Cannot open Windows Explorer & other issues

  Horta 15:30 30 Jul 2009

Hi Folks,
I've tried finding a similar thread to this before posting but maybe I've missed it.
I’m having problems with my Dell Inspiron 1000 laptop, (OS Windows XP Home Edition)
1) Lately I cannot open Windows Explorer either from the desktop shortcut or from Accessories (Start/All Programmes/Accessories).
2) I can’t open the Start Menu & Task Bar from the icon in Control Panel.
3) The Desktop display shows a side bar I normally see when accessing Control panel under one of the display options (the opposite of Classic view).
4) Some of the drop down menus are transparent or just the box outline shows.

I’m not very knowledgeable regarding PC’s and software but I’m wondering if all of the above are related to either a disruption in the shutdown procedure, after the laptop’s been powered off following a inordinately long “hang” or some bug that’s got into the system.

I’ve run SpyNoMore, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwares’ Anti-Malware and CCleaner, but to no effect.
The laptop has McAffee Security Centre and Virgin Broadband PCguard. I try to keep up with the latest recommended security software, but accept I may have fallen behind lately.
I can enclose an HijackThis log if need be. It’s way beyond my abilities to interpret it!
I’d be grateful for any advice.
Thanks in advance.

  woodchip 15:31 30 Jul 2009

Have you tried pressing Win Key plus E key

  Horta 15:42 30 Jul 2009

By that I take it you mean the one with the flag on it and nope no joy... but thanks anyway.

  woodchip 15:49 30 Jul 2009

Can you get to System Restore to try running it to a old date?????

  Horta 16:32 30 Jul 2009

Hope this doesn't come up 3 times....
I've tried System restore and it didn't affect it. There was only 1 restore point I could go to. On the basis of returning to square 1 I've undone the restoration. Do you think I'm looking at a Windows XP reinstallation?

  rdave13 17:01 30 Jul 2009

Running McAfee security centre and Virgin Broadband PC guard both at the same time is not a good idea.
It looks as you have doubled up on firewalls and antiviruses. Also real time scanning of spyware.
If these are the two security packages;
click here

click here

Try uninstalling one of the suits via task manager. CTRL+ALT and DELETE keys to bring up task manager, click on file, new task(run) and type Control panel. This should open control panel so you can uninstall one of them. Running more than one firewall and av will create a conflict and I've seen it disabling Internet Explorer.

  Horta 17:19 30 Jul 2009

Sorry rdave13 , "Temporary Brain Hang" took place whilst posting the original missive. I'm using a desktop to email and mixed up the security systems. On the affected laptop only Virgin Broadband refers. However any suggestions as to which of SpyNoMore, SuperAntiSpyware, Malwares’ Anti-Malware I should dump?

  rdave13 17:49 30 Jul 2009

SpyNoMore isn't on a favourites list; click here
It's possibly a Vundo infection. I'd join a malware removal specialist site. There are many sites: such as Virus Vault click here etc.

  woodchip 17:57 30 Jul 2009

If you have a Full XP cd you could do a Repair, it may correct it. A restore disc is no good to repair XP with. It just puts it back to when you got the PC

  Horta 19:17 30 Jul 2009

Rdave13 & woodchip, I'm awaiting acceptance to Virus Vault to place the enquiry and if they confirm there's no virus after checking the Hijack file I'll run a Repair and see what that does. I'll report back, in the meantime thanks for the advice, I'd rather be trying options than to be racking my brains trying to figure out the next step! :)

  Horta 00:17 01 Aug 2009

rdave13, thanks for your message on the other site and no apology necessary.

As I was about to close for the night last night I became curious as to whether the problems affected the Guest account or just my own. To my relief there were no issues on that account and today I opened a new account, gave it administrator rights, waited for a folder to be created by default of relevant files etc which would appear on the new desktop and once completed I deleted the old account.

I also ran a defrag exercise for good measure, and so far so good. It's a lucky solution and preferable to an XP repair or reinstallation task, I feel.

Thanks again for your advice and likewise to woodchip, much appreciated.

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