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explore.exe using 100% usage on folder browse

This one is rough. My grandparents PC (ug right?) has XP SP3 on it. They have a genealogy program on it that installs to c:\legacy.

I did my usual cleanup with malware bytes and cc cleaner, as well as removed the dozen or so toolbars and useless programs that are inevitably on this type of box.

The problem they were having still persists. If I browse to c:\legacy and scroll down a bit my explorer.exe jumps to 100%. Keep in mind I'm not actually clicking or launching a thing. I can end it, restart it using new task run explorer and everything resumes normal performance. Odd thing is I can browse other folders perfectly fine. I can even start > run and open c:\legacy\data fiine. Heck I can even start > run to c:\legacy (as long as I don't scroll) everything is fine. As soon as I scroll down it jumps.

What possible mechanisms could be at play at this basic level? Nothing is being opened or even clicked on just a file list (detail view) displayed. Thought maybe it could be a virus scan, but MS Security Essentials is the only program they have, and it is still sitting at 0% CPU. I could understand if it were in thumbnail view or something, but this is detail view.

I'm honestly stumped and I've seen some odd stuff in my day, but I have no idea what OS mechanisms can even be at play here.  Anecdotally they think it all started happening when they upgraded to IE8 in November, but I've already rest it to no avail.
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To add to it explore.exe is the CPU culprit, it just gets stuck in a loop consistently increasing its memory usage as well.

did you remove your antivirus & try?

also try to do sfc /scannow


try windows repair:
Avatar of Wayne Barron
There is something bad inside of the folder, if not found and deleted it can cause Explorer to crash.
Check in the EventViewer and see if there is anything recorded there.

Suggestions from my own personal experiance with a video file that was bad.

Option #1:
Create another folder.
Open up
And start copy the files from the top of the folder into the Backup folder.
Continue to do this until you reach the area that is spiking your CPU
Then you can start attempting to track down the bad file and [delete] it.

Option #2:
Do the same as above, create a folder c:\legacy_backup
And copy everything from the c:\legacy folder.
Go into the c:\legacy_backup folder and see if it spikes the CPU.
If it does not, then [Delete] then c:\legacy folder
And then rename the c:\legacy_backup to c:\legacy

Good Luck
Dl Process Explorer to find out what's really using the Cpu...

Doble click explorer.exe, and hit the Threads tab. Paste a screenshot.

Then, double click the biggest cpu hog again, and paste those results as well. Might be a corrupted shell extension, menu handler etc...

That should pinpoint it well enuff...
1. try to perform an full scan of your anti-virus programs in Safe Mode
2. if still not work, try new account
3. if you are familiar with system tools, you can use procexp or ShellExView to remove add-on or dll files attached to your Windows Explorer
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Attached is the screen shot. Here is the thread detail from the thread in question.


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@ others

I have completely removed all AV products and it still happens. Also I have completely removed this application from add/remove. Then deleted the folder in question. Then reinstalled. Still same result.

Don't have time atm to copy them one by one into the folder, but I will if John's efforts don't pan out. Thing is this program worked fine until November (interestingly the same time they installed IE8).
Avatar of bhieb


Ok the sfc /scannow came back with.

Files that are required to run properly have been replaced by unrecognized files.. blah blah insert Windows XP Pro SP3 disk. Problem is they don't have such a disk as they installed SP3 via windows update.

Do I have to slipstream it onto an XP Pro install and mail it to them or is their an easier way?
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Avatar of bhieb


Aww now it is becoming clearer. The path is a Segate Replica folder. It is a replication program that came with a Seagate backup drive. I will check to see if they have anything on their support site, or possibly a new version.
Run Spybot in safemode and also run this program called: SmitFraudFix:   

That should take care of your problem.
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Well it definitely was the Seagate Replica software. I've made a simple batch file to backup their data instead, and uninstalled it. Everything is smooth now. Thanks John for the tip on using the expanded process viewer. I've used it before, but not this in-depth, I'm sure it will come in handy in the future.
Glad it helped......