Brady
A moan, a groan, my life story and how me, a technically minded person just can't seem to fit in with anybody.

Windows XP explorer.exe missing or corrupt

So here’s a new one, recently at work we have had a number of XP Pro machines login but failed to load up explorer. The first thing you would attempt would be to start task manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete), start a new task and start explorer. Now when we did that we were getting an error saying that explorer was missing or corrupt. So we opened up CMD to browse the Windows directory only to find explorer was there and seemed fine…

We came across a fix to rename explorer to explorer2.exe and update the registry with regedit to point to the new explorer2.exe. This worked and proved there was nothing corrupt or missing but it wasn’t an ideal solution as it was quite long winded.

The problem started to appear with more and more PC’s on our network, this is no longer a coincidence. The problem is happening on different service packs of SP so we know its not an SP related issue. After doing a bit of searching around I found something called FixO. After running this and rebooting the PC explorer was now working great and it kept explorer as same name etc. You can get it here: FixO – Repair explorer.exe

Still this was a long way around script but at least it can be scripted into the login script. Anyway one of my work colleges found another solution, which seems to cure the problem but no idea why. It’s a simple one-line registry edit.

Open notepad and put the following in:

[html]
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\explorer.exe]
“Debugger”=-
[/html]

Save the file as a reg file. Then run this file in regedit, this simply removes the offending registry key that is causing problems. If you want you can just get the file here: Reg Fix – Fix No Desktop

So we still don’t know what’s causing this but we do have a temporary solution.