Win Explorer (XP) crashes when viewing folder containing Illustrator (.ai) files

I have a new installation of Windows XP with all service packs and critical updates applied.
I've also got Illustrator 10.0.3 freshly installed.
The problematic files are either on a Mac-accessible volume of a Windows fileserver or created on a mac or a combination of the two.

<The Problem>
If I open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to any folder that contains .ai files, the following happens:
- the files list in the window
- icons for all files other than the .ai files show to the left of the file name
- "unrecognised" icons appear next to the .ai files (if there is more than one, sometimes the first will show and following ones not).
- Explorer crashes with the warning message: "Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close"  (closing this message also closes Explorer).
- Event Viewer gives the following message:

  Event Type:      Error
Event Source:      Application Error
Event Category:      None
Event ID:      1000
Faulting application explorer.exe, version 6.0.2800.1106, faulting module unknown, version, fault address 0x302f312f.

<Things already tried>
- viewing files on another XP PC (no problem - works fine)
- uninstalling / reinstalling Illustrator (no change)
- installing the Illustrator 10.0.3 update from the web
- running system file checker from a DOS prompt (no change)
- viewing the same folder with .ai files removed (WORKS OK)
- removing file association between .ai files and Illustrator, then reviewing the folder (WORKS OK - fails when association is re-established)
- removing original files and creating new .ai files in the same folder (these show okay)
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If the new .ai files show ok, then is there a possiblity that some of the file data for the problamatic files is corrupt?
Do you still get the problem if you open the files up, and then do a Save As and save it as something else?
Also, are you able to try viewing the folder using another Windows system?
How about removing the file association and then getting Illistrator to re-associate the files itself (if possibly, maybe during another reinstall?)
Also, note that there may only be a problem with ONE of the files, and once that one is reached, it cases the crash.  Maybe you can try by moving them all out, and then move one in at a time?
BeamsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks shamstar,

However, I've already tried all of your suggestions.
I think the problem may be focussed around using a MAC accessible volume and having files originally written on a Mac.

When I try copying the files to a floppy, XP gives the following warning message:

* Confirm Stream Loss
* The file '' has extra information attached to it which may be lost if you
* continue copying.  The contents of the file will not be affected.  Information that might be
* lost icludes:
* Macintosh Application info

I get this display on another XP machine with the same version of Illustrator but which handles the files okay.  My problem is that I need to have the shared folders accessible to both PC and Mac users.
That makes sence considering that way macs store files.  Each file effectivly has a second invisible file attached containg resources for that file, that associated data is known as the resource fork.  It contains information such as the files icons and anything else the creator wants to place in there.  Windows is unable to read/use this information and as a result can cause the fiels to become unaccessible.  This is more of an issue with mac .exe files since they rely on the resources to launch the .exe file, hence if you downloaded a mac exe on a PC and then coppied it over to a mac to use, it wouldnt work since the resource fork would have been destroyed.  This however shouldnt not affect normal data files.  All I can suggest really is that you try to create the one of the files again and maybe put in on another drive.  The other option would be to use a PC drive (possibly by reformatting the current drive).  This would still allow the mac to access it, and would also mean the PC should have no problem getting to files as well.
If that isnt a viable solution, then you might want to give this a try, (but could be a bit of a long shot)... on your Mac, make sure the drive is accessible and then get your mac to rebuild the desktop file, this may cause it to update mac specific information held on the shared drive and fix the problem you are having.
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BeamsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks shamstar,

I think one of your suggestions may be right - the idea of recreating files probably would solve the problem but with several thousands files in the folder, its not a job I'm looking forwards to.

The MAC accessible volume is a shared folder on an NTFS partition of our Win 2000 server.  I understand how MACs use resource files in relation to the main files.

What bugs me is the idea that 2 similar PCs with near identical spec (same OS, same Illustrator package) handle the files differently.  My desktop PC displays the files fine in Explorer.  The other one that I've just set up for a colleague (from an empty partition onwards) - does not.  My problem is that the user is making the transition from an old MAC to a new PC and I don't want to hand over a PC that crashes when he attempts to locate his files in Explorer.

Its not ideal but I'm kind of resigned to doing a lot of file converting until all of his .ai files are saved as eps ones (which do not exhibit any problems).  I'll leave this post open for another week or so in case any further wisdom comes my way.  But otherwise, the points will go to you.

Thanks again.
Does explorer still crash if you changed the folder view, maybe to detailed view? Obviously this might prove a little difficult to change unless you take the .ai files out first.

Secondly, I did mention above about doing a Save As for the files.. have you tried this by a) replacing the same file, and b) creating a new file by using a different file name?  Any changes?

Do you think it would be accecptable to use the computer if the Illustrator files remained unassociated with Illistrator? Maybe you could provide a shortcut to Illustrator on the dektop allowing them to drop and drag the files in to open them?

Also, if those suggestions dont work and you have to look at a bit more drastic measures...
... would it be feasible to convert those Illustrator files into another format, such as PDF files?
Then maybe you can import those PDF files back into Illustrator (not sure about this feature since I dont have Illustrator) and then try saving them, or just use them as PDF's?

It doesnt seem like there are any ideal solutions to whats happening.  Do you think it might be worthwhile reinstalling and seting up the computer from scratch? (OS and all drivers).
I know that in a few cases explorer has crashed since some (network) drivers had some bugs in them.
BeamsonAuthor Commented:
Have tried changing view options (by resetting all folders to same view as current) under Explorer's options menu.  No change.

"Save as" for one file to the same place with a different name results in the same fault.

The unassociated thing is difficult to maintain - as soon as a user tries to find the file in explorer and windows prompts them to choose an application, the associations are recreated.

As to the more drastic measures:  the system has no problem with .eps files.  It seems limited to .ai files only, so  I could convert all ai files to eps files without changing there content drastically.  Its a lot of work and would be a bit of a cop-out as there's no way I can guarantee the MAC users won't produce more .ai files in future.

Reinstallation is a possible still but seems a bit silly to do exactly what I've already done twice if it just reproduces the same problem.


I was just thinking about the problem you were having when you unassociated the .ai files.
Have you tried using a registry cleaner after you have unassociated them?

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I didn't read all the entrys above so if I repeat something please forgive me for that ... but let me share a problem I had  ...

Windows XP + jpg images registered to Photoshop as default viewer ... it took AGES to open a directory with images ... I unregistered .jpg from photoshop and all works as a charm ...

Just to get the full picture of the problem I had ... Using nero ... Just to open a directory with 15 images (1.5Mb each) would take about 15 to 30 minutes .... now it's almost immediate.

My bet? Windows XP is trying to show .ai files and checking for each of them the registered program ...

If you can't live with that (unregistered .ai) ... you have a biiig big problem! :(

Have you tried asking Microsoft as fo why that may happen?
you can always do the radical solution ... (which may resolve your problem)

Do an inplace upgrade of windows XP ... Maybe somewhere along the way something got messed up within XP itself...

All applications remain.

What you lose:
Updates to Windows XP
Restores (as in Windows restore checkpoints)

Otherwise everything stays the same ... I had to do it because of a fonts problem ... worked like a charm ... Maybe it will work for you also ...
You'll have to run the Windows XP CD and setup -> upgrade.
BeamsonAuthor Commented:
I was up against a time limit - there was a lot of pressure to give the user in question a smooth transition from MAC to PC and so I resorted to purchasing Illustrator 11 CE which does not appear to reproduce the problem.  I'd like to have gotten to the bottom of the problem but just didn't have the time in the end.

Think Shamstar got closest to the solution - thanks for your ideas.
Atleast you've got the problem solved one way or another now, even if it wasnt the ideal solution.
I had a similar problem - Windows Explorer crashes with same error reported above, only when viewing Illustrator .ia files - except that my problem was only when viewing the folder from a CDR drive.

Windows Explorer crashed when it was set to view Icons and I browsed a folder containing Illustrator files. The icons it was trying to show were actaully mini thumbnails. On the same station I could read the CD fine on a CD-ROM. Also, if I copied the files from the CDR drive to the hard disk, there was no problems looking at the folder. Also, just after detecting the problem I blew the firmware on the CRD. Immediately after this it read the disk without crashing, but the rewriting capability had been disabled. On reboot, Windows detected the CDR and rewriting was re-enabled. Unfortuinately, this Windows Explorer was now crashing again when I looked at a folder containing Illustrator files. I installed a new CDR drive, but the problem was still present.

I found that if I switched to view from Icon to Thumbnail, Windows Explorer did not crash. I reasoned that these Thumbnails are generated on the fly, whereas the one shown when view was set to Icon were pre-generated when storing from Illustrator. I turned off Illustrator thumbnail generation (right-click on an illustrator file and select the Illustrator properities tab) and the system works fine (although no longer shows mini-thumbnails in Icon view mode).

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