computer keeps locking up!!!

recently my computer has been locking up and i'm a bit puzzled as to why. everytime i go into my pictures and double click on a picuter to view it, the computer locks up. it only does this when i view pictures. i don't understand it. my current system settings are P4 3.0-OC'ed to 3.2, 9800 pro, and muskin pc3200 ram, windows xp. i thought at first it was my OC so i put it back down to where it was originally and it still did it. i have noticed when the lock occurs i have no apps running in my task manager but i have 2 processes eating my cpu up. explorer.exe is using 48-51% of my processor and system idle process is also doing the same. what are these two processes and is this what is causing it?
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  1. explorer.exe is your windows desktop (taskbar, icons, etc) im not too sure what the latter process is all about. the only suggestion i can think of is how big are the images that you view, someitmes it takes a long time and possibly freezes when you have very big images - like when my 18yr old luddite sister scanned in a whole color A4 Page of photos at 500dpi and saved them as a bitmap!!! ARRGH and now u cant even view that file without the system crashing!!! - she tries to blame my games, lol!

    PC Spec: AMD Athlon XP 2000+ running at 1.25ghz, ECS K7S5A Motherboard, 768MB SDRAM PC133, Sparkle nVidia Riva TNT2 M64 32MB AGP Graphics Card, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1, Windows Me
  2. hah, System Idle process is just that, it means that portion is idle, ie not doing anything. so it's not "eating up your cpu".

    ANd I would suggest scanning for virii, as I'd say it's a good bet that you got infected by one of the viruses that infect all image files(one way to make yourself quit looking at porn ;) ) as they often show symptoms like this. Instead of actually opening the graphics file, it's executing the virus asgain, or whatever bit of code that particular virus appends to the start of graphic files. There have been several like this(plus of course several variations of each one)
  3. What is the extantion of the pictures you are trying to access?

    ..this is very useful and helpful place for information...
  4. Whenever explorer.exe gets out of hand (for any reason) you can terminate the process then from Task Manager select File->New Task (Run) and type explorer.exe

    I usually go several weeks without restarting my PC and explorer usually needs to be restarted about once a week.

    Since it seems to only happen when you open a particular folder I suggest a bad media file is to blame.

    Sometimes a bad media file (movie, picture mp3) will lock up explorer.exe every time you open the containing folder using the "detail" view setting. Explorer goes into a loop trying to look up the files details.

    I have had this a half dozen times often when opening a folder with a bad avi using "detail" view. The file plays perfectly, and the folder opens perfectly in "list" view, but if I switch to detail view explorer.exe starts goes crazy.
  5. BTW a virus can damage an image file, but it cannot infect an image file.

    Only file that are "executable" can become infected. So a .bmp or .jpg ... cannot infect your computer, but a .vbs, .src, .exe ... can.

    Note some viruses will create an executable file named blahblah.jpg.exe and to trick the unwary into believing it is an image file and not a program.

    So its a pretty good idea to alway disable "hide extensions for know file types" under folder options.
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