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Windows Explorer Freezes on Right-Click, Windows key-E, File Drag & Drop, and other times on Windows XP Home

I believe that this is a registry problem, but I'm not certain.  I believe that it developed around the time when I installed Turbo Tax Deluxe 2002 on my pc, but again, not positive.  

Symptoms: Whenever I right click on an icon in windows explorer (ie on the desktop or in a subfolder window) my cursor changes to an hourglass, the hard drive goes nuts for about ten seconds, and then nothing happens.  task manager displays no processor usage, no unusual memory usage, all tasks appear to be responding normally, but nothing that communicates with Windows Explorer will operate.  I usually respond by ending the explorer.exe process and restarting it using File/Run in the taskman, but if it happens enough times the whole system starts to get unstable, so a restart is a good idea.  

My system is a Dell Inspiron 4100 Laptop, 1GHz processor, 640MB ram, 10 GB hard disk running Windows XP Home, with all MS updates applied.  

I've tried the following:
NAV 2002, all updated & scanned (no viruses)
NPF 2003, all updated
Ad-Aware scanned (nothing much found)
Spybot Search & Destroy scanned (a few evil cookies)
Registry Healer scanned (a few invalid paths)
chkdsk /r (& reboot - no errors)

I generally run a pretty clean system using webwasher to prevent most evil cookies and I've been behind a hardware firewall the whole time, so I don't think I've been hacked.  I think its definitely a registry problem, but I can't imagine what it could be or how to fix it.  no error messages, just win explorer freezing.  I've been using it like this for a few weeks, trying a new fix every once in a while, but its really starting to get to me.  I'm ready to wipe & reinstall, but I don't have time to monkey with it the way I'd need to.  Maybe its time for a new laptop...

thanks for any suggestions!
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nmg1
Asked:
nmg1
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1 Solution
 
CrazyOneCommented:
Have you done this

Start > Run sfc /scannow
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CrazyOneCommented:
Since you are feeling ready to do another install try this first.

HOW TO: Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;306084
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CrazyOneCommented:
Or

Repair
How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;315341

Visual aid to the above procedure
http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm
Click on How To Run a Repair Install
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CrazyOneCommented:
Update all your drivers especaill the one for your video card.
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stevenlewisCommented:
Ah, turbo tax, it also install c-dilla
http://www.privacyandspying.com/c_dilla_install_report.html
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stevenlewisCommented:
also any errors in event viewer?
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nmg1Author Commented:
I'm doing
Start > Run sfc /scannow
now.  

This may do it - I'm getting a notice that it needs to update loads of files in the dll cache.  Of course, I didn't bring my xp cdrom to the office, so I won't know for sure until I get home.  I would have figured windows update would have examined these files, guess not.  I'm excited that this could be the answer!

No juicy errors in the error log - mostly informational notices & dhcp problems.  

All my drivers are up-to-date (according to the Windows Update website).  

I whacked c-dilla with Spybot Search & Destroy.  

Thanks for the suggestions - I'll let you know how the windows protected file scan turns out - I'm curious to see what will happen after I run that and then re-run windows update.

 - ng
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nmg1Author Commented:
I'm doing
Start > Run sfc /scannow
now.  

This may do it - I'm getting a notice that it needs to update loads of files in the dll cache.  Of course, I didn't bring my xp cdrom to the office, so I won't know for sure until I get home.  I would have figured windows update would have examined these files, guess not.  I'm excited that this could be the answer!

No juicy errors in the error log - mostly informational notices & dhcp problems.  

All my drivers are up-to-date (according to the Windows Update website).  

I whacked c-dilla with Spybot Search & Destroy.  

Thanks for the suggestions - I'll let you know how the windows protected file scan turns out - I'm curious to see what will happen after I run that and then re-run windows update.

 - ng
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nmg1Author Commented:
So I ran:
sfc /scannow
and it asked for my windows xp cd a number of times, which I thought was a good sign.  The odd thing was, it kept asking for the cd even when it was already in the drive, and continued asking for it even after it had accessed it already!  It also didn't look like it was copying any files from the cd - the access light didn't flash, and after it asked for the cd and I hit "retry" the cd drive didn't spin up.  

needless to say, it didn't work.  I tried it a few times, no luck - and no change in the number of times or points on the progress bar where it asked for the cd rom.  

So I tried reinstalling winxp from within windows.  the computer stayed up all night, me I went to sleep.  

didn't work either.  Now I'm trying the reinstall after booting from the cd-rom.  After that, I'm backing up my stuff & wiping, I think.  
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CleanupPingCommented:
nmg1:
This old question needs to be finalized -- accept an answer, split points, or get a refund.  For information on your options, please click here-> http:/help/closing.jsp#1 
EXPERTS:
Post your closing recommendations!  No comment means you don't care.
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nmg1Author Commented:
THE SOLUTION:

as i was backing up my stuff prepaing to wipe, i started uninstalling every program listed in the uninstall dialog, one by one.  turns out, as soon as i uninstalled PGP Personal 7.0, everything suddenly started working perfectly!  i think the registry changes that PGP had made globally to the windows explorer context menus were extremely messed up.  by uninstalling, they somehow reverted to normal.  unfortunately, by then i had already wiped most of my programs off and backed up all my data, so i figured it was worthwhile to perform a full reinstall anyway.  

thanks for all your help anyway!  - ng

(ps, i'm now using pgp 8.0, which is designed for winXP)
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