Windows 7 Control Panel Displays Blank

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It seems there are times that computers get tired and decide to take a nap or maybe decide to stage a strike. How else would you explain a situation where a computer has been working without a hassle and suddenly you open the Control Panel and all you get is a blank screen staring at you?

Of late I have noted my laptop has been running slowly and I thought this was due to the number of applications installed. I therefore decided to un-install some of the programs I rarely use. So I hurriedly open the control panel only to realize it is displaying a blank screen.

My first thought is I have been hit by a virus. I therefore restart and scan for any viruses and non is found. I again open the control panel and the problem is still there – blank screen.

Maybe if I run the Add/Remove Programs directly the problem will go away. I open the command prompt (cmd.exe) as the Administrator and type appwiz.cpl press the enter key and the blank screen is still staring at me. It at times like these that I miss internet. I could just have googled the problem but unfortunately I forgot to bring my modem along.

At this point I decide to stop any services that are running and are not critical or necessary. I open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). I select the Processes tab and click on the Image Name column header to enable sorting the list alphabetically by their names. I accidently end the explorer.exe process and only realize what I have done after my Desktop disappears. As I still have the Windows Task Manager Window open, I decide to continue the process of stopping non-critical processes and to restart the explorer after I am through. I finally restart the explorer and at least the laptop seems to have started running smoothly.

Finally, when I am done with the tasks I wanted to accomplish and before shutting down, I decide to check whether the Control Panel stopped misbehaving and sure enough it is no longer blank. I am baffled but as I am not sure of what I did to bring it back, I assume it the explorer thing that made it work. As I am unable to reproduce the behaviour, I will assume that killing the explorer and restarting it is what solved the issue.

I will list the steps for stopping and restarting the process (explorer) so that in case the problem recurs, this will be my first point of call.

  1. Open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).

  2. Select the Processes tab.

  3. Find explorer.exe processes and select it

  4. Click End Process button on the dialog window that is displayed to confirm the end process.

  5. Select Applications tab and click New Task… button at the bottom right of the window.

  6. Type explorer.exe in the Open: textbox then click OK.