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Explorer.exe using 100% of CPU power for roughly 10-15 minutes

Posted on 2009-05-01
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Experts,

I am having a problem with my explorer.exe process using up 100% of the CPU power for roughly 10-15 minutes.  The common theme is this seems to happen whenever I start up my Sun VirtualBox virtual machine (running XP PRO SP3, 1.5GB RAM allocated) and open up the My Videos folder.  I have a lot of custom video files in different formats (avi, mpeg, mpg, etc) and anytime I open up that folder the explorer.exe process climbs and stays at 100% for about 10-15 minutes before it eventually will free up the memory and go back down to a normal value.

I have researched on the net and tried some registry changes to no avail.  The host machine that the virtual machine is running on is a 2 month old machine (HP Pavilion Elite 3.0GHz quad core 8GB RAM machine).  It is very annoying and difficult to work when the explorer.exe process hangs.  It ties down my machine and makes things very slow within the virtual environment.  How can I fix this issue?  Ideally, I would like to be able to open up the folder and not have the CPU power reach 100% and hang.  I do not really have many apps running on that machine other than CCleaner, Spybot, Nero, and SAV Corporate.  Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Question by:changjia
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by:LeeTutor
LeeTutor earned 600 total points
ID: 24280188
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by:changjia
ID: 24280293
OK thanks Lee.  The only problem is that I like the thumbnail preview.  That helps me identify which video it is.  Is there any other way around that?  
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by:LeeTutor
LeeTutor earned 600 total points
ID: 24280605
Seems to me I found a page with a good treatment of that problem before, but I can't track it down now.  But this page has a few suggestions you might look at:

http://www.techspot.com/vb/all/windows/t-48441-Thumbnails-loading-slowly-in-Windows-Explorer-on-Fast-PC.html
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by:sda100
sda100 earned 600 total points
ID: 24282054
To display the thumbnail/icon, Windows has to open the file to extract it.  I don't know the ins and outs of how Windows does that, but if they're large files (eg. videos), this could be contributing to your problem.  If you have any anti-virus or other on-access scanning tools enabled, they will probably want to do their bit first, before handing off to the OS.  This will also contribute to the problem.

Reading the link above, this sounded plausible too:

"I had a similar issue - I figured out that I had a shortcut in my "My Pictures" folder that was pointing to a network location that was not available - the long wait was waiting for explorer to timeout trying to connect to that location..."
And as a general rule, you should really go into "Folder Options --> View" and enable the "Launch folder windows in a separate process" option.  At least you can kill a rogue explorer process easily without disrupting the rest of your machine then.

Have you tried moving (perhaps using a CMD window) some of the files to a separate folder.  By elimination you can find if it's just one or two files that are the culprits?

Good luck,
Steve :)
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Author Comment

by:changjia
ID: 24282870
Hey Steve,

Thanks for the information.  I will try that out tonight and see what happens.  My guess is that because there are sooo many files it is causing an issue with Windows.  The funny thing is that the thumbnails load quickly in the folder.  I can see the content very quickly its just if i want to play any one of them it ll take a little bit.  I will check task manager and it will be stuck at 100% although the memory usage is pretty low (like 300-400MB of a total 1.5GB allocated).  I will let you know what I find out.  
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by:sda100
sda100 earned 600 total points
ID: 24282968
Out of interest, how many is sooooo many?  Are we talking, hundreds or thousands?

S :)
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Author Comment

by:changjia
ID: 24283348
Thousands
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ashokpumca earned 800 total points
ID: 24285600
To correct this misbehavior in Windows XP, remove the following registry key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{87D62D94-71B3-4b9a-9489-5FE6850DC73E}\InProcServer32

This will prevent Explorer from loading shmedia.dll in response to file property queries on these files. This will not effect your ability to play files, get file attributes, or even view thumbnails. Say goodbye to all explorer.exe 100% CPU issues.
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