Windows Server 2012 - Explorer.exe - System Warning "Unknown Hard Error"


After leaving a Windows 2012 Server running over the weekend, upon logging in the following Monday I was faced with a slow loadup followed by an error message popping into the center of the screen

Image Of Error

"Explorer.exe - System Warning"
"Unknown Hard Error"

Upon clicking OK the server loads up correctly except for the basic windows functions no longer work, the start menu does not load and the run command doesn't load any given command correctly from the task manager.

Everything else however seems to be working as expected, this error persists even after rebooting.

If anyone has encountered this issue or have any suggestions I will be more than willing to try them out, note that re-installing the operating system is a last resort for me in this scenario.

Thanks for any time given in the aid of this question.
Katie GarciaAsked:
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Chad FranksSenior System EngineerCommented:
There is a couple of things I would try.  Start with this:

1:  run a checkdsk:   chkdsk /r /f

This article is for Windows 8, but I have seen it work with Windows 2012 as well:
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Take a look at this MS article.

It looks like explorer.exe is corrupted .

Try getting another copy of the file.  You can get this from another server.  If you don't have one available, install one in a VM and copy the file.

Once you have the file, rename the one on the affected server.  Then copy the new one to the affected server and reboot.

If that doesn't work, check your hardware..

We're renaming the corrupted file instead of deleting it so that the new file will be forced to go to a different spot on the hard disk.

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Katie GarciaAuthor Commented:
Thank you so much, that fixed it instantly, sorry for the late reply the security policy I attempted to reverse locked myself out of the server so I had to wait a day or two to get a KVM set up. I'm having tremendous luck!

Do you know exactly what could cause this so I can try to avoid it in the future?
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
It's hard to say.  Many things can cause a file to get corrupted.

1.  Virus/Malware
2.  Bad physical area on disk
3.  Improper shutdown
4.  Brow-out causing a slight power dip/spike affecting disk writes
5.  Another program not playing nice in memory.

There's no way to know for sure.

Be sure to check the integrity of your physical disks.

Glad I could help.
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Windows Server 2012

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