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Explorer.exe process utilizing 100% CPU

By karma1 ·

I've recently ecountered an issue with my PC the details are as follows;

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel P4 2.4Ghz, 512M

My computer has been having troule with the explorer.exe process. I'll try copy a file or even right-click in an explorer window and the process will jump to 100% and stay there anywhere from 3 to 6 mins, then it will go back to normal.
According to Taskman I have anywhere from 40 - 45 processes running. Most of them I've checked out and they're valid processes, others are programs I'm currently running. However, I can have as many as 8 SVCHOST.EXE processes at one time. I've checked them out via "tasklist /svc" and they all appear proper. Of course everytime I see MSMSGS.EXE I kill it. :)
My PF usage is listed at 356MB. **** I'll list what my system is at right now;
TOTALS - handles 10575, threads 4**, processes 49.
PHYSICAL MEMORY - total 523504, available 96400, system cache 182368
COMMIT CHARGE - total 364872, limit 2064236, peak 379332
KERNEL MEMORY - total 86900, paged 58700, nonpaged 28170
My CPU usage is currently at 2%. I've just used Explorer to delete a file... the CPU usage is now at 100% and the other vales haven't changed significantly. However Explorer is now using 70M - 90M of memory in the process list. That time it took 6 mins to return to normal.
I seriously need to do something about this OTHER than reimage my system. That gets annoying after awhile.

High points awarded due to annoyance factor.


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by aknell In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

Just some general things to try, Make sure all the mainboard drivers are updated, particurly if its a via chipset, i've seen similar issues.

Some other things to try, expecially with so many runnign processes, is to check for any little dodge programs. I use these two prgrams and they work wonders, Spybot ( and ad-aware ( With ad-aware run a smart scan then a full system scan. Once again i've had this fix quite a few slowness issues on clients computers.

I hope this helps.

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by aknell In reply to

Make sure that no other networking protocols are installed that aren't needed. If your not sure just check what protocols are there, and let me knwo what the computers used for and what it connects to and i'll help with removing unnecessary protocols.

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by karma1 In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

VIA chipset? Dear gawd no, lol. I have the Intel chipset, none of that cheap stuff I have an Asus P4P800 with Intel 865PE chipset. I will look to see if I can find updated drivers tho. You never know.
I have Ad-Aware, it found a bunch of tracking cookies, but that's it. NAV did a system scan and came up empty. Which is always a good thing.
Only thing I can think of is this is something I'VE managed to do. I've been using this image for the last 2.5 yrs, this is the 1st I've encountered this problem. I reimage once a year so I'm only 6 months in and this weirdness occurred.
I did try and setup ICS recently, I'm not sure if that's related. It's only been the last 2 days that I've tried to track down the slowness and pauses when working in Windows Explorer. Mind you I'm pretty sure I started ICS before this problem happened. I've removed ICS because it wasn't working anyway and this problem stiull exists... so it kind of removes ICS as being the culprit. Then again I know MS, it's amazing what stupid circumstances can set things up to go bad.

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by karma1 In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

Raised point value because I have more than enough and no need to be cheap. :)

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by saihib In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

To correct the misbehavior in Windows XP, remove the following registry key.


This will prevent Explorer from loading shmedia.dll in response to file property queries on these files. This will not effect your ability to play files, get file attributes, or even view thumbnails.

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by t.a.e In reply to

it worked for me. tks

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by biano In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

Hi Karma1,
give this program a go and see if it's a shell extension causing an issue (I had this problem before)

2) try relaunching explorer.exe from taskmanager
3) run the system file checker to ensure the explorer file itself is ok
4) what's it like in safe mode?
let me know how you get on..

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by jordanspcrepair In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

make sure the computer is up to date with the latest patches from microsoft.

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by daglow In reply to Explorer.exe process util ...

When you select a .avi or .mpeg file in Explorer, it will load the file in memory to present you with a thumbnail/preview when needed. If the file happens to be big, it will take a long time and a lot of resources. You won't be able to delete/move/rename the file during this activity either.

You can disable the .avi file handler in registry, but beware - you'll also lose the ability to see clip properties in the properties window.

Here's how you do it:

1. Open up regedit
2. Goto HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\.avi\shellex\PropertyHandler
3. Delete the "Default" value which should be "{87D62D94-71B3-4b9a-9489- 5FE6850DC73E}\InProcServer32"

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