Windows/Internet Explorer FATAL ERROR every time it opens

By poertner_1274 ยท 10 replies
Jan 23, 2003
  1. I am currently having some problems with one of my machines. It seems that as of a few days ago EVERY time I try and open Windows Explorer or IE it seems to give me a fatal error saying:
    Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please tell Microsoft about this problem.

    I am using Windows XP with everything updated. I can't remember the last thing I installed, I believe it was a printer at the beginning of the semester, but have been able to use it up until a few days ago.

    I have searched M$ knowledge base, but couldn't find an exact solution, was hoping one of you knew something......

    If you need anything else post back and I'll let you know.
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Oh man, that's like looking for a needle in a hay stack! :(

    Let me have a think about it and if I do come up with something I will post back.

    This sort of thing is a classic case of why to use something like drive image. You image a good know system, then you can apply updates and if there is a problem then roll back to a good known image....

    You could have a corrupted... well, just about anything that IE uses. If possible, look for some of the updates you have made appearing in add/remove programs, and start to remove them one by one and check and see if that fixes it. I've had updates muck up things before.

    Let me ponder this some more....
  3. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    I guess its conceivable that its related to some sort of Spyware as I know I once had explorer crashes as a result of one rogue Dll. Best bet would be to download Spybot at
    That'll find out anything amiss
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    I am sure that you will get some other good advise, and I hope to post with more, but to be honest, with IE being such an important component of Windows, perhaps you would be better off with a clean install if you can't find the solution.

    I usually recommend against a clean install.. Its better to try and find the solution.. for one, it might be just one mouse click away... for another, its better to learn rather than to fdisk everything away and start again....

    but there DOES come a point where it is better to cut your losses. If you do do this, this time do a clean install and DRIVE IMAGE YOUR SYSTEM, so that when this kind of thing happens again, you can roll back to good known image and spare yourself the work.

    Now, in the old days, I used to just reinstall every time. Fair enough, this got me so good at installing windows that I got a job as a computer technician. I could do it in my sleep.

    But to reach the next level, you HAVE to be able to find these faults and solve them.

    So I suggest that for the moment, you DON'T GIVE UP, and keep trying to find the answer...

    But if that answer doesn't come, then reinstall. After all, you are wasting your hardware with a broken OS. And you just may have one.

    Try as Thomas and I have suggested. Hopefully I will have some other ideas, you might have some, and some other members may post from their experiences....
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Topic Starter Posts: 4,172

    I will try this, it isn't actually MY computer, it is a friends, but it is just easier to say MINE.

    I haven't had a personal look at it yet, but thought I'd post about it first. I will check it out tomorrow. He did tell me he doesn't want to reinstall, can't afford to lose things.

    We'll see what happens....I just need to go look at it personally and play with it I think.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Try running System Files Checker or upgrading to the latest service (if not installed)

    Start/Run/SFC.exe /SCANNOW

    You'll need your Windows CD - It will replace your system files with fresh ones off of the CD.
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Sorry if I overlooked this and it was said earlier, but with XP there are system restore points. Maybe if he had that turned on per chance that may be an option.
  8. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Topic Starter Posts: 4,172

    I'm not sure if he did. I have been gone all weekend, but I will go look at his PC tomorrow sometime and hopefully sort this out.

    I appreciate all the help so far.
  9. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Topic Starter Posts: 4,172

    Ok, I haven't been able to figure out the problem. I just told him to install XP onto another HD, then set it up as master and the old crappy install as slave, boot into the new installation and get the files off the old one that he still needs, then format it and use it as a backup drive.

    We'll see how this works today, as he said he would do it.
  10. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    my expierience has been that fatal error messages when opening windows explorer generally indicate corruption in the kernel. and reformatting is the most likely solution. BUT if he has XP and hasnt yet applied SP1 that MIGHT solve the problem.

    also While I have never used it XP does have a repair console feature on the CD you acess it by booting from the CD.
  11. monkeyg

    monkeyg TS Rookie

    Reinstalling SP2 to repair Damaged DLLs

    If wanting to fix the user profile instead of scrapping and starting over this is probally worth a try.

    Scroll to the bottom of this post for what worked for me, keep reading if you like long-winded stories.

    I was getting a similar error, not when right clicking, but searching.

    Any search I attempted got the "Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience." error myself only referencing a failure in Srchui.dll (Search User Interface Dynamic Link Library)

    As most .dll failures are due to a corruption of the dll itself I set off to overwrite my current Srchui.dll with the original.

    Thank you pklammer for the "Launch folder windows in a separate process" tip, it DID make my testing less painful!

    This was hindered by both the fact that I wanted the SP2 version and that I couldn't search to find the file on my harddrive.

    Microsoft shed some light with thier "A File That Is Required to Run Search Companion Cannot Be Found" article at;en-us;319949. I found this by searching Microsoft for just "Srchui.dll".

    The article recommended to (re)install Srchasst.inf, to replace the missing Srchui.dll. My hopes were that it would repair my damanged one.

    Doing so I was prompted for the SP2 CD, I didn't have one as I installined via Windows Update. I didn't seem to have a full unzipped directory in C:\WINDOWS\$NtServicePackUninstall$ either.

    I finally decided to try to reinstall SP2. I didn't wanna wait for CD and of course having it installed already it no longer appears in Windows Update. After some searching I DL'd the "Windows XP Service Pack 2 for IT Professionals and Developers" from (I search MS for "SP2 download")

    Some recommendations for (re)installing SP2 this way:
    Do a manual System Restore Checkpoint. Windows Update version will do one for you, this way won't.
    Restart when finished. The "Restart computer now" isn't grayed out like on the WU version. I didn't delay and wouldn't recommend you doing it either.

    I reinstalled it and held my breath during reboot. I got a "MSL Failed" (or something like that) error on login. I'm guessing that it was trying to migrate settings from SP1 but couldn't find any. I've rebooted once since and it's NOT reoccuring.

    My profile was in tact except a few arbitrary changes. I had to redelete the WMP shortcut from my quicklaunch. I had to redelete the "Set Program Access and Defaults" shortcut from the root of the start menu. I had to reuncheck the "Display detele confirmation dialog" in Recycling Bin properties. That's all I've found so far.

    I CAN SEARCH! Both local and network drive searches work like a charm.

    Things I have verified so far that were maintained in my profile are:
    Folder view preferences
    Custom Start Menu organization
    Firewall settings
    Both of my wireless NICs work.

    In short I had to click ok on one error message, reconfigure 3 settings and now i'm golden. I've been up for 25 minutes since reboot, no error, hangs, crashes, other problems, and still can search.

    I'll swing back by this topic if anything goes horribly wrong.

    Monkey G. =)
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