Why do explorer shortcuts stop working after a while? (like My Computer)

Threepwood

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
806
Using WinXP SP3, though it happens to me under all versions AFAIK.

After some time, usaully after quite long use, the My Computer shortcuts stop working, AFAIK at the same time, Explorer browser stops working too.

Last time this happened, I found I can still launch IE and browse my PC fine with that, but it seems to be heavier on memory somewhat.

So I always have to restart my PC when this happens to be able to use it normally, bad when downloading something that can't be interrupted etc.

I found now that the way around it without restarting is to open Task Manager, kill all shown instances of explorer, which disapears the start bar and everything else, except for other running programs which seem uneffected.

Then select file > new task (run...) and type explorer. Now the task bar comes back and everything seems normal, the my computer shortcuts work again.

Why does this happen in the first place? It's annoying...
 

Keeper

Honorary Master
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Mar 29, 2008
Messages
23,624
afail "explorer" runs your win UI... mine at home becomes unstable sometimes, using 99% cpu resources..... dunno why though...virus?
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
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11,419
Goto start --> run

Copy and paste this line of code into the run bar
Code:
tasklist > tasks.txt

then search for a file called tasks.txt and paste the content here
 

Threepwood

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
806
All that I don't really know/think is safe for sure (or don't have any idea of what is at all) is highlighted:


Image Name PID Session Name Session# Mem Usage
========================= ====== ================ ========
System Idle Process 0 Console 0 16 K
System 4 Console 0 36 K
smss.exe 736 Console 0 36 K
csrss.exe 808 Console 0 1,908 K
winlogon.exe 832 Console 0 1,568 K

services.exe 876 Console 0 1,292 K
lsass.exe 888 Console 0 1,672 K
svchost.exe 1036 Console 0 1,160 K
svchost.exe 1132 Console 0 1,180 K
svchost.exe 1240 Console 0 7,368 K
svchost.exe 1404 Console 0 416 K
aawservice.exe 1464 Console 0 200 K
spoolsv.exe 1628 Console 0 552 K
avgcc.exe 1868 Console 0 352 K
BOC426.EXE 1876 Console 0 14,456 K
cfp.exe 1888 Console 0 5,428 K
cmf.exe 1916 Console 0 460 K
avgamsvr.exe 1968 Console 0 452 K
avgupsvc.exe 192 Console 0 56 K
avgemc.exe 212 Console 0 768 K
BOCore.exe 284 Console 0 200 K
cmdagent.exe 300 Console 0 2,436 K
nvsvc32.exe 656 Console 0 224 K
alg.exe 2064 Console 0 108 K

RouteSentry.exe 3704 Console 0 1,396 K
explorer.exe 3616 Console 0 23,268 K
explorer.exe 3768 Console 0 5,352 K
firefox.exe 1852 Console 0 11,264 K
opera.exe 2088 Console 0 39,648 K
altbinz.exe 232 Console 0 21,908 K
cmd.exe 3460 Console 0 3,388 K
tasklist.exe 3576 Console 0 4,788 K
wmiprvse.exe 2400 Console 0 6,292 K

Hasn't been that long since last install, and I don't think virus but maybe?

As far as I can remember, what I have described happens on every WinXP system I have ever had, with me anyway...
 

masticore

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
998
afail "explorer" runs your win UI... mine at home becomes unstable sometimes, using 99% cpu resources..... dunno why though...virus?

This is often due to a bad codec. It'll manifest itself when browsing a location (e.g. C:\My Porn\Midgets\With Donkeys) that contains multimedia content (.avi .mpg etc).
 

sn3rd

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
4,305
Virus for sure! You shouldn't have two explorer.exe running. The 5352K version is the dodgy one. You need to check where they are being launched from:

Start -> Run -> msconfig -> Startup tab

I'll bet explorer.exe is listed there (it shouldn't be). You can check where it is being launched from (often C:\Windows\System32\explorer.exe) as well as what is launching it (usually a registry entry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run).

The genuine explorer.exe resides at C:\Windows\explorer.exe

Oh, and to fix this? Follow these instructions:
1) Kill the offending explorer.exe:
CTRL + ALT + DELETE -> Processes tab -> Highlight process -> End process
If you chose the correct one, your windows etc should NOT close.
2) Delete the offending file (its path is given in msconfig's startup tab)
3) Delete the registry entry that attempts to run the file at startup

As always, backup the registry if you're not sure what you're changing, so that you can restore it later.
 
Last edited:

Threepwood

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
806
Ill to check with your method there sn3erd, but neither of the two explorer.exe are a virus.

It's 'cos I have "Launch folder windows in a seperate process" enabled that there are two explorer.exe in my task list. Sure of that.
 

sn3rd

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2008
Messages
4,305
Well at least check if the files are originating from the same place. Check running processes on a fresh reboot, and search for explorer.exe (remember to check for hidden files and folders and also protected operating system files)
 

Threepwood

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
806
Virus for sure! You shouldn't have two explorer.exe running. The 5352K version is the dodgy one. You need to check where they are being launched from:

Start -> Run -> msconfig -> Startup tab

I'll bet explorer.exe is listed there (it shouldn't be). You can check where it is being launched from (often C:\Windows\System32\explorer.exe) as well as what is launching it (usually a registry entry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run).

The genuine explorer.exe resides at C:\Windows\explorer.exe

Took me so long to try this 'cos it didn't work from a user account. Couldn't run msconfig as a user and it wouldn't work with runas, was just too lazy to login as admin till now. :D

Anyway explorer is not listed in that start-up list, so if it is a virus (doubt it) causing this it's not that kind.

Full search of the PC reveals explorer.exe twice, in C:\WINDOWS and C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386, both files are exactly the same size, I'm guessing the one is service pack dir is remnant from the update?
 

kronoSX

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
14,655
i am looking at your log of task processors.It seems that your explorer process is corrupted,maybe a virus or something to do with the cpu dualcore issue. When running your pc cancel the first explorer,and if it cancels and you still can see the taskbar then you have a problem.
 

Threepwood

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
806
i am looking at your log of task processors.It seems that your explorer process is corrupted,maybe a virus or something to do with the cpu dualcore issue. When running your pc cancel the first explorer,and if it cancels and you still can see the taskbar then you have a problem.

A dualcore issue I don't think so 'cos I don't have a dual core CPU.

I'm pretty sure that my explorer.exe is not effected by a virus or corrupt (same reasoning in my third post,"launch folder windows in seperate process), though I can't think of much else that would cause the issue in OP.

As far as cancelling the "first" explorer.exe goes, how am I supposed to tell which is the first one? I'm 100% sure I have two explorer.exe's 'cos of what I said:

When first starting the PC, there is only one explorer.exe, when I open My Computer or Windows Explorer, then the second process starts. i.e. Launch folder windows in a seperate process is taking effect, the folder window, My Computer or Windows Explorer is being launched in a seperate process. Simple :D

If I try cancelling the first one, I invariably pick wrong and my taskbar goes down (when there are two, which is only when I have My Computer etc. opened.) If I close My Computer the second process closes, thus showing me that it is definitely the My Computer or Windows explorer window that's showing up as a second excplorer.exe.

Although in testing it seems like there are only two explorer.exe processes allowed, I tried opening several other My Computer windows but no more explorer.exe's pop up.

I'll disable launch folder windows in a separate process and see if the two explorer.exe's stop, that will pretty much prove it 100& to me.

The only idea I have for the problem in OP is RAM problem, on this same board, my 512 stick was throwing up errors in memtest, so I put in another 256mb stick instead. This doesn't show errors in memtest, and some previous random resetting behaviour cleared up.

However the 512mb stick doesn't show errors on another board, so I guessed compatibility issues between board and RAM, maybe this board is faulty? I don't know if bad RAM would cause my issue in OP?

EDIT: I just disabled launch folder windows in a seperate process, and without restarting I could see the behaviour was changed, opening My Computer did not create a new explorer.exe.

Just to test as well, I re-enabled it and re-started the PC, then at start up there is only one explorer.exe and lo and behold, when I launch My Computer a second one pops up.
 
Last edited:

sn3rd

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Jan 18, 2008
Messages
4,305
A dualcore issue I don't think so 'cos I don't have a dual core CPU.

I'm pretty sure that my explorer.exe is not effected by a virus or corrupt (same reasoning in my third post,"launch folder windows in seperate process), though I can't think of much else that would cause the issue in OP.

As far as cancelling the "first" explorer.exe goes, how am I supposed to tell which is the first one? I'm 100% sure I have two explorer.exe's 'cos of what I said:

When first starting the PC, there is only one explorer.exe, when I open My Computer or Windows Explorer, then the second process starts. i.e. Launch folder windows in a seperate process is taking effect, the folder window, My Computer or Windows Explorer is being launched in a seperate process. Simple :D

If I try cancelling the first one, I invariably pick wrong and my taskbar goes down (when there are two, which is only when I have My Computer etc. opened.) If I close My Computer the second process closes, thus showing me that it is definitely the My Computer or Windows explorer window that's showing up as a second excplorer.exe.

Although in testing it seems like there are only two explorer.exe processes allowed, I tried opening several other My Computer windows but no more explorer.exe's pop up.

I'll disable launch folder windows in a separate process and see if the two explorer.exe's stop, that will pretty much prove it 100& to me.

The only idea I have for the problem in OP is RAM problem, on this same board, my 512 stick was throwing up errors in memtest, so I put in another 256mb stick instead. This doesn't show errors in memtest, and some previous random resetting behaviour cleared up.

However the 512mb stick doesn't show errors on another board, so I guessed compatibility issues between board and RAM, maybe this board is faulty? I don't know if bad RAM would cause my issue in OP?

EDIT: I just disabled launch folder windows in a seperate process, and without restarting I could see the behaviour was changed, opening My Computer did not create a new explorer.exe.

Just to test as well, I re-enabled it and re-started the PC, then at start up there is only one explorer.exe and lo and behold, when I launch My Computer a second one pops up.

Well I'll be... Learn something new every day :eek:
 
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