Forum FAQ:After Logging into Windows 7, a Black Screen Appears and the Desktop is Missing RRS feed

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  • After Logging into Windows 7, a Black Screen Appears and the Desktop is Missing


    After logging into Windows 7, a black screen shows up and the desktop is missing.


    The issue can be caused by several factors including the following ones:


    ·         Spyware or backdoor worm infection.

    ·         The explorer.exe process is missing or damaged.

    ·         A disc is in the CD/DVD drive or Blu-ray drive.



    Note : This FAQ is based on discussions from a previous forum thread ( windows 7 black screen after login, no desktop show up ). Thanks to Brian and other participants' information sharing.


    To resolve the issue, try the following suggestions:


    Suggestion 1: Scan for Virus and Spyware


    1.    Restart computer, press the F8 key when the boot menu pops up, select Safe Mode , and boot up.

    2.    Run anti-virus and anti-spyware software in Safe Mode to perform a complete scan of the system.


    Check if there is any suspicious items can be found.


    For more information, refer to:


    Help: I Got Hacked. Now What Do I Do?


    Help: I Got Hacked. Now What Do I Do? Part II


    Microsoft Security Essentials


    Suggestion 2: Remove the disc from CD/DVD and Blu-Ray drive and then restart the computer.


    Suggestion 3: Reload the Explorer.exe Process


    1.    Press Ctrl +Shift +Esc combine key on the keyboard to bring up Task Manager.

    2.    Click File , and then click New Task (Run…)

    3.    Type explorer.exe and then press ENTER.


    Suggestion 4: Check the Registry Key Value


    1.    Restart computer, press the F8 key when the boot menu pops up, select Safe Mode , and boot up.

    2.    Click the Start button, type regedit in the Start Search bar, right click on the "regedit.exe" found in the list and, then click Run as administrator .

    3.      Navigate to the following key:


    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon


    4.    On the left pane, right click the Winlogon entry, choose Export , select Desktop in the "Save in" box and type backup in "File Name". Click "Save ".


    Please Note: The backup file is on the Desktop and named "backup.reg". We can simply restore the registry by double-clicking the "backup.reg" file.


    5.    On the right pane, check if the Shell key exists. If not, click Edit , New , String Value .

    6.    Name the new key as Shell , and the value is explorer.exe .

    7.    Exit Registry Editor.


    Suggestion 5: Use System Restore


    1.    Reboot the computer, and press the F8 key when the boot menu pops up.

    2.    Select Repair my computer .

    3.    Select the keyboard layout and language

    4.    When you reach system recovery tools, select System restore .

    5.    Select the restore point when it was working fine and restart the computer.


    If the issue still exists after trying the above suggestions, you can try other recovery options in Windows 7:


    What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?


    System repair and recovery


    More Information:

    There is a third party website which provides a Fix Tool to resolve this issue:


    Black Screen woes could affect millions on Windows 7, Vista and XP


    Please Note: The third-party product discussed here is manufactured by a company that is independent of Microsoft. We make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding this product's performance or reliability.

    Applies to:

    All Windows 7 Editions




    Related Bug number: [Optional]

    Source Thread: [5b94b775-992e-4f48-b3ff-c89b3cf45e82]  

    Reference link: [Optional]

    Author : [Required: v-linyan]


    Thursday, June 17, 2010 7:47 AM

All replies

  • This could simply be the result of copying from one profile to another.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]


    This should probably be a REG_SZ_EXPAND.


    Wednesday, June 30, 2010 10:11 PM
  • Are you suggesting we should delete this or edit it?  We have copied profiles and after login it black screens with only the mouse cursor visible.

    I have tried all of the other solutions and I am still black screening after login with certain users.  When I log in under my profile everything loads correctly and the only difference is I never had a roaming profile activated.  Currently we have all the roaming profiles turned off seeing if that would help, it has not.  Prior to this issue, we moved the profiles of the users from one server to another and since that time only the computers loaded with Windows 7 Pro are black screening.

    These are some of the things we have tried:

    1.  Deleted profiles of those users (also under registry)
    2.  Updated Display Drivers
    3.  Turned off roaming profiles
    4.  Replaced the registry entry - explorer.exe
    5.  System restore (weeks prior to when this started happening)

    I am running out of options and any help would be greatly appreciated.  It's every computer that we have Windows 7 Pro installed on. 


    Friday, August 6, 2010 3:03 PM

    If this PC is a domain computer, you might want to check with domain admin about the container/location that this current PC or users belongs to. You can test by moving this PC or user to other container or perhaps not assign anything to it.


    I guess it’s something related to the domain group policy.


    Sunday, September 5, 2010 1:11 AM
  • The best thing that i have found and it works is just to re-install windows. what ever has damaged the explorer.exe cannot be fixed in safe mode unless you are a cmd master, and not everyone is. so heres what you do


    1. if you have a installation in your computer, start your computer with the windows disc in and run the installation. this will overwrite your current installation. this will delete most of your saved files. on the newer version of windows you will have the option to repair, I have not had much good dealings with this.

    2. after you run the installation you will have to call the automated line to re-verify the windows program.

    if you had a Genuine version of windows before you will get a long number to put in to re-verify. this will NOT work if you have the installations maxed out, the 3 per copy limit.

    3. micrsoft is cheap so dont try too many times before they will make you buy a new copy of windows.


    this worked for me and i hope it works for you.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:34 AM
  • I just want to let every one know I tried all the solutions in this thread.  The last one I tried worked!.  

    I created a new user, then logged off as administrator, logged back on with my new user account and my desktop was back.  I went back and tried my old account, same black screen,  I gave the new user admin premissions and logged back in with the new account and Blam! my desktop was back.

    Big thanks to all for the help.

    Friday, November 25, 2011 10:45 AM
  • I had a similar problem in Windows Vista, but it was happening only in a specific user.

    Therefore instead of registry item in Suggestion 4 above, I browsed for

     HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon

    and changed the value of Shell key to only explorer.exe.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:48 AM
  • I had the same problem. On my machine, the problem was a service that timed out at 12000 ms. I got the problem resolved after looking at the event viewer logs and removed the service that was causing the issue. Win 7 is back :)

    Kiran VVN

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012 4:03 AM
  • I was having the Black Screen of Death with mouser pointer and realised through Event Viwer (eventvwr.msc) that the explorer.exe crash was associated to the propsys.dll located in windows\system32 folder.

    So, I managed to emulate a mini WinXP via Hiren's Boot, loaded a "health" propsys.dll from my other Windows 7 system and overwrote the corrupted one. Problem solved to me!
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 1:05 AM