I have Windows XP Home Edition and I /think/ I have all the SP updates.

When I login, my computer brings up my desktop background, but the taskbar is not visible. Explorer.exe is running, although sometimes it simply shuts down.

I can open all of my programs from my Task Manager EXCEPT for explorer.exe. When I do, the taskbar briefly flashes across the bottom of the screen. I can't click it, I can't right click the desktop or the space where the taskbar is, I can't do anything with it. My friend says when he does see it flash across the screen, it's recognizing the programs I have open.

The good old restart definitely does not work in this case. Running McAfee didn't make a difference. I can't get into my control panel or the advanced options for Internet Explorer.

We found one error that said I needed to update BIOS, but I don't know if that has to do with anything.

Does anyone have any ideas? I don't know what to do, but I would really, really like it if I didn't have to reinstall my operating system.

The BIOS update certainly doesn't have to do with your problem.

In the task manager I would execute msconfig and click launch system restore.