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Right-clicking on WinXP Pro SP3 Hangs Explorer


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#1 Walking Through

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 07:20 PM

Hello and Happy Holidays

This started last week and has resisted everything I've tried to fix it. Assistance is requested.

System: Win XP Pro SP3 + all updates + Microsoft Essentials Security (it's up to date, too).

Problem: Right-clicking on My Computer and selecting anything causes Explorer to hang. "Jim, it's dead." The Start button is dead, the desktop is dead.. the only thing I can bring up is the Task Manager with CTRL-ALT-DEL. From there, I can kill Explorer (and it's children) and restart it... however, the problem persists. Right-clicking anything hangs Explorer. No mouse cursor change anywhere. It is as if I'm clicking on a picture of the desktop, not the desktop itself.

Programs can still be started via Task Manager. However, the panes opened by those tasks don't go away when the task ends.

A ten-minute wait (perhaps it'll un-hang itself?) produces nothing (still hung). Task Manager indicates 99% of system time is in the System Idle Process.

What I've done so far:

Disk Cleanup has been done. Went in and cleaned out the ~/Local Settings/Temp directories.

Found a reference to bad shell extension handlers and so downloaded and ran NirSoft's ShellExView. It listed three non-Microsoft shell extension handlers. Disabled all three, rebooted, and the problem persists: right-clicking anything on the display (incl. the desktop) hangs Explorer.
While in Task Manager, attempting to Browse for a program to launch causes Task Manager to hang. That's been gotten around by launching CMD and starting programs from there.

A scan by Microsoft's Essentials Security produces a clean report.
SuperAntiSpyware reports a clean system.
Spybot reports a clean system (in the past, Spybot has been sensitive to malware. I update it often and Immunize regularly).
Panda Antivirus (their online scanner) reports three files are infected (but they're in zip archives, not lying around as regular files).

Found a reference to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell Extensions\Cached and investigated that. There are five keys and all seem present and accounted for. That is, the MS advisory page shows those same keys as the ones to type in (if they're not there).

Downloaded a copy of HiJackThis, ran it, and the log file is on the drive.

There's no problem accessing the net; Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 navigate with no problems.

May I ask for assistance in solving this problem?

Thank you and Happy New Year.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 07:35 PM

I'd be thinking one of two things...as a first check.

a. Hard drive.

b. Repair install of XP.

I would try running the chkdsk /r command.

Start/Run...type chkdsk /r and hit Enter. Type Y in new screen and hit Enter. Reboot...the command will run, system will boot into Windows.

Louis

#3 Walking Through

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 11:02 AM

Hello Louis -

CHKDSK /r was successful - the drive seems OK.

> b. Repair install of XP.

A reinstall? The installation is WinXP SP1a and has been patched through Microsoft since the original install.
Perhaps I should have slipstreamed a new installation.

I'll attach the HijackThis log... perhaps some badness will be observed. Happy New Year.



EDIT: Removed HJT log attachment, not allowed in XP forum. If you wish to post an HJT log because you suspect or have known malware issues...please follow the insructions provided in the Preparation Guide ~ Hamluis.

Preparation Guide, Before Using Malware Removal Tools and Requesting Help - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic34773.html

Edited by hamluis, 30 December 2010 - 12:26 PM.
Removed HJT log attachment ~ Hamluis.





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