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WINDOWS VISTA EXPLORER HANGS REQUIRING CONSTANT REBOOTS

Posted on 2009-04-15
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Windows Explorer on my HP G70 laptop has started hanging when reading folder contents. When this happens (which is VERY often) the green progress bar in the address bar starts running from left to right but gets progressively slower and never quite completes it progress to the right hand end. The folder I was trying to open does not open. This is usually accompanied by a siginifcant increase in fan noise and 100% CPU usage.

Sometimes I can kill the process by clicking on the X in the window title bar, sometimes I have to resort to an 'end task' in the Task Manager Applications tab. Either way, once I have killed it, if I try to reopen Explorer it puts up a window 'frame' but refuses to populate it or work again (or any other task that uses Explorer's UI - like Control Panel).

BTW once the Explorer has been shut down Windows Explorer remains in the Task Manager Process list showing 98% processor usage. The fan noise and CPU usage continue unabated.
If I kill Explorer in the Task Manager Processes tab, the system settles back down but of course the desktop disappears!!  Only solution then is to reboot but you just know you'll be back here again very soon. Argghhh!!!

I can think of no good reason why this happening. No new software installed. Virus Scan clear. All available Microsoft and HP updates installed.

I have come across this behaviour before on another Vista Home Premium machine but as it was brand new at the time we did a full system restore and the problem went away. This current PC is heavily used for business and a full restore would require all the business apps to be rebuilt which takes about 2 days, so I'd rather get to the root cause rather than blitz it. Any help greatly appreciated.
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Question by:callistodesign
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by:gamma1983
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this is just me, but I would look at a hardware first. I would run a check disk.

start --> run ---> chkdsk c: /r

it will ask you to run this on the next reboot. say yes
reboot machine.

see if it changes anything
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torimar earned 500 total points
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Is there anything in your event logs about this?
Does it always happen when you try to access any folder, or is it only with some folders?

If the issue is restricted to some folders, it may be caused by the thumbnail feature: Vista is trying to create thumbnails of files that it can't create thumbnails from, for instance, from a video file for which the codec is missing or corrupt, etc.

To fix this, create an empty new folder, open it, select Organize > Folder and Search Options > View > Advanced Settings and put a checkmark in "Always show icons, never thumbnails".

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by:callistodesign
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Thanks for the input everyone. Running CHKDSK at the moment and will then move on to look at Torimar's suggestion. Getting very late here now so likely to be trying that tomorrow morning. I'll get back to you with the results.
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by:callistodesign
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Employing this approach appears to have resolved the issue. Folders now open blindingly quickly. Thank you for your insight Torimar, although I'm puzzled as to why Visat should suffer like this - XP doesn't grind to a halt in similar circumstances. Another case of Microsoft being too clever for their own good?
CHKDSK and events logs revealed nothing of note by the way, but gamma1983 was right to remind me it's always a good place to start.

Many thanks for your help.
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