Windows Explorer issue

By undeuxtroiscinq
May 4, 2010
  1. Hello-

    I was redirected here after confirmation that my computer is clean from viruses and malware.

    Here is the issue

    Windows Explorer crashes when I try to access certain sub-folders with which I have been working a lot lately (ie. frequently accessing and modifying files), containing mostly MS Office files and PDFs.
    It also makes Word, Excel or almost any program crash when I try to browse through files using 'Open' (but strangely not using 'Save' or 'Save As'.

    Since I need to work on these files, I am accessing them one of two ways right now:
    - using the list of most recently open files in Word or Excel;
    - using 'Run' and typing the path to the file I need (which is cumbersome)

    Here is what I have tried to do about this:
    1. I have run Windows in safe mode (F8 key) with the same result
    2. I have tried to run the CHKDSK function in the recovery console. Several times. At first, it always returns the 'CHKDSK found one or more errors on the volume'; if I then run CHKDSK c: /r (the clean up routine), the CHKDSK c: /p no longer detects errors but the problem with Windows Explorer remains (and then after rebooting, CHKDSK finds problems with my drive again). I have done this a good half a dozen times by now.
    3. I have run HDTune - the Error scan returned a perfect result (all sectors are green), and the SMART report says 'healthy'. I attach the report, because I do not know how to interpret the data (does it matter that the disk shows high numbers in the 'Data' column of 'Offline uncorrectable' and 'Ultra DMA CRC Error Count'?
    4. My drive is new and works flawlessly. Could it still be a hardware problem? A registry problem?
    5. I have created another partition on my HDD (E:\) and copied a parent folder containing (amongst other) my problematic corrupt sub-folders.
    Windows Explorer would crash when I explore E:\
    6. I have tried to delete the corrupt folder, and here is what happens:
    (i) I boot my machine
    (ii) open Windows Explorer
    (iii) Try to delete the parent folder E:\Work (it contains the corrupt sub-folder): Windows sends an error message referring to a file within the corrupt subfolder saying it is in use by another process (it is an Excel file and Excel is not running)
    (iv) Click OK, Restart and do (i) to (iii) again: same outcome, with a different Excel file being supposedly used by a running processes
    (v) Open the incriminated file using the 'Run' command (there's no other way), Excel opens and send me a Warning "cannot access file, which is locked for editing by
    'another user'
    Please open as read-only'

    What is this 'another user'? This issue is really driving me nuts :confused: :mad:

    Any idea, someone? :)
    Many thanks in advance!

    Attached Files:

  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    You have not given us details/specs of your system. However, to start with can you please disable explorer's default preview pane.

    Also, do you have any idea about what softwares you may have installed which add shell extensions? e.g. Fax software which may add right click options.

    You can disable such 'unwanted' extensions with the help of ShellExView. Regards
  3. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter


    many thanks for picking up the issue.

    My system:
    Lenovo X60 Intel CPU T2400
    MS Windows XP Professional SP3 up-to-date

    WRT shell extensions: I have already disabled all non-microsoft extensions.

    What do you mean by 'disable explorer's default preview pain'?
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    There is a pane on the left side of each explorer window you open in XP. That pane shows you thumbnails of selected files etc. Unfortunately I no longer have any machine running XP (I haven't used XP in a while now, so I am kinda starting to forget stuff about it :( ). But anyhow, go to Tools, and then to Folder Options in any Explorer window; then choose "Use Classic View/Folders" (hope I am right about the option name), it should be at the top of the appearing box. Click ok once you have choosen it and see whether that helps.
  5. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Got it.
    Reverted to Classic View. Explorer still crashes, and does not come back as it usually does (ie. all icons and taskbar and start menu are gone. I have to manually relaunch explorer.exe using Ctrl+Alt+Delete).
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    Hmm ok, I suggest you to change the folder settings back to previous one.

    By the way what message do you get when explorer crashes? (if any)

    What Service Pack you've installed on this system ?

    Also one more suggestion, have you tried to use some other freeware file manager to see whether the same issue arises with it? You can find couple of good ones here in techspot's download section.


    Here is a link which may help you in choosing one accordingly.
  7. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When crashing, a 'Windows Explorer' windows pops up saying:
    'Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
    If you were in the middle of something [...]' and buttons 'Debug' and 'Close'.
    The Debug button is not helpful (usually another Windows similar to the previous one about Dr. Watson).

    I have SP3.

    Alternative Explorer: I have downloaded xplorer2_lite. I did not choose the option to make it replace explorer.exe. It seems to work fine!! Did not crash or anything.

    Explorer keeps mis-behaving.
  8. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update - and resolution (apparently for now at least)!
    I found this on a French tech forum:
    Run regsvr32 -u shmedia.dll

    A message pops up saying the installation was successful. And the problem is gone.

    It worked for me. Any idea what it is?
  9. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    oooops - wrote too fast.
    Explorer functionality through Open and Save functions (e.g. under Excel or Outlook) is still buggy :(
    Thanks to the xplorer2, I can work around it for now, but still annoying...
  10. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    I'll have a thorough look into this issue this coming weekend; and will let you know if i find something of itnerest.
  11. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    Please download Belarc Advisor and run it, once you have done so please remove all software license keys / information from the report before posting it here.

    Also I remember in the olden days there was a tool from Microsoft for scanning and fixing registry; I will post its link/name etc. once I can find it; so we can ensure that there is nothing wrong with registry of your current OS installation.
  12. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have pasted the result in the zip file attached.
    I hope it is legible...

    Attached Files:

  13. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    There is nothing unusual which I can pin point from the BA report about this issue. Kindly have a look at your system's logs thoroughly and see whether there are Red/Yellow tagged events, if so, can you please give Event ID/details etc. as it may help us in leading towards the issue you are facing.
  14. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again for your postings. When explorer.exe crashes, the log shows messages like these:

    Faulting application explorer.exe, version 6.0.2900.5512, faulting module unknown, version, fault address 0x84287a98.

    Faulting application explorer.exe, version 6.0.2900.5512, faulting module unknown, version, fault address 0x83d77a98.

    Faulting application explorer.exe, version 6.0.2900.5512, faulting module unknown, version, fault address 0x83667a98.

    [as far as I can see, there is a slightly different address every time]
  15. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    I had rather similar situation in the recent past, when explorer on my desktop pc would crash for no apparent reason to start with, then the problem exacerbated and the whole OS would either hang or crash with or without BSOD. In the end it turned out for me that one of the RAM Modules were causing these issues. I don't know whether it can be same for you or not. You can try to eliminate this possibility by running memtest for at least 8 passes.

    However, have you installed all updated chipset/motherboard drivers or are you using generic windows drivers ?

    In the above comment I am talking about facing this issue in windows 7.
  16. undeuxtroiscinq

    undeuxtroiscinq TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, so I will hold on before running memtest.

    WRT chipset drivers: I did not consciously install such drivers (I may have unknowingly done so as part of a Lenovo software updates, or when I updated my BIOS for instance?).

    How do I do update them? I vaguely remember reading about it in a thread somewhere, but it looked daunting...
  17. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    Here is the link to site which have drivers for your notebook.
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