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Author Topic: Windows Explorer crashing  (Read 2414 times)

rgdot

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Windows Explorer crashing
« on: December 10, 2017, 01:13 PM »
Starting a while ago I get Windows Explorer crashing/restarting *most times* when I open an image, save a new file or image in any app, rename a file, when opening Windows Explorer window and similar operations but those are the main ones. System function fine otherwise, and for example exe open fine. During those operations there is a delay and taskbar flashes as if reloading and any open windows explorer window is closed.

Eventviewer shows:

Faulting application name: explorer.exe, version: 10.0.16299.15, time stamp: 0x66e02565
Faulting module name: ntdll.dll, version: 10.0.16299.64, time stamp: 0x493793ea
Exception code: 0xc00000fd
Fault offset: 0x00000000000294da
Faulting process id: 0x54c
Faulting application start time: 0x01d371e769a2914a
Faulting application path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\explorer.exe
Faulting module path: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\ntdll.dll
Report Id: d748cb9b-d8eb-4711-93f4-531686288592
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:

No Windows or driver updates happened just when this started and I don't recall updating any apps either.

ESET online, Defender, Malwarebytes...all fine.
Sfc, chkdsk at boot....no errors
Drivers are updated as far as I can see (I used Snappy Driver Installer to check)

Googling 'windows explorer crashing' more or less end up at a page like https://answers.micr...53-893a-dd8cd4b4db00 I have done those listed (except since I get no sfc errors I didn't continue lower in the page).
There are some mentions of indexing and network drives but those dont apply to this machine.

Any ideas?

Capture.JPGWindows Explorer crashing

IainB

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 02:44 PM »
#rgdot: Commiserations. Not sure whether I can offer any useful help. It's a bit like cleaning out a toilet with some bleach, in the hope that "That should do it" - except that it doesn't necessarily always "do it".

I too have recurring problems with inexplicable Explorer long waits and crashes. I have various workarounds.

As well as what you have tried, I usually periodically run housekeeping:
  • Run CCleaner - file cleanup and registry cleanup.
  • Run cleanmgr in elevated/Admin status (includes expunging un-needed/redundant system files and historic Restore Points).
  • Run Windows standard Defrag.

Since your problem manifested a while back (with no prior manifestation), then a Windows Update could be an indirect cause.
My last Win10 update left some weird things happening:
  • My UserID Status had been changed (without notice) from "Administrator" to "Standard". Re-setting it to the Admin status helped.
  • Win10 had grabbed several default file extensions off of my preferred applications to the Win10 preferred apps. (Ruddy cheek!), so I had to restore those.
  • Some directories that I used were flagged as being not permitted for access by my UserID - so I had to reset the access.
  • I periodically run an executable called "Restart Explorer" that does just that - to work around episodic Explorer suspended waits/crashes. Interestingly, the "Restart Explorer" app sometimes hangs, and its process cannot be deleted, leaving a deleted Explorer PUID process (which is in process of being deleted) in limbo with zero resource utilisation, and does not start a new Explorer process. By trial-and-error, I established that terminating restarting the RuntimeBroker process clears these hangs, and then Explorer may need to be manually restarted, whereupon, it behaves for a while.

EDIT: see terminating restarting, above.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 07:55 AM by IainB »

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 02:53 PM »
Thanks for the reply.
The defrag I have not done recently, cleaning I don't believe I have done since this started, however CCleaner I have. Will try defrag and cleaning and check on the other notes you posted.

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 05:01 PM »
Defrag and disk cleanup, no difference
CCleaner ran again, no difference
Checked file extensions and user IDs and permissions, as far as I can tell user ID and admin/non admin accounts are fine.

Shades

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 06:17 PM »
Personally, I divide the storage space of my hard disks up in partitions. In my anecdotal experience, Windows doesn't do much adjusting of file/folder rights (also known as ACL) on partitions that are not the C:\ partition. I always yank user related data from the partition where Windows is installed and put those on a different partition. I also make partitions for generic data storage and even one dedicated to Temp/TMP files.

Never have I experienced ACL changes in these partitions after updates. Honesty demands that I never looked for such changes, but if everything remains working like it is configured, there has not been a real reason to do such research. Resetting my default software for specific file extensions, that does happen and is really not appreciated.

From your description I gather that things go bad after explorer.exe tries to access functionality encapsulated in file: ntdll.dll. Perhaps it might be a good idea to make a hash from a known good copy of the exact same version of that specific file and compare that hash with the hash from that file on the computer where you encounter this error.

If those do not match, that file has been compromised. Can be damage, can be that explorer.exe runs out of allotted waiting time for that specific functionality it needs from ntdll.dll, it can be lots of things. Even if they match, that file can be compromised by a bad/(too slow) block on the hard disk itself.

For that last scenario I even have an example of what happened to me not one week ago. While making backups from an Oracle database server (on Windows), I suddenly get a BSOD. After that, the database wouldn't start at all anymore. Reading out S.M.A.R.T. data from the hard disk causing the problem, no problem whatsoever. Looking at the Oracle logs, I see ORA-03113 errors appear (related to file I/O errors). Doing a complete CHKDSK (command-line version) on the offending hard disk, again no problem detected. Still, Oracle keeps complaining. It wouldn't even allow me to purge content from certain files, which is the common resolution for this problem.

In the end I cloned the hard disk bit for bit onto a brand new hard disk, then Oracle did allow me to purge these files and the database runs fine again. Further investigation on the offending hard disk (which was deemed in excellent health by S.M.A.R.T. and Windows itself) revealed that the blocks where these files actually reside on the hard disk had an access time greater than 500 milliseconds. While in essence nothing was wrong according to Windows and S.M.A.R.T., I still ended up with an useless database (located on a 3 year old hard disk).

Something similar might be happening on your system too. If your Windows installation even allows it, you could try to make a copy of the ntdll.dll file in the same folder where you find it. You might be able to rename the original 'ntdll.dll' to 'ntdll.org.dll' and rename the copied file back to 'ntdll.dll'. That way the file has relocated to a different and hopefully good functioning part of your hard disk. If you can now go through your reproduction steps without a problem, you have (temporarily) fixed your problem. I still would consider buying a new hard disk ASAP, clone your old disk onto the new disk and re-purpose the old disk for keeping non-essential data. 

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 07:05 PM »
Thanks Shades, as a first step I will try the ntdll hash and copy and see, second step find a 'good' copy and then will deal with the drive itself if all else fails.

Will report back.

IainB

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 07:53 AM »
What @Shades writes about possible disk sector read timeouts due to a damaged disk sector, or something, is interesting. It does seem as though there could be some obscure suspended read "waits" going on in this case. It would be interesting to see what HDSentinel reports - if anything - on that disk, after the explorer hangs/crashes. HDS can perform real-time disk performance monitoring and would, I presume, report accordingly.

But - just a thought - is it necessary to check the integrity of ntdll.dll, or whatever, in the manner suggested?
I mean, won't the commands:
  • sfc /scannow
  • Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
- already have checked/rectified the integrity of the System files?
(I had read somewhere that that is part of what they did.)

IainB

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 07:57 AM »
Please note that I corrected a mistuk in my penultimate post above:
EDIT: see terminating restarting, above.

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 07:20 PM »
Good points IainB. Sfc again no errors a few hours ago.

In any case copy/rename didn't make a difference (had to change system32 properties, owner from TrustedInstaller to Administrator to be able to rename), but there may be others in system32 that are throwing errors not just ntdll.dll so the issue is likely bigger than just one dll.

EDIT: I am going to run a hard disk tool tonight

IainB

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 03:38 AM »
EDIT: I am going to run a hard disk tool tonight
Braggart. We don't need to be told what you intend getting up to at nighttime.

app103

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 07:13 PM »
You wouldn't happen to be using Classic Shell under Windows 10, by any chance?

If so, try disabling it and rebooting, to see if that solves your problem.

After a recent Windows update (which may have also occurred to your system automatically, without you noticing), I started experiencing the same sort of Explorer problems.

The culprit turned out to be Classic Shell. Once I disabled it and rebooted, problem was solved.






rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 07:48 PM »
Thanks for replying app, no Classic Shell here.

I have done all in that microsoft page I linked above and done other suggestions in this thread, except a deep hard drive test which is currently running, was unable to last night. Strange one, might do Windows 10 reset later in the week.

Braggart. We don't need to be told what you intend getting up to at nighttime.

 ;D

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2017, 03:53 PM »
'Interestingly' the errors occur in safe mode too, haven't seen anything like this before. Last night's deep hard disk scan showed 0 errors.
Before resorting to reset or anything like that I created a new standard user account to see how it behaves.

MilesAhead

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2017, 04:26 PM »
One thing that can cause Explorer to crash is a corrupt context menu handler.  There is a way to disable them all.  Then if Explorer does not crash you know it is likely the issue.  It then becomes a process of elimination.  I forget how to disable them but I know there is a tutorial on www.tenforums.com that gives step by step how to proceed.

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2017, 04:32 PM »
Will try that, thanks.

MilesAhead

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2017, 08:46 AM »
Will try that, thanks.

There are forums for Vista, W7, and W8 by the same people who do the Ten forums and the tutorial searches interlink.  The actual tutorial may be on one of the older forums since this is a long time Explorer quirk.  I tried to search but I am hamstrung without a Windows PC.  I like Android but some stuff I have not adapted to yet.  :D

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2017, 11:29 AM »
I used Nirsoft's ShellEXView to disable some context menu entries, handlers, no change.

Following up on a seemingly, no explanation given, random post on a Microsoft support thread I disabled the following (see screenshot) and it *seems* to have fixed it, will have to use the pc more to be sure of course. Still I can't explain it because from anti-malware to sfc, chkdsk, registry checks like CCLeaner, tweaking.com repair tools, hard drive scan, etc I didn't see a single error. So how the recent apps setting is creating a problem I have no idea.

Capture.JPGWindows Explorer crashing

Thanks all, hoping it is truly fixed

cranioscopical

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2017, 03:38 PM »
Thanks for sharing (what we hope will be) the solution. Good luck!
 

rgdot

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2017, 09:40 AM »
Looks like that was it, windows explorer hasn't crashed in days. As for why, I haven't done any further looking or reading, not yet at least.

IainB

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Re: Windows Explorer crashing
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2017, 02:49 PM »
Ahhh. That's interesting. I recall having seen that advice to switch that (Show recently opened items in Jump lists) OFF before, in some other context - I forget what - and had checked to ensure that it was OFF (it was).
I think that has to be some kind of a Win10 OS bug.