Explorer.exe crashing on startup

By CR555 ยท 10 replies
Jun 12, 2005
  1. Hi,
    A couple of days ago, I apparently got some adware/trojan on my computer.
    I was getting pop up messages saying that 'your computer is infected with spyware', or something like that. If clicked, they would open some website advertising protection.

    So I ran a casual ad-aware and a trojan search which turned up some stuff, and removed it.

    Then windows reported that some file(s) have been replaced with another version. I poped in my WinXP cd and I assume that it restored the files.

    At that point explorer.exe crashed and it keeps crashing whenever I try to execute it (such as windows startup, etc).

    I assume that the malware has modified certain shell files and the registry and so when the files got restored things became corrupted.

    The error messages are typical and vary between "ref. memory at ..... couldn't be read" and "...encountered an error.... has to close...", also suggesting corruption.

    I have tried:
    - safe mode
    - full windows reinstall (without formatting)
    - reinstalling IE6
    - various malware searches
    - some config/registry modifications
    - and a bunch of other stuff
    nothing works.

    I'm pretty sure that the malware is now gone. And I'm pretty sure that it is not the explorer.exe itself that is crashing, but some other module/process that is making it crash.

    Third party shell replacements do work.
    When ever it starts it works for about 2-3 seconds and then it crashes.
    Everything else works fine, and if you open a folder window during those 2-3 seconds you can use it as long as you stay in that window (it freezes eventually) I had to use task manager --> new task, to run programs.

    And very recently, I accidentally found a strange little fix. If during those few seconds you right-click the floppy shortcut, then the explorer does not crash and stays rock solid, untill you have to restart it. (clicking folders does not work, but I'll have to check that again)

    I'm sitting here with NTFSDOS Pro disks, thinking about the ultimate solution to all windows problems, but I'd rather avoid it, obviously.

    So if you have any ideas on how to get the explorer to work, it would very appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I don't know if it would do any good, but have you tried running the system file checker.

    Also, have you tried running chkdsk/r at the recovery console to rule out file/disk corruption?
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    Assuming you`re either running windows XP, or 2000.

    Maybe doing a repair install of windows would help.

    Instructions for doing that can be found HERE

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  4. CR555

    CR555 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, I have tried all of this.
    I'm out of ideas.
  5. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I'm afraid that the solution to all windows problems may be your quickest alternative this time :( It happens from time to time.

    That said, if it's bearable, you might like to stick with it for a while. I had a similar but slightly different problem not so long back with explorer.exe that seemed to pull it'self straight. I didn't do a thing and suddenly it worked. (plus, doing it this way give other peeps time to answer. lol.)
  6. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Even if the malware is now gone, it seems to me that the damage it has caused isn`t repairable.

    I know you don`t want to consider reformatting, but it may be your only solution in the long run.

    I agree with Spike that maybe you should give it a little longer. Just in case there is a solution that we haven`t thought of.

    Regards and good luck Howard :confused:
  7. CR555

    CR555 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yea, I can wait another day ot two. That's not a problem. I'm gonna ask more people about this.
  8. cpc2004

    cpc2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,994

    Attach the following files at any webspace. I will study your log and find out the culprit. C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Dr Watson\drwtsn32.log
  9. Joshua

    Joshua TS Rookie

    You could try using litestep shell. It will let you do things you would usually do, and you can run it INSTEAD of explorer.exe, rather than ontop of it. I have found this handy when iv'e gotten problems with explorer.exe myself, and iv'e recently just got a problem where explorer.exe crashes on boot.

    If you have not allready run a virus scan, get AVG Antivirus Free Update, and scan.

    As future warning, don't click popups that tell you you have spyware, some of them, just by the act of clicking them, not only link you to an antivirus website, but actually downloads and installs viruses. It might aswell be saying "download viruzz?" "yes, no"
  10. Anuar

    Anuar TS Rookie

    Is It explorer.exe Problem

    Being a first timer, I hope I can make this simple & clear.
    On loading XP SP2 I got stuck at the Startup Menu with all the desktop icons but I can't do anything, thge mouse doesn't show the arrow cursor on the task bar and when I click on the icon it does nothing.
    I can get around this by going into Task Manager, end explorer.exe in the Process and adding explorer again in New Task. Then I can continue.
    But evertime I restart the computer the same problem arises. Can someone tell me if there is a permanent solution to this?
  11. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    in short of a windows repair, you can try going into command window and typing in sfc /scannow
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