Windows XP - explorer not starting at logon

SockMan!

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Jul 31, 2004
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What are the some things that can occassionally prevent/stop explorer from loading on logon? This results in nothing but the desktop wallpaper when a user logs on; no icons are displayed and the start menu isn't shown.

In my case, the problem happens occassionally on some of our Dell desktops with Windows XP. These computers are members of a domain. For one user, the problem happens about twice a week; less often for others. Other computers with an almost identical configuration (software and hardware wise) don't have any logon issues. I also noticed that the logon script for the user doesn't appear to run when the problem occurs (normally this will be shown as a minimized window at the bottom left of the screen during a proper logon).

A reboot often 'fixes' things, though starting explorer manually using task manager also works. I even reinstalled Windows and the necessary software from scratch on one of the computers but the problem remains.

I'd appreciate any ideas. This problem isn't critical, but it's a nuisance.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2006
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So, this seem like a domain problem. More or less like a problem with logging on and AD. you might want to check the local and group policies first(computer and users).
 

SockMan!

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did you check the event logs?

There doesn't appear to be anything unusual in the event logs for the local computers. Definitely nothing consistant between the computers having the problems. The domain controllers also show nothing unusual aside from browser service errors (the domain controller with the PDC role is multihomed, so this is expected).

I'll check my group policies, logon scripts, and such. I'm starting to suspect that it's a network or AD issue rather than an issue with the computers.
 

Monkey God

Mangina Full of Sand
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Ive seen something like this when a PC is waiting to login to the domain and the PDC/AD server has issues. Something to look into anyways.
 

Demon10000

Supreme [H]ardness
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Aug 20, 2006
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This article helped me resolve a slow login issue. I found that packet fragmentation from the crappy firewall that was between my desktop and the domain controller was causing a problem. This fix resolved the issue.

It's an easy "fix", and just as easy to undo if it doesn't work.
 

svet-am

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jan 6, 2003
Messages
5,146
What are the some things that can occassionally prevent/stop explorer from loading on logon? This results in nothing but the desktop wallpaper when a user logs on; no icons are displayed and the start menu isn't shown.

In my case, the problem happens occassionally on some of our Dell desktops with Windows XP. These computers are members of a domain. For one user, the problem happens about twice a week; less often for others. Other computers with an almost identical configuration (software and hardware wise) don't have any logon issues. I also noticed that the logon script for the user doesn't appear to run when the problem occurs (normally this will be shown as a minimized window at the bottom left of the screen during a proper logon).

A reboot often 'fixes' things, though starting explorer manually using task manager also works. I even reinstalled Windows and the necessary software from scratch on one of the computers but the problem remains.

I'd appreciate any ideas. This problem isn't critical, but it's a nuisance.

This _EXACT_ thing happened to me when my company rolled out my workstation (a Dell Optiplex 745 running WindowsXP x32 Pro). I was logging into our domain just fine and then one day "wham!" explorer.exe wouldn't load. They reimaged my drive and it worked for a few hours and then "wham!" explorer.exe wouldn't load again. They ended up replacing my workstation with a completely different OptiPlex 745 and everything has been fine since then. In my case, it turned out to be bad RAM so that's something to check on. I heard from our IT folks that they took my old machine and replaced the RAM in it and never saw that problem again.
 

SockMan!

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Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I think I'll try taking a harder look at my domain controllers and group policies and fixing issues there. Maybe I overlooked something seemingly minor.

I doubt it's a hardware issue. The problem is happening to multiple computers; all are Dells but we've got two different models bought a half year from each other.

We're using Cisco hardware firewalls; no software firewalls are enabled on the servers or computers.
 
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