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Author Topic: Strange Windows Explorer problem - anyone know how to fix this?  (Read 3296 times)
Carol Haynes
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« on: July 20, 2012, 04:26:18 AM »

When Windows Explorer opens the Documents library (on Win 7 x64) everything appears normal but there are some files that when you double click to open them they cause Windows Explorer to freeze and you have to use task manager to restart Explorer.

Oddly it doesn't seem to be file type specific and there don't seem to be any problems if you are working in subfolders of Documents.

Never come across this before.

Initially I ran CHKDSK on the drives where the Documents library folders are located and it made no difference.

It could be a Shell Extension issue but why are only some non typ-specific files affected and only in the Documents folder root? I would expect a shell extension problem to affect all specific file types.
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4wd
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 04:54:34 AM »

I know you said it's different file types but what happens if you run the relevant program and load the file from within it?

Also, have you checked the properties of the files to make sure the access permissions are OK?
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oblivion
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 05:03:32 AM »

When Windows Explorer opens the Documents library (on Win 7 x64) everything appears normal but there are some files that when you double click to open them they cause Windows Explorer to freeze and you have to use task manager to restart Explorer.
Could it be an AV issue? Something doing realtime scanning on certain files in certain locations, perhaps, that might need its behaviour tweaked?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 05:04:20 AM »

Seem to be mostly MS office files (but seems random which ones cause the problem). I have run a Repair install of Office 2007 which should fix file associations etc. just rechecking now.

I used ShellExView to disable all non-MS shell extensions and that didn't fix it

Just running SFC /SCANNOW

The annoying thing is the only logged error is Windows Explorer stopped interacting with Windows - doesn't give any clue why. It says look in the Action Center for futher info and that says there are no issues!

Could it be an AV issue? Something doing realtime scanning on certain files in certain locations, perhaps, that might need its behaviour tweaked?

Using Microsoft Security Essentials - so shouldn't be an issue and it isn't running a system scan at the moment.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 05:09:28 AM »

Just to clarify: is it reproducible? If you try to open the same file again, does it crash again?

How about opening it through another way? (run dialog, farr?)
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 05:14:57 AM »

I hope you find a solution. I'm just chipping in to say I wouldn't bet on it. My system crashes when I save Office docs (that's any version of Office). It will also crash when saving a file using Dreamweaver. Happens about 50% of the time, can't find any pattern to it. Don't wish to reinstall the entire system just to see if something like that would fix it.

Don't let this hijack your thread. I'm just offering some negative support.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 06:33:13 AM »

Seem to have fixed it.

I have found this problem in all versions of Windows since 98.

Basically what had happened is that an application had saved some files in deep nested subfolders and the file names are too long.

This seems to bugger up the file system and cause odd/random effects.

Basically I removed the folder from the Documents library, copied everything I could to a new Documents folder (and left behind the files with bad names) and then made that the default docs folder.

All seems to work fine now - but I have 19 files in the old folder which cannot be moved.

The really stupid thing is I would have thought this is precisely the sort of error CHKDSK was designed to resolve!! (Not that it should be able to happen in the first place).
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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 06:48:07 AM »

Try booting with a live Linux CD and see if you can move the remaining files with that.

I had a similar problem, and using Nix (which is more comfortable with ridiculously deep directory nesting and crazy-long filenames) worked the trick. Also comes in handy in a mixed network when somebody transfers an Apple OSX originated file whose name contains an illegal character under Windows. You can put such files on Windows. But you can't open or delete them when that happens.

Luck! smiley
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 06:54:21 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 06:59:19 AM »

All seems to work fine now - but I have 19 files in the old folder which cannot be moved.

Can you rename the files and/or the folder?

Last time I ran into something like this, I ended up having to share a folder a few levels above the target and then mapping a drive letter to it to shorten the overall path the system was using to access the file.

If you don't need any of the files rmdir /q /s \\.\[drive][path] should rid you of the folder and its contents. I've had to use it a few times to remove hidden file caches on hacked FTP servers back when.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 08:09:49 AM »

Trouble is I am not sure what generated the files - I need to find out before changing the folder structure too much.
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 02:24:35 PM »

Windows Explorer is the problem I believe.
If you highlight the file first, let the icon and info load at the bottom of Windows Explorer.
It will work better and faster on right clicking the file and double clicking to open.
Seems to be slow until it sees the file fully.


* example.png (14.8 KB, 1032x140 - viewed 93 times.)
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 06:25:35 PM »

Unfortunately the problem was that as soon as you clicked the file the spinning ball appeared and didn't stop - you had to kill explorer to get control back.
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40hz
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 09:43:18 PM »

Trouble is I am not sure what generated the files - I need to find out before changing the folder structure too much.

Any possibility of checking the options/settings in each app (or the config or INF files) to see if you can identify which directories they're writing files to?
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 12:26:52 AM »

Unfortunately the problem was that as soon as you clicked the file the spinning ball appeared and didn't stop - you had to kill explorer to get control back.

Hm.. drop to command line and try deleting files/folders? Hold Shift and right-click and choose "Open command window here". Make sure to do this on an empty area in the folder and not on the offending file or folder.

If you haven't tried, boot to safe mode and see if you can delete the folders.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2012, 12:49:28 AM »

A possible cause: I have noticed that Windows Explorer trips up over anything I try to do with any of the Microsoft Office files IF the Office Software Protection thing is running. Look in Event Viewer and you'll see (if you have Office installed - at least with Office 2010) that the Office Software Protection Platform Service runs every few hours. I have found a correlation with that running at the same time I do anything with an Office file. Hangs explorer.exe.

Worth a look.

Jim
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2012, 12:58:51 AM »

Someone posted this program on one of the forums.. maybe Windows 7 forum. I just modified it to accept larger numbers for the length of path to search for.  I think what you are running into is Explorer will not let you go over 260 characters or so, for the total path. I've tested creating empty folders and it gets to the point I can't even click down into them.  But programs can create files with much longer paths than Explorer wants to play with(probably because of its ANSI origins.) So you run into the situation Explorer doesn't even recognize the file path as valid, much less let you move or delete it.

Anyway, this program searches your system for paths longer than whatever you enter in the InputBox.

[copy or print]
#cs
===== pseudo-code start =====

if parameters exist then parse command-line
check data - terminate if;
1) path not found - exit(1)
2) length not in range - exit(2)
if parameters don't exist or misconfigured then get data from user
initialize output file
scan path recursively, if TLP found then write to output file
if used gui then display output file
if TLP found then exit(3) else exit(0)

===== pseudo-code end =====
#ce

; hide tray icon
#NoTrayIcon
; initialize
Global $AppVer='1.2'
Global $clUsed=False
Global $ScanAllDrives=False
Global $path=''
Global $threshold=0
Global $LogFileName='TLPD-log.txt'
Global $TLPfound=False
; get parameters
If $CmdLine[0]=2 Then
; parse command-line
$clUsed=True
$path=InjectEnvVars($Cmdline[1])
If $path='*' Then $ScanAllDrives=True
If Not $ScanAllDrives And Not FileExists($path) Then
MsgBox(16,'TLPD Error','Path not found !')
Exit(1)
EndIf
$threshold=Int($Cmdline[2])
If $threshold<3 Or $threshold>255 Then
MsgBox(16,'TLPD Error','Invalid threshold !')
Exit(1)
EndIf
Else
; get from user
$result=MsgBox(35,'TLPD Starting','Check all drives ?'&@CR&@CR&'Click [No] to select a specific path to check.   ')
Switch $result
Case 2 ; cancel
Exit(9)
Case 6 ; yes
$path='*'
$ScanAllDrives=True
Case 7 ; no
Do
$path=FileSelectFolder('Select path for TLPD to check. Note: select VALID PATH only, or this window will pop up again!','')
If @error=1 Then Exit(9)
Until FileExists($path)
EndSwitch
Do
$threshold=InputBox('Threshold:','Type the maximum threshold of full path length you wish to check for.'&@CR&@CR&'System default is 255 characters, it''s recommended you use lower threshold.',200)
If @error=1 Then Exit(9)
$threshold=Int($threshold)
Until $threshold>3 And $threshold<256
EndIf
; start logging
$LogFile=FileOpen(@TempDir&'\'&$LogFileName,2)
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'=== TLPD (Too Long Paths Detector) Log ===')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'Parameters:')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'path: '&@TAB&@TAB&$path)
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'threshold: '&@TAB&$threshold)
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'Results:')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'Length'&@TAB&'Full name')
; eliminate trailing backslash
If StringRight($path,1)='\' Then $path=StringTrimRight($path,1)
; re-show tray icon if in GUI mode
If Not $clUsed Then
Opt("TrayIconHide",0)
TraySetToolTip('TLPD '&$AppVer)
EndIf
; recourse path
If Not $ScanAllDrives Then
check($path)
Else
For $DriveLetter=Asc('A') To Asc('Z')
check(Chr($DriveLetter)&':')
Next
EndIf
; finish Log
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'')
If Not $TLPfound Then FileWriteLine($LogFile,'too long path names were not found.')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'=== TLPD finished ===')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'TLPD version '&$AppVer)
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'TLPD was developed as a complementary product for the EVACopy project:')
FileWriteLine($LogFile,'http://evacopy.sourceforge.net')
FileClose($LogFile)
; if gui was used, display the log
If Not $clUsed Then ShellExecute(@TempDir&'\'&$LogFileName)
; exit
If $TLPfound Then
Exit(3)
Else
Exit(0)
EndIf

Func InjectEnvVars($MyString)
Local $startpoint
Local $endpoint
Local $EnvVar
;repeat this until MyString has no couples of % signs
While StringInStr($MyString,'%',0,2)>0
;find 1st occurnce of %
$startpoint=StringInStr($MyString,'%',0,1)
;find 2nd occurnce of %
$endpoint=StringInStr($MyString,'%',0,2)
;extract string between 1st and 2nd % signs
$EnvVar=StringMid($MyString,$startpoint+1,$endpoint-$startpoint-1)
;replace env var with its value
$MyString=StringReplace($MyString,'%'&$EnvVar&'%',EnvGet($EnvVar))
WEnd
Return $MyString
EndFunc

Func check($path)
; set-up file pass
$search = FileFindFirstFile($path&'\*')  
; start file pass
While True
; get next file
$file = FileFindNextFile($search)
; check for end of files in current folder
If @error Then ExitLoop
; check for too long path name
If StringLen($path&'\'&$file)>$threshold Then
FileWriteLine($LogFile,StringLen($path&'\'&$file)&@TAB&$path&'\'&$file)
$TLPfound=True
EndIf
; if directory then recourse
Local $attrib = FileGetAttrib($path&'\'&$file)
If StringInStr($attrib,'D') Then check($path&'\'&$file)
WEnd
; Close the search handle
FileClose($search)
EndFunc
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2012, 03:34:21 AM »

Thanks - I will definitely check that out
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xtabber
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 09:51:21 PM »

I'm not sure if this is the same thing, but I recall having a similar problem a few years ago.

How I solved it was to open the next to lowest level folder in Explorer and drag the lowest level folder to without opening it. Once that was done, I was able to open the folder by clicking on it without Explorer hanging.

My interpretation of why this worked is that a folder is a file that contains pointers to the physical location of other files, which Explorer uses to build the path to those files when the folder is opened. Dragging the folder to a higher level before opening it shortened the path before Explorer tried to build it and hung.  I don't know enough about the internals of how Explorer works to know if my explanation is correct, but in my situation, it did work.





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MilesAhead
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2012, 11:29:45 PM »

Or just use a tool that doesn't have the Ansi limitation. I just tried it by making folders in FreeCommander named "L" only it's 50 "L" s in a row.  Sure enough it worked up to 250, and next go got an error.  Might be a quick way to test for file managers that don't have the limit.
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AttilaNab
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2012, 03:18:20 AM »

Long Path Tool helped me in this situation. http://PathTooDeep.com
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2012, 03:29:00 AM »

I presume this is your own product? If so could you state your financial involvement.
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