View Full Version : Unusual problem using Windows key + E to open Explorer

03-07-2012, 05:01 PM
One of our users is having issues with his XP SP3 PC. After it has been running for some random period of time, pressing the Win+E key combination fails to open Windows Explorer and Windows goes into a semi-responsive state. At that point the task bar won't respond to the mouse (the cursor displays as an hourglass) and pressing the Win key fails to open the Start menu. Win+R will open the Run command but none of the other Win key combinations will work. Running applications continue to run OK. Explorer sometimes opens after several minutes and then Windows will behave normally until the next time Win+E is pressed.

While it's in that state, if he opens a file or folder from a desktop shortcut then Windows starts to behave normally again. The file or folder will open immediately, the instances of Explorer that were started by Win+E will suddenly appear, the Start menu will respond again and the other Win key combinations work once more. The next time he uses Win+E the problem occurs again.

After a reboot Windows responds normally to Win+E, until the next time it happens after a random period of time.

When the computer is playing up, opening Explorer from a shortcut still works OK, as does using any other Win key combination, it's only Win+E that causes the problem.

The same thing happens using either the left or right Windows keys. The PC appears to be free of malware. There aren't any unusual processes running and the resource usage is light. The hard drive tests OK for errors. There are no errors in Event Viewer.

I'm stumped as to what might be causing this to happen. Any ideas anyone?

kahawai chaser
03-07-2012, 08:08 PM
Possible scenario, (http://www.howtofixcomputers.com/forums/windows-xp/windows-explorer-hangs-sometimes-275970.html) i.e maybe a drive connection trying to connect to server that no longer exists. Another from sysinternals (http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2005/08/28/the-case-of-the-intermittent-and-annoying-explorer-hangs.aspx) (using utilities) is finding files installed from a PC, but then the pc removed from network, i.e. broken path.

04-07-2012, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the suggestions kahawai chaser. The Sysinternals tools are showing some interesting results but although I've fixed a couple of problems they highlighted I haven't got to the bottom of it yet. I'll have to spend a bit more time on it to find the culprit.