Windows Explorer failing to launch, no icons on and mouse rightclick yields nothing



I have windows XP home edition and none of the icons appear on launch.
After booting it briefly flashes the task bar at the bottom (Start
button, etc) but that is it. My background image appears and I can
bring up the task manager with ctrl-alt-del. From there I can launch
msconfig and a command prompt. When I try to launch explorer from the
command prompt it briefly flashes the task bar but does not
successfully bring up a window. No error appears in the command
prompt, it just returns like it was a successful launch. I've
unchecked all the startup apps and all startup processes that aren't
from MS. I get the same behavior on all user logins as well as on Safe

Mode. I can launch other programs from the command prompt (like
paint), but explorer and ie fail and no icons appear on the screen. If
idle then the screen saver comes up but right clicking on the desktop
yields no dropdown menu. Clicking the 'Start' key from the keyboard
has no effect either.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance,



Unfortunetly the mouse right-click on the desk-top is a no-op, I don't
get any menu drop-down. Is there an alternate way of setting this?
Also, would that explain why explorer and IE don't launch?


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