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System files unaccessible

neweycoop
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-08-2007

System files unaccessible

Strange thing - I cannot access any system folder that is - My Computer, My Network Places, Windows Explorer etc or any folder on my desktop. All programmes operate as normal and I can open files from the desktop but when I double click any folder  the screen goes blank for a few seconds then the desktop rebuilds itself but nothing opens. I've done a restore to several past dates with no effect. I've also run Registry Mechanic.
My system is a Fujitsu-Siemens Celsius R610 Workstation running Win XP Pro.
Any help gratefully received.
NC
17 REPLIES
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Can you right click on your start menu and click on "explore all users" or something to that effect?
It is a rather random fault.
neweycoop
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-08-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Thanks for your reply James.
I've tried what you suggested but the same thing happens - screen goes blank, rebuilds itself but nothing opens.
Any other ideas?
NeilC
James
Grafter
Posts: 21,036
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Odd.  I take it you've tried rebooting?  Have you tried starting up in safe mode to see if you have the same problems?
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Have you tried to run the System File Checker?
Go to the Run box on the Start Menu and type in:
sfc /scannow
This command will start the Windows File Protection service to scan all protected files and verify their integrity, replacing any files with which it finds a problem. You will need your Windows CD.
Have a look at this from Microsoft (probably not relevant, but you never know!):
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=308421
Have you checked for viruses and malware?
Regards
Neil
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,576
Thanks: 3
Registered: ‎13-04-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Its possible its your profile gone loopy if you can login as another user if you havent got another account see if you can add another admin.
Login with the new account and see if its ok.
Can you access the system from a cmd prompt and use dir etc?
Highlighted
neweycoop
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-08-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Thanks all for your help - sorry for the delay in getting back - lots to do!
I've run the scan programme which went through a check but didn't actually come up with anything. After it did its thing it just stopped - no messages, nothing just disappeared - nothing changed still the same problem.
I started in Safe Mode and lo & behold I could access ALL the folders - what does this tell me - feels like I'm nearer solving the problem - please tell me I am!
Best regards NeilC
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Have you installed any new hardware and drivers lately?
Regards,
Neil
neweycoop
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-08-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

I haven't installed any new hardware or drivers.  What I did do was to clean out some old programmes I don't use any more but I did it all properly through Control Panel.
I also removed some old Java Runtime stuff - does Windows use Java in any way to operate/see system files?
Thanks again for all your help.
NeilC
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,576
Thanks: 3
Registered: ‎13-04-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Have you tried my fix i posted ie logging on as a new user?
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

If you search Google Groups with your problem you'll find that you're not alone, although it seems to be a pretty rare problem (if the number of posts are anything to go by).
There does not seem to be a definitive answer anywhere. Although there are a few suggestions of things to try there doesn't seem to be any feedback that any of them worked.
If you right click on Windows Explorer (for example) and select 'Properties' what does it say in Shortcut - Target?
Apart from what's already been suggested here, I'm running out of ideas. You could try re-installing Windows over your original copy, I don't hold out much hope with this one though!
Back up data, reformat and reinstall? ... but I expect you'd already thought of that.
Regards,
Neil
MikeS
Newbie
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎26-06-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

This sounds like a trojan / spyware.
I fixed a similar-ish issue with a friends PC.
Basically whenever you tried to go in to the system32 folder, go to an antivirus website or go in to administrative tools the malware would just close the offending program.
In your case it sounds like it is killing explorer.exe which would cause all icons to disappear along with the taskbar and any explorer windows open. They'd then re-appear shortly after.
The way I fixed it may be a little tricky if you do not have a second computer.
Basically I downloaded Avast antivirus on a second machine and copied across the network. Then installed it on the affected machine (luckily it didn't kill the installer). Avast scheduled a boot-time scan which ran before windows started and picked up no less than 23 malware programs.
An existing piece of antivirus software doesn't necessarily mean this is automatically a non-issue because my friend had Trend Micro Antivirus installed.
No guarantees but I guess it's worth looking at.
neweycoop
Dabbler
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎07-08-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

Thanks again for all suggestions.
Samurai - yes I have tried creating and logging on with a different account but no luck there either  Angry
Njal - when I right click Explorer it DOES say Target in shortcut and the Target is listed as - %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe
If I click below in 'Find Target' screen goes blank............
Does this explain anything?
I've also tried system restore to several past points but to no avail.
I'm a photographer and this is my main system and I can't afford  for it to be out of action. At present I'm able to work and see all my files through Photoshop Bridge. But obviously this problem is severely curtailing my ability to access/sort/create folders etc.
Njal
Grafter
Posts: 290
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: System files unaccessible

"when I right click Explorer it DOES say Target in shortcut and the Target is listed as - %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe"
That's what it should say.... just checking!
What happens if you Press:
Start - Run - and enter 'explorer' (without the quotes) into the 'Open' box and press OK?
What happens if you right click on the 'Start' button and click 'Explore'?
Have a look at:
Google Group
Regards,
Neil
cp:blue Over long URL concerted to a link. mod:end
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,031
Fixes: 62
Registered: ‎15-06-2007

Re: System files unaccessible