Windows Explorer crashing on a loop

Daniele Brunengo
Daniele Brunengo used Ask the Experts™
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Hello, so I have this troublesome Windows 7 Pro 64bit PC which suddenly started having this problem:
a few seconds after boot, explorer.exe starts crashing and restarting, on a loop. This happens in safe mode too.

Things I've tried:
chkdsk /r, no error, disk seems to be fine
malware scan with adwcleaner and roguekiller, no relevant infection
W7 repair install
msconfig with diagnostic boot

Nothing worked. I'm trying to avoid a full format since the PC is very rich with installed software.

So I hope you guys can come up with some other idea. Thanks.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Things I've tried   ....    W7 repair install  <-- Means SFC will not solve it either. Any you (likely) have no viruses.

There is nothing left at this point. You must back up the system and reinstall Windows 7.

That is a lot of work for a dying operating system. Consider getting a license for Windows 10 Pro and installing that.
Daniele BrunengoIT Consultant, Web Designer

Author

Commented:
It's a customer's pc, so not my choice. I have tons of customers still using xp, believe it or not.
Dan Dhillon2nd/3rd line Support Engineer
Commented:
Hi,

If you can update the graphics driver.
see if that helps.
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Top Expert 2016
Commented:
get sysinternals autoruns and go to the explorer tab and start unchecking things as it seems you have an addin to explorer that is crashing.  It is a pain to run without explorer but you can launch programs from the command prompt until you can get this fixed
Daniele BrunengoIT Consultant, Web Designer

Author

Commented:
I'm positive it's not the graphics driver because I virtualized the system as a Vmware machine and it still crashes, so I think it's not hardware or driver related.

I have tried disabling all explorer addins, still crashes.

Oh by the way, reason I didn't try a system restore point is the feature was disabled on the pc.

So I guess I must give up and format...
IT Consultant, Web Designer
Commented:
Luckily I had one last idea before formatting (tested on the virtual machine).

I used shexview to disable all the shell extensions. I thought that's what Autoruns did but the list here is longer. Anyway, disabling them all has stopped explorer from crashing.

Now I just need to find out which one caused the crashing in the first place, but I guess the problem is fixed. Still have to try on the actual machine, but I don't see why it shouldn't work there too.
Daniele BrunengoIT Consultant, Web Designer

Author

Commented:
Ok, it worked on the "real" machine too. It was a Libreoffice shell extension, quite mysteriously since the software was never updated since its first installation. Maybe a conflict with some Windows update, who knows. Anyway, it's fixed.

I'll share points with all of you guys, thanks.
Dan Dhillon2nd/3rd line Support Engineer

Commented:
Well done finding a fix
Daniele BrunengoIT Consultant, Web Designer

Author

Commented:
I found the definitive solution but I was helped on the way by others.
Dan Dhillon2nd/3rd line Support Engineer

Commented:
Did the graphics driver update work for you?
Daniele BrunengoIT Consultant, Web Designer

Author

Commented:
No, as I wrote above it was a Libreoffice context menu extension causing all the problems.

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