Windows Explorer won't start

For awhile now I've been having a minor issue with windows explorer where I'd start up my laptop and it would say 'windows explorer has stopped working' and it would restart itself, sometimes it would do that more than once. It wasn't a major issue so I've been occasionally looking for things that could fix it, for example I ran both a malware and virus full scan, neither of them showed that I have any infections. I tested my RAM which was fine, I ran a chkdsk as well which was fine. However I let the chkdsk run overnight, when I woke up my screen was completely blank except for my wallpaper. There were no icons or taskbar. I tried starting explorer.exe in the 'run' dialog box and in cmd, neither worked. Then I restarted, everything was fine for a few seconds then my icons and taskbar disappeared. Nothing I did got it to restart. So in desperation I tried restarting my computer once again and that somehow got explorer to work, which is how I'm able to send this message. I'm terrified to shut my computer down again for fear that explorer.exe won't ever start again. Does anyone know what could be causing this issue or what I can do to fix it?
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  1. Did you have a virus guard installed when this problem occurred?same thing happened to some one i know.because of a malware or virus had damaged windows.i even couldn't install kaspersky internet security.but i could install nortan.but it never showed any sign of a virus...i had to format and re install windows 7. thats when the problem solved..which virus guard did you use?
  2. This really does sound like a malware infection as they always start out by interrupting normal workflow and then, next thing you know you know, you'll have popups for fake virus scanning programs. I would quite honestly consider just re-formatting the HDD, but you should first try using Malwarebytes. You can download the free scanning tools from here.

    Be sure you run the scan in safemode so the infections don't interrupt the scan. I would suggest putting it on a thumbdrive from a clean computer so you can ensure the download is not corrupted.
  3. I did do another malwarebytes scan, this time if found 5 'one click downloader' things, and I removed them all. Could those have been what was causing my issue? I was told to restart to make sure the infections were removed properly, and when I did that I didn't notice explorer restarting at all, but also it didn't happen every single time I restart either. If I reformat my HDD, do I need to reinstall Windows 7 as well?

    Also if it makes any difference, when I restarted my computer, my icons and taskbar loaded immediately, whereas it used to take awhile for the icons to load properly (they'd all show some generic icon while the actual icons took a few seconds to load) or sometimes the taskbar would change back to the default color for a second, and then go back.
  4. Yes, re-formatting your HDD will wipe it, clearing your HDD of both OS and important files. You need to be sure you have everything important saved externally before starting or you will loose it. As for windows, yes you will need to re-install it, but you should be able to use the key that came with your computer as it usually is Hardware ID bound.

    If you don't have an installation disk, I can show you how to make one out of a thumb drive or a blank DVD, just write back here if that is your desired course of action.

    As for the last point you made, I would say that is another sign of infection as a flashing toolbar means there is something interfering with the windows Aero (Windows Astedics in otherwords) program.
  5. Nerumph is have to format your entire HDD...I suggest not use a thumb drive..if the malware remains it could infect pc again.this is just a precaution.use a dvd to install windows 7..After installing 7 use a strong malware protection to avoid further infections.
  6. yakamaster said:
    Nerumph is have to format your entire HDD...I suggest not use a thumb drive..if the malware remains it could infect pc again.this is just a precaution.use a dvd to install windows 7..After installing 7 use a strong malware protection to avoid further infections.

    The thumb drive will not become infected as it is acting as the main boot drive. No data is being transferred between it or the hard drive other than erase instructions, which are going the direction if the HDD. I do agree with you on the precautions, however. A simple program like Windows Security Essentials will do the job nicely, though if you want something with more advanced features (and a really good Firewall), I would suggest AVG internet security.
  7. Is there absolutely no other option other than reformatting, even though I no longer appear to be having issues? I don't have a Windows 7 disc, nor a thumb drive or blank DVD, obviously I could go get one if required but at the moment I do not. The best I could do is a system restore, if that would help? Although if possible I'd prefer to solve my issue, if it still remains, without reformatting as I've never done it before and I'm paranoid about screwing it up.
  8. Best answer
    I don't think system restore would help at your point in the game as any restore point that could be of any help is most likely long deleted automatically by Windows (unless you have infinite hard drive space that is and you've disabled that feature). Also, lots of malware these days latches onto files in your "My Documents" folder, which remains un-affected by restore points.

    As for re-formatting and adding another Windows install, there really isn't too much you can get wrong. The worst that could happen is you get the Windows install wrong and you would just have to re-format again. But, I do have to say it again; to make sure you have all your important files backed up before you do the re-format. And make sure you have your windows license key handy before you start. If you've lost it, you don't want to get rid of your windows install until you've extracted the key from your install.

    My recommendation is to still consider the format as it will completely eliminate the malware for good (unless you get infected in the new install that is :P).
  9. Well as it turns out, I don't think malware was ever the issue. Explorer.exe wouldn't crash on every startup. Sometimes it would just be the taskbar changing to it's default color, sometimes it appeared it was restarting itself, sometimes it would say 'windows explorer has crashed' and in that one extreme case, neither my taskbar or icons would load. And it didn't happen immediately after staring up, it would take about 20 seconds before the things would happen, so I went into my event viewer to see if maybe I could get some type of error code or description of the crash somewhere.

    Now I don't remember exactly how I came to this conclusion but I believe there was a mention of a program called gdipp in one of the error logs, I believe that was the thing I downloaded a few weeks ago that was supposed to make my computers fonts render more clearly or something, I don't remember. Anyways I deleted that program because I had no use for it. Ever since then, I've restarted my laptop about a bazillion times, and explorer has not malfunctioned in any way since then. I'm about 80% certain that was my issue.

    I'm sorry for ignoring all your advice, I just really didn't want to have to reformat if I didn't need to. However if, even though I don't think malware was the issue, you still recommend that I reformat, then now I will do so.
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