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Weird behavior in Win Explorer's properties


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#1 PieLam

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 12:52 PM

Hi again, all,

Since I found a new wrinkle to my issues, I thought I'd make another plea for help & explain things mo' better  :)

 

In my previous plea, I had 2 issues, one of which come to find out, was not really an issue, but rather just plain ignorance on my part. And that was the fact that Win  creates a logical drive on the C drive (hd0) of which I had no idea of this, but now I do.  How I never noticed this till just now is really puzzling to me.

 

I thank all who helped shed some light on this for me. (I thought I knew more about Windows. Evidently not)

 

Anyway, on to my other issue:

(for those that aren't aware, I'll recant this issue here)

 

  • When I'm in Win Explorer, if I right click on any HD and then select Properties, instead of getting the properties for that particular HD (either physical or logical) Win Explorer stops suddenly and I'm back to my desktop., no error just back to the DT. Win Explorer is no longer highlighted in the taskbar.
  • If I restart Win Explorer however, and If I right click on an Optical drive, this time, I get an error message stating that Win Explorer has stopped working. When I click <OK> I'm back to the DT again.
  • If I do the same thing on my 4gb Flash Drive the same exact thing happens as if it were a HD.
  • If I do the same thing on my Photosmart Plus B209a-m (192.168.1.137) [HP printer] Win Explorer acts normally. I get the properties for this device. Win Explorer keeps running like it's supposed to.
  • ???????

 

Info & the newest discoveries:

 

  • The networked device (my HP printer) has only been a recent addition (about 1 month ago). It was somehow added to Win Explorer's list of devices only after I installed HP's drivers using the HP driver app, a few weeks ago.
  • I previously stated that my issue also occurs in "Computer", but now when I'm using "Computer", I can right click on any device and selecting Properties works normally.

 

 

I don't know if this is related or not:

 

I'm getting a lot of sudden power-offs & BSODs lately. For example, during the execution of Malwarebytes' AV program. However, if I run it in safe mode, it runs fine.  If I use Adaware AV, I have no problems, no safe mode needed.

 

I know my AMD CPU (FX-4170) is known for generating lots of heat.  In light of this, I reluctantly upgraded my Arctic Cool air CPU cooler to a Corsair water cooling system, about 1 year ago.  I did gain a little bit of a difference, but not enough of a difference that made the upgrade worthwhile, IMO.

 

And NO, I don't overclock anything on my systems. Nothing against it, it's just not for me.



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#2 zainmax

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:06 PM

You should make your computer to work properly and not endlessly try to fix it. It is worth knowing that it is often the only way to fix all bugs - it is to reinstall everything, that is, You should to make a new clean installation.
Always can not repair everything, sometimes is needed to begin from beginning again.


#3 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 05:52 PM

Zainman is correct - a clean install will resolve virtually all problems but it means an awful lot of work which is best avoided if at all possible. I recently had to put a new HD into my Win 7 laptop and even after installing SP1 there were 189 updates to do, plus re-installing and setting up all my applications and restoring my data. To be avoided if possible !

 

First step - try SFC /scannow. Click on 'Start' and type 'cmd' into the search box. This will produce the result 'cmd.exe'. RIGHT click on this and select 'Run as administrator. This will open a black window with white text at the end of this you will see a blinking underscore. Type SFC /SCANNOW (note the space after SFC, and case doesn't matter) then press 'Enter'. SFC will now run. It can take up to an hour or so depending on your system and the size of your disc but do not interrupt it until it finishes. At the end it will say either of three things which translate as follows -

(1)  No problems

(2)  Problems were found but fixed

(3)  Problems were found but not fixed

 

If you get (3) or are still having problems, post back.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#4 PieLam

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 05:15 PM

Chris Cosgrove, on 22 Sept 2017 - 5:52 PM, said:

Zainman is correct - a clean install will resolve virtually all problems but it means an awful lot of work which is best avoided if at all possible. [/quote]

 

Although I agree, I consider this as a super drastic move, a move I rather avoid if at all possible.  I've done it many times in the past (with great success, if memory serves), but that was before today's PITA (especially for me) MS authentication procedure!  What a total & utter nightmare!

 

 

If you get (3) or are still having problems, post back.

 

 

Well, Chris, I did the procedure that you outlined. Here are the results:

  • "No problems found"!
  • My print screen program (Gadwin Print screen - unregistered) will not run when the CMD window is on the screen, but will run if the CMD window is minimized.
  • All the other weirdness in Explorer is still like it was, unfortunately.

 



#5 joseibarra

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 06:46 AM

When Explorer misbehaves or cashes on a right click the cause is usually an afflicted shell extension.

Shell extensions make up the list of options you see when you right click something in Explorer.

 

I will post some instructions for how to troubleshoot an afflicted shell extension.

 

Included in the first part are symptoms of a problem mostly with Acer systems that come preinstalled with MyWinLocker from EgisTec.  That problem showed up after a Windows security update a couple months ago but you have not said if your system is an Acer or home made.

 

Once you get started he quickest thing to do would be to just disable all non Microsoft shell extensions, restart and see if the problem is resolved.

 

If things work okay, enable all the non MS extensions again, restart and see if the problem comes back.

 

If the problem comes back with the extensions enabled your mission is to figure out (perhaps thorough a process of elimination) which extension is the culprit.

 

 

If you mean you are seeing something like this:

 

 

If that is the case, read this:

 

Perhaps you have an afflicted Explorer Shell Extension.

 

Explorer Extensions make up the list/menu of things you see when you right click something.  

 

An afflicted Explorer Shell extension can cause Explorer to crash - especially when using copy/paste and/or drag/drop and often to/from an external USB attached drive or device.

 

Several recent incidents involving Acer systems and MyWinLocker from EgisTec (which is already known to include some troublesome Explorer shell extensions) which may have come preinstalled on your system.

 

Even if your system is not from Acer it may have MyWinLocker installed and since there have been many reports of it contributing to Explorer crashes it seems a good place to start looking.

 

If you look in your Installed Programs and find MyWinLocker or anything from EgisTec and you don't know what it is or why it is there consider just uninstalling it, rebooting and then see how things work.  You can always reinstall it again later if needed, right?

 

If you have determined that MyWinLocker or any other EgisTec programs are involved follow the general purpose instructions below so you will be able to see all the Explorer shell extensions and figure out which one is afflicted.

 

After using The following program suggestion if you see any extensions from EgisTec, PSD Security Software, eDataSecurity, DragDropProtect (they will be some of the pink extensions) start with those first.

 

If none of those things are present, continue:

 

 

 

 

When Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) is misbehaving (especially when right clicking), start to suspect third party Explorer extension add-ons.  You may also see Data Execution Prevention (DEP) errors.  DEP errors are reported when Windows feels threatened by a program and Windows will shut down the threatening program.  Windows should never feel threatened by Windows Explorer (or Internet Explorer) unless some add-on is the cause.

Those would be Explorer extensions that do not belong to Microsoft.  That means extensions that you added.  Explorer extensions are usually okay and installing some applications will install Explorer extensions for you, give you a choice and sometimes they can be added without your knowledge when you install new software.

Explorer extensions are sometimes added as a new right click option you see on folders and files (like scan this file, open this file, play this song).

If there is a particular thing you do when Exploring that you know will cause the problem, that will help zero in on the problem and help you know for sure when you have found and fixed it.

If you can make it happen anytime you want, make an adjustment and then there is no message the next time you do whatever it is you do, you have found and fixed it.

First you need a way to see what Explorer add-ons you have installed now and a way to disable them (not uninstall them) so you can figure out which one is causing the problem.  You may have lots of non Microsoft extensions installed you don't even know about.

Download ShellExView from here to see which Explorer extensions you have loaded:

 

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

ShellExView doesn't install anything on your computer, it just runs and displays.

After you launch ShellExView (double click shexview.exe) and acknowledge the security warning, adjust the column widths so you can see everything clearly.  Under Options, choose to "Mark Non-Microsoft Extensions" and the non Microsoft extensions will be in light pink, but on some systems that is a hard color to see, so click View, Choose Columns and move up or move down the Microsoft column so it is closer to the top (Move Up) so you can see it on your screen without having to scroll left and right.

Next, click the column header called Microsoft (it may be way out on the right side of the screen) to sort the display (by clicking the Microsoft column header) so all the non Microsoft extensions are at the top and easy to see.  They will say "No" and be marked in pink since they are not Microsoft extensions, something like this:

 

 

The non Microsoft extensions would be things you have added (non Microsoft) and are what you need to be suspecting.

If you see extensions that do not have anything listed under Description, Product Name, Version, Company or have peculiar names that looks like they might be just random numbers and  letters, you might want to look at those first.

You can also Google the name of a suspicious add-on and see if there are any hits regarding Explorer crashes or DEP errors and what other people have done about it.

You might Google something like:

<my-suspicious-add-on>  windows explorer crashing

You have to fill in the name of your suspicious add on.

See what kind of search results hits you get and look for solutions or situations that sound like yours.

I am not a trial and error advocate, but I can't think of another way to do this...

Right click and disable the non Microsoft extensions one at a time (or perhaps in little groups of 3-5) keeping a list so you can enable them again later if desired. The result of the change is immediate and no reboot is required.  Test your (right click) failure condition.  If Explorer starts to act normally, you will know that some extension you just disabled in that group of 3-5 is the culprit so you can start to enable them one at a time until explorer fails again.

One user reported that there was a need to restart Explorer after each adjustment so to do that press Ctrl-E from within ShellExView.

 

If you recognize any extensions that may have been added or downloaded recently, start with those first.

Disabling an extension does not uninstall the extension - it is just disabled.  You can always enable it again later, so keep track of things by writing them down.

Disable them one at a time or in little groups (to make things go faster) until your right click does not generate an error, then reboot and test again to be sure.   That last extension you disabled would be the suspicious one.

You can also just disable all the non Microsoft extensions, reboot, test your failure condition and enable them one at a time until you find the one that generates the failure condition.

If you have a lot of extensions, you could disable them is little groups, 3-5 at a time instead of 1 at a time until your system starts to behave.  

 

When it does behave, you will know that the problem is one of the extensions in that little group and you can enable those in the group one at a time until the problem comes back, then the problem will be with the last extension you enabled.

The hope is that you will find the one extension that causes the problem and then you can figure out what to do about it - either uninstall it or see if you can get an update from the maker of the extension from their web page.

I don't have your issue but I can when you disable/enable the extensions, the extension is immediately disabled, so disabling an extension does not seem to require a reboot but if you think you found the problem, I would reboot and retest anyway to really be sure the problem is gone.

If you post up a list of your non Microsoft extensions, maybe someone will recognize it as a potential problem.

If you find the offending extension that is the problem, please let us know what it is so I can add it to my list!

 

 

 


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#6 PieLam

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:32 PM

Your post cleared up a lot of unknowns for me. I'm very grateful for such a super & awesome post!

 

I mean, I knew somehow (& unbeknownst to me) items would suddenly appear into the context menu, but I had no idea as to how they got in there, especially not the items that were in the context menu that were only there because an app installed them W/O an option to install context menu items or not.

 

Attached is a listing of all my shell extensions that were there when I initially ran shexview.exe. I didn't know if you needed or wanted them or not, but JIC.

 

I searched for all the items you warned me of. I'm happy to say that none were found.  Except, evidently, I was infected at one point in time with MyWinLocker as a "Start Menu" search found it in an old registry back-up file…

 

BTW, in my previous thread, I did mention that my main PC, the one I'm using now, is a self-built one from about 2 years ago. It has an Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0 Mother Board with an AMD FX 4170 CPU (4.5ghz), 8gb DDR3 RAM, running Win 7 Pro.

 

The following are the entries in shexview that I eliminated (disabled); Rebooted; tested Explorer's context menu; re-enabled the entry; moved on to the next one in this list:

 

  • Blank product name (1 instance)
  • Unrecognized: CoreSync (4 instances)
  • Suspects: iTunes (1 instance) - Spybot S&D (1 instance)

 

Fortunately, I found the culprit after only disenabling/enabling 4 entries! I was expecting many more tries!  I only chose Spybot because of the time period that I thought I'd installed it…(APR 2016)

 

I kind of would like to disable 'other' entries that I don't use & that I don't recognize. Do you have an opinion of this?

Attached Files


Edited by PieLam, 25 September 2017 - 02:37 PM.


#7 joseibarra

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 06:59 PM

That's good that you found it and hopefully the issue is resolved.  And there is no need to reinstall Windows.

 

If you navigate to this link:

 

http://shellfix.nirsoft.net/shell_problems_list.html

 

You will find your Spybot entry is already a known troublemaker, I don't see CoreSync in that list (yet).  You can see if any of your other non MS extensions have been previously reported .

 

Over time installing different programs iIt is easy to accumulate lots of Shell Extensions so when Explorer starts to misbehave I would just look at the non MS ones.  You already figured out how to do that.

 

Disabling the suspicious/afflicted ones doesn't uninstall anything either - to remove the extension you would need to uninstall the program that installed the extension in the first place.

 

In the case of the Acer systems MS came out with a security patch a couple months ago that tightened up security but patching the hole caused some of the MyWinLocker extensions to malfunction.  One I figured that out I took my Explorer crashing troubleshooting notes from XP and stuck that bit in the top as one of the first things to look for.

 

If you like your Spybot it may be fine with that extension disabled or it could be that they have fixed the issue of their extension in a later version (uninstall/reinstall Spybot).


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#8 PieLam

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 08:38 AM


joseibarra, on 25 Sept 2017 - 6:59 PM, said:

You will find your Spybot entry is already a known troublemaker, I don't see CoreSync in that list (yet).  You can see if any of your other non-MS extensions have been previously reported .


 

Yes, I will, thanx. I didn't think that Spybot would've been a "troublemaker", but given that it is a foreign (somewhere in Europe, I'm fairly certain) product, it wasn't that big of a stretch, IOW, "it figures".  :)  CoreSync OTOH, was only a suspect of being a potential "troublemaker", but it turned out to be OK even though I didn't recognize it, go figure.

 

I knew that just disabling any item didn't uninstall it. I was just wondering if disabling other items would hurt anything.  I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't, I just wanted to hear your take.

 

I may uninstall Spybot in the future as I don't really use it anymore, but for now, I'll be content with just disabling it's shell function, especially since Explorer works now.  I vaguely remember that at the time that I installed Spybot, that it had favorable reviews as to its ability to detect & remove "Crapware". Hence, the main reason that I installed it in the first place, of course, the fact that it was FREE, didn't hurt either. The old adage, "you get what you pay for" or in this case, didn't pay for, certainly comes to mind!  :)

 

If you like your Spybot it may be fine with that extension disabled or it could be that they have fixed the issue of their extension in a later version (uninstall/reinstall Spybot).

 

That's a great idea as I'm pretty sure that the Spybot team has fixed things by now. At least, you'd hope so. If not, then at least now I know what I can do about it, unlike before, where I had no clue!

 

I'm so grateful for BC (& its crew) & your enlightenment! I didn't think I'd ever fix my Explorer issue!  :)  What's also great is how easy it was to fix, unlike the prospect of a fresh OS re-install!  :)


Edited by PieLam, 26 September 2017 - 08:41 AM.





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