XP Problem: Control panel does not work

I’m having no luck with this - any help would be appreciated.

Under Windows XP Home Edition (probably SP1, it’s hard to tell due to the problem), most control panel items are not working.

Ones that do work are Administrative Tools, Folder Options, Fonts, Network Connections, Printers and Faxes, Scanners & Cameras, Scheduled Tasks and Task Bar & Start Menu - pretty much all the ones that do not correspond to a .CPL file. Trying to run .CPL files directly, some additional ones work, such as Internet Settings. Many don’t though, including the User Accounts tool, which I wanted to use when I realised the problem.

The most similar problem I could find in Knowledgebase was in article 843551. However, not all items are not working and neither of the causes sounded relevant. Nevertheless, I installed SP2.

After restarting, the log-on screen displayed fine. I logged on, but the task bar did not appear. Just a blank blue background. Starting Task Manager, I could load most programs, but Explorer was unreliable. After a bit more searching on KB with no luck, I used system restore to get back to where I started.

So, any idea how to get Control Panel working? Thanks in advance.

The first thing I’d try is to run the System File Checker. Go to Start|Run and type sfc /scannow. It may ask for your Windows CD. This will scan all protected system files and replaced damaged or missing ones.

Also check for malware using HouseCall, Ad-aware and Spybot S&D.