Explorer Has Stopped Working Error Vista

Also associated with

Saving Files Shuts Down Photoshop Issue

Using an acer laptop and running vista home.

For a few weeks now I have been plagued with an intermittent error where for no reason, when I open certain folders on my PC, I get the message ‘Explorer has stopped working’, followed by the message ‘Explorer is restarting’.

It has been a minor irritation and not really affected my work until I installed Dreamweaver and Photoshop CS4. I noticed that when I tried to save Photoshop files in certain locations, Photoshop actually shut down for no apparent reason. I didn’t even have to navigate to folders containing flv files for this to happen.

I thought I’d better get on and fix the issue before it got to much and guessed it may have something to do with the original Explorer problem, so fixing would hopefully resolve the Adobe problem as well.

The original file viewing issue only seemed to occur in folders that contained flv files that I had previously created myself using premier pro CS3.

The strange thing about it was that in trying to find the culprit file, I noticed that although some folders always seemed to shut down Explorer when I tried to open them, others were only temporarily affected and worked fine after restarts etc. The problem seemed to jump around a bit and some weeks everything was fine, other’s the problem would rear up again.

When copying folders to other directories, sometimes the copies could be opened without a problem and other copies would shut down Explorer.

After much investigation, numerous virus checks, chk disk runs, re-starts, cache clears and running various registry cleaners, the problem still seemed to keep occurring, and as I mentioned before, it had something to do with the flv files, and as such, no particular one.

Here’s how the issue was resolved.

Go to your control panel and in Classic view click Problem Reports and Solutions.

Click the ‘View problem history’ link and navigate down till you see the ‘windows explorer icon’. Double click on the icon and you will see the problem report.

Explorer Fault

As you can see by the highlighted text, the fault module name is flvff.dll file.

A quick Google of that file reveals it is a Real Player file. So what ever the problem is, relates to the Real Player application trying to interact with the flv files stored in the folders.

Fix 1

The way to stop this happening is to simply re-associate these files with another application like Quick Time player or Vlc player etc. instead.

To do this in Vista

Go to Start > Control Panel > Default Programs >

Click – Associate a file type or protocol with a program >

Find the flv check box, click change and select another player such as Quick Time or something else. If you have other players but they are not listed as alternatives, you can often easily re-configure them to play flv files by doing a quick search for a guide on ‘Google’ or you can down load a compatible player for free from the net.

Fix 2

Another easy way of fixing the problem is to understand what is causing the issue. As you know it is not the playing of the files that causes the problem, it is the viewing of them in the folders. This means it has something to do with the generation of the thumbnail images.

Changing the viewing of the thumbnails can be done in 1 click by clicking on the view button in the top left hand corner of the Explorer window. Do this immediately after opening the folder containing the problem files, before the screen shuts down. If the window shuts down before you have the chance to do this then you can use the easy Fix 1 above to allow you to view the files and then change the thumbnail view at that point.

View Bar

If you change your viewing of the files in the problem folders to list view, the PC has no need to generate thumbnails for the Real Player files and you can browse the folders with no problem, whilst still keeping the files associated with Real Player. You can keep all your other folders across your PC in any view or thumbnail size you like, just alter the view of the files that show the flv’s.


Another thing I’ve noticed is that once you have disassociated the flv files with real player, you can even change back and choose Rp as the default player again and you will then be allowed to view the thumbs in any size you like with no problem, I’m not sure how long this would last though, so for a permanent fix just use one of the two methods above.

Other fixes mentioned included installing the newest Xvid codec packs, however, that didn’t work for me, and reinstalling Real Player, which is also a good option but the flv.dll file will probably begin to cause issues again in the future until they release an update so stick to the easy fixes above.

Posted 02.04.09

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Comments From Past Script

I had a very similar problem as this but it was a file called qedit.dll that was causing it instead of the flv. I found the qedit.dll file in my systems32 folder and managed to delete it and solved my issue. I owe thanks to you because really helped me solved the issue. Thank you very much.
#1 – Randy – 05/16/2009 – 14:51
No problem, thanks for sharing your fix.
#2 – Kier – 05/16/2009 – 17:01

12 comments to Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working : Vista : Problem Solved

  • Matthew H. Davidson

    Thanks for the fix.
    My problem turns up most frequently when I am doing what I call “The Lazy Man’s DataBase”:
    I create a shortcut to desktop, then open the Folder I want to put them in.
    Next I Select a shortcut, then Cut. Select the spot in the Folder I want it in, and Paste.

    I will too often get the “Windows Explorer has stopped…” doing this.

    I’ll make a lot of shortcuts to Desktop when I’m shopping so I can return later when funds permit. I also do it for news, sports websites for frequent use, as well as Retro sites [40s-50s magazine/paperback/movie posters—I can never get enough], classical music, film noir etc.

    Event Viewer in Microsoft Management Console contains details of crashes and error events—it’s a severely underestimated program app, a must for this type of thing because it gets right down deep, showing you where the bodies are buried so to speak, getting granular with code and files. Type “Event Viewer” in StartBar/Search, or enter it in the Search box in Control Panel.

    It is a must to keep this app open, minimized to the TaskBar.

    Also Windows Task Manager [Right MouseClick>Task Bar>”Windows Task Manager”.

    Necessary too is a Graphics app for PrintScreens—PAINT, GIMP or PaintShopPro are adequate—minimized to the Task Bar, bottom of Desktop, so it’s always open ready for action in case of an “event”.

    I use Google CHROME (38071) on a DELL Inspiron 1545 32-bit, Vista Home Premium.
    Upgrading in the Spring to a 64-bit, it’s time.

    P.S. Google CHROME has its own Task Manager: Open “Control the current Page” upper right of browser,
    GoTo “Developer”>Select “Task Manager”, minimize to Task Bar, where it’s ready for consultation.

    Again, many thanks.


  • erikas

    Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working Problem in vistazsdaastart-network-organize-folder and search options-view-always show icons newer thumbnails-apply.
    Good luck

  • MaxCao

    I still can’t fix it because I couldn’t have a chance to open Associate a file type or protocol with a program , when I click on it, it keep restarting. Anyone help? :(

  • Perhaps you could try Tools> folder options> view – and uncheck ‘display file icon thumbnails. I’ve not tried it but messing with folder options or something similar may help. Let us know if you fix the problem. Cheers

  • Robert

    This problem of ‘windows explorer has stopped working’ when I went to documents and downloads baffled and frustrated me for days but I read your article and just decided to uninstall realplayer which apparently is where that ‘bad file’ was and that did it-saved me some money I figured I’d have to get a techguy to remedy this problem.
    Thanks for posting.

  • Dan

    The problem with many of these solutions is they rely on your being able to get into Windows Explorer to make changes. If you have the “Explorer stopped working” problem, you can’t get into Explorer.

  • Arun

    Thnx a lot, your site helped me to resolve my problem.

  • Colin

    Dan try starting up in safe mode and Explorer should be fine and do what you nead then to sort the problem . I had a problem with a .dll in comodo verification engine crashing Explorer when I open any folders and following the article above helped me sort the problem Thanks

  • Indra

    Woooohoooo….thanx a lot..mine was affected with a CLMedia file..then i went on to the cyberlink site..downloaded the upgrade and the pb was solved!! yay!

  • sefaxx

    I have the same problem and i cant open any thing

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