Question Explorer.exe Not Launching On Startup

Mar 22, 2019
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I have had a very unusual problem recently that I have never experienced in all my time of owning computers so I'm at a loss to how I can fix this. Basically "explore.exe" is failing to launch at startup and I'm met with a black screen and a command prompt window when I launch my PC. The weird thing is that almost everything else seems to be working and running fine in the background, so after some fiddling around I figured out I was able to open Task Manager and launch explorer.exe through the "Run new task" option on Task Manager, and that's basically how I've been using my PC for the past week or so.

To get to the point, I'm looking for a solution to my problem that doesn't involve me formatting my PC or using System Restore (sadly I don't have any restore points from before the problem began). As I said I've been able to use my PC fine using the method I described in the above paragraph but it's still problematic having to do that every time I start my PC, I also don't want to go through all the effort of getting everything I need off my PC and formatting it. Any help is appreciated!
 

gn842a

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Oct 10, 2016
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I have had a very unusual problem recently that I have never experienced in all my time of owning computers so I'm at a loss to how I can fix this. Basically "explore.exe" is failing to launch at startup and I'm met with a black screen and a command prompt window when I launch my PC. The weird thing is that almost everything else seems to be working and running fine in the background, so after some fiddling around I figured out I was able to open Task Manager and launch explorer.exe through the "Run new task" option on Task Manager, and that's basically how I've been using my PC for the past week or so.

To get to the point, I'm looking for a solution to my problem that doesn't involve me formatting my PC or using System Restore (sadly I don't have any restore points from before the problem began). As I said I've been able to use my PC fine using the method I described in the above paragraph but it's still problematic having to do that every time I start my PC, I also don't want to go through all the effort of getting everything I need off my PC and formatting it. Any help is appreciated!

You've never had MS software fail to perform???? What planet have you been on?

I think there is a good possibility your power supply is failing and I would advise you not to use the computer till you have another psu to test that hypothesis out. Either buy it or borrow it from a friend.

Here's a list of symptoms.

Be advised that you MUST NOT use your installed modular cables with any new or borrowed psu. Even if it is the same brand. You risk blowing out everything.

I would only move on to more drastic alternatives like reinstalling the OS once I was sure about the psu. Also, make sure you get an external hard drive and back up your personal files. You might be heading into a rough period.

Greg N
 
Mar 22, 2019
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You've never had MS software fail to perform???? What planet have you been on?

I think there is a good possibility your power supply is failing and I would advise you not to use the computer till you have another psu to test that hypothesis out. Either buy it or borrow it from a friend.

Here's a list of symptoms.

Be advised that you MUST NOT use your installed modular cables with any new or borrowed psu. Even if it is the same brand. You risk blowing out everything.

I would only move on to more drastic alternatives like reinstalling the OS once I was sure about the psu. Also, make sure you get an external hard drive and back up your personal files. You might be heading into a rough period.

Greg N
I have had problems with Windows before, I just meant this specific problem. I'll keep what you are saying in mind but if it was a PSU problem wouldn't I be experiencing other problems like my PC just cutting out? It seems a bit strange that the only problem would be explorer not launching on startup.

I've had a PSU fail on me in the past and in that case the PC would cut out from time to time, especially when I would play games. I have played plenty of games and used my computer a lot without any problems like that.
 
Mar 22, 2019
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I had a look at the link. I'm not experiencing any of the symptoms other than the fact that I'm having a startup problem, and even then the PC works just like normal after I use the workaround mentioned in my original post
 
Mar 22, 2019
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Were I you, I would simply try Doing a Windows 10 Repair Install or Feature Update Using the Windows 10 ISO file.

PSUs tend to fail entirely or work. I'm sure there's the rare exception that has "a wonky period" but I've not run into any of those in my professional career.
I'll try that. Like I said I don't think it's a PSU problem as I am having no issues besides explorer.exe not launching at startup, and I have dealt with PSU issues in the past (not with the PSU I'm using).
 
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gn842a

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It seems a bit strange that the only problem would be explorer not launching on startup.
? You mentioned "black screen" and "command prompt." Opening a browser causes a power drain from zero to "moderate" in task manager, when it is open and you're doing nothing it falls to "very low." I am interpreting this as a failure to meet the power requirement of opening the browser.

Why don't you run a few benchmarks like Unigine Superposition and Heaven. Those will start drawing a lot of power right away. If it's the psu there should be a symptom. If not, well, not every guy on the internet has the answers. So in this case that would be me not having the answers.

Greg N
 
Mar 22, 2019
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? You mentioned "black screen" and "command prompt." Opening a browser causes a power drain from zero to "moderate" in task manager, when it is open and you're doing nothing it falls to "very low." I am interpreting this as a failure to meet the power requirement of opening the browser.

Why don't you run a few benchmarks like Unigine Superposition and Heaven. Those will start drawing a lot of power right away. If it's the psu there should be a symptom. If not, well, not every guy on the internet has the answers. So in this case that would be me not having the answers.

Greg N
I never said anything about power drain or browsers, I think you've got this post mixed up with another in your head? Either way thanks for the help but my only problem is that explorer.exe isn't launching at startup, that's all.
 
Mar 22, 2019
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maybe you got hacked? i would do a Clean install
If I can't find any other solution I'll definitely do a clean install. I don't know if I have been hacked or anything like that but I've done scans for viruses and nothing has come up, and I'm usually pretty careful on the internet. I'm gonna try Britechguy's idea first and if that fails I'll do a clean install unless someone comes up with another solution.
 
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britechguy

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You are correct that a repair install (or feature update, when those are being done) allows one to keep all of one's files and apps (desktop/installed and store varieties).

My standard advice, in virtually all cases, (and presuming the probability of an infection has already been addressed) is:

1. Using SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management) to Repair Windows 8 & 10 (and in your case, you could try this first as well)

2. Doing a Windows 10 Repair Install or Feature Update Using the Windows 10 ISO file

3. Doing a completely clean reinstall.

I never choose the thermonuclear option, the completely clean install, until it's clear that this is the only viable option. I hate having to go through all the work of reconfiguring a machine from scratch if that can reasonably and safely be avoided.
 
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hftvhftv

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Have you tried booting into safe mode with networking? I'd run CCleaner to fix up any registry issues and do a malware scan. If that doesn't work then create a bootable Windows 10 USB and use it to repair your Windows installation.
 
Mar 22, 2019
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Have you tried booting into safe mode with networking? I'd run CCleaner to fix up any registry issues and do a malware scan. If that doesn't work then create a bootable Windows 10 USB and use it to repair your Windows installation.
No I haven't. I'll make sure to use CCleaner, I already have it, and I also plan on doing a repair install too if none of the previous things help.
 

britechguy

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Never,ever,ever,ever use registry cleaners, period.

That way very often lies madness.

I use CCleaner, or have, but no IT professional will recommend using its registry cleaner or any other.
 
Mar 22, 2019
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Never,ever,ever,ever use registry cleaners, period.

That way very often lies madness.

I use CCleaner, or have, but no IT professional will recommend using its registry cleaner or any other.
Why so? I used the registry cleaner option but it made a backup, so should I restore the backup?
 

britechguy

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I am on my smartphone at the moment, so I don't have access to my various scripts, including the one about not using registry cleaners. They are snake oil, at best, and can cause major malfunctioning in worst case scenarios.

Microsoft also expressly advises against their use and has never had an "in-house" registry cleaner. Those two facts speak volumes.
 

gn842a

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Just to be clear by "explorer.exe" I'm talking about the file explorer, the thing that displays your desktop and other things, not the browser. I'm assuming you thought I was talking about the browser?
Right you are that is the source of my confusion. Sorry to be at a tangent to what everyone else is talking about. GN
 

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