Microsoft KB Archive/174281

From BetaArchive Wiki
Knowledge Base

WINNT Machines with ZAK Tools Have a Blank Desktop

Article ID: 174281

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95

This article was previously published under Q174281

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this, view the "Restoring Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic in Regedt32.exe.


Your computer running Windows NT displays a blank desktop or user interface.


A blank desktop or user interface on a computer running Windows NT is caused by one of two "Zero Administration Kit for Windows 95" executable files. These executable files are Runshell.exe and Rsreset.exe. These executable files are found in the setup files and are installed under the ZAK95\Setup\Win95 directory as a part of the server-base installation point.

Both of the above executable files will rewrite the registry on a computer running Windows NT Server or Workstation. The registry change occurs on the computer from which the executable is run (or double-clicked). It changes the default shell to Runshell.exe that executes a blank desktop (user interface).


WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it.

To resolve this problem, edit the registry by performing the following steps:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe), and go to the following subkey:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT \CurrentVersion\Winlogon

NOTE: The above registry key is one path; it has been wrapped for readability.

  1. Edit the Shell string. Replace the string value of Runshell.exe with the correct shell executable file listed below:

Windows NT 4.0 shell executable: EXPLORER.EXE Windows NT 3.51 shell executable: PROGMAN.EXE

  1. Quit Registry Editor and restart your computer.

Additional query words: Win95 ZAK Zero Administration Kit screen

Keywords: kbprb KB174281