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My computer is a zombie due to Windows Explorer


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#1 ErikofMT

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 08:31 PM

My computer has essentially been locked for the past few days with a message that Explorer has stopped working. If I restart it normally, I get the "Windows Explorer has stopped working" message stating the event was an APPCRASH and the fault module name is SHELL32.dll. However nothing else responds on the machine and nearly all of the desktop is blank. I have been able to start it in Safe Mode and my desktop icons reappear, but the machine is still hung up with the Explorer stopped working message. However, before this appears, it first tries to access Windows Help and Support, then a few moments later I get the Explorer stopped working message. I am able to open Task Manager just fine and have ended explorer.exe and WerFault.exe successfully, but moments later the programs restart on their own. I have tried accessing the Start menu or other icons, but they freeze the instant the other programs restart. I have tried pressing "Windows key + W" without any response. So other than Task Manager, the rest of my machine is a mindless zombie who keeps coming back doing the same thing even though I kill the process that seems to cause the problem. Any help would be appreciated!

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#2 InsufficientFunds

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 09:26 PM

Firstly, what does Windows Key + W equate to? It's not a factory keyboard combination for Windows 7.

 

Let's try and attempt to repair explorer via a System File Checker scan.

 

DO NOT use quotes, they're used for organizational purposes in my instructions.

 

1. Start Menu > type "cmd" > Right click, Run as Admin.

 

2. Type "sfc /scannow" and press enter.

 

3. Screenshot the end results of the scan and see if the problem persists with explorer.

 

I would advise a malware scan with Malware Bytes anti-malware next, that is, if you can download, install and execute it. Perhaps it may also be a rootkit malware, therefor we will use the standalone Chameleon by Malware Bytes.

 

I would have provided screenshots but unfortunately I cannot at this time.


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#3 jcgriff2

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 12:57 AM

A rogue 3rd party Explorer shell may be the culprit.

 

Run Nirsoft ShellExView + ShellMenuView and look for 3rd party shells, disabling them one at a time until the rogue shell is found.

 

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html

 

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shell_menu_view.html

 

Regards. . .

 

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#4 ErikofMT

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:28 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, but the reloading of Explorer happens too quick to open any program. While I can click the start button and get cmd typed in, the computer locks up and I have to restart again. The same is true for starting programs from my desktop or making a selection after hitting the start button. They all fail to start prior to the computer locking up again. The only thing that works normally is ctrl-alt-delete and the programs I can access there such as logging off or Task Manager. A couple new discoveries are that the Windows Explorer has stopped working error comes up after a few minutes on the ctrl-alt-delete page and locks that screen until I hit ctrl-alt-delete again. Also, if I use End Process on Task Manager with explorer.exe first, I lose all my desktop icons, including the start button. The only thing I can do is use ctrl-alt-delete since there is nothing on the screen to chose with either a right or left click. Any more suggestions???

#5 ErikofMT

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:35 PM

I forgot to mention the Windows key + W. That came off answers.microsoft.com for Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 11. It was supposed to bring up a search window for troubleshooting, but it did not work.

#6 InsufficientFunds

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:52 PM

I forgot to mention the Windows key + W. That came off answers.microsoft.com for Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 11. It was supposed to bring up a search window for troubleshooting, but it did not work.

 

This issue can go either way, malicious or faulty system files. I cannot help you with malware in anyway due to my enrollment in Bleeping Computer's malware training program. I would refer you to here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/182397/am-i-infected-what-do-i-do-how-do-i-get-help-who-is-helping-me/

 

>>> Lets rule out malware rather than having to rebuild the OS's files.

 

Read the thread very carefully and proceed, they will help you.


Edited by InsufficientFunds, 17 February 2016 - 07:52 PM.

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#7 hamluis

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:07 PM

Topic moved to AII, no need to initiate a new one.

 

Louis



#8 ErikofMT

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 07:48 PM

Thanks for moving my topic and I will await further instructions...

#9 ErikofMT

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 01:01 PM

As I have been waiting for a reply, I have continued to investigate on my own. A new development has been that the error message "COM Surrogate has stopped working" has popped up on my screen when I attempt to open my computer when Task Manager is up.  It is showing this error message twice (about 20 seconds apart), but now there is no message that Windows Explorer has stopped working. The only thing that has changed is I powered off and turned back on my modem and wireless router.



#10 ErikofMT

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 06:39 PM

A few weeks ago, my computer successfully downloaded and implemented an update to my Windows 7 system.  Now when I log in normally, the screen is mostly blank as usual with only a few things visible on the left side (separation line, date & time). I get error messages of "COM Surrogate has stopped working" and "Windows Explorer stopped working" similar to the ones I have gotten in the past. When I chose the "search for online solution" for the COM surrogate, the error message goes away, but nothing happens.  I do the same thing with the Explorer error message and the entire screen goes blank (black) and I can do nothing except pull up Windows Task Manager (via ctrl-alt-del). The CPU usage varies between 12 to 31%, but no cpu usage is indicated on any open process. At the same time, the physical memory bounces between 30 to 40%.  The ability to use ctrl - alt - delete and Windows Task Manager continue to work quickly and well. It's just the rest of the processes that are non-existent. 

 

Any help would be appreciated....






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