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How to restore a missing Windows desktop

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When using Windows, under certain circumstances the Windows desktop is not displayed. When this happens, when you enter Windows instead of seeing the desktop, start menu, or your normal icons, you are presented with a blank screen.

This type of behavior is usually caused by malware or misconfigured programs that block the Explorer.exe process from running. Because the browser process fails to start, the Windows desktop is not displayed when you log on.

The following guide will guide you to restore the Windows desktop when it is not visible.

How to restore the Windows Desktop when it is not showing:

  1. If you cannot see the Windows desktop or start menu after a program is running or when you log on to Windows, you must manually start the explorer.exe process from Task Manager. To do this, press the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys keyboard at the same time to display the Windows security screen as shown below.

    Start Task Manager

  2. On the screen above, click on the Task Manager option as indicated by the red arrow. This will launch the Task Manager as seen below.


    Now we have to click on the option More details as indicated by the arrow above, to give us the possibility to launch a task.

  3. Task Manager will now display a more detailed screen, including a menu at the top.

    More Detailed Screen

    On this screen, click run new task to open a create new task dialog as shown above.

  4. In the create new task field that opens, type explorer and then click the button okay as it’s shown in the following.

    Start Explorer.exe

  5. After pressing the OK button, the explorer.exe process will start and you will see the desktop and start menu again.

    Desktop Shown

The desktop and start menu will now be visible and you can start diagnosing what caused it to not appear.

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