Q: Error message - browseui.dll file is not a valid Windows image in Windows XP computer.

Original Title: How to fix browseui.dll without original windows disk?


Well, kids, here's the deal.

I locked myself out of my computer and installed PC Login Now to erase my passwords. It worked beautifully, and I now have my computer back after months and months.

There was only one little weirdness: Every time I logged on to my computer, it wanted me to check my disk. Anxious to get my computer up and running and personalized how I like it, I bypassed this  the first few times. Then, when I had a few minutes, I figured I had better let the disk check run, so I let it.

NOW, when I turn my computer on, I get an error message that my browseui.dll file is not a valid windows image and my windows explorer doesn't work. So I have been getting around on the web looking for a fix via task manager, which is a pain. Someone suggested to use the scannow command line in the command prompt, so I tried that, but it requires my windows XP disk which I think may be in a different state with my mother.  So I just bypassed it every time it needed the disk, and VOILA! everything peachy.

Until, that is, I turn my computer on again. We're back in the same place.  Well, running that scan and bypassing the disk every time took me about an hour, and I just can't do that every time I need to use my computer. 

I tried system restore, with no change. I tried running from the command prompt and choosing a date AND picking "Last good configuration" in the f12 or f8 menu.  No peanuts.

So we're down to this:

1. IS there a way to fix this file without the disk?

2. Can I get another copy of the disk without having to buy it?

3. Though I don't PARTICULALRY want to, would upgrading to Windows 7 fix the problem? (But I really love my XP...)



If the c:\windows\system32\browseui.dll file is corrupt or missing, Explorer.exe will not start and you might see a messages like these:

If the c:\windows\system32\browseui.dll file is corrupt, Explorer.exe will not start and you will see a message like this:

Explorer.exe - Bad Image
The application or DLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\BROWSEUI.dll is not a valid Windows image.  Please check this against your installation diskette.

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.

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.

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.

Since we know that XP keeps copies of critical system files in the dllcache folder, you can use Task Manager to replace the missing or afflicted file.

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.

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.

If your computer wants to check your disk on every reboot, that means the "dirty bit" on the volume has probably been set and the only way to clear the dirty bit is to run a chkdsk /r (which XP is trying to do).   The dirty bit can get set on a volume if there is a power interruption for example (plug pulling, using the power button, etc.)

Sometimes XP can't clear the dirty bit that way and it is best to run chkdsk /r from the XP Recovery Console so you can actually see what it is doing and run it again if necessary.

If you don't have any bootable XP media to boot into the XP Recovery Console, you can make a bootable XP Recovery Console CD (no XP media required) and do all your work from there.

You could even replace the browseui.dll file from the SP Recovery Console if it is your desire.

Do you need instructions to create a bootable XP Recovery Console CD?  No Microsoft Support Engineer seems to know how to do that, but I do and will give you the instructions in the next reply.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.



If you have no bootable XP media (or are not sure what you have) create a bootable XP Recovery Console CD and be sure (no XP media required).

This is not the same as any recovery disks that might have come a store bought system.  

You can make a bootable Recovery Console CD by downloading an ISO file and burning it to a CD.

The bootable ISO image file you need to download is called:


Download the ISO file from here:

Use a new CD and this free and easy program to burn your ISO file and create your bootable CD (do not install UniBlue or the Ask Toolbar - ever!):

Here are some instructions for ImgBurn:

It would be a good idea to test your bootable CD on a computer that is working.

You may need to adjust the computer BIOS settings to use the CD ROM drive as the first boot device instead of the hard disk.  These adjustments are made before Windows tries to load.  If you miss it, you will have to reboot the system again.

When you boot on the CD, follow the prompts:

Press any key to boot from CD...

The Windows Setup... will proceed.

Press 'R' to enter the Recovery Console.

Select the installation you want to access (usually  1: C:\WINDOWS)

You may be asked to enter the Administrator password (usually empty).

You should be in the C:\WINDOWS folder.  This is the same as the 

C:\WINDOWS folder you see in explorer.

The Recovery Console allows basic file commands like: copy, rename, replace, delete, cd, chkdsk, fixboot, fixmbr, etc.

For a list of Recovery Console commands, enter help at the prompt or read about the XP Recovery Console here:

A good idea before starting things is to first verify the integrity of your file system using the chkdsk command.

From the command prompt window run the chkdsk command on the drive where Windows is installed to try to repair any problems on the afflicted drive.

Running chkdsk is fine even if it doesn't find any problems.  It will not hurt anything to run it.

Assuming your boot drive is C, run the following command:

chkdsk C: /r

Let chkdsk finish and correct any problems it might find.  

It may take a long time for chkdsk to complete or it may appear to be 'stuck'.  Be patient.  If the HDD light is still flashing, chkdsk is doing something.  Keep an eye on the percentage amount to be sure it is still making progress.  It may even appear to go backwards sometimes.

You should run chkdsk /r again until it finds no errors to correct.

Remove the CD and type 'exit' to leave the RC and restart the computer.

You do not have to adjust the BIOS again to boot on the HDD since the CD will not be present.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

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Views: 4,365 Last updated: March 30, 2018 Applies to: