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Windows 7: Explorer.exe Crashing

11 Jun 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
Explorer.exe Crashing

I apologize in advance if this is vague and if I'm not following correct protocols (first post), but I thought I would seek some opinions / advice here on an unusual problem I had with my system the past day and a half.

First a long version, followed by a short bullet list. Both convey same info:

----

I have Windows 7 Home Premium on a Dell XPS M1530 and have had it for a while now with no issues. Randomly last night, after finishing a movie (a .mp4 of 1408), my explorer.exe just started crashing. Over and over. It would come up with the usual message, "explorer.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close;" then close, restart, and pop up with the same error. It kept doing this so I restarted, expecting the problem to be fixed, but when I booted the system back up, the same error occurred.

I've spent the good portion of today trying to fix it. Using sfc /scannow and Start Up Repair from my system's boot menu. When I booted the system in Safe Mode, it worked fine, so I assumed it was a software conflict with a start up program, but after running a Clean Boot, explorer.exe was still crashing. I would have done a simple System Restore, but I had no restore points available - which made me think it was some kind of virus / trojan / malware.

From the Task Manager, and using a different computer, I was able to get my copy of PC Tools - Spyware Doctor up and running. Spyware Doctor returned no infections. I installed and ran Malwarebytes 1.5 as well, and it too returned no infections.

So it wasn't something Windows' Tools could fix (System Repair, etc.), a boot up software conflict (Clean Boot), or something malicious (Malwarebytes, Spyware Dr) that was causing the error, so I just resigned to a reformat.

Until about 5 minutes ago, the error just stopped. First time in 24 hours or so (come to think of it - close to exactly 24 hours. That's kind of weird?) I can use explorer.exe on my computer with no issues.

So do you guys think it's safe to start using regularly again? It's been disconnected from the Internet since I discovered my restore points had vanished. Anyone have any idea what could have been causing this problem?

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Short Version
  • Windows 7 Home Premium; Dell XPS M1530
  • Explorer.exe randomly started crashing over and over again with no hardware or software changes
  • sfc /scannow, System Repair, other Windows tools found no problems
  • Problem does not occur in Safe Mode; problem did occur after a Clean Boot
  • System Restore points MIA but Malwarebytes and Spyware Dr. found no infections
  • Problem randomly stopped about 20 minutes ago without me doing anything
  • Ideas on what caused the problem? Safe to use PC again?



My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Jun 2011   #2

 
 

Hi luGer33. Welcome. I'll forego the obvious '24 hr. virus' quip .

Did you do a full Malwarebytes scan? And also, I really recommend the free version SuperAntiSpyware. A neighbor brought me his laptop last week, and although malwarebytes found a few nasties, SAS found many more. Run a full scan (will take some time) What AV are you running?

James
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Welcome to Seven Forums. You might go to msconfig, start up, and see what is starting at boot. Try another security scan with something different, Super Anti Spyware. Just to see what it finds, or not. Make sure you do a definition update before a full scan.
If Malwarebytes is running actively ot another AV, I think it would be safe to go to the web.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Jun 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Thanks for the quick responses, guys. Appreciate it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by James Colbert View Post
Hi luGer33. Welcome. I'll forego the obvious '24 hr. virus' quip .

Did you do a full Malwarebytes scan? And also, I really recommend the free version SuperAntiSpyware. A neighbor brought me his laptop last week, and although malwarebytes found a few nasties, SAS found many more. Run a full scan (will take some time) What AV are you running?

James
Maybe it was a 24 hour bug.

But stupidly, I did not run "full scans," only the normal scans before making this post. I've got SUPERAntiSpyware running a full scan right now. As for antivirus, I've got the version of Spyware Doctor that includes AV protection as well.

I'll report back once the full scans have completed.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by richc46 View Post
I did do a Clean Boot and the problem persisted even when all non-Windows programs / services were disabled.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by britton30
If Malwarebytes is running actively ot another AV, I think it would be safe to go to the web.
Yeah Spyware Dr is running active protection, so I connected.

Any thoughts as to why the problem randomly stopped? I was literally just sitting here, reading crap on this laptop while mine sat next to me, restarting explorer.exe over and over again until it just started working like normal. Super weird.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LuGer33
Any thoughts as to why the problem randomly stopped? I was literally just sitting here, reading crap on this laptop while mine sat next to me, restarting explorer.exe over and over again until it just started working like normal. Super weird.
I suspect for the same reason we have to push a button labeled "Start" to stop (shut down) the computer.

Seriously, I have no idea, but things have broken and fixed them selves for me too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by James Colbert View Post
Hi luGer33. Welcome. I'll forego the obvious '24 hr. virus' quip .

Did you do a full Malwarebytes scan? And also, I really recommend the free version SuperAntiSpyware. A neighbor brought me his laptop last week, and although malwarebytes found a few nasties, SAS found many more. Run a full scan (will take some time) What AV are you running?

James
Full Scan with SUPERAntiSpyware yielded a bunch of tracking cookies and one suspicious file:

Trojan.Agent/Gen-Frauder which was found in C:\Windows\Installer\MSI6894.TMP

I can't even figure out what that is though, so I have no idea if it was related to the problem I had.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Anyhing with Trojan in its name is no good. Did you manage to clean it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Britton30 View Post
Anyhing with Trojan in its name is no good. Did you manage to clean it?
SuperAntiSpyware took care of it as far as I can tell. This was the only explanation I could find on the web:

Quote:
Trojan.Agent/Gen-FraudLoad is categorized as trojan downloader. Once it infects a comptuer, Trojan.Agent/Gen-FraudLoad will connects to internet and download another malware which is more risky and dangerous. It will be executed on computer without userís permission.
Trojan.Agent/Gen-FraudLoad | Virus Removal at im-infected.com

Worrisome, but now it's taken care of and I'm not sure how that could cause explorer.exe to keep crashing over and over, unless it downloaded some other malware that did the damage. But then that malware just packed up and left before Spyware Doctor, Malwarebytes, or SuperAntiSpyware could detect / find it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2011   #10
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

The Trojan may have had something specific to do and your system wouldn't let it and became inactive, I don't know for sure. Is explorer working now? I would run more full scans to be sure.
Here's more on making a new admin account and transferring your current files.
User Profile - Change Default Location
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Explorer.exe Crashing




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