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windows start up - no icons - can't find explorer.exe

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I have windows xp service pack 2
I have just loaded avg version 9
When windows starts up, the screensaver appears, but no icons.
I can get Task Manager and New Task and I can run other .exe files.
1) I have done a restore to an older version,
but there is not difference.
2) I have found explorer.exe on the C drive
but when I run this, I get the message "can't find explorer.exe"
3) I put explorer.exe from another machine on a pen drive,
but when I run this, I get the message "can't find explorer.exe"

can anybody help?
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Do you have the XP install CD. (I am NOT going to suggest a fresh install)
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