defender, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx)
To check the startup programs, follow these steps:
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+Delete, and then click Task Manager.
  2. Right-click explorer.exe, and then click End Process.
  3. If Explorer restarts automatically, Explorer is fine, and you must use Windows Defender or the System Configuration Utility to stop programs from starting at startup.

Windows Defender

To use Windows Defender, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Defender.
  2. Click Tools, and then click Software Explorer.
  3. Select Startup Programs from the Category list.
  4. Click a program name in the Name column that you want to disable, and then click Disable.
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until you find the bad program that is causing the problem.
  7. You can then decide to uninstall the program or to apply the latest update for that program.

System Configuration Utility

To use the System Configuration Utility, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type msconfig, and then click OK.
  2. Click the Startup tab. The Startup tab lists all programs that start during startup.
  3. Disable any program on the Startup tab that you think may be causing the problem. To do this, click to clear the check box that is next to the program, and then click OK.

    Note Not every file name has a user-friendly name in System Configuration Utility. We recommend that you clear all check boxes for file names that do not have user-friendly names, and see whether the problem is resolved when you restart your computer.
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until you find the bad program that is causing the problem.
  6. You can then decide to uninstall the program or to apply the latest update for that program.

Method 5: Repair Windows XP

Perform an in-place repair of Windows XP. To do this, start the installation of Windows XP, but select the option to repair the existing installation. This will replace all the Windows files. However, the installed programs and the data will remain intact.

For more information about how to perform an in-place repair of Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
315341  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315341/ ) How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP

References

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314503  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314503/ ) Computer stops responding with a black screen when you start Windows XP
818150  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/818150/ ) Start menu and Windows Task Bar are missing after you upgrade to Windows XP
915165  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/915165/ ) The Windows taskbar is missing after you remove Windows XP Service Pack 2 from a Windows XP-based computer

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbresolve kbenv kbprb KB318027
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