Technology Thoughts

Friday, August 11, 2006

Windows XP taskbar not showing up

This is a practical post to document a Windows XP problem a friend of mine has had. I did not found the solution in Google and thus it should be useful to put it somewhere.

This friend called me because when logging into Windows XP, just the wallpaper was shown: no taskbar or icons appeared. I told her to run "explorer.exe" from the task manager, but the taskbar just flashed in and out. One thing however: before executing anything from the task manager, an error dialog telling something about some Google file missing was shown.

We opened regedit and looked for Google and found the UninstallString of Google desktop and ran it. Apparently the deinstallation succeeded and the error dialog disappeared, but the taskbar still won't show up.

I end up going to my friend's home and trying deinstalling more things ("XP Styles", an antivirus), deactivating shell extensions, running Ad-Aware, using Process Explorer and FileMon and RegMon, restoring XP to an older saved state, and nothing worked.

Just before resorting to repariring the XP, I thought of looking back to the original Google desktop problem. I intended to delete any traces of the Google desktop directory and reinstalling it again, but in these directories I already found "GoogleDesktopSetup.exe". I ran it, rebooted (or maybe just logged out and in again), and there was the taskbar.

So Google desktop broke somehow (have no idea of how) and after that Explorer did not start properly, even though Google desktop seemed to have been deinstalled, and the problem was not fixed until Google desktop was installed again. A pity that a so well-famed company as Google causes that kind of problems. I hate when something fails without saying anything about it.

Hope this helps somebody

64 Comments:

  • Hi, I got a sort of similar problem where all the tasks will not show on the current taskbar. The taskbar itself is visible and so is the quicklaunch and the system tray items. But if for example word and windows explorer is open, those objects will not showup in the taskbar itself but will appear in the alt+tab. Been looking in goolge for solutions but came up empty.. any ideas..
    Herman.

    By Blogger Herman Wendt, at 12:37 AM  

  • I've just had the same problem with no taskbar or desktop icons and the taskbar appearing for just a moment when I run "explorer.exe" from the Task Manager.

    Running "GoogleDesktopSetup.exe" and then "explorer.exe" fixed it (although I haven't rebooted yet :-))!

    Thanks.

    By Anonymous Matthew Barnett, at 4:18 PM  

  • This helped me! Thanks for the post

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:19 PM  

  • Finally! I have been struggling for the last month trying to fix my PC which has had the exact same problem. I had tried everything, including reinstalling XP (repair), virus scans, the works, but I found this tonight, reinstalled Google Desktop, and its all up and running again now. Who would have thought...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 AM  

  • interesting finding. My freshly installed windows XP started freezing and the taskbar essentially disappears (black bar instead). I reboot, computer is fine but after a while (5 mins to a few hours) it happens again. By disabling one startup item at a time I identified google desktop search as the culprit. This is the only page on the web I found with issues with explorer.exe and google desktop search. This is happening even with the latest version (downloaded and installed 1/24/06) despite uninstall and reinstall.
    Love the search results(better than windows search that I have previously tried) but can't use it if it crashes my system..
    thanks for noting this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 AM  

  • I am having exactly the same problem with Herman. It happened an hour ago. I am hopeless because I all my searches return silly solutions for people who accidentally hide their entire task bar. Any ideas would be really helpful!

    vmp

    By Blogger vmp, at 1:18 PM  

  • Herman, I got us a solution!!!
    The solution is to reset taskbar registry keys to the original state. I found the default values on this web page: http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm
    You have to use the file "99. Restore the Task Bar to Default Settings".
    This is a registry file, but you have to import it to the registry while the eplorer.exe process is not running.

    Here is a way to do it:
    1. Save registry file (http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/regs_edits/restoretaskbar.reg)
    2. Double click on the saved file. It will ask you if you want to enter this information to the registry. DO NOT CLICK OK YET. Leave it there.
    3. Kill explorer.exe. To do it open the task manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) and on the processes tab, click on explorer.exe and then click the button "end process"
    4. Now that the desktop icons and the taskbar disappears, click the ok button for the registry
    5. From the task manager, click menu file->new task, and enter "explorer.exe" and ok.

    It worked for me. I had to enable the quick launch and language bar again (Right click on the taskbar -> toolbars).

    I hope it was helpful.

    Cheers.

    By Blogger vmp, at 1:55 PM  

  • Arggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

    A solution at last.

    I've been a tech-professional for 20 years and have never been so confused as when my desktop & taskbar mysteriously disappeared.

    Spent 12 hours today trying EVERYTHING short of a format/re-install (which was not really an option).

    As I was reading your post, I recalled that I had uninstalled GoogleDesktop -- hadn't used it in months. 2 minutes later, problem solved.

    Google sure F'd this thing up.

    Thanks for your post. Prevented a computer being thrown from the roof.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 PM  

  • hey vmp.. thanks alot!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 AM  

  • Hi. having the same proplem with my xe but when i run goolgedesktop.exe nothing comes up same is when i run explore.exe. i cant run add or remove programs so is it ok to just download a new version of google desktop

    By Blogger Millsey, at 12:18 PM  

  • But you can acces in internet or local network??? I have the same problem, but i can't access to internet o LAN with browsers (executed from taskmanager) but with Prompt Commands i can going out (ping, tracert, text browser, ftp)

    i had the same problem for 2 times on the same machine (AMD athlon 2600+, 1,5GB ram, NVIDIA Geforce 5200, chipset Nforce 2 MCP)

    But i have the same installation on 25 Machines, and haven't had this problem

    the problem appear after cleaning of registry and unused applications

    i use CCleaner and Eusing Free Registry Clenaer.

    Please give me an answer....

    By Blogger Ivan, at 2:31 AM  

  • Thanks a lot vmp, no need to look further

    (Ελλαδαρααααα)

    By Blogger Marios, at 4:18 AM  

  • i have the exact same problem but the only thing is that i dont have googledesktop..so what do i have to do now?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

  • I spent the whole day troubleshooting this disappearing taskbar and desktop, system restore, hundreds of reboots, registry editing, your post finally got everything working again.
    I am usually very impressed with google and this is an absolute outrage, it should be posted and very easy to find on the google site. This makes it so that I cannot uninstall google desktop. very invasive. I now have to leave it installed and simply turn off the autostart. we need a google desktop uninstaller feature à la Norton Anti-virus, which was, until now, the worst offender. thanks again for an excellent and most helpful post.

    By Blogger Timothy James Pasch, at 8:20 PM  

  • I had a similar problem, but i uninstalled google desktop and it ruined my outlook performance, eventually the system just plain quit working so I am going to trying the google desktop reinstall.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 PM  

  • Google SUCKS. I installed DIVX which Also SUCKS and they snuck google desktop onto my machine, I WAS POD so I deleted the google directory and after that explorer.exe won't show up. I tried running the divx installer again but it won't re-install the google crap. WTF I used to admire both these companies, now they're just a bunch of jackasses.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 PM  

  • Thank you so much. Our laptop was useless for well over a week due to having uninstalled Google Desktop, and finding this article fixed everything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:25 PM  

  • Thank you sooooooo much VMP! I was going insane...

    By Anonymous Chen, at 9:47 AM  

  • VMP! Good idea ! i was sittin here for ages tryin to figure it out then i downloaded the taskbar restore registry file from http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm and followed ur instructions..gud finking! thanks alot..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:42 AM  

  • Thank you so much TT for this post!!

    I had exactly the same problem, and it was solved by exactly the same method.

    Amazing how google have messed this up. I really lost a lot of respect for them, after this experience.

    By Blogger bjolso, at 3:31 AM  

  • I have a question.When i maximize a window,it occupies the entire screen covering the taskbar.Why is this?Please help me. (EMAIL me at padi_leonard@yahoo.com)Iwould appreciate your help

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:50 PM  

  • HEY VMP YOU'RE THE MAN. THE RESTORETASKBAR REGISTRY HAS DONE THE TRICK. I NEVER ACTUALLY HAD ANY OF THE GOOGLE STUFF ON MY PC, I JUST ACCIDENTALLY CLICKED END PROCESS ON EXPLORER.EXE ON THE TASKMANAGER IN THE VERGE OF MAKING A GAME WORK FOR ME. I ENDED UP LOSING MY TASKBAR! YOUR SOLUTION WAS REALLY AMAZING! MORE POWER TO YOU!

    By Blogger Benjo, at 11:01 AM  

  • Hi I wonder if you can help my problem: I have no task bar on my blogger sites, I can download text but not upload photos, change colours or any of the other features the taskbor offers.. dont kn ow what has happened as previously all worked fine??? please help

    By Blogger Charmaine Blackburn, at 12:21 AM  

  • thanks a mil, it works perfect and i didnt loose my power manager icon unlike other things i tried.

    in reply to"
    Herman, I got us a solution!!!
    The solution is to reset taskbar registry keys to the original state. I found the default values on this web page: http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm
    You have to use the file "99. Restore the Task Bar to Default Settings".
    This is a registry file, but you have to import it to the registry while the eplorer.exe process is not running.

    Here is a way to do it:
    1. Save registry file (http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/regs_edits/restoretaskbar.reg)
    2. Double click on the saved file. It will ask you if you want to enter this information to the registry. DO NOT CLICK OK YET. Leave it there.
    3. Kill explorer.exe. To do it open the task manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) and on the processes tab, click on explorer.exe and then click the button "end process"
    4. Now that the desktop icons and the taskbar disappears, click the ok button for the registry
    5. From the task manager, click menu file->new task, and enter "explorer.exe" and ok.

    It worked for me. I had to enable the quick launch and language bar again (Right click on the taskbar -> toolbars).

    I hope it was helpful.

    Cheers.

    By vmp, at 1:55 PM"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 PM  

  • Thanks a ton VMP, I did not install GoogleDesktop.. still explorer.exe was crashing. I had reinstalled my Win XP which had fixed the problem, but again after some days, it started crashing, I am not sure which software is corrupting explorer.exe but reseting registry entries has helped me finally. Thanks Dude!

    By Blogger rajiv, at 12:30 AM  

  • Thanks that registry trick works v well!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:05 AM  

  • By vmp, at 1:55 PM




    fucking thanks. 10/10

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:51 PM  

  • okay that didnt not work for me but if you stop explorer.exe then run it again that seemed to do the job

    must have not loaded properly or something

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:23 AM  

  • you rock vmp that worked perfectly. it was easy to do as well. The same thing happened about a year ago but it fixed itself after about a month or maybe it was the IT guy...who cares i know how to fix it now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:25 PM  

  • vmp is god!

    Thanks mate, you're perfect!!!!

    By Anonymous GoAs, at 8:03 AM  

  • Ok, i have read of all the following post and i still have no way of solving this. My computer was running and i though of restarting the computer. Once i logged into my account I waited for the icons and for the Taskbar to show up. Then all of then the background loaded but nothing else. I keeped on waiting and nothing happened. After waiting so long, i decided to use the task manager to open up the Internet explorer. I used the "explorer.exe" and i got an error message telling me that I had spelled the progam which i was about to run. I tried to open up the "GoogleTaskBar.exe".. Still the error message came up. AS of now i am sitting here with Firefox looking for how to fix this. I have tried several idea which the post say to do, but they all seems to include to open up "explorer.exe". But this is not possible in my case. If any one has a way of solving this, please email me at carlossarcone@hotmail.com or post it here, i'll be on trying to find an answer. Thanks very much.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:55 PM  

  • My desktop icons and taskbar have dissappeared but i don't have googledesktop, in any case none of the solutions worked for me either anyone has any idea how to solve this?

    By Anonymous Ed, at 2:04 PM  

  • My desktop icons and taskbar has dissappeared but i don't have googledesktop, in any case none of the solutions worked for me either anyone has any idea how to solve this?

    By Anonymous Ed, at 2:05 PM  

  • Hi, the same problem I suffer.
    I feel that after installing the "GoogleDesktop Sidebar" my settings got fused up whenever I restart my system. Didn't have any idea about it why does it happen. I had checked all the settings of the GroupPlocy and the Registry . . . . but nothing found there unusual.

    By Blogger Nishit, at 3:04 PM  

  • Hi, the same problem I suffer.
    I feel that after installing the "GoogleDesktop Sidebar" my settings got fused up whenever I restart my system. Didn't have any idea about it why does it happen. I had checked all the settings of the GroupPlocy and the Registry . . . . but nothing found there unusual.

    By Blogger Nishit, at 3:05 PM  

  • I ran into similar problem with my pc and spent hours to scan with all sort of antivirus, spyware scanner and registry repair software but came out no good until I found your blog... You just saved my life... Thank you very much... keep up the good work... cheers

    By Anonymous Danny, at 3:43 AM  

  • I've completely massacrated Google Desktop.
    I've tryed installing the reg file.
    I've reinstalled Google desktop.
    I've repeated and rinsed all of above.
    I've rebooted.
    I've killed explorer.exe.
    I've started explorer.exe
    Only one thing, i managed to do...
    ...get Yahoo as my start page.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 AM  

  • Thanks a lot for posting the info. I followed the instructions and though I know nothing about computers it worked where my computer friends failed.
    Thank you, May you continue to help others with joy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:42 AM  

  • Dear VPM, you're a genious, thanks very much fixed up a whole heap of issue for us! - Leo

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:24 AM  

  • I love U VMP

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:56 AM  

  • THANKYOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!

    this helped a lot!!, i was so worried!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 AM  

  • Thanks a million VMP! The solution you provided above fixed the problem. =)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 PM  

  • Thank you SO MUCH! This helped me a TON!!! :-)

    By Blogger Elika, at 4:20 PM  

  • vmp,

    Your solution on downloading the registry defaults seems to have worked for me. A million thank you's for sharing!

    Matt

    By Blogger Matt, at 9:58 AM  

  • I just had a similar problem arise - whole taskbar at bottom went white and mouse would hourglass over bottom taskbar.
    I rebooted into windows safe mode and TBar was working fine - then rebooted normally and taskbar is now restored.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:40 AM  

  • I cannot believe that you posted your fix in mid '06 and now, at the end of '08 it still works. I mean, when is Google going to resolve this for pity's sake!?

    Anyway, thanks very much for being thoughtful enough to give us the solution

    By Anonymous Marty, at 1:36 PM  

  • Marty,
    Most people have this problem because they *DELETED* the Google Desktop directory and program without properly uninstalling through Add Remove Programs or the Uninstall utility available from the Start menu.

    It is common knowledge that deleting specific programs that need to be unregistered cause this same Explorer.exe crashing issue.
    Finally, upgrade to the latest Google Desktop and you should be able to uninstall normally.
    ART-V

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:34 PM  

  • Hi I tried doing the same as mentioned by you.. unfortunately i dont have google desktop.. the task bar flashed in and it went off again. please assist if there is something wrong with ma other programs..

    thanks
    K

    By Blogger Kay Mots, at 8:11 AM  

  • thanks - the reg fix from kelly's corner has worked perfectly!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:00 AM  

  • Hey...THANK YOU!!!!!!!

    Just spent two days scouring the web trying to fix this exact problem on a laptop I am repairing from a virus infestation!

    And I do mean infestation...more than 1200 entries removed!!!
    :0))

    But once all cleaned I still had the explorer starting then stopping immediately problem...

    I might add the main control panel would also not run with this problem though individual .CPL files could be run from TASKMGR...

    One of the 'uninstalled' items during cleaning was the Google Desktop software...who'd a thunk it!!!!

    This fix needs to be more widely circulated...the other 55 'fixes' are not necessarily all wrong but they do not apply to this specific problem!!

    Thanks again!

    GFN

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 PM  

  • I have got similar problem. but it is solved exacly as you told.I just got a relief. Thanks. Very much thanks for a very good solution

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:02 AM  

  • Hi, Got same problem in windows XP SP3. Did not had google on it. My problem is even worse, I can not access task manager or anything no right click no left click. All I can see is safe mode ina all four corners. Nothing is working. Please help

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:18 AM  

  • http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/
    regs_edits/xp_taskbar_desktop_fixall.vbs

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 PM  

  • It worked like a charm...Thanks

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:16 AM  

  • To vmp: Thanks a lot, man, your post with registry tweak really helped out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:43 PM  

  • Restoring the default taskbar settings(I tried item no 164) from this website worked.

    http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/regs_edits/restoretaskbar.reg)

    Thanks a lot!!!
    It was very helpful and this is the only site where I found the solution for this issue

    By Blogger vidya, at 1:35 AM  

  • sorry but i have a question the same thing happened to me, no task bar no icons but i ant even access my task manager and i dont even have the install disk or the key for my operating system anyone tht can help please e-mail me @ cmabwildcard@yahoo.com your help would be greatly appreciated thanks.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 5:01 PM  

  • works , Gr8 Thanks

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:29 AM  

  • I thank for the information.

    By Anonymous oem software legal, at 1:14 AM  

  • Perfect, This works!! Thanks

    By Anonymous Aditya, at 2:43 PM  

  • Dear DMP thank's I've solved.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:38 PM  

  • thanks for the help!!!

    By Blogger Joe, at 10:27 AM  

  • Thanks for this

    By Anonymous Uncle Loon, at 9:44 AM  

  • there it is a vast post. free antivirus download

    By Anonymous Free Antivirus Download, at 1:30 AM  

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