Hzave read previous threads on lost taskbar etc.. but my problem looks different. Problem suddenly started yesterday morning. Switch on pc and instead of the usual XP welcome, which lists the various user accounts (you select one, then enter p/w) a small Windows log-in window pops up and I have to manually enter the username, then p/w. Desktop comes up, but all is not well. The taskbar and quick launch area (inc. Start button) is greyed out. It hasn't disappeared. The buttons at bottom right of screen (timeclock, etc..) are there ok. Desktop icons look ok. If I select something, e.g. IE, I can get onto the internet but the taskbar icons at the top are not all there. Same if I go into Windows Explorer. Also, ctrl-alt-del does nothing. I have to manually switch pc off to close down (no Start button).
Don't know if this would work or not but from Taskar and Start properties try switching from XP mode to classic mode. See if this restores your missing bits. You can then try switching it back again if it does. Not exactly sure on a system restore - you could lose some data from the date of your last system restore fix.
Was unable to install the Taskbar repair as "system not configured properly". Also unable to run previous applications such as Nero and WinZip for the same reason. I have now restored the system to the last restore point (Thursday evening) and all now seems well. Interstingly, later Thursday evening, I did a Windows update and that could be what caused the problems - the next time the pc was booted up.
Presume that was KB867801 - the cumulative security update to I.E.6 (SP1). which I installed yesterday. Wouldn't be the first time MS updates caused problems. My PC lost contact with the ISP after install and reboot. But left it for a while and tried again later and was okay.
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