Windows Explorer keeps crashing

whiskeyguy

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#1
Alright, so I woke up today to see my laptop had restarted after an automatic Windows 7 critical update. Now Windows Explorer is very slow to load (like 10+ minutes until it becomes stable enough to float over icons on the toolbar and see them highlighted), and it is constantly crashing and restarting, or is frozen. Also applications take an insane amount of time to load. At one point, after a fresh restart, it took Chrome over 15 minutes after clicking on the icon. I have not installed anything new, minus the windows update. Once loaded they work a little better, but are often freezing or take a long time to accomplish simple tasks (loading a website on Chrome, for example).

In normal mode I ran a full Malwarebytes scan and a quick Microsoft Security Essentials scan, neither found anything. In safe mode, I successfully restored the system to two days (and two critical updates) ago. None of this has helped.

CPU usage is fine (rarely getting above 30%... more like 5% when the system is stalled and I'm waiting on something to load), and physical memory sits at or around 50% (4GB).

I've noticed that Microsoft Protective Services (or something like that) is constantly shutting off, and the notification in the toolbar pops up often to activate it. MSE appears to be running this entire time.

I'm really at a loss here. I may try restoring to a point further in the past, and I'm considering doing a backup and just doing a clean Windows 7 install... but I have expensive programs I got for free from school, and I'm worried I won't be able to activate those downloads again (I have the ISOs and activation numbers, but not sure the activation numbers will work). They're mostly Microsoft programs (Office Professional, Visio, Project, etc). Since I've graduated I no longer have access to the school servers to download them.

Any suggestions would be helpful.
 

SOS

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#3
Windows 8 comes out in 2 weeks. You could wait till then and determine if an upgrade helps.

From command prompt in safe mode or boot to command prompt: Run a chkdsk /r
SFC /scanboot



use Autoruns to disable start-up programs.
http://download.cnet.com/Autoruns/3000-2094_4-10744886.html

Try this:
http://download.cnet.com/Advanced-SystemCare/3000-2086_4-10407614.htm

In the Start Menu right click on Computer and select Manage. Then click on Event Viewer/Custom Views/administrative Events

How is the remaining space on the hard drive?

Do you have an external harddrive to back-up your files?

http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/maintenance/speed.aspx#fbid=wdxRIsr5zuv

Don't expect to keep school programs with a clean install.
 
Last edited:

whiskeyguy

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#4
Thanks SOS, I'll start trying those things.

I restored to a point 2 weeks ago, still same issues.

BTW, problem persists in Safe Mode.
 
Apr 30, 2011
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#5
That is the kind of symptom when a pc is overheating. Does it feel like the cpu area is hot? Try vacuuming out the vents around the case to pull any dust out.
 

whiskeyguy

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#6
That is the kind of symptom when a pc is overheating. Does it feel like the cpu area is hot? Try vacuuming out the vents around the case to pull any dust out.
I just did that last week, and it doesn't feel hot at all.

Also,would that cause the constant restarting of windows explorer?
 
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#7
I just did that last week, and it doesn't feel hot at all.

Also,would that cause the constant restarting of windows explorer?
Hardware crashes can cause all kind of weird issues. Could easily be hard drive or memory and of course mobo doing that. Reinstall of windows would tell you but I understand you may have issues reactivating those sw packages. If you could run a system image program that you could restore to this current state you could experiment with a windows reinstall and see if the chrome etc now works ok. Never tried it but you should be able to do a windows reinstall where it detects that windows is already installed and from there should be an install fresh or repair options. Repair should put you all the way back to fresh windows but programs are supposed to be there but you will have reinstall drivers and updates.
 

whiskeyguy

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#8
I did a startup repair that didn't work. I'm now doing a pre boot system assessment. One error number popped up regarding the hard drive, so I'll Google that and see what it says.

I always did file backups rather than system image, kind of regretting that now.
 

whiskeyguy

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#9
Well fuck, it appears based on two error codes from the pre boost test that the hard drive is failing.

I'm currently backing up everything. Now I just have to decide if it's worth replacing the hard drive (never done that before in a laptop). The computer is almost 3 years old but it was near top of the line when I got it... I wonder how long it will last if I throw a new hard drive in there.

Also regarding disk images, is that something you can just transfer from one drive to another? My server makes it pretty easy to back up a disk image from a windows computer.
 

Bluestreak

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#10
Get a SSD, but do a clean install of Win7. If you attempt to copy an image with bad sectors, you're bound for trouble.
Just migrate the files you need from the original HDD to a flash drive. The SSD will improve the performance and lifetime of the current laptop for the fraction of the price for a new laptop.
 
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#12
Well fuck, it appears based on two error codes from the pre boost test that the hard drive is failing.

I'm currently backing up everything. Now I just have to decide if it's worth replacing the hard drive (never done that before in a laptop). The computer is almost 3 years old but it was near top of the line when I got it... I wonder how long it will last if I throw a new hard drive in there.

Also regarding disk images, is that something you can just transfer from one drive to another? My server makes it pretty easy to back up a disk image from a windows computer.
Yes you could transfer an image onto another drive. However I would do what bluestreak mentioned and get an SSD. Those really need to be setup fresh so win7 will configure the system properly to take advantage of SSD.

Makes sense it was hardware related, now I remember having a 500gb samsung drive that was fine if booted up cold but after 30mins or so would become unstable and when you would touch the drive was very hot.
 

whiskeyguy

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#13
How difficult is it to find an SSD for a 3 year old laptop? Are the sizes pretty universal, and are they "plug & play" or whatever you call it? Might have to buy my new brother in law a case of beer to get him to help me out with this one.

I'll do more research this weekend when I have access to a different computer. I'm on my shitty 8.9" netbook right now.

What brand of laptop? (So I can avoid it.)
Dell Studio 1745. Actually besides this it's been pretty much issue-free, and it's the first laptop I've actually considered fixing rather than replacing.
 

JoeyDVDZ

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#14
SSD's are the same form factor as standard hard drives, typically. It should fit right where your existing drive is.
 

Mags

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#15
I love the "Internet Explorer, really?" crowd.

I have IE, Crome, and safari. None of them works perfectly in all situations.
 
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#16
I love the "Internet Explorer, really?" crowd.

I have IE, Crome, and safari. None of them works perfectly in all situations.
He was talking about windows crashing right? Agreed about the browser comment.

Installing an SSD with win7 is just plug and play, installing with xp takes a bit more work I think. Win7 install will enable/disable the correct settings that differ between ssd and mechanical drives.
 

d0uche_n0zzle

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#17
Dell Studio 1745. Actually besides this it's been pretty much issue-free, and it's the first laptop I've actually considered fixing rather than replacing.
My experience with Dells (two Inspirations) is that they shit the bed after three years. Had two replaced under warranty. Took about three days on the phone with the savages to get them to honor their warranty.

Good luck.
 

whiskeyguy

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#18
My experience with Dells (two Inspirations) is that they shit the bed after three years. Had two replaced under warranty. Took about three days on the phone with the savages to get them to honor their warranty.

Good luck.
I've had good experiences with them up until one I helped my dad buy 2 years ago. That one was terrible.

The HP laptop I bought in 2002 was the biggest piece of shit ever. It would overheat and just shut down, the CD drive stopped working regularly after six months, etc. I've been very happy with this Dell up until now... over the last three years it has gotten a ton of use.
 

whiskeyguy

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#19
Alright, so after running chkdsk the problem seems to have been fixed... at least after rebooting. Is there a log made of chkdsk's activity that I can review?
 

whiskeyguy

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#24
Alright, so after running chkdsk the problem seems to have been fixed... at least after rebooting. Is there a log made of chkdsk's activity that I can review?
Spoke too soon, after a reboot the problem exists again. When I try to run sfc off the Win7 disk, I keep getting an error that a repair requires reboot. I think I'm going to try a clean install today.
 

SOS

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#25