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Windows 7: Windows Explorer has stopped responding

28 Oct 2009   #11


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sphericalpuma View Post
Did the process again just in case you needed a recent file.
Thanks mate. I'm looking at it, but it's complex. Gimme some time please, and I'll get back to you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2009   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

I can't begin to express how thankful I am for you taking the time out of your life to look at this. Nice to know the quality of members here on this forum.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2009   #13


Short version: I don't say this lightly, but I think your issue may be an actual bug in Explorer. If you haven't already done so, I would suggest bringing this to Microsoft's attention. Their more senior support engineers will probably find those latest dumps interesting.

Detail: I've noticed previously that quite a few of the "my Explorer is crashing" reports come in the form of a problem known as heap corruption. As the name implies, a memory "heap" is a process-specific region of memory which the process (app) can draw from as necessary. Different parts of the process/app will have different memory requirements, but it's all OK as long as they don't stomp on each other's heap allocations.

Explorer is just an app as far as the OS is concerned (it's not deemed a critical process). Internally, it utilises the heap memory mechanism. However, Explorer is also a container of sorts for 3rd-party add-ons such as context menu handlers and other code whose purpose is to extend standard Explorer functionality. Most Explorer crashes are in fact caused by such add-ons.

In this case, the initial dump looked like garden variety heap corruption - something (inside Explorer) had corrupted heap memory. That's not an uncommon crash pattern, but the problem is that it's difficult or impossible to tell who/what actually corrupted the heap by the time the corrupted memory causes a crash.

The GFLAGS command I asked you to run subsequently causes what's called a "guard page" to be placed either side of a valid heap memory block - a no access area which goes "boom" (triggers a crash) as soon as a writer tries to overrun/underrun a valid heap block. It doesn't catch all types of heap corruption, but it does a great job most of the time.

With guard pages enabled, the code which is attempting to write into a guard page and hence causing a crash looks to be another Explorer component. In other words, MS code within Explorer is seemingly inadvertantly corrupting heap in this instance. The top of the stack:

Child-SP RetAddr Call Site
00000000`410fe980 000007fe`fdac8d22 ole32!CopyFormatEtcDataArray+0x22
00000000`410fe9d0 000007fe`fdaf873e ole32!CreateWrapperClipDataObjectFromFormatsArray+0xe2
00000000`410fea10 000007fe`f9b9e002 ole32!OleGetClipboard+0x9e
00000000`410fea40 000007fe`f9b9df17 EXPLORERFRAME!CShellBrowser::_OnDestroy+0x105
00000000`410fea80 000007fe`f9b9d25e EXPLORERFRAME!CShellBrowser::WndProcBS+0x291

By itself, that might have been a one-off caused by factors I haven't even envisaged. However, others are now uploading identical dumps too (after also running the gflags command), so either you all share a 3rd-party component which is very sophisticated in the way it manages to not only corrupt heap but also make it look like Explorer code is doing it, or there really is a bug in the relevant Explorer code!

I don't have access to Microsoft source, and for reasons difficult to explain succinctly it becomes very impractical for me to try to debug this further over a web forum. However, I'd encourage you to submit these crash dumps to Microsoft. If you can manage to get past the gauntlet of junior engineers and get through to somebody who asks you for a crash dump, it's possible they'll be able to understand what is happening from the perspective of their code.

I could also be entirely wrong. Hence, it would be inadvisable to insist on "a bug". Just ask them to explain why Explorer appears to be the heap corruptor in this instance. They may come up with something which I've missed.

Sorry I wasn't able to propose a resolution, but in some ways you've got the most complex crash of any of the ones being discussed around here recently. Good luck with it, irrespective of what you choose to do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Nov 2009   #14

Windows 7 Pro 64bit

I am getting the same error from time to time but can't duplicate it or figure out what causes it to occur. From what I recall, it also was with ntdll.dll.
Seems to happen and go away randomly. I also got a com surrogate error twice yesterday - both times when closing a picture in the picture viewer. I clicked on the option to let windows resolve and no other windows came up confirming it was fixed but the problem went away.

I downloaded a program that lets you view shell extensions and messed with disabling certain ones but that seems now to now be the issue. Some things I have that may cause problems are CCleaner, winamp, and ffdshow. I have the latest version of everything.

I don't know how to troubleshoot this. I can't even induce a crash. Pretty messed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Nov 2009   #15

Windows 7 64 bit

I'm having similar experiences to cvor: occasional apparently random explorers crashes and yesterday also a com error of some sort when viewing jpgs. I think this is a Windows bug.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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