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Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) Mishaps


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#1 tos226

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:46 PM

I once asked here about the "faulting explorer.exe" event. Then DrWatson events. But then I confused this thread
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/62856/my-windows-explorer-broke-drwatson-has-troubles/
by items of the Windows update nature (resolved in spite of lots of wrong/useless advice from Microsoft!).
Items 2, 3, 4, and 5 from that thread still occur, though infrequently. However, loss of documents in progress is not a pleasant experience, so I'm seeking help again.

I'd like to start over on the windows explorer issue. I've been watching it.
There are two ways I get in trouble
1. I'm navigating through explorer and it suddenly closes up and says "sorry...encountered a problem...has to close".
2. I close one of several explorer windows, and it runs off to DrWatson job, closes all explorer instances, or multiplies them all over the screen adds several DrWatson instances to tasks list and utilization goes way up.

I noticed that it only happens when either a flash drive (E:) or hard disk external (F:) or both are/were in use. Never (can't prove never) when other drives are not in the picture.
It hasn't happened before let's say sometimes in the summer. And I always had discontinuous drive designations without trouble (C,D,E,F,K,U,Z) before then.

Any ideas where else to look? So far none of the M$ kb articles helped.

Windows XP home, SP2, patched except for yesterday's patches, Zone Alarm Security Suite, Pest Patrol.

Edited by tos226, 11 October 2006 - 09:48 PM.


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#2 Enthusiast

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 04:43 AM

I had a problem with the last updates too (released Tuesday).
After following the MS fix for it it downloaded and installed, but I think the problem was probably with MS updates and not with my computer to start with.

If you have enough Ram, processor and pagefile you should be able to open numerous copies of IE without problems. Dr Watson evokes automatically when you have an error and it is a debugger and a reporting process for Microsoft.
Description of the Dr. Watson for Windows (Drwtsn32.exe) Tool
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308538

Run Microsoft's Windows One Care Free Scan

Go to Windows Live Onecare Free Scan
It will say "Get a free PC safety scan"
http://safety.live.com/site/en-us/default.htm

Make sure you click "Full Service Scan" in the middle of the page and
not the "Try It Now Free" on the right side.

Allow it to download an Active X component.
Choose "Complete Scan" in the window that opens
Click "Next"
Do not click on anything else that offers you a free trial or to sign up if you live in the US.

Allow it to scan - it may take quite a while, maybe two hours or so depending on how big your hard drive is and how fragmented your registry and drive are.

See if that resolves the problem.

If you have any problem with updates you are entitled to support from Microsoft at no charge.

Microsoft Security Product Support Policy

Technical support is available from Microsoft Product Support
Services at 1-866-PC SAFETY (1-866-727-2338).

There is no charge for support calls associated with security updates.

International customers can get support from their local Microsoft
subsidiaries. Phone numbers for international support can be found
at: http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx

From the:
Microsoft Security Bulletin - Summary for August, 2006
http://www.net-security.org/advisory.php?id=6606

I just used their support and they respond quickly.
I suggest you take advantage of it.

Let us know if you continue to have problems with IE after the scan.
You may need to repair IE (which version are you using)?

#3 tos226

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 03:43 PM

I forgot to mention, I did scandisk, chkdisk and lots of scans (ewido, ZA, a-square) but not on-line jobs. I even did two very deep and thorough scans, and after 4+ hours of that pleasure, there was ONE tracking cookie.

Enthusiast,
Now I wish I used Firefox. Why, oh why did Microsoft name it all explorer?
while I treasure all your advice, I think you missed the title :thumbsup: We're talking about explorer.exe, windows explorer, the directory and files navigator. Not the IE-internet explorer (v6).

Lucky for you with good experience with M$ help over an update. Mine was really terrible and time consuming.
They were polite, but we got nowhere.
I'd ask how to turn something off, to be offered instructions how to turn it on.
I'd tell'm the files downloaded but would not install, they replied how to download.
I'd send them registry info and they said it's exactly as it should be, even though the list they provided me earlier was different.
I'd send logs and more logs, and they said they need lotsa time to study and I never got an answer.
After 3 weeks I gave up. They wore me down.

#4 Enthusiast

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 04:45 PM

Firefox doesn't work with Windows Updates - you have to use Internet Explorer.

I got an email response the next day (actually the same night) after I used their contact support process to contact them. Don't wait for them to respond to the Dr Watson report -

Use the "Get help and support" button on the Microsoft Update or Windows Update page (left side) which will give you the option "Send a problem report" in the main frame of the page.

I believe you can either have them contact you by email or phone (I used email), but they responded quickly and since the problem concerned updates there was no charge for the support.

In any case, I looked at my task manager and see only one entry for explorer.exe.

I have many windows open so I have about six or seven of svchost.exe but only one explorer. I really do not know why you have more than one running, but I do know that closing that process will cause errors.

"You may receive the following error message in Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, or MSN Explorer:
Microsoft Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."
The following page has guided help for these issues:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/293623/en-us

#5 tos226

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 06:43 PM

Hi again!
We're talking about explorer.exe, windows explorer, the directory and files navigator. Not the IE-internet explorer (v6) :thumbsup:

Regarding failed updates, I did submit a report as you described. I got a tech who I think was pasting sentences without reading them :flowers: and the entire worthless exchange was via e-mail which in itself was a challenge for me "Do not reply to this message, please include the log file blah blah blah but forward it to <techname>" how much more complicated can it get?

Edited by tos226, 12 October 2006 - 06:49 PM.


#6 Enthusiast

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:27 PM

The last link I posted was for Windows Explorer

Edited by Enthusiast, 12 October 2006 - 07:29 PM.


#7 Enthusiast

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 07:45 PM

Did we determine that you did not have the Windows CD or the restore cd from the computer manufacturer?

At this point you really need one or the other, preferably the Windows cd so you can repair explorer.exe

If all you have is the restore cd there may be a workaround for using it:
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html

#8 tos226

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 09:59 PM

Thanks again! We'll get there - with your help of course.

Yes, I now see a reference to explorer.exe, but it's burried. The title of kb article is
"You receive a "Microsoft Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close (Pdm.dll)" error message"
but explorer.exe is mentioned once as a file. It's encouraging that it is a recent article, so MANY THANKS for the link!!
I don't recall seeing any Pdm.dll reference but will be on the lookout if the error box comes up. Most of the time it does not and just goes into DrWatson.

What is "script debugging in Internet Explorer" and does it apply to me?

I'll read the article carefully and see where to go. Unfortunatly no WindowsCD. I do have a recovery CD and no clue how to use, but I'll try to find a way. I suppose it's to restore explorer.exe and all its components to a state of over two years ago. Is that a good idea?

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:21 AM

The Recovery CD would be a last resort because you would then have to reinstall the last two years of updates and it would also require you to reinstall all other programs you have that did not come with the computer when it was new. Does it have SP2 included?

The one thing it may be useful for is if it has the i386 cabinet on it (which it should have) and could then be used for extracting copies of protected Windows files, but it would have to be done manually because scannow will not work with it as it does with the Windows CD.

You might look into getting the Windows CDs from the computer manufacturers (one for each computer). That would give you the ability to use the recovery console and repair installation should you ever need them.

Also - if you do not know the 25 digit Windows key numbers for both computers download Keyfinder from magicaljellybean.com (download on each computer) and then keep the key numbers in a safe place (write them down and tape them to the computers or whatever, not store them on the hard drives).

#10 usasma

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 10:53 AM

Just FYI - Level 1 tech support (the level you get when you first logon) is very, very limited. Most times they are limited to how much time that they can spend with you, and they are limited in what they can say or do. Even if they know how to do more, they're prevented by "policy" from doing it.

Once it gets elevated past Level 1, the responses are much more reasonable.
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.

#11 tos226

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 12:27 PM

Both of you - many thanks.
Before I hit recovery (yes, I have the key, and yes the CD is old, no sp2, no 2yrs of 120+ patches) I'm reading the link enthusiast provided. It has to do with pdm.dll (process debug manager). As I think about it, it might be related. It appears to be a component shared by exprorer.exe as well as the internet explorer. And M$ issued an upgrade. I have to check it all at home on my XP, versions and all (I'll be back with questions if it's all too difficult for me).

usasma, yeah, I figured these are low level techs. The process was too long and annoying, and misunderstandings of simple things just made me give up, especially that the upgrades eventually worked without any intervention by anyone.
I've learned a lot from it though - how to handle, how long to put up with bad information, when to request a bump to higher level. So I feel I'm ahead.

Edited by tos226, 13 October 2006 - 12:29 PM.


#12 tos226

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:05 AM

In addition to the explorer.exe stopping with Dr Watson debugger, I got this error yesterday
"The Recycle Bin on U:\ is corrupt or invalid. Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this drive?
I answered yes. But the problem is Recycle bin is on C drive. U is just remapped to a subdirectory.
of "My Documents ....." the long path.
I googled, and there's a answer here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297760#WinXP

Indeed the drive letter was made by a batch file running the subst command.And it's all NTFS.
Why do I bring this into this thread? I'm beginning to think all this is related. But all the fixes offered are telling me to go back to versions from long time ago.

#13 usasma

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:47 AM

Yes, I also suspect that it's related. And, the problems tend to point to a corrupt file or files on your XP installation.

First (bad eye day for me - please exuse me if I misread something). Try this free, online scan. It'll also check your registry for errors, will clean out your temp files and will defrag your hard drive. http://safety.live.com/

If that doesn't fix it, then I'd suggest running SFC.EXE /SCANNOW from the Run dialog ( http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/43051/how-to-use-sfcexe-to-repair-system-files/ )

If that doesn't fix it, then I'd suggest a repair instlal of XP: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

And, if this fails, then I'd resort to a low-level reformat of your system and a clean install of XP (this is the "fix all" procedure - but it's a PITA, so consider carefully before doing it!)
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.

#14 tos226

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 11:18 AM

Oh boy!!!!
Thanks. I have to study all that now :thumbsup:

#15 tos226

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 03:21 PM

Few more questions -
I have this thing about on-line scanners :thumbsup: Have to tweak so many things in ZA it's a pain.

Instead of safety live.com, won't CCleaner and Spybot registry job or Pest Patrol plus normal defrag plus chkdisc and/or scandisk commands do the job?
What does M$ offer that the old ways don't? And is it really proven technology?

I just finished reading your SFC instructions, thanks.




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