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Explorer.exe doesnt run after windows xp clean install and other issue

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Hi, you guys have been useful in sorting out my malware problems in the past, so I thought Id try you for this one.

I am having numerous problems reinstalling a clean official copy of windows xp sp2 on my machine. something I have done numerous times before. I have been working for 4 days now and still dont have a running machine. My current problem is that after my install, and subsequent reboot, explorer.exe is not running, i can run it from taskmanager, and everything else seems to be ok, but this is not ideal. This problem has occured on 2 machines over the course of me trying to get one to work. I have used 2 different hard drives and 2 different copies of windows. There is no software at all installed and i have swapped out all hardware that i can.

Also, if i go to disk management in Computer Management, i sometimes get "Server execution failed" and it is unable to connecct to Logical Disk Manager Service.

I ran a chkdsk - nothing, and system file check (sfc) nothing. And am just about ready to throw everything out of the window. What on earth is going on? it cant be viruses because ive not even installed a wireless card let alone connected to the net. Is it a problem with my windows disc? (ive also tried an older windows disc, but when tryin to update to sp2 over windows update, there are always copy errors as files cant be found even though they are in the directory)

I have formatted my partition and reinstalled and repaired windows half a dozen times, on 2 different hard drives on 2 different machines.... should i buy a mac?

Any help much appreciated.

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