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My wife has a newer compaq presario. It's nothing special.

It has Windows Vista Home Premium.

I was watching a video this morning when the computer froze and restarted.

When it restarted it told me that it had to check the disks, which I let it do.

After that it seemed to load normally, until I got to the part with the desktop.

I have a blank screen with the mouse, and a single window.

The window is the normal kind, like you would get if you opened up the document folder. But no start menu, no desktop icons, nothing.

Through the window I can do everything normally . . . access every program and document on the computer, but no desktop.

I have tried restting the resolution, restarting the computer, taking out the battery and power cable.

When I go to restore from a backup, it tells me that it can't find a backup.

Has anyone heard of or seen this before?
Is your explorer.exe corrupted somehow? Go to the address bar in the open window and type in explorer.exe then hit Enter.

If your taskbar doesn't open or you get an error, report back in here.

Everything is back.

Will it stay this way, or is this an indication of a bigger problem?


It is the latter. This program called "anti malware doctor" which I didn't download pops up, then the computer freezes and goes into BSoD. I took a picture of the BSoD and will upload it asap.
Is it a "real" bsod? i had a similar virus that put up a false bsod , presumably so you would restart it to finish installation of its trash. Those kind of viruses are becoming more common, and extremely difficult to get rid of. I wish you luck.
I'm thinking that I might need to restore the whole system.

Maybe upgrade to Windows 7.
Fighting viruses is not worth the effort...format and do a fresh install of windows, it's by far the easiest way forward. If you need to back up files before you do that, unplug your computer from the internet, backup your files on an external, do the format and reinstall of windows, make sure everything's up to date (windows update, antivirus program updates, etc. etc.) and you've got a good antivirus package or two on your machine, and then do a scan on your external as soon as you plug it in (again, disconnected from the internet) and put your files back. And after that I'd probably format the external too.
I run Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, ComboFix for major major major malware infections and rootkits, and rkill to kill rootkits that prevents ComboFix from running. has a lot of good resources and instructions.
This may seem stupid (im kicking my self now) but how do you make recovery discs in Vista?

I can use the laptop, as long as I don't start explorer.exe. So my plan is to make recovery discs (something I should have done ASAP) and reinstall the OS.

EDIT: finally found out how to do this — what a backwards process. Computer is back up and running with a clean instal.

Now to teach the wife how to not download malware and other crap.

Me: "when you're browsing the internet and a window telling you that you have a virus and have to click 'OK' to get rid of it pops up, what do you do?"
Her: "I click 'OK,' isn't that what you're supposed to do?"
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