Windows has no icons

Microsoft Windows 98

My other system has come up with a strange problem. It
will appear to load normally, but there is a small blip
of some software trying to come up in the lower left
corner, but then nothing comes up except the desktop and
the mouse, and I'm unable to do anything.

I tried installing windows over itself, and installing
windows to a different directory, but the problem
persists. Any suggestions?
Checked your startup files?