Explorer.exe keeps crashing (on friend's Windows 7 machine)

vbimport

#1

The OS is Windows 7 Home Premium x64. Every few seconds, I get an error saying “Windows Explorer has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem…” before restarting Explorer. I’ve been going crazy with A/V scanners, checking startup items, looking for any out-of-the-ordinary ActiveX plugins that might be causing the problem, but haven’t had any luck. This happens regardless of what I am doing, as Explorer crashes even if the machine is sitting idle. The closest thing I’ve gotten to a real clue as to what causing the issue is this Event Viewer error (EVID 1000) that keeps popping up:

Faulting application name: explorer.exe, version: 6.1.7601.17567, time stamp: 0x4d672ee4
Faulting module name: unknown, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x00000000032e2a48
Faulting process id: 0x137c
Faulting application start time: 0x01d041bc0abdac20
Faulting application path: C:\windows\explorer.exe
Faulting module path: unknown
Report Id: 60ea80f3-adaf-11e4-9abf-00266c380586

Not much to go on. The crazy thing is, if I reboot the computer, Explorer seems to work fine, until I log off and log back on (or just kill explorer and attempt to restart it). Anyone who can help will be my best friend for all eternity!

PS: Explorer++ (x64 edition), a third-party file browser which can use the same ActiveX plugins as Windows Explorer, does not seem to crash at all, so I suppose the problem isn’t with ActiveX.


#2

Here, have a slew of questions…

Does any extra stuff show up in the context menu when you right-click an empty space in Explorer? When you right-click any old file? When you right-click on the desktop? (Links to stuff like nVidia’s Control Panel or ATI/AMD’s Control Center count here, too). Anything installed like Adobe Reader or something else that could be latching on as not-an-ActiveX-plugin?

Do things get better in Safe Mode? Under a completely different user?

I’m trying to imagine what could get messed up by just logging out and logging back in, but I’m not fully sure…

Anything in the system tray that you didn’t disable while checking the startup items?

And does the friend have a clue how long this has been going on?


#3

I would look at this

Make sure you run a full anti-virus scan
and I would use malwarebytes to clean malware download here but uncheck try premium when installing

http://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/var6/

also download ccleaner and run it.

https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

If that does not work I would make sure all the windows updates are installed and do a sfc scannow.
90 percent of the time this will fix the computers people bring to me.


#4

@Albert:Things do seem to get better under Safe Mode, although the last time I booted in Safe Mode was before I realized that anything that restarts Explorer makes it crash. It’s currently late at night, so I’ll have to experiment more. I’ve tried using 3 different profiles, all with the same problem. I’ve been obsessively checking the startup items for the last few days, using both msconfig, and a program called autoruns, so I can say there’s nothing suspicious there. Also, I don’t think there is a such thing as a “non-ActiveX plugin” as far as Explorer.exe goes.

@Selmar: I forgot to mention, I ran [B]sfc /scannow[/B], and it didn’t find any errors. I also ran CCleaner, but it didn’t help (presumably because it’s designed to remove junk files, not fix errors). Ultimately, CCleaner just removed a bunch of old irrelevant data from the Event Viewer, which made finding relevant information easier.

PS: How do I install Windows updates on this particular machine? Normally, this is done using Explorer.exe… see my above post if you don’t know why that is a bad thing. Too bad Microsoft decided all Windows versions from Vista and up will not be able to update from Internet Explorer (XP users could use http://www.update/microsoft.com), as that would make things more convenient.


#5

In theory, you could trigger Windows Update from the command line, but if WU wasn’t set up to automatically update, using the command line could at best merely force Windows to check for updates (but not install them). Or you could create a script file and run it to automate the process (a process I’ve never used, so I don’t know the restrictions). There are other options. Maybe leaf through the entries in this thread: http://superuser.com/questions/462425/can-i-invoke-windows-update-from-the-command-line

My vote would be for the option that reads

To check and update,

wuauclt.exe /detectnow /updatenow
This will not work if you have set “Never check for updates” in Windows Update settings. Also probably automatic updates must be enabled for ‘/updatenow’ switch to work (install updates).
then trying the other means should that not work.

If it comes to the worst case scenario, is there a way for you to help your friend backup so you can attempt to repair Windows? (Or wipe out the installation should that not work).


#6

Well, more bad news… [B]wuauclt.exe[/B] doesn’t seem to do anything at all. I tried running it several times, but it simply exits without any error messages (it doesn’t show up in Process Hacker for more than a split second, so I know it isn’t simply running in the background). I guess I’ll start a virus scan with another product (I’ve already scanned the system several times with Comodo Internet Security, but I guess more scans can’t hurt).

PS: does Malwarebytes make a bootable av scanner CD? In my experience, bootable CDs find more malware than traditionally-installed programs.


#7

[QUOTE=TSJnachos117;2747343]
PS: does Malwarebytes make a bootable av scanner CD? In my experience, bootable CDs find more malware than traditionally-installed programs.[/QUOTE]

From a quick Google search, the answer is a very strong “No”, there is no Live CD available with MBAM.


#8

To add to Albert’s answer on MBAM .
I looked into this a while back & checked the MBAM forum.
The repeated answer was no & they never intend to create a Live CD.
I did manage to create a bootable SD card that works from a jump drive of CCE (Commodo).

This probably won’t help because it is from Windows 98 days. I remember having some problems with explorer.exe in it & replacing it . I don’t remember the procedure & I sure don’t know if it is even possible with Windows 7.


#9

I found this:

The person helping the OP danced him around pretty good.
In the end ShellExView Shell Extention Manager For Windows found the OP’s problem .
In that case the problem was : NVIDIA CPL Context Menu Extension
That may not be the same as your problem but ShellExView might troubleshoot & find a problem.
Probably worth a try.


#10

Hello, everyone. Sorry for waiting so long to post (everytime I tried, I got distracted by life, and almost forgot about this thread), but good progress has been made.

Anyway, prior to writing my original post, I did a scan using Comodo’s live cd (which I simply burned to a CD-RW), found/quarantined some stuff, but that didn’t help, which was why I asked about MalwareBytes.

However, a day or two after Albert’s last post, I decided to have another go at Comodo, found more malware than before, quarantined it, and all was well. I can no longer reproduce Explorer’s crashes, and, having found no other issues with the machine, returned it to my friend. I’ve even been able to update Windows from Explorer.

Thanks for everyone’s support. Happy computing!:bigsmile:


#11

Sweet! Glad you found a way to get rid of the crud. :slight_smile:

You think your friend will have any more issues?


#12

I have Commodo on a bootable SD card that I use in a jump drive .
This is so it can be used outside Windows.
It’s too bad that MBAM doesn’t have a bootable CD or flash drive option for doing this.