Fix Explorer.exe Error with Yellow Exclamation at Startup

When you log on to your user account in Windows 8 or 10, Explorer.exe error message with yellow exclamation may appear, containing no message text. This may occur mainly in the aftermath of removing malware from the system.



Fix: Explorer.exe Error with Yellow Exclamation

To fix the Explorer.exe error at startup, remove the reference to a non-existent file from one of the startup locations in the registry. Here is how to do so.

  1. Press WinKey + R to bring up the Run dialog.
  2. Type regedit.exe and click OK.
  3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following registry location:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

  4. Then, double-click the value named “Load” and clear the existing data (set it blank).
    Important: If you get an error saying: “Cannot edit Load: Error writing the value’s new contents“, then re-run the Registry Editor under LocalSystem rights. Alternately, take ownership of the registry key and then clear the Load registry data.
  5. Exit the Registry Editor.

Note: The above location is one of the many startup launch-points in Windows, and some viruses/malware add entries there. The value may be pointing to a malware file that is non-existent after malware cleanup. To manage startup programs easily, use the free Autoruns utility from Microsoft.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

17 thoughts on “Fix Explorer.exe Error with Yellow Exclamation at Startup”

  1. Having had the same problem with Windows 10, I found that the registry entry to clean is “run” instead of “load”. I would have posted the regedit window if I could post a picture…

    Reply
    • I have neither load nor run there I added load (blank) and didn’t fix the problem.

      This explorer problem started happening after I wiped the drive.. tried out win 11..Then restored the disk image with my old win10 install, that I made prior that, with acronis true image. No other issues btw, other than this blank error on startup.

  2. I am not able to clear value data from load.
    Getting Error saying: Cannot edit Load: Error writing the value’s new contents
    Please suggest the solution.

    Reply
  3. It worked for me.
    There was a file …AppData\Roaming\apppatch\mtstocom.exe, Even before I start to delete it, windows defender removed the file. I emptied the load key. now it’s working fine.

    Reply

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