Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


explorer.exe Not Responding ... need expert's advice

  1. #1


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1

    explorer.exe Not Responding ... need expert's advice


    I am many hours into trying to isolate a problem with explorer.exe (or one of its subprograms). I am running Windows 8.1 (6.3.9600.17031) on an Acer laptop that it has operated properly for many months. The problem that surfaced last week is this:

    After what appears to be a normal startup (desktop and taskbar look fine), no application can be started from the desktop. Any icon will highlight on a first click, but the application isn't started. Likewise, the Start button and taskbar icons do not work. Task Manager shows explorer.exe as Not Responding. And repeated tests show 'Not Responding' even before clicking on anything.

    Yet, if I call up TaskMgr and use the Run menu entry, I can launch any of my applications and they work fine. Everything points to explorer.exe getting stuck. I've attached screen captures.

    Things I have done just to make sure I'm on a solid foundation:
    chkdsk /f
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

    sfc /scannow
    mbam.exe /fullscan

    No problems are reported.

    I realize the bailout choices are Refresh or Reset. But I feel the TaskMgr tools are pointing out the problem and I just can't recognize what it is. In particular, explorer seems to be waiting on itself. Plus, the multiple copies of ThumbnailExtractionHost don't seem right.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Click image for larger versionClick image for larger versionClick image for larger version

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Download SysInternals Process Explorer from Microsoft.com, to find out what the sub-process is causing this. I take it you have already checked for malware on the system? If not, you can use the following guide to check the system. Vista & Windows 7 Malware Removal/Cleaning Procedure - MajorGeeks Support Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    Thanks for your response.

    I've attached a screen capture showing the results of Process Explorer. (BTW, the mbam.exe entry in my original post represented a MalwareBytes full scan.)

    It took a couple of tries to get these pieces together because the stalled copy of explorer keeps any other application window (except TaskMgr) from displaying. I had to cycle explorer by pressing the windows key a couple of times. It restarted, but stalled within two seconds ... but that was enough of a pause for the Process Explorer window to come up.

    That said, I didn't see any clues on the screen. Explorer.exe still seems to be waiting on itself (PID: 1700).

    What else should I be looking at?

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    An update: I've spent more time on this issue (ran CCleaner and found no problems with files or registry) and still no progress. I've also reconfirmed that individual programs can be launched from Task Manager (using Run command) and run fine. Only explorer.exe stalls with the condition shown above.

    Based on the captured screens, does anyone have a suggestion of what I should try next?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Have you tried chkdsk /r ?
    It needs a reboot.

    Click image for larger version

    Perhaps Windows Memory Diagnostic ?

    Click image for larger version
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 10
    Windows 8.1


    From my first post:

    Things I have done just to make sure I'm on a solid foundation:
    chkdsk /f
    Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

    sfc /scannow
    mbam.exe /fullscan

    No problems are reported. Plus, CCleaner reports no problems found.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

explorer.exe Not Responding ... need expert's advice
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