Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista

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Offline jimc52

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Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista
« on: October 06, 2009, 01:39:41 PM »
I am a help desk person who assists other people in troubleshooting windows problems. I help people every day and what I have noticed is a severe increase in the number of people complaining about missing desktop icons and task bar, both in XP and Vista. Do any of the experts here know of a specific virus or Trojan infection that targets the desktop task bar and/or icons (making them disappear or make them unrecoverable)? I would like to know which virus' or Trojans are responsible for this by name, if possible.  What security products are known to remedy these attacks?

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Offline 1972vet

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Re: Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 04:39:54 PM »
I've not heard of a recent virus that would explain the issues you describe, but there are some Microsoft articles which detail very similar issues Here, and Here. Although those are older, they may nevertheless be relevent depending on whether or not those folks are up to date with Windows Updates.

Regardless, Kelly's Korner offers a fix for the taskbar issue Here...and the active desktop issue can be remedied Here (left column, #16)
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Offline Digerati

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Re: Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2009, 07:06:00 AM »
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I have noticed is a severe increase in the number of people complaining about missing desktop icons and task bar, both in XP and Vista.
I agree with 1972Vet, I have not seen, and can not find a trend indicating this problem is on the rise, or am aware of any new threats. By no means does that mean it is not happening - we just have not seen it. It has, however, been a problem since the beginning of Windows, through, and including Windows 7 - as a simple search with Google shows. I have seen it often over the years, and it is typically caused by Windows  Explorer (not Internet Explorer) having problems, typically resolved with a log out and back in, or a reboot.

So the question I would ask is have you noticed a trend or pattern to this problem? That is, do these clients all work in the same place or on the same network? Do they use a common program? Similar hardware? Is it all desktop icons? Or just certain icons? Is it always the taskbar too, or sometime just the icons, or just the taskbar?

How did you fix these machines?

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What security products are known to remedy these attacks?
There's no way to remedy them - not until voters and taxpayers pony up and demand their elected officials force UN member nations to crack down on corrupt and uncooperative governments and enforce the laws. So in the meantime, Internet users are forced to fend for themselves and that is done same as always - through safe computing practices. That is, users must keep their system patched, updated, scanned and blocked, and users must, at all times, avoid risky behavior like visiting illegal porn and gambling sites and participating in illegal filesharing of copyrighted materials (songs, videos, and published documents) on P2P sites that cater to such activities.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
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Offline PCBruiser

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Re: Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 08:13:42 AM »
There is a common non-malware cause for these issues as well: corrupted video drivers.  Log into Safe Mode on one of the systems with the problem, and if the icons and taskbar reappear then the video drivers are the problem.  Safe Mode uses Microsoft's generic VGA drivers, not the vidcard manufacturer's.

I admit that this is not a likely thing to happen in multiple systems like you are seeing but it is worth posting for future reference.

BTW, the fix is to uninstall the corrupted drivers using the Add/Remove CP, download Driver Sweeper:

http://downloads.guru3d.com/Guru3D---Driver-Sweeper-%28Setup%29_d1655.html

Boot into Safe Mode and then run Driver Sweeper a couple of times to complete the cleanup of the old drivers.  Then boot back into normal Windows and install the latest vid drivers from the vidcard's manufacturer's site.
Don't Read?  Can't learn!

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Offline sandybeach

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Re: Missing Desktop Icons and Taskbar in XP & Vista
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2010, 03:20:28 AM »
In Addition to the above good advice, I often find repair scripts for XP etc. at Kelly's Korner including desktop Icon & toolbar fixes & many, many more:
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm  :t w1

Additionally, Super AntiSpyware (free) SAS includes about 15 auto fixes under Preferences>Tools
including repairs for desktop etc.
http://www.superantispyware.com/

Sandy :t  :)1