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Microsoft Windows OS (XP/NT/Vista/Windows 7/8/9/10) Forum

Active Desktop Recovery keeps showing
But I don't have it turned on

 9:19 am on May 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is driving me nuts. Every time I boot up, the desktop is white with a message saying "Active Desktop Recovery" and detailing ways to restore the Active Desktop. Fine, but I do not have it turned on! There is also a button to restore it.

I have seeked advice on another forum and they said to apply a new desktop wallpaper of "None", which worked! But now the problem is back - even though I have not altered anything to do with the desktop at all.

On boot up it also has a message asking if I want to allow ActiveX content to run. This has "Internet Explorer" as the title in the taskbar. Over time, if I leave this as it is, another identical window pops up, then later, another.

What is going on? I have searched for a virus but cannot find one.

By chance, I saw another computer screen running in a shop, which had the same Active Desktop Recovery message on the desktop. Perhaps this is a common problem caused by recent updates?

I am on Windows XP with all the latest patches.



 6:53 am on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry that nobody seems to have been able to help until now. I checked a few resources and there are a variety of suggested fixes, some that deal with registry edits and others that involve turning the Active Desktop on and off and rebooting several times. However, the fix that seemed to work the best was to do a Repair Install of XP. A repair install will leave your data and just refresh the XP system files back to their original state. I'd recommend a full backup though just in case before trying anything.


 8:30 am on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Will that negate any recent security patches?


 10:10 am on May 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

You will have to reinstall security patches after a repair install of Windows XP.


 1:19 pm on May 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

This smells like spyware to me.



 8:41 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

AdAware reports nothing. How should I check for spyware?


 9:01 am on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

How should I check for spyware?

I just wrote this in another thread:
You may want to run a few other packages to check for spyware. Defender is good, but it's best to use a few different ones. Spybot - Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware are a couple of free ones that come to mind. Also try running HijackThis to see if it finds anything.
There are other spyware checking programs out there. Some free, some not. YMMV.

 3:55 pm on May 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

If no spyware found etc the next stage I would take would be to back up your user data and remove the user profile from windows.

Then add a new profile and it should be fine.


 8:23 am on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

What does the user data entail? Where do I find it? And what's the safe method to remove the user profile? Will it interfere with any of my programs running when XP boots?


 8:47 am on May 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

From How to check user profiles on a Windows XP-based computer [support.microsoft.com]
To locate the list of local user profiles, right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click Settings on the Advanced tab under User Profile.

A corrupt user profile could indeed be the problem. If you can create a new user profile and the problem goes away then you might want to try to migrate your settings to the new profile from the damaged one. MS has an article about how to do this: How to copy data from a corrupted user profile to a new profile [support.microsoft.com]

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