My friend had the Yankees game streaming and was working on something else online, when the screen went blank. I restarted the laptop, but now I have only the wallpaper and the message error with explorer.exe. I had just allowed Norton to expire and was in the process of buying another antivirus program. Help!
Your Norton contract expiring should not be the cause of that [AV cos aren't that mean...], but I could guess that you got hit by some malware.
When you get your sys started to that screen, press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. In TM under processes is explorer.exe present? If not, use File, New Task to run it [enter explorer.exe].
If it is already there then at FIle, New Task instead enter your browser executable [eg. iexplore.exe, firefox.exe, opera.exe]; then ...
==Please download Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
=Dclick that file, mbam-setup.exe, to install the application,
-ensure that it is set to update and start, else start it via the icon, and UPDATE it.
Select "Perform QUICK Scan", then click Scan; the application will guide you through the remaining steps.
ENSURE that EVERYTHING found has a CHECKMARK against it, then click Remove Selected.
If malware has been found [and removed] MBAM will automatically produce a log for you when it completes... do not click the Save Logfile button.
Examine the log: if some files are listed as Delete on Reboot then restart your machine before continuing.
Copy and post that log [it is also saved under Logs tab in MBAM].
==Download OTL from http://oldtimer.geekstogo.com/OTL.exe to your Desktop.
* Double click on the icon to run it. Make sure all other windows are closed and to let it run uninterrupted.
* Under the Custom Scan box paste this in:
%systemroot%\*. /mp /s
* Click the Quick Scan button. Do not change any settings.
When the scan completes, it will open two notepad windows: OTL.txt and Extras.txt. These are saved in the same location as OTL.
Please copy (Edit->Select All, Edit->Copy) the contents of these files and paste them here.
In addition to what gerbil has posted, I would suggest that you first give this a go if you are able (you may need to use a command prompt):
Please download ExWin.exe and run it.
Click "Extract" and it will extract the ExWin folder to C:\ExWin.
Please open that and run RunThis.bat.
Command line to run it is C:\ExWin\RunThis.bat
Anyhoo, once it runs (3-5 minutes), a log will pop up. Please post that for us.
Also, reboot your computer afterwards and see if there is any improvement.