|I see many people ask this question and it appears to happen for a variety of reasons but here is the symptom and fix.|
You boot windows up and all looks okay, you see your desktop and mouse pointer as normal but it never seems to get much further than that, you are staring at a blank desktop wallpaper with no icons, taskbar, anything but windows is NOT frozen because you can move your mouse. The strange thing I found is ifyou hit ctrl+alt+del there will be no applications running but under the processes tab there are. From the applications tab you can hit the new task button at the bottom and will be able to launch programs from there. Don't bother with the cmd command it will only flash on screen. I was able to navigate thru here to my anti-virus programs, browser, etc and run all the applications fine. How strange! I tried using google to find a fix but it seems all search terms like windows boots up to blank desktop or wallpaper show results in the browser from legitimate sites however always seem to redirect to a few BS sites instead. I'm thinkin' virus, could be but I found if instead of clicking on one of these links you copy and paste it in the browser nav bar a few of the links actually work, most are bogus. There goes the virus theory.
Bottom line I stumbled on an article on some obscure site that gave me the fix.
By the way I tried to reboot like 10 times with the same result, so that never fixed the problem either.
Now for the fix First hit ctrl+alt+del and under the processes tab check if Explorer.exe is running, that is your windows shell. If not, which was my case you can start it by going to the applications tab in the windows task manager (the window that opens when you hit ctrl+alt+del) and at the bottom click on New Task then type Explorer.exe if that doesn't start it up in a few seconds and fix your problem, try navigating to it here C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe That fixed the problem for me, hope it helps others as well.