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Explorer.exe crashes randomly on XP SP3

    Question

  • Folks,

    We are converting from a Novell Netware environment to a Windows server and AD environment. We are still using a lot of XP machines. I have used two different scenarios;

    In some machines I have made a clean install of Windows XP by removing the partition and installing XP from the CD, which contains SP2, and then I have installed SP3 and all security patches after that through Windows Update, and finally the patch that makes XP handle Group Policy Preferences properly (KB943729). All drivers (graphics, network, sound etc.) are the same versions as before. After that I joined the machine in the AD and then installed all the programs that we are using

    And in some machines I simply removed the Novell Client and all other Novell related software (NMAS, NICI, Workstation Manager), installed the GPP patch (KB943729), and joined the machine in the AD.

    In both cases Explorer.exe has begun to crash randomly when I right-click on something. It has happened when I right-click on the desktop, when I right-click on an active program's icon in the taskbar near the clock, and both when I have left- and right-clicked on the Start button. It doesn't happen very often, which makes it difficult to "provoke" the error to occur. But it seems to be happening mainly when I have had an explorer window open in order to handle some file issues, and then close the explorer window and right-click on something, for example the desktop.

    There is no antivirus program in the machine, and the firewall is off. There are not so many GPOs affecting these machine, only one that makes three drive mappings, one that puts a shortcut on the desktop, and one that sets the path to the desktop wallpaper image.

    It should also be noted that this problem never occured when the machines were running the Novell Client and connected to a Netware server. And since this problem occurs both in a machine that runs a clean installed XP that has never seen anything Novell, and in a machine were the Novell stuff has been removed, I tend to think that it has something to do with the AD-joining.

    I have also tried to turn off the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) for Explorer.exe, but that doesn't seem to help, it still crashes.

    I am deeply greatful for ANY ideas that you may come up with!

    Regards,
    Per Jonsson
    Nolaskolan Upper Secondary School
    Sweden

    Sunday, July 15, 2012 10:02 AM

All replies

  • I’m not hugely confident but it’s worth trying this if you have exhausted all other avenues.

    The problem is sometimes caused by a third-party extension. ShellExView can be useful to see which shell extensions have been introduced into Explorer. Read about it then scroll down near to the bottom to download the x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) version here http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html

    When you run it, click on the column labelled Company to alphabetically sequence the entries. You have to assume that the Microsoft entries are bona fide, so concentrate on the third-party entries. Is there anything listed that is either unnecessary or unknown? If so, highlight it and click the red spot (top left) to disable it. There shouldn’t be too many of them but you may find it easier to disable them all, then re-enable them (green spot) one at a time and try Explorer until the culprit is found.

    Sunday, July 15, 2012 1:03 PM