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Win8 Control Panel Empty-My Docs-Library problem

  1. #1

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    Win8 Control Panel Empty-My Docs-Library problem

    Hi, everyone,

    Details: Toshiba L855 Laptop with Intel i7. Windows 8.

    I've had the computer (came with 8) for five months. No problems. On June 25th, after normal activities (minor video editing, transfer text file to Kindle, checking e-mail) the following happened simultaneously:

    The Control Panel opens but all of the icons are missing. It was set to "small icons." It is like the normal Control Panel window but empty.
    In the My Documents, Libraries (File Explorer), and any similar window used to view files, the icons for drives, documents, music, videos, etc.. are gone in the left column. Only "magnifying glass" animations are over the Libraries folder and a favorites "star" icon as if searching for the missing items. Other icons, such as drives, are gone.

    (Pictures at bottom)

    The list of items is available in the main pane, but for example, you can't change the icon type (details, small, large).

    Here is the first kicker: If you restart, it comes back correctly. Eventually, however, and I can't seem to find the "reason," the above mentioned problems happen again (simultaneously: Control Panel Empty-Problems within the windows as noted above).

    I did a system restore to five days before this happened. It recurred.

    The big kicker: I refreshed the PC (reinstallation saving personal files and some settings). It recurred the same way even after the Windows 8 Refresh (which takes about 30 min.).

    I did not download or reinstall anything at this point. I thought I took the easy way out, but...

    Otherwise, not checking "everything," the PC operates "normally" while this is happening. For example, I've checked e-mail, used the browsers, and opened Notepad.

    I'm puzzled, especially after the "refresh." Any help will be appreciated.

    -Added: Another wrinkle: The above problems returned to "normal" without a restart. Reason unknown. Then went back to being empty/missing.

    Also, I ran ScanDisk--ok.

    And I created some shortcuts to "Control Panel" items (System, Updates, Recovery) while the icons were normally visible in the CP. Those shortcuts will open the window for each of the items noted as normal, even with the CP window empty.

    And I've noticed some files do not have previews, just generic icons, as opposed to before this situation.

    See pictures below: empty control panel and missing icons for libraries and drives.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails empty CP.jpg   missing icons.jpg  
    Last edited by CPWin8; 28 Jun 2013 at 01:53. Reason: Added info

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    Do you have an instal disk, can you do a full re-install? Too bad you did the "refresh" you could have tried using System Restore and SFC /SCANNOW. You should try SFC /SCANNOW right now anyway.

    How does the computer respond, is it fast, do you get any aperture circles waiting for stuff to start? If that is the case, you should try to run an external Drive Scanning program, you may have some bad spots on your drive, Windows 8 can mess up your system disk when shut off improperly of if it crashes or blue screens.

    I always suggest using Hiren's Boot CD, the link is below and don't worry of your AV says it is a "virus" - It's not. Boot to Hiren's and find "Dos Programs" and in there are "Hard Drive Tools" -0 Find GWscan and scan your drive. If you have bad spots it will say "Read Element Failure" and it will give you an opportunity to fix it. It doesn't hurt to check the entire surface of your drive when stuff like what is happening to you occurs. Checking your Drive Surface - This is your first line of defence. A couple of bad sectors can cause a whole lotta problems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    The next step is to do the full "Reset" instead of "Refresh." Toshiba provides no discs. I do have DVD recovery media which are just burned copies of the recovery files that came on the C: drive that is created with the Recovery Media Creator. When the problem isn't occurring, the computer runs at "normal" speed to answer you question, as far I can humanly tell.

    The intermittent nature and the occurrence after the "Refresh" really have me going crazy.

    Some of these things I have to look up. I used to keep up with these things, but slowly moved away in recent years.

    I'm using the computer right now with the "problems" above not occurring (to the eye as noted above). If I didn't know about it, I would think the computer is "normal." However, I don't have it updated or anything reinstalled, as the problem recurred as I noted soon after the Refresh.
    Last edited by CPWin8; 28 Jun 2013 at 16:03. Reason: typo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    Don't do a reset/refresh unless you want to lose all of your desktop programs. Try System Restore or SFC /Scannow first. Also, others may have some ideas as to what is causing this, I'll ask them to take a look.

    If this has just been "refreshed" and it is still doing it, I'd perform an In-Place Install asap. If you didn't get a disk, you can get one from the OEM, they are supposed to provide one for you is you ask. Toshiba should have someplace you can order the disks from, check their site, if there are any phone numbers that's the best way.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    As noted in my first post, I did a system restore. That didn't help. Then I did a Refresh. That didn't help. I've already lost all of my self-installed programs. I don't care about that. I have the time and the files to reinstall. And I'll have an 800MB Windows update, but that isn't an issue to me. My issue is having the system usable without this bizarre behavior.

    In the past, yes, with XP I've done full reinstalls several times for various people when I had the Windows OS disc and drivers/programs discs. If I do a the full reset, which wipes everything and reinstalls to "factory mint," and this still happens I will be beyond the puzzled I am now.

    As I've said, I have to check into some of the things you've said because I've been out of the loop lately.

    Thanks for the input.

    Added: CHKDSK pic from within Windows with command prompt and SFC /scannow pic. No violations.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails chkdsk pic.jpg   sfcscannow pic.jpg  
    Last edited by CPWin8; 28 Jun 2013 at 21:48. Reason: added pic
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    So, as added above, I've done various checks and scans. Does this help anyone?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    Legitimately missed this earlier:

    My Computer and Control Panel blank after a time

    This member's problem is identical to mine, except for minor differences in the "My Computer" appearance and somewhat in the case of "thumbnail" to "generic" icon appearance. Apparently, it was not solved here and that member has not returned with a solution or additional information.

    Also, I've come up empty elsewhere. Well, at least it has occurred elsewhere and I can rule out some guesses.

    Note: The Chkdsk and Sfc /scannow both come up without errors for me when the computer is "normal" and when the above problems are occurring.

    This might also be a sign I noticed. Not sure. The "waiting" symbol by the pointer is the hourglass not the "spinning circle." Right now I'm not sure of anything.
    Last edited by CPWin8; 29 Jun 2013 at 04:48. Reason: rephrased statement
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    Damn! And nobody found out what this was back then either? I'll send for help.

    Ok, no soap, the only thing we can think of is that you are going to have to do a Clean Install. Do you have an Install Disk?

    If I could dupe the problem on my PC I could try to find out what it causing it, but so far, only you and that other guy have had it happen. I'll keep looking. This is a tough one to phrase a search for.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Posts : 50
    Windows 8

    Thanks, XweAponX.

    I've been searching. I missed the other post. Wasn't in the "Similar Threads" of my thread on here. In Google, when I searched for example, I either missed it or "blank" vs. "empty" was the maybe the key phrase. I don't even remember what I typed as a search. I was messing around a lot of the night looking. I posted at an "official" forum, and no one has responded--not that I don't have belief in this group.

    I don't have an "official" disc like one used to get with Windows on it to reinstall. I have still to use the "Reset" to a "mint," "new" condition as if first turning on a new computer out of the box, and the same thing as a set of recovery media as I burned from the drive the first day I got the computer (Hopefully, those DVDs don't have any issues!).

    At first, I hoped I could just get rid of it with restore/refresh. Now I'm really looking for an answer as it seems so bizarre with the stuff I've tried that is supposed to check/fix problems as noted in previous posts (restore/refresh/sfc,chkdsk).

    It's one thing when you get clear error messages or the like, but this is just wacky. I'll hold off on the "PC Reset" option for a bit to see how things go.

    One more point I'll make, no new Windows Updates or any other programs were installed to my knowledge at this time. Like the other member, all scan types revealed no errors.

    My thought now is as the "refresh" didn't work, something left over in the settings that remains continuse to cause the problem. Otherwise, I can't imagine a hardware error. There has been no BIOS update or any such thing to my knowledge.

    Why intermittent? Why does a simple "restart" fix it? Of course, after the restart it eventually happens again.
    Last edited by CPWin8; 29 Jun 2013 at 17:39.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7

    Hm, if it is intermittent, it may be related to a Program you are running, or maybe even a startup program. Are you running any Mod programs like Start 8, Thinix or Classic Shell? It may also be a Virus or Rootkit. Google TDSSKILLER, and Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit. Try those to start, see if there is anything odd those programs find. For a full AV I suggest ESET NOD32 version 6.x, you can get 7 days free trials or something. That will be enough to scan the whole drive and see if anything shows. This sounds more like a Virus than a misconfiguration.

    Also read THIS:

    My control panel is blank [Solved]

    I rephrased the search and this popped right up. You can try the solution in the post there. I'll copy it here:

    Quote Originally Posted by
    To solve this problem follow the steps:
    - start ----> Run -----> type (gpedit.msc)
    - click on (Administrative Templates) ----> (control Panel) -----> double click on (Prohibit access to Control Panel)----> select Disable --->OK.

    Also Double click on (Show only specified Control Panel applets) ----> select Disable ---> OK

    Finally the icons of Control Panel will appear


    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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