How to Fix the Explorer.exe Problem in Windows XP When the Task Bar Disappears

By Editorial Team

Updated September 28, 2017

You can solve the Explorer.exe in Microsoft Windows XP. This problem occurs when the Windows task bar and desktop icons disappear and reappear, not allowing the user to perform any task. When the computer is booted, the desktop initially appears normal and programs appear to run properly. But all the icons and task bar disappear suddenly. They eventually reappear. But the process doesn't allow you to perform any tasks. This problem always reoccurs when the computer is booted.

The problem appears due to a corrupt Explorer.exe file. The cause may have been a Trojan virus attack when you downloaded a file from the Internet. The solution will provide a temporary fix to the problem. However, it's recommended to reinstall Windows XP in the near future.

If the task bar isn't visible at all, you'll need to press the "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" keys simultaneously to open Windows Task Manager. From the "Applications" tab, click the "New Task..." button. The Create New Task dialog opens. Enter "explorer.exe" (without quotes) in the field and click "OK." You'll need to do this several times if your task bar disappears again. The Windows Explorer window appears.

Navigate to "My Computer," then the "C:\WINDOWS" folder.

Copy the "Explorer.exe" icon and paste it in the same folder. A file "Copy of Explorer.exe" will be created in the folder. Now change the file name to "your name.exe."

Navigate to the "Start" menu and select "Run." In the Run field, type "regedit" (without quotes) and press "Enter." Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon. In this folder, you'll find a sub named "shell." Double- click it and rename the "explorer.exe" to "yourname.exe."

Restart your computer after making the change. Your desktop will be back to normal.


Use the Task Manager by pressing the "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" keys simultaneously to run Explorer.exe temporarily while following the procedure.


Do not change other settings in the Windows Registry. This may cause serious problems to your operating system and computer startup.