Windows Startup does not Load Desktop/Explorer

About two months back, Chiranjib had written an article about explorer.exe not loading at Wiindows Startup. It was a good article but what it was lacking was the no. of methods that can be used to solve the problem. I love to have many different methods by which we can solve a problem. A commentator named Wayne gave a solution in the comments which was worth a look.
I had gotten into the same problem and the solution Wayne gave fixed my issue. That’s why I want to mention it here instead of comments so that everybody can benefit from it. I’m formatting his comment for better visibility.

If Desktop is not loading at Windows startup, that means that Explorer.exe is not loading or if it’s loading, it’s getting held somewhere. To start Explorer.exe to get the desktop back do that following:

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  1. Press Ctrl – Alt – Delete and select Task Manager. You can also use Ctrl – Shift – Esc to open task manager directly.
  2. Go to the processes tab and make sure that Explorer.exe is not running at the moment. If it’s running, kill the process by right clicking it and selecting End Process.
  3. Now go to applications tab and select New Task. A dialog box will open. Type explorer in it and press enter.

create new task explorer
This is a one time solution. Now if this problem is permanently occurring then you should do the following steps:

  1. Go to start –> Run –> regedit
  2. In the registry editor, go to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWinlogon
  3. In the right hand pane, find the entry called Shell. Make sure its value is Explorer.exe, nothing else.
  4. Reboot your computer for the results.

If you find it difficult to manipulate the registry, I have made a registry file that will make sure that Shell entry has explorer.exe in it. You can download the registry file from the following location. Just double click it and add the information to registry.
[download id=”184″]

16 thoughts on “Windows Startup does not Load Desktop/Explorer”

  1. Hi good day I just want to say thank you for who post regarding Restore Desktop/Explorer.exe On Startup. It helps me a lot. Now my laptop is now running smoothly….

  2. Okay, so i already tried running explorer.exe (it is already running). the Shell registry only has explorer.exe.
    Here is what is happening to my computer:
    ~Taskbar loads perfectly.
    ~All programs run fine.
    ~Desktop wallpaper DOES appear, and is changeable.
    ~Desktop icons do NOT appear.
    ~Desktop selection box does appear when i click and drag on the desktop.

  3. @ Morgan
    Go to your power settings and mess around, that’s how I fixed mine when I had the same situation that you had.

  4. This solution is not also a permanent. This is caused by virus. Install a good antivirus like Quick Heal, Kaspersky, Bit defender will solve the problem permanently. If this problem happen due to some error then it can be solved by the Prescribed Above.

  5. Thanks, Its working fine.
    Shell had two entries explorer.exe regsvr.exe as suggested I deleted regsvr.exe voilla Windows 7 is working fine now.

  6. Thanks, Its working fine.
    Shell had two entries explorer.exe regsvr.exe as suggested I deleted regsvr.exe voilla Windows 7 is working fine now.
    for a detailed follow up for not so skilled users, this is how you need to go…I have added greater sign (>) to go to next entry.
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows NT>CurrentVersion>Winlogon
    # In the right hand pane, find the entry called Shell. Make sure its value is Explorer.exe, nothing else.
    # Reboot your computer for the results.

  7. this is what is going on
    it logs me into a temp user name i cant access anything and everything made in the temp is deleted when i log out of it its happend before when i a password on my login screen i took the password off and made another account on my laptop after going through with the people at dell -__- i checked the stuff above and its fine but it keeps doing this and i restored to the last time before an update twice

  8. Hi, I have a windows 7 system in which I cannot change the desktop theme or cannot insert any pictures. Only the solid colour can be applied. Is there any way to do it.

  9. Windows Vista did this and now Windows 7 does it too. This is unforgivable. WTF is the matter with Microsoft? Can’t they do anything right? I will never buy another Microsoft product. I am boycotting Microsoft from now on.. Next computer will be an Apple.

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