When I left-click on the Computer icon on the desktop or in the Start menu (or right-click on the icon and then select Open), I'm immediately returned to the desktop. Speaking with MSDN tech support they tell me that my operating system is definitely hosed. And that I should do an "in-place upgrade" to re-establish a full operating system. So I tried.

It took about 10 hours but at the end asked me to reboot. I did so. And discovered that the operating system was gone. Fortunately I had made multiple backups on a secondary hard disk close onto external USB disks. I was quite fortunate. Not only was the operating system hosed but the entire partition table was gone as well.

I use Acronis for my backups and it asked where to restore my backups. There was no C: drive. I ended up having to reinstall the operating system Windows 7 Ultimate on a machine that was initially running XP Professional and had been upgraded to Vista Ultimate and then to Windows 7 Ultimate. So I did a fresh install onto the un-allocated space that had been my C: drive. It took a long time but it successfully restored my missing drive.

So the question still exists: what is causing my Computer icon to not function?


what is causing my "computer" icon to not function?

I) Possible reasons:

  • A) file associations for .lnk was broken or changed by an application or by a user manipulation
  • B) some registry keys are changed, deleted
  • C) Some files including the registry hives was located on a Hard Disk Bad sector

II) Here some fixes for the future if you have the same problem:

a) Rebuilding the Icon Cache Database

  1. Close all folder windows currently open.
  2. Launch Task Manager
  3. In the Process tab, right-click on the Explorer.exe process and select End Process.
  4. Click the End process button when asked for confirmation.
  5. From the File menu of Task Manager, select New Task
  6. Type CMD.EXE, and click OK
  7. In the Command Prompt window, type these commands:

    CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local

    DEL IconCache.db /a


  8. In Task Manager, click File, select New Task. Type EXPLORER.EXE, and click OK.

b) File Association Fixes for Windows 7


Check for LNK hyperlink to download a zip file a .reg to merge (write) in the W7 registry

c) Fix broken desktop shortcuts and common system maintenance tasks


III) Comments:


Speaking with MSDN tech support they tell me that my operating system is definitely hosed. And that I should do an "in-place upgrade" to reestablish a full operating system.

All this for a broken desktop icon? I'm little bit astonished by the advice you received to say the less...

b) Running a CHKDSK is sometimes the best way to recover from strange behaviour in Windows I suggest you to check the S.M.A.R.T. values of the hard disk before running this command. If the s.m.a.r.t. are not in «Good» state, chkdsk may kill a near to fail HD.

Hope this help. Let us know. :)

EDIT: the solution founded to solved this problem: «I created a new admin account, added some desktop icons and changed some minor stuff in folder options (single click, show all in folder, etc.) and the "Computer"is working like a champ! »

  • I got the.zip file and extracted the .reg file successfully. However it will not run/merge – claiming that some key is in use. So I try going to command mode from safe mode, and got the same message. Finally I tried booting on the installation disk and went into repair mode and then tried locating the file (I keep it on my desktop) and could not locate it. Any suggestions? – greenber Feb 12 '12 at 18:58
  • The purpose of this.reg is to fix some registry keys in case of trouble. If your desktop icon probleme is already solved, it's irrelevant. Don't fix what ain't broken. :) – climenole Feb 12 '12 at 19:26
  • unfortunately the desktop icon "computer" is still not functioning at all. I click on it, I get a momentary rotating orb and then I am return to the desktop. What now? – greenber Feb 12 '12 at 19:33
  • Do you have the same problem with another user account? Check also in safe mode. – climenole Feb 13 '12 at 1:59
  • Also: Windows 7 Group Policy - Gpedit.msc: check if there's a parameter there was changed... may be... – climenole Feb 13 '12 at 2:05

Check the link of your computer icon (right click, properties, link) When you find e.g. ...scandisc.exe or other programs from your profile then it is a trojan.


The Computer icon is not a .lnk file, but a built-in icon, so answers pertaining to .lnk files probably won't help.

It sounds like the program is crashing. The Computer icon will launch a new explorer.exe process. For whatever reason, it is not allowing it to be created, or it is launching but the window is not drawing. I would check, first, to ensure that you can launch folder windows through other methods. Try pressing Win+E, which should open an Explorer windows. You can also try clicking the Library icon in the taskbar (if it is pinned), or pressing Win+R to open the run dialog box, and then type explorer.exe and hit Enter. If none of these methods successfully open a program window, then it seems that explorer.exe is crashing or failing to load, for some reason, when opened as a child process in Windows (explorer.exe also functions as the main process that runs the Windows desktop).

To gain more information, I would then open up the Event Viewer (hit the Win key and type "Event viewer", and then hit Enter) and under Windows Logs, and check under the categories "Application" and "System". Try and see if there are any events marked as errors reported that seem to correspond to attempts to launch "Computer" from the desktop. If there is, this should help give you more information.

From there, you can try and deduce your next course of action.

P.S.: If it appears that explorer.exe is crashing, then you may have a corrupted file, and so restoring the binary may help. The Windows rep's suggestion of doing an in-place upgrade would have been a proper solution for this.

Considering your other issues when trying to do the upgrade, with your hard disk, it is possible that you have a corruption on the physical disk itself, which just so happens to be where it's trying to load data from when you attempt to launch 'Computer'. Run chkdsk on drive C: and see if it shows any errors. Choose to repair any if it does.

And keep on saving backups!

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