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I am running a fairly standard, recent install of Windows 7 Ultimate. From time to time, I have to run an academic test-taking application. This application:

  • Appears to close every other application
  • Takes over one monitor
  • Blanks the other monitor

After I exit the test:

  • There are no icons on my desktop
  • The taskbar is gone

There's nothing for me to do but hit Ctrl+ALt+Delete, log out, and log back in again. Most inconvenient!

How can I tame this monster?

share|improve this question
I wonder if running it in a VM would be overkill – Journeyman Geek Oct 28 '12 at 0:50
@Pitarou - Report the problem to the school. If you have to stretch the truth, say the program makes your system unstable, request alternatives. – Ramhound Oct 28 '12 at 2:25
@JourneymanGeek Another good suggestion. Unfortunately, this software refuses to run if it detects that it's running on a VM. – Pitarou Oct 28 '12 at 11:33
@Ramhound That's an excellent idea. Unfortunately, my school doesn't treat distance learning students like human beings, but I'll give it a try all the same. – Pitarou Oct 28 '12 at 12:08
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It sounds like the application is killing explorer.

If you restart explorer, the taskbar & desktop icons should re-appear.

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete
  2. Click Start Task Manager
  3. Click New Task
  4. Type Explorer
  5. Press OK
share|improve this answer
Thanks. That's useful. How do I restart the Taskbar? – Pitarou Oct 28 '12 at 11:58
Explorer is the task bar. – Scott Chamberlain Oct 28 '12 at 15:41
When Explorer.exe runs, if there are no other instances running, then it will show the taskbar and desktop icons. If there are other instances, it will open a folder window. – ctype.h Oct 29 '12 at 21:56

I agree with SLaks answer that Explorer is getting killed, however you can create a simple batch file that will restart explorer for you. In a file ending with .bat put just these two lines.


This will wait till the test taking program exits then automatically restart explorer.

share|improve this answer
Except that the program is likely to kill the batch file too. – SLaks Oct 28 '12 at 2:25
@SLaks Did not think of that. – Scott Chamberlain Oct 28 '12 at 2:27
It's worth a try. Thanks for the suggestion. – Pitarou Oct 28 '12 at 12:03

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