Solved

Windows Explorer (file manager, not IE) will not open

Posted on 2014-01-16
16
317 Views
Last Modified: 2014-01-30
Windows Explorer will not open. Clicking on Computer in the start menu, clicking on a folder icon on the desktop, clicking on user name link on start menu all have the same result. Windows Explorer will not open. No error messages show. Programs with icons on the desktop will run.

Windows 7 64-bit SP1, Lenovo T530 laptop, Windows updates current.

The problem is intermittent. Restarting will often solve the problem temporarily. Starting in Safe Mode will solve the problem temporarily.

SFC /scannow has been run. All files present and current.

Virus and Malware scans done with multiple programs (Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast, McAfee Security Scan, Kaspersky rescue disk, Malwarebytes, Super-Anti Spyware).

I have not found an action that will precipitate the failure.

Thanks
0
Comment
Question by:NP-Tech
  • 7
  • 6
  • 2
  • +1
16 Comments
 
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:l33tf0b
Comment Utility
When you open task manager - what's running?
Is explorer.exe process running?

go to start > run > msconfig

Disable all Startup Items
Hide all Microsoft Services, Disable all others
Test it

Re-enable 5 at a time if issue goes away and test from there

Was there a date that it was working?  Try system restore?
0
 
LVL 90

Accepted Solution

by:
John Hurst earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Test Windows Explorer under a different, new, test Windows User Account (profile). Does Explorer misbehave in all profiles or just the one?

.... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
Should have included that I tried System restore. The system blue-screened when rebooting from the system-restore and didn't complete.

Explorer.exe was running in task manager. (I don't think I would have a desktop if it wasn't.) I stopped it and then restarted it. Problem persisted. However, a reboot temporarily resolved the issue again that time.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
Comment Utility
And a different profile?

... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
Sorry @Thinkpads_User. I've been on a 2.5 hour support call and am now just getting back to this issue.

I didn't try a new profile yet. I'm trying to re-create the issue so I can tell if a new profile solves the problem. So far I haven't had the problem since before I posed the question. The user of this computer was having the issue show up within 20-30 minutes of startup. I will have to ask the user what software they used or processes they were initiating when the issue showed up.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
Comment Utility
No problem. Please let us know when you have time.

... Thinkpads_User
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
Comment Utility
>>  The problem is intermittent  <<  can it be a bad disk section?
run a diag on it; you can use the UBCD for it, and run the diag for your disk brand :
 i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics

Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
I've run Memtest86+ several passes. I've run HDDRegenerator and Spinrite on the disk. No issues.

The user has the computer again because I could not make it fail in a six hour time period. I let the computer go to sleep and woke it up several times.

The user had the computer several hours with no issue. The computer went into sleep mode over night and woke up with Windows Explorer in a fail state. Would not open. User could open Outlook and get email. User could run other programs that had icons on the desktop. User ran SyncBack Pro to synchronize files created the previous day. When the sync was finished, Windows Explorer was working again. It has been working today without issue since the sync.

I've asked the user to turn the computer off, remove the battery, wait, replace the battery and start up. That makes as much sense as anything else.

I will get the computer again the next time it is in a fail state.
0
Complete VMware vSphere® ESX(i) & Hyper-V Backup

Capture your entire system, including the host, with patented disk imaging integrated with VMware VADP / Microsoft VSS and RCT. RTOs is as low as 15 seconds with Acronis Active Restore™. You can enjoy unlimited P2V/V2V migrations from any source (even from a different hypervisor)

 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
Comment Utility
SyncBack Pro does not cause problems (I use it a lot), but make sure it is finished and you exit SyncBack so it does not busy out files.

Also let us know it this issue occurs in a new, test Windows profile.

.... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
SyncBack Pro didn't cause the problem. The problem was resolved simultaneously with running SyncBack Pro. I'm not saying SyncBack Pro solved the problem, only that the problem disappeared after a sync. That's the only instance that the problem disappeared except for rebooting or rebooting in Safe Mode.

I don't have the computer at the moment. The user has it until it fails again. When it does fail, I will get it and try the new profile approach.
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
I have the computer again. It failed coming out of sleep mode.

I ended the explorer.exe process and then started it again in task manager. Windows Explorer works again.

I downloaded and installed Microsoft KB 2638018 Hotfix.
I also added the work around registry entry shown in on the Hotfix page.

I did not create the new profile this time since I had a reasonable chance of success with the Hotfix and a user who was resisting adding another profile.

The user has the computer back. We will see if that solves the problem.
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
Comment Utility
you can still try running a repair :  http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/681-startup-repair.html

if that fails - i would backup, and do a fresh install
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
@thinkpads_user

It took a day and a half for the issue to show up again after applying the MSFT hotfix and registry entry, but show up it did.

I've now created a second profile. So far the problem hasn't shown up in 24 hours.

The problem for the user now is the second profile is lacking so much of what was in the first profile, There were extensive network connections based on having the same user on all computers. There were also programs that were installed "for this user only" instead of "for all users." Of course, just changing the profile name to the old profile doesn't work. I am contemplating removing the old profile registry entries and recreating a profile with the same name as the old.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
Comment Utility
If the new profile is working, I would spend the time to re-create what you need. Try not to re-use the old profile lest you bring over old problems. You should be able to bring over documents but be careful of settings and application profiles.

... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:NP-Tech
Comment Utility
The new profile has gone 48 hours without Windows Explorer crashing. I'm going to give it another couple of days. If it's still working well, I'll accept the new profile advice as the solution.

Moving items into the new profile was time consuming but it's better than having Explorer crash every few hours.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
Comment Utility
Thanks for the update and I am happy to help you here.

.... Thinkpads_User
0

Featured Post

Complete Microsoft Windows PC® & Mac Backup

Backup and recovery solutions to protect all your PCs & Mac– on-premises or in remote locations. Acronis backs up entire PC or Mac with patented reliable disk imaging technology and you will be able to restore workstations to a new, dissimilar hardware in minutes.

Join & Write a Comment

Suggested Solutions

Several part series to implement Internet Explorer 11 Enterprise Mode
This is an article about Leadership and accepting and adapting to new challenges. It focuses mostly on upgrading to Windows 10.
With the advent of Windows 10, Microsoft is pushing a Get Windows 10 icon into the notification area (system tray) of qualifying computers. There are many reasons for wanting to remove this icon. This two-part Experts Exchange video Micro Tutorial s…
The Task Scheduler is a powerful tool that is built into Windows. It allows you to schedule tasks (actions) on a recurring basis, such as hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, at log on, at startup, on idle, etc. This video Micro Tutorial is a brief intro…

772 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

14 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now