Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a XP computer where when ever I try to open Control Panel nothing happens, nothing flashes on the screen.

Same thing with Internet Explorer.

I've scanned the computer with Malwarebytes and Avast, Malwaresbytes found some Adware which it removed without problems. Avast found nothing.

I looked at the running processes with Process Explorer, nothing malicious running.

And looked at a Process Monitor output when I tried to run IE, nothing obviously wrong. The process just decides to exit.

What can I try next? I would suspect corrupt IE install but Control Panel doesn't work either.

Nether work in Safe Mode under the user account. (only 1 user on the computer)
But in Safe Mode, under the built in Administrator account, they work.

So what ever is broken, is only broken in the one account. Anything under the HKCU registry key that could break this?

share|improve this question
Does it work in Safe Mode? Have you ran CHKDSK? – CharlieRB Sep 10 '12 at 18:44
Does not work in Safe Mode either, and CHKDSK found no problems. – Josh Sep 10 '12 at 18:48
How long has this been happening? Do you have a System Restore point from prior to the onset that you could restore to? – techturtle Sep 10 '12 at 18:53
I'm not sure, it's a friends computer. And when I asked him how long it's been happening he responded with "I don't know". So I can try a System Restore as a last resort randomly picking a restore point. – Josh Sep 10 '12 at 18:55
I would suggest running the System File Checker to verify the integrity of the system files. – CharlieRB Sep 10 '12 at 18:56
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The reason why the control panel doesnt work is that it is a HTML Application (HTA). It relies on Internet Explorer to function.

Since you are running XP, have you upgraded to IE8? If not, you definitely should.
Click this link to download the IE8 installer. Sometimes, just upgrading will fix the issue.

If you already are using IE8, then something else is wrong. It could be corrupt files, virus, something else... Thats harder to diagnose and fix.

Addition: Based on new info in your question, it sounds like your profile may be corrupt. Log on as administrator in safe mode, go to c:\documents and settings\ , rename your user to something and reboot. Log in and this will create a new profile. Does IE work? If so, you can copy data back from the backup manually.

share|improve this answer
Computer is running IE 6, I'll try updating. – Josh Sep 10 '12 at 19:05
IE6?! Yikes, definitely upgrade! IE6 is way out of date and vulnerable to viruses and malware. – Keltari Sep 10 '12 at 19:07
Updated. IE opens, but then closes right after. Control Panel still doesn't open. And msconfig is not found. – Josh Sep 10 '12 at 19:56
@Josh - How did you try opening msconfig? If this is missing, you may have a bigger problem that requires professional help. – user3463 Sep 10 '12 at 21:15
@RandolphWest Start -> Run – Josh Sep 10 '12 at 21:25

After updating IE to the latest. Make sure to perform the rest of the Windows Updates. If you did find some malware/viruses, do a check for rootkits. They are often bundled in malware packages. Combofix from works really well!

share|improve this answer
Welcome to SuperUser! We are a site for professionals, and as such, we expect professional answers. Please try to expand your answer with more information, and try formatting it nicely as well. If you have questions about how to do that, feel free to reply with @Luke – Canadian Luke Sep 10 '12 at 19:34
Since when is this a site for professionals? "Super User is a Q&A site for computer enthusiasts that’s free." – Al E. Sep 27 '12 at 13:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .