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Windows Explorer does not respond

Posted on 2007-11-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Just now I tried to start Windows Explorer. I clicked the shortcut about a minute ago. Then again, and one more time. None of these have appeared yet. This is an extreme. It happens quite often that it take a while before Explorer starts up. It is very annoying. Sometimes the taskbar doesn't respond, or a window goes blank.

I'm on a Windows 2003 Active Directory. I don't believe other people here have problems this bad.

I have no idea where the problem lies, my computer, network card, problematic server shares on the network. What can I try to solve this? Are there tools to locate the cause?

Update: I just tried another computer here, and Explorer fired up immediately. Here none of the four (!) instances have appeared, and it's minutes later.
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Question by:R7AF
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by:oriziv
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There are many potential causes to the probelm you described:
1. lack of resources such as memory or old CPU
2. poorly configured anti-virus
3. too much spy-ware
and much more...

Please describe what OS are you using and what's installed on the PC
Your anti-virus name can be helpfull as well.
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by:R7AF
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* XP SP2 + all updates
* CA eTrust Antivirus 7.1
* Dell Dimension 8400, 1GB RAM, P4 3GHz (2,5 year old)

Spyware is a good tip, and I can disable antivirus for a short while, or try to install Avast. I'm running Ad-Aware now. The explorer windows still haven't appeared!
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by:dreamyguy
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1. are you able to bring up task manager? do u see any process that's spiking the cpu or hogging a lot of resources?
2. what's the behavior in safe mode and safe mode with networking?
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by:R7AF
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* Windows Taskmanager: 320MB RAM available.
* CPU is at 40%.
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by:oriziv
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Do you run SQL server or MSDE on your PC?
It is vital to configure your anti-virus to exclude the DB files in order to increase performance.

By the way, leaving 320 MB out of 1 GB of RAM (not including virtual memory) is quite a lot.
What's eating your memory on this PC?
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dreamyguy earned 500 total points
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is there any specific PROCESS which is consuming the cpu?
we can also try re-registering all the modules in the system32 folder by performing the following steps:
open a command prompt and navigate to %SystemRoot%\System32 then type the following command to register all DLL files in System32:
for %s in (*.dll) do regsvr32 /s %s

reboot ur machine after this and see if that makes a difference.
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by:R7AF
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I just reregistered the dlls. Startup seemed to be faster. If this really makes a difference I can't tell right now.

I had VMWare running, which accounted for most of the memory usage. Now, after a restart, I have 500MB RAM free, running Outlook, Thunderbird, FF, Tomcat and Antivirus. None is above 50MB now.

I don't run SQL Server or MSDE.

NB: The Windows Explorer problem was probably a crash. In the task manager I saw about 6 instances, one about 50MB. After I killed them, the taskbar didn't appear anymore, and I restarted. So I think this was a one-time problem. Still, the other delays I get daily are very annoying, so the problem stays open. I hope the dll-trick helped speed things up.
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by:dreamyguy
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Did windows explorer fire up instantly?
Also check out this link that has tips and tricks on how to speed up xp.
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/SupportCD/OptimizeXP.html

Make sure that you regularly defragment your hard disk and that you have at least 15% of disk space.
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by:mesman
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A couple more tips.
Pull up the task manager, click on the "Processes" tab.  Make sure the checkbox at the bottom is Checked...where it says "Show processes from all users".

You can sort the processes to quickly see which ones are the CPU or Memory intensive.  Click on the column heading "CPU", pause and click again to sort by most CPU intensive process, from biggest to smallest.  Unless you're PC is really working on something heavy, "System Idle Process" will be at the top.  To check out the memory "hogs", do the same on the "Mem Usage" column header.  

I'm assuming you were looking at the "Performance" tab when you reported your CPU usage.  If thats the case, 40% is high, at least if you're just watching the meter and not actively doing stuff.  

For instance, while I'm writing this, I've got Novell groupwise open, IE7 with two tabs open, an application (KeyPass) and the taskmanager open.  My CPU usage is varying between 0% and 3%.  
If I do something like move a window, it momentarly jumps up to around 30% and immediately drops back to 0.  On the Processes tab, System Idle Process is running around 98-99%, with TeaTimer.exe(part of spybot), explorer.exe, iexplore.exe, and taskmgr.exe occasionally getting a 1% CPU share each.

Looking at the Processes; if you see some processes using a lot of memory or CPU that you don't recognize, one method I've used frequently is just put the name of the process in a search engine--Yahoo or Google.  If its caused problems to others, you're most likely find it (and possibly a method for dealing with it).  At the least you should find a description of the process, what it does, what its part of, whether its esential, non-esential, spyware, etc.

Keeping a check on running processes and removing unnecessary startup items with msconfig are two major ways I keep my PC's running quickly and smoothly (along with the things already mentioned here (e.g. spybot, antivirus software and defraging your drives).

Good luck.
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by:R7AF
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I haven't had any significant delays since reregistering the DLLs. Thanks!
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