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Explorer.exe and drwtsn32.exe running constantly and crashing shell on Windows XP

Posted on 2009-04-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Have seen this on 2 different computers now and am completely baffled.  When running in normal mode the computer boots fine and then once logged in as a user on the computer, the desktop locks up and then reappears after 30 seconds or so.  Look in task manager and see explorer.exe and drwtsn32.exe running.  While watching the task manager both will disappear and you will see the desktop refresh again and do the whole cycle again.  Have fixed the 1st computer by formatting and reinstalling Windows XP on it.  But the second computer has just come to me with the same issue and I am hoping there is a better way as this person doesn't have all their recovery disks.  I have run SuperAntiSpyware on these computers with current updates and run Symantec Anti Virus Corporate Edition with all updates and has not fixed the problem.  No funny entries in msconfig startup section.  Please Help!!!
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Question by:swilsonaztech
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24192680
Check the autorun section in this page:

http://home.comcast.net/~SupportCD/OptimizeXP.html

it could be that there are some programs lunching up that you didnt recognize
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24192750
At this point I have spent so much time on the previous one my head is spinning.  Should I post the results of the autorun for you to look at?
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24192766
Here is the autoruns data:

AutoRuns.txt
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24192785
had you run antivirus scan also?
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by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24192824
Yes.  Have just finished updated SuperAntiSpyware scan and Anti Virus scan.  SuperAntiSpyware scan found 2 items and repaired but after reboot.  Taskbar is not refreshing but no evidence of drwtsn32 in task manager.  Will wait a few minutes and then post back.
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24192839
That did not fix the problem.  Still same issue with drwtsn32.exe and explorer.exe reappearing in task manager.  Did you look at the Autoruns data results yet?  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24192846
download and install combofix:

www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix 

and malwarebytes:

www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php 
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by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24198104
Have run both and they have not fixed the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24198171
had you try windows repair?
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by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24198315
tried that on the previous pc and did not fix.  Like I said I have tried everything I can think of but to no avail except formatting and starting over.  That did work with the first computer.  Even tried shellviewex to see if some shell extensions were out of whack.  Still puzzled but since I have a couple of days on this pc would like to find the fix that works besides OS reinstall.  Thanks.
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Assisted Solution

by:houssam_ballout
houssam_ballout earned 1200 total points
ID: 24198387
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24198648
Will try and let you know what happens.  Interesting link.
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24198683
goodluck mate
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24198758
Nope that didn't fix it.  Because I am only getting errors in event viewer and not any errors on the desktop with Send report etc.  I don't think DEP is a factor but am open to anything.  Thanks for the effort.
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24198881
Could this be a corrupt windows update of some sort?  Could reapplying XP Service Pack 3 be a fix?  Just want to know if you have heard anything about the updates released on April 15th because that is the last batch of updates that was released prior to this problem.
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Author Comment

by:swilsonaztech
ID: 24200939
So far so good on the Windows Updates theory.  Uninstalled all of them and the computer is working great.  Will reinstall one at a time to find out which one breaks it in this case and then may send a message to MS.  Thanks for your additional suggestions and eyes on the problem Houssam.  I am awarding the points and will update before closing.  Thanks again.
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Accepted Solution

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swilsonaztech earned 0 total points
ID: 24201139
The final verdict is that MS patch did cause the problem.  KB959426 is the culprit. Reloaded all patches up till this one and then this one broke the computer again.  I will be contacting Microsoft to let them know about the issue and see what they have to say.  
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 24201728
Good job mate
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