Upon logging into a friends Windows 7 laptop I was given to get working again I was presented with a solid black background and a navigation window opened to Computer. No taskbar. No desktop icons. I figured explorer.exe wasn’t running, but a check in task manager proved me wrong. I Googled around and discovered that though I hadn’t seen this problem before, it was not uncommon. The fix turned out to be easy:
- Get into the registry via regedit.exe. You can launch regedit via task manager (which you can launch via ctrl+alt+esc or ctrl+alt+del and then choosing it) by doing a File > Run.
- Head to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
- Delete the Shell key.