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Strange Explorer.exe Behaviour


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#1 Hobgoblin

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:52 PM

Hi all,

I have a bit of a strange problem. Normally I have 1 instance of explorer.exe running in my task manager, however as of late as soon as I start browsing my files a second instance of explorer.exe starts up. Not only that but it completely takes over my CPU, running it at 99% and the ram usage for that instance of explorer.exe goes through the roof. Usually up to 320 MB.

My system is then completely unusable until it decided to give me control again, sometimes only after 5 to 10 mins. I've run a ton of AV scans, Ad-Aware, Spybot etc. and nothing comes up. Also my HjT log is clean. I keep my machine quite lean as it is not really high spec (P4 2.00 GHz with 512 MB Ram).

It looks as if Windows is stuck in a loop, wanting to do something but not able to find the right file or something. I'm looking at my TM now and it reads explorer.exe at 10 MB, completely normal. I start browsing and a second explorer.exe starts up and zooms off to 24 MB ( when I minimise the window it drops right down to 1 MB again.) I would like to get it back to having only 1 instance of explorer running regardless of the number of windows I open and most importantly keep the resource usage down.

I would appreciate it if anyone can point me in the right direction.

Edited by Hobgoblin, 07 January 2008 - 04:52 PM.


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#2 ruby1

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:10 PM

what IS your antivirus program?

try running http://www.superantispyware.com/

and

http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/free/

both free;

also try running an on line scan from


http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

and the log you have I suggest you might wish to post in

the log section to get a 'second opinion from the experts , and get some extra tools to check you out
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/f/22/virus-trojan-spyware-and-malware-removal-logs/


try that for starters?
one presumes you have already attempted to do a system restore with no spectacular effect?

how do you connect to the internet?

#3 Tomo2

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:13 PM

You can start by looking in the event viewer for any strange errors regarding explorer.exe. Also in Folder Options->View tab do you have Launch folder windows in a seperate process checked? try un-checking it.

Hope that helps!

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#4 Hobgoblin

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:23 PM

I use Grisoft AntiVir, Ad-Aware and Spybot. Tried SuperAntiSpyware but wasn't really too impressed. As for connecting to the Internet I have a wireless router but tend to hard wire my connection (faster that way) and as my laptop sits on the desk it doesn't really matter. (Laptop battery is useless after 5 mins) I plan to upgrade to a new machine later this year so I'm not too bothered by the lack of portability.

Sorry, I digress. I did SFC /scannow with my XP disc in the drive and it replaced some dll files. After this I updated the machine to SP3. I keep automatic updates turned off, and use only FireFox to connect to the internet. Consequently I only update when there's a service pack released.

My HjT log is in total about 25 items long, and everything in there checks out. I'd post it in the other section but I don't want to start multiple posts.

#5 ruby1

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:36 PM

just a suggestion you might wish TO post the log for the team TO check out and maybe suggest some more 'revealing' tools for you to try?

superantispyware free version is normally well -behaved so what problems did it give you ? did system restore provide any spectacular results?

the other two scans are normally very revealling too if you wish to try them ?

#6 Hobgoblin

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 02:59 AM

Sorry for not responding earlier but explorer decided to act up again. After 30 mins I gave up, shut down and rebooted. Ran the scans through the night and checked the results this morning. Nothing.

SuperAntiSpyware gave me a number of false positives and did not like my AVG. As I paid for AVG I did not want to remove it for something I did not know very well. I'll try a scan with Webroot and see what they say. During the day I'll try posting my HjT log and see what happens.

BTW Thanks for reminding me of Launch folder windows in a seperate process I knew of it but it has been such a long time since I last needed to do anything with folder views that I had forgotten where it is. No dice though. I looked to see if it was unchecked (it was), and for just in case I checked it, then unchecked and clicked apply. Rebooted the computer and checked to see if it changed anything. Nothing.

I hate using system restore, but I suppose I'll have to if I can't figure it out any other way.

#7 dc3

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 03:54 AM

I hop you don't have two active anti viruses running at the same time, this is counter productive. If you are not running these scans in safe mode you should, this mode is there just for application like this.

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#8 usasma

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 08:04 AM

Updated to SP3? Is this the beta version of SP3 that's available, is it a program that claims to contain the same stuff as SP3, or is it SP2?
The use of beta software may cause serious issues with the system - so if this is the case, I'd suggest uninstalling it.

I would suggest an independent virus/malware scan in case your system protection has been taken over by malware. Here's 2 free one's:
http://safety.live.com (requires IE)
http://housecall.trendmicro.com

If they show up clean, then it's likely that there's either a corrupt program running this second instance of explorer.exe - or that you have corruption in your Windows installation. You can investigate the details of the second explorer.exe process by using this free program: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysintern...ssExplorer.mspx In particular, check the main window for that explorer.exe process and any processes running underneath it, then right click on that instance of explorer.exe and select Properties. Click on the Image tab to see what launches with it, and the Threads tab to see what's going on inside of it.
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#9 Hobgoblin

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for al the helpful info guys.

I think the culprit was Service Pack 3. I uninstalled it this morning and ran SFC /scannow after restarting the laptop. It replaced a couple of .dll files and after a second restart seems happy enough. Explorer.exe is back to being one process and doesn't take over the whole computer. I reckon I'll wait a bit longer until SP3 is a bit more stable before updating.

I do think that when I upgrade the laptop to something with a bit more muscle under the hood I'd prefer to stick with XP though. At least it's a pretty stable environment .

Thanks again :thumbsup:

Edited by Hobgoblin, 08 January 2008 - 09:17 AM.


#10 usasma

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:17 AM

Don't forget to submit a bug report for SP3 - that'll get you invited for more testing (and you may get some personalized support with fixing it on your system).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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