Windows Explorer (not IE) freezing up

May 22, 2010 at 12:31:16
Specs: Windows XP SP3, AMD X2 4800+, 2GB DDR2
Right, I have an issue, if I start up Windows File Explorer, it'll freeze on me. I could restart the computer, but this happens occasionally and is extremely annoying, and I'm an impatient person. Ideally, I would like a stable, free replacement for the thing. Any suggestions? I can only find shareware and ones that don't work. There's no reason that a program that should be simple should be so unstable, but it is...

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#1
May 22, 2010 at 12:47:21
How are you accessing explorer?

How many running processes are shown in Task Manager?


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#2
May 22, 2010 at 12:51:38
I've gone through the taskbar and then into the file explorer, I've also tried using the "explorer <dir>" command in explorer, as well as starting explorer in the task manager. Also, I did restart the computer in the end, but not that many. There was less than 10% CPU usage and only maybe 30% of the RAM was in use.

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#3
May 22, 2010 at 13:02:51
When Windows Explorer plays up it indicates a system problem - not always easy to diagnose. Amongst other things it could be a registry issue. I had problems once due to using a Folder Size program.

Try this open source one (A43):
http://www.brothersoft.com/a43-file...
(use the Brothersoft US download half way down the page).

If you want to see what it's about go here:
http://a43-file-management-utility....
I don't recommend this second link for the download because it seems to get you involved in a "downloader" program.

Not only is it free but you just unzip the files into a folder then make a shortcut to the A43.exe (you can drag this to the Start Menu if you wish). It doesn't use the registry - which could be an advantage. To uninstall it you just delete the folder.

I used it way back and if I remember correctly it can be made to look just like Windows Explorer. I'm gonna give it a whirl again - might be handy for comparing notes.


Google is NOT the only Search Engine!


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#4
May 22, 2010 at 13:51:35
It's actually got worse somehow. Now, even after restarting, it refuses to work properly. It freezes whenever I click on My Documents or something like that (but Control Panel and My Computer run fine). I'm going to update 7-zip and TortoiseSVN, but from past experience problems have never had such simple solutions.

I'll bet that it'll end up getting worse and worse until it ends up with me having to replace some computer components to fix it or reinstalling Windows :| I really can't be bothered with either.


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#5
May 22, 2010 at 14:03:59
It would be worth running MalwareBytes just to make sure there are no nasties about. That file manger I suggested is less than 1M but it sounds like you have underlying problems that need sorting.


Google is NOT the only Search Engine!


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#6
May 22, 2010 at 18:10:48
Doesn't sound like a hardware problem.

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#7
May 23, 2010 at 21:14:07
Probably not, but it might not be a bad idea to test memory anyway.
Might need to reload XP completely to correct, or is new enough hardware, go up to Windows 7.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.
If all else fails, read instructions.


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#8
May 24, 2010 at 05:18:08
Yes, when things start going wonky like this it can be due to RAM or its edge connectors. Have you been inside the machine recently or has it been subjected to vibration? Very small movements can shift the RAM onto oxide.

It would be worth cleaning the RAM edge connectors with a pencil eraser then pop the sticks in and out a few times to clear any oxide off the sockets themselves.


Google is NOT the only Search Engine!


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#9
May 24, 2010 at 10:20:55
RAM's connectors will react with oxygen? Is that a problem :S what do you mean with oxide?

As for vibration, I don't think so, here are exact specs. Everything is stock, I don't like messing around with expensive stuff.
PALiT GTX275 768MB (Two fans)
AMD Athlon 4800+ 2.55GHz Dual Core
Zalman Fan w/Copper Heatsync
Corsair 2x1GB RAM w/heatsinks

As for vibration, kind of, yes, it's been knocked accidentally quite a few times (but never actually toppled over or anything).


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#10
May 24, 2010 at 12:31:54
The RAM edge connectors only contact with their sockets over a very small area (same goes for video and sound cards etc). The rest of the edge connectors are exposed to air so they gradually coat with a thin barely visible film of oxide, which in its own right does not cause a problem. It's the same process that makes brass or silver go dull with time.

If the machine is disturbed by doing things inside, or a bit of a bump, this moves the RAM sticks (or whatever) just a tiny amount but enough to shift it onto the oxidized surfaces, resulting in poor contact. Hence the oxide then has to be cleaned off - eg with a pencil eraser. I've run into this issue so many times that it is the first thing I try.

Hope that explains it all but if not Googling "oxidation" will tell you more about the physics than I know.


Google is NOT the only Search Engine!


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#11
May 24, 2010 at 14:36:17
Alright, well I know what you mean, I think. Oxygen reacts with the copper and forms copper oxide. Something like that. Anyway, I'll check it out. Thanks for the help everyone.

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#12
May 24, 2010 at 16:16:38
RAM contacts are either gold plated, or zinc plated. Problems can occur when both metals are in contact with one another.

Manufacturers may not use 24K gold though.


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