Upgrading to Vista - Problem

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Thread Starter
Sep 18, 2008
I'm not sure whether this should go under Vista or XP, as it is technically an XP problem but it only arose while upgrading to Vista.

About three months ago or so I decided to undertake a fun extra-configurating of Windows XP to get it to look the way I want. Specifically, I wanted to change the start menu text (as per this site here). That's fine, I followed it pretty easily, I know my way around it.

However, I didn't think to revert back to explorer.exe from the file I was pointing to (explorerblank.exe I think) before upgrading to Vista. Now, Vista seems to be installed properly but because it was an upgrade it's looking at an explorer exe file it doesn't recognize, so it's giving me an error and not launching explorer.

What I end up with is a blue screen - the mouse works and everything, but no right clicks, nothing. No icons at all.

I know the easy solution - launch regedit and just change to explorer.exe. But how do I access regedit to do that? From what I've read, there are command line options but I'm not sure how to use them to get the result I want.

Can I run regedit from the command line?

An alternative theory that just occured to me:

I can access the task manager apparently when I hit ctrl-alt-del, do you think I could launch explorer.exe from there and fix the problem that way?

Any help would REALLY be appreciated, because if I can't fix this then I have to do a fresh install (really don't want to do that).
Jun 20, 2007
Will your desktop recognize keyboard shortcuts? If so, try hitting Windows key + R to launch the run line/box, then in there you can launch the registry editor.


Account Closed
Nov 11, 2002
Ask the Windows NT Pro 10-Minute Solutions

Reader Helps Out with Offline Registry Editing
By L.J. Johnson

This month's 10-Minute Solution comes from Patrick Slattery, a reader of the Ask the Windows NT/2000 Pro Q&A area. I had complained previously that I didn't know of a way to edit an offline registry. Well, I may be one of the three people running NT who doesn't know the answer to this riddle. In case one of those other two people is reading this, I present his solution as is:
FYI, this is a relatively easy thing to do:
1. Boot up in a parallel copy of NT.
2. Open REGEDT32 and select the root key of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
3. Select Registry > Load Hive.
4. You can now select the offline registry file (e.g., C:\WinNT\System32\Config\Software).
5. REGEDT32 now asks for the key name to place the Registry hive into. I usually call it QWERTY.
6. The hive now shows up in the Registry tree and can be edited as any normal hive. (You can also edit it with REGEDIT.)
7. When you're finished editing, select Registry > Unload Hive to save the edited hive back to disk.
I use this technique a lot for diagnosing problems where a customer has changed something they shouldn't have in their Registry. Basically I download the affected part of the remote Registry (HKLM\Software\MyCompany\) and run this against it. Then I dump it out as a regular text file from REGEDIT and do a diff with WINDIFF between the changed file and a known good Registry key. This highlights the changes pretty fast.
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