Desktop shows cute picture but no icons or taskbar

  bof:) 12:54 19 Jun 2009

Hi All, my brother has been given a Dell Series 5000, model DCSM for his son to use and he asked me to help him set it up.

Up on booting up you do not see the black screen with Bios option, a picture of the previous owners kids appears on the Desktop but there are
no icons or a task bar.

This happens every time you boot up.
This is what I’ve tried so far to fix this:

( as per instruction book that came with PC, “ Press F12 key at boot up straight after Dell Logo appears” )….no Dell logo appears during boot up so I tried pressing F12 button at different periods during boot up…no response.

I’ve also tried pressing F8 into Safe Mode….no response
Once booted up and Desktop shows just picture of previous owners kids.

- pressed ‘Windows’ Key on the keyboard…no response.

- Right click on blank space on Desktop, left click ‘Properties’… response.

- Right click gave menu showing ‘Open Office’ option. Clicked on this and opened Open Office, wrote a letter and saved it onto Desktop. Icon appeared on Desktop. Icon can be opened ok.

- Right click menu /new/ shortcut/ …. Made a short cut to C:\
Went to Properties/Tools/Error Checking/ rebooted PC and could here it working. No noise from PC after three hours just back to picture of kids, no icons….rebooted PC no change.

Using shortcut to HD looked into windows32, …not sure what to do after that.
Went back to desktop and made a short cut to D drive, there was a ‘Recovery’ Folder and I went through it clicking on everything……no response.
Made a desktop icon to the cd drive, put a cd into drive with Avast Free version / MalwareBytes/ Spybot S & D on it. Tried to start each of the programs in turn… response.

Copied and pasted Avast etc. from cd to the Desktop and Installing/running them….no response.
Tried putting both the Recovery Disk and the XP Home cd into the cd drive and rebooting each time….. No response.
I’m now at a loss with regards to what to try next….so can you guys help me out??

Many thanks,


  T I M B O 13:30 19 Jun 2009

It seems to me you have tried just about everything, but to no avail. If you are getting old documents from previous owner & that system is not playing ball, id be more inclined to wipe that hard drive. Does that computer have a floppy disk drive ??

  bof:) 13:59 19 Jun 2009

Hi TIMBO, unfortunatly, the PC does not have a floppy drive.

The PC has been given to my nephew by another family member. This family member deleted all of their private documents before giving the PC to my nephew.

There was also a message from them saying, 'my nephew would have to re-install everything onto the pc'.

But it seems that nothing I do either allows Recovery to take place or get rid of the cute picture on the screen or make the desktop icons and taskbar appear.

I suppose formatting the C:\ part of the HD would clear everything but:

1. how do I do this safely?
2.would it allow me to use the D:\ part of the HD to try a recovery?


So I,m now at a loss with how to go forward from here ?


  T I M B O 14:11 19 Jun 2009

Ok, here we go! can you check for me to make sure you can see files & data on cd's from the cd-rom drive in that computer please..;-))

Now you also stated you have the recovery cd's avaliable..

If you have a pen drive then you need to go here >> click here

Install this onto the pen drive. Reall all the instructions.

If you dont have a pen drive, and you can burn the image to a cd then use this >> click here

Again read the instructions fully !!

Once u have this software installed on a cd or a pen drive then insert cd or pen drive into usb and reboot. The u will come to a blur & white text screen, type in "autonuke" and let it do it's thing. To be on the safe side and you know what you are getting yourself into , then please study this web page >>click here

I use this software all the time & has always served me well.

Since this computer has no lap top then also best to check the bios settings 1st boot device, the 1st item should be dvd-cd-rom
2nd should be HDD/hard drive

Best of luck !!

  T I M B O 14:14 19 Jun 2009

Also best to check the bios settings 1st boot device,
the 1st item should be dvd-cd-rom
2nd should be HDD/hard drive

Sorry about the text mix up there...

  bof:) 14:32 19 Jun 2009

Hi TIMBO, I'll read all of the links you've provided.

I cannot get into the bios as mentioned in 1st posting, when I boot up the PC, I do not get a black page showing which F buttons too press to get into bios. So I cannot reset the boot order at all.

I've systematically tried all of them at individual boot ups and none of them appeared to work.


  VoG II 14:39 19 Jun 2009

Some keys to try click here

  bof:) 15:24 19 Jun 2009

Hi VoG™, many thanks, as soon as I see my brother I'll give this a try. Dell Dimension series is F2 button at bootup.

I hope this works :-)


  woodchip 17:30 19 Jun 2009

Try removing the Motherboard Battery so it sets the BIOS back to Defaults. put it back in the correct way after about five minutes. and while its out press and hold the start button while power to the computer is turned off. this will clear any power in the board

  phono 17:43 19 Jun 2009

How to run the Dell diagnostics from HD or alternatively from the Drivers and Utilities CD at click here also diagnostic lights and beep codes.

Other links at click here

  dunc1234 18:13 19 Jun 2009

the problems you describe are the "explore.exe" file not working which launches your desktop. when you get the pc loaded to your blank desktop press control alt del keys to open the task manager window. from there click file/new task , in that window type in explorer.exe if that works post back and i'll look for the registry fix to solve the problem.


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