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Endless Explorer crashes on Vista

This issue took me a whole week to figure it out: It all started when I downloaded a file from the web to my desktop using Firefox. During the download the Explorer (not the Internet Explorer) “stopped working” (that was the message Vista gave me) and was restarted by the system. I thought “Ok – restart it and let me go on working.”, but sadly enough that wasn’t possible. The Explorer stopped working again, immediately after it was restarted and the system killed it again. That went on in an endless loop and I had to manually kill the Explorer using the Taskmanager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC).

After killing the Explorer I started a shell (Taskmanager -> New Task -> cmd) to regain control and to be able to start some programs. First thing to do was a system file scan (sfc /scannow) – but as you mght have guessed that didn’t find any problems. Next stop on my way to getting the machine back to work was the Windows System Restore function that is available from the control panel (Shell -> control) or by starting from the original Vista-DVD. I went back four restore points – that killed my graphics driver, but the Explorer….argh!

Every six months the german computer magazine “c’t” has some kind of security CD add-on with a Linux that boots directly from CD and some virus scanners that can also scan Windows’ NTFS drives. My computer had enough time during the night for scanning… and found nothing!

The usual steps didn’t work, so let’s fire up Firefox a ask the web. I really found several postings about endlessly crashing Explorers on Vista and those where produced by some malware. For those ugly things SpyBot is my tool of choice, but it also didn’t find anything.

I further searched the web and tried several things out, but wasn’t successful and really got frustrated, as it took several days and my computer wasn’t really useable during that time.

What I never noticed was the leftover part of the aborted download on my desktop! And that finally was the solution. After removing the file (Shell -> cd /Users//Desktop -> del ) and restarting the explorer (Shell -> explorer) everything worked fine again (except my graphics driver…).

A really can’t understand why Vista can’t handle this more nicely.

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