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System32 Folder Opens When Logging on to Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows NT 4.0

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q170086
When you log on to Microsoft Windows, a Microsoft Windows Explorer window may open that displays the contents of the System32 folder.

This behavior also occurs if there is a String value that contains only a single quote character (") as the Value data in the following Registry key:
This behavior can occur if a null, incomplete, or damaged entry exists in the registry.
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

Use Registry Editor to view the following two Windows registry keys:

Verify that all the values in these keys do not contain any incorrect, incomplete, or null entries (such as "").
An incorrect entry in the following registry value has been confirmed to cause the behavior described above:
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Value: ActiveMovie File Extensions
Value Type: REG_SZ
Value Data: ActMovie.exe /Check
If the value data for this entry is null or appears in Registry Editor as quotation marks, you may experience the problem described above. To correct the problem, change the value data to match the entry above or delete the ActiveMovie File Extensions value.

You can resolve this behavior by deleting the Remainder value that has "" next to it is in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Run

If you are uncertain whether an entry is incorrect or incomplete, you may want to delete all entries other than the default Windows entry. The following entry to run the System Tray is the only required Windows default entry:
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Value: SystemTray
Value Type: REG_SZ
Value Data: SysTray.exe
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
177510 System32 folder opens when Windows NT starts
service pack sp3 blank login start startup automatic automatically logon

Article ID: 170086 - Last Review: 03/26/2007 08:10:26 - Revision: 4.3

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • kbenv kbprb kbui KB170086
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