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Active Desktop broken on Win2k Pro installation

I've broken Active Desktop on my Win2k Pro installation. I can't believe that there isn't an easy way to fix this, as how it was broken was not terribly intrusive.

Simply put, I had a broken installation of an Adobe product (GoLive v6). This left many dangling file associations. Rather than cracking open the registry and deleting any key/value referring to GoLive I used the control panel 'folder options' to browse through the file associations and delete them there. Now either I've deleted a file association accidentally, or GoLive had attached itself to something that was required for Active Desktop to work.

Initially this gave me three identifiable problems: 1) When I attempted to start active desktop through display properties I received an error message "Internet Explorer can't find the Active Desktop HTML file. This file is needed for your Active Desktop. Click OK to turn off Active Desktop."
2) WebViews (if I'm naming the way windows displays fancy folder contents) doesn't work. Icons get replaced with little red 'x's and folder names get replaced with "%THISDIRNAME%" and the formatting is all wrong.
3) javascript stopped working in internet explorer (received error message "Class not registered")

Thinking this was a simple file association error I checked the http association. It was there, but blank. So I must have done something to another one. I did a bit of web crawling and came up with several suggestions of registering dlls to correct this. I have done this, with limited success -- webviews work, javascript works, but active desktop is now ghosted in the folder options control panel, and not even there on display properties. The dll's registered were (using regsvr32 dll_file] cmd line): mshtml.dll, shdocvw.dll, urlmon.dll, webvw.dll, thumbvw.dll, mydocs.dll, rsabase.dll, shell32.dll.

Individually I saw no success, but once multiple dlls had been registered scripts and webviews returned to normal. However now I can't enable active desktop. I've checked the registry for the 'noactivedesktop' key and changed that from 1 to 0.

So I'm part way there, but how do I restore the option for active desktop, short of reinstalling Windows (sfc did nothing for me).

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As it turns out, you're not alone. From the top, here's a possible solution to each of these:

 

1. The missing file in question is Desktop.htt, which you may be able to recover from another computer running Active Desktop (it's in WINDOWSApplication DataMicrosoftInternet Explorer).

2. The "%THISDIRNAME%" oddity seems to hinge on requiring the Folder.htt file in the WindowsWeb directory. Again, this can be taken from another machine w/Active Desktop if yours has gone missing.

3. To reinstall the JavaScript DLL, use REGSVR32 JAVASCRIPT.DLL and see if JavaScript functionality returns that way.

This was first published in April 2004

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