Viruses and other malicious software can infect the registry, creating new keys or values which prevent the user from viewing Windows Explorer, or "explorer.exe." Explorer.exe is Windows' shell; it provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to smoothly and efficiently navigate the system. The taskbar and Start menu are examples of parts of the Windows shell.
If your computer fails to display Windows Explorer, changing the name of explorer.exe may allow you to bypass the virus effects and restore the Windows shell. To rename explorer.exe without access to the taskbar, you can use keyboard shortcuts and the command prompt to carry out the necessary steps.
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Hold down the "Windows" key and "R" to open "Run." Type "cmd.exe" into the window. Press "Enter."
Type "xcopy <Local Disk>:\windows\explorer.exe <Local Disk>:\users\<username>" into the command prompt. Replace "<Local Disk>" with the letter assigned to your hard drive. Replace "<username>" with your Windows account handle. Press "Enter."
Type "rename <Local Disk>:\users\<username>\explorer.exe explorer2.exe" into the command prompt. Press "Enter" to rename explorer.exe.
Type "move /y <Local Disk>:\users\<username>\explorer2.exe <Local Disk>:\windows" into the prompt. Press "Enter" to move the renamed explorer.exe to the Windows directory.
Open "Run." Type "regedit.exe" into the new window. Press "Enter." Navigate through "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE," "SOFTWARE," "Microsoft," "Windows," "Windows NT" and "CurrentVersion." Click "Winlogon" to view the contents of the key.
Double-click "Shell." Type "explorer2.exe" into the "Value Data" field. Click "OK." Exit out of Registry Editor.
Restart your system to load the renamed explorer.exe at start-up.
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