explorer.exe unable to locate the browseui.dll error

I do not have a windows xp cd and I don't want to move my files since its too much work

loads but no icons just the wallpaper shows

Question Info

Last updated December 13, 2018 Views 3,138 Applies to:
If the c:\windows\system32\browseui.dll file is missing, Explorer.exe will not start and you will see a message like this:

EXPLORER.exe - Unable To Locate Component : This application has failed to start because BROWSEUI.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.

Since this file is one of the 3498 files that Windows File Protection cares about, it should never be missing.  If it is missing, it was probably quarantined (effectively deleted) by your unspecified antivirus/antimalware application, but there should be copies of the file in other places on
your system.

Describe your current antivirus and anti malware situation:  McAfee, Symantec, Norton, Spybot, AVG, Avira!, MSE, Panda, Trend Micro, CA, Defender, ZoneAlarm, PC Tools, Comodo, etc.

When you see the error, you can click OK and get to an empty desktop with only your background image showing but still be able to maneuver with Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del to bring up Task Manager.

Since we know that XP keeps copies of critical system files in the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder, you can use Task Manager to replace the missing or afflicted file (however it could be missing from there too).

From Task Manager, Click File, New Task (Run...) and then click Browse and navigate to the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder.  Make sure that the "Files of type" box is set to show All Files (or you won't see everything) and click OK to see all the files.

Locate the backup copy of browseui.dll file in the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder, right click it and copy it, and go back up one folder to c:\windows\system32, right click in an empty area and paste the file there.  Respond in the affirmative if asked to overwrite the existing file.

If the file is not in the dllcache folder, navigate to and look for a backup copy of browseui.dll file in the c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 folder, right click it and copy it, and navigate back to c:\windows\system32, right click in an empty area and paste the file there.  Respond in the affirmative if asked to overwrite the existing file.  Depending on your system configuration, you may not have this folder, but that's okay.

If the file still cannot be found, you can copy one from a working system or download a copy from my SkyDrive, put it on a floppy or USB thumb drive and "sneakernet" it over to the afflicted system and manually copy the file from the floppy or USB thumb drive to the afflicted system putting it in the c:\windows\system32 folder where it belongs.

If you have no working system where you can get a copy of the file, you can still launch Internet Explorer from Task Manager and download a copy of the file from my SkyDrive and simply replace it.  I can tell you how to do that if the other ideas don't work out.

There are many ways to replace the missing file so if none of these work out, we can do it another way.

Once the missing file has been replaced, you can then start Explorer from the Task Manager by clicking File, New Task (Run...) and in the "Open:" box enter:


Click OK to launch Explorer and your desktop should return.

Or after replacing the missing/suspicious file, just restart the system from Task Manager by clicking Shut Down and choosing Restart and then Explorer will start on its own when the system reboots.

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