locked
Explorer.exe uses too much CPU cycles (roughly 50%)... How can I fix this? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi everyone,

    In the last two days I have noticed a serious loss in system performance.  The first thing I do when I come accross a performance issue is to make sure that I don't have any scheduled automatic scans running in the background, such as my antivirus.  If they aren't, I then open the task manager and check to see what process(es) is(are) causing the performance issue based on CPU usage.  I discovered that explorer.exe is now regularly using approximately 50% of my CPU power AT ALL TIMES (with fluctuations ranging from as low as 35% to as high as 99%, but 45%-55% is the most common range).

    Now I thought this might have been some sort of fluke, so I rebooted several times, and in all cases I find explorer.exe continues to use this hefty amount of CPU power.  This persists even if I leave the system alone (running, but not being used) for 15 minutes or more.

    This is causing major performance issues with trying to run any/all other applications on the system, and even worse performance issues if I try to use explorer for something such as directory navigation, file searching, or file access.

    I recently made an update to Windows (about a day before this problem arose), so I thought that might be the cause of this, so I ran a system restore to the restore point made before the install.  That didn't fix the problem.  Since the problem has only started in the last two days, I restored to a point three days ago.  That didn't fix it either.  I have since tried to restore to points 5 and 7 days old, and neither of those worked to fix this problem either.

    I can use the task manager to end-task explorer.exe, and then restart it using "new task" from the file menu, and this seems to correct the problem.  After doing such a "restart" of explorer.exe, the process no longer uses 50% of my CPU power, and instead uses only 0%-20% depending on what I'm doing.  This, however, is not a viable long-term solution for a couple of reasons:  1) it screws up my tray icons, causing many to disappear even though their parent programs/processes are still running, and causing others to appear even though they shouldn't be there; and 2) subsequent instances of explorer.exe such as for directory navigation still have some performance problems and are prone to crashes.

    I need to know how to repair or replace explorer.exe without having to format my hard drive and re-install (either from scratch or using a system recovery disc).  I can try using some sort of shell replacement such as Aston, Emerge, or GeoShell, but I shouldn't have to do that.

    It may be that one of my other startup applications is causing some sort of compatibility issue, but that seems unlikely since I haven't made any changes to the system, nor installed any new software other than standard windows updates.

    I need help, advice, suggestions, etc., or really anything at all that I can try that might fix this problem.  In the meantime, I am going to boot into safe mode to see if explorer.exe has problems even then (which would solidly indicate a corruption of explorer.exe rather than a compatibility issue or anything else).

    Please help if you can.  For reference, I am using an HP Pavilion dv9700 CTO Entertainment Notebook PC, running Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit with Service Pack 1.  I have an Intel Core2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz CPU and 3GB of RAM.  My explorer.exe file gives the following information from the Details tab of its Properties window:  file version is 6.0.6001.18000; product version is 6.0.6000.16386; file size is 2.79MB; and modification date is 1/20/2008 at 6:24pm.  As far as I know, that is all correct information and does not indicate that the program file has been replaced by any sort of malicious software.  I also ran a complete scan with AVG Antivirus and found no viruses or other malicious software anywhere on the system (unless you count tracking cookies).

    Thank you in advance for any help Smile
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 2:46 PM

Answers

  • Is there, or is there not, a way to reinstall explorer.exe and WLAN AutoConfig (plus any/all associated and necessary support files such as *.dll files) without reinstalling the complete operating system and all programs?

     

    There is no recommended way that I'm aware of?

     

    If you want to refresh the system, and you have a full or upgrade Vista DVD, you can perform an upgrade installation from within Windows Vista. The results of this procedure is similar to the XP Repair Install. It does not effect any installed programs or settings. If you do decide to do this, make a backup of any important data first, just to be completely safe.

     

    In the meantime, I did notice that if I have WLAN AutoConfig set to Manual, and then start the service manually after the system finishes booting up, it does not then interfere with explorer.exe.  I thought that I could set it as Automatic (Delayed Start), but it gave me an error saying that "The delayed auto-start flag could not be set.  Error 87: The parameter is incorrect."  I did an internet search and a Microsoft Knowledge Base search for this error and didn't come up with any useful information.  Is there any way that I can make the service start via a batch file, something like "START wlansrvc" preceded by some sort of delay comand and then set the batch file as a system startup item?  That could at least be a workaround until I get the rest of this sorted out.

     

    That is good news. At least this gives us a way to work around the issue.

     

    You can create a one line shortcut to start the service.

    The command will be:

     

    SC Start [service name]

     

    Name the shortcut with the   .cmd   file extension.

     

    You would need to right click this shortcut and use the 'Run As Administrator' option. This would also require dealing with the UAC prompt.

     

    You can also use the procedure in the following article to create an elevated task in Task Scheduler to bypass the need to right click and bypass dealing the UAC prompt. This is a simple procedure that makes elevating a shortcut a one click process.

     

    Fixing Windows Vista, Part 2: Taming UAC | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com:
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=436&page=4

     

     

    Hope this helps.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:03 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi Drake

     

    First, the Explorer.exe process that you are looking at, isn't the same process that you see when Windows Explorer (The file manager) is running. When you run the file manager, you will see a separate instance of Explorer.exe running.

     

    Explorer.exe is responsible for displaying the entire UI (User Interface) that is Windows. Every application that runs on the system interacts with Explorer.exe, in one way or another. This is why everything disappears when you end process on Explorer.exe.

     

    To troubleshoot this problem.

     

    1. Run the System File Checker utility to make sure that all of the system files are stable.

     

    Go to Start / All Programs / Accessories. Right click the Command Prompt item and select the 'Run As Administrator' option.

     

    OK, the UAC prompt.

     

    in the command window type:

     

    SFC /SCANNOW

     

    Press ENTER

     

    This process will take some time, be patient.

     

    2. Check for and install the latest drivers for all of the installed hardware. Pay particular attention to the Display drivers for the installed video device as this device is tightly connected to the Explorer UI.

     

    3. The best way to determine what is causing Explorer.exe to use so many resources is to perform clean boot troubleshooting.

     

    Go to the following article for the step by step instructions on how to perform this process.

     

    How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135

     

    Let us know the results.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 8:33 PM
    Moderator
  • First of all, I'd like to thank you for the suggestions Smile

     

    Secondly, I am aware of the difference between the base explorer.exe process and the ones used for running windows explorer.  Nevertheless, the CPU usage is causing problems with all other programs and subsequent instances of explorer.exe, such as for use with windows explorer, seem to be affected to a greater extent than other programs.

     

     

    I ran the System File Checker, and it indicated that there were no errors (at least not that it checks for).  All of my hardware drivers are up to date except for my graphics card driver... I'll try updating that in a few minutes (after I finish downloading the new ones).

     

    The other suggestions is basically a selective startup set using a binary search algorythm to try and determine what particular program or service might be causing conflict issues.  This might help as long as there is one and only one such conflict.  If there are no conflicts that seem to cause this, then  it wont help, and if there are more than one conflict, I will have to run through them one by one rather than via binary search.

     

    I suspect that there is a conflict somewhere, because I started the system in Safe Mode and had no troubles with explorer.exe under such a startup scheme.

     

    I'll post with more information when I have it.

     

    Thanks

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:35 AM
  • OK, after updating my graphics card drivers and running through the binary search to find out what program or service might be causing a conflict, I've discovered that it is the WLAN AutoConfig service that's causing the issue.

     

    I can disable the service, which will break my internet connection, or I can end task explorer.exe and then restart it via New Task in the task manager.  Neither of these are acceptable, and there has to be some other way to correct this.  And I don't understand why it is that two windows components should conflict with one another, especially when they did not conflict previously.  Something on the system has to have become corrupted somehow, and I need to know how to find it and correct it.  I'd also be interested to know how it is possible for such a corruption to persist through a system restore (multiple system restores in fact).

     

    Is there any way that I can uninstall and reinstall the files specific to WLAN AutoConfig and explorer.exe, short of formatting and reinstalling the operating system?

     

    I should also note that I have run a system recovery disk and run the Repair utility.  This found no errors to be repaired.

     

    Thanks again for any help

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 3:41 AM
  • Hi Drake

     

    How is the WLAN AutoConfig service configured to run?

     

    If it is set to 'Automatic', try setting it to 'Manual'. This will allow it to only activate when it is needed.

     

    Hope this helps.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.


    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 7:05 PM
    Moderator
  • OK, the WLAN AutoConfig is setup as Automatic.

     

    I just set it to Manual and tried it.  Some services, if they are set to manual, will still start up when you try to use something else that depends upon them, but this doesn't seem to be the case with WLAN AutoConfig.  So in order for me to use my internet (which is the primary use for my laptop in the first place), I still have to start the service.  This is an annoying  step that should be totally unneccesary.

     

    Is there, or is there not, a way to reinstall explorer.exe and WLAN AutoConfig (plus any/all associated and necessary support files such as *.dll files) without reinstalling the complete operating system and all programs?  And if there is a way to do it, how do I do it?  I have backups of the contents of my System32 folder and I've tried to copy those backups into the current System32 folder.  Unfortunately, when I try to copy the wlan*.* files to the System32 folder to overwrite the files that might be corrupted, I get an error saying that I need administrative privilages to do that.  My account is an administrative account, but in Vista that isn't quite the same as having full administrative power all the time.  Would I need to open a command prompt window in Administrative mode and use the copy command in order to copy those files successfully, or would that even work?

     

    I have also (last night) tried to install Intel's PROSet software to manage my wireless network connections instead of WLAN AutoConfig, but I haven't figured out how to make it work.  I installed it and rebooted, and then disabled WLAN AutoConfig and rebooted again, and couldn't get my wireless to work with PROSet instead of WLAN AutoConfig.  I do have an Intel PRO/Wireless card, so theoretically it should work, but apaprently there is something to making it work that I don't know.

     

    In the meantime, I did notice that if I have WLAN AutoConfig set to Manual, and then start the service manually after the system finishes booting up, it does not then interfere with explorer.exe.  I thought that I could set it as Automatic (Delayed Start), but it gave me an error saying that "The delayed auto-start flag could not be set.  Error 87: The parameter is incorrect."  I did an internet search and a Microsoft Knowledge Base search for this error and didn't come up with any useful information.  Is there any way that I can make the service start via a batch file, something like "START wlansrvc" preceded by some sort of delay comand and then set the batch file as a system startup item?  That could at least be a workaround until I get the rest of this sorted out.

     

    Thanks for the help so far.

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:25 PM
  • Is there, or is there not, a way to reinstall explorer.exe and WLAN AutoConfig (plus any/all associated and necessary support files such as *.dll files) without reinstalling the complete operating system and all programs?

     

    There is no recommended way that I'm aware of?

     

    If you want to refresh the system, and you have a full or upgrade Vista DVD, you can perform an upgrade installation from within Windows Vista. The results of this procedure is similar to the XP Repair Install. It does not effect any installed programs or settings. If you do decide to do this, make a backup of any important data first, just to be completely safe.

     

    In the meantime, I did notice that if I have WLAN AutoConfig set to Manual, and then start the service manually after the system finishes booting up, it does not then interfere with explorer.exe.  I thought that I could set it as Automatic (Delayed Start), but it gave me an error saying that "The delayed auto-start flag could not be set.  Error 87: The parameter is incorrect."  I did an internet search and a Microsoft Knowledge Base search for this error and didn't come up with any useful information.  Is there any way that I can make the service start via a batch file, something like "START wlansrvc" preceded by some sort of delay comand and then set the batch file as a system startup item?  That could at least be a workaround until I get the rest of this sorted out.

     

    That is good news. At least this gives us a way to work around the issue.

     

    You can create a one line shortcut to start the service.

    The command will be:

     

    SC Start [service name]

     

    Name the shortcut with the   .cmd   file extension.

     

    You would need to right click this shortcut and use the 'Run As Administrator' option. This would also require dealing with the UAC prompt.

     

    You can also use the procedure in the following article to create an elevated task in Task Scheduler to bypass the need to right click and bypass dealing the UAC prompt. This is a simple procedure that makes elevating a shortcut a one click process.

     

    Fixing Windows Vista, Part 2: Taming UAC | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com:
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=436&page=4

     

     

    Hope this helps.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:03 PM
    Moderator
  • OK, I don't have a full copy of an installation disc, I just have the HP system recovery discs.  If I were to borrow an installation or upgrade disc from someone, would that work, or would I still need a valid, activatable, authorized product key?  If I can used a borrowed copy, then I'll try that, if not, I'll stick with the workaround until I downgrade to XP (which won't be until I can find hardware drivers for my key hardware components, assuming I can find them at all) or decide it's time for a full re-install.

     

    With regard to the workaround, though, do I give the full service name in the command you mentioned, as in "SC Start WLAN AutoConfig" (without the quotes)?  Or would I use a file name or something?  I think WLAN uses a svchost.exe instance, so I suspect I would need to specify WLAN AutoConfig, but I'd like clarification (I'll probably try it before you answer, but would appreciate the answer anyway).

     

    The workaround does sound like something I can accept though, so if I can't use a borrowed disc, then we'll go with that, and I'll mark your post as the answer as soon as I have clarification on these other two questions Smile.

     

    Thank you very much for all your help Smile.

    Monday, December 1, 2008 2:51 AM
  • OK, I was able to make a workaround shortcut that will start the WLAN AutoConfig service.

     

    Using the instructions from the blog you linked to at http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=436&page=4 I created an Administrator level Task that runs the "SC" program with the parameters of "Start wlansvc", and then I created a shortcut that runs "schtasks /run /tn "WLANAutoConfigServiceStart"" (that's what I named the task).  I tried it out a couple of times and it works perfectly.

     

    I'm curious if I can add that shortcut to my Startup directory and have it autostart without screwing up explorer.exe again.  I'll probably try that and play around with it tonight or tomorrow.

     

    I'd still like to know about the use of a borrowed Vista installation disc though, if you have that answer anyway Smile

     

    Thanks again for the help, Ronnie, you've been awesome!

    Monday, December 1, 2008 8:26 AM
  •  Drake1132 wrote:

    OK, I was able to make a workaround shortcut that will start the WLAN AutoConfig service.

     

    Using the instructions from the blog you linked to at http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=436&page=4 I created an Administrator level Task that runs the "SC" program with the parameters of "Start wlansvc", and then I created a shortcut that runs "schtasks /run /tn "WLANAutoConfigServiceStart"" (that's what I named the task).  I tried it out a couple of times and it works perfectly.

     

    I'm very glad this worked for you. 

     

    I'm curious if I can add that shortcut to my Startup directory and have it autostart without screwing up explorer.exe again.  I'll probably try that and play around with it tonight or tomorrow.

     

    I'm not sure, you'll just need to try this. You can also edit that task. There are options in the 'Triggers' tab where you can set the task to start at logon.

     

    I'd still like to know about the use of a borrowed Vista installation disc though, if you have that answer anyway Smile

     

    I'm not completely sure about this. I know there are some 'gotchas' with this. You might want to ask the folks over in the Activation Forum, they are the experts on this subject.

     

    Windows Vista Activation - TechNet Forums:
    http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=2155&SiteID=17


     

    Thanks again for the help, Ronnie, you've been awesome!

     

    Your very welcome.


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, click the Mark as Answer button at the top of this message.

    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience
    Monday, December 1, 2008 11:37 PM
    Moderator
  • I have exactly the same problem!!!  And I concluded that the “AUTO CONNECT” function is the main reason of causing the CPU usage.  If I uncheck the “AUTO CONNECT” from the saved wi-fi connection, then the CPU would remain claim.

     

    But.. Still, it’s very annoying.  So I formatted the hard drive and restore to the original factory condition.  Initially, it was working ok.  But after WINDOW UPDATES, the same problem happens again!!!!!!  May this be the bug from Microsoft??

     

    Any thought??  Any Fix?  Please help!!!! 

     

    Thursday, December 11, 2008 6:52 AM
  •  Edward Lin wrote:

    I have exactly the same problem!!!  And I concluded that the “AUTO CONNECT” function is the main reason of causing the CPU usage.  If I uncheck the “AUTO CONNECT” from the saved wi-fi connection, then the CPU would remain claim.

     

    But.. Still, it’s very annoying.  So I formatted the hard drive and restore to the original factory condition.  Initially, it was working ok.  But after WINDOW UPDATES, the same problem happens again!!!!!!  May this be the bug from Microsoft??

     

    Any thought??  Any Fix?  Please help!!!! 

     

     

     

     

    Yes, I did notice that the problem started after I did a Windows Update.  I can't remember which update it was, but the strange thing about it was that I couldn't fix the problem by restoring the system to a restore point that was made BEFORE the update.  Since I hadn't made any other changes to the system between when it worked and when it stopped working, I can only assume that the update caused the problem, and as such I believe it IS Microsoft's fault.

     

    As to the Auto-Connect feature, I hadn't even thought of that, but since I use my internet ALL THE TIME, it would be really annoying to have to manually connect every boot up.

     

    Which brings me back to the workaround.  If you have Auto-Connect enabled, and you disable WLAN AutoConfig and set it to Manual in your Services interface, then reboot the system, does it solve the CPU issues?  If the answer is yes, then you can do what I'm doing:

     

    1.  Go to Start, then in the search box type "task" and you should see the Task Scheduler come up as an option.

     

    2.  Open the Task Scheduler and click on "Create Task..." (by default this should be on the right-hand side of the window in the Actions pane).

     

    3.  In the General tab, give the task a name and (optionally) a description, and put a check mark in the box at the lower left that says "Run with highest privileges".

     

    4.  In the Triggers tab, add a trigger.  In the new window, choose "At log on" from the dropdown box at the top, set it to run for "Any user", and then head to the advanced settings section of the window.  Put a check mark in the box for "Delay task for:" and set the delay for one minute.  Make sure that there is a check mark in the box for "Enabled".  Then click OK.

     

    5.  In the Actions tab, add an action.  In the new window, make sure that "Start a program" is selected in the drop down box at the top (should be the default choice).  In the field where you specify the program to run, type in "SC".  In the "Add arguments (optional):" field, type in "Start wlansvc".  Then click OK.

     

    6.  Go through the other tabs to make sure you're happy with all of the other settings.  The default values should be just fine, but feel free to change them if you want to.  Then click OK.

     

    7.  Make sure that WLAN AutoConfig is still set to Manual.

     

    8.  Re-enable your Auto-Connect feature.

     

    9.  Reboot the system.

     

    About 60 seconds after you log into your user account you should see a black command window flash onto the screen and then disappear again.  That is your automatic task running and starting up the WLAN AutoConfig servicve.  Another 30-60 seconds later and you should have access to your wireless network and the internet, and you don't have to interact with it or manually start anything.  You can also try setting the task delay to 30 seconds rather than 1 minute, but on my system that wasn't a long enough delay to prevent the CPU usage issues, whereas 1 minute was sufficient.  On my system, it enables the wireless before the system even finishes loading up my normal startup applications like my antivirus, so Idon't even notice a slowdown on the bootup process, let alone any wait time before I can use my internet.

     

    This isn't a fix, and what we really need is for Microsoft to figure out what they did wrong, and fix it, but in the meantime, this works.

     

    Good luck Smile

     

     

    On a side note:  Unless Microsoft gets busy on fixing Vista so that it's backwards compatible with my old games, I'm still going to downgrade to XP (like a LOT of people have been doing for various reasons)... assuming I can find XP compatible hardware drivers anyway.  Right now I can get more of my games to run under Linux than I can under Vista, despite the fact that they were programmed to run in a DirectX Windows environment only... that's simply unacceptable.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008 10:33 PM
  • Alright.. After numerous times of trying.  I "THINK" I have located the problem.

    After all, it turns out to be the problem with the "NOTIFICATION AREA" settings.  Like most people, I have a few icons on my systems tray.  What I usually do is hide the ones that I don't really use.  And such "HIDING" of some icon is causing explorer.exe to take much of the CPU usage.  If I try to change the notification area setting with the "CPU USAGE" problem exists, the setup window of notification area would be acting very unstable; it feels like the vista is crashing.  The only way to fix it is to exit the explorer.exe in the task manager.  Once you close the explorer.exe and re-open it under "FILE" tap, the system stabilized.  This finding gave me the hint that "CPU USAGE" problem is somehow associated with system tray.

    Then, I fixed the "CPU USAGE" problem by clicking "DEFAULT SETTING" in notification area setup window; making all icons to be "HIDE WHILE INACTIVE".  Once the setting is done, reboot, and the problem is gone.

    However, the problem still remains as I have too many icons one my system try that I don't like.  So I ended up taking those icon out from the root. (disable them of its associate program). 

    I am not sure if this is the real cause.  But it fixed my computer for now.  I will keep this forums updated if the problem occurs again.
    Edward Lin
    • Edited by Edward Lin Monday, October 26, 2009 6:59 PM
    Sunday, December 21, 2008 3:08 AM
  •  

    Hey, I had the same problem and thought my observations might help finding the problem.

    After reading about the post by Edward Lin about the notification area I also set my settings back to the default settings and the problem disappeared. After playing around with the settings I narrowed it down to the application "DigitalPersona Personal". It is related to the fingerprint reader on my laptop.

    When it was set to be hidden explorer.exe used roughly 50 % of my cpu. Setting it to be hidden when inactive made the icon for the program visible and it gave me a message in a speech bobble telling me I had not enrolled any fingerprints. After enrolling a fingerprint it no longer gave me any messages and it was hidden (it was still set up to be hidden when inactive). It also made explorer.exe run normally.

    Explorer.exe keeps running normally when I set ”DigitalPersona Personal” back to always being hidden.

    Since others have had the same problem disappear by stopping other programs (Drake1132 with WLAN AutoConfig) I think the problem might have something to do with the message the program was trying to give me but couldn’t when it was hidden. Hope this might help someone out there.

    Per

    Sunday, January 18, 2009 10:54 PM
  • Hi, i have a question wat if the scan you are talking about (SFC/SCANNOW) said that there are corrupt files what do i do from there?
    • Proposed as answer by Zouille Sunday, October 25, 2009 8:40 PM
    Monday, February 9, 2009 5:28 AM
  • Exactly the same problem and context; This followed a Windows Update (Windows XP).
    IE using about 50% of resource. Problem gone is restarted the process. But you know the song: not viable on long-term, blah blah blah.

    My solution : switched the "Wireless Automatic Configuration" service to Manual, then restarted.
    The internet connection, through wifi, was back on, but I guess this service was more about connecting you to a former wifi network that you previously connected too, like when you travel? Not sure though. for the time being, it helps a lot!

    Thanks to all for their comments.
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 8:43 PM
  • (Sorry for bad English)

    I've read the problem. I've met this page, because I saw this page at first page. I had got same problem. Many thing I tried but not a solution. I go to my solution.

    A few days ago, I'd downloaded a video on youtube. That was 'undeletable' and was staying oon my desktop. I'd tried to delete but I couldn't delete. I read anywhere, maybe this could cause.

    I used a free program 'Unlocker' and delete that video and the problem has solved.

     

    I wish, you can solve yoour problem, too.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011 11:11 PM
  • I have been having the same problem; explorer.exe is constantly taking up 70% of my CPU, making big resource programs act poorly. As far as I know, there is no Microsoft approved solution to this. However, I have found a fix. If you didn't know, Windows can run without explorer.exe but you will not have access to the start menu, the task bar, or any desktop icons and windows will minimize to small bars instead of icons. I suggest installing a 3rd party dock or taskbar such as rocketdock, running it, and stopping the explorer.exe in the task manager. You can also find 3rd party file browsers to replace the default one. If it is an extreme problem and this is not an option, install Ubuntu (www.ubuntu.com) alongside Windows and just use that instead of the default OS.

    Sorry I couldn't help more

    Saturday, May 26, 2012 10:32 PM
  • This is what I did and it worked fine for me.

    NOTE: your computer needs to have at least 2 processors.

    Step 1: open the task manager (CTRL+ALT+DEL)

    Step 2: Click the processors tab and find explorer.exe

    Step 3: Right click and press set Affinity

    Step 4: uncheck "all processors" 

    Step 5: check Processor 1 (it doesn't matter but thats what I did)

    Step 6: Click OK and your problem should be fixed :)

    Hope this helps 


    • Edited by Iconic985 Monday, September 24, 2012 11:23 AM
    Monday, September 24, 2012 11:05 AM
  • I am having a similar problem as well, I have tried repeated reboots, restarted in safe mode and the problem continues to persist, unfortunately. I have narrowed it down (somewhat) through trial and error and have found that a folder I have on my desktop seems to be part of, if not the complete cause of the error. The folder contains multiple other folders, though the one that seems to be causing the issue is the one with picture files that I saved onto my desktop from my phone. I have tried running a virus check with Kaspersky, and it did find some and remove the few viruses it found. I also ran the SFC /SCANNOW on the command prompt, and it did find and repair one issue. I also set the Wireless AutoConnect to manual, but unfortunately that did not seem to help solve the issue. Perhaps I missed something in running check, but this problem has been persisting for about a week now, and it seemed to pop up out of no where. I have done system restores up to 5 days back (partially why I'm guessing it's been persisting for about a week) and that has not helped either. Is there anything further I can do, or is my best course of action to do a repair of Windows Vista? Any help at this point would be much appreciated as this frustration causes my computer to be almost entirely unusable as everything is bogged down, and folders and files refuse to open, and the few that do, take about 20 minutes to open, so long as I am not doing anything else at the time.

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle
    Friday, April 25, 2014 5:55 PM
  • This explorer.exe process problem seems to be very common and posted on many forums.  Anytime I was connected to my Wifi, multiple Explorer.exe processes ran using lots of CPU 50%+.  Most solutions i have tried have not worked or I have been unable to understand.

    Here is a very simple answer that worked for me:

    Remove your Explorer shortcut from your task bar, if you have one.

    Create a short cut on your desktop for My Computer.

    Drag that My Computer shortcut to the task bar, pinning it to the task bar.

    Restart the computer

    I saw this on another forum, I don't know why it worked, but it so far has.

    • Proposed as answer by echosounder Friday, May 2, 2014 12:14 AM
    Friday, May 2, 2014 12:13 AM
  • Old thread, but still valid, even in Windows 8 and higher.

    Bottom line:

    A system that's been running a long time, without a reboot, is subject to memory leaks, artifacts, etc.

    REBOOT. That's the quickest way to resolve intermittent issues.

    Other than that, use Procmon, Process Explorer and other such tools to isolate some of the issues.

    Use chkdsk, sfc /scannow (as previously mentioned) and check disk for errors, bad sectors, repair those.

    Check network card, drivers, etc. Often, a remote file share may be causing some issues.

    Sometimes, if you have an on-board NIC, it can get fried (thunderstorms with lightning surges), while the rest of the system is okay, and then you have slow system/network performance and don't know why.This is because network lines are rarely surge-protected - usually people only plug their system main PC unit into surge protection, and they think they are "fully protected."

    As a last resort, reinstall, possibly on a fresh hard drive.

    If systems persist, the motherboard itself may be in a flaky state; in which case, you can try another PC and see if it resolve the issue - if so, it likely was the motherboard.

    Many things can cause explorer to freak out - above are some of the things I've run into.


    tnjman

    Friday, June 20, 2014 6:51 PM
  • Thank you Edward for all of your effort.  My laptop has been running full fan for some time now, not to mention that I'm running my heater less this winter with all the heat coming off of my cpu.

    Thanks to everyone on here for addressing this and other problems.

    drew

    Monday, February 2, 2015 10:03 PM
  • Hi all - I ran into the same problem on my Windows 7 system, it seemed to start after the last round of SUS updates. I tried SFC /SCANNOW first and it found/repaired a number of errors but the issue continued after a reboot, so I then tested disabling the wireless card and sure enough the issue went away. On a hunch I decided to try resetting the TCP/IP stack, and that seems to have resolved the issue - after a reboot, I re-enabled the wireless card and CPU utilization returned to normal.

    Instructions for TCP/IP reset:

    • Click Start > All Programs > Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator. ...
    • At the command prompt type: netsh winsock reset catalog and press [Enter].

    Monday, May 4, 2015 11:45 PM