Windows can't find explorer.exe

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RJ

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I don't get any desktop icons and start bar. When I use the task
manager to start explorer.exe I get "Windows cannot find
'C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe even though it is there. So I copied
explorer.exe to explorercopy.exe and that copy of explorer works. So
it's not the program or association that's the problem. I then renamed
the copied program to the original name and that failed. So it's
actually the name explorer.exe that is the problem. Can anyone help?
Can I change the registry to point to this copied version of explorer
that works?
 

RJ

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RJ wrote:
> I don't get any desktop icons and start bar. When I use the task
> manager to start explorer.exe I get "Windows cannot find
> 'C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe even though it is there. So I copied
> explorer.exe to explorercopy.exe and that copy of explorer works. So
> it's not the program or association that's the problem. I then renamed
> the copied program to the original name and that failed. So it's
> actually the name explorer.exe that is the problem. Can anyone help?
> Can I change the registry to point to this copied version of explorer
> that works?

Just wanted to add that I renamed the winlogon shell registry entry to
explorero.exe and then it worked. What could possibly be wrong with
the explorer.exe name and can I correct it?
 

RJ

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RJ wrote:
> I don't get any desktop icons and start bar. When I use the task
> manager to start explorer.exe I get "Windows cannot find
> 'C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe even though it is there. So I copied
> explorer.exe to explorercopy.exe and that copy of explorer works. So
> it's not the program or association that's the problem. I then renamed
> the copied program to the original name and that failed. So it's
> actually the name explorer.exe that is the problem. Can anyone help?
> Can I change the registry to point to this copied version of explorer
> that works?

Just wanted to add that I renamed the winlogon shell registry entry to
explorero.exe and then it worked. What could possibly be wrong with
the explorer.exe name and can I correct it?
 

RJ

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I finally fixed this problem. I was running AUTORUNS from SYSINTERNALS
(you guys are awesome). There was this entry:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution
Options

+ explorer.exe File not found: C:\WINDOWS\System32\grpmnt.exe

I deleted then fixed the registry entry that I previously changed and
it now works.
 
G

Guest

Guest
This issue is usually related to a virus infection. What happened to a client of mine was as follows:

- System gets infected by virus
- Antivirus software is installed, including updates
- Antivirus software runs, cleans out several infected files
- At next boot, Windows shell does not run
- When in Task Manager (started by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL), when choosing File, Run and entering explorer.exe, error message "Windows cannot find explorer.exe".
- If you open a DOS prompt and browse to C:\WINDOWS and do DIR EX*., explorer.exe shows up. You can rename the file, delete the file, etc.; the file is clearly there.
- If you try to replace explorer.exe with a copy from a Windows installation CD, you still get "Windows cannot find explorer.exe"

The registry entry HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/Current Version/Image File Execution Options/explorer.exe has a key similar to "Debugger" with value similar to "C:\Windows\Infected.exe".

The antivirus software has successfully removed Infected.exe, but it has not done anything to remedy the registry entry created by the virus; it is this registry entry that is causing Windows not to be able to run explorer.exe, and unfortunately the Windows error message is not really accurate.

The solution then is to remove the "Debugger" registry key. Then, explorer.exe has no restrictions when you attempt to run it; after you do this, reboot, and you should find that the system is back to normal (assuming there are no other registry entries that have been altered, or other viruses on the system, etc.)
 

mistera1

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That worked! As Anonymous recommended, I deleted the "Debugger" registry key from the entry for Explorer, rebooted, and my desktop is now back. I realize now I had done what his client had ... run a new antivirus program (AVG 8), which successfully removed a virus. Apparently it left behind an offending Explorer registry item. BTW I tried many other remedies before stumbling upon this one, none of those helped. Thanks again. - Gil Arnold Raleigh, NC
 

morcott99

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This worked for me as well - Same Issue that it occurred after running a scan with AVG8.
Although I could access the explorer.exe in safe mode OK. just not in normal mode.
Anyway - Thanks - as I also spent 4 hours looking at the blnak desktop posts before comming across this one.
 

zyperplektor

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hey guys...

I have the exact same problem... I just can't seem to figure out how to remove the "Debugger" registry key... Can anyone tell me how to do this... Thank you very much..
 

WBL

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press Ctrl + Shift + Esc

then file new task, type regedit

then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image Execution Options\

in this list there will be a entry explorer.exe right click on it and export it. then on the right hand side delete the "debugger" key.

Becareful regedit is dangerious if you aren't paying attention, always backup keys before you play with them.
 

helpmetoo

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I can't find explorer.exe in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image Execution Options\

I find it under applications. Is that it?

Your help is appreciated.
 

olani

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:cry:


Explorer.exe isn't listed. any other solutions? Thanks
 

TrevorHB

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I have this problem too!
Now the comment "Be careful regedit is dangerous" kind of scares me a bit.
Secondly, having followed the instructions, found explorer.exe, right clicked to do the export "command", I then get a dialogue box which is not mentioned in your procedure: suggesting I export it to my documents, and I am also asked for a file name (I assume explorer.exe would be the file name).... do I just click save and then delete the "debugger key" and quit then re-boot?
It occurs to me that if I've exported explorer.exe to my documents, I should then import it again once my system has re-booted.
You see I'm only suggesting what my instincts tell me, but a little knowledge can be very dangerous!!!!
I would be grateful for a little more advise.
Many thanks for any help you may be able to provide, Chrres, Trevor
 

gstool

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WBL wrote:
press Ctrl + Shift + Esc

then file new task, type regedit

then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image Execution Options\

in this list there will be a entry explorer.exe right click on it and export it. then on the right hand side delete the "debugger" key.

Becareful regedit is dangerious if you aren't paying attention, always backup keys before you play with them."

Thank you for this wonderful fix. After several hours of trying to solve this problem, your post was a life saver. To get to this point several other posts were very helpful in helping figure out how to get information out of a blank screen system. Finding out that a re-named explorer.exe would run when explorer.exe wouldn't helped a lot.

Does anyone know of a downside to having deleted this registry key?

Thanks. Gerry
 

brendangarland

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Worked for me, I could see by typing c:\windows\system32 that explorer was actually there, but would not run. I deleted debugger key , worked great . Pc was infected by spywareguard 2008 (green sheild) I removed that with malwarebytes. Good Luck

Brendan
Computer Junkies
www.computerjunkiesonline.com
 

cm245

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Same issue for me, and I would appreciate additional assistance. Dell Dimension E310 computer with XP Media Center. Only the background appears on bootup. With Task Manager, I can start explorer.exe but it quits immediately. The file is located in C:\Windows. Renaming the file did not help for me. Checking the registry: (HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options), I do not have an explorer.exe entry to delete. Using Task manager I have run scans and cleaning tools that I have (Ad-Aware, Spybot, Spy Sweeper, AVG, Trojan remover, Malware Bytes tools, UnHackMe, CCleaner, CWSchredder, Counterspy, etc.). I have also removed the hard drive and ran scans as a slave drive in a different machine. Tried Windows refresh multiple times, no errors during install, but does not solve the problem. Getting close to doing a clean Windows install, but I noticed this thread had current comments, so thought I would give it a try. Thanks, Charlie
 
G

Guest

Guest
I use Kaspersky and I've just solved this problem on my computer. When you open Kaspersky, find Quarantine (in Reports and Data Files) and you should see explorer.exe there, on the list. Click on it and and then select Restore. Then go to Task Manager (Alt+Ctrl+Delete)>New Task, type explorer.exe and OK. Worked for me. Good luck.
 

amystraz

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Here's my experience...

MY PROBLEM:
- System gets infected by virus
- Antivirus software is installed (Norton 2009), including updates
- Antivirus software runs, cleans out several infected files
- At next boot, Windows shell does not run
- When in Task Manager (started by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL), when choosing File, Run and entering explorer.exe, error message "Windows cannot find explorer.exe".
- If you open a DOS prompt and browse to C:\WINDOWS and do DIR EX*., explorer.exe shows up. You can rename the file, delete the file, etc.; the file is clearly there.
- If you try to replace explorer.exe with a copy from a Windows installation CD, you still get "Windows cannot find explorer.exe"

THE SOLUTION:
press Ctrl + Shift + Esc

then file new task, type regedit

then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image Execution Options\

in this list there will be a entry explorer.exe right click on it and export it. then on the right hand side delete the "debugger" key.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
For the other people out there that aren't very computer savy (like myself) the "debugger" key is just a file on the right side of the window named "debugger". I was a bit freaked to just go into the system and delete a file, but I did and now my computer works again. Thanks to all for the previous posts.
 

ncman

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Thanks Amystraz

This was the solution I needed.

I had a virus report from AVG and it deleted the infection but must have left the corrupted registry entry in the process. The next time I rebooted the computer the desktop was gone. I had even done a re-install/repair of Windows XP and it still did not correct the problem with the registry.

After deleting the "debugger" line in the registry all was back to normal.
 

United Minds

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Thank you so much! You cannot imagine how helpful this tip is.
I had this message on a French Windows XP
"le système ne peut pas trouver le fichier" explorer.exe
And sadly, at startup, the desktop did not appear...
We say in French, "le bureau n'apparaît pas"...

Deleting this regedit key was definitely THE solution.

PS: I have included French words to help French people to find this solution.
Sorry for all those who cannot understand French.

PS2: To Virus makers, Please STOP immediately! Understand that many people (you do not even know) suffer from your acts. Is it what you really want to do??? Wouldn't it be better to do something good for the world?
 

chsall92

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I've have been having similar issues to most of the posts reporting problems here.(no icons, taskbar and start button do not appear)

I have AVG 8.0 and i scanned my computer, and explorer.exe is not found in any of the infections, spywares, warnings, and it's not in my virus vault. So i could not restore it.

i also tried the regedit. I followed all the steps and i do not have an explorer.exe file under image file execution options.

i have tried so much, checked so many different websites.
i ran a chkdsk which took about 3.5 hours to complete- did nothing.

i have also tried running my computer in safe mode and the icons and task bar still do not show up.

is there anything else?
 

chsall92

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also i made a copy of explorer.exe and when i clicked it. it simpy opened up my documents....
does this mean anything?
 
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